View Full Version : need help with a 6.5mm carcano rifle

November 18, 2006, 12:04 AM
i just recently purchased what i beleive is a 6.5mm rifle wich is i,m told a carcano.now i,ve done some checking up and i cant seem to find wich is the one i have.it is stamped 6.5mm on the rear sight,on the right side of the barrel it,s stamped 1941 xix,on top of barrel it has a crown like drawing and just below R.E TERNI,on left side of barrel it has what i beleive a serial number BA461.it has a 21 inch barrel,fix sights and side sling attachement on stock.althought i,ve been shooting it i,m missing the clip to hold the bullets.i bought the rifle for 60$ and had to pay 45$ for a box of shell wich was very hard to find.NORMA 6.5x52 156 grains,10.1 grams, no on box is 16535.
what i would like to know is wich model rifle do i own ,wich is best ammo for accuracy and effective kill power,how does it compare to a 270 with same load at 200 or 300 yards.is there any way i could have a scope mounted on this rifle for open country deer hunting and last where can i find a clip.someone please help me on this .thank you very much.

i had to join this forum to be able to ask all this ,i hope it was a good move ....lol:) :rolleyes:

Jim Watson
November 18, 2006, 07:18 AM
Clips on ebay

or any of several selling sites like

6.5 Italian is substantially less powerful than a .270, about like a .30-30 with a better bullet. Still ok for deer as far as you can get good hits.

I do not now know of a scope mount for a Carcano, there have probably been some made that you could find. Mount and installation would likely be more than you paid for the rifle and expensive Norma ammunition.

Hornady lists 6.5 Carcano ammunition, if you can get it there.

Sounds like you have the standard military carbine; the rifle has about a 30" barrel.

November 18, 2006, 12:16 PM
A Weaver side-mount w/rings is available for your military Carcano. Contact Brownells in Montezuma, Iowa 1-800-741-0015. In case you don't know, a Carcano was the rifle used by Lee Harvey Oswald to assasinate President Kennedy. The Carcano, never known for exceptional accuracy, it is still a wonder that Oswald was able to make such an accurate shot from a sixth-story window on a moving target.

March 14, 2008, 02:25 PM
i recommend you buy norma, or have the ammo custom made. i have a sporterized carcano, and i use the norma ammo. it is the best, but it comes at a price, i pay 40 bucks for 20 rounds, but i only use those for hunting, for anything else, buy the hornaday metric ammo, they sell 6.5 carcano ammo that is very good, just not as good as norma

James K
March 14, 2008, 06:25 PM
In my limited experience, the Carcano rifles and carbines are very accurate, certainly as accurate as most military rifles. The long heavy (relatively) bullet has excellent stability and I have loaded the 139 grain pointed bullet with good results, 2" groups at 100 yds. They are one of the very few rifles to ever have gain twist, meaning the pitch of the rifling increases from the breech to the muzzle.

FWIW, and in spite of a lot of nonsense from people trying to prove something, a Carcano is certainly capable of keeping its shots in an 8" diameter circle at 60 yards.


November 23, 2008, 06:17 PM
if you go to ebay and put in search bar 6.5 carcano there's a few clips on there right now for sale and there6.5 carcano bullets for sale on gunbroker.com

November 27, 2008, 10:39 PM
sarco has clips and GRAFS has privi partizian ammo.much cheaper than norma.
whats with the kennady connection,forget that. and besides it was not that much of a shot as it was tops 80 yrds.:rolleyes::confused::D

November 28, 2008, 05:28 PM
Of course you realise that if you drill holes in it to mount sights or a scope, you degrade or destroy any collector value it might have, if in fact, it is in it's original military configuration without modifications. I think myself that I would sporterise a Mosin Nagant before a Carcano, in nice condition. MN's are much more common right now and shoot a much more powerful cartridge. Plenty of inexpensive surplus and European soft point ammo for them right now. And they do make scope mounts for them. Something like a mount that fits in place of the original rear sight and uses a long eye relief scope. An inexpensive surplus Mauser would be even better to sporterise. But I suppose if you take game with the Carcano, it will be something you can boast about as I suspect few ever do.

