WORST Battle BA rifle design...

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by ysacres, Mar 7, 2003.

  1. ysacres

    ysacres Well-Known Member

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    polishshooter
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 3567
    (6/14/02 10:58:06 pm)
    Reply WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    OK, maybe we exhausted the "Best" topic, how about the WORST? Feel free to expound on the "other..." (Was the Werndl a BA? )
    ANY Carcano...
    MAS 36
    Berthier/Lebel
    Arisaka Type 99
    Other?

    Show results

    "Don't hear him call you an ---hole, hear WHY he's calling you an ---hole." -------- From "A Season on the Brink"

    polishshooter
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 3568
    (6/14/02 11:00:51 pm)
    Reply Re: WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    "The Gun that never killed anybody on purpose."

    Anyway, I tried to be subjective, but how did the French get TWO entries on my "from the hip" list? (Think I'm prejudiced?)

    And as much as I like the Arisaka type 38 action, I decided to list the 99 at least, that safety SUCKED...

    (And the alternative was the "Destroyer," and I didn't want to PO Bob... )
    "Don't hear him call you an ---hole, hear WHY he's calling you an ---hole." -------- From "A Season on the Brink"

    Tank commanderA24
    Member
    Posts: 37
    (6/14/02 11:14:24 pm)
    Reply Re: WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    Well this is a hard topic to decide. They are all really bad.
    I do have a soft spot for the MAS36 though. I have a 36/51 which I like. It seems fairly accurate and if it weren't for the odd ball caliber it would be even better. The short bolt throw means faster cycling. I don't shoot it or its cousin the 49/56 much because of the ammo problems.

    I went with the lebel because it was an out dated design but it was a hard chioce against the Carcano. Did it still use the tube magazine into WW2?

    TCA24


    Armor Rules "Perhaps today is a good day to die!" Mr Worf.

    cointoss 2
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    (6/14/02 11:27:48 pm)
    Reply Re: WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    Polish, I have to agree with you about the Arisaka, the safety sucked. And as an old WWII vet told me, no wonder why they lost the war as I tried to turn the safety on an old one I had. Just think if your palm was wet and you tried to turn it. Still the biggest piece of crap was the Carcanos and the ones especially chambered for 8mm. Glad I never had to pull the trigger on em!
    cointoss2

    Xracer
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 2309
    (6/15/02 8:25:45 am)
    Reply Re: WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    I agree on that "palm safety" on the Arisaka.....BUT...it was probably the strongest bolt action ever made (at least until Weatherby came along).

    A family friend brought a couple of 'em back from Okinawa. One was a crudely made POS.....the other (except for the balsawood stock), was beautifully made....excellent machining, smooth operating....it even had a chrome bore.

    jimejones
    Member
    Posts: 46
    (6/15/02 8:59:28 pm)
    Reply WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    The best of the Arisaka 99s were a good weapon. We should judge them seperately from those made late in the war. That safety was awkward, but it was simple and it provided protection from punctured primers. I wonder if the anti-aircraft sights ever brought down a plane, though.

    polishshooter
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 3569
    (6/16/02 8:17:22 pm)
    Reply Re: WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    Jime, yeah, actually most armies between the wars considered their standard infantry rifle to be a potent AA weapon, heck, the French Foriegn Legion considered the rifle their MAIN AA weapon up until the 70s!

    I guess you have to give the Japs an "A" for effort, that sight is pretty intricate.

    Agree about the strength of the action, it was PROVED to be much stronger than the Mauser M98, the Springfield, the Winchester Model 70...no argument there...

    But I have to wonder exactly how many soldiers of Nippon were shot accidentally on patrol...you just KNOW they carried it with the safety off...

    "Push while turning" doesn't even work that well for childproof medicine bottles, and you sure as heck aren't getting shot at while trying to get a Tylenol...

    Granted, the Mosin Nagant's wasn't much better, but at least PULLING while turning seems more natural, and at least you can SEE what you are doing, and when it is engaged/disengaged.

