The Mannlicher-Carcano carbine is a very average weapon, but its own.
It happened more than once that instead of buying good weapons abroad, the state, with a tenacity worthy of much better use, continued to cling to its own, national. That is, our own, national, albeit bad, is better than foreign, albeit good.
Carbine "Mannlicher-Carcano" M91 / 38 - as you can see, outwardly nothing special.
Here are many Italian models of weapons "from the same opera", and in particular, the entire family of rifles "Mannlicher-Carcano". It all started with the sample "fucile modello 1891", that is, the model of 1891 (M91), the same age as our "Mosin three-line". Moreover, the basis for its creation was the German "Mauser" M1889, but they worked on it, eventually changing beyond recognition, two people at once: the famous gunsmith designer Ferdinand Mannlicher and Salvatore Carcano - the chief inspector of the Turin arms factory. Thanks to the first, the rifle received an original store, the second created both an original bolt and an original fuse for it. An even more original solution was a pack of six cartridges, which was inserted fully loaded into the rifle magazine along with the cartridges, and which fell out of it through a special window in the lower part of the magazine box after the last cartridge was sent to the chamber. This made it possible to provide a higher practical rate of fire in relation to rifles of other systems. In addition, this pack contained six cartridges, while the rifles of all the other fighting armies had five, and the French Berthier rifle initially had only three at all. The obsolete rifles of the Wetterli model 1871/72 and the Wetterli-Vitali model 1871/87, which had a caliber of 10, 4 mm, were planned to replace the outdated rifles with a new rifle.
Since a lot of weapons depend on the cartridge, the Italians thought about this in the first place, as a result of which Italy was among the first countries to receive cartridges of 6, 5 mm caliber for their small arms. It then spread to Japan, Sweden, Norway, Holland, Portugal and Romania, as well as Greece.
Meanwhile, the experience of the First World War has clearly demonstrated that infantry rifles are too long. Therefore, between the two world wars, many countries of the world began to adopt modernized models of old weapons, which differed mainly in reduced length, into service with their infantry. This is how, according to the experience of the First World War, the Mannlicher-Carcano carbine of the 1891/24 model was created, which differed from the M91T. S model by a constant sight at 300 m, which replaced the sector one at a range of up to 1500 m.
The low efficiency of the 6, 5x52 cartridge was also revealed. Both in Ethiopia in 1935-1936, and in Spain since 1936, this cartridge has shown itself not from the best side. And then, in 1937, the Italian army decided to rearm with a rifle chambered for the new caliber 7, 35x51. As is the case with the army very often, the most important condition of the technical assignment was to ensure the minimum cost of rearmament. At the same time, work on both the cartridge and the rifle was carried out in parallel. The result was the M38 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle and two M38 and M38T. S. Mannlicher-Carcano carbines. Apart from the new caliber, simplified sight and swivel position, they were no different from their predecessors.
In the design of the rifle and carbine, the Italians abandoned the difficult-to-manufacture progressive cutting in the barrel bore, leaving a constant rifling pitch of 254 mm. Nevertheless, in general, the rifle had relatively high characteristics: the length was 1020 mm, the barrel length was 538 mm, the weight was 3400 g, with a magazine capacity of six rounds. Under the designation "Mannlicher-Carcano" M91 / 38, the new rifle began to be produced also under the old cartridge 6, 5x52. But then Italy entered the Second World War, which did not allow her to either completely re-equip the army, or to provide ammunition of a new caliber in sufficient quantities.
Shutter and sight. Everything is very simple and, in general, reliable.
And if so, then in order to avoid problems with the supply of two types of cartridges to the troops at the same time, it was decided to withdraw all 7, 35 mm rifles from the army. At the same time, it was decided to launch the production of old 6, 5 mm rifles, which were designated as "Mannlicher-Carcano" M91 / 41. Some sources try to explain this decision by the unsatisfactory ballistics of 6.5 mm bullets when firing from the new Mannlicher-Carcano M91 / 38 rifle, the barrel length of which was originally designed for cartridge 7, 35x51. It is also argued that the barrel in this case should have had a length of at least 780 mm. That is, just the barrel of the Mannlicher-Carcano M91 / 41 rifle. There is an opinion that the sight at 300 m did not allow to realize all the possibilities of a more powerful cartridge at the range of use, so the Mannlicher-Carcano M91 / 41 was again equipped with a variable sight, which made it possible to shoot up to 1000 m.
