The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The North Corral > Curios and Relics

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old December 30, 2012, 04:01 PM   #1
pegwedge
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 19, 2011
Posts: 7
Carcano Questions

Howdy folks. I'm not quite up to snuff on my C&R rifles so I figured I might find some help here. My grandfather left an 8mm carbine to my brother after he died. The story that I always heard was that one of my grandfather's friends had brought it back from the war. It was said his buddy shot a sniper out of the tree and caught this rifle as it fell. I have a feeling there's a bit of exaggeration behind the story. By a bit, I mean a lot. I had never really bothered to mess with it until the bolt came apart when my father was shooting it a couple weeks ago. I started doing some research and found out quite a bit.

It has been severely sporterized unfortunately. The forearm has been cut down and someone added a pistol grip to the stock. I couldn't find any cartouches anywhere on the stock. It's a Carcano marked Beretta Gardone on the top of the barrel lug with a crown and R.E. right below it. It has 1936 - XIV on the right hand side and a D prefix serial number on the left. It has another serial number on the left had side of the receiver that has an H prefix. It is marked 7.9 on the barrel right before the barrel lug. It has a "flat eagle" stamped on the very right hand side of the receiver with a C. And last but not least it, it has the HK with a circle stamped on the very top of the receiver.

What I've found is that it's an 8mm converted Carcano by Heinrich Krieghoff. It does not have the usual block of wood in the stock to make it a single shot. It holds a full 5 rounds with the special hard-to-find en-bloc clips of which we have only two. I've also found that a lot of people recommend not shooting these because they're relatively unsafe as they only have one lug in the stock and because they were never really meant to withstand the 8mm round.

Anyone have any other insight into this rifle? I'll try to get some pictures up later today if I can if anyone has any questions. Thanks.
pegwedge is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 04:08 PM   #2
mwells72774
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 3, 2011
Posts: 172
personally, i'd NEVER shoot a 8mm conversion
mwells72774 is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 04:22 PM   #3
pegwedge
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 19, 2011
Posts: 7
Yeah, I didn't know that until today. I'll never pull the trigger on it again.
pegwedge is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 04:39 PM   #4
tahunua001
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 21, 2011
Location: Idaho
Posts: 6,200
you seem to already know as much and possibly more than I do. I have heard about 8mm conversions but never actually seen one, but also read all of the reports that they were unsafe to fire. I know the carcano itself is a heavily sporterized model, probably done by an importer to save customers to hassle of doing it themselves. the last time I went to cabelas, which was nearly a year ago they had nearly 2 dozen carcanos sitting in the used gun racks and almost all of them were sporterized in almost identical fashions, suggesting mass sporterization efforts. the rifle was more than likely bought after WWII when surplus rifles were very popular as cheap alternatives to hunting rifles.
__________________
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 December 30, 2012, 04:46 PM   #5
Buzzcook
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 29, 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 5,630
So he caught the rifle on the fly?

Sorry to say you got a wall hanger. But at least it comes with a funny story.
Buzzcook is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 08:45 PM   #6
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,658
Well, I have fired my 8mm Carcano and it didn't blow up, but I sure would like to know what you mean by "the bolt came apart when my father was shooting it".

Those guns were converted in Germany as part of the "last ditch" effort to arm the "Volksturm", the children and elderly who were expected to die for Der F├╝hrer in the last days of WWII. No Italian ammo was available, so the conversion made a sort of sense and the guns were at least as safe as some of the other rifles issued at the time.

Those 8mm en-bloc clips are rarer than chicken's choppers, and probably two of them are worth more than the gun.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old December 30, 2012, 08:59 PM   #7
pegwedge
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 19, 2011
Posts: 7
This might be a little hard to explain. The inner part of the bolt came off the outer part... Does that make sense? You could hold the bolt handle in one hand and the firing pin, safety, spring assembly, etc. in the other. If you know the Carcano bolt (and I didn't until this afternoon) I think the little notch that holds the safety in the bolt assembly made its way out somehow. They were shooting S&B commercial 8mm and when he worked the bolt the middle section of it fell out. I definitely don't want to put my head behind that bolt and pull the trigger again.
pegwedge is offline  
Old December 31, 2012, 02:32 PM   #8
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,658
It sounds like the little lug that retains the safety (and the firing pin) broke off or wore down. The rifle cannot be fired that way, but I don't blame you for not wanting to try.

