Carcano rifle

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by The Basket, Sep 8, 2016.

  1. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    The main Italian battle rifle for the two wars and trashed by every Kennedy conspiracy theory for being trash.
    How did it stack up against other rifles and I see no reason not to like the 6.5mm round.
     
  2. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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  3. Elmas

    Elmas Active Member

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    Long story.


    If I remember well (taking data from memory) of all the personnel recruited by U.S. Army in WWII just something like 3% shoot actually to an enemy, of this 3% just another 5% shot to an enemy with a rifle, and of this 5% just another 5% tried to engage a target over 1000 ft.


    So, why to equip all the troops with an expensive rifle that almost all of the troops could use but to a fraction of his possibilities, capable to engage an enemy up to 4000 ft?


    The point of view of the Chief of Staff of an Army is not exactly the same of an eager rifle collector.


    The fact that the Carcano had not all the technological refinements of Mauser does not mean that in the right hands it could not do its job extremely well.
     
  4. Juha2

    Juha2 New Member

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    Also 6.5 mm Carcano bullet tended to tumble, like the British .303 Mk VII, when it hit producing nastier wounds than a normal rifle bullet.
     
  5. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    There was not a lot wrong with the Carcano. And rifles as a weapon generally are not the main arm to worry about, with about 15% of all casualties linked to them. They were mostly for self defence. in these terms the Manlicher carcano was perfectly workable

    Having said all that. The mannlicher Carcano did have some shortcomings. its magazine capacity was limited, and unable to be altered. The bolt action was a little slow and the gun took a lot of work and resources to build . Add to that the fact that the Italian army had a number of different calibres operating at the same time and the situation rapidly becomes an unhappy one.

    And the 6.5mm round, despite all the criticisms against it, was still powerful enough to assassinate a president.......
     
  6. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    The Wiki article is actually pretty good.
    6.5×52mm Carcano - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Now several things are going on here not that are not covered.
    1. The Carcano in 6.5mm never got a Spitzer bullet. The heavy round nose bullets loose velocity quicker than the Spitzer bullets meaning impact energy goes down quicker with increase range. This is a problem for the Carcano as it is one of the two weakest 6.5mm rounds to begin with.
    2. While the Carcano might be OK out of the long barrel the short barrel carbines cut the velocity to under 2200fps which further hurt impact performance. It also doesn't help trajectory.
    3. Italian Army compounded the last problem when they fitted fixed back sight to the 1938 models of the rifle. [​IMG]
    4. As a rifle the Carcano was OK as it was. It gets a bad reputation in the US Because at the time (1950s and early 60s) many US gun owners were interested in converting surplus military rifles to hunting rifles using standard US rifle calibers. The Carcano, while strong enough for it's original cartridge, wasn't strong enough for some of the commercial hunting cartridges. The magazine system was also hard to convert. which leads us to...
    5. Gun was loaded with a 6 round enbloc clip.
    [​IMG]
    The sheet metal clip went into the rifle and stayed in the magazine until the last round was chambered at which point it fell out the bottom of the rifle
    [​IMG]
    You couldn't "top up" the rifle, ie, if you fired 3 rounds you could not add three more rounds. you could either carry the rifle with just 3 rounds in it or eject the partially filled clip and put a new full clip in the gun. Of course the partially filled clip will NOT hold the 3 rounds in the clip and you will be holding a sheet metal clip and 3 loose rounds. Large hole in the bottom of the rifle was supposed to let in dirt. I don't know, wasn't there, never used one.

    BTW I like the 6.5mm caliber, I had a 6.5mmX .308 rifle built for target use before the .260 Rem was a commercial cartridge and also had a rifle built in 6.5mm Rem BR, 308 case shortened to just 1.5 in long instead of 2in (or 51mm), which is where my forum name comes from. Some forums will not take the period between the 6 and the 5 in 6.5
    This last rifle, while not a particularly good military round (a bit fatter than 6.5 Grendel) is one of the most accurate rifles I have ever fired. A heavy Hart stainless steel barrel gets a lot of the credit along with the gunsmith who built it.
     
  7. Elmas

    Elmas Active Member

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    #7 Elmas, Sep 8, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2016
    Are you sure Parsifal?


    Italian government payed Mannlicher the sum of 300.000 lire in 1888 ( that was a tremendous amount of money, for those times...) for the patent of the sheet metal clip: Mannlicher replied that for 300.000 lire they could copy not only the clip, but the whole rifle...

