The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Art of the Rifle: Bolt, Lever, and Pump Action

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old April 19, 2012, 07:25 PM   #1
tahunua001
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 21, 2011
Location: Idaho
Posts: 6,092
what's the deal with carcano rifles?

hello all.
a couple days ago I was at fairchild air force base wrapping up my obligations to uncle sam when I decided that since I was only 20 miles from the nearest cabelas(which I never have had the chance to go to) I would go check it out. well cabelas was it's usual, seemingly overpriced plethora of junk I really "need" but stopping by their used gun racks I was surprised that they had an entire rack(about 2 dozen guns) devoted entirely to carcano rifles. I had never batted 2 eyelashes at them when I saw them at gunshows but I am quite curious as to the sudden availibility of them. the prices were nothing to call home about being about the same as the yugo mausers and norico SKS's sitting behind the new gun counter.

so why is everyone and their dogs suddenly selling their carcanos?
__________________
ignore my complete lack of capitalization. I still have no problem correcting your grammar.
I never said half the crap people said I did-Albert Einstein
You can't believe everything you read on the internet-Benjamin Franklin
Bean counters told me I couldn't fire a man for being in a wheelchair, did it anyway. Ramps are expensive.-Cave Johnson.
tahunua001 is offline  
Old April 19, 2012, 07:39 PM   #2
Big Shrek
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 6, 2009
Location: NorthWest Florida
Posts: 533
Mostly because...they're pretty sad excuses of a rifle, dang near anything is better,
and it has a black mark of notoriety for being the rifle that killed John F. Kennedy...
For the same money & a FFL03 (C&R), you can get a wide variety of really NICE WW1/WW2/Korean-era rifles sent to your home...

Yes, I'm old...
Yes, I still hold a grudge...
Yes, I still hate Jane Fonda...and wouldn't mind if Kalifornia quaked off the map & took all the current movie stars with it
__________________
Marlin Specialist
Calico Specialist
A gun should be a tool in the hands of a deadly weapon, not a deadly weapon in the hands of a tool.
Big Shrek is offline  
Old April 19, 2012, 08:27 PM   #3
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 11,325
Agreed they are a poor excuse for a rifle, even the Russians built better, overall. Also, there is no surplus ammo market for them (and never was much of one).

For a long time they were dirt cheap, and, other than French, the least desirable of the collectible milsurplus bolt guns. This was long before the fall of communism let the Russians sell their surplus in the US, at dirt cheap prices, which stimulated the whole collector market.

The most common caliber, the 6.5mm Carcano is by itself, not a bad round. BUT, its modest velocity, (2200fps) and the fact that it is only found in Carcano rifles kept it from being very popular in the US, and finding ammo was a real problem for many years. Today, nearly all the old rounds are being loaded by somebody, but niche rounds like the Carcano are expensive, for what you get.

The 7.35mm Italian is even more scarce and while you might be able to find some, good luck.

There were also some Carcanos (the bigger caliber ones, although it might have been a different Italian rifle, I no longer recall, and am too lazy to look it up ) the Germans converted to 8mm Mauser. Most folks I know would be real hesitant about shooting one of them.

My old Lyman manual warns about the wide variations of groove diameter found in these rifles, with many being well over the proper .264" bore, and to beware of gas blow by if using .264 bullets in one of them. Always wear safety glasses and they recommend using cast bullets sized to the bore of the individual gun.

My guess about why there are so many Carcanos on the rack is that as our "Greatest Generation" passes, the guns they brought back as war prizes, and the guns they bought cheap during the 50s-60s are being sold by their decendants. Another thing about a rack full of Carcanos, that tells you that no one is buying them, much. And for good reason.

They are awkward, in rare calibers, not noted for accuracy, not easily converted to anything else, or sporterized. Also there is the whole "Oswald's gun" thing, which still makes a difference, to some people.
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old April 19, 2012, 09:10 PM   #4
tahunua001
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 21, 2011
Location: Idaho
Posts: 6,092
I kindof got the vibe that they were probably being sold with good reason. they are fairly small and a lot of them seemed like they had the stocks cut down at least a little so I guess you would call them semi-sporters. I'm not 100% but I think there may have been one of those 8mm conversions on the rack but again, can't remember.

