Thursday, May 05, 2011

A rifle a day keeps the doctor away?

Last week it was Murphy's turn, this time it was mine. I was in at the doctor's office for a check-up, and while he found nothing wrong, he kept saying things like "You're getting to the age when..." and "People our age need to start..."

Look, Doc. I like you, but you keep up with that "old" stuff and I'm gonna beat you with your own cane. Seriously.

So this afternoon, just because he pissed me off, I got my bicycle out and rode around town for an hour. Honestly, this leg issue really put me off my workout regimen and I do need to step the cardio up again.

And as I finished the ride, I stopped in at a local store that I pop into once in a blue moon and saw an old rifle for sale behind the counter. Now I'm a sucker for the old stuff, so just to make conversation, I asked to see it. The store owner didn't know what it was and was just selling it for another customer. Apparently it had been sitting there for about six months. I recognized it as a Italian Model 1891 Carcano, but that was all I knew about it. Looking it over though, it looked pretty good. Everything was there, nothing was messed with, and it even had it's cleaning rod. It wasn't import marked, either, which is always a plus with me. The price tag read $80.00, but the shop owner said that he'd take whatever he could get for it. When I offered $40 just on a whim, he took it.

So here it new Carcano. (click on the pictures to enlarge them.)It's a little shopworn, but all in all, it looks pretty good for it's age. The receiver bore a date of 1897.

I'd just thought that this was a garden-variety 1891/41, the basic World War Two long rifle, but when I got it home and looked up it's arsenal, Torre Annunziata, I discovered that it definitely was an 1897-produced rifle. Torre Annunziata was shut down in 1900.

I already have one Carcano. It's this cherry M38 cavalry carbine. I bought this one from an old World War Two vet back in the mid-1990's when he brought it into a gun show where I was working an information table. He said that he brought it back from the war and now wanted to sell it and buy an M-1 carbine. It looked like the archetype for all of those "never fired, only dropped once" jokes--it was pristine. His asking price: $50. Considering that the importers were selling really crappy Carcanos for $40-$60 at that time, I bought this nice non-import-marked one from him. I later saw him walking out with a carbine and a big grin on his face so both of us went home happy. I shot it a bit--and somewhere around here I still have a video of a much-younger me making a bayonet charge with it against an old sofa in a dump--but ammo was hard to find and pricey, and it was never a smooth or accurate shooter, so I retired it to the wall rack.

This new one though...the bolt's a lot smoother, and the barrel's surprisingly clean, with pretty good rifling. I think it'll shoot, so I'm going to grab some reloading dies and make use of the empty Boxer-primed 6.5 brass that I've been saving for about 25 years.

Here are my two Carcanos together.Note the folding bayonet beneath the barrel of the little M38.

I honestly don't know what this rifle's worth, but from my preliminary research, it's one of the scarcer models and I probably didn't get hurt too badly at all for $40. And I'm going to have at least $40 worth of fun with it before I clean it up and rack it above the carbine.

Both rifles shoot this 6.5mm round from a six-round clip. The odd shape was to ensure that it tumbled on impact, causing a much more devastating wound that regular bullets.The whole affair feeds into the rifle from the top, and when the sixth round is fired, the empty clip drops free from the bottom of the rifle.

Here's the carbine with it's bayonet extended.I'm thinking that it'll make a great Murphy prodder.

Or not."Go ahead...poke me with that again and see what happens. I dare ya."


  1. Nice acquisitions and yeah, Murphy is giving you "that look". Perhaps still upset over the video too huh?

  2. Murphy is one beautiful dog. German Shepherds are so smart and so loyal and protective, I love that breed.

    That picture of him, you can see his muscles in that black fur of his.

    You're lucky to have such a dog who seems to be so full of personality.