· Gold Bullet member
PHOTOS BY RON AZZI ©
Originally Posted - 03/12/2006
This charger/clip remains a mystery.
It was found, by Ron Azzi of Canada, in a box of assorted "garbage" at a gun show, for .50¢ . It's made of steel and appears similar to a German 88 Commission charger/clip.
Mr. Azzi Can't say for sure what it is, but careful measuring points to the possibility that it is designed to hold six 8mm Mauser cartridges and designed to be used with a standard Carcano magazine "hook".
Mr. Azzi states "Pictures are in perfect scale, so you can notice the small but significant differences. The 6.5 Carcano rounds fit quite loosely. Once again, NOBODY knows for sure what this charger is. One can only speculate Bottom line is that this charger holds SIX 8mm Mauser rounds. It fits an UNMODIFIED magazine well and it works fine in an 8mm Carcano with an UNMODIFIED magazine well. Now, it's common (?) knowledge that 8mm Carcano had a modified "hook" and it required a modified charger that held FIVE rounds. So, where does that leave us??? I don't know.
A prototype??? A homemade charger??? I am just happy knowing that it
is so rare!"
It is possible this clip is one of the German designed ones made when they were attempting to convert Carcanos to 7.92 repeaters, the Germans couldn't get them to work correctly and decided to make the 7.92 "HK" Carcanos single shot.
Interesting. I have heard some people theorize that no clips were made, but I have a hard time believing that. I think you have something there. Thanks for sharing, Arditi
this is great.
The fact that it will not fit into one of the available 8mm TS is also very interesting.
I can say this if (hopefully the unmentioned owner will not get angry with me), I have inspected one HK conversion its has a Standard carcano clip retainer so this clip should work fine in it.
Good find, probably one of the most important finds of recent times.
the 8mm Carcano clip holds 5 rds only
Not to respond for the orignal poster, but
Please read post before making such a response.
excerpt from above post:
"Now, it's common (?) knowledge that 8mm Carcano had a modified "hook" and it required a modified charger that held FIVE rounds"
As you can see its obvious the poster is in possession of the same information you state and is offering some alternative "new" information.
If you don't have anything to add (positive or negative), that you can back up with something other than hearsay, don't post.
And especially do not state things like they are an absolute, when you cannot prove it is.
This is pretty much why I do not frequent these boards any more.
Just from comparing the details on the two clips side by side, several points come to mind.
A. if it is "Hand made", then the maker had an intimate knowledge of Stamping tool making. The pressed ribs are machine made,not " pushed or chiselled individually."
B. it is Steel, which would fit with a Wartime manufacture (or immediate postwar) Carcano clips , especially the M38 clip for 7,35, were Steel during the war, to save on Brass, which was used Pre-war and Post-war, but of comparatively uncommon with wartime dates, in both Carcano and other Italian clips...even the Breda Horseshoe charger for the M1930 LMG was (Steel) re-inforced cardboard during WW II (it had been brass pre-war)
C. it is six shot: This would seem to make it a HK (Kreighoff) related item. The majority of the "8mm" (actually 7,9mm") Carcano guns have an uncertain Parentage.
We DO KNOW that they came out of either Egypt or another North African Arabic language Country, because of the photos showing them in use during 1950s-70s, in secondary roles (Training, Guarding, etc)
and also by the Arabic Script writing/numbers on the Buttstocks, in a script style similar to later Egyptian SKS and Mosins.
We KNOW that some of the Carcano rifles in 7,9mm were "?Made"??"Rebuilt"? By some Italian Firms in the POstwar period (?L.Franchi?)
We also KNOW (from cartridges Identified) that Italy supplied large quantities of Newly-made 7,9mm Ammunition of several types (Ball, Tracer, AP, and Blank) to Egypt in the 1950s; some openly, other "cryptically". All this ammunition was made by one Maker, BPD of Genoa ("AOC 1340" and BPD 953). Now Egypt did have FN49 and FN-D in cal 7,9mm, as well as Vickers Convertible Calibre (.303/7,9mm)MG in the 1950s, as well as WWII Mausers and probably Yugo "BO" type M48s.
