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I was giving the first cavalry carbine I got a good deep clean (it had surface rust all over and some pitting under the wood) and noticed it has the crossed rifle stamp. From searching posts here it seems that this stamp just means it was a rifle they pulled and tested and found to be of superior accuracy to the other guns pulled. Is that about right? Or did it meet some sort of objective accuracy criteria and any of them tested would have been stamped? It would also seem some of the rifles with this stamp would have been given to designated marksmen (not necessarily snipers) but am going to guess such a soldier would rather have had a m41 or m91 than a dinky carbine.

Unfortunately it’s barrel appears to bit a bit worn, so maybe the stamp doesn’t mean anything anymore as far as accuracy goes but I’ll give her a whirl and see what I can do.
 

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It is a cool looking stamp,but; reality is a little disapointing. Read here:


The crossed rifle stamp does not imply or indicate a" more accurate" rifle. It indicates that the rifle was selected at random from the production line, disassembled and reassembled to determine if it met tolerances, then five rounds were fired from a bench rest at 200 meters to determine if the shots grouped within certain parameters. Ralph
 

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Ten percent of a given production lot was selected at random from the production line to be disassembled and then reassembled to ensure that parts fit correctly and that tolerances were met. From DiGiorgio and Pettinelli's book 1891: il fucile degli italiani, pages 56 and 57, which in turn is based on a book called Armi Portatili written by M. Galli in 1915, Five rounds were then fired from a bench rest at 200 meters to ensure that the weapon functioned satisfactorily and grouped the shots within acceptable parameters which had to be 20cm laterally and 25cm vertically from the point of aim (center of the target), and that the average lateral and vertical deviation admissible were 5 and 6 cm, respectively. These weapons were then marked with the "crossed rifles" symbol to reflect the fact that hey had been subjected to and passed the procedure.
 

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This will undoubtedly raise its head again and again in the future. Dominic, hopefully these few posts have cleared up the issue, i.e., this marking does not signify "superior accuracy" nor does it mean that these weapons were issued to "designated marksmen". 1886 Lebel's post is about as good an explanation as you will get anywhere on the specifics. It seems that over time, sellers who wanted to "increase the value" of Carcanos with the crossed rifle marking came up with this "superior accuracy" or even "sniper" story. This is a misconception that ranks along with the whole 4UT marking being equated to a German marking. I had one dealer at a Pennsylvania show try to pull that one on me on a Beretta. Anyway, Dominic, welcome to the wonderful and sometimes confusing, sometimes amusing world of the Carcano.
 

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I don't doubt what the experts here say. However, just to add to the confusion, you can learn about the TSN and the crossed rifles mark HERE. Note this:
Normativa sul "Fucile di esattezza", le richieste specifiche di tale arma, regolate dai
rapporti tra i T.S.N. e il Ministero della Guerra.

Circolare n°284 del "Giornale Militare" 1931 e Circolare Ministeriale n°8031 del 13 febbario 1932.

"Allo scopo di assicurare ai soci, ottimi tiratori, delle sezioni di tiro a segno nazionale la
disponibilità di armi adatte alla loro abilità, il Ministero intende che presso ciascuna sezione siano
sempre disponibili fucili mod.1891 di esattezza (contraddistinti dall'apposito bollo esistente sulla
canna) di 1ª categoria, e stabilisce che il numero di tali fucili sia ragguagliato al 20% dei fucili in
carico, vale a dire un fucile di esattezza per ogni linea di tiro dotata di 5 fucili ordinari.
E' ovvio che tali fucili di esattezza non dovranno essere impiegati che dai soci ottimi tiratori.
Vengono con circolare a parte emanate le conseguenti disposizioni esecutive".

Il Ministro: P. Gazzera
Which according to Google translate says:
Regulations on the "Rifle of accuracy", the specific requests of this weapon, regulated by the
relations between the TSN and the Ministry of War.


Circular n ° 284 of the "Military Newspaper" 1931 and Ministerial Circular n ° 8031 of 13 February 1932.

"In order to ensure the members, excellent shooters, of the national target shooting sections
availability of weapons adapted to their abilities, the Ministry intends that in each section they are
1891 model rifles of accuracy are always available (marked by the appropriate stamp existing on the
barrel) of 1st category, and establishes that the number of such rifles is equal to 20% of the rifles in
load, i.e. one accuracy rifle for each firing line equipped with 5 ordinary rifles.
It is obvious that such accuracy rifles should only be used by excellent shooters.
The consequent executive provisions are issued with a separate circular ".

The Minister: Fr Gazzera
I cannot vouch for the accuracy (no pun intended) of the translation, and maybe I am reading it out of context, but it does look like the rifles with the TSN mark were used by the better shots. Maybe not snipers, but more skilled marksmen.
 

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The TSN used firearms were for marksmen for shooting club function shooting competitions where they would want a better rifle that shoots better than a regular rifle, just think in our terms, you would want a NRA / CMP match type rifle for shooting these matches.

Patrick
 

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I don't doubt what the experts here say. However, just to add to the confusion, you can learn about the TSN and the crossed rifles mark HERE. Note this:

Which according to Google translate says:

I cannot vouch for the accuracy (no pun intended) of the translation, and maybe I am reading it out of context, but it does look like the rifles with the TSN mark were used by the better shots. Maybe not snipers, but more skilled marksmen.
No, there should be no confusion about this at all. 1886Lebel has stated the facts accurately and the same rules applied to the Vetterli (with slightly different accuracy grouping requirements).
The mark is nothing more than a sign that that weapon has met the required accuracy requirements and quality control.

