Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Range Day...with the Classics

Let's face it--AR's, though practical, are a dime-a-dozen these days. I wanted to shoot something a bit different yesterday, so I went a bit farther back into the gun vault and found this wonderful Italian Mannlicher Carcano rifle, Model 1891.
Yep. This was the one for the day. Took it, along with a couple of boxes of 6.5x52 ammunition and a few clips (this rifle uses clips) and off to the range I went.

This one left the arsenal at Torre Annunziata in 1897. And she's original and un-messed-with.
The stock still has the remains of the cartouche from the Terni arsenal, where it was re-worked smetime in it's service life..

Those clips I mentioned:
This one holds six rounds of 6.5 ammunition. The clips insert into the rifle from the top, and when the last round fires, the clip drops out the bottom. The rounds are elongated and tumble when they hit. The old rifle has a 30 inch barrel and "twist gain" rifling that increases the twist over the length of the barrel.(It starts at 1:19.25 at the breech and is 1:8.25 at the muzzle.) This was done for increased accuracy and it worked, but it was tie-consuming and expensive so it was dropped in later production rifles. This one still has it though, and you can actually look down the bore and see it in the right light.

Here's a loaded clip in place. The rifle's ready to go.

Using the battle sight, it was dead on at 50 yards. (The 100 yard line was otherwise occupied by some boring AR guys.) With just a bit of hold-under, it was shattering sporting clays on the berm with every shot. I was more than happy, to say the least.

The sights begin at 600 yards and go out to 2000.
Like most countries adopting smokeless powder cartridges at the turn of the century, they were a bit optimistic. And of course, volley fire was the game of the day, machine guns not really being on line yet.

It shot straight and true, even though the trigger was so worn that it broke clean at about a pound or a pound and a half with no staging or other indicator that it was going to fire. Just tough the trigger and move it half an inch and...BANG! But it hit where it was aimed, and once I got used to that trigger, it was a dream to shoot.

My only issue with it was that it gets so hot so fast. By the time I was half way through the second box of ammo (fired at a rather sedate pace as I had to load clips), most of the metal and even some of the wood was too hot to touch. But as a fighting rifle? Heck, come the Revolution, if nothing else is available, I'll have no problem handing this one out to a friend or using it myself once I've burned through my stocks of NATO ammunition and worked back through all of the World War Two arms in the safes. But then again, it's always been my hope that I'll last long enough to fight my Trapdoor and Martini-Henrys, and if I have to go down, let it be in a bayonet charge after all ammunition in the Lair has been expended.
If that day comes as I fear it might, this rifle will likely give a good accounting for itself in such a fight, of that I'm sure.


  1. That is a nice Rifle!

  2. Owned many a Carcaino. 30 inch, 21 inch, and 17.7 inch barrels (I liked the 17.7 inch artillery carbines a lot.)

    Those are 140gr slugs you used. The normal ones were 156 grain and round nosed.

    I'd love to get a 6.5 Manlincher carbine though! Or one of those 17 inch bbl Belgian 8mm Mausers!

  3. Aha! Learned something today - I didn't realize there was something besides stripper clip loading for these old rifles. You just put the whole clip in this one and start firing.

  4. I hope you are keeping up exercises for your trigger finger. It sounds like you might be shooting constantly for a week or three to get down to this rifle. Remember to recruit ammo bearers for that event.

  5. Anonymous12:08 PM

    A very nice rifle