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Beretta Scope North African Capture M38

MCHammah96

New Member
hello all,

A good friend of mine owns this extremely rare rifle. I am wondering if anyone could appraise the rifle for us, ballpark figure. There is an article about it online also, explaining it. Nonetheless I will post pictures as well. To our knowledge, it is one of the only italian DMRs of ww2.
 

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jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
IMHO, not a legitimate rifle. Multiple issues with this carbine/scope combination.

-Why mount a scope on a carbine?

-Carbine is 7.35mm, a caliber not used by the R.E. during the war, and certainly not used in A.S.

-two serial numbers on the carbine (see below).

-Mounts are welded, not using screws to attach the mounts.

-Other pictures of this same carbine shows SS marks on the barrel. How did an SS marked Italian carbine get captured in A.S.? Even better is why does an Italian M38 carbine have SS marks?

Bottomline, what provenience is provided to demonstrate this is a legitimate rifle? All the articles on Italian sniper rifles don't include this weapon. Robert Jensen wrote an article, A Carcano Puzzle, about this rifle in 2000, so any references after that date should include this weapon if legimate.

In the article, Jensen states the carbine barrel was originally a 1916 M91 barrel that was cut down and then rebored to 7.35mm (that explains the double serial stamping). Cut down barrels were used to make M24 carbines which were not know for their accuracy. So why use an old barrel to make a sniper rifle? Why rebore and why rebore to a caliber the Army wasn't using?

There is some information that a very small number of M41s snipers were produced, but that information is very tenuous and no examples exist.

In all, likely a fake.

Pista! Jeff
 

MCHammah96

New Member
Jeff,
As for provenance, this was captured with a fascist dagger and there was sand under the eyecup, so definite use in a desert environment. 7.35 did in fact see use in the regia esercito, although in limited amounts. The carbine element is a mystery along with the SS runes, but Italy did indeed mass produce the shorter length M38s for simplicity due to logistical issues, but it is a mystery. If its a fake, why would someone go through the trouble to mount this beretta scope welded to the rifle. And nonetheless in 7.35, itself a reasonably scarce caliber. It appears field done, and a one off. I would appreciate any further info or sources. What else explains the sand under the eyecup, and furthermore how would one fake a real beretta period correct scope? I don't know what to think, but I certainly have doubts that its fake. There are outstanding offers of 15k USD on the rifle, which leads me to believe it isn't fake. Id appreciate any other thoughts.
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
MCHammah96

Id appreciate any other thoughts.

Most certainly. I am not an expert on the Carcano. I do have greater than average knowledge of the history of the weapon. I would enjoy reading the opinions of others with better knowledge than mine on Carcanos. :)

It appears field done, and a one off.

Okay, so this is a home-made weapon. There is nothing official about it.

...and furthermore how would one fake a real beretta period correct scope?

Why waste a period correct Beretta scope on a carbine? As this was a homemade weapon, personalized for the maker, no real way to know the logic.

There are individuals who believe there must be an official Italian sniper rig. One could take a period scope and mount it to create a weapon that promises greater value. I am not saying that is the case here. Wrong weapon.

I don't know what to think, but I certainly have doubts that its fake.

The SS marks should give you pause. The Jensen article states there is a SS acceptance stamp on the stock as well as on the barrel. Putting SS marks on Italian weapons is a known attempt to increase value. None of those weapons with SS stamps have been proven to be legitimate.

As a home-made weapon, I won't try to state whether it was assembled during the war. There is no way to know. In terms of value, it matters little. As a collectable, it has little value without a provenance that connects to a significant individual or event during the war. If an individual wishes to purchase a home-made weapon for whatever reason, that is their decision, along with the amount they are willing to pay. If you have a 15k offer on the table, I would take it and run.

I did some more digging. It appears that older 6.5mm barrels were used to made M38 series weapons. So the reboring is no longer an issue for me.

Here is my current theory:

Home-made weapon made for some reason during the war. After the war, an owner decided to try to improve its value by adding the SS marks.

