View Full Version : Shooting the 8mm Carcano

June 23, 2009, 02:55 PM
I may pickup one of the many 8mm Carcanos floating around these days.
Now I've heard all the horror stories about the action, but I am not concerned about the old wives tales...the action is plenty strong for the German 8.
I was wondering if anyone has actually fired an 8mm Carcano and what was the expeience like.
I really am not feeling suicidal, but I was looking for a small handy carbine to use some of all this old 8mm surplus ammo I've got.

Anyone out there done it???


Mike Irwin
June 23, 2009, 03:13 PM
You do what you want to do.

Given that the Carcano action isn't know to be the strongest in the world and that military 6.5/7.35 ammunition operated in the 40K to 42K psi range, and 8mm Mauser ammo can operate at pressures significantly higher than that, I think I'd leave the 8mm Mauser Carcano for someone else.

Sometimes they're old wives tales, sometimes they're damned important warnings that people are intelligent enough to comprehend. Always a crap shoot as to which is which.

Just curious, though. What's your experience/knowledge that makes you confident that a) the Carcano action is 'plenty strong for the German 8', and that they are, in fact, "old wives tales."

June 23, 2009, 03:49 PM
There is a body of writing and research that was posted here and there about a year ago regarding the Carcano and its metalic tensile strength.
All tests including deliberate destruction tests all came to the same conclusion...that the Carcano is a mighty strong little buckaroo...and that there was actually no real data to support the drift that they were anything less than a capable action. I am not talking about accuracy or anything like that...but that they were as strong or stronger than any of the common military rifles of their day. "Old wives tales" is what I call the tales folks promulgate when they have no actual experience with the subject matter they write or speak about...the basis of most of what you hear about Carcanos is just that.
I have had an M1 Garand and a 91/38 Tula blow to pieces without any provocation of ammo misuse etc.----yet you won't hear much about those venerable rifles being anything but legendary.

I have had 6.5 and 7mm Carcanos and fired them both extensively...never an 8mm though. Quite frankly I'd take a Carcano in either caliber over lets say a Krag or Austrian straight pull or most other rifles of their era other than 98 Mauser class weapons or better - if there is such a thing.

B. Lahey
June 23, 2009, 04:05 PM
Got a link?

Are you sure you aren't thinking of the Arisaka?

There was some destructive testing of milsurp actions done back in the boom-times of sporterization that showed most of the Arisaka actions are tough as nails (contrary to prior rumor), but I've sure never heard anything like that about the Carcano.

June 23, 2009, 04:15 PM
Here I found some of what I saved came from right here...there's skeptics but also quite the opposite...read the whole thread...

Well now I've produced something...how about you producing something that
that definitively proves the opposite.


June 23, 2009, 04:27 PM
More old wives tales...I've been shooting an old T99 since 1968. First with available old surplus 7.7 and then for years with very hot handloads...guess what...that old Arisaka will keep pace with my '43 K98 , my 1916 No1, and my 1918 and 1943 Springfields. My conclusion is that there are lots of issues with lots of individual guns, but if an action is proof tested, it will handle the load...and then some. All the military 8mm Carcanos were proof tested as far as I know. The only resevation I have is if they were shipped to some Arab countries and converted there...but to say that the action is inherently weak is just ignorance...or shall I say...a lack of first hand knowledge.

B. Lahey
June 23, 2009, 04:34 PM
You need to work on your reading comprehension, chief.

Me:"Arisakas were proven to be tough as nails with destructive testing"
You: "Old wives tales! Arisakas are strong!"

And in that thread opinions from respected riflenerds run about 5 to 1 against the 8mm conversion of the Carcano being safe, but if you want to run with the 1, go right ahead. PO Ackley agrees with you, so that's good enough for me, even if you were too lazy to look it up yourself.

You are obviously just looking for an argument if you can't even agree when somebody agrees with you. You need to spend more time at the range. Stress relief.

June 23, 2009, 04:52 PM
Read Smith or Barnes or Taylor or any real gun writers including POA...then instruct my reading ability.

The Carcano is a Mannlicher inspired design in everything except the bolt which is a Mauser type with double locking lugs at the front...hello...
It was the only smokeless power design to use gain twist rifling...still with me...

The question was NOT is the Carcano design safe and efficient...I and every other experienced shooter already knows the answer to that...

The question was does anyone have EXPERIENCE not OPINIONS with firing 8mm in the M38's...Nuff Said.

Relax...you'll live longer.

James K
June 23, 2009, 08:34 PM
I said about all that needed to be said in that earlier post except that I have seen no evidence that rebarrelling was done in any "Arab country." Nor have I seen any evidence that they were a field conversion to allow Italian troops to use German ammunition, as claimed in one ad.

