MANNLICHER CARCANO v. 7.65 MAUSER

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MANNLICHER CARCANO v. 7.65 MAUSER

Postby RobertP » Fri Oct 14, 2011 8:55 am

Hello
Let me begin by saying, from my observations, that no element of the JFK assassination is dealt with to a lesser depth than the 6.5 Mannlicher Carcano Oswald purportedly used to assassinate JFK. Its capabilities (or lack of) are usually referred to fleetingly in anecdotal fashion and range from "worst rifle ever...couldn't hit a barn from the inside..." to "it's a tack driver....my Uncle Joe gets one inch groups at 200 yards" and, of course, everything in between. But what if the 6.5 Carcano (its more proper name) was all of these things? Let me explain.

The 6.5 Carcano rifle was developed for the Italian infantry around the new 6.5 x 52 mm cartridge in 1891. It was named the Model 1891 long rifle, and was typical of the long unwieldy infantry weapons of an age not far removed from battling with spears and lances; hence the length of the rifle and equally long bayonet. However, the long rifle also had a long barrel (just under 31") and the Model 1891, produced until 1938, was such an accurate weapon that it is still used in competitions to this day.

Another feature contributing to the accuracy of the long rifle is something known as "gain" or "progressive" twist rifling. Rather than the barrel having a standard number of rifling twists per ten inches from chamber to muzzle, all 6.5 Carcanos up until 1938 had riflings that began at a gentle 1:19 at the chamber and gradually tightened to a 1:8 twist at the muzzle. Although very complicated to machine, this type of rifling was supposedly easy on barrels and made for a very accurate weapon.

Yet another feature contributing to accuracy was the long narrow 6.5 bullet utilised in this weapon. With a muzzle velocity of 2400 fps, this long 162 grain roundnosed bullet stabilised very nicely and performed very well, although the round nose and flat base gave this bullet a very low ballistic coefficient not aided by its relatively low velocity and large mass.

At this point, it should be pointed out that, although Italy started out with an excellent weapon, economics, poor wartime planning and, likely the most predominant of all factors, politics, all played a part in contributing to the bad reputation received by the 6.5 Carcano. No sooner had the M1891 been introduced that it was decided to be produced in a cavalry carbine in 1893 called the M1893 Cavalry Carbine. Its barrel was just over 17" in length. Remember the progressive twist rifling of the M1891? These carbines were produced by shortening M1891 long rifle barrels and, of course, the part of the barrel with the tightest riflings (the muzzle) was cut off; leaving the carbine barrel with a maximum rifling of possibly 1:13 which was totally inadequate. Try to imagine what the resulting lack of spin would do to the performance and stability of the 6.5 mm bullet in flight.

The M1891 Cavalry Carbine was produced, along with other carbines, right up until 1938. Of the other three main carbine models, namely the Model 1891 TS (Special Troops), the M1891/24 and the M1891/28, all except possibly the M1891/28 were made by cutting the barrels of M1891 long rifles from 31" to just over 17". As the M1891/28 was an entirely new carbine, it may be possible that new barrels were made for it with closer attention paid to the riflings.

For another example of desperation and compromise in the manufacture of 6.5 Carcanos, we have to go to World War One. The Italians had grossly underestimated how quickly modern warfare churned up men and machines and, at a point somewhere in 1915, it became apparent they were unable to keep up production of the M1891 6.5 mm long rifle to match losses in the field. In desperation, they retrieved their stocks of obselete 10.35 x 47 mm Vetterli Vitali Model 1870/87 rifles. In one of the most bizarre modifications on record, the large 10.35 mm bores of these rifles were drilled out and a liner tube of 6.5 mm calibre inserted into the barrel and silver soldered. The Vetterli magazine was replaced with one to hold the 6.5 Carcano cartridges and, strangest of all, the end of the Vetterli bolt was cut off and a stub for 6.5 Carcano silver soldered onto it! One has to wonder what the final tally of Italians vs. Austrians killed by this weapon was in the end. It was redesignated as the Model 1870/87/15 and, though produced in great numbers, it was kept away from frontline troops and mainly issued to support units, for obvious reasons.

For reasons that had nothing to do with the accuracy of the M1891 long rifle, and which I will go into on a separate thread on the 6.5 mm cartridge itself, the Italians decided, in 1938, to replace the M1891 long rifle with a lighter and easier to handle "short rifle" designated the M1938 or M38 for short. With a barrel length of just over 22", it was quite distinct from the 6.5 Carcano carbines with barrels of just over 17".

