Carcano 1891 long rifle 200 meter accuract test-several loads

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Rapidrob
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Carcano 1891 long rifle 200 meter accuract test-several loads

Post by Rapidrob »

After much testing by other members of my club, NM MILSURPS using 6.5 Carcanos as well a 6.5 Jap rifles we found that many of the loads are just too fast at our ranges altitude of 7,000 ASL.
I took my 1891 long rifle out today with 7 different loads to prove one way or another which would come close to original factory loads .
On hand were 12 rounds of 1943 Italian WWII loadings as a starting point.
Two rounds were duds and 7/10 rounds were hang fires.
The lowest velocity was 2,2060 and the highest was 2,333. The average for the ten shots that did fire was 2.240 FPS. out of my rifle with a .265 bore.
Bullets used were Hornandy .264 RNFB at 160 grains for the first test.
Seating to the bullets cannelure is NOT correct for the 6.5 Carcano! it is seated too deep into the case and will not engage the rifling properly,
To make it easy, seat the bullet with the cannelure 1/8" out of the case mouth. This will just be off of the origin of the rifling. The difference this makes is remarkable in accuracy.
The powders I tried today are:
IMR 4320
IMR 4350
IMR 7383
RL-22
BL(c)2
Bullets tried were the Hornandy 160 grain RNFB .264 as well as original "who-knows what" country 158 grain .263, yes .263 bullets FMJ.
The "magic" velocity is 2,200 FPS, not 2,400 FPS! at the higher velocity there is no real accuracy, the pressure is hard on brass and most cases did not eject from the chamber and had to be knocked out with a cleaning rod.( rifle is like new, perfect chamber) Primers were not flat and the bolt was easy to open. The cases did not release from the chamber walls at 2,400 FPS. ( Privi brass)
The best loads are -should be:
IMR-4320 with the Hornandy .264 bullet seated as written.
34.4 grains for an average velocity of 2,150 FPS- just crazy accurate at 200 meters.
IMR-4350 37.0 grains 2,140 FPS, very accurate .264 bullet
RL-22 39 grains 2,130 FPS -very accurate.264 bullet
BL(c)2 39.0 grains. Very accurate but to slow at 1,800 FPS avg. A load of 42.0 grains would have been better.- .264 bullet
IMR-7383 36.7 grains .264 bullet- too hot! Very accurate but cartridge case would not extract. Avg Velocity was 2,260 FPS. One case failed at case head.
**********************************
.263 bullets. This flies in the face of the internet. This bullet should not be accurate at all. My theory is that the long bullet just rides on the top of the rifling lands ( Gain twist) It should not be accurate but it is.
Same exact loads of powder as above. The bullet shot 6" lower than the .264 dia bullets but were dead on.
A very good friend of one of my club members lives in and is Italian. He shoots the old Carcano rifles and carbines a lot. When he was informed that we "bury the front sight into the bottom of the rear sight" he blew a gasket. "Who teaches anyone on how to shoot that way!? you always hold both sights even with each other! You just use a 6 o'clock hold on the target."
He was 100% on target ( pun intended)
I held centered and at six o'clock at the bottom of the man silhouette AR-550 target set to 200 meters. My shots ( depending on the powder type ) hit either dead center, in the high lungs, or in the "belly-button" of the target every single time. I fired 40 rounds and missed three shots due to me/powder charge velocities changing. All other shots were in a one foot area of the target.
The .263 dia bullets were the lower shots in the target but dead on and hit hard. They were 100 FPS slower than the .264 bullets.
IMR-7383 needs to be dropped down to 34.5 grains for 2,100 FPS and safe pressures. The powder does NOT like to be compressed with a long heavy bullet.
IMR-4320 @ 35.00 grains will be perfect.
BL(c)2 at 42.0 grains ideal
IMR-4350 at 40.0 grains dead bolts on.
RL-22 at 40 grains as well will be fine.
I own a few 1891 rifles as well as the little brothers that followed and none of them would shoot well at all. I tried everyone's bullet diameter but was always very disappointed with the accuracy. Why? I was pushing them to 2,400 FPS. The bullets were not stable anymore. The jackets fouled the rifles bore with copper. The .268 bullets were the worst.Brass life was with either diameter bullet was poor.
I kept the Carcano collection in the racks due to such poor accuracy and never shot them (6.5 caliber)
Today was a God send. The proper combination of powder,bullet diameter/weight and correct seating depth was found. The front sight is no longer buried in the rear ( rear sight flipped forward to reveal "battle sight")
The rifles bore is free of jacket material. The muzzle crown shows a very nice sun-flower shaped gas blast pattern.
And this old war horse is shooting accurately for the first time in 35 years for me.
Now I have to try these loads in the other model rifles/carbines. While the 91/24 will be a joke, the others may come back to life.
I'll do a range report on those.
As for the 1891 long rifle a try at my 800 yard target will be coming very soon.
Tin Can Sailor
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President New Mexico Military Surplus Rifle Pistol Shooters

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Re: Carcano 1891 long rifle 200 meter accuract test-several loads

Post by slowbob2 »

All of the older military rifles were designed to shoot bullets that were smaller than the groove dia of the barrel , it was called bore riding . When you say your M-91 had a .265 bore , did you mean groove not bore ? I have never seen a M-91 with a groove smaller than .268 . The original Carcano .2665 bullet would cause real pressure problems in a .265 groove gain twist barrel . Other than the Carcano , most 6.5mm military rifles used .263 dia bullets . Every military rifle I load for needs the US made bullets to be seated way below the cannelure [ the older Hornady 160 had a second cannelure for 6.5mm military rifles ] . I always use the rifle's leade to set the seating depth , not the crimp groove . I can see where Aiming 2 foot low at 200 yards on a man size target would hit the upper part of such a large target . When you shoot at a regular bullseye target at 100 or 200 yards you will still need to bury the front sight , and more .

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Re: Carcano 1891 long rifle 200 meter accuract test-several loads

Post by Polock »

Thank you for the info--while I do not own a Carcano (mostly due to the poor accuracy results most owner report) may have to reconsider.
If I could get one to shoot accurately, it would be a blast to bring it out to one of our local milsurp shoots--no one has ever brought one to our match.
"I have never seen a situation so desperate that the arrival of a policeman did not make worse"
Brendan Behan, Irish poet

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Re: Carcano 1891 long rifle 200 meter accuract test-several loads

Post by Rapidrob »

In my Carcano collection this 1891 has a .265 bore. It is the tightest bore of any of my Italian firearms. I bought the rifle from an estate sale decades ago and the rifle appeared to have never been issued. I had not shot original surplus ammo as most are in poor condition with primers or brass that are dead or the brass is brittle.
I have shot .267 Hornandy bullets and they fouled the bore with jacket material badly. No accuracy at all,huge groups. No problems at all with pressures.
Now that I have found a load(s) that shoot very well toady I will try them in my .266 bore Carcanos, Greek 6.5 M/S rifle and my .265 Dutch rifles and carbines.
Tin Can Sailor
'Nam Vet
NRA Endowment Member
President New Mexico Military Surplus Rifle Pistol Shooters

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Re: Carcano 1891 long rifle 200 meter accuract test-several loads

Post by burad »

"poor accuracy results' of a Carcano are usually attributed to:
1. They are shooting an M91/24. The M91/24 is a cut down rifle, and the last foot of gain twist rifling is missing. So the bullet never gets the spin rate it's supposed to.
2. AND/OR they are using PPU ammunition. PPU is several thousanths smaller than the bore, anywhere from .004 to .006. Hornady makes bullets the correct size.

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