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GUNS Magazine June 2012 Digital Edition - Page 30
HOLT BODINSON fter you’ve handled and studied scores of military surplus arms, there are a few that will leave an indelible impression. Here are several milsurps that have struck me as being just enough different to make them memorable. Not much trouble with this one! Those poor, little, Italian Carcanos have really taken a beating ever since the 1963 Oswald/Kennedy assassination. Yes, Oswald’s mail order Carcano was cheap. Klein’s Sporting Goods in Chicago was selling them in the 1960s for $19.95 delivered, complete with a mounted 4X Japanese scope. In the public mind, that was two strikes against the Carcano. It only cost $19.95, and it was used to kill our president. It doesn’t get much worse than that for a milsurp. On top of that, add in the problems the Italian Army experienced in WWII as a reputable fighting force, and the Carcano gets kicked to the bottom of the pile. Well, as the song goes, “It ain’t necessarily so.” Actually, the Carcano is a fine battle rifle. It’s simple, handy and well made by firms like Beretta. The action is impressive. It’s a split bridge Mannlicher design that is nicely machined from a special grade of highquality Czech steel. It features a large 1.3" front receiver ring. The bolt is very modern with a recess for the case head. The extractor is massive and mortised into the side of the bolt body. The bolt lugs are solid with no ejector slots slicing through them, and the action is adequately vented for gas leaks. Hey, this is an action that both the Italians and Germans chambered in 8x57. The minimum European proof load for the 8x57 is 73,500 psi. Enough said. Accuracy? Until a few years ago, the only ammunition available for the 6.5x52 Carcano round was loaded by Norma. It featured a .264" diameter bullet. Ah, but the Carcano requires a .268" diameter bullet. Until Graf & Sons, Inc. and Hornady got together and produced not only a 160-grain roundnose bullet with a diameter of .268" but factory loaded ammunition, Carcano accuracy was not impressive. With .268" bullets, Carcanos with their rather coarse open sights will average 2-1/2" to 3" at 100 yards. Scorned but undaunted. That’s the Carcano. I call the Danish, Model 47 Madsen A All are memorable milsurps. soMe Good and beautiFuL, soMe Good and uGLy Lightweight Military Rifle “elusive” because before the days of internet auction sites, I had only seen two: one in a Phoenix pawn shop and 30-years later, one at a Phoenix gun show. It may have been the very same rifle. Well known for their light machine gun and submachine gun, Madsen developed the Model 47 in the early 1950s for sale to third-world countries with limited defense budgets. Simple and cheap to produce, it’s an intriguing battle rifle with a rear-locking, split receiver, a 5-shot or 10-shot magazine, a forward mounted aperture rear sight and a stock and muzzlebrake designed to minimize recoil, which they do. In a post-WWII world awash in semi-automatics, the Madsen was not a commercial success. The only significant contract received by the company was for 5,000 rifles in .3006 for the Colombian Navy. Some of those Colombian-marked Madsens reached our shores so keep your eye out for this elusive and unusual milsurp. (See the April 2012 Surplus Locker for a complete review.) the Most accurate Although I hate to see my Swedish Mausers finish in second place, on average the Swedes can’t beat Switzerland’s Karabiner 31 when it comes to average gun-to-gun accuracy. Like the beautiful Swedish Mausers, the Swiss K-31s never had to do battle, were meticulously maintained by Switzerland’s citizen soldiers and consequently arrived on our shores in very good to excellent condition. Pristine bores, watch-makingtight-tolerances, finely adjustable sights and triggers set up in the 3.5- to 3.75-pound range spell accuracy, and the average K-31 delivers it in spades. Swiss military ball by RUAG featuring a wax sealed, 174-grain, boattail, low-drag bullet is the finest military ball I’ve ever seen. At 100 yards, it will cut 1-1/2", but the Hornady 168-grain A-Max and the Prvi Partizan 174-grain FMJBT loads will usually trump it by a 1/2". While the straight-pull action of the K-31 takes a bit of getting used With ammunition loaded with the wrong-size bullet, Italian Carcano rifles were long scorned. Loaded with the correct bullets, they will hold their own with other milsurps. 30 W W W. G U N S M A G A Z I N E . C O M • J U N E 2 0 1 2