The Italian Workhorse: Carcano M91 Rifle

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Today we start a series looking at the evolution of the Carcano series of rifles. Starting with the M91 rifle adopted in 1892, the Carcano would be the workhorse of the Italian military through two world wars and many colonial expeditions. The rifle is a simple but durable and reliable system with a Mauser type bolt, split bridge, Mannlicher magazine/clip system, and Salvatore Carcano’s safety design. It was designed around a 6.5x52mm cartridge, the first 6.5mm military round adopted by any nation and using progressive-twist rifling.

The Carcano action would remain unchanged through all models of production until the end of World War Two, and it was a simple enough system that no “last ditch” sport of simplification was needed when the stresses of wartime manufacture began to press Italy. It is a much better system than it is generally given credit for.

Thanks to InterOrdnance / Royal Tiger Imports for providing this rifle from their Ethiopian imports for the video!

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