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6.5x52mm Carcano Ammo

Used by the Italian, German and Finnish armies, the 6.5mm Carcano had a military service life of almost 80 years. Today it is most commonly seen in use as a hunting rifle where it can take most medium sized game out to 200 yards.

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History of 6.5x52mm Carcano Ammunition

In 1891 the Kingdom of Italy introduced a new rifle cartridge that would lead a new direction of military rifle cartridges. The 6.5x52mm Carcano was one of the first small bore cartridges that was accepted for military use, leading to the introduction and acceptance of other well known cartridges, such as the 6.5x50 Arisaka and the 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser.

The cartridge is a rimless, bottleneck type that holds a 6.8mm Full Metal Jacket or Soft Point bullet. The bullet velocity is between approximately 2200 to 2300 feet per second and the bullets carry 1700 to 1800 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle. It is generally recognized to be effective on deer and smaller game up to 250 yards.

The Italian military used this cartridge in the M91 rifle. This was a bolt action rifle that was used through both world wars. Although not known as a high quality rifle, the accuracy was poor and the quality of the finished product was not comparable to other military rifles of the time, there was one advantage to the rifle, it had a loose action. This meant that it was able to shoot fast.  Soon after World War II the M91 was replaced by the M1 Garand.

Many M91 rifles have made it to the United States, whether by US Soldiers who brought them home as war trophies, or bought as surplus from the Italian government, the M91 is the most well known rifle chambered for the 6.5x52mm.

It is likely that this cartridge would have gone the way of so many turn of the century cartridges and slowly faded into obscurity except for the fact that the 6.5x52mm was used in the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. This didn’t necessarily cause a huge demand for the M91 and 6.5x52mm ammo, but it did seem to keep the cartridge from slipping into anonymity.

Today there are only a few manufacturers that produce 6.5x52mm ammo and there are no major rifle makers that offer a firearm chambered for this caliber.

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