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The Cartridges

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Some time ago,reseacher Walt Cakebread sent me a photo-reproduction of Exhibit CE-738 taken at Dallas Police Headquarters around 10:00-10:30pm,on November 22nd,1963.among the items inventoried, alledgedly connected to LHO,are two spent brass cartridges identified as WCC 6.5x52mm Mannlicher Carcano cartridges,and one live round identified as an unfired WCC 6.5x52mm Mannlicher Carcano cartridge. It is these two items that are the focus of my evaluation.

Measurements are made by Starrett precision instruments, and a Dietzgen precision protractor,and will be in the English system.

The unfired cartridge designated as Item-6 of Exhibit CE-738 and identified as a WCC 6.5mm MC Cartridge appears not to be as represented. I say appears, due to the fact that in the blow-up I'm working from, it is impossible to read the make of the cartridge. However,the primer is clearly visible and is markedly similar to the odd-sized Berdan primer that is chacteristic of Italian GI Ammunition and is different in size than the american primers that would be used in WCC Ammo. Also in evidence, is a banded neck-crimp just above the shoulder, that locks the neck into the bullet's cannelure which would not be present in Winchester/Western Ammunition.

Conclusion:The unfired cartridge represented as Item-6 of Exhibit CE-738 more closly resembles an L.B.C.936, 6.5x52mm MC Italian GI cartridge,then it does an American made WCC 6.5x52mm MC Cartridge.


Virtually all American bullets are jacketed with Gilder's Metal which is an alloy of copper and zinc,with a distinct brassy appearence. The color photos of the unfired cartridge shows a bullet that is distinctly silver in color consistant with the cupra-nickle alloy used by European bullet makers, but not their American counterparts.

The MC Cartridge possesses a shoulder width of .160" and a shoulder bevel of 25 degrees.This is an extremely critical point as measurement of the spent cases show a shoulder width of .186" and a shoulder bevel of 24 degrees,for a difference of .026" in shoulder width and 1 degree of angle in the bevel.

Conclusion: The two spent cases much more closely resemble a 6.5x54mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer(MS)Cartridge then they do a 6.5x52mm MC cartridge, while one spent cartridge case, due to the presence of counter-bored neck steps would be of European design and make.

The distinction made in the above conclusion, if it holds up, is an important one as the Austrian designed MS rifle is prized for its smooth action, magazine efficency,chambering charactoristics and accuracy as opposed to the dismal performance of the MC rifle.


Many a custom Mauser is chambered for this cartridge which makes for an excellent medium range deer rifle as well as a sniper rifle.

Finally, I wish to point out that Western Cartridge Corporation manufactored 6.5x52mm Carcano cartridges under a military procurement contract from the US Marine Corps so that all such munitions produced would have possessed lot and batch numbers stamped on the cartridge bases as per military protocol. The only cartridges produced by Western in the 6.5mm caliber that would have possessed the factory logo "Western" with the caliber, "6.5mm" stamped on the cartridge base would be pre-WWII 6.5x54mm Mannlicher Schoenauer factory loaded hunting ammunition with soft nose semi-jacketed bullets.

So what we are dealing with here people, is 2 spent cartridges which cannot be chambered in any Carcano rifle, and a live round that would not have been made in America.

John Ritchson(SSGT. 499th TC USATC HG US Army Class of 69) (GunSmith/Ballistician, Black Eagle Gun Works) (Survivor, SE Asian Games, 11BRAVO7,Tet 1970)


The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it) but "That's Funny..." Isaac Asimov


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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't buy into the theory that only two spent shells were found in the so-called "Sniper's Nest." This theory ignores the testimony of both C. N. Dhority, Captain Fritz and the photographic evidence.




County of Dallas, ss:

Before me, Mary Rattan, a Notary Public in and for said County, State of Texas, on this day personally appeared J. W. Fritz, Dallas Police Department, who, after being by me duly sworn, on oath deposes and says: I wish to supplement the evidence given by me on Wednesday, April 20, 1964, before the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, as follows:

The Spent Rifle Hulls

Three spent rifle hulls were found under the window in the southeast corner of the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building, Dallas, Texas, on the afternoon of November 22, 1963. When the officers called me to this window, I asked them not to move the shells nor touch them until Lt. Day of the Dallas Police Department could make pictures of the hulls showing where they fell after being ejected from the rifle. After the pictures were made, Detective R. M. Sims of the Homicide Bureau, who was assisting in the search of building, brought the three empty hulls to my office. These were delivered to me in my office at the police headquarters. I kept the hulls in an envelope in my possession and later turned them over to C. N. Dhority of ,the Homicide Bureau and instructed him to take them to Lt. Day of the Identification Bureau. I told Detective Dhority that after these hulls were checked for prints to leave two of them to be delivered to the FBI and to bring one of them to my office to be used for comparison tests here in the office, as we were trying to find where the cartridges had been bought. When Detective Dhority returned from the Identification Bureau, he returned the one empty hull which I kept in my possession. Several days later, I believe on the night of November 27, Vince Drain of the FBI called me at home about one o'clock in the morning and said that the Commission wanted the other empty hull and a notebook that belonged to Oswald. I came to the office and delivered these things to the FBI. We have Mr. James P. Hosty's receipt for these items in our report.

Mr. BALL. Now, did Captain Fritz give you some rifle shells to deliver to somebody?

Mr. DHORITY. Yes, sir.

Mr. BALL. About what time of the night or day was that?

Mr. DHORITY. I don't recall when it was, but, from his office there I took them up to the crime lab.

Mr. BALL. Were there three spent 6.5 rifle shells, is that right?

Mr. DHORITY. Yes, sir.

Mr. BALL. Did you return any shells to Captain Fritz?

Mr. DHORITY. Yes, sir.

Mr. BALL. All of them or one of them?

Mr. DHORITY. No; he told me to bring him one back.

Mr. BALL. You brought one back in an envelope?


So we now know that at one spent round was separated from the others in the chain of evidence for a little while.

Now read the testimony of J. C. Day:

Mr. BELIN. All right. You have mentioned these three hulls. Did you put any initials on those at all, any means of identification?

Mr. DAY. At that time they were placed in an envelope and the envelope marked. The three hulls were not marked at that time. Mr. Sims took possession of them.

Mr. BELIN. Well, did you at any time put any mark on the shells?

Mr. DAY. Yes, sir.

Mr. BELIN. All right. Let me first hand you what has been marked as "Commission Exhibit," part of "Commission Exhibit 543-544," and ask you to state if you know what that is.

Mr. DAY. This is the envelope the shells were placed in.

Mr. BELIN. How many shells were placed in that envelope?

Mr. DAY. Three.

Mr. BELIN. It says here that, it is written on here, "Two of the three spent hulls under window on sixth floor."

Mr. DAY. Yes, sir.

Mr. BELIN. Did you put all three there?

Mr. DAY. Three were in there when they were turned over to Detective Sims at that time. The only writing on it was, "Lieut. J. C. Day." Down here at the bottom.

Mr. BELIN. I see.

Mr. DAY. "Dallas Police Department," and the date.

Mr. BELIN. In other words, you didn't put the writing in that says, "Two of the three spent hulls."

Mr. DAY. Not then. About 10 o'clock in the evening this envelope came back to me with two hulls in it. I say it came to me, it was in a group of stuff, a group of evidence, we were getting ready to release to the FBI. I don't know who brought them back. Vince Drain, FBI, was present with the stuff, the first I noticed it. At that time there were two hulls inside.

I was advised the homicide division was retaining the third for their use. At that time I marked the two hulls inside of this, still inside this envelope

This could account for the erroneous FBI reports.

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