April 21, 2009, 03:12 PM
I have been given, by my elder Mother-In-Law, a U.N model 1941 BARETTA GARDONE CARCANO 6.5 small rifle with attached Bayonet which I believe is a CARCANO 1938 CAVALRY CARBINE 6.5MM.
It has matching U.N. serial numbers on the stock and behind the rear sight and is dated 1941.. The numbers by the sight are...1941-X1X and the matching U.N. numbers on the stock & by the rear sight are...U.N. 7784...
It also has a Baretta Gardone 1941 indent seal on the stock.
I would like to know something about this little rifle, the availability of magazines/stripper clips and if this rifle has any value.. Any info will be helpful, Thanks...

October 15, 2009, 04:44 PM
A very accurate rifle used by the Italians to eliminate enemy forward observers, but it uses a .268 caliber bullet, if you will check most ammo sold for it those are slightly smaller, leading to degraded accuracy. Hornady ammo is the correct size, try that, then Norma.:D

November 9, 2009, 06:55 PM
Most of the hype about Carcano inaccuracy pertains to Bubbas cutting down the long barrel model to make a sporter. By doing this, it removes the gain twist portion making it pathetically inaccurate with any but short light weight projectiles.

I handload .268" diameter Hornady bullets using Graf brass with great results in the 6.5x52 model 91 rifle.

My real surprise came when I bought a Type I in 6.5 x 50. With the long 32" barrel and .264" bullets it is a tack driver with the original open sights. Unfortunately this rifle has a cut down stock with turned down bolt. Most of the Type I Carcanos I have looked over have mint bores, as does mine.

November 16, 2009, 09:51 PM
i have just bought an old carcano im working on it i took the bolt apart and now cant get it back together any ideas or help

James K
November 19, 2009, 07:54 PM
Most of the nonsense that the Carcano is inaccurate or has no power comes from people wanting to "prove" that Oswald could not have killed JFK. One man of my acquaintance, who should have known better, assured me that a Carcano wouldn't shoot that far (60 yards), thus "proving" his pet conspiracy theory.

Others, citing the lackluster performance of Italian armies in WWII (a war Italy was dragged into by Mussolini against the wishes of most Italians), say the Carcano was worthless. In fact, it was as good as many of the military rifles of that type; the Dutch, Greeks, Portuguese, Japanese and Swedes all adopted 6.5 rifles in that era, though some, including the Italians, later switched to a larger caliber.


November 19, 2009, 09:43 PM
My Carcano is the most inaccurate rifle in my collection. It's a M38 calavary carbine. Short barrel, fixed sights, 6.5 mm caliber, folding bayonet.

I've shot original miltary ammo through it as well as reloads made from mannlicher shoenaur (SP?) brass.

What I've read said that the gain twist rifling was abandoned on rifles made in WWII since it did little if anything to increase accuracy, but greatly complicated manufacture.

madd trapper
November 21, 2009, 05:19 PM
I bought a Carcano M38 several years ago for sixty dollars. The top of the receiver is stamped by some importer made in italy. I bought a scope rail and slide scope rings from Kalinka optics .com . I drilled and tap the side of the receiver and notch some of the stock away to allow the scopemount to slide on or off. The rifle has the ballistics of a 30.30 but with a better bullet for more penetration. I would limited your distance on deer to about a hundred yards. I plan on using my carcano this deer season in the thick forest areas. Good Luck.

November 21, 2009, 10:47 PM
There are a lot of misconceptions about Carcanos that contribute to their poor reputation. Probably chiefly among these is improperly loaded ammunition. Carcanos are somewhat unique among 6.5mm rifles in that they have .268 bores. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the 6.5 Carcano ammunition that has been made over the years (Norma, Prvi Partizan, FNM, various reloads) are are loaded with the more common .264 diameter bullets. While many Carcanos will shoot these undersize bullets acceptably, many will not. The only two types of ammunition that I'm aware of that is available with .268 bullets are Hornady and Italian surplus. Italian surplus, IMHO, should only be bought for the clips if it comes on them as it is Berdan primed, corrosive, prone to both misfire and hangfire (I got multiple misfires per magazine when I tried it), and typically just as expensive if not more so than new production ammo. Hornady is unquestionably the best ammo as it's loaded with proper diamter bullets (Hornady also sells .268 160grn RNSP component bullets for the reloader). Prvi Partizan and FNM are OK, but they're loaded with undersize bullets so they may or may not shoot well (if anything, they're a source for boxer-primed brass). I see no reason to buy Norma unless it's all that's available as it's the most expensive and is also loaded with undersize bullets.

