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Old 06-10-2015, 01:20 AM
Nyles Nyles is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 917

This came in the mail today - got a really great deal on it because it was "missing the magazine" (IE he thought the ejection port for the enblock clip was a mag well).

It's a WW1 Italian Vetterli-Vitali-Carcano M1870/87/15 (quite the mouthful!) in 6.5mm Carcano, originally made at Torino in 1880. It started life as a single-shot Vetterli M1870 rifle in 10.4mm, was upgraded to a 4-shot Vetterli-Vitali M1870/1887 sometime before the turn of the last century, and then converted to 6.5mm Carcano with a 6 shot Carcano mag during WW1. The Italians, like pretty much everyone else, had a serious shortage of rifles in WW1, no one having anticipated the scale of losses. Like several other countries, they converted their obsolete black powder cartridge rifles to the modern round for issue to rear-echelon troops - the Italians ending up with what was probably the most combat-worthy and least safe of the lot.

The Vetterli wasn't a super strong rifle when it came out and certainly isn't up to the pressures of a modern smokeless powder cartridge - it's a question of when and not if it fails. The Italians knew that, but also knew they'd last awhile and issued them to troops they didn't expect to see combat. That said they absolutely did, mainly when the Italian front collapsed after Caporetto in 1917. Needless to say I won't be shooting it without doing up some light loads - it's probably got some life left in it but why risk it?

It's quite interesting how they converted these - they bored out the barrel and soldered in a new sleeve in 6.5mm caliber, cut off the bolt face and soldered on a new one, and then took off the old Vitali magazine and attached a Carcano mag assembly with the trigger mechanism cut off, which required making some extra relief cuts in the receiver, as the old 10.4 x 47 round, and it's corresponding mag, was both shorter and fatter than the new 6.5. You can see where they attached wood inserts to fill the stock. Oddly enough they didn't touch the sights, which are still graduated for the old 10.4mm - I guess they didn't figure their rear-echelon troops would be doing a lot of long range shooting!

Barrel sleeve

Inserts in stock (and "missing magazine")

Factory marks

Last edited by Nyles; 06-10-2015 at 01:37 AM.
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