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Carcano
Carcano
is the frequently used name for a series of Italian bolt-action, magazine-fed, repeating military rifles and carbines. Introduced in 1891, this rifle was chambered for the rimless 6.5×52mm Carcano
Carcano
cartridge (Cartuccia Modello 1895). It was developed by the chief technician Salvatore Carcano
Carcano
at the Turin
Turin
Army Arsenal in 1890 and called the Modello (model) 91 or simply M91. Successively replacing the previous Vetterli-Vitali rifles and carbines in 10.35×47mmR, it was produced from 1892 to 1945. The M91 was used in both rifle (fucile) and shorter-barreled carbine (moschetto) form by most Italian troops during the First World War and by Italian and some German forces during the Second World War. The rifle was also used during the Winter War
Winter War
by Finland, and again by regular and irregular forces in Syria, Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria during various postwar conflicts in those countries. The Type I Carcano
Carcano
rifle was produced by Italy
Italy
for the Japanese Empire prior to World War II. After the invasion of China, all Arisaka production was required for use of the Imperial Army, so the Imperial Navy contracted with Italy
Italy
for this weapon in 1937. The Type I is based on the Type 38 rifle
Type 38 rifle
and uses a Carcano
Carcano
action, but retains the Arisaka/Mauser type 5-round box magazine. The Type I was used primarily by Japanese Imperial Naval Forces and was chambered for the Japanese 6.5×50mm Arisaka
6.5×50mm Arisaka
cartridge. Approximately 60,000 Type I rifles were produced by Italian arsenals for Japan. A Carcano
Carcano
Model 91/38 was used to assassinate US President John F. Kennedy.

Contents

1 History 2 Variants 3 Users 4 Kennedy assassination rifle 5 See also 6 Notes 7 External links

History[edit] Although this rifle is often called "Mannlicher–Carcano", especially in American parlance, neither that designation nor the name "Mauser–Parravicino" is correct. Its official designation in Italian is simply Modello 1891, or M91 ("il novantuno"). The magazine system uses en bloc charger clips which were originally developed and patented by Ferdinand Mannlicher, but the actual shape and design of the Carcano
Carcano
clip is derived from the German Model 1888 Commission Rifle. Until 1938, all M91 rifles and carbines were chambered for the rimless 6.5×52mm Modello 1895 cartridge, using a round-nose metal case bullet of 160 grains weight at approximately 2,000-2,400 ft/s muzzle velocity, depending upon barrel length. At least one small arms authority noted inconsistencies in powder types in arsenal-loaded 6.5×52mm military ammunition, often with different powder types and ammunition lots intermixed within a single clip of ammunition.[1] The practice of intermixing powder types and ammunition lots in clipped rifle ammunition was generally avoided by arsenals of other nations, as it generally resulted in varying bullet velocities and excessive bullet dispersion on the target. After reports of inadequate performance at both short and long ranges[2][3] during the campaigns in Italian North Africa
Italian North Africa
(1924-1934), and the Second Italo-Abyssinian War
Second Italo-Abyssinian War
(1934), the Italian army introduced a new short rifle in 1938, the Modello 1938, together with a new cartridge in 7.35×51mm caliber. In addition to the slightly larger caliber, Italian ordnance designers introduced a spitzer-type bullet for the new cartridge, with the tip filled with aluminum to produce an unstable (tumbling) projectile upon impact in soft tissue (a design most likely copied from the .303 British
.303 British
Mk VII bullet). However, the Italian government was unable to successfully mass-produce the new arms in adequate quantities before the onset of war, and in 1940, all rifle and ammunition production reverted to 6.5 mm, but no 7.35 mm Mod. 38 rifles nor carbines were ever re-barreled to the old 6.5×52mm caliber. Some Italian troops serving on the Russian front were armed with 7.35 mm Mod. 1938 rifles, but exchanged them in 1942 for 6.5×52 mm arms.[4]

