Gratuitous Gun Pic: Beretta BM62 (7.62x51mm NATO)

After WWII came to an end, the Italians needed a locally-made self-loading rifle for their Army, and rather than reinvent the wheel, Beretta simply took the excellent Garand design, modified it to take a removable 20-round magazine (as opposed to the top-loading 8-round en bloc clip of the Garand), gave it a select-fire (full auto) switch, and called it the Beretta BM59. The BM59 was Italy’s battle rifle until 1986, when it was replaced with a poodleshooter-type “assault rifle”, the AR-70 in 5.56mm NATO.

Shortly afterwards, the semi-auto-only civilian version (BM62) was released, with a 19” barrel, and would still be an excellent choice as a citizen’s battle rifle.

Here’s a close-up of the action:


Unfortunately, not many of these beautiful rifles were made, so their prices are typically in the nosebleed range, generally well over $2,500. As with so many rifles of the post-WWII era, it’s just a case of there being more buyers than rifles, so if you find one and really want it, you just have to grin and bear it grimace and sacrifice the kids’ college fund.

Speaking personally, I would rather have one of these than an M14 of the same era—in fact, I would rather have one of these than an M1 Garand, come to think of it. The design is robust and reliable, the caliber excellent (and recoil more manageable than that of the .30-06), and the mag capacity quite acceptable.

13 comments

  1. Or you could choose an AR 10 variant. Definitely more accurate, less than half the cost, enormously more accessories available for it, replacement parts and upgrade parts a computer click away. Mounting an optic is easy and simple. Not just all the above, add in the fact any part on it can be replaced in less than a half hour.

    1. Yeah but the BM62 doesn’t LOOK like an Eeevil Assault Rifle, does it?
      Also, who cares about modernism anyway?

  2. Looks very much like a shortened version of the M14 I was issued on PI back in 1967. Loved that rifle and managed to shoot Expert. Not bad for a kid from NY.
    Couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with the M16 they issued me in DaNang.

  3. Kim, Isn’t this the same caliber as the Mosin Nagant of the Russian WW2 era?
    If so, wow thats alot of pow in one mag.

    1. Nope, the Mosin caliber is 7.62x54R (rimmed), not 7.62x51mm NATO. Different cartridge altogether.

  4. Why would you prefer this to an m14? Same cartridge, same capacity, and the M14 is just as updated Garand with features similar to the BM62….

      1. If you’re willing to look at an only partially Beretta replica, James River Armory makes a BM59 clone reportedly using many Beretta parts on a new forged receiver. About 1/2 the price you listed. They make M14-alikes too, with forged receivers.

        Classic Firearms (no connection) carries them, don’t know who else does.

        I’m still debating on which 7.62×51 rifle because years ago I heeded a post talking about the impending end of cheap surplus ammo. Got the ammo, still need a rifle for it and have been debating M14 vs AR10 vs BM59…

        1. for 7.62 NATO, I bought a CETME, and in fact I was at the range with it today.

          I’m having some magazine problems. I have lots of cheap surplus HK91/
          G3 mags (like $3 per 20-round mag), but they don’t QUITE fit right without a little filing on them. The magazine catch is something like 3 mm difference.
          I’m still working on what the right alteration is .

  5. I traded three AR-15 platforms for a BM-62 a while back(all parts were marked P.B. Beretta). Best deal I’ve ever done. Softest shooting, most accurate .308 semi I have(AR-10, several FNFALS, Navy Garand).
    Down side was when I originally got it the damn magazines were running ~$60-$75 each if you could find one. SARCO finally got some in and blew them out at 10/ $250. The mag is a real piece of work. The front of each round is held in alignment by a groove in the mag, so feed probs are non-existent.
    Fun side-bar. I’m currently range-testing a BM-62 clone for a customer. It’s a put- together using a modified Springfield receiver with a few hand-fabricated parts on the inside, M-14 trigger parts, Garand stock, and uses M-14 magazines(GI issue only).

  6. From a romantic standpoint, there’s a whole lot to like about the BM-62; handled a couple, shot one, wasn’t quite as orgasmic as Kim suggests, but very nice. I will confess a personal weakness for wood-stocked self-feeding .30 caliber rifles, and yes, I’m a recovering Garand and M1A addict. There’s no cure for it, and the treatment program turns out to be rather expensive, but like a costly divorce, the expense is more than worth it (Full disclosure: I ran an M1ANM in High Power for decades, and I was “that guy” who eschewed an AR-15 for a SOCOM with a BDC-equipped EER scope for the rifle stages in 3-Gun; it allowed me sole proprietorship of the rifle stages on my club’s 300M and the adjacent club’s 600Y range and more than held its own on the ubiquitous 30-50 yard CQB stages, at least for the first 20 rounds….. ).

    As pointed out (above) BM62 mags are more than just a “problem,” but if one is willing to accept a certain amount of bastardization (as 0007 mentions) it can be – somewhat- avoided. And, unless it’s been removed, the stripper clip feed bracket can, with a great deal of practice and *absolutely dimensionally perfect* clips, allow surprisingly fast 10-shot strings (that’s an assumption, never tried it on the one 62 I had the opportunity to shoot, but it works on the M1A and can be faster than the WWF drill required for a mag swap; alas, it’s completely impossible for even lightning-fast 10-round clip reloads to be as fast as push-button 30-round mag swaps, and as long as IPSC/USPSA requires 2 holes regardless of caliber and/or bullet weight, the distance advantage doesn’t counterbalance the huge differences in reloading speed, rifle weight or recoil, so there’s little choice but to drink the AR-15 Kool-Aid. There is something to be said, however, for the quite comforting feel of an accurate solid-stocked .30 caliber tool, the factory compensator on the SOCOM is superb (the comp on the 18-inch barreled Scout Squad version is nearly as good, velocity gains from those extra 2 inches helps), and the ability to single-roundedly resolve problems 250M farther out has certain advantages.).

  7. Excellent article, Kim, but I must disagree with you on one point, “the caliber excellent (and recoil more manageable than that of the .30-06)” I’m pretty sure that both the Ball M2 and the NATO cartridge are specd to fire a 150 grain bullet at 2700 f/s. Anything higher would beat an M1 Rifle out of spec by bending its OP rod.

    The .30-06 cartridge can be loaded to much higher velocity for use in other firearms, but not the Garand. I would expect the Garand to weigh a little more than the Beretta, and hence have a little less felt recoil.

    Also, the Beretta seems to have a gas system more like that of the M1 than the M14. Anyone know?

    Thanks,

    The Old Guy

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