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The Finns were behind the 8 Ball in the Winter War and procured weapons from a lot of different sources, including Italy.
Ian reviewed it on FW and came to the conclusion that it wasn't the horrible piece of junk that people have thought for a long time. What did the Finns, being experienced riflemen, think of the Carcano?
 

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Iirc Ian’s video was two parts, the first one being before he’d actually fired a carcano on a range. After doing so, in the second video he completely recants and decides it’s not a well thought-out piece - no joke!
 

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It was often derided and scorned, as I recall. Of course there are indications that the Finnish army altered the fixed sight system that had been designed by the Italians for use with the 7.35x52mm cartridge in the Carcano six-round "anyside up" ammunition clip that fit into the magazine, and that this had a very deleterious effect on getting a disabling hit with it as it had been laid out and sighted in.

The non-standard ammunition was apparently a problem too. It was mostly relegated to use by rear echelon forces, who often exchanged them for captured Soviet rifles.
Jaeger Platoon has this to say:
7,35 mm Rifle M/38 "Terni" (scroll down)
 

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The Finns were behind the 8 Ball in the Winter War and procured weapons from a lot of different sources, including Italy.
Ian reviewed it on FW and came to the conclusion that it wasn't the horrible piece of junk that people have thought for a long time. What did the Finns, being experienced riflemen, think of the Carcano?
Not all Finnish soldiers were experienced riflemen, but the "Terni-rifle" as it was normally referred was notably unpopular in Finnish military. Let's just note that Finnish Army did its best to issue the rifle units other than frontline infantry, Finnish soldiers had notable tendency on on their own accord to replace "Terni-rifles" issued to them with any sort of Mosin-Nagant if possible and Finnish military finally got rid of the rifles by trading them to 2nd hand Sten submachine guns in year 1957. Pretty much the only positive opinions seem to be about small size and light weight.

The best quote I have read about the matter is from famous Finnish political caricaturist Kari Suomalainen, who during World War 2 served in (signals?) military unit which was issued "Terni-rifles" and noted about their reputation: "We had heard that someone had somewhere once succeeded hitting something with the rifle, but nobody knew who, where or what."
 

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Here we go again with inference and innuendo about how lousy the Carcano was, or what terrible marksment the Italians were. My question is, if it was such a horrible piece of junk, why did the Finns buy them in the first place? Didn't they test or evaluate them at all before they purchased them? Were the evaluators paid off or just incompetent? I have too high a regard for the Finns to believe that either would be true. Perhaps the answer is that the Finns were just desperate for anything that could shoot.
 

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Iirc Ian’s video was two parts, the first one being before he’d actually fired a carcano on a range. After doing so, in the second video he completely recants and decides it’s not a well thought-out piece - no joke!
If I remember that second video. Ian matched the M38 Carcano short rifle against a German Mauser. Ian, unused to the M38, vs. a guy who was a better natural shot and who was very familiar with the German rifle. Still, even with these disadvantages Ian managed to prevail on one of the trials. I did not think the match was a fair comparison. The shooters both should have used both rifles to get an apples to apples comparison, as opposed to apples to oranges.

The big demerit for the Carcano was that under time pressure Ian managed to de-cock the bolt while it was out of battery making it impossible to put back into battery. However, that being theoretically possible, I think that was more a function of Ian rushing under time pressure, not being familiar with the Carcano, and of course he being a sinister lefty.

Being a righty, I can recreate his de-cocking if I try to intentionally, but cannot fathom how he did it accidentally while just working the bolt. Oswald did just fine.
 

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The Finns were in a desperate situation, and bought what weapons they could. The Italians sold them sold PT type boats too. Certainly no time for "Evaluations" and what other country even volunteered to sell rifles to the Finns? As JTV relates the Finnish experience and regards for the Carcano, his writing seconds everything I have heard about the Finnish use and regards for that rifle. John
 

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Here we go again with inference and innuendo about how lousy the Carcano was, or what terrible marksment the Italians were. My question is, if it was such a horrible piece of junk, why did the Finns buy them in the first place? Didn't they test or evaluate them at all before they purchased them? Were the evaluators paid off or just incompetent? I have too high a regard for the Finns to believe that either would be true. Perhaps the answer is that the Finns were just desperate for anything that could shoot.
If you read the Jäger Platoon web link I posted, with my qualifications about how, apparently, many Finns viewed the Italian rifle, you would shortly discover that at the end the author commented on actually firing and handling the "Terni." He had nothing bad to say about it at all.

Inference?