I haven't found any online info on the Beretta scope. For me, the value of the carbine could be the Beretta scope if it is legitimate. I am not stating whether the scope is legit or not; I don't have the necessary information. I don't know the value of a Beretta-made scope. I would be curious as to whether the mounts are correct for that scope or not.

Pista! Jeff
 
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jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
I have been unable to find any information on the web on the Beretta scope. I am interested in knowing what information you have on the scope.

Pista! Jeff
 

MCHammah96

New Member
Jeff,

We likely believe it was a Beretta optic from a modello 30 or 37 or even possibly off a former aircraft machine-gun, I am writing the Italian Beretta archives for any information they could possibly have, and spend some time in Italy annually, so I am actively trying to find out more. No doubt this isn't a sniper rig officially issued by the Italian government, so in that sense absolutely it is "fake" in the sense that it isn't a GI sniper. But as for period correct optic and rifle, with an interesting past I think its still cool! Especially since as you say, I have never seen a legitimate Italian GI sniper. As for the price, my friend would never sell... call him stubborn, but it is interesting food for thought on what it would bring at auction, id be curious to know. As for the SS runes, I believe this rifle may have been captured in '43 after the collapse of mussolini and occupation by the Germans, after all alot of carcano rifles were issued to the volksturm, not implying this one was but perhaps it was intended to and never made it out of the depot.. i truly don't know. I'd love for an SS depot expert to comment on the runes to help see if they're authentic for the time or a later add on. I appreciate your information and you bring up some interesting points I've not considered, so I thank you for that! Keep it coming with anything else you find please, and I'll update you if beretta ever responds!

MC
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
MC

I am not sure what the modello 30 or 37 are. I assume they are the Breda 30 and the Breda 37, which are not Beretta made weapons. The M30 never had a scope. It is possible that the M37 might of had one, although I am not aware if it did. I don't believe it is likely, but I don't know enough about the weapon to say one way or the other.

The SS runes and acceptance mark are fantasy. Nothing legimate about them at all.

I know we have some weapons experts here on the forum. I am hoping they will add to this discussion.

Pista! Jeff
 

MCHammah96

New Member
Jeff,

Learned of something interesting. Nobody credible would ever say the SS was not in North Africa. They actually even sent Einsatzgruppen as far as Egypt briefly before el Alamein was lost. The "kulturzeichen " style ss runes on the wrist of the stock are legit, and official SS depot marks. They are on every italian and axis rifle thats passed through the SS NA depot, resources I am citing below. I also have an uncle who was a colonel in Italy who's good friends with a Terni curator. There are records of scoped carbines from NA, i am currently writing him for archival sources to help further clear this up. I recommend that book i have just posted, it has alot of information regarding the Carcano by legitamate authorities. I know there is some moron named Sanderson? Sommersen? Not sure, but he has claimed to be an authority and alot of people unwisely cite him in their evidence. I will post more as I learn more.

MC
 

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MCHammah96

New Member
Jeff,

Learned of something interesting. Nobody credible would ever say the SS was not in North Africa. They actually even sent Einsatzgruppen as far as Egypt briefly before el Alamein was lost. The "kulturzeichen " style ss runes on the wrist of the stock are legit, and official SS depot marks. They are on every italian and axis rifle thats passed through the SS NA depot, resources I am citing below. I also have an uncle who was a colonel in Italy who's good friends with a Terni curator. There are records of scoped carbines from NA, i am currently writing him for archival sources to help further clear this up. I recommend that book i have just posted, it has alot of information regarding the Carcano by legitamate authorities. I know there is some moron named Sanderson? Sommersen? Not sure, but he has claimed to be an authority and alot of people unwisely cite him in their evidence. I will post more as I learn more.

