Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

From the Ashes: Italy's post-war combat rifle

In the throws of defeat, flailing helplessly against the advancing Allied tide and executing their leader, Il Duce, Italy rose from the ashes of World War II needing to rebuild its military from the ground up.

What is the underpinning of a standing army, but its rifle of choice? Instead of turning to domestically designed weapons, the Italian military chose the M1 Garand chambered in .30-06 to arm its infantry. However, as the 1940s became the 1950s, the Italian military wanted a more new rifle, with changeable magazine and modernized caliber that the rest of NATO was adopting.

Instead of running out a rifle from the ground-up, Italian designers chose to tweak and modify the venerable Garand, turning it into the BM-59.

Produced by the legendary Beretta family, the BM-59 was the Italian combat rifle of choice from the late 1950s until the 1990s. Essentially Beretta designers took the Garand and took it apart, ditching the fixed internal magazine and changing the caliber. The Italians essentially did the same thing the United States did with the work-horse M-14 rifle.

Externally, the M-14 and BM-59 look similar, but to a trained eye, you know the Beretta made rifle immediately. The BM-59 had a 20-round magazine filled with 7.62 mm NATO. Unlike the M-14 which briefly flirted with full-auto, the BM-59 fully embraced the select-fire option.

Other differences were the extended flash-suppressor/grenade launcher, paratrooper collapsing stock and addition of a pistol grip.

Overall, while not a deep innovation in military small-arms, the BM-59 ably armed the soldiers of Italy for over three decades.

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Comment by Dan G. on December 28, 2012 at 12:03pm

A GREAT article on a great weapon!


Comment by Andrew V. No on December 27, 2012 at 4:14pm

Excuse me. I think correctly read "AVS" instead "ABC". ABC is Russian abbreviation -"Автоматическая Винтовка Cимонова" or Simonov's automatic rifle. And it would be correct to use the word "barrel" instead of "trunk".

Comment by Andrew V. No on December 27, 2012 at 3:51pm

Amazingly, the U.S. and NATO stepped on the same rake as the Soviet Union in the 30th year. ABC automatic rifle chambered for 7.62 x53 failed to meet expectations. Too powerful cartridge, strong recoil, very fast overheating trunk ... ABC withdrew from the production before the war. U.S. and NATO had to alter or to self-loading rifles (M14, L1 SLR) or recommend to avoid the automatic firing (G3, FN).

P.S. Merry Xmas! I wish you and your loved ones all the best.

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