A totally new rifle, it also had a newly designed cartridge; the 7.35 x 51 mm. Though not greatly different in length than the 162 grain 6.5 mm bullet, this new bullet weighed only 130 grains. This was due to the spire point on the 7.35, as opposed to the roundnosed 6.5, plus a new development in warfare; mainly the desire to have a bullet topple on impact and cause great grievous wounds. The spire point helped; its pointed tip easily deflected when hitting a bone at an angle. Also, with a spire point, the greatest mass of a long bullet is at its rear and inertia tends to make the back end want to pass the front end on impact. This was further enhanced by replacing the dense lead at the tip of the bullet with aluminum; thus creating an even greater difference in mass from base to tip. The aluminum was covered, of course, by the full metal jacket of the bullet. The aluminum also helped to account for the 32 grain difference in bullet weights.

As the bolt, receiver and magazine of the 7.35 Carcano was still the same as the 6.5 Carcano, the original plan had been to cut short worn out M1891 long rifle barrels, from 31" to 22", and re-bore them for 7.35 mm. Instead of progressive twist rifling, the 7.35 was to have standard rifling of 1:10 from chamber to muzzle. However, poor planning plagued the Italians again, and they soon found themselves at war again with severe shortages; this time being 7.35 mm cartridges. To add insult to injury, they had vast stores of 6.5 cartridges left over from WWI and their African campaigns in the 1920's. One has to wonder about the quality of this aged ammunition but, as they say, beggars can't be choosers.

The Italians took the next obvious step by maintaining production of the M38 short rifle but dropping the 7.35 mm round and going back to the 6.5 mm round. The M38 short rifle was re-designated the M91/38 short rifle 6.5 mm calibre. No record has ever been found that the 1:10 rifling for the 7.35 mm round was ever changed to a more appropriate rifling for the 6.5 mm round of 1:8 or 1:7. Worse, the shorter barrel, designed for the 130 grain bullet, was now being asked to propel a 162 grain bullet designed for the backpressures of a 31" barrel. It is small wonder that muzzle velocities for the 6.5 mm Carcano M91/38 are often given as low as 2000 fps. The lower muzzle velocity further handicapped the rifle's performance as the roundnosed bullet had a lower ballistic co-efficient than the spire pointed bullet and this became more obvious at lower velocities and longer ranges.

Further attributes to the inaccuracy of 6.5 Carcanos (all models) can be traced to the primers used in the standard Italian issue "SMI" (Societa Metallurgica Italiana) 6.5 mm Carcano cartridges. They did not always provide a tight seal and moisture was known to have detrimental effects on the smokeless powder inside the cartridges. Also, the chemicals used in the primers were very corrosive and, in the aged ammunition used by Italy during WWII, primers pierced by firing pins were not uncommon; causing blowbacks in the Carcano chambers. As dealers in surplus Italian arms are quick to point out, surplus Italian 6.5 mm ammunition is highly suspect, for these reasons, and most are quick to advise against firing surplus Italian ammunition.

We have established that the Italians had an aptitude for poor management, compromise and desperation when it came to the manufacture of small arms. I will end this post here, then, and continue with conjectures of what may have transpired between 1938 and Italy's surrender in 1943 in another post tomorrow.

Good night.
Last edited by RobertP on Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:49 pm, edited 13 times in total.
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Re: The Misunderstood 6.5 Mannlicher Carcano

Postby kenmurray » Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:07 pm

Excellent post Robert!
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Re: The Misunderstood 6.5 Mannlicher Carcano

Postby Skip » Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:37 pm

A fantastic article. Thank you, Robert
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Re: The Misunderstood 6.5 Mannlicher Carcano

Postby kenmurray » Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:20 pm

Jesse couldn't duplicate Oswald's remarkable shooting:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSWSgcuY ... re=related
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Re: The Misunderstood 6.5 Mannlicher Carcano

Postby Bob » Fri Oct 14, 2011 2:15 pm

Nice job Robert. 8)
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Re: The Misunderstood 6.5 Mannlicher Carcano

Postby Davyjones » Fri Oct 14, 2011 7:18 pm

Thank you Robert...Very informative and interesting
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The Coup Used the M-C as a Prop

Postby Phil Dragoo » Sat Oct 15, 2011 3:13 am

Robert

You have a facility with detail.

Gil Jesus presents 10 Reasons Why I Believe the “Oswald Rifle” Isn't Oswald's:

http://www.jfklancerforum.com/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=3&topic_id=85804&mesg_id=85804

Gerald D. McKnight, Breach of Trust: How the Warren Commission Failed the Nation and Why, shows Hoover knew and suppressed that the Dallas paraffin test result of negative for Oswald's cheek was confirmed by the AEC's Oak Ridge Lab's more sophisticated testing, and that Oak Ridge also tested seven shooters of the Mannlicher Carcano weapon and all seven presented positive.