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

Model 91 Bayonet

Approximately 94,500 7.35mm Modello 1938 rifles were shipped to Finland, where they were known as Terni
Terni
carbines (from the Terni
Terni
stamp with the royal crown, the logo or seal of the Regia fibbrica d’armi di Terni
Terni
arsenal where they were manufactured).[5] They were primarily used by security and line-of-communications troops during the Winter War of 1939–1940, though some frontline troops were issued the weapon.[5] According to reports, the Finns disliked the rifle.[5] With its non-standard 7.35 mm caliber, it was problematic to keep frontline troops supplied with ammunition, and its non-adjustable rear sight (fixed for 300 m) made it ill-suited for use in precision shooting at the varied ranges encountered by Finnish soldiers during the conflict.[5] Soldiers also complained that the ammunition demonstrated excessive bullet dispersion on the target.[5] Whenever possible, Finnish soldiers discarded the weapon in favor of rifles acquired on the battlefield,[5] including standard models of captured Soviet-made Mosin–Nagant
Mosin–Nagant
rifles. The latter was more accurate and had the advantage of using commonly available 7.62×54mmR
7.62×54mmR
ammunition. By the outbreak of the Continuation War, Finnish Army headquarters had got the message. The remaining Mod. 1938 7.35 mm rifles were issued to the Finnish Navy, as well as anti-aircraft, coastal defense, and other second-line (home front) troops.[5] In 1941, the Italian military returned to a long-barrelled infantry rifle once again (slightly shorter than the original M91), the Carcano M91/41. True sniper versions never existed, but in World War I
World War I
a few rifles were fitted with telescopic lenses and issued for service use ( World War II
World War II
scoped rifles were strictly prototypes). Since the 1980s, several lots of Moschetti M91/38 TS (special troops' carbines) chambered for the German 8×57mm Mauser sS heavy ball round, have appeared on the surplus markets. Two small batches of Moschetti M91/38 TS carbines shows barrels marked 1938 and 1941, but they were not used at these times with any Italian forces, and their peculiar serial numbering suggests that these might just be rebored unused surplus barrels that were converted with other ones after 1945. Many 7.92 mm Carcano
Carcano
carbines were apparently exported to Egypt
Egypt
after World War II, where they served as drill and training carbines. Several also bear Israeli armed forces markings. The occasionally used model moniker "Model 1943 (M43)" for these converted 7.92mm rifles is wrong, as they were never so designated by the Italian military. German forces captured large quantities of Carcanos after Italy's capitulation in September 1943. It was the most commonly issued rifle to the German Volkssturm
Volkssturm
("People's Militia") units in late 1944 and 1945.[6] After World War II, Italy
Italy
replaced its Carcano
Carcano
rifles first with British Lee–Enfields and then with the US .30 caliber (7.62 mm) M1 Garand
M1 Garand
semi-automatic rifle which the Italians labeled the 'Model 1952 (M52). Finland
Finland
sold all of its approximately 74,000 remaining 7.35 mm M91/38 Carcano
Carcano
rifles on the surplus market. As a consequence, large quantities of surplus Carcanos were sold in the United States and Canada beginning in the 1950s. In Italy, the Polizia di Stato retained the rifle, retiring it from service in 1981. Captured 6.5mm Carcano
Carcano
rifles were used by Greek forces post-war, with ammunition supplied by U.S. Western Cartridge Co. Some were also converted to 6.5×54mm Mannlicher–Schönauer, one of the standard cartridges of the Greek military at the time. The original Carcano
Carcano
Modello 1895 cartridge (6.5×52mm), was also used in World War I-era machine guns in the Modello 30 light machine gun; the latter was employed in Abyssinia and in World War II
World War II
by Italian troops until the Armistice. In 1935 the 8×59mm Breda cartridge was adopted for some Italian heavy machine guns (rechambered Fiat-Revelli, Breda M37, Breda M38); its longer range and heavier projectile proved much more effective in combat, particularly against motorized troops. During the Libyan Civil War in 2011, many rebels went into battle with their personally-owned weapons, including old bolt-action rifles and shotguns. Of these, Carcano-style rifles and carbines have been the most frequently observed style of bolt-action rifle. They were predominantly used by rebels in the Nafusa Mountains. These old weapons saw combat once again due to the rebels' limited access to modern firearms. Additionally, some Libyan rebels preferred to use their familiar hunting weapons over the more modern, yet unfamiliar, assault rifles available.[7][8] According to Al-Fitouri Muftah, a member of the rebel military council overseeing the western mountain front, as many as 1 in 10 rebels in the region were armed with World War II-era weapons.[9] Variants[edit] All variants used the same Carcano
Carcano
bolt action, fed by an en-bloc clip; the rifles and carbines had different barrel lengths and differences in stocks and sights depending on barrel length.[10][11] As noted in the introduction, the word moschetto means literally "musket" but was used generally by Italian arms makers as a descriptor of Italian 20th century rifles, often shorter-barrelled rifles in the carbine style meant for other than regular infantry uses. Regular length infantry rifles are named as fucile models.

