Highwood Classic Arms

British & Commonwealth

Classic Military Rifles



Carcano M38 Cavalry Carbine
Gardone VT
Calibre 7.35mm
Dated 1939
Serial D5739

The standard Italian rifle of the Great War was adopted in 1891. It was fed with a 6-round clip. The clip was a Mannlicher design and the breech block assembly was designed by an Italian gunsmith named Carcano.

While it is looked down upon by some devotees of the "finer" rifles, it was a rugged weapon that didn't foul up easily
and withstood hard treatment. Its smaller cartridges [Cal. 6.5x52 mm vs. 7.92 mm Mauser] meant a soldier could carry more rounds and its clip
held 6 rounds vs. 5 per clip for almost all rifles of the other belligerents.

Lessons learned in North and East Africa left the Italian military itching for improved ammunition. Their 6.5x52mm cartridge was the first of its kind and while that’s a proud accomplishment it had not shaken loose some design flaws. In an attempt to gain better penetration, flatter trajectory, and more fatal impacts on soft targets a new 7.35x51mm cartridge, with a modern spitzer bullet, was adopted.

Carcano-M38-Cavalry Production of one new rifle in 7.35 began in 1938. The Moschettoa Modello 91/38 Cavalleria was essentially the same rifle as the early M1891 pattern with only a few minor changes. Other than the chambering and dropping the gain-twist rifling method, the only significant alteration was that the adjustable rear sight had been replaced with an incredibly simple fixed rear notch. This was a radical departure in military small arms thinking. The Italians had made the ambitious decision that most engagements were at a range best suited to a 200 meter battle sight (ultimately true in much of WWII) and that an adjustable sight was likely just a distraction. Ranged engagement should be handled by more appropriate equipment than riflemen.

A nice example of a WW2 Carcano Cavalry Carbine in 7.35 with a shooting grade bore