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My like and dislike of the Carcano

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by lionking, Dec 8, 2018.

  1. lionking

    lionking Member

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    To say it in a timeline it goes like this. When I got into collecting mil-surps eventually it got to "well now I need a Carcano". Of course I planned on just having one, and when I found a 91/41 at a gunshow in 2008 for $150.00 I got it (see photo 1). It was a FAT 41 and while it didn't do great groups it held a group of some sort with Prvi ammo (see photo 2)

    So then, at a gunshow so sometime latter saw another one in nice condition, again around $150 so I got it (see photo 3). It is a Armaguerra made but has a bent bolt, bolt is marked "AB". Now I don't know if someone bent it or if it is mismatched but it is a sticky bolt when ejecting. Began to worry about head space and safety issues because and it sat in my closet for years. After reading on the net that supposedly Carcano bolts can be interchanged I recently tried it again and it works just is sticky to eject.

    My first Carcano the FAT 41 got stolen in 2009, every once in a while I hit pawn shops hoping to spot it but I haven't.

    So having lost it, and having the other with a hard to use bolt this year was a Carcano year for me got a 1891 Roma at a gun show and two FAT 42 off gunbroker in really nice condition. (See photos 4, 5 and 6).

    Now what happened this year is, after testing the bent bolt one again, the two FAT 42 91/41 and the Roma 1891 with Prvi ammo is photo #7. It became apparent that .264 Prvi won't hold a group for nothing in any of them shots are all over the place. Only my first Caracno that got stolen was able to sort of.

    This week I had a box of Hornady 160 gr that actually came with my first Carcano in the deal and after testing the two FAT 42 91/41 with it low and behold got decent grouping although shooting way high see photos 8 and 9.

    There use to be a member named Vaarok who posted here that was a mil-surp guru who suggested "Now for the big caveat. BURY the front sight in the rear notch, with the point all the way down in there, and then line your target up between the top edges of the rear notch.

    So yeah, using a regular sight picture, they shoot quite a bit high."

    That would help to hit on target but not the most accurate way at 100 yds. A tall front sight replacement would be better. But the ammo situation giving that Hornady is over $1 a round is expensive to shoot a Carcano. If only Prvi did .268 instead of .264. Unless you reload, I don't yet.

    The Carcaco 91/41 and M91 I like the balance and feel, it can be as accurate as a Mauser from what I see this last time out using Hornady, if only Prvi would do .268 and a tall front sight was available.
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  2. LRDGCO

    LRDGCO Member

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  3. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    I've always avoided the carbines in the Carcano because I really have no need for a folding bayonet model, some were created by simply chopping gain twisted long rifle barrels which results in minute of barn accuracy, and others were the fast conversions from the 7.35.

    The sole Carcano that I have is a late 91 Fusil (long) rifle made about 1934 and it is one of the last of the 91's with the gain twist barrel. From what I recollect, the 41 did not use gain twist barrels while 91's for the most part did unless rebarrelled. The Italians apparently used whatever they had on hand for repairs and conversions. To get optimum accuracy, you might want to tailor different loads for each rifle due to differences in rifling and also slug your bores or use pin gages in a pinch for the actual bore measure.

    Regarding the sticky bolt syndrome, it is probably the same condition as that of Russian Mosins. You need a soaking type treatment to remove all traces of old oil etc. and a thorough scrubbing of the chamber and locking lugs of the receiver with some pretty potent solvents. I would also detail strip the bolt and either soak and scrub all of the parts in a solvent or use an ultrasonic cleaner. Then reoil and reassemble. Regular gun solvents won't do much so you need to use things like acetone, soaking treatment using something like DSolv or mineral spirits, etc. Ed's Red formula might also do it but I've never tried it for that.

    This is a Mosin site discussing the problem and how to fix it for Mosins. It is near the bottom discussing sticky bolt syndrome http://7.62x54r.net/MosinID/MosinCleaning.htm
     
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  4. gsbuickman

    gsbuickman Member

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    Nice :) . I may have to get a couple more carcano's for my collection because I really like the one that I picked up recently. The way I see it I look at the Carcano as the Italians version of a MosinMosin & other than the arisaka and some of the best bang-for-the-buck surplus rifles available, especially if you reload .
     
