A Project in 6.5

6.5 Carcano. A small, bolt action carbine shooting a fairly light load. Think of a M-1 Carbine and you’ll have the size and power about right. This one was made during the Mussolini era, and has not seen a lot of love since. Here’s the story. One older friend of mine was given the gun years ago. He never shot it, and a couple of years ago he gave it to me. I thought it was interesting, but I never shot it either. There is only so much time and when I considered buying ammo, dies, and a bullet mould for (another) odd old rifle, well, I gave it away, too.

Now the friend I gave it to is a tinkerer. He bought ammo to get the brass, and slugged the barrel to find out the true bore, which turned out to be .280 inches[Correction == .268, with bullets sized to .270]. He then bought a mould and a die for his Lubrisizer and started making ammo.

That lead to a range day some months ago. At 50 yards, every round keyholed and they were all over the paper. I looked at the ammo, and thought the bullets were extremely long, you can see one of the original bullets in the picture, closest to the rifle. So I cut them off. They looked like wadcutters when I was done, but they shot much better, stabilizing and making sort of a group. We all found this pretty funny, but it was effective, so back to the workshop he went.

Saturday, four of us gathered for some range therapy, and to try the next set of Carcano experiments. The rifle has had the stock refinished, a new front sight post has been installed to correct the elevation issues, and best of all, the bullet mould was remachined, removing several millimeters from the base, creating the new shorter bullet based on the length from the previous attempt.

The loaded ammo is a light powder charge, the goal is to shoot a reasonable group at 100 yards. The bullets are shorter and lighter, and stabilized well. We got the elevation right. The hits on paper string left and right. I don’t mean a little bit, I mean a couple of feet. Maybe three feet. All within three or four inches in elevation, but forming a line across a large sheet of cardboard.

I don’t know, this is a new problem for me. I open it the problem to all of you, if there are any ideas, or you know an old Italian gunsmith from the Fascist era, we are open to experimenting some more. I got to spend several hours at the range with friends and shoot other people’s ammo, that’s a good day any way you look at it.

A well-spent day brings happy sleep.
–Leonardo da Vinci


6 thoughts on “A Project in 6.5

  1. one of these was my first surplus rifle. I tracked down surplus ammo, and it shot fine, but had a HUGE muzzle flash.

    Get some factory or surplus ammo to check against your findings. Other than that, don't waste too much more money on this pig.

  2. Sounds like wood pressing on the barrel in the forearm. Check to see if it's free-floating by running a dollar bill between the barrel and barrel channel full length.

  3. Miscommunicado (probably on my part): the bore is 0.268, the bullets are sized to 0.270. I think YeOldFurt is right-on. I had to remove a lot of wood to free-float the barrel. I epoxy bedded the action too. Now it's going to shoot (hope springs eternal)! But of course after it shoots, it won't be nearly as much 'fun'.

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