The model designation should be followed by the phenotype, when not redundant: Fucile, Moschetto Cavalleria (Cav.), Moschetto Truppe Speciali (T.S.) and Fucile Corto. Cases where the phenotype is redundant is the M91/24 Moschetto T.S., M91/28 Moschetto T.S. and M91/41 Fucile.
This approach is a fairly compact method, but imprecise if the model specifications and naming conventions are not fully understood and internalized.
While an argument could be brought forth that it be sufficient to use the
model number alone to also identify the caliber, this is very obscure even
for the specialist, much more so for the non-initiated everyday
Here is an example: stating "I have a Carcano Moschetto TS Mod. 38 in 7,35 mms for sale" is a lot for clearer than just calling it a " Carcano Model 38" and letting the reader wonder what it might turn out to be in the end (a short rifle ? a cavalry carbine ? a special troops' carbine ?).
An interesting other "Carcano" model, in the wider sense, is the Tipo I, which was produced 1938/39 on foreign contract for use by the Japanese as part of Axis mutual aid pacts, and which is chambered for the 6,5x50 R Japanese. Unlike the other Carcani, which have a 6 round charger-clip magazine, the Tipo I, has a 5 round box magazine (for stripper clips). Stocks and sights also differ from the Italian type in that they closely resemble the Japanese Type 38 Arisaka long rifle from 1905.
Fucile (Long rifle):
Two long rifles exist, namely the M91 and the M91/41 (the preceding M 91/40 was a long trial rifle which was never distributed at large). They are distinguished in the following ways:
- Rear sight blades: M 91 graduated from 600 metres to 2000 metres, M 91/41 from 300 metres to 1000 metres
- Sling bars and swivels: only at the bottom for the M91, whereas the M91/41 also has side bars. A few M 91/41 may have their bottom swivels milled off after production.
- Buttplate: the M91/41 buttplate is slightly flatter and curves around the upper side of the buttstock, so the upper screw enters from above, vertically.
Fucile corto (Short rifle):
They exist in 7,35 mms (Mod. 1938 or 38) and in 6,5 mms (Mod. 91/38). Identical except for caliber and sight zeroing distance (7,35 mms at 300 metres, 6,5 mms at 200 metres). Only the very first M1938 short rifles initially had a different handguard and nosecap and no second barrel band (and these are not "prototypes", as Richard Hobbs incorrectly named them, but regular production). Upon negative reports from the troops, these features were changed, and the old style rifles were almost all retroconverted to the later (common) standard, by exchanging the handguard and nosecap and re-milling the stock's front end to accomodate the new nosecap.
The Short Rifle is often confused with the Moschetto TS. Beware. See the explanation later on this page for a listing of the differences.
A short carbine, stocked almost to the muzzle, with a bayonet lug and a handguard. Comes as M91 (in various modifications), M91/24, M91/28, M38, M38 S (in 7.9/7.92/8mm Mauser) and M91/38.
Moschetto per Cavalleria
A half-stocked cavalry carbine, with the unmistakable triangular folding bayonet; it is fixed to a permanent muzzle mounting, but hinges back under the stock, into a slot there. Not infrequently the bayonet is missing. Exists as M91, M38, M 38 S, M91/38. One manufacturer, FNA Brescia, continued its previous M91 pattern throughout the Second World War and never made a M91/38 with fixed sights. Please note that the round barrel base (instead of the old half-octagonal configuration with five facets on the upper side and a round base) was already introduced way before 1938 for the last M91 carbines and is not a sign for a M91/38 model in and by itself.
How to distinguish a Short Rifle and a Moschetto TS:
How to distinguish the manifold Moschetto TS sub-variants:
Have you ever taken a broom and begon to sweep the forest ? *Sigh* The Moschetto TS underwent constant minor modifications and alterations like no other Carcano, and I find it very difficult to gain an overview. Collectors hould keep in mind that these were all undertaken man mano, that is, successively as soon as a gun would have to be repaired and came back to the arsenal. Many different stages and variants thus co-existed at the same time and to speak of "introduction times" would mislead the reader. The changes mainly involve the following parts:
There are other Carcano variants, but these tend to be extremely rare or conversions of other types. For example, there are the Guardie del Re (King's Guard) and Moschettieri del Duce (Mussolini's Guard) variants, both of which are rare, and are distinguished by the coloring (gilded ornamentation and black stock, respectively), and non-standard stock/bayonet treatments.
One conversion is the Tromboni Launchi Bombe (aka Troboncino Launcia Bombe), the Grenade Launcher variants of the M91/28 T.S., M38 T.S. and M38 Cav. The Tromboni Launchi Bombe is permanently attached to the right side of the gun. Guns with the Tromboni removed should have a small notch cut on the top of the chamber end of the barrel and the right side of the stock inletted. 1943 saw the introduction of a German style grenade launcher that fit underneath the barrel of the M91, M91/41 and T.S.'s.
There are also late war official German 8x57 IS conversions, undertaken
as an emergency measure for the Volkssturm in both magazine and single-shot
configurations (Heinrich Krieghoff branch factory in Tyrol). These are
very rare, and must not be confused by the much more commonly offered
Some Moschetti TS M38 were chambered for the 7,92x57 Mauser (aka 7,9x57 Mauser; 8 x 57 IS; 8mm Mauser). We call them "M38 S" here, because they usually bear a large "S" mark on the receiver, and often also on the bolt handle; their receiver breech end has a half-moon cut to accomodate for the longer 8 x 57 IS cartridges (just as with the Norvegian Kar 98k converted to .30-06, and the Turkish M 1903/38 conversions).