Fucile di Fanteria Modello 1891 (infantry rifle Model 1891, detachable knife bayonet, adopted in 1891 in 6.5×52mm caliber) 30.7 inch barrel.[12] Moschetto da Cavalleria (cavalry carbine) Mod. 91 (6.5×52mm carbine with integral folding bayonet, adopted in 1893) 17.7 inch barrel.[13] Moschetto per Truppe Speciali Mod. 91 (or 6.5×52mm M91 TS, carbine for special troops; TS = Truppe Speciali). These included machinegun, mortar and motorcycle crews, adopted 1897) 17.7 inch barrel.[12] Both sling swivels are mounted below the stock and barrel ring, where they are visible from both sides of the rifle. Moschetto di Fanteria (infantry carbine rifle) Mod. 91/24 (6.5×52mm carbine, modification of the original Mod. 1891 with shortened barrel and altered rearsight blade, adopted in 1924) 17.7 inch barrel.[12] Moschetto per Truppe Speciali Mod. 91/28 (lightly altered M 91 6.5×52mm carbine, adopted in 1928) 17.7 inch barrel.[12] Moschetto per Truppe Speciali con Tromboncino (con Tromboncino, with grendade launcher) Mod. 91/28 (modified 91/28 coupled with a 38.5 mm grenade launcher) 17.7 inch barrel. Fucile di Fanteria Mod. 1938 ("infantry rifle" Model 1938, adopted in 1938 in 7.35×51mm caliber, fixed sights, detachable folding knife bayonet) 20.9 inch barrel.[12]

Carcano
Carcano
Model 1891/38 Infantry rifle

Moschettos (carbines) Mod. 1938 (folding bayonet) and Mod. 1938 TS (detachable bayonet) carbine versions of Model 1938 short rifle in 7.35×51mm, 17.7 inch barrel. Fucile di Fanteria Mod. 91/38 (Model 1938 "infantry rifle" chambered in 6.5×52mm caliber since 1940). The barrel is the 20.9 inch barrel of the earlier 7.35 mm caliber, but now changed to 6.5 mm. Unlike the slightly shorter and lighter TS Moschetto, it also has both sling swivels on the left side of the stock, not visible from the right side of the rifle, identifying it as a Fucile di Fanteria type. This is the model (stamped "1940" to show manufacture date) owned by Lee Harvey Oswald
Lee Harvey Oswald
and determined to be the John F. Kennedy assassination rifle. From 1940, the Moschetto Mod. 1938 and Mod. 1938 TS were also made in 6.5×52mm. Fucile di Fanteria Mod. 91/41 (6.5×52mm "infantry rifle" adopted in 1941, adjustable sights), 27.2 inch barrel.[12] Type I Rifle
Type I Rifle
(6.5×50mm infantry rifle, produced for export to Japan, adjustable sights)

Users[edit]

 Albania[14]  Austria-Hungary: Captured during World War I, about 49,500 were converted to use the available 6.5×54mm Mannlicher–Schönauer cartridges.[15] Kingdom of Bulgaria[4]  Independent State of Croatia[16]  Ethiopian Empire  Egypt  Finland[14]  German Empire  Italy[4]

 Kingdom of Italy  Italian Social Republic

 Empire of Japan[14]  Persia  Republic of China[17]  Romania  Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes: In 1921 the Kingdom had about 11,000 Italian M91 rifles in stock. In the start of the 1920s it was proposed these be exchanged for Mauser rifles with the Kingdom of Italy. The proposition was declined in 1922 and these rifles remained in Yugoslav hands until 1941.[18]  Somalia  Saudi Arabia  Malta  Nazi Germany[6][19] National Liberation Army (Libya)[20]