That S&B ammo, unlike the low power American 8mm, is loaded to German WWII specs and is right hot; the recoil in those light Carcanos is nasty.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old December 31, 2012, 03:11 PM   #9
pegwedge
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 19, 2011
Posts: 7
Very nasty. That was always part of the fun of shooting it.

I did manage to get the bolt back together though and it seems to be functioning. That makes me think it's just worn down and not completely broken and just came loose from the recoil.
pegwedge is offline  
Old December 31, 2012, 04:37 PM   #10
mwells72774
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 3, 2011
Posts: 172
its possible that it was worn down, but if a gun is falling apart, no matter if its from recoil or not, I'd not shoot it.

If you reload, might consider low power cast loads
mwells72774 is offline  
Old December 31, 2012, 05:20 PM   #11
pegwedge
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 19, 2011
Posts: 7
Oh, I totally agree. I'll be perfectly happy sticking it in the safe and maybe taking it out as a show piece once in a while.
pegwedge is offline  
Old January 1, 2013, 05:01 PM   #12
chiefr
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 27, 2010
Location: AR
Posts: 1,255
Every article I have read about 8x57s Carcanos stated it could be dangerous to fire these rifles and advised against it.The Carcano rifle was designed around max pressures of 38.000psi while the 8x57 operated around 50.000psi.

When the 7.35 Carcanos were imported into USA, many years ago, there were stories circulating about these rifles blowing up particularily with reloads. The 7.35 Carcano uses a .298 diameter bullet. I can only imagine the blown up rifles were caused by the use of .308 diameter bullets in reloads.

I have encountered 8mm Carcanos at gunshows and you will see them periodically on the auction sites.
chiefr is offline  
Old January 1, 2013, 08:52 PM   #13
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,658
The Carcano action is fairly strong and IMHO those stories were just that, stories. I doubt that a 7.35mm case loaded with a .30 bullet could even be forced into the chamber, and if it were, the high pressure would come from the inability of the case neck to expand, not to the oversize bullet in the barrel.

The fact is that those rifles were denigrated as dangerous junk mostly by people who owned high dollar rifles and simply could not accept that a $9.95 rifle could be any good at all*. And they were Italian, and everyone just knew that the Italians could not possibly make a decent gun. (I am sure there was a lot of agony and grave spinning when the U.S. adopted a service pistol of Italian origin.)

FWIW, I never saw a blown up Carcano, nor seen pictures or even credible information on such happenings. If chiefr can post pictures or any more information on all those blown up Carcanos, I am sure we would appreciate it.

*Very often with military surplus, people tend to forget that countries sell off those rifles because they have been made obsolete, not because they are inferior or dangerous to the user, and ignore the fact that the sale price has no relationship to the original cost in constant dollar terms. The U.S., for example, sold Krag rifles for as little as $1.50 in the 1920's, and M1903 rifles for $14 in the 1960's. They certainly cost more than that and, since they were certainly cheap, can we assume that they can be called "war surplus junk"?