In Craig Roberts, Kill Zone: A Sniper Looks at Dealey Plaza, Roberts quotes a conversation with Carlos “Gunny” Hathcock in which Hathcock says “now if I can't do it how in the world could Oswald have done it.”

It's no wonder the frenzy to frame the patsy has obfuscated the technical specifications of the weapon.

In the final analysis it's one the designated scapegoat never ordered, paid for, received, practiced with, stored, transported, used, or concealed, let alone posed with, fired at Walker, or buried per the ever contradictory yet convenient Marina.

And the weapon lacked the guided projectile which could pass the target, reverse course and effect a frontal entry, and a rear exit.
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Re: The Misunderstood 6.5 Mannlicher Carcano

Postby RobertP » Sat Oct 15, 2011 6:35 am

Phil
The one maddening thing about this whole case is that the backyard photo definitely shows Oswald (or someone) holding a 6.5 Carcano M91/38 short rifle (40" long); the same model as recovered from the TSBD, or a 7.35 x 51 mm M38 Carcano. The two short rifles are practically indistinguishable. This lends so much confusion to investigators as Klein's Sporting Goods' ad claims to be selling a 36" carbine, the rifle in the ad has a rear sight the same as a pre-1938 carbine and yet the picture is of neither a carbine or a short rifle. The pic in the ad is of a 6.5 Carcano "Suprema". Believe it or not, this was an M1891 long rifle sporterized in the late 1950's, by cutting the barrel short (sound familiar?) and customizing the stock, to be sold as an inexpensive hunting rifle on the North American market. Once again, the progressive twist rifling is ignored and many poor hunters ended up with a rifle that "couldn't hit the water from a boat", further embellishing the 6.5 Carcano reputation.
Although the backyard photo shows us a 6.5 Carcano M91/38 short rifle, it also shows us something else that should not be in that picture; at least not in 90% of M91/38 short rifles and definitely not if you believe the rifle from the backyard photos and the one from the TSBD are the same rifle. Clearly visible on the bottom of the forestock is a bottom sling mount ring. Although extremely rare on M91/38's, with the majority equipped with side sling mounts, it is definitely not unheard of. The odd thing about the ring is it is not a complete loop as there appears to be a section missing from the bottom centre of it. Coincidentally, the missing piece of ring would correspond precisely with the position of the sling if it were attached to the ring. Was the sling erased and the remaining pieces of ring left as no one thought anyone would look closely enough at the photo to identify the pieces as part of a sling mount?
In the same area of the photo, we see Oswald's left hand gripping the rifle in a clamplike grip. Although all of his fingers are visible up to the first knuckle, we can also see the entirety of Oswald's left thumb overtop of the barrel. Try this yourself in a mirror to see the impossibility of this photo. I estimate Oswald's left thumb to be at least 8" long to be visible at this position.
Best Regards
Bob
Last edited by RobertP on Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Misunderstood 6.5 Mannlicher Carcano

Postby Dealey Joe » Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:04 am

I read somewhere that part of the Carcano was of Mauser design? maybe the magazine?

If so, what does it mean?
If you ask the wrong questions the answer does not matter!
then if you control the questions being asked the answer still does not matter!
To continue doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is "Insane"
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Re: The Misunderstood 6.5 Mannlicher Carcano

Postby RobertP » Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:58 pm

Dealey Joe
The Carcano bolt is basically a modified Mauser type action with two locking lugs at the forward end of the bolt; as is typical of Mausers. It is believed to have been copied from the Model 89 Mauser. Further locking strength is provided by the bolt locking itself into the receiver.
The magazine of the Carcano is loaded via a six round "en bloc" charger clip, making for fast loading of the Carcano in a fashion similar to the M1 Garand. This design was the patented property of Ferdinand Ritter von Mannlicher of Austria and the Italians were obliged to pay Herr Mannlicher 300,000 Lire in royalties for the right to copy his design. This was the only involvement Herr Mannlicher had with this rifle; hence the referral to this rifle as the 6.5 mm Carcano.
The name Carcano is from its developer, Lt. Col. Salvatore Carcano, who was employed at the Torino (Turin) Arms Factory in Turin, Italy.
Regards
Bob
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Was Oswald A Poor Shot?