The other issue that plauges Carcanos' reputations are the crudely made wartime guns. Remember, the WWII started going badly for the Italians fairly early on and this is reflected in the quality of Carcanos produced during that time (they're comparable to the "last ditch" Arisakas and Mausers), early or pre-war Carcanos are of much better quality. Generally, the M1891 Long Rifles and M1891 Calvarly Carbines will be of higher quality than the M38 Short Rifles as the former two were produced in greater numbers before the war. My '91 Calvary Carbine was made in 1936 and is of similar quality to most other military rifles of the period. Generally 7.35mm rifles are less desirable than 6.5mm ones both because ammunition is even more scarce, and because the majority of 7.35mm guns were wartime production.

The only really legitimate complaint that I can find with the design of the Carcano is the sights. Later wartime guns are often found with rather crude fixed sights and my Calvary Carbine has somewhat coarse sights which are graduated at a very optomistic 300-1500 meters (an awfully long shot for a rifle with a 17" barrel and correspondingly short sight radius). Even so, with a bit of Kentucky windage I'm still able to shoot the rifle reasonably well out to 100 yards. I am fortunate that while Hornady unquestionably shoots the best, Prvi Partizan shoots acceptably from my rifle even with it's undersized bullets.

Finally, occasionally one will encounter a M38 Short Rifle chambered in 8x57 JS Mauser. DO NOT FIRE THESE RIFLES WITH SURPLUS OR IMPORTED 8MM MAUSER AMMO!!! These rifles were a desparate attempt by the Germans for a substitute-standard rifle that used their standard issue ammo and they are not up to the pressure of full-power 8mm ammo and there have been numerous catastrophic failures (i.e. KB's) reported when they're fired with surplus ammo, particularly Turkish surplus. Also, clips for the rifles are pretty well impossible to find (though I have read of people modifying standard Carcano clips to work). If you must shoot one of these, use either light handloads or the lighter loaded U.S. manufactured commercial ammo such as Remington Core-Lokts.

November 27, 2009, 05:30 PM
That was my first gun, my dad traded 4 boxes of 30-06 for it. He took his ist deer with one- my cousin has that gun a 38 cav carbine.. I took my first deer with mine. its a model 91 cav. carbine but someone ground the bayonet mounting off-professonal job, and put a taller front site blade in. other than that it is all orginal. I found mine liked 120-140 grn bullets. It did not shoot good with norma 156 grn bullets.

December 28, 2009, 09:46 PM
I have an old carcano rifle.....I have shot 12 inch groups with it at 50 yards....Thats about as good as I can get with it.........now its just for lookin at not shootin....

April 10, 2010, 02:31 AM
I recently bought a itilian 6.5mm stamped 1941 xix,on top of barrel it has a crown like drawing and just below R.E TERNI.. I found the clip for it know know I need to know it it 6.5mm carcano ammo or is it 6.5x52mm.. I inlcuded pictures of this rifle in the thread... I would love to shoot it however till I get the right ammo.. I do not what to take that chance... I even thought about useing it has a deer gun..

April 10, 2010, 02:34 AM
Some more picture I took of the rifle

James K
April 10, 2010, 11:27 PM
6.5 Carcano and 6.5x52 are the same cartridge under different names.


Magnum Wheel Man
April 14, 2010, 10:04 AM
mine is a Beretta manufacture... is it any "better"... more "collectable" than the others ??? BTW... when I bought mine, I got 6-8 boxes of milsurp ammo & a box of Norma, as well as 100 empty boxer primed cases, & a set of loading dies, as well as a handfull of empty clips... I stripped off the clips of the Milsurp ammo & tabled that for gun show sales... a couple of the clips I have are brass, the balance are steel... are one or the other prefered, more functional, or more collectable ???