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old January 1, 2013, 11:51 PM   #14
Gunplummer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 11, 2010
Location: South East Pa.
Posts: 1,480
Not much is known about Carcanos other than rumor. There was some kind of deal that the Carcano receivers were made from a special tool steel and Italy was paying royalties to the Chezhs for the recipe. That does not sound thrown together to me. Nobody really collected them so the rifles stayed kind of unknown. I would be suspect of any article in a magazine having to do with guns. Many of the writers are beholden to the gun manufacturers in this country.
Gunplummer is online now  
Old January 2, 2013, 01:03 AM   #15
Romeo 33 Delta
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 27, 2009
Posts: 315
Carcanos remain one of my favorite Milsurp rifles regardless of caliber. If the rifle is in good mechanical order and has a good barrel it can become a very accurate and fun rifle ... if you reload for it properly and use a proper sight picture. Of my 6.5s (M-1891 Rifle, M-1938 Short Rifle, M-1941 Rifle, M-91/38 TS Carbine and M-91/38 Cav Carbine), 3 of them like a .264" bullet, while the other 2 like a .268" bullet. Fortunately, Hornady has both available in their 160gr RNSP. A beautiful bullet ... flat base, with long, paralllel sides!

I also shoot a number of 7.35s and even my 8mm. For the 8mm, I use load data for my M1888 Commission Rifle and it is NOT nasty to shoot.

Again, fine rifles ... just have their own learning curve. Like, burying the front sight blade into the BOTTOM of the rear sight and aim for the "belt" on your target ... you will hit the chest. That's just they way the Italians did it.

Most of the snotty comments about Carcanos come from: Not-Invented-Here Syndrome ... Italian Junk , Ignorance ... using "crappy" surplus ammo ... Using the wrong sized bullet ... using the wrong sight picture ... expecting a "battle rifle" to be a "target rifle". The same applies to French and Japanese and Russian rifles. Each/all "junk" in some folks' minds (NOT mine).

I learned about bullets back decades ago when I bought a copy of Smith's: RIFLES. An amazing book, far ahead of its time. It listed the ACTUAL bullet diameters and weights of most of the military rifle calibers the world over. That's where I first came to understand that 6.5mm did not always mean it was .264" diameter as wel know it to be. It might be .262" ... or .266" ... or even .268"! WOW! Who knew?
Romeo 33 Delta is offline  
Old January 2, 2013, 10:42 AM   #16
chiefr
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 27, 2010
Location: AR
Posts: 1,255
I have nothing against Carcanos. In fact, I own a 6.5 carbine and rifle. Plus a 7.35 carbine; all I regularly shoot. I have owned more carcanos that I sold or traded away. All, I have fired.
I have been reloading and shooting the carcanos for many years and find these rifles to be extremely accurate providing you use the correct diameter bullets. The correct diameter for the 6.5 is .268 and the correct diameter of the 7.35 is .298.
In the 80s and 90s, I could no longer find bullets of the correct diameter unless I wanted to pay premium prices. Now, bullets of the correct diameter and brass are available again from Graf & Son.
My 6.5 Carcano rifle will shoot exceptional groups at 100yds using Hornady .268-160gr bullets. I have reloaded for the Carcanos using the .264 bullets and accuracy suffered. Accuracy was somewhat better firing Carcanos with near mint bores using .264 but no comparison when using correct .268 bullets. My 7.35 Carcano will shoot exceptional groups using the 128gr .300Hdy bullets.
I agree, the low prices the Carcanos sold for gave the Carcano a cheap undeserved reputation, but IMHO poor accuracy due to use of incorrect bullets factored in as well.
When using original milsurp in original stripper clips, all my Carcanos were great shooters, however milsurp ammo is no longer around
I have never owned a 8x57 Carcano. In my Op, I never said I personally observed Carcano blowing up: Only there were "stories circulating" of such events which goes back to the 60s when Carcanos were available by the thousands.
Thanks Jim for your inputs.