I was kindof tinkering with the idea of converting one to 308 which if the bores were that badly done, would have to be bored out to a nominal diameter anyway, the only problem would be shooting a roughly 51mm case out of a 52mm chamber.
__________________
ignore my complete lack of capitalization. I still have no problem correcting your grammar.
I never said half the crap people said I did-Albert Einstein
You can't believe everything you read on the internet-Benjamin Franklin
Bean counters told me I couldn't fire a man for being in a wheelchair, did it anyway. Ramps are expensive.-Cave Johnson.
tahunua001 is offline  
Old April 19, 2012, 09:38 PM   #5
Gunplummer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 11, 2010
Location: South East Pa.
Posts: 1,449
Whole lot of rumor flying here. I am not a fan of Carcanos, but I still take "Lee Harvey" out for a doe now and then. My sister found it in a barn when she bought her farm and it looks pretty scarey. I put a scope on and did not bother to clean it up. Rough weather gun. Shoots as good @ 100 yards as most surplus guns I have shot, and a lot better than some. "Oswald stigma?" What about Mr. Schickilgruber's rifles?
Gunplummer is offline  
Old April 19, 2012, 10:15 PM   #6
gyvel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2009
Location: Northern AZ
Posts: 5,229
There is no deal with Carcanos.

Salvatore Carcano designed that gun using innovations from some of the best rifles of the day, ca. 1890. The rifle was officially adopted in 1891 and served well until 1945 as a military rifle, and for some decades after WWII as a police weapon in Italy.

Probably the rifles you saw in Cabela's were surplus rifles from Finland who used them with good effect against the Russians in the Winter and Continuation Wars. Did they have the letters "SA" inside a rectangular box with rounded corners?

It's also possible, since you say they looked to have "cut down" stocks, that they were 1891 "Moschetto" models that used a half stock and a folding spike bayonet ala SKS. These were used by Italian police well into the 1960s, at least.

Interestingly enough, it is stated that many privately held weapons used in the recent Libyan Civil War were Carcanos.

Granted, they aren't the smoothest operating rifle in the world, but they are made of good steels and were suitably adequate for the purpose intended.
gyvel is offline  
Old April 19, 2012, 10:17 PM   #7
TX Hunter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 11, 2010
Location: East Texas USA
Posts: 1,776
I alwayse thought they were a neat looking rifle, I looked at a nice one today, guy wanted $300 and it wasnt import marked.
Most of the Young People I know that shoot like the AR 15s and all that Jazz, Let um. It frees up the kind of guns I like.
TX Hunter is offline  
Old April 19, 2012, 10:20 PM   #8
Scimmia
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 19, 2011
Location: Eastern IA
Posts: 428
Quote:
My old Lyman manual warns about the wide variations of groove diameter found in these rifles, with many being well over the proper .264" bore, and to beware of gas blow by if using .264 bullets in one of them. Always wear safety glasses and they recommend using cast bullets sized to the bore of the individual gun.
I really think this misunderstanding (along with the JFK stigma) shows where so much of the Carcano hate comes from. They tend to shoot like crap with standard 6.5mm bullets (.264") because the standard groove diameter for them was .268"!
Scimmia is offline  
Old April 19, 2012, 10:29 PM   #9
gunsmokeTPF
Junior member
 
Join Date: February 14, 2012
Posts: 268
I was given a Carcano for nothing in the 1970's. It's stock looked like dried up driftwood. That was the most forgetable gun I ever owned. I gave it away within 24hrs from my locker, without ever bringing it home. The only place they belong, except of course the one that's in the Smithsonian, is in a crusher.
gunsmokeTPF is offline  
Old April 19, 2012, 11:35 PM   #10
SIGSHR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 13, 2005
Posts: 3,076
There seems to be no "cachet" or mystique attached to Carcanos or Italian military firearms or militaria in general. I don't understand the "Lee Harvey Oswald Stigma", how many war surplus P-38s and 98ks were used against GI Joes, how do you know that 32 ACP bringback wasn't used by some SS type to execute partisans or innocent civilians?
SIGSHR is offline  
Old April 20, 2012, 12:08 AM   #11
tahunua001
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 21, 2011
Location: Idaho
Posts: 6,092
I also do not understand weapon stigma. funny how with carcanos everyone seems to dislike them because oswald used one while everyone loves the FN fiveseven because the fort hood shooting prooved the lethality of the round.

