The Carcano Model 1938 is the successor to the Carcano M91 bolt-action rifle which was first developed at the Turin Army Arsenal and introduced in 1890. Until 1938, all M91 rifles and carbines were chambered for the rimless 6.5 x 52mm cartridge. After widespread reports of inadequate performance at both short and long ranges during the campaigns in North Africa and Abyssinia, the Italian military sought to develop a rifle around the 7.35x51mm round. Production of the “Modello 1938” began with the 7.35x51mm caliber however once Italy entered war in 1940, all rifle and ammunition production reverted back to the 6.5 x 52mm caliber.
The Carcano’s manufactured were used by various militaries and militias during both World Wars and more often than not, were scorned by their users. In addition to carrying a rare caliber of ammunition, they lacked adjustable rear sights which made accuracy difficult for targets closer/further than the specific distance they were calibrated to. After World War II, Italy initially replaced their Carcano rifles with British Lee-Enfields, and later adopted the US M1 Garand.
The Carcano became famous as the rifle Lee Harvey Oswald bought via mail-order (in addition to a cheap scope) and used to assassinate President John F. Kennedy.