As for equipment provided to Finland, during the Winter War a lot of stuff was effectively donated or sold at very reasonable terms. Much of it arrived to late for the Talvisota/ Winter War, but was pressed into service during "Finland's War of Choice." Italian M33 steel helmets were provided. These are an excellent design, and continued as the Italian army helmet under Nato until modern composite helmets arrived on the scene.
Something like 150 naval mines, 100 82mm mortars, 12 76-mm AA guns, 48 20-mm light AA cannon, 12 47-mm AT guns with 25k shells, 17 Fiat fighter planes, and 28 flamethrowers came to Finland from Italy. Also 150 volunteers. And the 94.5k "Terni" 7.35-mm rifles with 50mil. cartridges for them.

The then Union of South Africa sent 25 Gloster Gladiator biplanes.
The United States sent 44 Brewster Buffalo aircraft, which are often derided, but the ability to use 87 octane fuel was a god send, and a number of Finnish air aces used the type.
France sent 5k Chauchat "fusil mitrailleur" with 11m 8-mm Lebel cartridges, 20k hand grenades, 40 of their 25-mm AT guns, radios, 155-mm and 105-mm howitzers, and some old cannon--136 in all -- that predated and did not have without modern recoil systems. In fact, the last use of such ancient 19th century artillery--actual shots fired in anger was by Finn artillerists.
 

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I pulled out my Finn M38 and I do not see how Ian managed to de-cock with the bolt in the open position. Could not do it. Seems to me the notch that holds the firing pin in position when the bolt is to the rear was worn or overly polished on his rifle. So I would not hold that against the rifle, any more than some of the fitting issues that come up with any rifle tht needs a slight adjustment

The Finns received 94,300 rifles with 50 million rounds of ammunition, in 1940, and traded 74,300 of them to Interarms for a Sten and 4 magazines each in 1957. Interarms also purchased the remainder of the 50 million rounds in Finnish stock, which was about 37 million rounds, give or take.

Now given the M38 rifles saw not all that much use, something happened to the 20,000 rifles not accounted for. Did they end up in Finnish homes? ~13 million rounds divided by 94,300 rifles means the average rifle was shot 137 times.

Given they re-sighted them to 150 M, expended 13 million rounds, and 20,200 seem to be missing indicates they had some regard or made some use of them, more than the M96 rifles they got from Sweden.

Not a devoted fan of the M38 rifle, but it is easy to shoot and fits with the general way of thinking of the time. The original way of shooting it was 200 M with a fine sight front sight blade in the bottom of the notch and around 330~350 M with the notch sighted the way most of us do. Not that dissimilar to the M16A1 zero with the 275M / 350M zero. Very easy to remember for the soldier. Ballistics are basically a 7.62x 39 out of an SKS. Not a bad arm for artilleryman, AA, supply, engineers and other personnel who might need a rifle but would be using it as a defensive arm.
 

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My question is, if it was such a horrible piece of junk, why did the Finns buy them in the first place? Didn't they test or evaluate them at all before they purchased them? Were the evaluators paid off or just incompetent? I have too high a regard for the Finns to believe that either would be true. Perhaps the answer is that the Finns were just desperate for anything that could shoot.
I have seen archive documents about the deal and there is nothing that suggests that the rifles would have been tested before purchase. Finland was in middle of war while not having enough rifles to equip all its soldiers, hence the situation was desperate and the rifles were basically new at that point. Also, in year 1940 there were not exactly too many countries willing to sell large batch of military rifles and good supply of ammunition for them.

It is worth noting that when I was test-firing "Terni" I had no possibility of accuracy-testing. Only ammunition available for it was Italian made from late 1930's and in very short supply. Hence I was able to get two clips worth and 12 rounds total does to give much room for such, especially so because due to nature of event I was not sure I was able to find target which did not already have some holes in it. So all I was able to get from testing it was some shooting impressions.

I would not make too far-reaching conclusions about about 20,000 rifles being not accounted for. For one thing when soldiers replaced their "Terni" with captured Soviet rifle, they could do it either taking Mosin-Nagant or other rifle from pile of captured rifles gathered after battle as indicated by one of the photos or by grabbing rifle from dead Soviet and discarding their "Terni", which might never be found. In addition no spare parts had been supplied with the rifles, so the only way for Finnish military to get spare parts for repairing damaged "Terni" rifles was cannibalizing rifles for parts.
 

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JTV,

Very interesting.

7.35 ammunition is not so rare here, possibly because Interarms sold around 37 million rounds of it in the 1960s, and the rifles were not that popular. Around 500 rounds for every rifle, used to see them at every gun show. Given most of the ammo was dated 1938/39, and now is 70 plus years old, more or less most of it is in the relic phase.

