Carcano Strength


May 5, 2012, 11:35 PM
I was down at my local gun store poking around and noticed a red, skinny stocked Carcano (7.35) with checkering and a deer carving that looked like a third grader got hold of daddy's pocket knife. One of the employees told me it was a wall hanger because they are known for blowing up. The action seemed tight and strong, I could not see anything stressed, and he was talking about Carcanos in general.

It was priced at $119, I'm sure I could pick it up for $80.

I was wondering if what the employee said was true, are the actions week?

Would a rebarrel/rechamber in .223 be acceptable, pressure wise?

All I want is the action.

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May 6, 2012, 07:25 AM
I wouldn't do a 223 on a carcano. Chamber pressure is higher than I would recommended on the carcano action, bolt face and extractor won't work either unless you want a single shot.

The easiest conversion on a carcano is 7.62x39 using a surplus enfield 303 barrel.

May 6, 2012, 11:11 PM
Wrong choice for whole bunch of reasons.

First, as noted the bolt face and extractor are too large for the .223, also the magazine relies on a Mannlicher-style enbloc clip for feeding (think Garand clip but single-stack), so you would have find some alternate magazine arrangement if you wanted a repeater. Next, while the receiver and bolt lugs are strong enough, there has been some concern about the sleeve that hold the firing mechanism in the bolt body failing in the event of a pierced primer. That same bolt sleeve serves as the gun's safety and is pretty awful to operate. The bolt handle runs through a slot in the receiver, which means scope mounting would be difficult at best. For a sporter stock, you'd be your own, I don't think anybody ever made a semi-inletted stock for it.

Last, given the poor reputation of the Carcano rifles, I doubt if you could find a gunsmith who would be willing to be involved in working on the thing.

Outside of that, it's an interesting project...

Jim K
May 6, 2012, 11:37 PM
The Carcano is perfectly strong enough for the cartridges for which it was designed, and the Germans converted some to use the 7.9 (8mm Mauser) military round, but I can't recommend converting one to any high pressure cartridge. In addition, it has the normal drawbacks of a Mannlicher action, en bloc clip, split bridge, etc.

However, the sleeve problem mentioned by Edarnold is not a concern. When the action is closed and the safety in firing position, a heavy part of that sleeve fits into a slot in the receiver; it can't come out.


May 7, 2012, 01:12 AM
I would be making my own folding stock, converting it to take a single stack AK74 type mag, modifying the bolt face and ejector and mounting a scout (long eye relief) scope. I am going to gunsmithing school so if I were to run into a problem, I am sure I could find some help.

My main concern was the chamber pressure as the guy at the shop made it sound like he wouldn't sell a Carcano to anybody he knew.

Would $80 be to much for the rifle? I would only be using the action and most of the Carcanos on GB go for around $300.

Thanks guys

May 7, 2012, 12:11 PM
as the guy at the shop made it sound like he wouldn't sell a Carcano to anybody he knew.

That is a great starting point for price negotiation.

Jim K
May 7, 2012, 02:41 PM
No, I think $80 would be a good price if you can get it.

But your project sounds like a lot of work and a lot of time and money to put into that rifle. I wonder about your ideas on caliber. The 7.35 won't fit in the AK magazine, so you need to find some magazine that you can make work. Then I think you will have to rebarrel, since the odd bore size rules out most cartridges and you can't rechamber to something with a short (39mm) case because the chamber is already too long.

Interesting project. I hope you will let us know how it turns out.


May 7, 2012, 04:24 PM
I would be rebarreling it to a .223 so I could shoot surplus ammo to plink at the range, carry it in my Toyota for coyotes and prairedogs, and as a backup deer rifle. I would like it to have a detachable mag because Colorado (temporary home) has something against loaded long guns in vehicles. There are plenty of single stack AK mags designed for .223 on the market for really cheap (I saw a $2 bin at the last gunshow).

More than anything it would be a project to do for the sake of doing. It would be used for several classes at school and would be a fun, handy little rifle.

May 7, 2012, 10:20 PM
25, I dont think you understood the issue. The 223 rim diameter is far smaller than the 7.35. You can not deep bore a new smaller bolt face on that bolt. Iv seen some smiths soft solder a new rim shoulder on the bolt face and deepen the ejector cut but I personaly dont like that type of "hump up" metal work is worth it considering the additional extractor extension work.
There is a nice write up on carcano actions on the web if you google for it. The guy tryed to blow up a number of carcano's with estamated 90,000 CUP test loads and none of the guns blew up. He even claimed the head space was still good if I remember correctly. He claimed the whole blow up scare was due to some original ammo that was made with larger diameter bullets or something to that effect. I have a Type 1 Jap carcano and it shoots the jap 6.5 rounds very well. After reading that article, Im confident the action is a shooter. Good luck with the project.

May 7, 2012, 11:01 PM
I have researched how to deal with the bolt face when I was looking at a 1903 for the same project. I think the Carcano would actually be better than the 1903 because the bolt face modification should be easier and I think it would take better to a magazine, I know a lot of people have rechambered for 7.62x39 and used an AK mag.

Toward the bottom are some pictures of a modded 1903 bolt.

This sounds like an easier process

May 8, 2012, 03:45 PM
It sounds like a black hole for sucking down time and money to me. A Carcano is what it is. The action is plenty strong enough for its original calibres, and the ones the Germans converted to 8mm Mauser will handle that as well, but putting that kind of work into a $100 action just sounds like it's going to be an exercise in frustration for a not particularly desirable result.

