Fiat-Revelli M1935

So a week or two ago, we took a look at the Italian Fiat-Revelli M1914 – a particularly funky machine gun. The Italian military put up with it through World War I because they didn’t have many other realistic options, but the gun would be significantly revised during the inter-war years and re-adopted as the M1935.

Fiat-Revelli M1935 machine gun
Fiat-Revelli M1935 machine gun

The basic action of the gun remained unchanged, but pretty much everything else was different on this later model:

  • The water jacked was removed and replaced with a quick-change air-cooled barrel
  • The funky 10-spring box magazine was dropped in favor of belt feed
  • The 6.5×52 cartridge was replaced with a more potent 8×59 cartridge designed specifically to allow long range fire from mounted machine guns (ballistics were a 208 grain bullet at 2525fps muzzle velocity)
  • Both a cartridge oiling mechanism and a fluted chamber were used to allow reliable extraction with the higher-pressure cartridge

Many 1935 model guns were adapted from existing 1914 guns, but at least a few were made new in the 1935 pattern. Of course, even after all the improvements, the 1935 Revelli was still really no more popular than the original 1914 model, and it was not used after WWII.

The heavy machine gun cartridge was an idea tried by a number of nations (the Swedish 8×63 and Norwegian 8×51, for example) and quickly dropped as a bad idea by everyone.

We do have a copy of an Italian manual for the Fiat-Revelli 1935 for download:

Fiat-Revelli 1935 Manual (Italian, 1941)
Fiat-Revelli 1935 Manual (Italian, 1941)

We also found an interesting piece of video footage on YouTube showing both the 1914 and 1935 Revelli guns:



  1. The conversion of the glorious mg Fiat 14 didn’t end up very good. To make it lighter, the Turin’s factory in 1935 removed the cooling water sleeve, substituted with an air radiator while modifying the feeding, now belt operated. In this new version, the weapon was less reliable and more prove to stoppings.
    (Now starts the boasting fascist era talk @0:28) The mg you are looking at is derived from the glorious mg FIAT 1914, where the liquid cooling was removed, the barrel was made replaceable in few seconds and with a better feeding system. The barrel cooling is air based. It’s action against moving (literally animated) targets remains efficient, with indirect fire range up to 4000 meters. Here (0:54) the anti-aircraft configuration of the weapon.

    Sorry for grammar errors.

  2. The heavy machine gun cartridge idea was adopted by countries which also used 6.5mm (you can probably also add Japan to the list with 7.7 x 58SR). They wanted something with more range, while still keeping 6.5mm for regular infantry use. It’s not a lot different from today where we use 5.56mm or 5.45mm for assault rifles and light machine guns, but 7.62mm x 51 or 7.62mm x 54R for GPMGs.

    Britain and Germany also had special “machine gun only” versions of their 0.303 and 7.92mm cartridges. These had a more powerful loading, and in the case of 0.303 used a boat tailed bullet (for longer range).

    As for why these calibres were dropped, the *only* cartridges of that size range which have survived in wide spread military after WWII are 7.62×39 (which dated from 1943), and 7.62x54R. Everything else was dropped due to NATO or Warsaw Pact standardization.

    As to whether it was a bad idea, well the USA is currently evaluating an 8.6×64 cartridge to give GPMGs longer range! If some people have their way, the USA will be using a 6.5mm or 6.8mm cartridge in their rifles and light machine guns, and an 8.6mm cartridge in their GPMGs. Perhaps the Italians were just a bit ahead of their time!

    • Germany did not have a machine gun only cartridge. In 1930 it decided to use the machine gun optimized cartridge (sS) as standard. It does not have higher pressures than its predecessor (S). The U.S. had done the same in 1925 (M1) and Switzerland already in 1911 (GP11, still used today).

      Apart from the UK, France and the Soviet Union (D) had a MG only cartridge.

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