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The Ultimate Reloading Manual
Wolfe Publishing Group
  • reloading manual
  • alliant reloading data
  • reloading brass
  • shotshell reloading
  • bullet reloading
The Ultimate Reloading Manual
hodgdon load data

6.5X52mm Carcano (using Sierra bullets)

Author: Brian Pearce / Wolfe Publishing Co.
Date: May 04 2020

Development of the 6.5X52mm Carcano (aka 6.5x52mm Parravicini-Carcano or 6.5x52mm Mannlicher-Carcano) began in 1889 and was completed and officially adopted in March 1890. The cartridge was ultimately chambered in the Italian Carcano 1891 rifle. It was also used for the many subsequent Carcano rifles. It was clearly a cartridge that was ahead of its time, as it was rimless, featured a 25-degree shoulder and was one of the earliest smokeless powder rounds. It has served the militaries of several countries and was one of the older cartridges used during World War II.

 Although Its name implies a 6.5mm caliber, or .264 inch, the 6.5x52mm Carcano actually has a .268-inch groove diameter and a .257-inch bore diameter. Rifles also featured a grain-twist barrel that started just forward of the chamber with a 1:19.25 twist that increased to a 1:8.25 twist. Many surplus rifles have worn bores and are known for poor accuracy, bullet tumbling, etc., especially when fired with undersized 6.5mm/.264-inch bullets that are common in the U.S. If a rifle has a good bore and is mated with ammunition containing .267-inch bullets, accuracy can be respectful.

Much has been written regarding the strength of various Carcano rifles. In the 1950s Dick Casull and P.O. Ackley destruction tested many firearms, including various Carcano’s. Although their tests confirm that later actions were much stronger than is commonly believed, the fact is there are still rifles in circulation that do not have modern steels and should not be loaded above industry pressure guidelines. For this reason, the accompanying data is held to the same approximate pressures as factory ammunition.

Some cases have been encountered that do not have a properly dimensioned extractor groove to accommodate correct function with stripper clips, however; Privi Partizan boxer-primed cases functioned flawlessly and are readily available.