James K
April 15, 2010, 12:55 PM
Like the U.S. with the M1903, Italy went from brass to steel clips in WWII because they were cheaper and the material was easier to get.

Plus, of course, brass could be better used in cartridge cases, electrical equipment, etc.


T. O'Heir
April 15, 2010, 05:47 PM
Please join us at http://www.canadiangunnutz.com/forum/

April 29, 2010, 08:10 PM
this is a great site, please stay around, but you will get better info on this at surplusrifle.com

May 18, 2010, 08:24 PM
Hi all,

I am new to the forum and found it while searching online for a replacement receiver for my Carcano. From what I have seen so far, I have a M91 Italian Carcano Carbine 6.5mm. All i see stamped on the receiver are the numbers 464 which is also stamped on the barrel. Other markings on the barrel include what looks like a date 1918, an upside down h and an s, I thinks the word BRESCIA, a serial # maybe AG9004, the letters BL with a circle around it and on the bottom where the two marks line up both the receiver and barrel there is an M a 1 then a space then 164, and a sideways 8 next to the number 11. I have no clue what any of this means so if someone knows please share. Again, I am looking for a replacement receiver because the metal is split under the two ears where the bolt slides through. I wouldn't dare fire this in fear of eating the bolt but I would like to use it.


May 18, 2010, 10:38 PM
You'd be best off selling the gun for parts. Carcanos are pretty cheap, and the only way your rifle will really be worth anything is if it has a gain twist barrel, in which case it would still be worth more in parts than as a complete rifle.

May 20, 2010, 03:41 PM
SLM, I'll take your trigger housing. I need one. Also a butt plate, possibly.

I have a Terni, and I have two POST War 8mm single shot conversions they made as trainers for Egypt.

Apparently, the Italians had the same veneration for Arab marksmanship I do.;)

May 20, 2010, 07:12 PM
I really want to keep the gun but replace the receiver. It has been in the family and I don't want to part it out.

May 20, 2010, 10:25 PM
Replacing the receiver is essentially buying (and building) a new gun. Repairing the receiver ... Welding, machining, heat treating, and reassembly might be possible, but it would be ridiculously expensive. A barreled action is an easier (and often cheaper than replacing just the receiver) way to fix it, but then you’re replacing at least the barrel too.
You want to might think about just hanging it on the wall as a memento. If you’re determined to make it a shooter, you might consider looking for another one with a broken/missing stock and turning the two into one, or just buying another outright.. and have one that’s like "grandpas" to shoot plus the original.

Repairing the thing could end up like the "Ship of Theseus" … because you’ll not only have to balance the cost to fix it by various methods against its sentimental value, … but ask yourself at what point is it "no longer the same rifle".

May 22, 2010, 05:09 PM
I appreciate the input and understand what you all are saying. Where would be the best place to look for another one?

September 8, 2011, 02:31 PM

A very enlightening post you made in 2005 regarding the diameter of the 6.5 bullet effecting the M38 accuracy and reputation. Since reading your post, I have done further reading on this matter and it confirms you as being correct. The M38 bullet was indeed .268" in diameter in comparison with the more common .264" bullet which was loaded for the M38 with likely lower muzzle velicities and less accuracy. As you stated, the only sources of ammunition having the .268" bullets would be either Italian war surplus or Hornady. Here is my question. The Western Cartridge Company manufactured ammunition for the 6.5 M38 in 1954 and the US shipped this ammunition to Greece as aid to a conflict there. Is there any way of knowing if WCC used .268" dia. or .264" dia. bullets in the 1954 batch?

I'm sure you understand the significance of my question. This batch of ammunition was allegedly the source of the 6.5 MC rounds used by Oswald to kill JFK.

