Italian adoption of 7.62mm NATO

This is probably one for Pivi.

I have been asked by another collector when the Italians formally adopted the 7.62mm NATO/T65. Was it after the Ottawa conference in 1954?

All help appreciated,


This is what I know:

Italy received about 122000 Garand rifles after the war and Beretta produced other 50000 rifles too. These guns were obivously chambered in 30/06

Italy modified the Garand rifle for the first time in 1959, for their BM 59 rifle,chambered in 7.62 x 51. That rifle was adopted in 1960.

In 1963 FAET ( Fabbrica d’armi dell’esercito- Terni) replaced the original 30/06 barrell from several Garand rifles with a new one chambered in 7.62 x 51. This is the T1 or Type1 Garand rifle. Later they simply shortened the original barrell ( Garand T2).

Garand T2 rifles were widely used by italian troops.

So, I think that Italy officially adopted the 7.62 x 51 cartridge alog with the BM 59 rifle in 1960


Good information.

Tell me, what is the cartridge called, officially, in Italy?


it is called 7.62 mm NATO or 7.62 x 51 NATO

Thanks Pivi. Even though the NATO countries agreed on the cartridge, there was never any agreement on what to call it, apparantly.


Pivi - in Italy, in the Italian language, is it still called 7.62 NATO, or are the letters in different order to account for Italian Grammar, as the are in Spain and some other countries, I think (7.62 mm OTAN)? Not an important point, I know, just curiosity on my part.


It’s those little, unimportant points that make us collectors rather than accumulators. ;-) ;-) At times, verging on certifiably nuts.



They use the “NATO” acronym

Even though the correct italian NATO acronym would be “OTAN” ( Organizzazione del Trattato dell’Atlantico del Nord)

So, the acronym is backwards. Interesting. Cheers, Bruce.

I guess a Spanish or Italian speaker would say that the “NATO” acronym is backwards. Seems the Italians, perhaps wisely, use it as “NATO” just to avoid confusion with the English-language acronym, when it should be “OTAN” in their language. I have always thought that a lot of acronyms commonly used don’t really work from language to language, but then I admit to be fascinated by languages, even though I am poor at their use.

Firstly, the “NATO /OTAN” Question…“NATO” rolls off the Italian Tongue much easier than “OTAN” “La NATO” is the common term for the Organisation.

Adoption of the 7,62 Nato: Italy started converting its 7,9mm MG42s ( Wartime left-overs and New, Post-War Rheinmettal Manufacture) to 7,62 ( “MG42/59”)…Italy then started new manufacture of the (converted) Gun as well.

I would say that the “Official” adoption was 1959, with manufacture maybe having started even earlier…Italy was already part of the US “Offshore Procurement” arrangements. At the same time, Italy also bought in some AR-10 rifles for its “Incursori della Marina” ( Naval Raiders) in 7,62 as well.

Doc AV.

BTW, we know BPD made 7,9mm ammo for export in the 1950s…did the Italian Forces use up Wartime German ammo, or supplement it with New-made (Italian or imported) 7,9mm??? Packets of the 1950s period would be very interesting.

I’d say that DOCAV should be correct about the official year of adoption, 1959 and not 1960.

Also note that Italy started to use the NATO symbol on ammunition headstampes after 1960

There is a BPD 59 7.62 NATO cartridge listed in an old Conjay list. Also listed two BPD 60 cartridges

I think that the BPD 59 would be the earlier 7.62 NATO produced in Italy. The italian special forces also use foreign ammunition so they probably had used foreign 7.62 x 51 ammunition for the very few Ar 10 used

For what is worth, a copy of the earliest Beretta BM59 manual and is dated October 15, 1959. The story could have been different but very few countries purchased this rifle, including the Argentine navy infantry.

BM59 system: Italy, Morocco (“M” serials) Nigeria (“N” Serials) Indonesia(? Serials) Argentina (? Serials). AFAIK, there aren’t any others of consequence.

It seems that between Indonesia and Springfield Armory Inc of Geneseo,Ill., all the Prototypes and Parts and designs were disposed of by Beretta and Breda in the 1980s.

Doc AV.