    But the Arisaka is really a pretty decent weapon if you disregard the safety, not much below if at all any other contemporary BA rifle, actually a Mauser knock off,...and I do like to shoot my son's 38, I really like that 6.5...

    But do you BELIEVE Mussolini in a "Gesture of Friendship to an Axis Partner" tried to rework the Arisaka with a Carcano action? Actually gave a few thousand of them to the Jap Navy and they used them in their landing forces in WWII...

    With friends like that, who NEEDS enemies???
    "Don't hear him call you an ---hole, hear WHY he's calling you an ---hole." -------- From "A Season on the Brink"

    jonkx
    Member
    Posts: 23
    (6/18/02 11:15:38 pm)
    Reply Re: WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    As anyone from Gunbroker will tell you, I actually LIKE the Carcano... and for that matter the other guns on your list. Regarding the oft misaligned Italian gun, I ask a few key questions.

    1. Have you ever heard of a Carcano actually failing, i.e. blowing up, even with the high power German 8mm conversions? I know a guy who shoots the mule kicking Turk surplus from his with no trouble. It was a well made, solid action, as good as any other 1891 rifle... just outmoded by WW2.

    2. Have you ever fired a 6.5 Carcano using .268 bullets, for which it was designed? Probably not; try using .304 bullets in your Garand and see if you can hit anything. In short, modern reloading efforts with .264 bullets just can't succeed with any accuracy.

    3. If there was anything wrong with the design, wouldn't Italy have replaced it? In fact, it served well, and did its job.

    So that being said...

    My nomination for the worst bolt action combat rifle would have to be (pause, thinking, taps teeth...) well, I can't think of a REALLY bad one, they all got the job done. If forced to pick, I'd have to pick either the 6mm Lee Navy as it burned out its own bore quickly, but there is nothing wrong with the design of the gun, but with the powder used in the cartridge; OR the Ross rifle as it would blow up and kill you if you assembled it wrong. Yes, definately, the Ross gets my vote.

    polishshooter
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 3577
    (6/18/02 11:35:43 pm)
    Reply Re: WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    I witnessed a 6.5 Carcano carbine blow gas into my bro-in-law's face when a case ruptured...if he wasn't wearing glasses he would have lost an eye, as it was his eyebrow was burned pretty badly...

    That's the ONLY time I ever witnessed any rifle do that, so maybe I am prejudiced because of it...

    Now I know, it might have been the ammo, and/or other problems, but he had fired about 20 or 30 rounds through it before that with no problems, and it was in pristine shape, back in the 70s when there were NICE ones around...and he was pretty safe, I'm sure it was checked for headspace and all...he had a friend that was a Gunsmith....

    And I HAVE heard of 8mm Carcanos blowing, but only anecdotal...just like M95s converted to 8x57, and Mosin Nagants to .30-06...but never SAW one....or for that matter a "low numbered" 03 either...

    Now that I think about it the only handgun I witnessed blowing was a Colt Series 70 in .38 Super that I know the idiot was pushing to hit IPSC major, and since after that I wouldn't fire a Super if you gave it to me, so maybe I AM prejudiced....

    I guess since Italian military small arms generally were so bad, between the wars, EXCEPT for maybe the M1934 Beretta pistol...and the Italians sucked so badly in actual warfare at the time...it's tough to give them credit for a decent rifle. If you want an example of BAD weapons look at ANY of the Beretta MGs of pre-WWII, they NEVER got them to work right, even with the fluted chambers, and automatic oilers, and even oilers for the MAGAZINES...NEAT trick in a dusty desert....

    I mean, what was the weapon the Italians were carrying when they were routed by Ethiopian Tribesmen armed basically with lances? Carcanos and Beretta MGs....

    Now while the 6.5 carbine would SEEM to be a decent "mountain rifle" in Greece, they got their clocks cleaned there. But then again, they had there clocks cleaned everywhere else too, unless they used poison gas...