That said what went wrong on the rifles in service? There does not seem to be much to go wrong on the M38. Especially if it was issued as a secondary arm (AA, artillery, service support, garrison duties, etc).

also I looked up a bunch of pictures of the Finish rifles and they all seem to have brighter bolts than the ones that did not go to Finland. Is it possible as part of the rework to re-sight all the rifles the Finns tried to smooth up the actions with a bit of polishing?

Kind of curious, not much written about there use is Finnish service.
 

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7.35 ammunition is not so rare here, possibly because Interarms sold around 37 million rounds of it in the 1960s, and the rifles were not that popular. Around 500 rounds for every rifle, used to see them at every gun show. Given most of the ammo was dated 1938/39, and now is 70 plus years old, more or less most of it is in the relic phase.

That said what went wrong on the rifles in service? There does not seem to be much to go wrong on the M38. Especially if it was issued as a secondary arm (AA, artillery, service support, garrison duties, etc).

also I looked up a bunch of pictures of the Finish rifles and they all seem to have brighter bolts than the ones that did not go to Finland. Is it possible as part of the rework to re-sight all the rifles the Finns tried to smooth up the actions with a bit of polishing?
Palokangas lists two reasons in this books (Military Small Arms in Finland 1918 - 1988 Part 3, page 36):
1. Non-adjustable rear sight which (presumably with normal sight picture and unmodified sights) was shooting way off for normal distances from which the rifle could be zeroed in. He claims that the fixed rear sight seemed to be set for 600 meters.
2. Poor quality of ammunition causing very large dispersion on target.
Basically these two things would have made properly zeroing in the rifle very difficult and not having proper ballistic info about ballistic behaviour to various ranges would have made trying to shoot targets by trying to aim low or high pretty much impossible.

It is worth noting that all Finnish-issued 7.35 mm x 51 ammunition was Italian-made. Some 50 million cartridges arrived with the rifles.

I am not sure how reliable his info is - it seems to be based on interview of person who had served as inspector in Ministry of Defence. Hence it would be interesting to see actual test data about the matter.

No idea about possibly polished bolts - sources do not mention such.
 

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Unless there is some misunderstanding somewhere along the line, the Finns did produce some 7.35mm ammo themselves. See either the www.il91 site under the heading Munizioni, and then Scatole munizioni and scroll down to the page that shows a box of allegedly Finnish-produced 7.35mm ammo; same picture is on page 292 of the Chegia/Simonelli book.
 

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Unless there is some misunderstanding somewhere along the line, the Finns did produce some 7.35mm ammo themselves. See either the www.il91 site under the heading Munizioni, and then Scatole munizioni and scroll down to the page that shows a box of allegedly Finnish-produced 7.35mm ammo; same picture is on page 292 of the Chegia/Simonelli book.
Finnish industry manufactured ammunition boxes for 7.35 mm x 51, but when it comes to ammunition - not really. The significant part of markings on that cardboard box is:
"18 kpl Kiv. Pat. Kal. 7,35 m/mm Tarkistettuja Valtion Patruunatehdas" which translates as:
"18 pcs Rifle Cartrdiges 7.35 mm Inspected by State Cartridge Factory".
So it is Italian-made ammo repacked in Finland. According "The Finnish Military Cartridges 1918 - 1944" by Pitkänen and Simpanen particular Finnish boxes have been used for repacking ammunition at least in year 1942.

There was also a Finnish version of 7.35 x 51 ammo with lower pressure cartridge, but those were produced by taking Italian cartridges, pulling out bullets, removing original gunpower and replacing it with smaller gunpowder charge before re-inserting bullets. Particular ammo was marked with cannelure knurled into bullets. Apparently Sako made the modification work for these cartridges in year 1943 and their boxes are marked with text "15 kpl A 0152 7,35 kiv. mat.paine p." (15 pcs A 1052 7,35 millimeter rifle low pressure cartridge).

BTW: The working link for that website is www.il91.it.
 

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Ironically yesterday I received my copy of "Suomi M/31, (The Finnish Submachine Gun Suomi M/31) by Michael Heidler. Lots of great photos and the text is in German and English. Looking thru the book I see on page 56 a photo of three Finnish soldiers cleaning their weapons. One has a M/31, one a M91 MN, and the third man has a Caracano. The caption reads " Cleaning weapons after the battle. The soldier on the left is equipped with an Italian "7.35 facile model 38". Lacking own weapons in adequate numbers, Finland ordered 100,000 rifles from Italy in 1940. The rifles got the nickname "Terni" and were disliked by most Finnish soldiers. Often they were thrown away and replaced by captured Soviet rifles. August 1941 (SA-Kuva). Maybe the throwing away mentioned accounts for the 20,00 unaccounted for, that and the ones that went home with soldiers. John
 
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