|Rifle||Carcano M41||Manufacturer||Terni, Armaguerra|
|Action||Rotation Bolt||Barrel Length||27.19″|
|Magazine||6 rnds enbloc||Weight||8.5 lbs|
We’ve heralded the Carcano before; and recommend reading about the M1891 before proceeding. Lessons in WWII had the Italians reaching for a more accurate, adjustable sighted long rifle. After some unique modifications to the Model 1891, they gave up and settled on this.
Italy had already failed to adopt the 7.35mm cartridge due to the strain on the supply chain during war. Now it was fighting with a mix of older and newer 6.5mm rifles and carbines. The latter now with extremely simple fixed rear sights designed for close combat. Unfortunately it was fighting in theaters that often required longer range or more accurate fire. In a bid to get more out of their Carcano rifles, a pattern M40 was adopted. It was never issued outside trials, but it was adopted.Most likely Italy was reaching for a better sighted rifle capable of pushing 6.5mm to its maximum velocity, without the crippling halt a full change in production would cause. The M40 resembled the Carcano M1891 long rifle, with a slightly shorter barrel (without gain-twist rifling) and overall length. It still sported a straight wrist stock, 6-round enbloc clip fed magazine, and barrel mounted rear sight. That sight, however, was an aperture design with a finely adjustable range dial (not unlike the Garand).
Unfortunately even this change was too much for overstrained Italian manufacturing. So the handiest adjustable sight available was selected, the older 1891 Carbine sight, still found on some Model 38 Cavalry arms. This traditional “V notch” sight folds all the way forward for a 200 meter battle sight, or flips back with an adjustable range of 300-1000 meters.
In 1941 production of the Modello 41 began at Terni and then Armaguerra the next year, with roughly 900,000 completed by 1944. While the 41 was an excellent Carcano, it was still a dated design and existed purely as a poor stop gap. It mostly saw issuance at home due to the short time before the capitulation of Italy, although some likely saw combat. A relative handful were adapted to single-shot 8mm Breda, with heavier barrels, as an experiment. After the Italians left the war, Germany occupied regions of northern Italy and seized large numbers of Carcano for second line and Volkssturm use. These were often left as-is in 6.5mm and may display German HZa markings under the stock wrist. Some were even converted into single-shot 7.92mm rifles and should have wood plugs in the magazine well.
The Model 41 is fairly common in the US collecting market as many were exported from Italy not long after the war. These barely-used rifles were cleaned up further and are regularly found stamped “Made in Italy.” While not the most exciting milsurp in history they do serve as a reminder of what was on the minds of military planners in the midst of a tiring war and they were present for the landings in Italy and the German resistance. For their average price they are a worthy collectible.
Special thanks goes out to Carolina Arms and Ammo for sharing this piece with us and all of you!