I dont care if a rifle was shot by sergeant Alvin York, Vasiele Zaitsev, or Kim Jung Il, if it works and I can afford the ammo, I like it. if it was a load of horse manure that was molded and baked until crusty and costs 2 dollars every tim eI squeeze the trigger...not so much.
__________________
ignore my complete lack of capitalization. I still have no problem correcting your grammar.
I never said half the crap people said I did-Albert Einstein
You can't believe everything you read on the internet-Benjamin Franklin
Bean counters told me I couldn't fire a man for being in a wheelchair, did it anyway. Ramps are expensive.-Cave Johnson.
tahunua001 is offline  
Old April 20, 2012, 12:08 AM   #12
Scimmia
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 19, 2011
Location: Eastern IA
Posts: 428
Quote:
I don't understand the "Lee Harvey Oswald Stigma", how many war surplus P-38s and 98ks were used against GI Joes, how do you know that 32 ACP bringback wasn't used by some SS type to execute partisans or innocent civilians?
You're trying to attach logic to a purely emotional issue. The execution of a random innocent German civilian didn't exactly provoke the same emotional response as the assassination of a popular sitting US President. You have to remember the mantra of the gun grabbers, it was the guns fault!
Scimmia is offline  
Old April 20, 2012, 07:53 AM   #13
TX Hunter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 11, 2010
Location: East Texas USA
Posts: 1,776
The Carcano is on my list of Guns to Own Sooner or later I will add one to my collection. I think its a neat looking little carbine, but thats just me.
TX Hunter is offline  
Old April 20, 2012, 12:47 PM   #14
deadcoyote
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 13, 2009
Location: northern CA
Posts: 491
My local shop has a couple of these for $175 each. I've been thinking about grabbing one up. PRVI makes commercial reloadable ammo at $15 a box.
deadcoyote is offline  
Old April 20, 2012, 01:12 PM   #15
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,464
A lot of the "stigma" of the Carcano comes from the same anti-gun gang that promoted the "Saturday Night Special" and "assault rifle" names in an effort to ban military surplus, inexpensive handguns and semi-automatics. They were, of course, aided and abetted by folks like gunsmokePTF ("the only place they belong is in a crusher") not realizing that if the gun grabbers can put Carcanos in a crusher, their own "good" guns will soon follow.

I have some personal experience in that area. A local author, who wrote on the JFK assassination (one of the many conspiracy nuts) asked a retired colonel, a military target shooter, about the Carcano. The colonel, who thought the only good gun was a National Match Springfield, told the writer that a Carcano couldn't shoot 100 yards and didn't have the accuracy or the power to hurt anyone. Naturally, the writer, anxious to find anything that would point the finger of blame away from his hero, Fidel Castro, lapped it up, and such nonsense has continued to dog any discussion of the Carcano ever since.

In fact, the Carcano is not junk, it was quite a decent rifle in 1891 (the U.S. was still using the trapdoor Springfield), pretty much in line with what other nations were adopting at the time. At that time, the 6.5 was considered state of the art, with light recoil and light ammo, but with sufficient power and accuracy for lethality at normal battle ranges. In fact, the same justifications given for the adoption of the 5.56mm by the U.S. some 70 years later. It was obsolete by WWII, but so were other rifles, including the much loved Swedish 6.5x55.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old April 20, 2012, 01:28 PM   #16
Slamfire
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 27, 2007
Posts: 4,090
Wish I picked up a Carcano. The WW2 generation hated them, so they were cheap for a very long time.

Handled them, I guess I let other people's opinions sway me too much and I did not buy.

It would be interesting to compare to other 1890 designs.

Basically all bolt gun actions became obsolescent once the M1898 action was perfected. There were service rifle actions developed later, but the 98 action was still the best. At least in my opinion.

The other variations, including the Carcano, they worked well enough that they were kept in service.
__________________
If I'm not shooting, I'm reloading.
Slamfire is offline  
Old April 20, 2012, 02:31 PM   #17
gunsmokeTPF
Junior member
 
Join Date: February 14, 2012
Posts: 268
James K, I'm sorry you took my quote about the Carcano litterally. Could we get back to reality for just one moment? Please don't put words into my mouth, because of your interpretation. It's only my opinion that that rifle is garbage. They weren't dependable and couldn't even be counted on to assist in a suicide. Remember now, I actually owned one for almost a full day.

