Thread: Beretta 38/42
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Old August 17, 1999, 12:58 AM   #7
4V50 Gary
Join Date: November 2, 1998
Location: Colorado
Posts: 19,536
continued from prior posting with apologies.

"...the weapon may be fired either full or semiautomatic. A dust cover on the magazine port keeps out dirt when carrying unloaded. The magazine enters from the bottom, and the ejection port is on the right hand side of the tubular receiver, just forward of the operating handle, which, incidentally, is free of the bolt and does not move with it in action, serving only to cock it, as in the case of our B.A.R. Fire is controlled by two triggers, front for semi-automatic fire, rear for full-machine action. A regular safety on the left hand side of the receiver locks both triggers, and in addiiton, there is a cross-bar in the trigger guard which can be used to block the rear or full-automatic trigger, keeping the weapon semi-automatic.

The little gun is easily taken down for cleaning - just press the "button" in the back end of the receiver, rotate the knurled sleeve which covers the back end until the arrow impressed thereon is in a vertical position and pull off the sleeve.` A one-hand operation requiring about one-tenth of a second. The bolt with its self-contained operating spring and its guide slides out, nothing being under tension. The ejector, fixed in the receiver, does double duty as the hammer in firing. The gun fires from an open bolt.

The Beretta 38 is my favorite gun of its class, as it was of the Eighth Army. As easy to fire and control as a .22 sporting autoloader, it had terrific punch and range. The special 9mm cartridges loaded for it made it effective at 300 yards and dangerous up to 500 (when you consider that the .45 Thompson is an even-money bet at 100 yards, you'll understand why we liked the Beretta). It would operate well with German, British or American 9mm Luger ammunition, but not alt all with the lightly-loaded Italian Glisenti pistol cartridges. They would not recoil the bolt far enough to engage the sear, causing full-automatic fire every time the trigger was touched, because they would throw the bolt back enough to pick up a fresh cartridge from the magazine, and chamber and fire it, repeating the cycle as long as ammunition remained in the magazine.

the later model guns were equipped with bayonet studs, and with a fixed bayonet and a ten-round clip they were the answer to a soldier's prayer for guard duty of any kind - prisoner chasing or just keeping them out of the mood for argument. All the guns were really accurate and a pleasure to shoot. No one ever bothered with any other kind of submachinegun if he could get hold of a Beretta M38 and keep it. The New Zealand boys especially loved them. Even the Germans liked it, and they hated to admit anything was good except their own stuff. A full-length canvas case was provided for them and magazine-loading tools. Ammunition was furnished in 10-round Mauser style clips and by use of the loader could be stripped straight into the magazine the same way a Mauser type bolt action rifle is clip-loaded through the top of the receiver."

Again, the above is quoted from Roy Dunlap's Ordnance Went Up Front, pages 57-58. A Samworth book, its a classic in firearms literature and well worth reading. Dunlap, a noted shooter and gunsmith before the war, joined the Army and quite naturally, went to Ordnance where he had an opportunity to examine everybody's hardware, including the Japanese.

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