The Mannlicher-Carcano M91 / 41 model was produced by arms factories in Terni and Cremona, where about 820 thousand rifles were produced during the war years. Their production peaked in 1942. On rifles from Terni in 1941-43. on the top of the chamber there was a stamp with the abbreviation FAT, the royal crown and two numbers indicating the year of issue. Later, they began to put the stamp of military acceptance on it, which looked like a five-pointed star, that is, the symbol of the Republic of Italy. It is interesting that this rifle was produced in Terni until 1953 and then was stored for a long time in the warehouses of the Italian army.
Barrel pad and muzzle.
To increase the effectiveness of the fire of the Italian infantry, in 1939 they adopted the Mannlicher-Carcano M91 / 24 T. S. carbine, which was paired with the M1928 mortar grenade launcher. Rifle grenades from this mortar could be fired at a distance of 400-500 m. Moreover, for throwing grenades, it was required to remove its bolt and … then rearrange it into this mortar.
The last change in the caliber of the Italian rifle and carbines took place in 1944, when Northern Italy was occupied by the Germans. They began to produce Italian weapons under their German cartridge 7, 92x57, and produced it until the very spring of 1945.
Surprisingly, Italy itself, which possessed, in general, a powerful industrial potential, not only failed to adopt modern models of small arms, including semi-automatic, but was not even able to organize the production of rifles and new cartridges of caliber 7, 35 mm …
Open bolt carabiner.
What did the Mannlicher-Carcano M91 / 38 carbine look like, which became practically the main weapon of the Italian infantry in World War II? A bolt of traditional design, longitudinally sliding, turning to the right when locking, having two symmetrical lugs on the stem. The percussion mechanism was of the striker type and is located in the stem of the bolt. The non-automatic flag safety device had a very simple device in the form of a clutch with a “flag” having a grooved notch located on the rear of the bolt. To put it in the "fire" position, it was required to move the flag forward and then turn right and down. To put the carbine on the safety, the flag had to be raised up. At the same time, he very clearly overlapped the aiming line, so whether he was ready for battle could be determined very easily. The latch of the cartridge pack was in front of the trigger guard: after pressing it, the pack, along with the remaining cartridges, was thrown by the feeder from the magazine upwards through the window in the receiver.
The shutter is open, the cartridge feeder is clearly visible.
Carbines were produced that had a shortened stock and a curved bolt handle: the cavalry M91, which had a folding needle bayonet under the barrel, and the M91T. S. (for special units), which was used by engineering troops, artillerymen and signalmen. The length of both was 920 mm, both had an aiming range of 1,500 m. The barrels of the carbines received a progressive rifling of the barrel, the pitch of which was gradually reduced from 485 to 210 mm.
A pack of cartridges for the "Mannlicher-Carcano". By the way, one of the reasons why Mannlicher's pack was abandoned in the same Russian imperial army was its … weight, greater than the weight of the Nagant clip. Of course, the bill was in grams. But these grams, multiplied by many millions of lost packs and clips, turned into thousands of tons of high-quality metal, which had to be smelted, processed, transferred and handed over to the fighters in the positions. The clips were much lighter …
The performance characteristics of the carbine "Mannlicher-Carcano" M91 / 38
Cartridge: 7, 35x51 Italian M.38
Full length: 1021 mm
Barrel length: 530 mm
Weight: 3.40 kg
Rifling: 4 right-handed
Magazine capacity: 6 rounds
"Chubby" he is somehow in his hands, "chubby". It can be seen even in the photograph by the girth. Is it possible that the wood was of poor quality?
Personal impressions of the carbine. Short, in general, comfortable, but as if some kind of "unfinished", as if it came out of a village smithy, and not from a modern arms factory. There is neither the elegance of a Winchester, nor the simplicity of a Remington, nor the absolute simplicity of a Mauser. Compared to the Mosin carbine, the "tree" on it is kind of "plump", and the magazine seems to be too protruding for so many cartridges. That is, of course, you can fight with him, you can shoot from him and you can also kill people, but personally I (if I had the opportunity to choose) would choose something else. He's not very good-looking …