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Discussion Starter #1
Hello to all, it's been awhile since I have posted. I am restoring a Carcano 91/38 Cavalry Carbine for a friend. I took the metal to my local gunsmith for bluing. Upon the completion of his work, he advised me the metal is very soft, and he would recommend not shooting this rifle at all.
My question is: Could my friend reload with blackpowder and cast bullets, and stay within safe operating pressures?

Thanks, "Ridge"
 

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If your gunsmith is saying its not safe -I wouldn't shoot it. Have another Smith take a look at if he say its fine then if you can find load data for it in BP start with the lowest loading. If it shows no signs of pressure problems or function - then shoot on. Just make sure your wearing eye protection in case it blows. Is this a cartridge or front stuffer?
:D
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Gunnut:

Thank you for responding. In answering your question; no, it is brass loaded ammo. The Italian cartridge is listed as a 6.5mm, however the true diameter is .268. I believe Hornaday sells loaded ammo for this particular rifle with a bullet that is around .267 diameter, carrying a weight of 160 grains.

I advised my friend to make a wallhanger out of it , as it means something to him as a family heirloom. Still, he wants to shoot it. In an effort to his wishes, I thought I might inquire as to the possibility of maintaining lower (read safe) pressures using the black combined with a cast bullet that could be formed to a true .268, which matches the bore diameter.

If we did go on to fire it, the initial few rounds would be done with the rifle strapped down to an old tire, etc, and a string to the trigger. (Much easier on the head neck and shoulders....lol) Anyway, if the black and cast combo proved to be safe, he could enjoy the rifle in the way he wants.

"Ridge"
 

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Carcano

THe Italian Manlicher Carcano series of rifles have been given a bad "rap" in the gun press. In reality they were / are compeditive with anything to come out of Europe in the late 19th to early 20th century. They utilize a modified Mauser type bolt (2 fwd lugs and a one peice bolt body) with a Manlicher magazine. The 6.5MM round for which they were chambered, while not a real powerhouse was servicable and very pleasant to shoot. It was always a smokeless powder load, data is available in many current reloading manuals. It is roughly equal to a 30/30 in effectiveness.
As a group, Carcanos are decent shooters, I would recomend always staying with the original cartridge and pressure levels. Normally the metals used were correct for their intended use, perhaps yours is a late war time rifle.
You can load it with black powder but the small bore and fast twist will foul rapidly.

Good Luck and happy blasting
Deo et Libertas in Aeturnum
 

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I have two Carcanos that I shoot without rearranging any of my body parts. Can't hit anything with either one, but they haven't let go on me. I'd have another 'smith look at it. If he comes to the same conclusion, then make it a wall-hanger.
DC
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys. I will go ahead with the opinion of another smith. The smith I took it to had an obvious bias against the Carcano from the moment I walked thru the door with it. I realize they aren't much "to write home about", but this one means something to my best friend as his father brought it home from the European Theater of WWII.

Perhaps I could find a mild load in smokeless, and test it using the above described method. Any suggestions on available bullets? I am thinking that Hornaday makes larger diameter 6.5mm for this rifle, but it weighs in at around 160gr. Is this correct? Would a lighter bullet in 6.5mm @ .264 diameter help to abate pressures?

Thanks "Ridge":)

MONTANI SEMPER LIBERI
 

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Lee's manual has data for it. I know that another of my manuals has some too, but I can't remember which one. (Not at home, post from a public terminal). I just use a cast bullet at modest velocity. Actually, I can hit something with them - that bullet must go somewhere.:p

I'll check and see what I got for load data, but I won't be back around until next week sometime.

DC
 

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Discussion Starter #8
DMC:

Time is no objective....lol. I will wait to hear from you, and many thanks.

"Ridge"


MONTANI SEMPER LIBERI
 

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Hi, Ridge Runner:
Hornady #3 & #4, Hodgdon # 25 ,Lyman #46 and Sierra #4 have data. Lyman#47 and Speer #13 don't have data. Taking a wild guess at a case capacity of 40 grains of water, the Powley computer indicates that Alliant RL-15 or the W760 - H414 twins are good powders. Sierra #4 recommends 24.7 grains of RL-15 to start, 29.5 grains max with the 160 grain Semi-pointed. This is good for 2000 fps with a 21" barrel.

Let's wait and see what DMC loads.

Bye
Jack
 

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Norma brass, WLR primer. 27.0 grains of BL-C(2) behind a 150 grain cast bullet, gas checked, Lyman mold #266673. COL 2.920. A very mild load. Hodgdon claims a 30.0 grain max with a 150 grain jacketed bullet, but with the Carcano I never try to hot-rod it.

I'm loading another with an IMR powder, but my notes don't indicate where I came up with this one so maybe it's better left unsaid.

DC
 

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Carcano

DMC - I love your reply, "I can't hit anything with either one". I have a whole bunch of old military rifles, some of which "I can't hit anything with" either, but the joy of taking them out and pounding away is enough for me. I have two 6.5 Carcano rifles, neither of which have been taken out yet, and a little cabine in 7.35. I know that it is LOUD, very loud. I do plan to shoot the two rifles, though I'll use reduced loads with cast bullets.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
DMC:

Thanks for the data and mold number. I think I will fire 'er up with that load. BTW, don't feel too bad about "not hitting anything with it" ... I have several "tack drivers", and I can't hit anything with them either!! lol.

Gunnut: You bet! Always get top notch advice here.:cool

Thanks everyone, "Ridge"
 
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