That's not to say that the cartridge was bad, or good, cause I don't know. I've been around guns for over 50 years, but even back then I was practically forced to take it. That particular one was frightening and there was no way I'd ever put my cheek on that stock and fire it. I even had trouble giving it away. I hate cheap pen guns too, but guess they have their place, though I'd never own one.

I have no problem with people wanting to own one for whatever their reason may be. I don't believe in gun confiscation. The Philidelphia derringer was used to assassinate Lincoln and I like that gun a lot. I don't hate it with it's connection to JFK. I'm not completely convinced that that dog Oswald was able to do what's claimed he did with that weapon and I didn't mean to insult dogs.

I love italian guns. I have 2 beautiful italian shotguns and my 1st gun ever, which I still have since I was 8 is an 1875 Vetterli, that was brought back from France after the war. People should collect whatever they like. No one should get their panties in a bunch just because a particular gun is called crap and that's even if it's true. Only the one who designed it should be insulted, but won't be cause he's dead a long time. Also, I don't like being put into the category of acting in concert with the gun grabbers. Anyone who knows me personally would laugh at that. Your accusation towards me would be like me saying you wrote your post in a mental ward. That's also rediculous, cause I don't know you , or where you actually are. By the way Jim I'm gunsmokeTPF and not PTF.

Last edited by gunsmokeTPF; April 20, 2012 at 03:42 PM.
gunsmokeTPF is offline  
Old April 20, 2012, 05:49 PM   #18
gyvel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2009
Location: Northern AZ
Posts: 5,229
Quote:
They weren't dependable and couldn't even be counted on to assist in a suicide.
And were did you pick up this little gem of information?
gyvel is offline  
Old April 20, 2012, 06:15 PM   #19
giaquir
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2006
Location: Deerfield,New Hampshire
Posts: 416
I can remember reading F&S or outdoor life when I was a kid
and Carcanos were $7 shipped to your house.
Things change.
giaquir is offline  
Old April 20, 2012, 06:21 PM   #20
Shotgun693
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 3, 2011
Location: Poteet, Texas
Posts: 959
My first gun was a Carcano, just like the JFK gun. My Father went with me to the Army Surplus Store because I was about 11 when I bought it. It was about $14. I killed my first deer with it. The sights stank, ammo had to be loaded into a clip, and you could only get ammo at that Surplus store. It was serviceable and like I said, I killed my first deer with it. It I could get another one for $14 I’d just keep it in my truck as my ‘better than a sharp stick’ gun. BTW, I remember it as being very loud and hard kicking.
Shotgun693 is offline  
Old April 20, 2012, 06:27 PM   #21
tahunua001
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 21, 2011
Location: Idaho
Posts: 6,092
well I don't know much bout the reliability of the gun but I will say that depictions of a stock made from drift wood pretty closely describes the quality of the stocks I was seeing at cabelas.

the action didn't look half bad but the magazine/trigger assemblies all looked like they were made of cheap tin with a number of the rifles sporting serious dents and dings that other battle rifles of the time were not prone to.

they are all short barreled carbine types which when pared to a round that would be comparable to a heavy grained 308 would have probably kicked like a mule and sported a muzzle flash that would have given away your position if you were shooting with the sun at your back.

these are just a few design characteristics that would lead me to believe that they aren't the greatest rifle ever invented at the time. just try comparing to a mosin nagant 1891 which is believed by many to be one of the worst guns you can get right now.

the mosin nagant fired a more potent round and was a heavier design, meaning it was easier to stabilize, had longer sight radius and absorbed recoil all of these features would have made the shooter more prone to higher accuracy and greater chance of a kill shot(not that the Russians were the best trained conscripts in the world) but in the hands of a well trained and experienced shooter the carcano when compared to other weapons of it's day was probably not the greatest.
__________________
ignore my complete lack of capitalization. I still have no problem correcting your grammar.
I never said half the crap people said I did-Albert Einstein
You can't believe everything you read on the internet-Benjamin Franklin
Bean counters told me I couldn't fire a man for being in a wheelchair, did it anyway. Ramps are expensive.-Cave Johnson.
tahunua001 is offline  
Old April 20, 2012, 06:45 PM   #22
gunsmokeTPF
Junior member
 
Join Date: February 14, 2012
Posts: 268
Gyvel, I can't remember at this time where my information came from, cause it was many years ago and frankly that's one of the last guns I'd even think about. But in my case since I actually had it in my hands and had a little experience with a few guns I was able to determine it belonged in Sanford and Son's junkyard. That show was on TV at that time.