Postby kenmurray » Sun Oct 16, 2011 2:23 am

Sherman Cooley

Cooley said the following in an interview with former Rockefeller Foundation fellow Henry Hurt:

If I had to pick one man in the whole United States to shoot me, I'd pick Oswald. I saw the man shoot. There's no way he could have ever learned to shoot well enough to do what they accused him of doing in Dallas. (REASONABLE DOUBT, New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1985, p. 99

http://www.kenrahn.com/jfk/the_critics/ ... _shot.html
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Backyard Photo of Killer of Fascists

Postby Phil Dragoo » Sun Oct 16, 2011 9:02 am

Robert

In additon to your open loop and alien thumb, the chin implant and identical nose shadow mitigate against photo authenticity.

Marina claimed she looked through the reflex camera--not possible. She was wrong on the date, the number of pictures, the camera location, indicating she did not take the alleged photos, but was coached.

Gil Jesus is joined by many others including George Michael Evica in discounting Oswald's having anything to do with the weapon.

Further, the 6.5 mm artifact on the anterior-posterior (AP) x-ray has been shown by Dr. David Mantik's use of radiation densitometry to be a forgery, not a bullet fragment.

The CE 399 is a fraud. Testing showed great deformity when such a bullet penetrated any bone target.

The trail of metal fragments emanating from the right orbit destroys the official propaganda.

And of course the seven subjects at Oak Ridge showed firing the M-C left GSR on the cheek, something absent in the test on Oswald.
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Re: The Misunderstood 6.5 Mannlicher Carcano

Postby RobertP » Sat Oct 22, 2011 3:48 am

Hello

Okay, on with the 6.5 Carcano history.

We left off our history in 1938. The Italians had brought out an all new rifle with an all new cartridge. They were replacing their 6.5mm M91 long rifles with the 7.35mm M38 short rifle. This was a progressive move, as the short rifle was far easier to carry and manage than the long rifle and the new cartridge had ballistic properties giving it far more killing power than the 6.5mm cartridge. As we saw before, poor planning for war and resulting shortages of 7.35mm cartridges forced them to abandon the 7.35mm cartridge in 1940 and to fit their new short rifles with the old 6.5mm cartridge, re-designating the M38 as the M91/38. They had ample stores of 6.5mm cartridges although it was old ammunition by this time.

Now, here is something very interesting that happened in 1941. The 6.5mm M91/38 short rifle was only produced in 1940. Production records for all four Italian small arms factories show that no M91/38 short rifles were made after 1940, except for a handful made at the Turin factory in the early months of 1941. Coincidentally, Italy introduced a new long rifle in 1941, the M91/41, and this was the only rifle, aside from carbine versions of the M91/38, produced until the end of the war. The M91/41 was slightly shorter than the M91 long rifle with a 27" barrel as opposed to the M91's 31" barrel (the M91/38 short rifle had a 22" barrel).

This may all be a bit hard to follow but think of it this way: the new M38 short rifle in 7.35mm calibre was produced from 1938 to 1940. Production of the 6.5mm M91/38 short rifle (Oswald's alleged rifle) did not start until 1940, and ended at the end of 1940! What happened? Can anyone find another military rifle with such a short production history? What was so wrong with the 6.5mm M91/38 (the very rifle that Oswald supposedly assassinated JFK with) that it was replaced after only ONE YEAR of production???

I am going to try to answer these questions but I would like it understood that a lot of what I am going to say is assumption and, without access to vast stocks of M91/38 short rifles, impossible to prove. That being said, let us continue.

As I was able to show in my last post, the Italians seemed to have a knack for getting themselves into bad supply situations. It is interesting to see how they solved these problems. In WWI, they solved the M91 rifle shortage with a bizarre adaptation of obselete 10.35mm rifles to 6.5mm calibre. Carbines were made by simply cutting long rifles' barrels from 31" to 17" with complete disregard to what cutting off the tightest part of the progressive twist rifling would do to the carbines' accuracy. Even the all new 7.35mm M38 short rifle was to rely on hand-me-downs. Instead of making new 7.35mm barrels, the Italians planned to salvage worn out (make careful note of the words "worn out" for later reference) M91 long rifle barrels and cut them short to 22". This was not a bad plan as the shortened barrels would then be bored out to 7.35mm and re-rifled with a standard 1:10 twist, essentially making a new barrel.

