View Full Version : Carcano?

January 6, 2009, 02:44 PM
I recently acquired a FAT 42 Carcano, it fires 6.5x52mm rounds and I was wondering a couple things about it. First off how much is it worth? I payed 110 for it at an estate auction. Secondly how common is the ammo for it, and if it can still be bought where would be the cheapest? Oh yea I probably should of asked if its safe to fire before I asked about ammo. Forth I was wondering what the history of it was. Thanks!

Also would it be worth it to reload the ammunition?

Completely forgot, What should I do to preserve it? Its in REALY great condition (I think) and I would love to keep it that way (but still take it out to the range some :))

January 6, 2009, 03:26 PM
Hurry, hurry!! Read all about it!

The Mannlicher-Carcano rifle (and its variants) was the main service rifle of the Italian military beginning in 1891 and continuing through 1943. It was originally chambered in 6.5X52mm, chambered for a short time in 7.35X52mm, then returning to the 6.5X52mm chambering due to WWII shortages of materials. Loaded ammo can be obtained from Hornady, Prvi Partizan, and Norma. Loading data is in the Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading.

January 6, 2009, 11:09 PM
John and Jackie Kennedy aren't too crazy about them.
MANY years ago I worked for a place that sold all kinds of surplus stuff, including rifles and pistols. I remember looking at the muzzles of several Carcano's and noting the bore wasn't even near the center of the barrel. Collectable? maybe. great rifle, NO WAY, mostly junk. Sorry, I have just seen TOO many for a different opinion.

January 7, 2009, 12:14 AM
Carcanos have a largely undeserved bad reputation. This comes from two things: First, the rifle was heavily berated by the Warren Comission and secondly accuracy is typically poor due to the use of undersize bullets. Carcanos typically have a .268 bore but most 6.5mm bullets are .264 diameter. Hornady currently sells both loaded ammo and components with the proper 160grn .268 bullets. Norma, FNM, and Prvi Partizan all make ammo in this caliber, but it uses the incorrect .264 bullet (it's a good source of boxer primed brass though) Also, avoid surplus ammo at all costs, it's expensive, berdan primed, hang-fires like a brown bess or simply doesn't fire, inaccurate, and corrosive as hell. When used with good ammo, a Carcano, while not a tack driver, is adequately accurate. The action is quite strong and the earlier ones are reasonably well made.

I remember looking at the muzzles of several Carcano's and noting the bore wasn't even near the center of the barrel.

This may have been because you were looking at M1891 Calvary Carbines. These rifles were originally equipped with a folding bayonet ala SKS but many of them had the bayonet removed and the lug ground off. The point of attatchment was right at the end of the barrel and thusly grinding it off could possible make the bore look off center.



James K
January 7, 2009, 12:16 AM
"Several" off center bores? Somehow I find that hard to believe. I can only say that the only rifle I have seen with an off-center bore was made by Savage.

There have been a lot of lies told about the Carcano, mostly by people peddling some conspiracy theory or other about the Kennedy assassination. In fact, it is a quite decent rifle, and pretty much in line with other similar rifles and ammunition of the time like the Greek and Dutch Mannlichers, the Japanese Type 38, etc.

They are accurate and recoil is moderate. The en-bloc clip has been denounced (see above) by people who praise the same idea when it was used by John Garand. While some wartime ones are rough, pre-war models were well made and operate smoothly. It is well to note that the Italians were using the Carcano when the U.S. was still stuck with the trapdoor Springfield; I suspect that Custer's troops, given a choice, would have preferred the Carcano.


January 8, 2009, 05:22 AM
G'day. A google search soon revealed a lot about this weapon.

The action is quite strong

From what I have read this statement seems to be in error.
I have posted some data on another related post of yours.

January 8, 2009, 06:58 AM
The biggest drawback to the Carcano is the availability, or more accurately the lack thereof, of clips. Good ones are gold; bad ones turn the rifle into a jam-o-matic.

The other big drawback used to be ammo, but that's loosened up somewhat in the last few years. When I picked mine up in '04, the only source was Norma. I spent more on two boxes of ammo than I did on the rifle itself. The Carcano, at least the more common variants, is still one of the few surplus rifles whose Blue Book value is substantially affected by the number of rounds in the magazine...

Mike Irwin
January 8, 2009, 07:58 AM
I've gotten fine accuracy out of several Carcanos over the years.