    And for the typical ranges in the Desert, where most of the Italian Army saw action, you have to admit the 6.5 was pretty light, and since all ammo had to be humped tremendous distances, it WAS pretty stupid to have 2 or even THREE different rifle calibers issued...

    And one other thing, name for me ANY other BA rifle or carbine from that era issued with FIXED sights?

    I dunno, but the Carcano is about the ONLY rifle from that era that does NOT interest me....
    "Don't hear him call you an ---hole, hear WHY he's calling you an ---hole." -------- From "A Season on the Brink"

    Go Get Beer
    Member
    Posts: 14
    (6/19/02 2:38:46 am)
    Reply Re: WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    AFAIK, the work of Col. Salvatore Carcano is sith. The Italians knew they didn't have a decent rifle and tried to put the 38 model in 7mm into production, but that was halted in order not to have 2 calibers of ammo in one army. It was the model 38 that had a fixed sight (300 meters) and model 91 had a regular adjustable sight (up to 1800 meters, I think) and progressive rifling (didn't do much good anyway). The Wehrmaht with its perpetual lack of firearms, used the 38' Carcanos rebarrelled for 7.92 Mauser only after Italy surrendered and then mostly in rear echelon units.
    Feel free to disregard anything I posted above. I've never had a gun in my hand and looked at historical firearms only through a glass plate.

    Xracer
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 2340
    (6/19/02 9:20:18 am)
    Reply Re: WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    Not to worry, GGB....a lot of us are "armchair experts". I personally have only fired a few of the rifles mentioned here, but that doesn't stop me from having an "expert opinion".

    Actually, I kind of liked the 6.5 Carcano. I had a buddy that bought a couple from Klein Sporting Goods (and no, his name wasn't L.H. Oswald). I thought it was a nice, light, handy woods gun.....though all we used it against was the dangerous and wiley Campbells Tomato Soup Can.

    I've gotta vote for the Ross....there were a bunch of bad battleguns out there, but that sucker could kill ya!

    jonkx
    Member
    Posts: 25
    (6/19/02 4:50:52 pm)
    Reply Re: WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    Well, I have been drenched in powder gas from failed cartridges from Mauser 91's, 88's, and Dutch Mannlichers, Schmidt-Rubins, and even from a K98, though not too bad there as it has a good gas diversion and shield system... and the Carcano definately falls into the category of guns that has a poor gas venting system in case of cartridge failure. But again, for 1891 it was much like its contemporaries in this regard. The gas stings, no doubt, especially when I'm not wearing safety glasses- bad habit I know- but so far no sight loss. I heard of one fellow over on THE Carcano websight- so they bill themselves- who was commissioned to blow up a Carcano on purpose for a state sponsored video. Even a case full of bullseye wouldn't do it; in the end he had to use nitro. Any gun that can take a case FULL of Bullseye must be at least fairly strong, no?

    My favorite action is the Enfield system; I feel the Norwegian Krag or Danish may take the lead if and when I get one, as they would have the smoothness of the US Krag but with more strength.

    polishshooter
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 3583
    (6/21/02 10:39:07 pm)
    Reply Re: WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    But then again, I wonder if you could fire a 8mm bullet down the 6.5 barrel of a Carcano like the guy did with the type 99 Arisaka he had rebarreled by accident with a type 38 barrel,and only complain about the "stiff recoil..." Even the NRA couldn't believe it when he sent in the rifle and tested it...PERFECTLY swaged 6.5mm bullets out of 7.7s...kinda LONG when they were done, too...don't try this at home, BUT...no damage to the action!


    That Arisaka is DEFINITELY the strongest military BA ever made, hands down.

    And as long as we are talking gas relief/protection...that button head atrocious safety on the Arisakas would do a GREAT job of containing blowback in case of a rupture, so maybe they weren't TOO bad...


