Re: M 39 / Armaguerra
Semi-Automatic Rifle Armaguerra Mo.39
Right side view, note uncluttered lines, cooling slots in barrel. A good looking modern rifle.
In the period prior to The Second World War most of the more populous countries had experimented with semi-automatic rifles, which would eventually supplant the manually operated ones in current use.
Mauser and Mannlicher both had designs out prior to World War One. The Mauser M1916 rifle having been in limited use during that conflict. Similarly, the Mondragon of the l893 and 1908 designs, made in Switzerland, had been used both by Mexico as well as Germany. Legend has it that Pancho Villa got his buckwheats with a number of Mondragons! The Danish Madsen Model l903 light machinegun was actually the off spring of a design used for a semi-automatic rifle in service in that country in the late 1880’s. This design was actually the first successful semi-automatic rifle in military service, but that’s a story for another day.
The United States of course had already tested many designs, both foreign and domestic. At the time of the rifle we are going to talk about the Johnson and the Garand were the last surviving candidates, with all the earlier test models having fallen by the wayside.
In Italy the large Beretta firm had offered their gas operated Fucile Automatico M.931 and Model 1937 designs. The six shot clip loading of the m91 was standard on the m.1931 but was altered to a stripper clip loading system in the M.37. In addition this was also chambered for the 7.35mm cartridge as well as the old 6.5x 52mm load. Both of these design used a rotating bolt locking system. Another made by Scotti, the M.1931 was also being tested but was not considered for adoption.
The rifle that had the most success (apparently 10.000 were ordered) was the so-called ‘Armaguerra’. Also known as ‘Fucile Armaguerra Mo.39’. Actually made by the well known Revelli firm.
Shooting it was all positive, no stoppages or malfunctions at all, and very pleasant of course. It operated by short recoil with the barrel moving approximately ˝" back to unlock. It locked by means of a dropping block just like a P.38.