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Old May 21, 2013, 07:47 PM   #1
Enfielder
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Sporterized Mod. 91 Carcano Question

Fellow enthusiasts, I have purchased what looks to be a commercially sporterized Mod. 91 Carcano. The straight bolt has been bent down and back, the stock has been shortened to 32 1/4 in., the cleaning rod hole has been filled with a dowel rod, the barrel has been shortened to 21 1/2 in., and the end of the barrel has been machined down to accept the original sight. Other than firing 4 rounds at close range to verify that aiming for the belt loop will result in a hit of center mass on a fleeing peasant, I have not cycled many rounds due to the expense of replacements. After reading in different posts on this site that the Mod. 91 had "progressive" rifling, that being that the rate of twist increases the farther down the barrel that the bullet passes, my question is; has the enterprising company that might have bought up a goodly quantity of these rough-hewn old rifles and sporterized them by shortening the barrels have removed the part of the barrel that gave a rapid spin on the bullet and thereby increased accuracy? If acceptable accuracy is not possible with this rifle, I will not endeavor to gear up to reload 6.5x52mm Carcano ammunition. If I can expect decent accuracy out of this little rifle, I will likely choose it as my favorite (for a few months, anyway). The trim lines and virtual simplicity of this rifle coupled with the mild recoil make it very attractive for a "farm" or "truck" rifle. I would appreciate any experienced revelations or any educated speculations. Thanks, Enfielder
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Old May 21, 2013, 08:30 PM   #2
James K
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With good ammo, those rifles will shoot OK. I doubt that removing the front part of the barrel would make much difference. Of course it depends on what you expect from the rifle. Quarter inch groups at 100yds? Get something else. "Minute of deer" - 3"-4" at same distance? Probably, if you do your part.

But Carcanos should have a bullet that runs .265"-.266", a tad more than the normal .264" for 6.5mm bullets. Not a big problem normally, but if accuracy is the name of the game, something to bear in mind.

Jim
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Old May 22, 2013, 10:48 AM   #3
Enfielder
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Thanks for the reply, Jim. I knew about the difference in Carcano ammo versus Swedish 6.5 mm, and apparently, only Hornady makes loaded cartridges in the right dimension for Carcanos. In asking about the removal of the barrel with the "faster" twist rifling, I was just wondering if this commercial sporterizer ruined or seriously diminished the accuracy of these fine old rifles. A number of commercial sporterizers doing this might have contributed to an undeserved reputation of inaccuracy. Also, I've been contemplating fabricating a taller front sight to better match sight picture with actual bullet impact. Soldering an extension or even an extension with an old familiar bead onto the front sight might eliminate the need for excessive "hold off", or more particularly, "hold under". Does anyone know who did this particular sporterizing, or did the largest number of sporterized Carcanos? I had heard that a company in Canada either imported the rifles and sporterized them, or bought and imported them already sporterized. Mine has had a lot of sanding done to the stock, but there is still evidence of termite damage near the bottom/side of the buttstock. Having been scarred and damaged myself from years of experience, I feel a kinship to this fine little rifle.
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Old May 22, 2013, 01:12 PM   #4
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I can't think off hand of any company in the U.S. that did any mass sporterizing of those rifles except for mounting cheap scopes using cheap mounts. They sold for under $20 and were not considered worth the effort to make them anything other than low-end milsurp. I may be wrong, but I suspect your gun was sporterized by a gunsmith or a previous owner and the object was to make a handier hunting rifle with little concern for any effect on accuracy.

As for sight changes, I suggest you wait until you have fired the rifle at a reasonable range (100 yards?) before making any sight changes.

Jim
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Old May 23, 2013, 04:43 PM   #5
Pukindog
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Carcano

I had one with a cut down barrel. The barrel was 18". I believe the last 7" of the original barrels were 1-7" twist. The barrels were gain twisted from 1in12" to 1in 7". I checked (measured) the twist on that barrel; it was a straight 1in12". It would shoot only 100gr bullets. Anything heavier would keyhole. That barrel was a .264 diameter. I have two other Carcanos and one is a .264 the other is a .268.

Jeff
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Old May 24, 2013, 08:17 AM   #6
chiefr
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I agree with James. I would shoot the rifle and make a determination from there.