The 'Tiro a Segno Nationale' shooting competitions generally only used rifles with that target and crossed rifles stamp (hence it is often referred to as the 'TSN stamp'). Not because they were more accurate rifles...just so that the club competition shots knew that they were not using a rogue 'inaccurate' rifle.
Sarie
 

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The French also had the same type of shooting competitions within France, they wanted firearms that had better barrels for these type of matches, they just did not mark them as such but were marked on the stock with various cartouches from those shooting clubs such as USTF, etc. I have found many of the European countries had similar clubs and firearms that they wanted for these competitions. ... Sarie Marias nailed it in the above post.

Patrick
 

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Thanks everyone, this makes sense now.
It does? I’m more confused now. Is it no big deal, just a stamp put on one out of ten rifles, because that rifle happened to be the one grabbed out of a lot to be tested? Or is it a rifle marked for accuracy to be used by the best shots? Or both? Since those rifles were actually tested and found to be accurate, whether true or not, were they afforded the assumption of being more accurate? As amateur historians we have to give credence to original source material. What do we make of Minister Gazzera’s official statement back in the 30’s that 20%, not 10%, should be marked, and that they were accuracy rifles to be used by excellent shooters? Are we talking about 2 different stamps here that mean two different things that just happen to be identical? I am as confused as ever.

That being said: From the POV of a collector, I’d rather have the stamp than not. Since it was only put on a subset of the rifles, that alone makes that rifle more “select” regardless of what it means. However, I would not do backflips over it, and other factors weigh more heavily on a rifle’s desirability.
 

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Tommy, let me try to clear up some of your confusion. Yep, they put a stamp on one of ten rifles because it happened to be picked at random from a production lot. Let me try to state it this way about the "accuracy" designation; as 1886 Lebel noted, the whole aim of the procedure was to check fit, function, and performance within given parameters, not to try to find rifles that were any more "accurate" than any others on the production line. Think of it as a quality control measure rather than some kind of "tuned" weapon. As has been discussed in other threads, the Italians did not have snipers or any designated marksmen (in an official sense); the best marksmen probably were identified based on performance in the field, or perhaps in training, but as far as I know the Italians didn't assign these guys any particular tasks. Also, as I believe you yourself stated, at least in a roundabout way, one would not classify a cav carbine (moschetto) as a marksman's weapon. There is more to the whole random selection procedure, such as what happened if any one of the ten percent failed to meet the fit, function and "accuracy" parameters, but I won't even try to get into that here. The crossed rifles are basically a QC stamp.
 

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I believe what you are saying, I just don't know how to square it with what Minister Gazzera had to say back in the 30's. Was he talking nonsense? Were a bunch of these QC stamped rifles made available to the TSN for their shooting sports because people thought they were more accurate? The stamp may not mean much (in reality), but was it perceived to mean something back then?
 

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basically the TSN was like our NRA / CMP Match shooters they wanted rifles that had better barrels than the ordinary rifle so they sought them out in particular. If you read the whole thing on the TSN the vast majority of the rifles they used were Fucile Modello 1891's for these matches so they probably asked the different manufacturers to send them the ones with accuracy markings on them to use for these competitions.

Patrick
 

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It really is not that complicated:
1. All service rifle production (Vetterli and Carcano M91) were checked for quality. It seems that about 10% of production were checked and approximately 10% of those (ie: 1% of production) were actually test fired and if they reached the required accuracy limits were stamped with the target and crossed rifles on the nocksform. This followed a procedure similar to that adopted for the earlier Vetterli. There was a more complicated formula to be followed in the event that the rifle picked out for the quality control (QC) tests failed one of the tests. But we won't go into that now.
2. The Tiro a Segno Nazionale was a civilian shooting organisation supported by the Italian Ministry of Defence because it encouraged marksmanship. Military rifles could be purchased at a discount by TSN members. They would normally be QC stamped rifles to ensure that they met the required accuracy limits.
3. The Tiro a Segno Nazionale adopted a club logo which was based on the same design as the QC stamp (hence it also became known as the 'TSN stamp').
4. It would be common sense for any keen TSN shots to ensure that they used a QC marked rifle to ensure it had the required accuracy, so they were not at any disadvantage compared with their competitors (who also used QC marked rifles).
5. It would be common sense in a military shooting competition for the best shots to have a 'QC' marked rifle to ensure it met the required accuracy and was not a 'rogue' slightly less accurate rifle.
6. TSN prize winners were often presented with a prize rife by the Italian MOD. This rife would be a standard military rifle except often without a serial number and bayonet bar. They would also have the TSN/QC mark.
7. Some civilian TSN competition shooters ordered special barrels to try and improve their chances. For example Verda in Switzerland produced highly thought of barrels for Vetterlis but the TSN administration stepped in to rule that all TSN competitors must use Italian-made components. Verda responded by opening an office in Verona! Their competition rifle was nicknamed the Vettterli-Verda.

In summary military rifles and carbines with the 'TSN/QC' stamp on the nocksform were not 'super accurate' or 'sniper ' rifles. They had just been checked for accuracy and had met the MOD laid-down accuracy requirements. The next 98 military rifles or so from the production line, without the QC stamp, were just as accurate but there might have been one or two occasional 'rogues' that were slightly less so.

On an unscientific survey, of 929 Vetterli rifles and moschetti that I have checked over the past 20 years, 34 have had the 'TSN/QC' mark.

Some references for the details and background to the crossed rifles and target stamp, the checking of parts and the accuracy shooting check:
1. Alfeo Clavarino,1890, Armi e Tiro.
2. Di Giorgio and Pettinelli, 2007, 1891 Il Fucile degli Italiani, Edisport, Page 56-57.
3. Robert Wilsey, 2016,The Italian Vetterli Rifle, Mowbray Publishing, Page 29.

Sarie
 
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