No, the action certainly isn't smooth, especially compared to someone used to either a Lee Enfield or a Mauser type action, but they're servicable. Boltway lapping will often help smooth out a stiff gun, but it's probably not worth the effort.

Without the proper Mannlicher clips the gun is a single shot. Clips are getting hard to find.

The cartridge is a fine cartridge, and would make a very good Eastern deer/bear round like any of the military 6.5s.

January 8, 2009, 08:07 AM
The clips are fragile, too, and easily bent. Also, I keep hearing that only original Eye-talian clips are any good, but I've never seen a guide for differentiating them from repros.

I've got some 160gr interlocks that oughtta be hell on black bear or smaller pigs, but I think they'll wind up loaded into 6.5 Swede or 6.5 Arisaka cases...

Mike Irwin
January 8, 2009, 09:58 AM
I had no idea anyone ever made reproduction Carcano clips.

I'm still trying to find some 5-round clips for my Betherier.

January 8, 2009, 11:06 AM
I think, if my memory is working right, I have clips that were preloaded I bought at a gun show one time with surplus ammo. That is the bad thing about not having access to you gun collection whenever you want, can't just look at items for information. I never had any jambs and the clips fell free fine. If I am around this weekend I need to see about the ammo and clips.

I paid $35 for the rifle.


January 8, 2009, 12:00 PM
I'm still trying to find some 5-round clips for my Betherier.

Lemme see how many I have.

Whatcha got to trade? (Hint: I have only the one Carcano clip...)

January 8, 2009, 12:04 PM
Thanks everybody for posting, I now have pictures of the gun itself! I think it looks great, tell me what you think

Also I have been able to find a good amount of the stripper clips online, ebay as alot and so does gun broker.

Sorry for the lighting of the pictures!






Mike Irwin
January 8, 2009, 12:12 PM
Looks like your rifle has been cut down and the stock refinished.

Not uncommon, many of these rifles were used as hunting guns in the 1950s through the 1970s, especially after Norma started making good soft point ammunition.

Arisakas, Mannlicher-Schoenauers, Swedish Mausers, and Carcanos introduced several generations of hunters to how spectacularly effective the little military 6.5 cartridges can be as hunting rounds.

The big drawback to them is that they have always been loaded very sedately out of fear of barely servicable former military rifles.

I've always wanted to have a Remington 700 rechambered to 6.5 Arisaka to run it through its paces. I suspect that it would be a wonderful little cartridge as a general purpose varmint and short to mid-range game getter.

"Whatcha got to trade? (Hint: I have only the one Carcano clip...)"

I've got zero Carcano clips. Can't remember when I last saw one.

What else are you interested in? I don't really maintain much of a stock of trade items.

Mostly what I maintain for trade are individual cartridges for trading amongst cartridge collectors, but that has become seriously depleted over the years as I've gotten more of what I want to round out my collection.

January 8, 2009, 12:30 PM
(Hint: I have only the one Carcano clip...)

Lets me see how many I have this weekend. If I have any extra I can send you one.

I really have no idead how many I have could be 2 or even more. I have no idea what is in my inventory. So is the case when plastic bags are filled up full of various surplus ammunition and clips.

James K
January 8, 2009, 03:17 PM
SKULLANDCROSSBONES65 seems to doubt the statement that the Carcano action is strong. In fact it is more than adequately strong for the cartridge and the fact that the Germans converted many to use their 7.9 service cartridge shows it has considerable reserve strength. (FWIW, I have such a conversion and have fired it with German service ammo with no problems. No clip, unfortunately, though they were made.)

Not to be nitpicky, but the clip is not a "stripper" clip; it enters the action and becomes part of it until it is empty, then it drops out, a typical Mannlicher system.


January 8, 2009, 04:20 PM
I've always wanted to have a Remington 700 rechambered to 6.5 Arisaka to run it through its paces.

I have a Carcano chambered in 6.5 Arisaka. :D

I've gotta go sort through my ammo cans upstairs, but I'm pretty sure I should be able to dig up some 3- or 5-round Mannlicher-Berthier clips.

Lets me see how many I have this weekend. If I have any extra I can send you one.

I'd be ever so appreciative. Let me know if you're looking for anything.