Richard Hobbs thinks, based on an oblique and unclear remark in Italian army supply documents, that these guns were intended for Italian troops operating on the Russian front, and he thus calls this sub-model the Moschetto M38 TS Russi (Russian); but this appears to be a naming after the fact (unless further Italian sources be discovered). Others disagree, based e.g. on the argument that the term "Fucili Russi 8mm" could as well and even more literally refer to two not uncommon RUSSIAN World War I bounty weapons: to the Austrian-captured Mosin-Nagants converted to 8 x 50 R Steyr and to the German-captured Mosin-Nagants converted to 8 x 57 IS. Besides, the Italian armed forces had enormous stocks of original Austrian M1895 rifles and carbines, and also used them in WW II. These critics identify those Moschetti either as post-war conversions done for Egypt, some of which were captured by Israel, or as direct war aid deliveries to Israel.
The most likely conclusion is therefore that at least two, maybe three different Carcano types in 8x57 IS exist; their history still remains somewhat unclear until now.
For those of you who are challenged by the Italian language, the table below is a translation of the model/variant nomenclature:
|Fucile Corto||Short Rifle|
|Moschetto Cavalleria (Cav.)||Cavalry Carbine|
|Moschetto Truppe Speciale (T.S)||Special Troop Carbine|
|Typo I||Type I|
|Tromboni Launchi Bombe||Bomb Launching Horn
In addition to the manufacturer's identifying logo, the year of
production (up until mid-1943) and the serial number should be imprinted
on the chamber end of the barrel.
The year of production is typically a 2 to 4 digit number indicating the
year. For example a gun manufactured in 1918 may have a shortened year
such as '918' or "18" imprinted.
In addition to the A.D. Christian year, there is from 1929 until 1943, the
year of the Fascist Era (which was counted from the March on Rome in
autumn 1922) also stamped in Roman numerals on most barrels. Since
Fascist year and common era year are not identical (just like secular and
liturgical year diverge from each other), this allows to identify whether a
gun was produced before or after the anniversary day of the March on
Rome in a given year.
Typical serial numbers of Carcani consist of either 1 or 2 letters followed by 4 numbers. Guns produced at Roma in late World War I often have a 'OR-' prefix before their whole serial number. Some guns with a number only also exist.
The Model 91/24 T.S.'s, being shortened long rifles, should bear their original manufacturer markings and an additional small oval rework marking on top of the barrel breech, indicating the reworking arsenal (mostly if not always it's FARE TERNI and the last two digits of the year).
Below is a table of manufacturers showing the production years for the models and variants.
|Manufacturer||91||91/24||91/28||38||91/38||38 S||91/41||Tipo I|
(aka F.N.A. Brescia)
|Gardone Val Trompia
(aka Gardone VT)
|Pietro Lorenzotti (Brescia)||1930-1931|
|R.E. Terni (aka Terni; FAT)||1892-1936||1928-1937||1928-1930||1938-1940||1938-1939||1940-1941||1941||1941-1945|
|Model||Caliber (mm)||Twist Type||Sights (m)||Weight||Length (cm)||Bayonet|
|91 Fucile||6.5x52 Carcano||Gain||450-2000||300||8 lb. 7 oz.||78||128.5||Detachable|
|91 Cav.||6.5x52 Carcano||Gain||450-1500||300||6 lb. 14 oz.||45||91.3||Attached/Folding|
|91 T.S.||6.5x52 Carcano||Gain||450-1500||300||6 lb. 8.5 oz.||44.9||92.2||Detachable|
|91/24 T.S.||6.5x52 Carcano||Gain||450-1500||300||6 lb. 8.5 oz.||45.2||92.1||Detachable|
|91/28 T.S.||6.5x52 Carcano||Gain||450-1500||300||6 lb. 13 oz.||45.7||91.5||Detachable|
|38 Fucile Corto||7.35x51 Carcano||Fixed||200||7 lb. 9 oz.||53.5||101.8||Detachable/Folding|
|38 Cav.||7.35x51 Carcano||Fixed||200||6 lb. 9 oz.||44.7||91.5||Attached/Folding|
|38 T.S.||7.35x51 Carcano||Fixed||200||6 lb. 10 oz.||45.1||91.5||Detachable|
|91/38 Fucile Corto||6.5x52 Carcano||Fixed||200||7 lb. 7 oz.||53.8||101.8||Detachable/Folding|
|91/38 Cav.||6.5x52 Carcano||Gain||450-1500||200||200||7 lb.||44.6||91.5||Attached/Folding|
|91/38 T.S.||6.5x52 Carcano||Gain||200||6 lb. 6 oz.||45.9||92.7||Detachable|
|91/41 Fucile||6.5x52 Carcano||Fixed||300-1000||200||8 lb. 8 oz.||69.2||116.8||Detachable|
|38 S Cav.||8x57 IS Mauser||200||6 lb. 14 oz.||45.6||91.8||Attached/Folding|
|38 S T.S.||8x57 IS Mauser||Fixed||200||6 lb. 10 oz.||45.2||92.1||Detachable|
|Tipo I||6.5x50 Japanese||Fixed||400-2400||300 ?||8 lb. 12 oz.||78.1||128.9(Long)
|Detachable Arisaka bayonet|