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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Posted - 03/17/2005 : 11:08:01 PM

back in the early 1990s, when Yugoslavia fell apart, Century picked up a load of Carcano Cav carbines, TS and M41s from Slovenia and Croatia. These were still in the cosmoline used in the 1940s to store them after WW II; They had been through a workshop check (complete stripdown, repair and grease: as a result they are ALL Mismatched, metal to stock. Most have some pencilled marks under the handguard, in Slovenian or Croat ( I checked a few, when we bought a batch for Movie Work in the Early 90s)

The latest ones definitely came from Albania, along with tons of "historical" (ie, mixed and old) 6,5 ammo, both Italian and Greek)

Century Arms would have been the "prime Purchasor", then sub-letting supplies to smaller Importers such as Springfield Sp. and others, so as to divide up the Import Burden.
That is probably why CIA re-Purchased the Carcs when SSp went under.

A short Chronology of Carcano Milsurps is as follows:
Early 1950s, small lots of Carcanos Sporterised in italy and sold to mail-Order suppliers in USA (RIVA, "Made in Italy" markings)

1959 Adam International ( a fly by night company) contracts to Buy the entire Italian Inventory of Carcanos and ammo; the deal falls through, but Interarms (Sam Cummings) picks up the tab, and moves the lot to Britain, where his warehouses in Manchester and Birmingham process these rifles, sporterizing some M41s, and having them British Commercial proofed.
Carcanos start to arrive in the USA by mid-1960-61, in great numbers (remember the $9,99 specials? ) At the same time, Interarms has done the "Finland deal" and the 7,35 Carcanos also hit the US market.
1968 GCA stops all Milsurp imports post 1898 into USA. Carcanos head for the British Commonwealth (Canada, Australia, New Zealand) prices correspond to US prices ( M91/38 with 100 rounds and a clip, $39.95 )
GCA Amendment 1986 removes Milsurp import Ban, imposes Importer marking Scheme: Carcanos return to Milsurp market, both from Offshore Stocks (formerly Interarms, now taken over by Century, thru its Canada Office, which kept going during the ban years in the USA)

1980s, Egypt shakes off Soviet Influence, becomes cosier with USA, sells off Milsurp ( FN49, Hakims, Mosins,SKS, etc Mausers and Carcanos (M38/S in 7,9mm) The "8mm" carcano hits the USA: Nazi Fakery begins
1990s, Dissolution of Yugoslavia, overthrow of Communism in Albania: need for US dollars pushes these new countries to sell off old Military rifles to eager US Importers of Milsurp... More carcanos arrive, of varing condition from almost new to very very used.

2000 and future??? The Only large reserves of (Captured) Carcanos Possible are the Former Soviet Union ( between 50 and 100,000) and Possibly India ( where the East African carcanos went in 1941-42, less 10,000 which were sent to Dutch East Indies and lost during the Japanese Invasion...I have ONE, and the only original part is the barreled Action & bolt; all the rest is Indonesian Blacksmith made (Trigger-guard, stock, Bands). In all the Surplus that has come out of Indonesia, not One Carcano has been identified as such here in Aussie (mine came out as a "Dutch 6,5 Rifle" (the stock was a Poor copy of the Dutch M95 Stock).

Odd rifles will still be found throughout Northern Africa and East Africa (Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya etc) and probably in Turkey ( the Italian Occupation Forces in 1919-20 "left" a lot of rifles to the nationalist Turk rebels. The large batch of Long M91s ( about 57,000) sold to a Chinese province Warlord in the 1920s have, for the most part, been melted Down ( information from a Taiwanese Collector.)

So, save for a probable Find in Russia/Ukraine/Belarus, that is it for Carcano Surplus Rifles for ever.

Posted - 03/18/2005 : 08:17:10 AM
Thanks, Doc, for the highly informative essay. The moderator of this forum ought to think about sticking DocAV's post to the top of this forum for future reference for us all.

Well, at least I have saved it now... :) Carcano

Posted - 03/20/2005 : 6:24:41 PM
Hear, hear...The Doc is IN! Always informative to read your posts. Thanks you for taking the time to share your knowledge with us.

Posted - 03/23/2005 : 01:53:05 AM
Doc, Great info. Years ago,I read in a book titled "The Rifle", which is a proported research history of the Oswald carbine, that Adam International was connected with the Adam Hat Company which was looking to diversify its import portfolio. The company then got cold feet while dealing with the international arms trade and backed out of the deal. Have you heard anything like this? I have the book stored away somewhere and will start the "Great Search" to find it.

Posted - 04/12/2005 : 10:27:48 AM
Originally posted by RetVet
Hmmmm? I believe I got about 400 rounds of that "historical" 6.5 ammo from Aim a year or two back. Definately a mixed bag of headstamps and pretty dirty.
It is still good for salvaging the bullets and most importantly for salvaging the solenite propellant. Both can then be used with modern brass and magnum primers. You will get very good accuracy.

· Registered
2,729 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
When was the last time Carcanos were imported?

Arisaka fan
Posted - 03/23/2006 : 12:04:01 AM
I was just wondering and how often do they get imported

Posted - 03/23/2006 : 11:12:31 AM
In the US the last batch imported, as far as I know, came a couple years ago from Albania. Previously Century imported two batches of refurbished Carcanos (one roughly refurbished in Egypt, the following slightly better but still rough was done in Italy) I believe in the mid-late '80s.