There is "rumour"/ "Information" that the Carcano Rifles in 7,9mm were made for the ARMIR (Corpo d'Armata Italiano in Russia) to have commonality with the German resupply of ammunition...There is NO evidence, official or otherwise, from either soldiers who were there, or Documentation, either German, Italian or Russian, TO DATE (N.B.) That the Italians ever had anything BUT the standard 6,5 calibre rifles on the Eastern Front. The mass of writings by soldiers who were there, who survived the hecatomb that was the Italian Russian Front, and wrote in great detail of their experiences, have NO indication of any calibre other than the normal 6,5mm M91/95 cartridge. And the Official Archives are the same.
Another point, if the Italians would have had these 7,9mm rifles made and in stock, by 1943 ( presumanbly made for an Italian contributuion to the Russian front, of which the Italians were almost completely out of by the Sept. 43 Armistice, the German Army would have certainly confiscted them as Booty when they Occupied Italy, being in 7,9mm...BUT NO, the SS commisioned HKr to convert Carcanos at Klagenfurt, in Southern Austria (Tyrol) to supply the SS Police Units and others in the region, in 1944!!!!
The production of Carcano rifles by Gardone Area plants (Beretta, FARE, etc) continued till the end of the war, in April 1945 under German Control...if any were made in 7,9mm in this short period ( 1944-mid 45) we would have seen Carcanos with Legitimate WaA markings on them, or some other indication of Offical German intervention.
That is the one great controversy about the 7,9mm Carcanos... Who actually made them, When and Why... and why NO clips??? ( at least to date?). The only thing for sure we know (From existing rifles) is that the Germans Converted some to 7,9mm at (Klagenfurt) a Plant run by H.kreighoff during 1944-45, and these guns are Single shot, and have some characteristic differences from the run of the mill 7,9mm Carcanos.
As to Serial Number analysis, the Italian Serial Number system is quite specific, in that plants had different Blocs of letters for each order, and the same number was not repeated.(even between different Models); The sequence of the Blocks is also Chronological, matching the known (marked) Dates of acceptance ( AD and EF dating used on pre 1943 guns)
That some of these 7,9mm guns have numbers which place the manufacture in say, early war, only means that they were originally 6,5mm calibre guns, THAT is ALL.
If these guns had been Built in Original 7,9 cal. from scratch, they would have their OWN Block of serials...... and NOT a mix and match of 6,5mm M91/38 serials as evidenced so far....
Italy , after WW II, was as much a Basket case as France or Germany, but without the massive destruction of Germany, or the "Winner's crown" of France. The terms of the Armistice of 1943 were such that Italy could (and did) sell off excess weaponry to approved Buyers ( and to some not strictly approved either.)
Now with the flood of 7,9mm weaponry out of all of Europe ( and Italy had its fair share, given the intensity of the German occupation), what better marketing drawcard than to offer Carcano rifles in 7,9mm, rather than a NOW Obsolete (and under classed) 6,5mm cartridge??? Especially since the best customers in the Mediterranean region (Egypt and Israel) had already Bought large quantites of 7,9mm equipment out of Italy and elsewhere in Southern Europe.
The Northern Gun factories in 1945-46, were still largely intact, with a skilled workforce, and little work, as the country struggled to "get its act together" with the help of the MarshalL Plan...and tons of Carcano rifles awaiting either refurbishment for the new proposed Republic of Italy Government (1948) or Disposal at the best price...The cost of a calibre change was not too much an effort to secure a better market price.
I know that some long time Posters on this question will contrast my statements here, about Who, Where, When and Why, but, if so, "show us the money (proof)" to contradict my own logical explanation... I am open to being convinced that, despite my understanding, I may still be incorrect.
Now back to the clip: somebody mentioned it was similar to a Gew88 original clip...NO WAY>: besides the six rounds and general profile (NO Hole in sides), the Mystery clip has a different top and bottom (end?) profile, which is nearly parallel, C/f with the Gew88, which is more angled, and the Gew88 clip covers MORE of the length of the shell case, whilst the Mystery clip Fits the 7,9mm Carcano Magazine well opening.
As to its origin , see above notes on the engineering of it.