Last edited by chiefr; January 2, 2013 at 12:42 PM.
chiefr is offline  
Old January 2, 2013, 02:36 PM   #17
tahunua001
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 21, 2011
Location: Idaho
Posts: 6,200
Quote:
Most of the snotty comments about Carcanos come from: Not-Invented-Here Syndrome ... Italian Junk , Ignorance ... using "crappy" surplus ammo ... Using the wrong sized bullet ... using the wrong sight picture ... expecting a "battle rifle" to be a "target rifle". The same applies to French and Japanese and Russian rifles. Each/all "junk" in some folks' minds (NOT mine).
FWIW. I am an avid collector of many of those junk rifles. this year alone I have bought a seriously mistreated French MAS36, 2 Mosin Nagant 91/30s(one to sporterize) and 2 Japanese Arisakas(one a type 44 the other a type 99). I love not-invented-here rifles with the exception of the 98 pattern mausers and Schmidt Rubins. both japanese rifles are built like tanks and despite a strange safety switch that differentiates the Arisaka from all other Mauser based actions, they are beautiful in their own way. all have smooth actions and perform just like they did when they were first made.

on the other hand the mosin nagants have the worst tool marks I have ever seen. they look like they were forged with an actual hammer and sickle. I would never call a mosin nagant a 'fine piece of engineering' and that has nothing to do with the fact that they were $125 when I bought them or the fact that they came from russia. I had one of my mosins out at a family outing yesterday for new years and as I passed it from person to person I was starting to get a little sick of having to rack the bolt for all of them because none of them were sure how much pressure was appropriate and it does have one of the stiffest, grittiest actions known to the world of WWII era C&Rs. I would never pay more than $150 for one and once they break $300 I will never recommend one to a person looking to start collecting C&Rs. the value is just not there in my opinion.

my reasons for not wanting a Carcano are based mainly from personal research combined with limited personal experience.

1. proper diameter bullets are next to impossible to find and I do not have the patience to cast my own.
2. every, and I mean every carcano I have played with had terrible wood that felt like a beach bum carved it out of drift wood. dry, shrunk down, banged up, cracked and otherwise nearly irreparable stocks are not something that I can easily overlook when thinking about buying.
3. brass and even pre laoded ammo are difficult to come by. one of my local shops has a little tupperware tray full of surplus 6.5x52 ammo, with the exception of that, I have never seen anywhere that has pre loaded ammo in stock.
4. the price for these guns is around the same as a good enfield or french MAS36. for a gun in that condition with that many problems and logistical headaches to overcome I wouldn't spend anymore than I would on a mosin nagant.
the German rechambered carcanos salve many of my problems with the carcano platform but with reports of reciever failures running all the way from late WWII to a few years back I would never risk buying one.
__________________
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 January 2, 2013, 07:37 PM   #18
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,658
I think it stands to reason that a country will not arm its defense forces with junk. In most cases, a nation's service rifle, whether Carcano, Arisaka, Mauser or Springfield, will be the best that can be made that will fill the need and be suitable for the country's troops. Sometimes, budgetary constraints will force keeping a rifle in service after it is no longer first rate (the Carcano or the SMLE come to mind), but that is in comparison, not an issue of quality.

Whether, in the test of war, a nation wins or loses rarely has anything to do with the quality of the service rifles used. Stories that "we won because we had the Garand" or "we won because we used a .45 pistol" are stories that neatly ignore the thousands of other factors involved in wartime and the fact that small arms really are not of much import in a modern war. Obviously, an army needs small arms, but the decision in, let's say, Afghanistan, is not going to depend on the caliber of our rifle or whether it uses gas impingement or a short stroke piston.

Jim
__________________
Jim K
James K is offline  
Old January 2, 2013, 09:25 PM   #19
Scorch
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 13, 2006
Location: Washington state
Posts: 11,476
IIRC, when PO Ackley did his famous experiments trying to blow up rifles, the Carcano was one he could not blow up. They are fair rifles, and serviceable. They were designed and fielded at a time when bayonet charges were still a very real part of military life, and the design endured about 50 years, so they could not have been all that bad to begin with. I don't know about the 8X57 Carcanos being unsafe, but I can guess that a WW2-era Carcano carbine in 8X57 will rattle your filings.
__________________
Never try to educate someone who resists knowledge at all costs.
But what do I know?
Summit Arms Services
Taylor Machine
Scorch 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 02:22 AM.


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 0.10918 seconds with 9 queries