MC
Correction* the author who is a moron is Steve Woodrum.
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
Learned of something interesting. Nobody credible would ever say the SS was not in North Africa. They actually even sent Einsatzgruppen as far as Egypt briefly before el Alamein was lost. The "kulturzeichen " style ss runes on the wrist of the stock are legit, and official SS depot marks. They are on every italian and axis rifle thats passed through the SS NA depot, resources I am citing below. I also have an uncle who was a colonel in Italy who's good friends with a Terni curator. There are records of scoped carbines from NA, i am currently writing him for archival sources to help further clear this up. I recommend that book i have just posted, it has alot of information regarding the Carcano by legitamate authorities. I know there is some moron named Sanderson? Sommersen? Not sure, but he has claimed to be an authority and alot of people unwisely cite him in their evidence. I will post more as I learn more.

Okay, a few things.

No SS in A.S. This has been a question many have answered over the years. I would love to see the documentation that claims an Einsatzgruppen was sent to A.S. Until then, no, there weren't any SS in A.S. Not credible.

RE: Terni. Great! If there is documentation that supports the production and use of scoped Carcano in the 2GM, many researchers would love to see it. It will be wonderful if the actual documents are identified and made available to everyone. As the archives have been well research on this topic, I wil be pleasantly surprised if such documentation exists.

I will be more than happy to be proven wrong. :)

RE: Steve Woodrum. I would be careful about who you believe are/aren't qualified to discuss this topic. Forgotten Weapons has this review of Arendell and Woodrum's book:

Italy's Battle Rifle

I recommend that book i have just posted, it has alot of information regarding the Carcano by legitamate authorities.

So what does the book state about scoped Carcano in general and a scope carbine in specifically? Can you quote what Chegia and Simonelli say about this topic?

Pista! Jeff
 

MCHammah96

New Member
Jeff,

Sorry just to quickly rebut the denial of SS in NA. I think you should check out this source the reference is Mallmann, Klaus-Michael (und Cüppers, Martin) Beseitigung der jüdisch-nationalen Heimstätte in Palästina. Das Einsatzkommando bei der Panzerarmee Afrika 1942 in: Matthäus, Jürgen / Mallmann, K.-M. (Hgg) Deutsche, Juden, Völkermord. Der Holocaust als Geschichte und Gegenwart Darmstadt: Wiss. Buchgesellschaft WBG, 2006 in German, but mentions the Einsatzgruppen under Walther Rauff. There is also other mention of Einsatzgruppen ägypten, known as the SS forces sent to take care of "Jewry" in the conquered North African and Middle Eastern territories. Rommel was notorious for not wanting Waffen SS and other than a few SS advisors, this part of your conjecture is mostly true. No waffen SS fought in the Afrika Korps as far as I know, but again I always leave the possibility that I could be wrong. But the command of the Einsatzgruppen were definitely in Tobruk, but of course recalled after the defeat at El Alamein.
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
Thank you for the cite. I will check it out.

Pista! Jeff
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
Okay, just a quick check shows that Rauff's unit was stationed in Athens, not A.S. Rauff himself travelled to Tobruk to meet with Rommel, but the meeting never happened. None of his unit was physically in A.S. at any time.

Does Mallmann and Cüppers actually state that the unit was physically present in A.S.?

Edit: It does appear that Rauff might have been with a small unit in Tunisia. However this is from uncertain information and would need to be further checked.

It doesn't explain why a SS unit would use Italian weapons, or make such a modification. There is still no evidence of any Carcano being formally used by the SS.

Pista! Jeff
 
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MCHammah96

New Member
Okay, just a quick check shows that Rauff's unit was stationed in Athens, not A.S. Rauff himself travelled to Tobruk to meet with Rommel, but the meeting never happened. None of his unit was physically in A.S. at any time.

Does Mallmann and Cüppers actually state that the unit was physically present in A.S.?

Edit: It does appear that Rauff might have been with a small unit in Tunisia. However this is from uncertain information and would need to be further checked.

It doesn't explain why a SS unit would use Italian weapons, or make such a modification. There is still no evidence of any Carcano being formally used by the SS.

Pista! Jeff

Hey Jeff,

Hope you are well. I see your alternate forum posting on gunboards and would like to contribute there, but the captcha registration gave me issues for some reason.

