New Member with a Beretta Question

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Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2009 7:37 pm

New Member with a Beretta Question

Post by marksteven » Wed Feb 11, 2009 2:34 pm


I'm a new member who joined mainly to try to get an answer to a question about the WW II Italian Beretta MAB 1938 A submachine gun that I have seen fired in videos of your annual competitions. (They are great videos and give someone like me an invaluable insight into how the gun handled, recoil, etc.)

My question has to do with the exact weight of the 1938 A, unloaded and without the bayonet that sometimes was affixed to it.

I have consulted many books and specialized Internet sites that deal in part with the 1938 A. The problem is the weight of the gun that is given varies widely. About the lightest weight (unloaded) that I have seem is 9 lbs/2 oz. I have also seen 9 lbs/4 oz fairly frequently. This is the weight given in Ian Hogg's book, Small Arms of the World. On the high side, however, I've seen anywhere up to 11 lbs.

I understand that the differences may be due to whether the gun was loaded or not at the time of recording the weight. This is complicated by the fact that the gun took a 10, 20, 30 and 40 round clip. Many sources do not say whether the weight is the loaded or unloaded weight.

So, I'm here hoping someone on the forum who actually owns one of these highly regarded weapons can give me an accurate unloaded weight. If you don't own one, but know someone who does, can you tell them about my question and see if they are willing to help? I would greatly appreciate it. I note that people firing the gun on the Indiana "You Tube" videos are identified as Glenn and Kat. Thanks.

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Re: New Member with a Beretta Question

Post by JTinIN » Sat Feb 28, 2009 11:12 pm

There will be a natural variation in weight between samples due to differences in the wood density and/or moisture content. Additionally the weights vary because of differences in construction from the early to the late guns produced, in all likelihood. Earlier guns had more machined parts and later ones had more stamped parts. The shroud is a good example as a part that was machined from drawn tubing in the early production but by 1940 or 41 it was produced from flat sheet metal rolled and spot welded. The sheet metal parts were lighter.

Thus would not worry too much about an ounce or two either way. Have an e-mail into a couple friends with Breetta's, however, not sure if they have a scale accurate to the nearest ounce (nor very likely some of the early sources).

The Beretta fired from a magazine and the mags tended to be loaded by hand, even easier than using the clips and loader. Thus while the 10 round clips and a loader were developed early on, the clips were not widely issued during the war.

The literature written on historic firearms vary greatly in the level of detail, source information and accuracy. The source of information for non-allied firearms tends to be from limited inspection of a limited number of samples, with out the factory specifications or data (much of which was lost during the war). I always suspected, original source data for several different articles and books may be based on notes from a single example of a firearm, possible with damage or field expedent modficaitons.

In general my understanding is that books edited by Hogg (i.e. Small Arms of the World) are an interesting introduction to the general area of military small arms, and a starting point for many of us. However, they should not be used as nor considered as anything near "original references" and have been observed to contain errors in points of construction and manufacture. Friends tend to find the books by WHB Smith to more accurate and useful as secondary source references.

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