I am looking for information on the 7,35 Italian rifle. My father owned two of them and upon his death they were given to my two brothers. The problem is that they have very few rounds of ammunition. All we ever called them was 7,35. Is that the same as 7,35 X 51?
7.35 x 51 is correct: the case was made by necking out the 6.5 x 52 Mannlicher Carcano (a slimmer case than used for the 7.62 x 51). You can’t really mistake it as this was the only 7.35 mm calibre rifle round to be put into production, AFAIK.
The 7.35 mm came about in a curious way. The standard Italian infantry rifle/LMG round was the 6.5 x 52, but this used an old-fashioned round-nosed bullet. At first, the Italians looked at making a pointed bullet for the 6.5 mm, but they soon realised that most of their 6.5 mm gun barrels were worn out and needed replacing. They couldn’t afford new barrels for everything, so they just bored out the existing 6.5 mm barrels to 7.35 mm as an economy measure. However, they had made little progress with this changeover when WW2 intervened and the 7.35 mm project was cancelled.
If you are looking for some for shooting, avoid any old Italian military surplus you find, usually in 18 round boxes with three clips as most of that will not fire, and cannot be reloaded.
One source to find shooting ammo is AmmoSeek.com which aggregates the prices from dozens or maybe even hundreds of ammo dealers. If you look under rifle ammo for 7.35 x51mm there are a couple of places listed which currently have some, priced around $30-35 per box of 20 (plus shipping).
Gentlemen, I thank you very much for the information!! I think my brothers will be very happy to finally be able to sight in these rifles!!!
The best deal I found was at Graf & Sons. https://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog/product/productId/23222
“Thank you!” for your willingness to share your knowledge and for the history lesson! Much appreciated!!!
I have in stock;
Who produces the “new” cartridges or at least the cases?
PPU lists 7.35 cases in its current catalog, but at least in Germany they are impossible to buy.
The 7.35mm had nothing to do with "worn out " 6.5mm barrels . It was designed as a semi auto intermediate cartridge . That is why they never bored out any full size battle rifles , only support type carbines . 7.35mm was picked because it was as large as they wanted to bore out the 6.5mm barrels for re use . War came , the semi auto project was shelved . Nor was it more " powerful ’ as some claim . Run through a ballistic program , the 7.35 was no better than , or worse than the 6.5 at most ranges .
As we all know, the 6,5 mm bullet diameter is perfect, both aerodynamically, ballistics wise, and aesthetically. Why change perfection? ;-)
Ole (6,5x55 fan)
The real story of the origin of the 7.35x51 cartridge is easily found in several Italian books on the Carcano system.
The requirement for a different calibre and bullet design came as an aftermath of the Italo-Abyssinian war, October 35 to May 36.
It found that the heavy long 162gn 6.5 RN had great penetration…too great!!! It wouldgo straight through an Abyssinian soldier and do little damage unless it hit bone or penetrated heart or skull.
So in late 1936, the Bologna Ammunition plant was tasked to find an economical solution.
Spitzer 6.5 was ruled out, but experience with .303 British ball in Aircraft guns since WWI showed a solution. A bullet with a soft internal point like the.303 Mk.VII .
Major Boragine of the artillery services designed first a
7mm cartridge based on the 6.5 case ( incidentslly almost a clone of the.276 Pederson) but found that a larger diameter was required to give good target Upset…
So he chose 7.35 bore (.289/ .295").
This was economically and mechanically suitable to
Rebore the older 6.5 barrels…and the first assembled
M 38 RIFLES were so barrelled, with recycled 6.5 barrels. But production in 1939 was new barrels.
The M38 rifle design was also a parallel project to the cartridge, for an almost Universal “Fucile Corto” (short rifle, but Not a "carbine ") with a fixed sight (300 m, the then accepted Battle range at almost horizontal trajectory)… cav. Carbines and TS sr were still made some CC with adjustable sights, and many with the fixed sight. The M38 FC also introduced the short folding knife bayonet, which could be carried all the time fixed to the rifle, or taken off and used as a dagger.
Eventually the folding feature was dropped, and bayonet became a normal, removable byt.
The M38 and its 7.35 cartridge was supposed to replace all the long M91s in service, and be used by the majority of the Italian Army, except for special unuts that used the CC and TS…it was planned to reduce the issue of these shorter arms as well.
In 1937 to 39, several Italian Gunmakers also offered their LMG ( Breda) and SA rifles ( Armaguerra-Cremona )
In 7.35, as this was slated to be Italy’s new army calibre.
1940 and WWII changed all that.
The 7.35 cartridge was designed as a better Killing /Wounding cartridge, NOT as a Selfloader cartridge, but for a Universal use short rifle ammunition.
In hindsight, if it had been adopted with a 10 round Semi Auto rifle such as the Breda PG ( a bit complex) or the A-G -C 39, and Italy had sufficient in the hands of troops by 1940…the outcome of the war for Italy may have been different.
I was recently given the opportunity of radar measurements of the 7.35 mm Model 38 bullets (at supersonic speeds) and hope soon to be able to compare its exterior ballistics with that of the round nose 6.5 mm Carcano at typical rifle ranges.
You should look up the pre WWII 7.35 [ and others ] development with Geco and the Swiss .
German pre-WW2 assault rifle cartridge developments were in 7 mm or 7.9 mm; the Swiss were 7.65 mm. None in 7.35 mm that I am aware of, although I’m always interested in learning of others.