I appreciate the responses by the other users, however I'd like to politely rebut a few points:

1. I believe ArianoKid and yourself above, have stated no 7.35 used by RE and certainly not in African theater. This is false, please see the attached sources, they come complete with pictures and are reputable and published. 7.35 saw a fair amount of use in both Europe and Africa, and even with the Bersaglieri in Africa as per the sources.

2. The SS cartouche, I have been busy and am currently digging through the sources, but I do recall seeing it published in a German symbols resource. For now I will concede it is disputed as I have yet to produce this source. But if you google "kulturzeichen SS" you can see an eerily similar marking on various SS paraphernalia including their honor daggers. So interesting in my opinion. Plus as you say, woodrum acknowledged the symbol on p.214, but admitted his uncertainty on it. So up in the air right now.

3. This will address two concerns. As for the first, why mount a scope on a carbine? Because it may have been all that was available in 7.35 at the time, anyone who has fired both 6.5 and 7.35 is aware of the superior ballistics of the 7.35, and since the 7.35's were only made in the m38 and its variants, the options were limited. I'm thinking (if we can agree there is a possibility this was in NA as in the Jensen article, for the sake of argument) then the logic may have been: attach the scope to the rifle that shoots a flatter, non round nosed projectile. The second concern is a general one I see with the doubters of this rifle. Unsubstantiated blanket statements are made disregarding facts and truth. Ie. The arianokid statement regarding 7.35. No sources, just an opinion. I appreicate honest claims backed up with evidence, along with being respectful and cordial. I dont understand why some are so virulent and hostile? Regardless yhe overarching message is: If you dont know for sure, why be so arrogant? The italians are famous for making do with limited resources, in fact im going to share something I hope you also found cool, about a home-made metal detector in action at el Alamein combing the desert for mines! Check attachments. The point ties into my previous where, yes, this rifle isnt official, but how can it be definitively written off as "fake" with no evidence to the contrary? I'm italian and my grandparents left Italy in the late 40s early 50s. I can anecdotally at least, assure you most people in italy had no money to create an elaborate fake carcano rifle haha, and the ones that did had little to no incentive to have a rifle faked with SS markings especially, as anything to do with the SS was very looked down upon back then. So I suppose my final question would be, what in your opinions(and please extend this to the gubboards gentlemen) was done to this rifle and how? So you say its fake. Very well, I respect that. How was it faked? How would one in the US obtain a Beretta scope and furthermore, etch SS runes into a non visible spot on the barrel? It just doesn't make sense, also for the fact that i believe Jensen didn't even pay that much for the rifle, so why bother with all the effort to possibly lose money on the project? And why make the SS runes in a spot where you'd need to strip the rifle from the stock? Just doesn't add up to me.

Sorry for rambling, I'm famous for that. Just my 2 cents. Please add your own thoughts Jeff, and those of the esteemed gunboards forum, here. I'm always interested in learning and open to new sources.

PS check out the Der Spiegel article ill also post here, it has cool sources regarding the SS in tunisia, and Rommels "lost gold" 😎, I tend to believe the story because it's cool and somewhat cited!

Best wishes,

MC
 

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MCHammah96

New Member
Also, sorry but I forgot to mention that in your last point you say no evidence of carcano formally used by SS, which is true. I however am hypothesizing it was used by an Italian as per Jensen, just passed through a German depot, maybe even done up by a German engineer. Thanks and as always, stay safe.
 

jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
Hey Jeff,

Hope you are well. I see your alternate forum posting on gunboards and would like to contribute there, but the captcha registration gave me issues for some reason.

I appreciate the responses by the other users, however I'd like to politely rebut a few points:

1. I believe ArianoKid and yourself above, have stated no 7.35 used by RE and certainly not in African theater. This is false, please see the attached sources, they come complete with pictures and are reputable and published. 7.35 saw a fair amount of use in both Europe and Africa, and even with the Bersaglieri in Africa as per the sources.

