A Quick and Dirty Guide: Carcano Rifle Models

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We’ve put together a simple visual guide to identifying the Carcano rifles. While there are only a handful of models, the caliber and fitting variations are numerous. Remember, what is presented here is just enough information to be dangerous. As we can lay hands on individual models and variations we’ll try to fill in the details. Otherwise, please enjoy this Carcano identification guide.

 

 

Model 1891 Fucile Modello 91 01 Carcano M1891

Length 50.56″ Barrel Length 30.69″ Weight 8.44 lbs Sights 300 meters and adjustable 600-2,000

 

Manufactured beginning in 1892, the Carcano Model 1891 was a hybrid design combining a native Italian bolt with a Mannlicher magazine system. Gain twist rifling was used to extend the barrel life of this and all subsequent Carcano rifles until the Model 1938. This rifle should be chambered for 6.5x52mm, although a rare few were converted in Austria to 6.5x54mm MS. Manufacturing stopped in 1918, however a few were made at Beretta between 1937-1940 before the creation of the Model 1941.  More about this rifle can be read here.

 

 

Model 1891 Cavalry Moschetto Modello 91 da Cavalleria

03 Carcano M1891 Cavalry

Length 36.25″ Barrel Length 36.25″ Weight 6.88 lbs Sights 300 meters and adjustable 600-1,500

 

Adopted in 1893, this carbine was meant to serve Italy’s cavalry units. It’s handy size and weight found it a home in many other branches, including paratroops. This carbine features a permanently attached, folding spike bayonet. M1891 Cavalry production was halted after WWI but resumed from 1932-1938. This carbine should only be chambered in 6.5x52mm.

 

 

Model 1891 T.S. Moschetto Modello 91 per Truppe Speciali02 Carcano M1891 TS

Length 36.31″ Barrel Length 17.69″ Weight 6.53 lbs Sights 300 meters and adjustable 600-1,500

 

Manufacturing of this specialist carbine began in 1898. The TS was intended to serve as a handy rifle for non-infantry units such as artillery units. Early models were paired with a side-mounting bayonet that rotated into position. This was later abandoned and a standard M91 bayonet. Production halted in 1919. The caliber should always be 6.5x52mm.

 

 

Model 91/24 Moschetto Modello 91/2404 Carcano M91-24 TS

Length 36.25″ Barrel Length 17.81″ Weight 6.53 lbs Sights 300 meters and adjustable 600-1,500

 

From 1924 to 1929 approximately 260,000 M1891 long rifles were converted into T.S. pattern carbines. Early models may have been drilled out and had new rifled tubes inserted, but most conversions just meant cutting down the barrel and re-crowning. These carbines can be spotted easily as they still have the longer rifle rear sight base. These rifles should only be found in 6.5x52mm.

 

 

Model 91/28 Moschetto Modello 91/2805 Carcano M91-28 TS

Length 36.06″ Barrel Length 17.94″ Weight 6.81 lbs Sights 300 meters and adjustable 600-1,500

 

This is simply a new production model 91/24, although some original M91 T.S. rifles were restocked to the M91/28 pattern. Rear sights bases are shorter like original carbines. Caliber should be 6.5x52mm. Few rifles were produced for use with the M28 grenade launcher, which was quickly discontinued. Produced from 1928-1938.

 

 

Model 38 Fucile Modello 91/3806 Carcano M38

Length 40.12″ Barrel Length 21.06″ Weight 7.44 lbs Sights 200 meter fixed sights

 

The Model 1938 marked the wholesale adoption of short rifle and carbine doctrine for Italian military forces. Very early rifles lack a lower barrel band and have long, uninterrupted hand guards that extend to the bayonet lug. First paired with a folding knife bayonet, these were later converted or new-made in a fixed form. Many rifles were sold to Finland and will feature an SA mark on the barrel.

This rifle was introduced in the new 7.35x53mm cartridge but later reverted to 6.5x52mm because of logistical issues in the Italian military. Caliber may be determined by reading the rear sight. Some rifles were later converted by the German military to emergency rifles in 7.92x57mm. These will have the caliber marked on the barrel.

 

 

Model 38 Cavalry Moschetto Modello 91/38 Cavalleria08 Carcano M38 Cavalry

Length 36.06″ Barrel Length 17.63″ Weight 6.62 lbs Sights 200 meter fixed sights*

 

Model 1938 Cavalry carbines mirrored original M91 cavalry carbines but featured fixed sights. *FNA-Brescia did return to the adjustable rear sight (200 meter battle sight with 600-1500 meter adjustable) when they began producing in 6.5x52mm again. Some may have stocks previously produced and unused for the M91/28 rifles intended to equip the M28 grenade launcher. These will feature prominent replacement wood fittings in a bid to recycle raw materials. Produced until 1944.

This rifle was introduced in the new 7.35x53mm cartridge but later reverted to 6.5x52mm because of logistical issues in the Italian military. Caliber may be determined by reading the rear sight. Some rifles were later converted by the German military to emergency rifles in 7.92x57mm. These will have the caliber marked on the barrel. Additionally, some were converted to 7.92x57mm post war in attempts to market to the middle east. These will be marked on the rear sight and the stock.

More about the M38 Cavalry can be found here.

 

 

Model 38 T.S. Moschetto Modello 91/38 Truppe Speciali07 Carcano M38 TS

Length 36.5″ Barrel Length 17.75″ Weight 6.37 lbs Sights 200 meter fixed sights

 

This is a continuation of the original M91 T.S. carbine and featured in the same specialty roles. All versions feature simplified, fixed rear sights. Production continued until at least 1943, perhaps into 1944.