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  5. lionking

    lionking Member

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    I saw your thread on the nice carbine you just got, I also see you plan to reload which since I don't yet leaves me at a huge disadvantage for shooting the Carcano. Unless I do learn to reload, the only other Carcano I will get again is if I find my stolen one by a miracle , and since I didn't know the serial BECAUSE I DIDN'T KEEP A RECORD then because I was stupid, when I reported it stolen back in 2009 , IF I saw it at a pawn shop I would just buy it back at this point.

    I have four Carcano, all shoot groups in measurements of feet not inches with Prvi, tells me that taking a chance on another one to use with Prvi would be a waste of money. I have no idea why Prvi who usually makes good ammo for other mil-surps would muck it so bad with the Carcano.
     
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  6. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Interesting targets, finding ammunition that shoots well in foreign rifles can be real frustrating, especially as the Carcano was never that popular in the United States, so a wide variety of 6.5 mm bullet diameters is just not available. I wish I had purchased a couple of Carcano's when the things were less than a hundred dollars. I remember passing on some $70.00 versions. Ammunition was expensive, and the WW2 generation dismissive attitude towards all things Italian influenced me. There is nothing basically wrong with a Carcano, the rifle was used in Finland, Russia, the Alps, North Africa. From my viewpoint, it was a successful service rifle, was not dangerous to the user. The round itself is more powerful than some of the rounds being shoe horned into AR15 actions, so it can't be all bad.
     
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  7. caribou

    caribou Member

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    Once you get the front sight ''buried'', the groups at least get on paper !!
     
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  8. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    Unless you get the godawful 8x57 Carcano conversion, the chopped long rifle carbines with the twist gain barrels, or the Vetterli conversions. My major gripe is the safety is awful and .268 fmj bullets were made of unobtanium for a long time unless you pulled them off of old surplus ammo. Like their Swede counterpart 6.5, these were designed for long heavy for caliber bullets and can shine when firing them.

    The Carcano long rifles were accurate enough to be used by the Italian military in international competitions but little data on how they were accurized.
     
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  9. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    Depending on your bore wear, a .264 fmj usually won't slug up enough to fill a .268-9 bore--boat tails would be worse in an old worn barrel. Furthermore, the original Italian service round was a 160 gr bullet @ 2300 or so that resembles that of a Swede military load which used a 156 gr long bullet @ 2350 or so fps. In these old military barrels, quite a few folks have had issues with accuracy with shorter lighter bullets, part of which is the long throats found in a lot of these old rifles. Long throats allowed long heavy bullets to be fired, kept the pressures down on inconsistent ammo, and allowed firing in awful conditions with subpar ammo without kabooms. Accuracy of man was the measure.

    BTW, good website on Carcanos and their history is found here
    http://personal.stevens.edu/~gliberat/carcano/
     
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  10. fpgt72

    fpgt72 Member

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    The fixed sight is for 300 yards, that is something to keep in the back of your head.
     
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  11. fpgt72

    fpgt72 Member

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    I was going to post up some photos but I iz too stupit to figure that out.

    the hornady # 2645 is the bullet that I have had the best luck with,

    Coal on my rifles usually run around 2.9 inches, but yours will vary naturally.

    I have had the best luck with 4895 and Varget, I also played with 4064 and a few others with loads adjusted for the fixed sights and are usually loaded pretty on the soft side.

    I so agree with the statement it likes the long bullets, everything else I have tried just does not do it for me, I usually sit on about 4-7 boxes of the hornady bullets, (if I sound like a fanboi I am) and if I get to 2 boxes I start to panic and will buy again.

    wish i could be of more help, they are really good and fun rifles, yes they are a little loose, but that does not mean poor quality or shooting ability.
     
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  12. caribou

    caribou Member

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    Indeed, I had this demonstrated to me, after burning 1/2 of my 6.5 stash.

    Ever have someone shoot your rifle better than you with your own rifle? That will learn a body good!.
     