2. The SS cartouche, I have been busy and am currently digging through the sources, but I do recall seeing it published in a German symbols resource. For now I will concede it is disputed as I have yet to produce this source. But if you google "kulturzeichen SS" you can see an eerily similar marking on various SS paraphernalia including their honor daggers. So interesting in my opinion. Plus as you say, woodrum acknowledged the symbol on p.214, but admitted his uncertainty on it. So up in the air right now.

3. This will address two concerns. As for the first, why mount a scope on a carbine? Because it may have been all that was available in 7.35 at the time, anyone who has fired both 6.5 and 7.35 is aware of the superior ballistics of the 7.35, and since the 7.35's were only made in the m38 and its variants, the options were limited. I'm thinking (if we can agree there is a possibility this was in NA as in the Jensen article, for the sake of argument) then the logic may have been: attach the scope to the rifle that shoots a flatter, non round nosed projectile. The second concern is a general one I see with the doubters of this rifle. Unsubstantiated blanket statements are made disregarding facts and truth. Ie. The arianokid statement regarding 7.35. No sources, just an opinion. I appreicate honest claims backed up with evidence, along with being respectful and cordial. I dont understand why some are so virulent and hostile? Regardless yhe overarching message is: If you dont know for sure, why be so arrogant? The italians are famous for making do with limited resources, in fact im going to share something I hope you also found cool, about a home-made metal detector in action at el Alamein combing the desert for mines! Check attachments. The point ties into my previous where, yes, this rifle isnt official, but how can it be definitively written off as "fake" with no evidence to the contrary? I'm italian and my grandparents left Italy in the late 40s early 50s. I can anecdotally at least, assure you most people in italy had no money to create an elaborate fake carcano rifle haha, and the ones that did had little to no incentive to have a rifle faked with SS markings especially, as anything to do with the SS was very looked down upon back then. So I suppose my final question would be, what in your opinions(and please extend this to the gubboards gentlemen) was done to this rifle and how? So you say its fake. Very well, I respect that. How was it faked? How would one in the US obtain a Beretta scope and furthermore, etch SS runes into a non visible spot on the barrel? It just doesn't make sense, also for the fact that i believe Jensen didn't even pay that much for the rifle, so why bother with all the effort to possibly lose money on the project? And why make the SS runes in a spot where you'd need to strip the rifle from the stock? Just doesn't add up to me.

Sorry for rambling, I'm famous for that. Just my 2 cents. Please add your own thoughts Jeff, and those of the esteemed gunboards forum, here. I'm always interested in learning and open to new sources.

PS check out the Der Spiegel article ill also post here, it has cool sources regarding the SS in tunisia, and Rommels "lost gold" 😎, I tend to believe the story because it's cool and somewhat cited!


Thank you for the information.

First, Osprey books are NOT authoritative sources. No footnoting or sources are provided. There is nothing provided by the authors to check their information. They are not considered reputable in the sense of detailed, verifiable, sources.

Second, you can't distintinghish between a M38 and a M91/38 from pictures. They look exactly the same. Photograph evidence doesn't work in this case. Where are the sources that state that M38 rifles were sent to A.S. or A.O.I.?

What does Chegia and Simonelli state about M38 rifle in A.S. and A.O.I.? Try using some real sources instead of Osprey.

Have you checked Il Novotuno Mannlicher-Carcano: Das Italianische Waffensystem M91?

You have yet to answer my question about what Chegia and Simonelli stated about scoped rifles.

Bottomline, the rifle is a fantasy piece. There is nothing legitimate about it. You can't even ID the scope on the rifle. The workmanship is crude.

Nothing about this weapon makes sense. The rifle itself, the modification, the story. All those things ring false.

Bring some real research to the table. Where is the information from Terni curator?

As I stated in the beginning, if you have a buyer for this fantasy piece for 15K, take the money and run. Until you do some real research, you will not receive any validation about this weapon from me.

The basic rule of thumb about buying historical weapons is to buy the weapon, not the story. The weapon is a nice M38 moschetto di cavalleria that has been ruined by bubba welding a scope onto it.