January 8, 2009, 04:37 PM
oh, I didnt know they werent stripper clips (infact I dont even know the difference) I just saw it listed somewhere as a carcano stripper clip.:rolleyes:

Mike Irwin
January 8, 2009, 04:53 PM
"In fact it is more than adequately strong for the cartridge and the fact that the Germans converted many to use their 7.9 service cartridge shows it has considerable reserve strength"

It's my understanding that conversion was marginal, at best, and that it did tax the upper strength limits of the action.

I've heard from several sources over the years that the 8mm Carcanos really should not be shot.

January 8, 2009, 05:31 PM
(Hint: I have only the one Carcano clip...)

That is exactly one more than I have. My Carcano is for the most part a single shot. :(

January 8, 2009, 11:16 PM
I have a japanese type I that I am going to be posting in the classifieds. I welcome info. about it. I have been told it is the paratrooper or marine version of the carcano.

January 8, 2009, 11:18 PM
The Type I (http://cosmolineandrust.blogspot.com/2007/05/japanese-type-i-rifle-unusual-hybrid.html) was indeed issued mostly to Japanese Naval Infantry (http://members.shaw.ca/nambuworld/typeipix.htm).

Mike Irwin
January 10, 2009, 02:03 PM
I THINK that the Japanese took something like 50,000 or so Carcanos chambered in 6.5x50SR.

Hey, Tam, I just read your blog...

Don't have a set of dies for 6.5x50 Arisaka?


Maybe I DO have something to trade after all...

I have an old Lee Loader in 6.5x50 somewhere around here, but I THINK I sold my RCBS 6.5x50 dies years ago.

Interested in exchange for a Betherier clip or two?

My rifle does need the 5 round clips, not the three rounders (What the hell were the French thinking?)

January 12, 2009, 06:38 AM
cawnc4, your rifle appears to be a model 41 living in a model 38 stock. numrich gun parts has the clips for around $4.50 i just got some in dec.

James K
January 12, 2009, 03:02 PM
The Type I Japanese rifle had a Carcano action but used a Mauser-type magazine; they used the 6.5 Japanese cartridge and loaded from standard Arisaka stripper clips. It was the product of one of Hitler's ideas about mutual support among the Axis powers. Italy being the "poor cousin" of the alliance, he persuaded the Japanese to buy Italian-made rifles. The Japanese really didn't want them, considering them inferior to their own rifles, and they were foisted off on the Navy. Some seen here obviously were used and show wear and the effects of a tropical climate, but others appear to be nearly new and unissued. Unlike the Japanese-made rifles, they never had the "mum" imperial seal.

60,000 were made with production divided among government factories at Gardone and Brescia and the private Beretta factory. Terni made all the barrels.

The ones that saw combat were presumably in the hands of Navy landing parties, commonly called "Japanese Marines" by Americans . But the Imperial Navy had no equivalent to the USMC; the troops were sailors, distinguished from Army troops by their collar insignia and the anchor on their helmets. They were seldom deployed in any great numbers, but sometimes turned up in early Japanese takeover of small islands* and of course in the defense of navy bases.

*The first Japanese ashore on Guadalcanal, before the Americans even recognized its importance, were members of a small landing party under the command of a Lt.Cmdr. Their heaviest weapons were two small howitzers and three machineguns.


Edited to add: There is a picture in the latest Shotgun News of a Japanese Naval Landing Party clearly showing the helmet with the anchor and the Naval flag (the "rising sun with rays" as opposed to the plain red disc on the national flag).


January 13, 2009, 04:23 PM
The action is quite strong

From what I have read this statement seems to be in error.

Well, the result of a peirced primer on some surplus ammunition in my M1891 Calvary Carbine would dictate that it is indeed quite strong. The rifle suffered no damage at all other than a sticky bolt.

Also, here's an article by Dave Emary of Hornady.


In particular, notice this passage

The materials used in the Carcano are excellent. These rifles were made from special steels perfected by the Czechs, for which the Italians paid royalties. If you have ever tried doing any work on a Carcano receiver you will find out just how hard and tough the steel is. The Carcano has also received a reputation as being a “weak” design. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Italians made a small run of Carcanos early in WW II chambered for 8 X 57 JS. The Germans rechambered some Carcanos to 8 X 57 JS late in WW II. These rifles were also proofed for this cartridge. The CIP minimum suggested proof pressure for the 8 x 57 JS cartridge is 73,500 psi. I hardly call this a weak action.