If the 5 round clip (supposed) needed a Modified clip hook lever, it was Because it was only 5-rounds ( and necessarily different dimensions of a 6 round clip, even allowing for the different head dimensions (.470 vs .450) of the two cartridges
6x .450= 2,700 Inches, 5X.470= 2,350 inches and 6x.470= 2,820 inches.
Now the Original Mag Box will hold a 2,700inch stack of cartridges with some allowance to press the clip into engagement with the hook ( and also close the Bolt on a Full magazine with the chamber empty)
That tolerance would seem to allow for a 6 round clip of 7,9mm cartridges to also be filled into the magazine Well, but maybe NOT allow the Bolt to close on an empty chamber (only 0,120 differeance( 3 mm).
The Five round clip, at .0350 shorter, would definitely fit into a Carcano Well, but have some play, as the cartridge would now be liable to not line up with the Bolt for Pick-up, with the existing ( 6,5mm) Clip hook...hence the Modified Hook for a "5 round clip", toi possibly allow a somewhat asymmetric positioning of the clip under pressure of the Follower arm and spring, to keep the clip "in battery" so that cartridges can pick up.
This is assuming a completely New 5 round clip, not a Modification of an exiting 6 round clip By "bending down" the clip lips to keep 5 rounds in tight.(look at the column heights of the two cartridges above).
It is easier to replace a Clip hook in the rifle, than make "asymetric" clips that only work "one way up" ( ie, NOT Goof-proof).
TYhe existance of this Mystery clip, and the precision with which it seems to be made, to me, indicates strongly that it is either a Pre-production or production example.
The fact that a large majority of Italian surplus ammo from Italy has always been sold in re-packs (ie, Without Clips) has led to the relative scarcity of 6,5 type clips (the 7,35 clips, from Finland, are a different story. When the ammo was repacked, the (Mostly brass) clips were scrapped, the brass ones for their metal value, the steel ones as a nuisance.
Te same would apply to any 7,9mm ammo that was clipped for export...if it was then clipped, as most of the Post-war use of 7,9mm Carcano rifles was a trainers or guards, where single shot was more appropriate.
Maybe this clip is one of a rare batch of trials, which never got off the ground because of reliability problems...or because a "5 rounder" was developed, but again never used, at least not by any known buyers...otherwise the ever-ravenous Milsurp market would have found some clipped 7,9mm Carcano ammo by this time...
It is also significant that in Italy, there are NO signs of these two types of 7,9mm Carcano clips...not even in the Ammo factories which survived the war( and some are still producing Military ammo now, not having been Bombed to any great degree during WW II), or even in the general Militaria market in Italy (with all the disperal of items during the 1943-45 civil war in Italy , especially in the German occupied North, certainly some "clips" of wartime made 7,9mm for Carcano would have come to light, officially or not, by now...Not a sign.
Now that I have stirred the "7,9mm Carcano Pot"...anybody for a taste???
Regards, Doc AV
Douglas I. Kerley
Hi; A couple of points I would like to make here. I have had several hundred of these 8mm Carcanos and have noticed that there are two barrel outside diamaters. Some that the bayonet does not fit on, it's so fat. So these barrels are obivously not post war reworks of 6.5 guns. These are numbered in a range with a non-import one I got ten years ago from an estate of a friend collector who had passed on. Dick Hobbs reconed that there were two batches of around 10K each turned out in the early 40s by two different makers and that one of them split their design between TSs and Cav. Carbines. He goes on the say in his nice book that that there is archival records of the Italian army in Washington DC refering to several deliveries of 8mm Carcanos on small numbers (12-18) in a 10,000 gun order to the Russian Front. I have several of the carbines and all of them are marked with this L Franchi on the bottom of the rear of the reciever not the fat barrel TSs'.
There are instructions around here to modify existing Carcano Clips to hold 6 rounds of 8mm that work in the commonly available 8mm Carcanos. I have never done this because I am not much of a shooter any more. But plenty of others have. I love the looks of this steel clip. I have lots of sheetmetal production experience and this looks like a production item. I am very happy that it does fit and function in a unmodified 8mm gun though. This would lead me to belive that this ia an original 8mm clip. It is all very confusing.