The evidence I have seen is that they were part of the German "last ditch" arms effort, reworked in Germany for use by Germans. The rear sight base has a WaA stamp (I can't read the number, but it is 8x where x could be anything) and is stamped "7.9" on top. There is a Nazi eagle swastika proof/acceptance stamp on the left side of the stock. The serial number (7813) does not conform to Italian custom and was probably assigned as part of the conversion; both the receiver and barrel are numbered. There is no other marking on the barrel, and I can't tell for sure if it is the orginal barrel re-bored and re-rifled or a new barrel. There is a half-moon cut in the top of the receiver ring to accommodate the longer round.

I have no clips for the gun, and have never seen any, but someone showed a picture of one on one of the sites, so there is every reason to believe they made some quantity of them. (The 8x57 won't fit in the standard Carcano clip; the base is too big.) The magazine well has definitely been worked over to accept a wider clip, but there has been no attempt to convert the gun to a Mauser type magazine or a stripper clip (like the modified M1888 rifles). Just in case someone had the same thought I did, no, the M1888 Commission Rifle clip won't fit.

Like I said, I have fired it. I don't plan to make a habit of it, but the gun stayed in one piece and shows no signs of any stress.


Mike Irwin
June 24, 2009, 12:30 AM
Well, I participated heavily in that thread, and I see nothing that definitively says one way or another that the 8mm Carcanos are either safe, marginal, or dangerous, especially given that we're talking late war manufacture. The information from the guy at Hornady is reassuring, though, on the overall design strength of the action.

If you keep all your fingers and both eyes after shooting yours, then we'll know.

The one thing I did take away from that thread is that I STILL have to send Tamara the 6.5 Arisaka loading dies I promised her.

My brain is a damned sieve...

June 24, 2009, 12:37 AM
Had a family friend who tried to hunt with one. Said it was the only rifle he'd felt would be more effective if thrown at a deer rather than fired at one.

James K
June 24, 2009, 11:38 AM
Warning if firing GI 7.9 in that Carcano carbine. The rifle probably won't be damaged, but your ears will if you don't wear good hearing protection even if firing remotely.


June 24, 2009, 02:45 PM
Since starting the thread I've emailed between two folks that have used them and I spoke to one on the phone. Unbeknownst to me my own brother who collects all sorts of odd ball rifles has one and has put about 6 rounds through his. His is actually the short cavalry carbine type with the long spike bayonet. His experience is not unlike the two others I communicated with.
The rifle functions fine, and can easily handle the load without any signs of stress, and it had reasonable accuracy, i.e. you could hit the broad side of a barn if you were standing inside it - however I have encoutered some rifles (and shooters) that would be challenged by that modest achievement. He used surplus grade Turk 8mm. The rifle does thump pretty hard though. He said it wasn't unlike an Enfield Jungle carbine or short barelled Marlin 45/70 which isn't all that pleasant to shoot. No one had the slightest danger flag or safety issue. The noise was pretty loud too as I expected it would be...but no one said it was anything too much more than any other large caliber carbine and two said it was on par with shooting an M44 carbine in Russian 8mm. I would conclude that although not any more dangerous than any other older rifle with proper headspace and proof test, (I actually have heard more horror stories about bad ammo than bad rifles) that it probably isn't something for extended shooting on a pleasant Saturday afternoon.

February 13, 2010, 09:59 PM
I have three variations of this fun carbine. While Turk ammo is not the best ammo for this rifle due to the brass being brittle in some lots,I have shot many rounds of it. The Romanian steel cased ammo functioned very well and shot accurately. My range has a 36" gong at 600 yards and I was able to hit it 7 out of 10 shots. The sights are fixed and pretty robust but a slight hold over did the trick.
You as well as other members here know about the race to make their rifles out of the best steels in their day. The Swedes were touted as having the best steel in their rifles. The Italians did not want to be out done. The M1891 is as good and uses a stronger action to boot.
My State was involved in the "wives tale" law suit and a Carcano rifle was loaded for failure of the action. It never was done. The barrel was driven to split,but the action never failed. They stopped at 100,000 PSI.
The barrel was welded shut. The action held.
I've been collecting rifles since '64. Over the years I have bought many " Dangerous Carcano" rifles for next to nothing, and have never had a failure of any sort.
The surplus ammo is and always has been a problem due to poor war time manufacturing or storage. I do know of several occasions when the powder had broken down and detonated rather than burn ,blowing high pressure gasses and brass shards into the face of the shooter.
The 8mm Mauser Carcano looks to be an after thought, but in real life, it is a very well thought out short range combat weapon.
Clips can be made by altering the 6.5 clips using a gas torch and a home made mandrel. No clips are known to exist other than the one shown on the net.

February 14, 2010, 12:20 AM
Ol' Clem hasn't posted since last June. Hopefully his Carcano didn't blow up. ;)

February 14, 2010, 11:31 AM
Oh snap.