I and I just mean I wouldn't want anyone to know if I owned one. My taste in guns is far better than that, which is just my humble opinion. Does one have to be an Elmer Keith, or a Skeeter Skelton to give one's opinion on this forum? If your so knowledgeable regarding this rifle then fill us in with your pearls of wisdom. I'd be willing to listen, cause I don't take personally what others like, or don't like.

I will continue to criticize that gun, but never personally put down anyone else for wanting one, or having one.
gunsmokeTPF is offline  
Old April 20, 2012, 07:02 PM   #23
amd6547
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 27, 2006
Posts: 1,407
I consider a Carcano to be one of the best fighting bolt actions made.
Certainly a better fighting carbine than the Mosin.
I have owned just about all the great military bolt actions...Mauser, Mosin, Enfield, Springfield...
My Carcano cavalry carbine is short, and it's action is very slick. It has a 100yd battle sight setting. The enbloc clip someone complained about makes it very fast to load, and contribute to the quick feeding action.
The 6.5 Carcano cartridge offers excellent power and penetration at normal battle ranges. The steel used in the receiver was a special formulation which is high quality and strong, as is the design. The safety, which many describe as slow and awkward is actually positive and quick to disengage.
I too had my doubts about Oswald using the Carcano in November 1963... Until I shot my own Carcano. I now have no doubt at all that the weapon was capable of making the shot.
__________________
The past is gone...the future may never happen.
Be Here Now.
amd6547 is offline  
Old April 21, 2012, 10:33 AM   #24
gyvel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2009
Location: Northern AZ
Posts: 5,229
GunsmokeTPF, I question your unfounded statement as to Carcanos being not dependable, etc. Carcanos, as I stated earlier, utilized some of the best innovations available in 1890.

Carcanos were certainly dependable as they kicked some Austrian butt during WWI, and were used to good advantage in Ethiopia in 1935,

Maybe you don't like the odd design or the color of the wood, but Carcanos were made from very good steel, and exhibited no significant problems other than the undersized calibre as evidenced by field reports from the Italian Army.

Much like the Nagant, they are judged by hearsay and their appearance, most of which is simply not true.

I am no great fan of the Carcano, but unfounded negative comments based solely on subjectivity do little to solidify your position.

Its use by Oswald is certainly of no concern to me. He just happened to elect (or was told) to purchase one of the cheapest guns available on the market from Klein's Sporting Goods. While I don't condone assassination of a president, Kennedy was no favorite of mine anyway.
gyvel is offline  
Old April 21, 2012, 11:00 AM   #25
gyvel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 30, 2009
Location: Northern AZ
Posts: 5,229
Quote:
well I don't know much bout the reliability of the gun but I will say that depictions of a stock made from drift wood pretty closely describes the quality of the stocks I was seeing at cabelas.
Tahunua, what you are seeing at Cabela's is well-used junk. These are the dregs of some some third world country's arsenal, put away and finally sold off after years of hard use and abuse. I would like to know the origin of those guns you looked at as they sound like the came out of some North African country where Italy had a large presence

I have collected military rifles for many years, and some (naturally) of these are Carcanos, but in near new condition. They are well made, well finished and very reliable guns, and fun to shoot, but definitely not my favorite.

Badmouthing of the Carcano is based mainly on hearsay or that someone "once read somewhere" that they are junk. They're not junk, they work well, and they are made from good materials.

Having said that, I will state that they are definitely not up to later standards, technologically speaking, but, much like the Russians with their Moisin Nagants, the Italians found that they worked, and adopted the old adage: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Too often, guns are clasified as "junk" simply because they are sold here as surplus long after their useful (and abused) life has ended.
gyvel is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:07 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.13315 seconds with 7 queries