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  13. HOWARD J

    HOWARD J Member

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    I picked one out of a barrel many years ago $11 with a cheap scope 7.35 mm-used it for deer hunting for a few years. I had some military brass with soft nose bullets that someone loaded. I reblued it with a $10 hot bluing kit from Wards. It still looks good.
    I can see why the Italians were always running away.
     
  14. fpgt72

    fpgt72 Member

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    Lets not get into Italy bashing/France bashing/ Japan Bashing....unless you really want me to go there.....and it might be educational for some. But I will say one thing you have to remember the state of Italy when this rifle was designed and first made, it was a very...as in VERY young country. Unification did not happen that long ago for them....and so many do not know that...at least americans don't, we don't teach this stuff in school.....deleted by a grumpy old fart....me.

    Anyhoo, I need to figure out how to post up photos here....anyone point me in a direction to find a thread.
     
  15. caribou

    caribou Member

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    Postimage (free) or photobucket (U pay ) are photo/vid hosting sights that you can link up too. I had a hard time with postimage's little pictures, and payed Photobuckets ransome (they used to be free) or play with the Upload and attachments buttons till you get 'em figured.
     
  16. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    The easiest which is not particularly easy that I've found is using a camera phone or a separate e camera with a usb transfer cable. Personally, I do not use my google phone to take these types because I have no desire for google to have any such information. I use some old outdated electronic cameras with the card slots and run it through editing software to wipe out metadata. Most people don't bother but I prefer not to broadcast that stuff.
     
  17. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Member

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    I enjoy shooting my Carcano's. The 6.5 mm cartridge has an inherent accuracy built into it no matter what rifle or carbine it emerges from.
     
  18. Snidely70431

    Snidely70431 Member

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    In 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald, using the alias A. Hidell, paid $19.95 plus shipping and handling for a Modello 91/38 Carcano from Klein's Sporting Goods. The rifle was $12.78 and the 4 power scope was $7.17. IMHO, he overpaid.

    An interesting factoid about the Carcano is that the rifle can be re-barreled to .45 ACP and a .45 magazine will insert in the Carcano magazine hole and feed. The rim diameter of the Carcano 6.5x52 is .450 and the .45ACP is .480, but close enough to work in the bolt.
     
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  19. eastbank

    eastbank Member

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    i remember seeing them at a army-navy store in 1960 with a price tag of 9.99 or 11.00 with 40 rounds on metal stripper clips, you choice of 6.5 or 7.35.
     
  20. fpgt72

    fpgt72 Member

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    The last clips I bought $10, and I thought I got a deal.

    Times change.

    Those that bad mouth the rifle are people that have not really done a deep dive, their accurate bashes are usually the result of tossing a tennisball down a fire hose. Yes they are loose but they are a serviceable rifle....with MOM (minute of man) being easy to do.

    I really enjoy them, but then I am the guy that likes things no one else likes. Where my real joy comes from is taking something like this and seeing just what I can make it do with simple changes to the recipe on ammo. Not uncommon for me (when I felt good) to go down with a chrono and 2 boxes of ammo with 5 loaded to a different spec. Lots of walking back and forth....but I just really enjoy that.
     
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  21. boom boom
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    boom boom Contributing Member

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    One reason is that many people sporterized the long rifles (as did Italy itself making carbines out of the long rifles). For the model 91's, there is a pretty severe gain twist in the rifling that when a barrel is chopped to carbine length, the twist is much too slow to stabilize the bullet. Thus, appalling accuracy was the usual result. The later Model 38's and 41's dropped the gain twist and the original carbines did not have it I believe. Only the converted ones and the sporters with cut barrels exhibit this problem. The other knock is that unless you are using .268 bullets, then your accuracy is hit or miss using the more normal .264 depending on the bullet (flat based, cast, etc. and length), the throat length of the rifle, and the true bore size of the rifle being fired.

    I have an early 1930's era Fusil (long rifle) 91, one of the last made with gain twist and firing Grafs and Sons loaded ammo with the true Hornady .268 160gr bullet, it averages about 2 MOA at 50 yards off the bench. Not Springfield 1903 level accuracy but better than some Mausers.
     
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