After I had written my long contribution above, I happened on a new Website (2006) which has new information about 7,9mm WW 2 ammo and experimentals found lately (2002) in old East German lake "Dumps" including Luftwaffe experimental Aluminium cartridge cases. Excellent colour photos of ammo, incl. primer colours, case metal colours, headstamps etc.(incl. Italian made 7,9mm during German occupation.
This webpage is in Italian, and also has a Reference to the "7,9mm Carcanos of Il Duce," during the 1943-45 RSI period (Reppublica Sociale Italiana, the puppet state supported by and supporting the Germans in (Northern) Italy). I could not access the Site of this material, due to "slowness" of my computer, but will try again soon.
The Link to this webpage was from the Ammo Board, from "7,9mm New site or some such description--etc.
This new information is worth a look see.
Thanks Doug for your extra info on the "Early" lot of 10,000? 7,9 rifles, and the consideration that the Mystery clip is "production quality".
All my Musings have, necessarily, to be based on photos and other people's Opinions and findings...there are NO 7,9mm Carcano rifles in Australia ( at least not by Importers or other mass acquisition, and probably NOT by single private direct importation either)...and have only seen ONE 7,35 M38 FC here in the last 40 years (must have come by mistake with the 1970s imports of of 6,5s, of which we have had thousands.)
regards, Doc AV
I would still like to see the reference made to the number of rifles made in 1941 from Mr. Hobb's book. I could not find it in "Il 91", but I am not an Italian speaker/reader...so my translation leaves much to be desired from the appropriate section. In the other Italian Carcano book?
I realize that these rifles could have been and probably were, based on photographic evidence(?) and the arabic writings found on most buttstocks, used in an Arabic country(Egypt probably?).
My opinion is that I don't believe it was a "shoe in" that the Germans would have requisitioned the 8mm TS during the war if they were indeed in stock. Other circumstances could have forestalled this and "playing devil's advocate" could have been the reason the German's went ahead with the Krieghoff conversions? Maybe they thought the Italian 8mm conversions were crap as well...had problems with barrel diameter as well? Again, just kicking up thought...
In addition, in recent conversation with Mr. Hobb's, over the phone, he indicated that a small number of these were brought back as souvineers (sp?) and tend to be in pristine condition...in better condition than the late 1980's imports. Bring back as war booty would indicate manufacture pre-1945 I think.
Mr. Dmala did a translation of an Italian article and put it in Military Rifle Journal in 2000. There were some interesting references to the 8mm TS being used wartime by some vets. Again, I understand that memories can be vaugue(sp?) sometime...lord mine is and I did not fight in WW2...but I think it gives us more sprigging leads to look at.
Mr. Hobb's, in phone exchange, was mentioning a reference to somebody that had been involved in producing the rifle during WW2? The fella was in his 90's now? Anybody have more infor on this?
I do not want to give away anybody's theories, gathered information, etc. and don't think I am until told otherwise...but based on this information I think we have more areas to look at concerning these interesting rifles and we are still far from a definitive answer.
Keep up the discourse. I hope I have not misquoted anyone. Regards, Arditi
The only reference in "Il 91" is to one of the HK rifles ( currently held in a Museum at Rovereto, near the Austrian/Italian/Slovenian Border area. which was the area where these rifles(the HKs) were issued.)
No reference was made to any other 7,9mm conversion/new guns.
The Book itself is dated to the early 1970s, so any new information would necessarily NOT be in it.
The Web page I mentioned above is "WORLDWAR.it" , but the relevant section ( regarding the 7,9mm Carcano) does not seem to want to come up (all the other links work, especially the detailed 8mm Breda section, the 7,9mm ammo section, and other interesting Italy related matters (Cartridge makers thru WW II, calibres issued, etc.).
We can but continue to enquire into records and so on. As Arditi said, the people who would have had some association with the manufacture of these 7,9mm items are now well into their late 80s or even 90s, and memories do fade.(But written records, diaries, documentation does not...).
Regards, Doc AV
AV Ballistics..........Avanti Savoia!!!
