Is now a good time to buy a Carcano?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Kyle S., Jul 13, 2021.

  1. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    A cursory search of gunbroker shows a great many Carano carbines for sale.from the bigger distributors and shops.

    All of them are worn out and haggard looking, and they're trending closer to $400 than $300 in most cases.

    I'd not buy that.
     
  2. MachIVshooter
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    MachIVshooter Contributing Member

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    Carcanos are fun, soft shooting rifles. I have 4, a 91/38 carbine, a 7.35mm M38, a Cav carbine and an original 1891 long rifle. I gave $275 for the M38, which are not very common, rest were in the $100-$150 range.

    IME, they're not the junk guns people love to hate them as. They're not Mausers or Enfields, but also not the worst out there. I prefer the Carcano to my Mosins, as well as the MAS36, and they do have better ergos than the chunky SMLE. I think much of the rep came from the high cost of ammunition and that they're not usable as repeaters without the en block clips, something we accept with our beloved M1 but hate on the Carcano for.

    Unfortunately, the days of $100 milsurps are gone. When I came of age, a Yugo SKS could be had for $89, and shortly after, the $69 Mosins flooded the market. A CZ52 or Mak was a $100 handgun, and the ammo was barely more than .22 LR. No more. $200-$300 is a bit of a pill to swallow for a Carcano cav carbine in average condition, but if you want one, probably best go for it, because they're only going to get more expensive like everything else.
     
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  3. theotherwaldo

    theotherwaldo Member

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    I've got a Model 91, a Finn-marked Model 38 with folding bayonet and a Type "I".
    I see no reason to get any more Carcanos
     
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  4. Kyle S.

    Kyle S. Member

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    That's a good way of looking at it. I see a lot of people saying they're crap without stating why. My only real concern would be getting a non functioning rifle that ends up on the wall, but thats the risk you take with buying a milsurp sight unseen. $275 for a carbine in a intermediate caliber with iron sites that has historical significance, in my opinion, is worth the money.
     
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  5. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    The Carcano would be a lot more popular if ammo and clips were available by the 440 round spam can, not just a few 20 round boxes of PPU here and there. What drove the Mosin Nagants early popularity was the fact that the cheap rifle and a bunch of cheap ammo was just a gunshow away.
     
  6. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    In the 1950s a lot of Carcanos, Arisakas, etc. In circulation were field surrendered guns, the type that had the bolts pulled and tossed in one heap and rest of gun tossed in another, imported as scrap metal, then reassembled and sold as guns. They were junk. These were not military reserve weapons, inspected, repaired, put in their nation's arsenals in cosmoline just in case.

    That is where the bad rep of a lot of military models came from. The examples in the market were literally junk.
     
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  7. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    I would agree that they are light and handy, but the bolt always seems too Rube Goldberg to me. Even Ian at Forgotten Weapons had his example malfunction during a range drill due to inadvertently rotating a projecting tab that wasn't supposed to get rotated. Interesting you bring up the MAS36, because I view it as probably the most simplified and soldier-proof bolt actions ever fielded.
     
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  8. 303 hunter

    303 hunter Member

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    I’ve wanted a Carcano for a while, and have looked at them at several gun shows. There was no ammo available at any of the shows so I didn’t buy one. I don’t want to shoot it a lot, but would like shoot it a few times occasionally.
     
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  9. MachIVshooter
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    MachIVshooter Contributing Member

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    Robust, yes, but also miserable to manipulate and fire. I would have to rate it as one of the most unpleasant milsurps in terms of felt recoil. I'm not selling mine, but I don't shoot it much.
     
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  10. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    I still have about 4K of 7.62x54mmR stored in spam cams in the garage from picking it up at the gun show for a few pennys a round about 20 years ago.
     
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  11. desidog

    desidog Member

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    All milsurps are going up in value because they don't make them anymore... and then Bubba the gunsmith sporterized many of them nixing their collector value.

    Carcano folding bayonets are now worth more than the rifles you hang them on.

    With Italian guns, the quality took a nose dive during wartime. If you can find an example built in a year when Italy wasn't at war, and that hasn't been roughly handled, it will be a good gun. They were made in four or five factories, so quality and parts interchangeability vary. However, some, like my P. Beretta-made 91/24 are beautiful and fully functional. I have five of them (top price paid was 150) and their bores vary from .264" to .268" You won't get much success shooting a .264 diameter bullet down a .268 tube, and the reverse situation would lead to some high pressure.

    Another cool fact about Carcanos is that they have gain twist rifling.... so anyone shooting a "troop special" ie. a cut down barrel, will have mediocre results at best.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2021
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  12. MachIVshooter
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    MachIVshooter Contributing Member

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    IIRC, the 7.35mm M38 does not have gain twist. But I believe all the 6.5mm variants do.
     