The best case I can make for the strength of the Carcano was a personal experience attempting to blow one up for a hunter safety course video. I was asked by the Department of Game and Fish of New Mexico about 12 years ago to help them with this. At the time I was one of the ones ignorant about the Carcano, believing it to be a weak action and easy to take apart. Well, the morale to this story was a full case of Bullseye failed to do anything significant to the action or barrel. We finally had to fill a cartridge case with C4 explosive and detonate it to get anything that looked like what we wanted. One other incident I have experienced with the Carcano further convinces me of the great strength of these actions. In my early experiments with .268” bullets, and loading data for them, I had several incidents of extreme pressure. The bolt had to be opened with a hammer and the cartridge case appeared to be a belted magnum. The headspace of the gun had grown slightly but otherwise was fine and has been fired many times since. I know from my experience as a ballistician that pressures in excess of 90,000 psi are required to do this type of damage to a cartridge case. A good condition Carcano rifle is as safe and strong as any other military bolt-action rifle you will encounter. This incident will be discussed later, as it was caused by propellants that should not be used in the 6.5 X 52 because of their ignition characteristics.

January 13, 2009, 04:30 PM
Also, read PO Ackley's write-up on his attempts to blow up actions. Few actions survived his experiment, one of which was a Mannlicher-Carcano 1891. Since he was actually trying to blow them up, it speaks highly of the action's strength. Several actions we like to think of as very strong were among the first to fail. Carcanos are not pretty, but they are pretty strong.

January 14, 2009, 11:15 AM
sarco has clips about 3 for $10.
one should subscribe to shot gun news even take the one a month subscription.there are several outfits that have parts.
numrick has 5 rd berthier. so does sarco.

January 14, 2009, 11:29 AM
more false statements on carcanos by people that read it in papers writen by writers that have no idea about guns.I have had all kinds of militay rifles.and some that were real junkers.I have fired them all.I have a 1903 low number and shoot it.the barrel is perfect so I shoot lead and can shoot 1" groups ate 100yds.even at my age 84.most of you are used to post WW2 guns.my first was a 73 win in 32/20 and I shot it many times with my reloads of full case of 30/06 powder,dont even know what it was.there was no one to teach me and I learned by trial and error.I used a win tong tool and mould.the WW1 mauser I got for .10 cents was loaded with bulk shot gun and around 220 lead bullet.not too accurate as the bullet melted on way out.
look what you have computer sites to ask at,books and all kinds of tools.
:rolleyes: :confused: :eek: :D :D

September 24, 2010, 04:47 PM
I picked up a Carcano M91 long rifle the other day and am now looking for a Carcano specific forum. Which would you recommend??

Thanks, JaDub new member

September 24, 2010, 08:18 PM
Since this old thread has been revived, I have a question. Isn't the Arisaka actually .25 cal. despite it's name? Seems like I've read that somewhere before.

Mike Irwin
September 25, 2010, 11:09 PM
I know of no Carcano-specific forums. Google may be your friend.

"Isn't the Arisaka actually .25 cal. despite it's name?"

No. It's .26 caliber.

Nominal bullet diameter should be .264, but apparently ranged anywhere from .260 to .265, depending on where and when the cartridges were manufactured.

I shot my Type 38 a lot with Speer .264s and got pretty good accuracy.

September 26, 2010, 02:00 AM
publius I've read several WWII novels that called the Arisaka and other Japanese guns .25 caliber.
Probably off the cuff conversions from metric to standard.

I shot a Carcano in the seventies. iirc paper plates at 100yds didn't stand a chance. The action wasn't smooth but it did improve after shooting the thing a lot. After about a year my friend sold or traded the rifle off.
It wasn't till later that I learned how awful the Carcano was.

September 26, 2010, 10:40 AM
Completely forgot, What should I do to preserve it? Its in REALY great condition (I think) and I would love to keep it that way (but still take it out to the range some )

I stopped oiling my guns a few years ago,oil migrates to undesirable locations in actions and turns into crap that is hard to remove.
Wax your guns after thoroughly cleaning with solvent, absorb all the excess solvent with cloth baby diapers(Wally World 12 for $4.00)Wax with good carnuba based wax.There are gun specific wax' are hard to find and expensive,just good ol Johnson paste wax works well or auto wax.Mueseums wax their guns no oil,good enough for them good enough for me.No more rust color on my wiping rags.Clean up after a gun has been waxed is superior to oil.;)

James K
September 27, 2010, 06:54 PM
WWII GI's routinely called the Japanese 6.5 and 7.7 rifles the ".25 Jap" and the ".30 Jap." It was widely believed that the ".25 Jap" was little more powerful than a .22 Long Rifle.