    But Mannlicher rifle was too expensive to produce, so the Fucile mod. 1891 is a mix of Mannlicher and solutions found in the Italian Army factories of those times, in order to have a less expensive weapon and a less expensive clip.

    From Marcianò- Morin Dal Carcano al FAL – page 165.



    [​IMG]





    Even the fact highlighted by Shortround in the previous post, namely the fact that you can’t use loose rounds, was a precise choice of the Chief of Staff, that privileged the volume of fire rather the possibility to use the rifle for sniping, a sistem of warfare that was very seldom used by Italian Army and that the Italians hated.

    About this...

    In the 15-18 war a Brigade was formed exclusively from Sardinians, as our dialect is absolutely incomprehensible for other Italians and also officers were. They were all shepherds, all excellent hunters, quite used to wildlife and to stay awake at night, to avoid to be robbed from the other shepherds. To avoid to reveal their position they smoked in this way, with the embers of the cigar inside the mouth as this old veteran does, quite a useful way to smoke without be nailed from a sniper....


    View: https://youtu.be/ONFspwq2jn0


    Very fighting people: night expeditions were organised in the trenches to capture enemy snipers using this silent weapon, a tool that any Sardinian sheperd, even today, perfectly masters.



    [​IMG]



    A very famous Sardinian bandit, in the '60s..

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    A lot of things are relative. Most of the pre WW I and between wars bolt action rifles were similar in costs and resources to build. Granted some might be 20-25% different than another but they were all built of forged steel for the major parts and took a lot of machining. When you are talking about rifles by the million/s even small percentages add up to considerable sums.
    Some of the sub-machine guns of the stamped variety could be built very cheaply. 3-5 sub-machine guns for the price of one rifle. SO in that case any of the bolt action rifles were expensive and took a lot of time.
    As far as the magazine system on the Carcano goes, not only did the Austrians and some other Balken countries use it but so did the French on the 1907 and 1907/15 rifles and carbines. Perhaps not the best but again comparing it to 5 shot rifles using stripper clips not that different in either sustained or "burst" (1-2 minute) fire power.
    I am a target shooter but I try not judge military rifles by target standards. That is like trying to compare sports cars and pickup trucks :)
    For a country who's major military adventure was in North Africa the Italians seemed to screw up the rifle design though. Not that there was anything fundamentally wrong with the Carcano but NOT cutting the barrel so short, shifting to a spitzer bullet, and using better sights would have made for a more effective rifle for open spaces ( and the better bullet would have helped whatever MGs that used it, it would require new sights however).
    BTW I have used my 6.5x308 at both 600yds and 1000yds (although only one week end at 1000yds) and been at no disadvantage in hitting compared to .308s firing match bullets so I don't believe any of the military 6.5s would have been at a significant disadvantage given proper bullets.

    I note that the Sardinian bandit has at least one if not two Beretta sub-machineguns as back up :)
     
  9. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    My ramblings are thus....
    The Type I Carcano used 6.5mm Japanese in a stripper clip so the ability was there to use something different and the Japanese ammo was a pointed bullet. The Carcano by 1940 was very old so still using a rounded bullet was bizarre. Although assessment of Italian engineering often uses words like inefficient and poor quality so anything is possible.
    Could the Carcano be loaded singly? The fact the clip couldn't be reloaded singly is the same as the Garand. So not unique. The hole at the bottom also has an advantage as detritus could drain out whereas with a Garand it could pool.
    One assumes either the Italians were satisfied with the Carcano or didn't have the ability to make anything else.

    Of course the Carcano is linked with Oswald but that's something that has bugged me. A collector a would certainly add a Carcano to his cache but why would Oswald buy a strange Italian rifle with that unusual ammo which is rarer than 30-06? I assume that a gun savvy guy would have his pick and choice of Mauser and Garand in 1960s Texas so the choice of the Carcano don't sit right.
     
  10. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    You can load single rounds into the Garand, Its one of the big gun myths. Not that you would want to load it singly when you can bang in a a new 8 round clip in a second.
     
  11. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    It does seem the clip could be reloaded individually or of course you can stick a round up the spout.
    I wonder if that was trained or GIs learning a new trick.
    There was a 7.35mm spritzer Carcano rifle but not entirely sure what happened to it whether it was binned due to war pressure or it was rubbish.
     
