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Italian Small Arms of the First and Second World Wars

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72 usmc
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Italian Small Arms of the First and Second World Wars

#1 Post by 72 usmc » Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:48 pm

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Here is a review. After a long wait my advance copy of Italian Small Arms of the First and Second World Wars by Ralph Riccio, 2014 arrived in excellent condition from Schiffer Publishing Co. in Atglen Pa.
ISBN is 978-0-7643-4583-8 at a price of $69.99
see http://www.schifferbooks.com/italian-sm ... -5432.html

Shipping is high for just one book, but if you buy $100 or more, then Schiffer shipping is free.

Just started reading and I like what I read. This is an excellent, high quality book with a printed hard cover that matches the glossy, thick paper dust cover. Written to provide a brief descriptive overview of an assortment of Italian small arms, it also provides a photographic review of each specific military firearm for the milsurp collector. Ralph Riccio' s book offers an excellent photographic reference providing for identification of most Italian military firearms encountered at gun shows, but also firearms only seen at museums. It covers pistols, rifles and carbines, submachine guns, and machine guns. As each firearm is described, they are covered in 1-4 pages that provide clear overviews of the firearm with some of its photographic details that will be of assistance to all milsurp collectors. However, there seems to be no consistency to the photos used in the description of each specific firearm: some show both sides of the weapon, others only one side view, top views are not always shown, and the pistol magazines and holsters are not generally shown. I wish the author had shown the magazine for each pistol to help identify them. Sometimes the details cannot be seen in a photo. On the positive side, there is a nice sprinkle of photos showing specific maker's marks and identification marks. There is also a great variety of historical photos showing the Italian military in action.

The rifle section seems more detailed than the pistol section. It shows more detailed photos of maker's marks and stampings, but again, the bolts are not always shown. The tendency is more toward showing the entire firearm and not its specific internal parts. I got this book so I could identify the many versions of Carcano rifles and carbines and it has not disappointed me. I would just like more examples. I would like to have seen views of the bayonets, how they attach, and what the scabbard and bayonet versions look like. Bayonets are briefly covered in appendix 4. I would like to see more about the slings and cleaning rods. I must admit, this book covers the wide variety of Carcanos in great detail with description and photos better than any book written in English currently in press. This is the book's strong point. While its scope is large - Italian small arms - space is limited and I feel that his next book should concentrate specifically on the rifles and carbines with many more examples of each. The appendices are also a valuable research addition: especially detailed are appendix 2 on the barrel, bolt, and receiver markings, appendix 3 on the stock markings/cartouches, and appendix 6 on the ammunition. I would like to have more details in Appendices 4: the bayonets, and 5: the accoutrements. Both chapter 3 on submachine guns and chapter 4 on machine guns are interesting, but you will never see these at gun shows. So I just glanced over these, looking at the photos.

This book is not a price guide, nor is it a manual on disassembly. What makes this book brilliant are the photo mosaics providing an array of somewhat close-up photos in color as well as in black & white. These are combined with his descriptive overviews of the many Italian firearms. The photos are first class, but not as professionally done as seen in Mowbray and Puleo's book, Bolt Action Military Rifles of the World. But few books come close to Stuart Mowbray's photographic skills of firearm art. To be fair, Riccio's photos are of equal or better quality than found in excellent books such as Scarlata's Collecting Classic Bolt Action Military Rifles or in Law's Backbone of the Wehrmacht: The German K98k Rifle 1934-1945. Riccio's images are outstanding photos grouped in an artistic manner providing a well illustrated book. There are exceptionally detailed close up views of maker's marks and cartouches in the appendicies providing specific details. Almost every page has numerous photos interspersed with verbal descriptions. Each firearm has a colored specification box containing a handy table of 12 to16 key specifications of each firearm.

The book’s research value lies in its many photos and in-depth description of each pistol/rifle discussed. It is the first book on firearms written in English that covers such a vast scope of Italian military firearms. Scarlata’s fine book, Collecting Classic Bolt Action Military Rifles, describes the basic identification of many specific military rifles. With six pages Scarlata (2001) lightly covers only three versions of the Carcano. In contrast, Riccio's book concentrates only on Italian firearms. His has a larger scope; he describes each firearm with a combination of excellent verbal descriptions and shows some of the firearm’s unique features primarily through photos. Riccio utilizes 78 pages to identify/describe the Italian rifles in chapter 2.

What I did not like about the book is the manner in which the text is presented in a narrow, 1 3/4" wide, four column format. This was done to fit the text around the photos; however, there are entire pages of text presented in this four column, hieroglyphic manner even though no photos are present. I found the narrow column layout of the page difficult to read. In the introduction pages to each section, the text is divided into two, easy to read columns, and I would have favored this wider format be continued throughout the book for ease in reading. There is also a very light print for the image keys ( a. b. c. ) that is difficult to see with old eyes.

This book fulfilled my expectations. I know little about Carcanos or the Italian pistols and revolvers-- it will be my "go to bible" for Carcanos. There are a lot of Italian pistols (more than I imagined) and this book should help a pistol collector identify them just from the photos. But it's of little use to match up stray magazines or holsters. I cannot comment on its accuracy. I do not see citations to references within the text. I will let the expert collectors comment on its facts. I find Riccio's book a great addition to my library of military books. It allows me to identify the many different confusing models of Carcanos. It is a much needed resource for novice and intermediate collectors and I would daresay even to the the more experienced collectors. This is an enjoyable book. It is a well bound hardcover printed on high quality, glossy, heavy paper. It is amazing that this book only costs $70. It is a “must have” edition if only for chapter 2, pp. 50 - 118 "Rifles" and the appendices at the end of the book.
To old to fight and to old to run, a Jar head will just shoot and be done with you.

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