In The Field

Though Italy’s 6.5 x 52 mm cartridge had some growing pains, it became a model for the other military 6.5 mm cartridges later adopted by Sweden, Portugal, Greece, Romania, Holland and Japan. To improve bullet performance and extend barrel life, Carcano utilized gain-twist rifling on the M91. It was a unique solution and it worked though I suspect improvements in ammunition manufacturing eventually made its value moot.

In combat, the rifle and cartridge performed adequately except in areas where heavier bullets excelled. I had the pleasure to know a Brooklyn gentleman by the name of Vincenzo Vella who fought in the Italian Army in World War II. He was an infantry sergeant among the 10 divisions sent by Mussolini to fight with the Germans on the Eastern Front. He was wounded and evacuated just in time to miss the spectacular axis disaster at Stalingrad. Vella had no complaints about the Carcano, finding It comparable in weight to the German Kar98 and Russian Mosin Nagant 91/30, but faster to shoot and reload than either, along with six shots to their five. The Carcano action was not as smooth as a Mauser, but better than the Mosin Nagant.