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  13. vintovka

    vintovka Member

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    Some time ago a poor lady was wandering around a local show with a 7,35 carcano. Was a SA finn marked one with the 3 piece rod in the butt. No one would buy it for the $30 asking. She asked each table at least twice, After 3 tries on us I said i would give her $20 just because i felt so bad for her. Its been sitting in the rafters now these many years. The 3 piece rod is still worth more than the rifle.
     
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  14. .455_Hunter

    .455_Hunter Member

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    Due to the short LOP, I have a thick slip-on rubber recoil pad on mine. Perhaps that, and the mild PPU 7.5mm, makes it seem OK.
     
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  15. Terry G

    Terry G Member

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    IMG_3703.JPG I posted this already but look at it. $300.00? I don't think so. I have fun shooting it once in a while, but I'd sell it fort half that and throw in some clips and a box of ammunition.
     
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  16. mokin

    mokin Member

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    IMG_20210714_172821035.jpg

    I paid $55.00 for this in the mid eighties. I guess I got a good one. I admit, the accuracy sucked with the expensive Norma ammunition available at the time, but with the proper diameter bullets from Privi and my hand loads it's plenty accurate to reliably ring steel out to 300 yards. Even without the rubber pad on the butt I can't imagine painful recoil. Like someone stated before, this isn't the rifle most of us love to hate.

    As far as the OP's question, I don't know if now is really the time to buy one. Carcanos won't be going down in price. On the other hand, if you want to shoot it, I wouldn't buy one without handling it first. Also, if you do want to shoot it, I would plan on hand loading for it.
     
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  17. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    If a Carcano is what you want, DK is a reputable dealer. I've done business with them and have no compaints. That being said, I do hope you've familiarized yourself with the pros and cons of the surplus Carcanos market before you order one; DK isn't necessarily going to be able to provide you with a pristine example of one. That also being said, if you know what you're likely to get, go right ahead. I think they're a fun shooter and also an example of military history. Don't let all the rude comments dissuade you, rather allow them to inform you. I own five Carcanos. But of those five, I only classify three as "shoot-worthy."
     
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  18. Kyle S.

    Kyle S. Member

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    Thanks. I did end up ordering one yesterday. I know its kind of a gamble ordering one of these but with the way things are, it'll be the last milsurp ill be able to afford for awhile.
     
  19. vintovka

    vintovka Member

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    Better off buying a turk mauser.
     
  20. Swampman

    Swampman Old Fart

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    Good luck, I hope you get a nice one!

    Keep us posted.
     
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  21. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    If you can buy these for $300 you should buy a whole crate and flip 'em at our next gun show!!
     
  22. jobu07
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    jobu07 Contributing Member

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    If you want to add a representative military surplus rifle from Italy to your collection now is as good a time as any to purchase a Carcano. Prices probably won't settle much lower and $300-$400 will probably be the new normal for them. There's a wide variety of the different models available for purchase if you want to get an example of each pattern or just pick out one that looks the most interesting to you.

    As far as shooting these rifles, ammo is the sticking point as folks have said. If you're a loader, it won't be a problem. If you want to buy factory ammo you'll have to watch out for the .264 diameter bullets that Prvi is/was producing. Loading cast bullets I have a good time ringing steel with any of my Carcano rifles at 100 yards. The clips don't bother me, I bought a nice pile of them before this last batch of rifles came in and they got scarce, but they are a neat feature of all Mannlicher style rifles.

    Is your M91 Carcano going to stack up against any Mauser? Probably not, but you might be surprised. Factor in cost of ammo, accessories, if you're collecting or shooting, and then determine if it is worth buying this or a 91/30.
     
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  23. Kyle S.

    Kyle S. Member

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    Yea, I don't expect the accuracy or craftsmanship of it to come close to my Finnish M39. I wish I had gotten a mauser when they were cheap, just a year or two ago. If the carcano i ordered is somewhat accurate, I would actually consider taking it out hunting and using it. I wouldn't want to do that with my M39, too precious. :)
     
  24. wiscoaster

    wiscoaster Member

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    How my Carcanos shoot - from my table of my milsurps POI wrt to center POA at 100 yds:
    M1941 (6.5 mm long rifle): elev = High 12 In; wind = POA.
    M38 (7.35 mm carbine): 100% keyholes (no data / non-shooter).
    M38 (6.5 mm carbine): elev = High 2 In; wind = Left 4 In.
    M91/TS (6.5 mm carbine): elev = Low 2 In; wind = POA.
    All using the battle sight and the "Italian" sight picture.
    My other 91/TS is a "parts" gun - convenient since they all use many of the same parts.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2021
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  25. Nature Boy
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    Nature Boy Contributing Member

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    Personally, there has never been a good time to buy a Carcano
     
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