Kennedy assassination rifle[edit] Main article: John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
assassination rifle

Carcano
Carcano
Model 1891/38 short rifle (Fucile di Fanteria) with a 4-power Ordnance Optics scope used by Lee Harvey Oswald
Lee Harvey Oswald
to assassinate John F. Kennedy

In March 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald
Lee Harvey Oswald
purchased a "6.5 [mm] Italian carbine," later improperly called a Mannlicher–Carcano, through mail order, for $19.95 ($155 in 2015 dollars).[21] The advertisement only specified a "6.5 Italian Carbine" and actually shows a Carcano
Carcano
model M91 TS, which was the 36" Carcano
Carcano
carbine model sold through the ad when it was originally placed. However, from a time 11 months before Oswald placed his order, the Chicago sporting goods store from which he purchased it had been shipping the slightly longer (40.2") Model 91/38 under the same ad, and this is the weapon Oswald received. Official reports have concluded that Oswald used this weapon to assassinate U.S. President John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
on November 22, 1963. The rifle, made in the Terni
Terni
arsenal in 1940 and bearing the serial number C2766, was equipped for an extra $7 with an inexpensive new 4x18 Japanese telescopic sight, on a sheet metal side mount. It was later scrutinized by local police, the FBI, the U. S. Army, and two federal commissions. Shooting tests, conducted by those groups and others using the original rifle or similar models, addressed questions about the speed and accuracy with which the Carcano
Carcano
could be fired. Following lawsuits over its ownership, the rifle ended up in storage at the National Archives. The assassination was one of the factors leading to passage of the Gun Control Act of 1968, which banned mail order sales of firearms. See also[edit]

List of common World War II
World War II
infantry weapons

Notes[edit]

^ Dunlap, Roy F., Ordnance Went Up Front, Samworth Press (1948), pp. 47: Dunlap, a small arms ordnance expert serving with the Foreign Weapons section in the Royal Ordnance Corps, broke down many Italian 6.5×52 mm cartridges, and sometimes found different components in the same rifle clip—up to four different types of smokeless powder, using different size flash holes for the primer in an attempt to regulate the burning speed and resultant velocity. ^ Dunlap, Roy F., Ordnance Went Up Front, Samworth Press (1948), pp. 47-48: The 6.5mm Carcano
Carcano
had reportedly proved inadequate in stopping charges of native tribesmen for a number of years, prompting various stop-gap solutions such as brass-jacketed multiple projectile or frangible explosive bullets, apparently for use against tribesmen in colonial conflicts. ^ Weeks, John, World War II
World War II
Small Arms, New York: Galahad Books, p. 47: the 6.5mm's blunt bullet and relatively low velocity also gave poor long range performance in machine guns, compared to the cartridges used by most other nations. ^ a b c Miller, David. Fighting Men of World War II, Volume I: Axis Forces--Uniforms, Equipment, and Weapons (Fighting Men of World War II). Stackpole Books. p. 369. ISBN 0-8117-0277-4.  ^ a b c d e f g The Finnish Army 1918–1945: Rifles, Part 6 Three Mausers and One Terni
Terni
Jaeger Platoon Website ^ a b Yelton, David. Hitler's Home Guard: Volkssturmman. Osprey Publishing. p. 62. ISBN 1-84603-013-7.  ^ حد ثوار جبل نافوسه يستعمل بنذقية جده الايطاليه وعمرها اكثر من 100 سنة ^ Chivers, C.J. (April 20, 2011). "Inferior Arms Hobble Rebels in Libya
Libya
War". The New York Times.  ^ Smith, David (July 12, 2011). "Libyan rebels make gains against Gaddafi forces in western mountains". The Guardian. Retrieved August 26, 2011.  ^ W.H.B. Smith, Small Arms of the World, Stackpole, 1966, 8th ed., pages 476, 477. ^ See also this guide ^ a b c d e f "The Italian Carcano
Carcano
Rifle". Archived from the original on 2011-09-24. Retrieved 2012-09-26.  ^ Julio S. Guzmán, Las Armas Modernas de Infantería, Abril de 1953 ^ a b c Walter, John. Rifles of the World. Krause Publications. p. 273. ISBN 0-89689-241-7.  ^ "Italian Carcano
Carcano
Rifles Captured by Austro-Hungary". hungariae.com. Manowar. 28 Dec 2010. Retrieved 21 Feb 2015.  ^ Vladimir Brnardic. World War II
World War II
Croation Legionaries: Croation Troops Under Axis Command 1941—45. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-4728-1767-9.  ^ Chinese Warlord Armies 1911-30 by Philip Jowett, page 22. ^ Bogdanivić, Branko (1990). Puške: dva veka pušaka na teritoriji Jugloslavije. SPORTINVEST, Belgrade. pp. 110–123. ISBN 86-7597-001-3.  ^ W. Darrin Weaver (2005). Desperate Measures: The Last-Ditch Weapons of the Nazi Volkssturm. Collector Grade Publications. p. 61. ISBN 0889353727.  ^ Old Italian Carcanos Used by Rebels in Libya
Libya
Revolutionary Program, July 7, 2011 ^ http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl?cost1=19.95&year1=1963&year2=2015