    And GGB? Yeah, maybe some of us HAVE fired some of the guns we are so opinionated about, some more than others, but then again we'll argue about Charlevilles and Spencers and Burnsides and Halls and snaphaunces just as vehemently, and probably none of us have fired any of them either...but will that stop us?

    NOT...


    BTW, various 11mm or so Werndl blackpowder BA rifles really sucked TOO....

    (But I read an account written by a British Army observer with the Italian Army in WWI on the Austrian front...who said the Italian troops thought the Austrian Landwehr reserves facing them armed with them had better rifles than their own M91 Carcanos...NO lie... )


    "Don't hear him call you an ---hole, hear WHY he's calling you an ---hole." -------- From "A Season on the Brink"

    1886lebel
    Member
    Posts: 2
    (6/29/02 3:37:13 pm)
    Reply Re: WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    I reuse to vote for any weapon here that you have posted.
    My vote has to go to worst firearms design as the Germam Mausers, Yes i think that is my vote.
    I believe that most people want to think of Italian, French, Japanese as junk.
    What country in its right mind is going to issue a combat rifle that unsafe. The French Mle.1886 Lebel rifles were designed at at time when there was no other Smokeless rifle around,
    and everyone else was using blackpowder cartridge weapons.
    Now i can say that this design was outdated very quickly as new weapons were designed all over the world,but for its time it was a truley unique weapon.
    When the Great War broke out, France had the largest army in the world at the time, and needed every damn rifle it made and even went to using Gras' , but even other participants in the Great War did the same thing using older designed weapons.
    The Japanese Weapons got a bad rap after WW2 as junk in that they were made bad. Bull.
    The Japanese Ordnance system tested and tested every designed weapon system it had until very early 1945, even well after the weapons were provn designs.
    I have several very late model made Type 99's that look rough and crudly made, but they very accurate shooters, and are strongly made. There were some that were training rifles that were made as such and this is where the problem of that they blow up came from as some idiot shoots them and they weren't designed to shoot live ammo.
    The safety was designed for the Manchurian weather climate by the way and from what i read of soilders accounts there that it wasn't vunerable to freezing up and could be well worked with a gloved hand.
    Sorry if ranted on here,but i had to voice my opinion.
    Patrick
    The Curio and Relic Firearms Forum


    Tac401
    Administrator
    Posts: 5104
    (6/29/02 3:51:54 pm)
    Re: WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    Good post Patrick, I just learned something new!
    TFF VMBB Email Tac

    inplanotx
    Member
    Posts: 30
    (7/2/02 3:13:29 pm)
    Reply Re: WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    I voted for the Carcano. I have only handled two, but the feel of the weapon was cheap! To add a little to Patricks post, I own two Arisaka's. One was brought home by my father after WWII and was the later version with the "headstone" rear sight. It is a type 99 and 7.7mm. I have never had a desire to fire this as the stock and rifle itself were in very poor shape. However, I was given an early Type 99 that I had a gunsmith cut off the first 6 inches of the barrel (front sight included) and had the antiaircraft sight on which I took off to mount a scope on it. I also remember seeing an article in the Rifleman NRA magazine where someone wrote in about having loaded a 7.7mm round in the earlier 6.5mm rifle and pulled the trigger. They estimated that the chamber pressure was 100K psi and when the bullet was recovered it was greater than 2 inches long and swaged in the barrel. The receiveer did not blow up. Maybe someone remembers the article and can point us to it.

    Rick
    I am not a native Texan, but I got here as fast as I could!

    Xracer
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 2393
    (7/2/02 3:59:19 pm)
    Reply Re: WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    Well, that's one way of sizing a bullet!

    LIKTOSHOOT
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 5281
    (7/2/02 4:13:59 pm)
    Reply Re: WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    Kennedy should have been so lucky.........