  12. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    You can't fire any rounds from the Garand and then "top off" the magazine to bring the count back up to eight. Yes you can load one directly into the chamber when the magazine is empty. [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    It is possible to load the clip part filled, target shooters do it with 2 rounds for the National Match course of fire but it is a bit of a juggling act and it is done with a range officer watching and waiting until ALL competitors are ready before continuing with the range commands. However the rounds and clip are inserted together until the clip latches in place. Trying to add rounds with clip already in-place means fighting the magazine spring while trying to keep all rounds in line (none jumping forward) and getting the 8th round into the clip is hard enough when doing it outside the gun and using two hands. A common move when loading outside the gun is to gently tap the noses of the bullets on a hard surface to make sure they are all fully back in the clip. A round that is spaced forward a bit may cause a jam.

    There is some confusion on the 7.35mm spritzer Carcano rifle, some sources claim they were rebored 6.5mm rifles and others say they were new manufacture (or both?). In any case the reason it was dropped was that the Italians had millions of rounds of 6.5 in stock and couldn't manufacture the 7.35 fast enough.
    Sorting out the truth is sometimes hard as some of the stories don't make a lot of sense. Switching from a .268in bullet to a .300/301 bullet isn't going to gain much in the way increased wounding power. A roughly 10% change in diameter? Switching to a Spitzer with an aluminium nose vs a round nose bullet with the Spitzer having a much greater tendency to flop side ways does make sense. However the necessity of changing caliber doesn't as it isn't hard to design a 120-130 grain aluminium tipped spitzer in 6.5m that will do the same thing. Of course you have to use the proper rate of twist in the rifling to keep the bullet stable in flight and yet not over stabilized so it does flip when you want it to.
    The quality of the 7.35mm Carcano rifle/s was every bit as good as the 6.5mm ones. The guns were very far from being rubbish even if some of the details were a bit questionable.
     
  13. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Oswald bought a Carcano because it was cheap, $19.95 with the scope, from Klein sporting goods. $19.95 for a rifle then was about like paying $250.00 for one now.

    I got my first deer with a Enfield Mk5 jungle carbine my uncle had bought, mail order, from a ad in The American Shooter magazine, for $25.00 in 1962.
    In the early 60's there was probably still surplus ammo floating around for the Carcano, we had no trouble finding cheap surplus ammo for the .303 at that time.
     
  14. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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  15. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    Bore out a 6.5mm barrel and cut new rifling and you end up with approx 7.35mm. The Italians had warehouses full of Carcanos that had the Lands shot out. I presume the Italian accountants thought it would be cheaper to machine the barrels and chamber throats than make new barrels.
     
  16. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Thank you. I learned somethings.
     
  17. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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  18. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    I think a lot of the bad reputation the Carcano has, came from it's use in the Kennedy assassination.
    The cornerstone of some of the conspiracy theories is that it was such a bad rifle, that it was unlikely that it could have successfully made the shots.

    Throw enough BS around, some of it sticks, and some of it stuck on the Carcano.
     
  19. The Basket

    The Basket Well-Known Member

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    What rifles were around in 1963 that the average man in the street could buy for $20?
    Surely Oswald would go Garand. He trained on one of those in the Marines. It just the choice of the Carcano is so odd. I doubt Carcanos were very popular or common.

    The Jungle Carbine was a nickname and never official. It didn't serve in the uk for long due to wandering zero. So how did it find itself on the US market?
     
  20. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Google 1962 surplus rifle ads. The Carcano was the cheapest of the WW2 era surplus rifles available. Though you could get a Martini falling block for less.
    A surplus Garand cost around $80.00 in those ads.
    $20.00 may not sound like much now, but Oswald may not have been paid much more than that a week.
    I worked for a funeral home the summer before I joined the USAF in 1965, I brought home less than $30.00 a week. My first paycheck in the USAF was $88.00, that was for a month.

    The No5 Mk 1 may not officially been called the jungle carbine, but that's what we all called them. The deer weren't aware of the wandering zero, and neither were we. It worked fine in close brush country like I hunt locally. Though I would have preferred a model 94 in 30.30.

    The late 50s and early 60s was the golden era of surplus sales. I remember one of my friends dad made a go cart for him from the electric starter from a WW2 bomber, and he paid less tham $10.00 for it.
     
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