Pista! Jeff
 

MCHammah96

New Member
Do not use language that attacks others merely because you disagree with them. Do not belittle.
Jeff,

It appears you have me laughing quite hard. Here are the "unreliable" sources from that specific osprey volume. As you may or may not know, the Italian state archives and official Regio Esecito archives are among the sources. I don't know if you've ever spent time in Italy or have had contact with italian scholars based in the U.S, but it certainly doesn't sound like it. I'll do you one better.... do you have reputable proof, any proof for that matter, besides bar banter in Leavenworth Kansas( great place, just not exactly the authority on italian small arms of ww2) that 7.35 carcano was not used in any African theater, or no m38 or m38 moschetto ever saw action in Africa? Think about what youre saying for a minute. You keep making these claims, but you've yet to source anything.... you just cited a resource, the one by Rieppe. Great. Maybe I don't have that book, could you post the page that supports your argument, or at least even cite the page number? You don't even make a point, you just ask if I've read it. What does it say? What argument does it support? I am in constant contact with Aldebrano Micheli of Terni. He is the "Kopec" of The carcano rifle. He states the rifle, while unofficial, wouldn't surprise him if it were crafted in North Africa. As far as the scope, he refuses to state dedinitvely one way or the other because he doesn't want to talk out of school on a subject he isn't an expert in. So I dont think I'm out of place when I ask, could you kindly cite real sources other than the ArianoKid from New England?
PS Dick Hobbs, an actual respected historian even admitted he was wrong when he stated no italian sniper ever existed based on his 30 years of research. Then Micheli published his book. So just a word to the wise on sources and definitive statements, never say never.
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MCHammah96

New Member
The Micheli resource. Even an experimental Carcano machine gun variant for your consideration
 

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MCHammah96

New Member
And a quick pdf, available in the archives of the CIA unclassified docs, at cia.gov proving walter rauff and the SS were in North Africa. I (sincerely)hope this isn't an issue anymore, meaning I take your silence on your previous claim of "No SS in NA.. pure fantasy " as recognition of this.
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jwsleser

Administrator
Staff member
It appears you have me laughing quite hard. Here are the "unreliable" sources from that specific osprey volume

So which source provide what piece of information using what sources (since none of the individuals served during the war). Acknowledgements are not sources and cites.

That is not research.

As you may or may not know, the Italian state archives and official Regio Esecito archives are among the sources.

And yet you have not provided any cites from the archives that support your argument.

I'll do you one better.... do you have reputable proof, any proof for that matter, besides bar banter in Leavenworth Kansas( great place, just not exactly the authority on italian small arms of ww2) that 7.35 carcano was not used in any African theater, or no m38 or m38 moschetto ever saw action in Africa?

Since I am not the one trying to prove that a 7.35 moschetto di cavalleria with a weird scope and a bubba weld job is an actual wartime weapon, made by the SS and used in A.S., it isn't for me to offer anything.

Don't make this about me. It is about you. You have made claims. You have made statements, yet nothing you have offered supports your story.

Lets take a look at what you wrote.

I am in constant contact with Aldebrano Micheli of Terni. He is the "Kopec" of The carcano rifle. He states the rifle, while unofficial, wouldn't surprise him if it were crafted in North Africa.

So the owner of the rifle doesn't even know. It wouldn't surprise him if it was craft in A.S.

As far as the scope, he refuses to state dedinitvely one way or the other because he doesn't want to talk out of school on a subject he isn't an expert in.

So he doesn't even know the make/model of scope and whether it is a period scope. So I am the one who needs to demonstrate that it is/is not a period scope for you?

And a quick pdf, available in the archives of the CIA unclassified docs, at cia.gov proving walter rauff and the SS were in North Africa. I (sincerely)hope this isn't an issue anymore, meaning I take your silence on your previous claim of "No SS in NA.. pure fantasy " as recognition of this.

I guess you forgot to read my post from several days ago..

Edit: It does appear that Rauff might have been with a small unit in Tunisia. However this is from uncertain information and would need to be further checked.

Pista! Jeff
 
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