    Bob In St Louis
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 2496
    (7/3/02 1:53:05 pm)
    Reply Re: WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    PolishShooter - One last little addendum:

    The Destroyer carbine was designed as a police carry weapon, it wasn't designed as a battle rifle. They used them for shooting the hairy little poneys out from under them Basque Separatists, then popped the Basque with their Astra.

    I vote for the Carcanos.
    Crusty Cruffler of Fine Spanish Pistols - Eibar Rules!

    polishshooter
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 3591
    (7/4/02 12:12:09 am)
    Reply Re: WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    BINGO, I knew I could get Bob to show up here with that Destroyer crack...

    (I actually wouldn't mind having one of them...I still have a box of Largo laying around here somewheres...)

    Welcome, you new guys, I love the new passion, God knows none of us old timers have any...

    It's tough comparing apples to apples, so many WERE contemporaries, but from the Lebel to the K98 there was a helluva lot of experimentation going on, in fact MOST all BA actions that ever saw action were designed in that relatively short time, about 10-12 years...everything after about 1898 to 1900 was really just a modification or refinement of an existing design.

    And 1886? A kindred soul, I never figured out if I'm just prejudiced, still po'ed about '39, or just a nut, but I get REALLY riled up when I hear somebody claim "German Superiority" on anything from the KAR98 to the Bf109 to the Tiger, and even maybe as far as the Leopard...

    I STILL think the main reason the Mauser is so well known and liked is that Paul von was such a good huckster, like PT Barnum and Oliver Winchester rolled into one, he made SO many sweetheart deals to get countries to buy his rifles, at a time when most designers like Lebel, Mannlicher, Mosin, etc, were still pretty xenophobic and nationalistic, only wanting THEIR country to have their design...

    And I think the MAIN reason Mausers were so well liked was the CARTRIDGES...the 7x57 is a GREAT hunting round, and the 8x57 MAY arguably be the round EVERY subsequent rimless evolved from...

    But Mausers interest me only slightly more than Carcanos, unless "Radom" is written on them somewhere...
    "Don't hear him call you an ---hole, hear WHY he's calling you an ---hole." -------- From "A Season on the Brink"

    Xracer
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 2412
    (7/4/02 8:26:26 am)
    Reply Re: WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    Polish....you've gotta get yourself a VIS (if only for patriotic reasons). A nice cross between a 1911 and an M35 HiPower. They're a sweet shooting pistol....even if they are 9mm.

    I still say the Ross was the worst (and most dangerous) BA of all times.

    obelix2
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 360
    (7/17/02 12:45:16 am)
    Reply for Polish
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    X is right about the Ross -- in the field (meaning, in that war, in the mud), it would not do. And yes, if you put the bolt back together wrong, very possible, it could take your jaw out, something that you never hear about with other straight-pull BAs like the Austrian 95. In fact, the Canadians had to abandon national pride and adopt the Enfield.

    But worst BA?

    No question in my mind: The Chinese "Chiang Kai Shek" copy of the Mauser Standard Modell.

    Mauser45
    Member
    Posts: 9
    (11/24/02 1:46:38 am)
    Reply
    Re: WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    Polishshooter, Do you have any info on blow-up testing the Arisaka action? Was that in a magazine article ? I saw your post about it being stronger than a Model 70 etc. I have a Type 99 that shoots real good and I've always wondered about how strong it is. The load books make the 7.7 look pretty mild but looking at the case capacity makes me think that the ballistics could be improved. I once tried to blow up a type 38 that was ready for the scrap heap by jamming the barrel into mud. No luck! I ended up using a cleaning rod to pack the barrel full off mud and tiny pebbles and It didn't hurt anything. I used Norma ammo with the 156 grain bullet.
    I vote for the Carcano as the worst of the military rifles. It was obviously strong enough for its cartridge but It just looks cheap! I remember that there were a lot of file marks on the reciever on all of the edges. I had two of them back when Kennedy got shot. I used to buy the military ammo back then and had to spend a lot of time wiping the grease off them before they could be fired. I wonder if they were packed in grease when their troops recieved them or if they were packed in grease to protect them while being shipped over here? Maybe the Italians couldn't fight because they spent all of their time cleaning their ammo!!I have often heard of the Lee Enfields being called "smellies" but that name should have been applied to the Carcano. When you shot that military ammo it smelled just like a beer and egg fart!

