Friday, October 17, 2014

The Carcano

Reading through the comments on the junk gun post, I realize I will not be able to do separate posts for each one. I will be sharing the best of them, with pictures when possible. These stories are really about heartbreak and perseverance and would truly be best told around a campfire. As always, thanks for the comments, comments are The Precious to a blogger. Below the break is my junk gun.


If someone says the word Carcano junk gun, I can only think of this gun. It was given to me by a guy who said it was given to him. A roughly made Italian bolt action carbine with stamps that, when interpreted, told that it had been manufactured in the XVIIth year of Mussolini's reign. It looked like the one in the bottom of this picture, only more abused.

I looked it over. The bore looked okay. The front sight/bayonet lug was loose on the barrel. The trigger was set at about 15 pounds and was as smooth as a New England logging road in early spring. The sights were rudimentary, with the appearance of being an afterthought. Working the bolt took both strength and determination.

As you can see, the rounds had to be loaded in a clip (yes, a clip, I said clip, it is a clip). I had no such clip. Nor did I have any 6.5 Carcano ammo. Or dies and bullet moulds for 6.5 Carcano.

I took it, because free, and took it home. Put it in the safe. Looked at at, researched it, and decided to fill the barrel and hang it on the wall in the shop. I should have done that. It had been given away three times without anyone loading a round. That might have been a clue. Instead, after telling another friend about it, he said he wanted it, wanted to shoot it, because history and WWII. I gave it to him.

He hates me now and thinks me evil.

He bought ammo. Some WWII Italian surplus, some newer commercial. He bought dies and a bullet mould. Started reloading for it. Invited me to the range. At 25 yards, the purchased ammo would mostly stay on a paper plate. The reloaded stuff would tumble and keyhole. The trigger did not help, nor did the sights. Best effort by shooters that have some skill with rifles, bedded into sandbags and working at bringing the trigger back smoothly resulted in targets that made us laugh.

It sucked. As a test, I cut off some of the cast bullets, making them both lighter and shorter. At least they stopped keyholing. So he milled down the mould and reattached the sprue plate, so he could make a shorter bullet. Paper patching was tried. Different powders and recipes. We stopped before we got to moonlight sacrifices and runes.

Time was spent. The Carcano became one of the guns he kept taking to the range, always hoping that this time was the time, the problems would be solved. It wasn't hard to shoot, it was a lot like an M-1 carbine in size and recoil, so "one more try" became the mantra. In time and money, he could have bought a nice used rifle in some common caliber and been happily reloading and shooting. Instead, he was trapped, frustrated, but not quite willing to give up.

Finally he gave up. He still has it. It lurks. I think he thinks about what else he could try. Maybe he thinks about convincing me to take it back.

I had never really questioned the Warren Commission report until I shot this Carcano.

What a piece of junk.


ProudHillbilly said...

"I had never really questioned the Warren Commission report until I shot this Carcano."


NotClauswitz said...

Slug the barrel? I've heard Carcano caliber could vary since some were conversions from earlier pieces.

Murphy's Law said...

I've got two--a carbine and a long rifle. They're ok for what they are, especially if you feed them the newer Prvi ammo.

Will said...

Want an interesting read while recovering? Look for the book "Mortal Error". Written about the shooting expert that looked into JFK's death. Did you know that the Warren Commission had NO ballistics experts involved? Find out why, when you read the book.

Goober said...

As always, you mention JFK, and you'll get a bunch of comments about Oswald, Carcano rifles, ballistics, and so forth.

Gang, it was an 88 yard quartering shot, on a target moving 11 miles per hour (meaning for all intents and purposes, it wasn't moving at all -you don't need to lead a target moving that slowly with a super-sonic rifle round, especially when it's quartering away).

Give me the shittiest rifle you can drum up and I can make that shot while half asleep and drugged to the gills. I could give a carcano to my 6 year old nephew and he could make that shot.