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Classic Military Round 6.5x52mm Carcano Revived by Steinel AmmunitionThe Firearm Blog

Steinel Ammunition is a manufacturer of premium vintage military ammunition as well as hunting and self-defense ammunition. Steinel has produced several vintage ammunition for both rifles and pistols including 8×22 Nambu, and 7.7×58 Arisaka. The Italian 6.5x52mm Carcano has been Steinel’s latest venture into the vintage military ammunition market, but what makes it different than modern offerings?

Steinel Ammunition 65x52mm Carcano

Classic Military Round 65x52mm Carcano Revived by Steinel Ammunition

Steinel Ammunition 65x52mm Carcano

Carcano Model 1891/38 short rifle

Steinel’s loading of the 6.5 x 52mm Carcano is unlike other modern loadings of the cartridge. Their offering respects the original concept of the round and provides impeccable accuracy as it was in its original design in 1891. The rifle most associated with the round is probably the Carcano Model 1891/38, infamous for being the rifle that Lee Harvey Oswald used during the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The rifles at the time were being sold for as little as $29.95 (about $155 when adjusted for inflation).

Steinel Ammunition 65x52mm Carcano

Oswald’s scoped Carcano Model 1891/38 short rifle

First introduced in 1891, the 6.5x52mm Carcano was used in the nearly 3 million Carcano rifles that were built. The caliber remained in military service until the 1970s at which point it was phased out by many militaries for more modern offerings. Carcano rifles are famous for having a heavy-hitting round for the caliber, however, the first iteration of the 6.5x52mm suffered from poor terminal performance, so later iterations of the round introduced aluminum into the bullet nose to increase tumbling upon impact.

Steinel Ammunition 65x52mm Carcano

As the Carcano rifle was being phased out of service, many of the rifles ended up being exported to the United States where collectors and some just looking for a rifle to shoot bought them up along with the surplus ammo that made its way over. Corrosive World War II vintage ammunition has become extremely scarce in recent times and what remains could have dubious quality due to time spent in unknown storage conditions.

Steinel Ammunition now offers a great target load for those who still have the rifles in their collection. The new cartridges use soft point expanding bullets that provide a similar terminal effect as with the aluminum nosed rounds while still providing reliable feeding. The Steinel loads are charged to 1,770 fps at the muzzle out of a 17.5in barrel. This loading offers much less recoil than the original round but still maintains good terminal performance at distances within a plausible iron sight range.

Steinel Ammunition 65x52mm Carcano

6.5x52mm Carcano

At short range, the bullet expands to about 0.516-inch with 39-inch penetration of synthetic gel, sufficient for a double-shoulder shot on a deer. This ammunition is non-corrosive and made to much higher quality and more consistent specifications than either military surplus or other commercial loadings.

Steinel Ammunition’s new vintage military round, the 6.5×52 Carcano is available online for $31.99, for a 20-rd. box. Do you have a Carcarno you’re looking to feed? Let us know in the comments.

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