    Xracer
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 3074
    (11/24/02 9:28:41 am)
    Reply Re: WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    I'm sure you can blow up an Arisaka action.....but it would probably take a couple of sticks of dynamite!

    Not the smoothest or most elegant bolt action ever, but probably the strongest ever made. I once saw a 300 H&H magnum built on an Arisaka action.....seemed to take it no sweat.

    The late model Enfields were called "Smellys" because of their official designation...SMLE (Short Magazine Lee-Enfield).

    polishshooter
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 3731
    (12/1/02 10:44:52 pm)
    Reply Re: WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    Yeah, that was two NRA articles I was referring to, I don't know if I still have it, I never throw anything out, but my WIFE does...and then again if I still have it FINDING it is another bridge to cross...

    If I remember right, somebody MAY have posted it here or at GB a year or so ago...I wonder it it's in the archives...Hmmm...

    One was about the guy with the type 38 barrel he put on the type 99 action and actually fired it, and then called the NRA for technical advice on why it "kicked" so hard, and they had him send him the rifle and they fired it in a lab, and had pics of the 7.7 bullet "swaged" down to 6.5...

    I think it was a seperate article on the blow up tests done right after the war, I remember they used a Model 70 in 06, a 98 Mauser in 8mm, an 03, and an Arisaka (I THINK it was a 99...I can't remember...) and they blew in that order when they used progressively heavier test charges...except the Arisaka never blew, exactly. Long after the others blew up the Arisaka kept taking the pressure, and when it was ungodly it finally stripped the threads off the barrel and the barrel seperated from the action...but there were NO stress fractures in the action or bolt head and they guessed if it was just rethreaded it could have been rebarreled and shot!



    "Don't hear him call you an ---hole, hear WHY he's calling you an ---hole." -------- From "A Season on the Brink"

    jimejones
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 62
    (12/4/02 10:51:40 am)
    Reply Re: WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    If my fragile memory hasn't betrayed me, the article about the 30 cal. bullet being swaged through a 6.5 Arisaka barrel was in an American Rifleman in the late 1950s. The action wasn't rebarreled, but the chamber was reamed to 30-06. The owner had to grind the reamer pilot down for it to fit in the bore.

    keysrat
    Member
    Posts: 1
    (12/14/02 2:53:59 pm)
    Reply Ross
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    junk.

    K75RT
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 69
    (12/29/02 7:18:04 pm)
    Reply Re: WORST Battle BA Rifle design...
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    I hope I don't speak too much blasphemy but IMHO I have to say that the US KRAG in all configurations was one of the worst BA rifles. They were beautifully built and finished however the magazine was the deciding factor. You can not top it off easily and loading it must have been a difficult maneuver to do on horseback. I love my KRAG but I'd hate to have to go to war with it.
    If you believe it is reprehensible to possess the will and means to repel a criminal assault...how can you rightfully ask another to risk his life to protect yours?



    Edited by: K75RT at: 12/29/02 10:01:15 pm

    TrenchesHistorian
    Member
    Posts: 1
    (2/23/03 5:28:18 pm)
    Reply Carcano.
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    I am a historian on the research team for a WWI webpage. If someone could please supply me with the basic specifications on the Carcano M91 I'd be very grateful. Please include maximum range, rate of fire, weight, length, ammo capacity, ect. I also understand there's a special loading type for the Carcano where the empty clip drops through the bottom of the gun. Could you please explain this in detail as we are attempting to create accurate models.

    Please reply to HFB_Mail@yahoo.com and thanks a lot!

    The Trenches Development Team
    curv.trenches.net/
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2003
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