Dear all, a few comments that unfortunately do not shed that much light on the issue....:
Most of the german (HK) conversions were made to single shot, utilizing a wood filler in the magazine, which in most cases is missing in the samples survived to this day. The German records do not mention any official production of dedicated clips, which in my opinion would not have made any sense logistically. There is a German publication dating several years ago that reported a sample of 8mm clip fitting the Carcano magazine, different from the one found by Ron Azzi. It could be related either to the HK conversions, or to the import of Italian 8mm TS carbines from N. Africa.
The serial numbers of the undated, possibly late-production Italian 8mm TS carbines follow a specific sequence, although there are details which are inconsistent with military arsenal practices: letters stamped on the stock and missing on the barrel, or vice versa, incomplete numbers on stock, for example. A batch of FNA 91/38TS stocks with the "RA" prefix was at one point used.
I feel that if it would be possible to systematically record the serial number of the TS with the modified clip retaining hook, some questions may be answered. If you have one, please post it here.
Years ago I was contacted by a collector stating that he knows a former employee of the Terni arsenal. The latter gentleman recalled that a batch of 8mm TSs were produced and tested up to the divisional level, with negative results. The model was therefore never adopted or put in production. The collector declined my request to contact this elderly person, so I had no way to verify this story.
As far as I know (but I am not 100% sure) the records found by Dick Hobbs refer to "fucili russi" in 8mm, which can be interpreted as the 8mmTS model. As far as I understood the records do not specifically refer to Carcanos in 8mm (but this needs to be verified with Hobbs).
I suppose that in the Italian website the link to the "RSI carbines" article is deactivated because completely wrong.... I have the 3-volume book "Gli Ultimi in grigioverde", an extensive history of the armed forces of the Republic in the North, and no text or photographic hint of such thing exists. Maybe as an individual exception non-standard weapons were grabbed by some in some abandoned arsenal, but the weapons adopted by the military and paramilitary units were either standard Royal Army weapons, or weapons provided by the Germans.
In Italy and Germany modified 6.5mm clips can be found, which hold five 8mm rounds. In some cases they were found in metal refuse dumps which collected military surplus from closed-down barracks. It is possible that these were emergency solutions made by the local armorers. Years ago kindly Dick Hobbs and D. Franchi tested a sample I got, and found that it either did not work, or worked very poorly.
Years ago it was my intention to write an article for the MRJ on this subject, Hobbs and Franchi contributed with some text, but I never finished because I did not really know what conclusions to draw..... belated apologies guys, maybe I should just put together what I got without much comments, and let the fact speak (or be mute...) by themselves.....
Hi guys, I won't go into it now (will post info next week) on why I believe some of the Italian 8mm Carcanos were produced in WWII with some dated 1938 to 1942 (so far). These are not old barrel dates. (More on this next week). Now for the German conversions and that mystery clip. Some of this I posted before.
I have a translation of documents from the German Federal Archive in Freiburg RH12-? (complete number can't be read) "Bundesarchive-Militarchiv, Freiburg Germany, Referance # RH-12?". Suppled and translated by Wolfgang Riepe of Germany. .
The chief of the German armament and the supreme commander of the recruit-army (levy) makes up secret notice numbered 1813/43 at January 8. 1945.
"Der Chef der Heeresrüstung und Oberbefehlshaber des Ersatzheeres verfaßt am 8.Januar. 1945 unter Nummer 1813/43 eine geheime Aktennotiz."
These files contain discussions by the Chief of engineering at the Waffenamt WaA, Infantry-school in Döberitz, and Supreme Commander or the Recruit-army (levy) about converting Carcanos, testing them, their faults etc. The first document is dated Jan. 8, 45
From this document (short description, there are 12 pages) it appears the Germans started experimenting with converting Carcanos (Karab. 408( i ), Moschetto Mod. 38 & Gewehr 210 ( i ), Fucile Mod.41 to 7.92 in Jan 1945. (it states three plants were to produce an output of 5000 rifle conversions daily. Cautious estimate will expect only 500 a day) they were still testing them in March 1945. They tried to convert the Carcanos to "repeaters" but gave up and made them single shot in March 1945. They tried everything to make them "repeaters" altered Italian clips, their own "stronger clip", even a 4 round "fixed built in magazine". They couldn't get them to function reliably, and didn't like the drop out clip. (the Germans were worried they couldn't produce enough clips to supply all the rifles and clips would have to be re-used)
They state the following about the clips: Durability of the clips is not sufficient. After long use the sides of the frame of the cartridges will bend conically. So the empty frame does not fit in the Magazine and will fall out down the hole. After making a clip of stronger material (could this be the Mystery clip shown above?) the empty clip will fit the magazine better when recharged. The empty clip will hang up at the downward mouth of the magazine and can be fetched and saved by the shooter. The shooter gets the opportunity to use the clip for a longer time.