As you likely are aware, the 6.5 Mannlicher Carcano long rifle was manufactured with "progressive twist" rifling; beginning with a 1:8 twist at the breech and progressing to, I believe, a 1:19 twist at the muzzle. When the M38 short rifle (Oswald's weapon) was first introduced, it was chambered for the lighter (130 grains) 7.35 mm round instead of the 160 grain 6.5 mm round. Obviously, it was felt that the shorter barrel would not lend itself well to the performance of the heavier bullet. The 7.35 mm M38 was made with standard rifling and not the former progressive twist rifling of the long rifle.

However, subsequent wartime demands made it difficult to supply the new ammunition and a decision was made to begin manufacturing the M38 for the 6.5 mm cartridge of 160 grains weight. Could this have contributed to the reputation for inaccuracy?

Rumor has it that further wartime demands prompted makers of the M38 to use abundant supplies of barrels for the 6.5 MC long rifle (the ones with the progressive twist riflings) as barrels for the M38 by simply cutting them to length without altering the riflings. If this were true, the resulting 6.5 mm M38would not only be cursed with a heavy round and a short barrel, the slower riflings on the breech end of the shortened barrel would be totally inadequate for any kind of good ballistic performance.

I'm hoping you will be able to shed some light on this matter as it would go a long ways toward establishing if Oswald was equipped with a weapon capable of doing all he has been credited with.


September 8, 2011, 04:53 PM
A small correction of my previous post. I meant to say that the 6.5 Mannlicher Carcano long rifle had a progressive rifling of 1" in 19" at the breech and 1" in 8" at the muzzle, not the other way around.

James K
September 8, 2011, 10:04 PM

It doesn't take an especially accurate rifle, or an especially good shooter to hit a man at 60 yards.


September 9, 2011, 12:43 AM
Actually, it was more like 88 yards and a moving target as well; albeit a slowly moving target. And to consider that it all took place in less than six seconds, clearly some degree of competency in the shooter and quality in the rifle would seem to be required.

However, as my post clearly demonstrates, at this moment I am interested in the probable ballistics of Oswald's projectiles and how his rifle and ammunition determine those.

September 9, 2011, 08:13 AM
Someone, some Australians, I think, did a television program on the problems with shooting a Carcano in trying to replicate the shooting Oswald did. They went to great lengths, even finding the same lot of ammunition that had been used and producing two very complicated torsos to test the bullet performance, which was the chief object of the exercise. They fired from an elevated height with the torsos the correct distance away and in the correct relationship with one another, as the people were actually seated in the car.

One of the objections with the recovered bullets was the claim that the bullets were undamaged and could not possibly have gone through two bodies. To test that theory, they fired one into the end of a log, then using x-ray (they took the log to a hospital), they recovered the bullet, which was virtually undamaged except for the rifling marks.

I have no idea what happened in reality but it's dangerous to base an argument on what can't be done, especially on what one person can or can't do. Usually when someone says something can't be done, it just means they've never done much themselves.

September 9, 2011, 10:47 AM
Good point, but remember that Gunnery Sergeant Carlos Hathcock (who was in charge of the USMC sniper training program at the time) tried repeatedly over several months to replicate the shooting and could not. I believe you would have a hard time finding someone who knew as much about shooting as GySgt Hathcock and had similar skill level. And then, there's that pesky James Field guy . . .

September 9, 2011, 03:35 PM
I have a great deal of respect for Hathcock and the other experts that say the shots couldn't have been made.

The fact remains that those shots have been made by people in the time since.

Oswald did qualify as expert out of boot camp. He only qualified as marksman during re-qualification while serving in Japan.

Oswald's wife gave testimony that Oswald spent hours dry firing the Carcano in the months leading up to the shooting.

September 10, 2011, 11:41 AM
I have made tougher shots on deer moving through trees and brush standing off hand. When the adrenalin kicks in a lot can happen. The film makes it look farther than it was and the car was moving almost directly away if I remember correctly. * This thread kind of got off track. The original poster wanted to know about a scope base. Don't use a Weaver side mount they suck. THE GUN PARTS CORPORATION use to have Savage 340 side mounts and they work good. They are stamped sheet metal so you can use a 1" round bar and vise to bend it to where you need it.