As I have stated, lack of 7.35mm cartridges and a demanding war forced them to go back to the 6.5mm round for the short rifle. So, if the Italians had been unable to produce enough 7.35mm cartridges and were NEVER planning to make the short rifle in 6.5mm, where did they get all of the 6.5mm short rifle barrels to make the M91/38 in 1940?? I seriously doubt, with a barrel being far more complicated to make than a cartridge, that they were any better at stockpiling barrels than they were cartridges; especially a barrel they had never intended to make in the first place.

There was a readily available source of M91/38 short rifle barrels, though. These would have been the worn out M91 long rifle barrels they had planned to make short 7.35mm barrels from. It would have been a simple matter of cutting the barrels from 31" to 22". No re-rifling would have been done as the two rifles would be the same calibre and there would be nothing to work with. Once again, the progressive twist rifling (1:19 or one turn in 19" at the chamber and slowly tightening to 1:8 or one turn in 8" at the muzzle) of these M91 barrels would have lost the tightest part of rifling at the muzzle end and the short rifle's performance would have been severely compromised.

Italy was not alone in making compromises to their small arms production in WWII. Following the Battle of Dunkirk, where the majority of British weapons were abandoned on French shores during the subsequent evacuation of British troops, Britain faced a rather drastic shortage of their .303 Lee Enfield rifle, standard issue for the British Army. The Germans were knocking at the door and it was necessary to quickly produce vast quantities of rifles to fend off the imminent invasion. As stated, the barrel and its riflings are the most complex part of making a rifle and it was here the British made their compromises. A standard .303 Lee Enfield has five riflings in its barrel; left hand twist with a 1:10 pitch (one turn in ten inches). To speed up production, the five riflings were reduced to two. Accuracy suffered but it was felt that, as a man presented a 2' x 5.5' target, a bullet aimed at a man's stomach was likely to hit him somewhere on his body and, if not kill him, tie up many other men in retrieving the wonded soldier from the field and tending to his wounds. Lovely game, this war, eh?

I am by no means saying this would have been the case in 100% of M91/38 production. They may have begun the production of M91/38 short rifles with every intention of manufacturing new 6.5mm barrels. However, it must be remembered that this is a war Italy lost. Who can say what compromises they were forced to make in 1940? Try to imagine what it would have been like being the manager of a small arms factory in Italy in 1940 facing material shortages, machining equipment and associated parts shortages, unrealistic production demands from military procurement officers, aerial bombardment, loss of skilled workers from aerial bombardment, etc., etc., etc. It is not hard to understand the sloppy action and rough stock of the M91/38 when viewed in this context.

In my opinion, the final judgement on the M91/38 as a good or bad rifle lies with its one year production run and its replacement by the M91/41 in 1941. Who in their right mind would introduce an all new rifle (actually almost identical to the M91 long rifle) in the middle of a major war they just happen to be losing? The only reason I can see is that a large number (if not the majority) of M91/41 long rifles were cut down M91 long rifles and by cutting the M91 barrel to 27" (M91/41) instead of 22" (M91/38) they gained an extra 5" of progressive twist rifling. It is possible that, in this extra 5", the rifling tightened enough to give the 6.5mm bullet that much more spin that it would stabilise in flight and improve its performance. It is also possible that the M91/41 was never considered until their ability to make new 6.5mm short rifle barrels was eliminated and the resulting disaster in accuracy, from shortened M91 barrels, forced them to seek an alternative.

Records show that the M91/41 was to be manufactured with a 1:10 standard twist barrel. Once again, intentions and reality are seldom working together during a losing war and it is entirely possible many M91/41 long rifles were merely cut down versions of the M91 long rifles with progressive twist rifling.

As I stated earlier, these are only theories. The only way to prove them is to examine the barrels of great numbers of M91/38 and M91/41 rifles. The one I'd like to start with is Oswald's supposed rifle; a 6.5mm Carcano M91/38 made sometime in 1940.

Next post: 6.5x52mm Carcano ammunition - wrong bullets?

Regards
Bob
Last edited by RobertP on Thu May 30, 2013 4:24 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: The Misunderstood 6.5 Mannlicher Carcano

Postby Dealey Joe » Sat Oct 22, 2011 1:21 pm

Thanks Bob
If you ask the wrong questions the answer does not matter!
then if you control the questions being asked the answer still does not matter!
To continue doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is "Insane"
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Re: The Misunderstood 6.5 Mannlicher Carcano

Postby SLogan » Sat Oct 22, 2011 4:26 pm

Just my opinion here .To me the the Carcano is a prop,albeit an important one for the McDamage and Von Pein robots, but just a prop. It reminds me of a Three Stooge's skit where Moe tells the homeowner to help them out and go mix a batch of spotted paint. People can spew disinformation and so can evidence.
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