The Carcano M41 Rifle

    The Italian Carcano family of rifles are generally regarded as poorly made, crude guns with few merits and poor accuracy. While they certainly aren’t as bad as is commonly believed, they are one of my least favorite bolt guns. The action is rough, the length of pull is awful, and they cannot fed spitzer bullets, however they do function and will send lead down range. Let’s shoot it!

    Transcript …

    (bolt sliding) (rifle firing) – [Voiceover] Hey guys, it’s Alex C. With TFBTV, and today we’re shooting an Italian Carcano M41 rifle, chambered in 6.5 by 52mm.

    Or simply 6.5 Carcano.

    The Carcano family of rifles has a long and storied history, they were produced for over 50 years in a variety of configurations, were used in both World Wars, and perhaps most famously, a variant was used to assassinate President Kennedy.

    Cue the conspiracy theorists.

    Anyways, the M41 is interesting, as it is the result of a failed experiment.

    Italy had tried to switch to a 7.35 caliber cartridge in the late 1930s, but supply and logistical constraints caused by the outbreak of World War II caused Italy to ditch their new cartridge and go back to the old 6.5.

    Anyways, the Carcano is a relatively simple cock unopened design, and the safety is actuated by the user’s right thumb with relative ease.

    The sights are kind of a throwback to the old Vetterli rifle, and are adjustable from 300 to 1000 meters.

    Although you can flip it forward and it reveals a different V notch to serve as a 200 meter battle sight.

    You can see the bolt is a little bit difficult to actuate, and it is removed by pulling the trigger, unlike on a Mauser where you pull the ejector box.

    That’s not a feature I like in a bolt action rifle.

    It does have one of the simplest bolts of any military bolt action rifles, aside from maybe the Moss 36 and the Arisaka.

    Two horizontally opposed lugs with a simple hook extractor, and the bolt handle serves as the safety lug.

    These rifles do take in block, Mannlicher style clips, and that’s why they’re erroneously sometimes referred to as Mannlicher Carcanos.

    They are loaded quite easily, and you’ll find these clips either brass or in kind of a black finished simple metal clip.

    It does hold six rounds as well, instead of the usual five in these types of systems.

    To load them, you simply depress the clip into the magazine, and bolt forward, and you’re ready to go.

    (bolt sliding) (rifle firing) So a few notes on the Carcano system.

    I really do like how easy they are to load, as I experienced when I did a run and gun with this rifle, loading it was extremely quick.

    Also, the recoil is very low, the 6.5 by 52mm cartridge doesn’t kick that much, but as you can see here, I’m really struggling to work the bolt.

    My biggest gripe about the Carcano is that primary extraction doesn’t begin until the bolt is almost turned up 90 degrees, so you don’t get that nice camming action of the bolt handle interacting with the rear receiver bridge like you do on a Mauser 98 system, or something like that.

    They’re just not smooth to operate, and that makes shooting them kind of a pain, it’s almost as bad as a crudely made M9130, I know crudely made M9130 is a bit redundant, but it’s just the way these rifles are, and they’re a bit difficult to shoot and handle quickly as a result.

    (bolt sliding) (rifle firing) I hope you guys enjoyed this quick look at the Carcano, I would like to do an in depth accuracy test with one of these rifles, however, most of the ammunition produced by manufacturers has an improper bullet size.

    The Carcano bullet diameter is actually slightly different than every other 6.5 that’s ever been made, so most manufacturers just take that shortcut.

    Anyways, guys, hope you enjoyed this video, special thanks to Ventura Munitions.

    Alex C.

    Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.