The Info List - 6.5×52mm Mannlicher–Carcano

The 6.5×52mm Carcano, also known as the 6.5×52mm Parravicini– Carcano
or 6.5×52mm Mannlicher–Carcano, is an Italian military 6.5 mm (.268 cal, actually 0.2675 inches) rimless bottle-necked rifle cartridge, developed from 1889 to 1891 and used in the Carcano
1891 rifle and many of its successors. A common synonym in American gun literature is "6.5mm Italian." In American parlance, "Carcano" is frequently added to better distinguish it from the rimmed hunting cartridge 6.5×52mmR (U.S. version: .25-35 Winchester). Ballistically, its performance is very similar to that of the 6.5×54mm Mannlicher–Schönauer.


1 Design 2 Performance 3 In the JFK Assassination 4 See also 5 References 6 External links

Design[edit] Under the direction of the Commissione delle Armi Portatili (commission for portable weapons), instituted in 1888, to develop a smokeless-powder rifle for the Italian Army, the Reale Laboratorio Pirotecnico di Bologna (royal pyrotechnical laboratory of Bologna) developed and tried several different cartridge designs, with bullet diameters from 6 to 8mm. Finally, due also to the influence of Major Antonio Benedetti of the Brescia Arsenal, secretary of the commission and strong supporter of the advantages of smallbore cartridges, the 6.5×52 cartridge was adopted in March, 1890, prior to the adoption of the rifle that used it (the Model 1891 Carcano

Italian 6.5mm Carcano
military cartridge, cut in half

After the adoption of the cartridge, the arsenal's technicians worried about the characteristics of the original ballistite load, since that propellant was considered too erosive (flame temperature of 3,000-3,500 °C) and not stable under severe climatic conditions. Several other loads were tested, including the British cordite, but without good results, until the Reale Polverificio del Liri
(royal explosives factory of Liri) developed a new propellant called "Solenite," composed of trinitrocellulose (40%), dinitrocellulose (21%), nitroglycerine (36%) and mineral oil (3%), and shaped in large tube-like grains. The new propellant, that reduced the flame temperatures to 2,600 °C and proved to be very stable, and was adopted in 1896 and never changed until the end of the military production of the cartridge. The 6.5×52mm Carcano
was designed as an infantry cartridge. In accordance with the tactics of the time, the adjustable rear sight of the rifle allowed for volley fire up to 2,000 metres. The 6.5×52mm Carcano
was the first to be officially adopted of a class of similar smallbore military rifle cartridges which included the 6.5×50mm Arisaka (Japan), 6.5×53mmR
Mannlicher (Romania/Netherlands), 6.5×54mm Mannlicher–Schönauer
6.5×54mm Mannlicher–Schönauer
(Greece), 6.5×55mm
Swedish Mauser (also Norwegian Krag–Jørgensen), and the Portuguese 6.5×58mm Vergueiro.

(Left to right) 8mm Mauser
8mm Mauser
(also called 7.92mm Mauser), 6.5mm Carcano, and 7.35mm Carcano

A comparison with larger-bore smokeless powder cartridges of the 7 and 8 mm calibre class (such as the French 8×50mmR Lebel, the German 7.92×57mm, the Austrian 8×50mmR Mannlicher, the .303 British, the Russian 7.62×54mmR, the Belgian and 7.65×53mm Argentine, the American .30-40 Krag, and the much later .30-03
and .30-06 Springfield) may make the 6.5mm rounds appear underpowered on paper, and lacking in stopping power. However, the small bore cartridges have a long list of advantages, such as flatness of trajectory, outstanding penetration at distance, less weight, less recoil, smaller dimensions, and less material required in production. Its short-lived intended successor cartridge, the 7.35×51mm Carcano, was designed to replace the 6.5mm Carcano, but those plans were cancelled due to the logistic difficulties that arose once World War II commenced. The original 6.5×52mm barrel design, developed by the Brescia Arsenal at the same time as the cartridge before development of the M91 Carcano
rifle itself, used a gain twist barrel with deep rifling to reduce wear and give consistent accuracy. A gain twist has a slow initial twist in the barrel, progressively getting faster until the final twist rate is attained near the muzzle, resulting in less torque being imparted to the bullet during the highest stress phase of the interior ballistic cycle, and thus less wear in the throat of the barrel. Gain twist was phased out in the last production of the Carcano
rifle in favour of conventional rifling.

A 6.5×52mm Carcano
cartridge loaded with a modern hunting bullet

Performance[edit] With properly bulleted ammunition, the 6.5×52mm Carcano
is an effective deer cartridge up to about 200m (220 yards).[citation needed] However, the standard Italian service round used an unstable round-nosed bullet with a propensity to tumble, whether hitting soft tissue/ballistic gel or harder material such as bone. See PBS Nova, "Cold Case: JFK",[1] aired 11/12/2013 for range tests. The currently available factory ammunition may lack accuracy due to the use of a 6.7mm (.264 in) bullet instead of the 6.8mm (.268 in) as originally loaded.[citation needed]

A six-round en-bloc clip

In the JFK Assassination[edit] Main article: John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
assassination rifle The cartridge was identified by the Warren Commission
Warren Commission
as the round used in a World War II-surplus Italian 1891 Carcano
(Fucile di Fanteria Mod. 91/38) rifle purchased by Lee Harvey Oswald
Lee Harvey Oswald
in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. See also[edit]

List of rifle cartridges 6 mm caliber Table of handgun and rifle cartridges


6.5×52mm Carcano
cartridge dimensions www.il91.it G.Simone, R. Belogi, A. Grimaldi, "Il 91", Ravizza (1970)

^ PBS Nova, "Cold Case: JFK"

External links[edit]

6,5 x 52 Mannlicher - Carcano
(in Italian)

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