Posted - 03/23/2006 : 12:25:21 PM
History of Carcano Imports to USA:

1950s: Small numbers from "sporterisers" like RIVA in Italy
1960s: Interarms took over a Failed Buyout of almost the entire Italian Inventory of Carcanos (ALL types, including Vetterli-Carcano conversions) These were shipped to Interarms facility in England, and some sporterised there, but the majority went to the USA until GCA68 Blocked the shipments to the USA. The remainder were routed through England to other "friendly" markets (Canada, Australia, etc)

Post-86 (revocation of GCA68 Milsurp ban): Century Arms became the major acquirer and shipper of Carcanos, picking up the "8mm" (7,9) Carcanos in Egypt (along with a lot of other Egyptian equipment), and then with the fallout of Yugoslavia, the Carcano Inventory of the newly independant Slovenia (which had accumulated most of the Yugoslav-captured Carcanos at the end of WW II)

1990s-2005. Further small batches of very rough Carcanos (and ammo) have come out of other ex-Yugoslav republics, and Albania (Century again)
Israel did dispose of its Carcano TS and Cav Carbines accumulated clandestinely during WWII (Haganah/ Jewish settlement police) and also after WWII in dumps left behind by the Brits when they left Palestine in 1948; after the Independance War (Mid 1948) against the Arab nations, these "oddballs" were surplussed as Mausers replaced them ( and eventually FNFAL). Interarms was probably the buyer.

Cuba may still have the few it captured from the Bay of Pigs invasion; A small qty. was known to have been acquired by the insurgents in Miami.

Still to be Found and Imported: between 50-100,000 Carcanos from Eastern Europe, specifically Russia,and Ukraine, where most Italian troops were in Combat (Don River sector) and many were lost or captured.
Other possible sources of Carcanos are Ethiopia and Somalia( if you can pry them loose from the wild tribesmen--an AK47 is a reasonable trade)
India (where the majority of AOI Carcanos ended up) and Indonesia ( where during 1941, 10,000 Carcanos went via Australia to bolster KNIL stocks , in anticipation of the eventual Japanese invasion of 1942.One or more KNIL M91s have made it to Australia in the 1980s (I have one, in a M95 (Dutch) homemade Indonesian stock)

BTW, there are several M91 and M91/38 rifles in SAF Lithgow Museum, CONVERTED to .303 British,along with similarly Converted M95 Dutch (long) rifles; Both seem (were certainly) for the KNIL. The M95/.303 were actually made and shipped (never arrived--December '41), whilst the Carcano M91/.303s seem to have been shelved as technically too involved for major conversion numbers, and probably unreliable as well in function ( change of clip and curvature,for a rimmed round etc.)

Outside of that all the known destinations of Carcano rifles have either been used up by Milsurp Buyers or the numbers sent to receiver countries destroyed:

Chinese Carcanos, deliveries from Italian Surplus, 1920s, of about 57,000 to close to 100,000, (depending on documentation) seem to have been "used up" in the "Great Leap Forward" on the mainland,("back-yard Furnaces") and by simple destruction by Taiwan (feed stock for steel mills) in the 1950s.

The quantities supplied to Franco in 1938-39 for the Spanish Civil War, seem to have been accounted for by Interarms, in their Buyout of the Spanish Inventory, in the early 1960s.

Hope this is of use...

Posted - 03/23/2006 : 5:06:53 PM
Good overview DocAV, thanks. The batch refurbished in Egypt that I mentioned was actually made of mismatched M41s and M91s, with signs of heavy pitting roughly polished with a wire brush, and the action (including the trigger) with a thick, black blue over the rust residuals. The stock was soaked with cosmoline. The 8mm TSs actually were in much better shape, and were not refurbished, so I suppose they were acquired separately.

Large stacks of Carcanos are apparently still stored in Lybia, I hope that whoever will eventually get his hands on them, will not decide to "fix" them prior to sale...

Bill In Indiana
Posted - 03/23/2006 : 8:08:17 PM
Back in the late 80's I remember there was somebody in the US shopping around a "buy in" deal for Carcanos to be imported to this country as "Scrap Metal"....and from my understanding broken down into be assembled by the buyers. The price was by the pound...about $2 a pound if I remember right...but the legality of the venture sounded scary to I never looked into it...this was about two years before the first Egyptian ones showed up with Century, but I never did hear where they were to be coming from.

Posted - 03/28/2006 : 4:12:29 PM

To extrapolate on the Italian arms surrendered in AOI (Ethiopia/Eritrea/Somalia), those collected by Commonwealth forces in 1941 where gathered at depots in Asmara. Obviously, a percentage were retained by the Shifta.

One of the first US units in-theater was an Ordnance company (very early 1942), that helped triage these weapons and then turn them around for further combat use. From what I read in the original notes of the unit commander, the Italian weapons in useable condition went to Indian units for training purposes.

Generally, any of the Carcanos/Steyrs/Beretta SMGs and Breda LMGs that were photographed in the hands of the various militias throughout the 1970s have long since worn out to the point of being scrap. Those Italian weapons confiscated (and generally destroyed) during the US' brief Somalian adventure were pretty beat by 1993.

About the only way to expect something beyond rusted junk out of Africa is if the storage facility was lost and buried for the last 65 years.
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