This rifle was introduced in the new 7.35x53mm cartridge but later reverted to 6.5x52mm because of logistical issues in the Italian military. Caliber may be determined by reading the rear sight. Additionally, some were converted to 7.92x57mm post war in attempts to market to the middle east. These will be marked on the rear sight and the stock.

 

 

Model 1941 Fucile Modello 4109 Carcano M41

Length 46″ Barrel Length 27.19″ Weight 8.5 lbs Sights 300 meters and adjustable 300-1,000

 

Having failed to convert to the 7.35x53mm cartridge, Italy also began to regret their short-rifle-fixed-sights-only campaign. Some Model 1891 production began again, but it was a strain on resources. The M1941 was slightly shorter and used the carbine-style adjustable rear sight. Because of the Italian surrender in 1943, many of these rifles did not see service and can often be found in mint condition. Others, however, were manufactured under German occupation. Production continued until 1944.

Some rifles were converted by the German military to emergency rifles in 7.92x57mm. These will have the caliber marked on the barrel.

A bit more on the 41 can be found here.

 

 

Japanese Type I Tipo I10 Carcano Type I

Length 50.75″ Barrel Length 30.75″ Weight 8.75 lbs Sights Arisaka, 400-2400 meters

 

The Type I (pronounced “eye”) rifle was purchased by the Japanese Navy in order to free up Arisaka Type 38 rifles for Imperial infantry. It is a basic Carcano action nested in Italian-made copies of Type 38 stocks, magazines, sights, etc… Produced 1938-1939. More about this rifle can be read here.

 

 

16 Responses to “A Quick and Dirty Guide: Carcano Rifle Models”

  1. ken thelen says:

    Good Morning,
    I own one, Model 1891 Fucile Modello 91 with a date stamp. 1934
    I’ve another but the date stamp appears altered.
    If i were to send you some photos could you help me with further ID ?

    Ken Thelen

  2. H L Mize says:

    Not sure if my first message went through but I have two carcanos and would like your help identifying them and their calibres.
    The first is an original long rifle that has DH5193 on both the breech and the stock. It also has the notch in the wood in front of the rear sight like the picture of the 41.
    The second one looks sporterized with a shorer barrell and no wood on top of the barrell at all. I has EL7920 on the breech and what appears to be DI5454 on the stock. Any help would be greatly appreciated and would like to know the calibres if possible.
    Thank you

    • Nagao says:

      The only two long rifles (outside of the Japanese contract Type I) are the 1891 and 1941. If you have a rear sight about 1-1.5 inches long folded it is the 41. If it is closer to 3 inches long folded it is the earlier 1891. Either would have been 6.5 originally but never assume the caliber of a gun. Take it to a gunsmith.

      Sporterized Carcano carbines can the notoriously hard to identify at a glance. If the stock does not match we can disregard it entirely. What sort of sights does it have? This is the first question to narrowing any model down.

  3. H L Mize says:

    Thanks for the information and so far they boh appear to be the 1891 because both sifghts measure about 3 1/4 inches long when laid down.and the sights appear to be identical in the way he work and the size. The longer rifle has a lug under the sight and a long groove in the understock that I assume was for a bayonet. thanks for your help and will now have to take your advice and find a gunsmith who knows the carcano

  4. H L Mize says:

    I am curious about the notch on top in front of the sight, what was the purpose of that. Thanks

  5. H L Mize says:

    And one last item that may be a clue, I have several cartridges that are necked down and just short of 3 in. long. Very difficult to read but on the outside base of the casing is what I believe to be SML and opposite to that 5RG? The bullets when put into the barrell end of the guns will not go into the shorter (sporterized) gun but will fit into the more original looking longer gun. Thanks again.

  6. Karl Lauten says:

    Just got a reference to your website from another Carcano owner (his is an 8mm conversion of the 38)……great info. I have become very impressed with the 4 Carcano converted “sporters” to which I have added nicely bore centered side-mounted scopes……once the sighting system is good they shoot very well, reliably and accurately thru short to medium distances (100-250m) and are a light, small, rugged rifle that is great for deer or other small to medium game. With the low recoil and light weight they are a great rifle for anyone especially youth and ladies. Best of all the receivers are easy to drill and the design is very forgiving when the bolt channel is altered. The sporterizing conversions of the 1950s and 1960s really reduced the utility of these rifles but a small investment in a better sighting will undo much of the bad press they have received. I have had good success using Carcano 6.5x52mm Privi Partizan ammo that have the .264″ diameter bullets, likewise for the Privi 6.5x54mm MS………overall they are a very good rifle!

  7. James says:

    I own a model 38 Fucile Modello 91/38, it is dated 1939XV11 and markings on barrel are crown over RE, SA, SD, TIN, UV8769, and 1896. All metal is Nickel except bayonet lug, barrel band, sights,and magazine are Brass. The color of the stock is between burgundy & eggplant and I have no idea what i’m looking at.Do you have any thoughts about what this rifle was used for?
    Thank you,
    James

  8. William says:

    I have a 91/24 with a large PM burned into the stock

  9. Hung V Le says:

    I own a M41 in 6.5 mm and am curious about the dimensions of the front sight base on all other Carcano 1891 variants. I suspect they could all be the same especially if in 6.5 mm caliber like my 41. Some carbine variants with bayonet fixed to the nose cap could be different. Could you shed some light on this subject? I am curious because I am trying to build a front sight adjusting tool for my M41 and wonder if it would work for other 1891 variants. Many thanks in advance.

    • Othais says:

      I would assume it is the same but if you want to get the calipers out and measure yours, I have an 1891, M38, and M38 Cavalry handy to compare.

  10. Hung V Le says:

    I could send you a diagram with detailed measurements. It’s a scanned pic file with front and side view of the front sight base of the M41 in 6.5. I don’t know how to attach it to this form. If you could provide an email address, I’ll send it to you. Thanks for the help.

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