Italian Breda machine gun clips

Are they clips or chargers? What is the correct terminology?

I think that you can use both terms for these Breda clips

These were used to load the MG magazine that rotated with a pivot on the side of the gun

In Italy we usually refer to these clips with the term “piastrina”, the same used for the Carcano clip for example

Is the charger on the bottom steel? I have two of those only both brass, and like this photo one has nickle colored bullet jackets the other copper.


Vlad: are the cartridges in your clips 6.5 m/m or 7.35 m/m? The ones in the blackened clip, at least, look like the larger caliber. Jack

Here are the two I have.


Variants of these Italian MG 38 chargers can be found with and without markings and also in brass or steel. The method of construction also varies, in some the “bridge” piece is soft soldered to the “U” piece, in others it is spot welded. You can see examples of both soldering and spot welding in the photos above.


The “Caricatori” ( Chargers, as they “charged” the swing-out Breda M30 magazine) were made in Brass (Both M30 and M38) and Steel (M38); There was also a later (Wartime) model made out of re-inforced Cardboard, which is very rare today ( they deteriorated quickly in the wet)…a bit like the Swiss cardboard and tinplate Schmidt-Rubin Charger).

IN the 1950s, as Italy was repacking all its surplus 6,5mm ammo for sale (to USA) into 50 round Boxes, the majority of these Breda Caricatori (Brass) were scrapped (and melted down); the Rare examples seen with original ammo these days somehow survived by Not being in Italy by the late 1950s ( ie, captured ammo in other European and North African locations) or by being “pre-sold” before the great “sweep-out”…whilst the Steel M38 clips would have come with 7,35 ammo out of Finland.

As to the Cupro-Nickel Jackets vs. the Gilding metal (“Tombac”) jackets, the Change-over began about 1938, and was completed by about 1940 (Italy’s entry into the war…Zinc was cheaper than Nickel)…I have determined this by examining several thousand rounds of 6,5 ammo made from the 1920s through to the 1960s ( from the “50 round” milsurp Boxes over about 40 years of buying up 6,5 ammo cheaply–most no longer fires, or fires erratically)
At the same time, the Crimping changed from the Mid-neck Triangular stab crimp into a low bullet cannelure, to a mouth swage crimp into a higher bullet cannelure. This change seems to have run concurrently with the change of Jacket material.
Tombac jackets had already been current on 7,35 ammo, at least in 1938 and 39. 1939 is the most common year for 7,35mm, having been a full year of production.

Doc AV

Yes, the black one is steel and it says “S.M.I.----940”. Both piastrinas are filled with 7.35x51’s, don’t know if they are original.

So then was 7.35 m/m ammunition conventionally loaded with nitrocellulose rather than the double base Solenite? I notice Vlad’s box label shown. Jack

Here’s an extract from a picture in Volume 1 of Chinn’s book on Machine Guns, page 417.

It appears to have a wooden handle with the metal channels rivetted or screwed to it to retain and guide the cartridges. It also has 15 rounds per side, making a total of 30 … which is a mystery.

Happy collecting, Peter

Italian military 7.35 mm Carcano ammo was loaded with nitrocellulose powder, but Balistite was also used for Blanks, Magistri Frangibles and Proof loads


here is the large cardboard box which contains six of these clips for the LMG :



I picked up a few boxes of these and was researching and found a nice youtube video of the firearm and how it was loaded.
Italian Breda 30 machine gun, must be a lot of fun, if your not in a war!
I read some people called it “the worst machine gun ever” I have no idea. Seems to shoot well to me, maybe reloading is slow, not a good issue in a battle.

The 1st box of 5 charges I picked up is stamped BOLOGNA 1938. The charges have a stamp on the handle “S.M.I. 939. The 7.35 Carcano cartridges Head-Stamp reads " SMI 939”, and the projectiles appear to be copper coated, plated steel jacketed.

The 2rd. box of 5 charges I picked up is stamped 1939. The charges have no stamp on the handle. The 7.35 Carcano cartridges Head-Stamp reads I believe "AA C-39 " (very head for me to read), and the projectiles appear to be nickel coated, plated steel jacketed.

For more info on the firearm :

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on the left 2@ galvanized steel (trick of the light of the far left), two brass, a blackened steel & another brass variation.
Somehow I thought these were for the Beretta MG, but I apparently had that wrong.
Neat packet JFL and the one with the wood handle is great Peter, Also interesting to hear about cardboard Doc AV. This forum is great.

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The composite wood and metal clip of 30 rounds is an early prototype Vitali-design charger, following the 1887
Vitali design for the 1887 Magazine conversion of the 10,4mm Vetterli Rifle.
As both the 1928 and 1930 Breda LMGs use a 20 round box magazine, the 30 round clip was most probably a
“PROOF OF CONCEPT” example, subsequently reduced to all Brass construction and 20 rounds to match the gun design.
Btw: just ordered the sheet tinplate for laser cutting the parts for the VV70-87 replica clips for use by both collectors and users…look for them in the new year…
Suitably marked to avoid confusion with originals.

Doc AV.

Doc Av - I saw your web site catalog for the first time, and see you have your own brand of various case types. Are these available as singles to collectors. I am interested in all of the auto pistol case types shown there, but only for collecting purposes, and only your manufacture, not Starline or any other out-sourced brands.

If not for overseas sales, I can provide an Australian address for them.

John Moss