They were originally going to issue the 8mm rifles to the German Army but they weren't accurate enough or reliable. They were then going to issue them to the Volkssturm and factory guards but decided against this too and to only use Italian rifles in the original 6.5 caliber for the Volkssturm and factory guards.. They decided to issue the 8mm rifles only for auxiliary duties.
Great info gents. I am curious to hear more about the 38 and 41 dated rifles. Good on you guys for sharing. Arditi
I have a Cav. Carbine in 8mm that shoots surplus 8mm quite well. After I satisfied myself that it was not going to blow up in my face, it (suprisingly) shot '54 Yugo surplus into a consistant 3" group at 100 yards.
Contrary to the prior poster, I don't think the Germans would have failed in an attempt to make a 8mm clip if they had wanted to. I fashioned a reliable 8mm clip (5 rounds) from a standard clip with nothing more than a dremel in about 10 minutes. Nothing to it.
"The best laid plans of mice and men, aft gang aglee" (Rabbie Burns)
There, in those German documents, we see the contrast between administrative Hopes and Combat realities in 1945.
One of those three factories was that run by HK in Klagenfurt, near the Austrian-Italian Border. Those rifles were evnetually used locally, in the Tyrol, and were single shots.
The entire German supply system was by early 1945, in utter Chaos at a practical level. maybe a hidden away factory may have got the materials and workers to convert the Carcanos, but getting them to a Combat front with the Railways in disarray and under constant Bombardment (February-March was the time of the massive "City Burning" Raids (Dresden, Leipzig and Chemnitz, all Eastern front cities -- saw it last night in a short cut in a "Bomber Command" doco.)
But like Hitler, a lot of his Supply people still thought somebody would pull out the "WunderWaffe" at the last moment and save Germany from the Bolshevik and Allied Hordes. This was not limited to Rocket Fighters and Jet Planes, etc...it even went down to Small Arms, of which the Carcano program was just a small part...
The failure of the 7,9mm conversion program would have been seen from the start by any savvy gunsmith with the appropriate experience... but when one is grasping at straws.. In any case, the Carcano was issued , as mentiuoned, but in 6,5x52, with so much ready ammo at hand, from reasonably secure sources in Northern Italy
(until early April,the Germans in Italy surrendered on April 30, following the April 25th Uprising and attacks by combined "partisan" and Allied troops.
And as to any comments by modern users who "fiddle" with original Carcano clips to use 7,9 cartridges, these are the sort of "backroom" conversions which May work in the peace and quiet (so to speak) of a Local range, but would be disastrous in Combat, where ultimate reliability is a Live-or-die matter. And the Germans were sticklers for reliability in their Weaponry, however simple it was.
Just on the Bulging and sticking of clips in the mag opening after being emptied, this happens a lot with Steel M38 clips, the type from 7,35 ammo when re-used several times. That way I don't lose clips when doing "Combat walks" at the Military Rifle Club with my M91/38 or M41; I can whip out the empty clip from below, and recharge a new clip from above.
Of course, the original clips in the 6,5 and 7,35 were "Use and Lose" once in combat. Wise soldiers always saved theirs if possible, because you never knew when you would get LMG ammo instead of Rifle clipped ammo (happened a lot in North Africa, the "Wrong" ammo going to frontline units (Sabotage or Incompetence?? probably Both).
Hopefully this thread will unearth some more information and maybe some more clips from either the US or Italy/Austria. And of course the Documentary Info (the Germans were famous for conserving even scribbled notes) lets a lot of light on this Controversy.
Regards, Doc AV