May 9, 2012, 02:38 AM
25C I think you know more about this than these other guys. It sounds like you need a learning project and this sounds like a good one. This kind of project project is not about money or efficient use of time. I made a 30/30 bolt action scout rifle and a buddy is making a 44 magnum model 98 mauser. Heck you may as use all those tools at school.

Jim Watson
May 9, 2012, 09:43 AM
I am with olaf. If you are doing it yourself to put gunsmithing class into action, fine. It will be a learning experience at no great cost.

As to action strength, figure the bolt thrust; chamber pressure times case head area. The .223 is "hotter" but smaller than 7.35 Italian and you have a chance of it being within spec.

May 9, 2012, 01:25 PM
I am trying to grow as an amateur gunsmith, but the couple of .471" bolt faces I have converted to .223 bolt faces have left me with the feeling that I do not want to do it any more.

There are easier and more fun things to do.

Maybe you should do it.
Everything else will then seem like more fun.

May 9, 2012, 04:22 PM
Carcanos are Junk,Junk, Junk,Junk.
Maybe a Milsurp bug would see some value but aside from that they stink!
Any custom rifle builders out there who wish to use a milsurp action.
Stick with Mausers, Mausers, Mausers, the 98's in small or large ring!

Jim K
May 11, 2012, 08:58 PM
Nonsense. Carcanos were no worse or better than other Mannlicher-based millitary rifles of the day. They are good, accurate, light weight, rifles firing a round that is not a lot different ballistically from the modern and much vaunted 6.8 SPC. The actions are not as smooth as most Mausers, and for sporter purposes they suffer from the typical Mannlicher split bridge, which hinders mounting a scope. But junk? Not even once, let alone FOUR times!

Incidentally, the Italians adopted the Carcano in 1891. The U.S. rifle in 1891 was the trapdoor Springfield. I think in a fire fight I would rather have the Carcano.


Shadow 7D
May 12, 2012, 03:14 AM
Carcano's are carcanos, they are one of the slickest actions, I find the feel is right up there with the enfeild for a GOOD one

Now that said, they have their weaknesses
it's not the strongest action out there, hell I had one that saw a fire and I had to beat the bridge back to a semblance of what it should have been... and um... it didn't take much, like 2 hits.

May 12, 2012, 10:33 AM
Time was when the shooting world was awash in Milsurp Mausers and Springfields both actions and complete rifles, a time when Carcanos were not even considered for a custom project.
At that time, even the Jap stuff had a higher regard.
I once bought a 6.5 Carcano to prove/disprove some JFK assassination theory and when that project was finished I promptly sold the same no pangs at all.

May 13, 2012, 08:46 PM
In reference to above, a gun that's been thru a fire is not a good example for what the action might have handled before a little impromptu re-heat-treat. No major Europeon power (like Italy sort-of was) fielded a junk rifle.

If you want to tinker, only let cost or skills/time/tools stop you. I myself have a barreled action for a 91/38 and have been thinking of a mannlicher stock and butterknife bolt handle. If I rebarreled it would likely be a .264 bore for better bullet selection; maybe 6.5 MS?

I concur with 7.62x39, or maybe 35 Remington. Or buy brass and dies and reload for the current chambering. Go nuts. Have fun. Life is too short to talk yourself out of fun things so long as they are not unsafe.

May 15, 2012, 10:39 AM
I'm certain that the Carcano has a following .
In my opinion, the rifle does not lend itself to rebarrelings/conversions etc.
Probably a decent deer cartridge.
At one time, semi-inletted stocks were available to come up with a hav-azzed looking sporter using this rifle.

roberto mervicini
May 15, 2012, 04:22 PM
I pick this one up 10 day's a go, didn't pay much...$40 . Originally I purchase for the set trigger group, but once home I got curious and begin to clean it up...bore shine as mirror, rifling crisp and metal in super state of conservation,
at this point I decided to give her a second life as a sporter.
Little research and turn out that this actions originally imported in Canada as carcano 6.5x52 by Cooey on behalf of Eatons Co.(canadian retailer to day gone ) . Due to the unavailability of proper cartridge at the time they got rebarreled by trading the new barrel into the stump of the old barrel .
The new barrels are chambered for the 6.5x54 Mannelicher Schoenouer.

Sorry I do not intend to hijack the thread just like to say that the Carcano is indeed a strong action, and if used for the cartridge that was designated is plenty strong.

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May 16, 2012, 01:28 AM
But you can feel free to send them to me.

Haters gonna hate. Get it as cheap as you can and tinker away to your heart's content. I just did one up in 7.62x39 for about $100 total, plus my time. I still haven't fitted the single stack ak magazine yet, that will come later. But it shoots, and it was a super fun project for me, even if it did take almost two years to get around to getting started.

I'm not really sure why you'd waste your time with .223, but i'm sure it will be fun to mess about with this. I would consider converting to 5.45x39 first for the really cheap surplus ammo. I can think of a number of interesting ways to convert it to a different boltface, but im not experienced enough to know if any of them would be safe.

Good luck with this, have fun, and of course, be safe!

May 16, 2012, 07:53 AM
7.62x39 is an easy conversion, and I have seen several in .35 Rem. Here is the one I had:

And another here on THR:

If you want to do a magazine conversion, I have a single stack that will work with a little modification to the existing hardware.

May 16, 2012, 08:50 AM
Do you have pictures/drawings of this single stack setup? I'm still trying to decide how I'm going to do
Mine up. To fit the single stack AK mag that I have is going to require milling out the bottom of the receiver and then fabricating something to hang it from. I still can't quite figure out exactly how I'm going to do it.

May 16, 2012, 12:17 PM
Anchor, send me a pm and I'll give you my email address.

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