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Unknown Italian rifle

Discussion in 'The Powder Keg' started by Mike southers, Aug 23, 2002.

  1. A friend has an Italian rifle stamped "1885" and "Brescia". Would like to know more about this pup. It feeds from a clip as there is an ejection port for the clip at the bottom of the box magazine.
  2. PAPA G

    PAPA G G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    probably a vetterli origionally in a 11mm blackpowder cartridge. the italians converted most to 6.5X52 as a stopgap in WWI. not really a good idea to fire smokeless in these. check out they have lotsa good info on their italian firearms board.

  3. 6.5 Carcano Long Rifle

    Hi Papa G!
    I had my little Carcano 6.5 long rifle out to the range over the weekend, (it is stamped "FAT 41" on the receiver), and had a strange experience with it! I had loaded up some of the new Hornady 6.5 (.268) bullets in 160 Gr. Soft Point, (new Norma brass, Win. primers),using an old Hornady manual I have, (that manual lists the bullet diameters as being .264), and used 27.3 Gr. of IMR #4064. (That was one of the "starting loads" listed in the manual--) The muzzle velocity listed using .264 bullets was 1800 f.p.s.-- the first 2 rounds I fired were fine, chambered A.O.K., (extracted and ejected O.K., no signs of pressure--) and were within an inch of each other on the target, at 100 yards, with the original Italian "Roller Coaster" iron sights). The 3rd round of the SAME ammo fired O.K., but I got a large amount of gas "spit back", indicating a blown or punctured primer. it hit the target right next to the other, previous shots, but the bolt was severely jammed shut, and had to be opened by hitting it with a large piece of wood! When I finally got the bolt to release, it didn't want to eject the case, and I had to remove the bolt from the rifle to get the case off of the bolt! When I examined the case, the primer pocket was SEVERELY enlarged, and the primer was no where to be found! Thinking I had maybe harmed the rifle, I decided to test fire it with some Italian Mil-surp ammo, loaded in 1950, (I turned the rifle action upside down, and away from my bod, and triggered the round off down range. (I was alone at the range--) The rifle fired fine, and there was no problem extracting and ejecting the round, no sign of pressure. Thinking I had maybe had a "fluke" reload with too much powder in it, (which is VERY unlikely, as I HAND weigh each of my charges on a good "Pact" digital scale), I decided to try another one of the loads that had caused the problem, again firing it upside down, safely downrange. Same thing as the other round from that batch, the bolt had to be hammered open, and the case stuck to the bolt! The strange thing is, the recoil was normal, there were no obstructions in the barrel, and I had seated the bullets exactly to Manual specs, but again the primer was blown completely out and thr primer pocket enlrged. (I later compared the bullet seating depth to the Italian Mil-surp ammo, and mine were slightly deeper in the case than the original). I also measured the length of a pulled Italian Mil-surp bullet, and the Hornady bullet is only a whisker longer in length.
    I had a few other, different loads I wanted to try, but put the Carcano away until I had pulled the remaining bullets in that load, and checked the charges. I pulled 2 of the bullets on the #4064 loads, weighed the charges AND the bullets, and found the powder charges were within 1/10th of a grain, at the book listing of 27.3 grains, and the bullets were within 1/10th of a grain of 160 grains.
    What I don't understand is why the first 2 rounds from the SAME BATCH AND LOAD, fired A.O.K., with no sign of trouble, and the Mil-surp also!
    Any ideas, on this? (I know you know the Carcanos very well, and also know how really tough the actions are, contrary to most of the press on them).
    I've been handloading off and on for 50 years, and have never seen anything like this! I tried to contact Hornady at their web site, but they have no "Contact Us" section on it. Sure could use some of your feedback and expertise on the Carcanos. The only possible thing I could come up with, is that the load charge should be reduced a bit, to allow for the larger diameter bullets, but I was using the lowest charge listed, as it is! I haven't done a case capacity test yet, on all the brass, but Norma is usually good stuff.
    Looking forward to your reply!
    Be well, Shoot Safe, Ride Safe!
    Fred (Honcho)
  4. PAPA G

    PAPA G G&G Evangelist Forum Contributor

    out standing report. only thing i can think of off hand is maybe the primers don't seat tight enough on a few cases.
  5. PAPA G if primers are not seated tight enough they tend to fall out of the the cases.
    Just a thought, I have read that some of these Carcano rifles have a large variance in bore size. His load chart listed bullets at .264, he loads bullets at .268, if he has a rifle with a tight bore he could get off maybe two shots before the barrel heated up and became tighter still.
  6. 6.5 Carcano

    Hi, Dannie G.,
    Thanks for the comeback on my quirky Carcano, (come to think of it, the Italian lady friend I had for over 20 years was pretty unpredictable and quirky, too!!! LOL!)
    Anyway, I did some further tests on the shell cases, one each of the new, unfired Norma, and one of the fired 6.5 Carcano Milsurp ammo cases. I did a volume test on them both, with water, and found that the original Italian Milsurp case had a slightly larger capacity of water than the Norma case, but I had to factor in the fact that the Norma case is Boxer primed, and the Italian Milsurp case is Berdan primed, so the small difference in capacity may be because of this. I have a box of different brand commercial, Boxer primed cases that I had bought at a Gun Show, (made by Lapua in Finland, I think-), and I'm trying to track them down to do a capacity test on them, to compare with the Norma and Milsurp brass. (They were reloads, and had the Hornady .268 bullets in them, the Italian Milsurp ammo ALSO uses .268 bullets, and they fired fine with no sign of pressure).
    I also have an Italian 6.5 Carcano short rifle, which I was thinking about trying this load in, but the bore on the short rifle is pretty "shot out", and the last 2 inches of the barrel have very little rifling left. I have never been able to hit much of anything with this Carcano, beyond 50 yards, but it might be interesting to see what the results will be. (I would fire it upside down and away from my bod, at an empty range--)
    As stated in my original post, the load of #4064 I was using was the lowest posted load in the manual, and the first 2 rounds I fired from the same batch were fine, with no sign of pressure-- (The accuracy was also outstanding, as the 2 bullets impacted the target about 1 inch apart!)
    Still scratching my head, over this one!
    Cheers, Shoot Safe, Ride Safe!
    Fred (Honcho)