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Carcano.

Carcano
Carcano
Model Identification Modern Firearms Italian page on Carcanos Carcano
Carcano
M38 cal.7.35x51mm shooting (video); close-up (video)

v t e

Italian firearms and light weapons of World War II

Side arms

Beretta M1923 Beretta M1934 Beretta M1935 Roth–Steyr M1907 Steyr M1912 Glisenti M1910 Bodeo Model 1889

Rifles and carbines (fucili e moschetti)

Fucile da Fanteria Mod. 1891 Moschetto Mod. 91 da Cavalleria Moschetto per Truppe Speciali Mod. 91 Fucile Mod. 1938 Fucile Armaguerra Mod. 39

Submachine guns

Beretta 1918 MAB 38 Onorati OVP FNAB-43 OG-43 TZ-45

Machine guns and other larger weapons

Fiat-Revelli Mod. 1914 Fiat Revelli Mod. 1935 SAFAT M1926 Breda-SAFAT Breda Mod. 1930 Breda Mod. 5C Breda Mod. 1937 Breda Mod. 1938 Solothurn S-18/1000 Fucile Controcarro 35(P)

Grenades

OTO Mod. 35 OTO Mod. 42 SRCM Mod. 35 Breda Mod. 35 Breda Mod. 42 L Type P Bomb

Mortars (mortai)

Mortaio Brixia Mod. 35 Mortaio da 81/14 Mod. 35

Cartridge

.32 ACP .380 ACP 6.5×52mm Mannlicher-Carcano 7.35×51mm Carcano 8×57mm IS 8×59mm RB Breda 9×19mm Glisenti 9×19mm Parabellum 20×138mmB

v t e

Austro-Hungarian infantry weapons and equipment of World War I

Side arms

Revolvers

M1870 Gasser
M1870 Gasser
(limited) Gasser-Kropatschek M1876 (limited) Rast & Gasser M1898

Pistols

Roth-Steyr M1907 Steyr-Pieper M1908 Steyr-Pieper M1909 Frommer Stop Steyr M1912 Mauser C96
Mauser C96
(purchased) Dreyse M1907
Dreyse M1907
(purchased)

Rifles

Domestic

Werndl-Holub M1867 (limited) Kropatschek M1886 (limited) Mannlicher M1886 Mannlicher M1888 Mannlicher M1890 Carbine Mannlicher M1893 Mannlicher M1895 Mannlicher-Schönauer Gewehr 1888 Mexican Mauser M1912

Foreign

Berdan rifle
Berdan rifle
(captured) Ottoman Mauser (in Ottoman Empire) Mosin-Nagant
Mosin-Nagant
M1891 (captured) Carcano
Carcano
M1891 (captured) Type 30 (captured) Type 38 (captured)

Hand grenades

M15 stick grenade M17 egg grenade M17 stick grenade

Machine guns

Domestic

Salvator-Dormus M1893 Schwarzlose M.7 Schwarzlose M.7/12

Foreign

Perino M1908 (captured) Maxim M1910 (captured) Fiat-Revelli M1914 (captured) Villar-Perosa M1915 (captured) Madsen (purchased)

Helmets

M16 Stahlhelm M17 Stahlhelm Berndorf helmet

Other equipment

Hebel M18

.