The 6.5x52mm Carcano (6.5x52 Italian)

By Chuck Hawks

The 6.5x52mm Mannlicher-Carcano is a cute looking bottleneck cartridge of modest capacity. It has a rimless case with a .449" head diameter. The case is 2.06" in length with a 24-degree shoulder. Bullet size is standard 6.5mm (.264"). The cartridge overall length is approximatley 2.90". All of these dimensions are subject to variation.

For the shooter with a Mannlicher-Carcano rifle in good shape, factory loaded 6.5x52 ammunition and brass is available from Norma. Norma brass uses standard large rifle Boxer primers, and is excellent for reloading.

The Norma factory load for the 6.5x52 is loaded with a 156 grain Alaska bullet at a muzzle velocity (MV) of 2428 fps and muzzle energy of 2043 ft. lbs. At 200 yards the figures are 1926 fps and 1286 ft. lbs.

Handloading data can be found in most reloading manuals. The following information is from the Sierra Bullets Reloading Manual, Second Edition. The folks at Sierra used Norma brass, Remington primers, and an M-91 Carbine with a 21" barrel for load development. The 100 grain HP bullet (SD .205) can be driven to a MV of 2500 fps with 37.0 grains of IMR 4320 powder.

The 120 grain Pro Hunter spitzer bullet (SD .246) can be driven to a MV of 2400 fps and ME of 1535 ft. lbs. with 35.3 grains of IMR 4064, 35.9 grains of IMR 4320, or 37.7 grains of H380 powder. The figures at 200 yards are 1996 fps and 1062 ft. lbs. The Sierra trajectory table shows that this load should strike +2.86" at 100 yards, 0 at 200 yards, and -11.58" at 300 yards.

The 140 grain GameKing boat tail spitzer bullet (SD .287) can be driven to a MV of 2300 fps with ME of 1644 ft. lbs. in front of 34.5 grains of IMR 4064, 34.6 grains of IMR 4320, or 36.8 grains of H380 powder. At 200 yards the figures are 1969 fps and 1205 ft. lbs. The trajectory of that load looks like this: +3.07" at 100 yards, 0 at 200 yards, and -12.03" at 300 yards.

While the 6.5x52 is not a powerhouse cartridge, it is perfectly adequate for medium size big game within about 250 yards. Certainly many deer are killed every year in North America, Europe, and around the world with less capable calibers.

Note: A full length article about the 6.5x52 can be found on the Rifle Cartridge Page.

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Copyright 2005, 2013 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.