I have owned and traded away my share of 6.5 Carcanos. I have been reloading Carcanos for many years. In most cases, I get superior accuracy with the .268, 160gr Hornadies. Grafs sells them.
Not criticizing .264 bullets as result vary. There was a period in the 80s-90s when no one could find .268 bullets. I am greatfull they are available again.
One 91 Carcano I owned would shoot one inch groups all day using H335 & 160gr Hdys.
I have never shot one with a cut down barrel. It would be interesting to see your results.
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Old May 24, 2013, 08:18 PM   #7
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Having to set up to reload again after so many years seems like a lot of unnecessary effort and expense for a rifle I bought on the cheap. After retrieving my No. 4 Mark I Enfield with the proud "U.S. PROPERTY" stamped on the receiver from the gun cabinet, and cycling its smooth, positive action, I believe that I will classify my chopped down Carcano as a true "barn gun". Who knows, I might even weld a pitchfork head on the barrel, and encourage it to "multitask". I may carve around the termite trails in the stock, and create a wildlife scene. I've fired 4 rounds of PRVI Partisan ammo in it ($14/20 rds.), and none of the bullets appeared to have swapped ends or yawed very far to right or left. Good 'nuff!
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Old May 24, 2013, 08:33 PM   #8
James K
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One thought about criticism of the Carcano. If you were a soldier under attack in 1891, which would you have wanted in your hands, that "worthless" Carcano or the American issue rifle, the "trapdoor" Springfield?

Jim
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Old May 24, 2013, 09:11 PM   #9
Romeo 33 Delta
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Carcanos are great fun. It was an arsenal pick-up 91TS that Dad sent home that got me started in collection and reloading! Still have it and the other he sent to one of my uncles, both with slings and bayonets with scabbards (smooth metal).

As far as shooting, I have a M-1891 Rifle, a M-1938 SR, Dad's 91TS a M-1941 Rifle and a Moschetto, all in 6.5 (I have some others in 7.35 and 7.92 as well). Some require a .268" Hornady 160gr ... others do fine with a .264". I still use a 160gr Hornady in the .264" because it is a LONG bullet, correct weight, and long parallel sides ... exactly what a Carcano likes to see.

If you have one that shoots well with .264" bullets ... you've struck GOLD! Makes your life a lot easier to be sure! Have fun with it and remember, it's a great battle rifle with a long and honorable battle history.
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Old May 25, 2013, 06:26 AM   #10
TX Hunter
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I think a Carcano would be alot of fun just like it is. If It did shoot high however I see nothing wrong with raising the front sight. I think this Rifle gets alot of dislike because of how it was mis used and cost our Country a great President and Fellow Countryman. It was not the Rifles fault.
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Old May 25, 2013, 09:43 AM   #11
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When I was 9 yrs. old (1961), my oldest brother came home from college on summer break. Not long after he arrived, so did a Model 38 that he had ordered from P&s Sales of Ok. He paid ~$13 for it. When he opened the box, he was not impressed with what was in it. For me however, it was love at first sight. He resorted to soaking the metal parts in tractor fuel (between gasoline and kerosene) to remove the cosmoline, and used a pocket knife to scrape off the crud adhering to the stock. He loaded it with surplus ammo on clips that he had ordered with the rifle, tied the rifle to a small tree trunk at the base of the hill, tied a string to the trigger, and pulled the string until the Mod. 38 went off. The recoil promptly kicked the stump out of the ground, but the receiver didn't blow up! He and my other brother took turns firing the little rifle, but neither developed any affection or appreciation for it. Before I had a chance to work out a payment plan, he sold it to an aquaintance, and that was the last I ever saw of it. A couple of years after that, sales of firearms by mail were prohibited, and I missed that wonderful opportunity. In the years since then, I've bought a Carcano in absolutely new condition (courtesy of the Finnish Army) in 7.35 mm with a folding bayonet and sheath in excellent condition, and this little sporterized Mod. 1891. I'm no expert by any means, but these appear to be both ends of the scale. The 7.35mm is a very well made, and well preserved milsurp, while the Sport. Mod. 91 is a product of all the neglect and exploitation that so many of these fine little arms suffered. My original posting was looking for information as to what company possibly sporterized it. Photos of Chevy00's sport. Mod 1891 are identical to mine, indicating that they were sporterized by the same company. Still in all, all of you have provided a great amount of information about a one-time mainstay of the surplus market. Thanks!
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Old May 25, 2013, 06:47 PM   #12
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The Carcano was pretty much scorned by Americans before JFK became famous and one Mr. Oswald became infamous. It may have been partly because of the less than sterling performance of Italian troops in WWII, or simply that it was not a Mauser.

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