September 27, 2010, 07:40 PM
While I don't own a Carcano myself, I do have a bit of an opinion of them. My opinions comes from a mix of reading conspiracy theories about Kennedy, reading about surplus rifles and trying to figure out which service rifle I want to compliment my Mosin with.

My opinion of the Carcano is that most bad press about the rifle itself is easily over exaggerated, and after seeing Penn Gillette (is that how you spell his name?) cycle the gun so smoothly and beautifully on his show "bull$#!&" I wanted one all the more. Any battle rifle from the 1890's to 1950's will all have the same things going for it, aside from the loading, stripping and cycling procedures. So, I believe the Carcano is a great rifle, especially if you're into reloading and can find the enbloc clips. I personally hate rifles with enbloc clips because of the lack of an integral magazine without that clip (this goes for Garands, Steyrs and Carcanos).

But, yeah, the Carcano is a very underrated rifle.

October 7, 2010, 06:28 AM
I concur with earlier poster that your gun is an M42 rifle put into an M38 stock. Not correct.:(

Mike Irwin
October 7, 2010, 08:39 AM
Apparently after the war, when the 7.7 became more common in the US, it also developed the nickname .31 Jap.

A guy at my hunting camp always referred to his son's 7.7 as a .31 Jap.

October 7, 2010, 10:38 AM
Gunboards (http://forums.gunboards.com/forumdisplay.php?10-Italian-Firearms-Forum) do have an Italian Firearms Forum that's mostly Carcano.

October 7, 2010, 04:06 PM
Three weeks ago I went to the range with my buddy and his boys. I took along a few surplus guns to shoot for fun and one was my scoped 6.5 Arisaka. I had a box of surplus chinese 6.5 from the late 40's to early 50's and wanted to get rid of it. Out of a box the size of a shoebox with mixed manufactured ammo, we had 4 maybe 5 miss-fires. The one kid had a pre-64 Model 70 with .257 Roberts reloads and could not match the groups out of the Arisaka with junk ammo. It is rare when a 6.5 Arisaka shoots bad. Some of the early 6.5's had a different twist rate and when using ammo loaded for war production rifles the accuracy will not be there. Anyway, I picked out the Japanese production ammo and also found some with a Kynoch (spelling?) headstamp. Anybody know anything about that ammo?

Mike Irwin
October 7, 2010, 04:58 PM
"and also found some with a Kynoch (spelling?) headstamp."

Were they FMJ or were they sporting rounds?

After the war there were a LOT of Arisakas, good ones, floating around Asia, and many of them were pressed into service as sporting rifles and military guns. Kynoch could have supplied ammo for either one of those purposes.

October 7, 2010, 05:07 PM
Also, bringbacks to the UK and Commonwealth countries were entirely possible at the time.

Even the British home islands were pretty casual about long guns in the '40s and '50s.

October 12, 2010, 05:36 AM
Sorry, was gone a few days. Yes it is full metal jacket with a Kynoch head stamp.

Magnum Wheel Man
October 12, 2010, 07:22 AM
This thread kinda turned into an Jap thread :confused:

I reciently picked up a Beretta Carcano, from one of my buddys that is in really good shape... I assume this would be one of the better collectors, since it was manufactured by Beretta ???

any clue why the length of pull was so short on these rifles ??? were they sending 14 year old kids into battle ???

I have a slip on butt pad that adds an inch... any other suggestions ???

October 12, 2010, 01:08 PM
any clue why the length of pull was so short on these rifles ???

1) Folks were shorter. If the average Italian troop was 5'7", I'd be shocked.

2) They were going to be fighting in woolen jackets with leather outer load-bearing suspenders.

3) I don't know this for a fact, but I'd imagine that the ideals of marksmanship have evolved in the half-century since then.

October 14, 2010, 10:27 AM
It makes you wonder how the average small sized Japanese solider of the period handled the long Type 38!