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6.5x52 mm Carcano - Elephant Gun?


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Robert, Larry Sturdivan's book The JFK Myths includes a chart based upon Olivier's testing of the wound ballistics of 6.5 Mannlicher-Carcano ammunition.

This shows that a bullet traveling point first and striking bone will deform at around 1700 fps or higher, and that a bullet traveling sideways through soft tissue will deform at around 2000 fps or higher.

In other words, bullets striking bone point first receive more resistance than bullets traveling sideways through soft tissue, and the bullet passing through Kennedy's head was traveling too slow to first deform within the brain, and must have started its deformation upon the bone.

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Robert, Larry Sturdivan's book The JFK Myths includes a chart based upon Olivier's testing of the wound ballistics of 6.5 Mannlicher-Carcano ammunition.

This shows that a bullet traveling point first and striking bone will deform at around 1700 fps or higher, and that a bullet traveling sideways through soft tissue will deform at around 2000 fps or higher.

In other words, bullets striking bone point first receive more resistance than bullets traveling sideways through soft tissue, and the bullet passing through Kennedy's head was traveling too slow to first deform within the brain, and must have started its deformation upon the bone.

Mr. Speer

I'm really at a loss here to understand what you are trying to say. I think the point you are attempting to make is that the bullet striking JFK's skull began its deformation on contact with the skull bone, am I correct?

I have already stated that a bullet contacting skull bone will deform. However, as the human skull is not that thick and the bullet was supposedly a full metal jacket bullet, the amount of deformation would have been minimal and the entrance wound would have been, one would expect, a neat little hole about the diameter of an intact bullet; much like the one in JFK's right temple.

Making a comparison between bullets striking bone point first and bullets travelling sideways through soft tissue is like comparing apples to oranges.

Edited by Robert Prudhomme
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I'm sorry about the confusion, Robert.

I was supporting my previous posts. My research on wound ballistics suggests that the small entrance hole reported on the back of Kennedy's head was inconsistent with both the damage to the bullet, and size and location of the supposed exit defect.

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Mr. Speer

Confusion reigns supreme again. Would we be referring to the small entrance wound adjacent to the external occipital protruberance, as reported by Dr. Humes in 1963, or the small entrance wound in the cowlick area, deduced by a panel of experts for the HSCA?

I think I understand what you are saying, though. In essence, what you are saying is, I believe, how can such a small entrance wound equate to so much damage to a bullet? Also, I believe you are questioning the HSCA drawing depicting a massive defect exiting the top of the skull and what appears to be an almost intact bullet exiting in the area of the right frontal bone. Please correct me if I am mistaken here.

You are correct to question the conclusions of the Warren Commission and the HSCA. However, from my perspective, the size of the entrance wound in this case does not really tell us very much, other than the fact the bullet that entered JFK's head was not tumbling but, rather, went straight in. The size of the entrance wound, in FMJ, soft tipped or hollow point bullets, will tell you nothing about whether that bullet emerges relatively intact on the other side of the skull through a small exit wound or comes apart completely and blows off the other side of the head. I have seen a deer shot in the head with a soft tipped bullet fired from a .25-06 rifle that left a 3" diameter exit wound, yet the 1/4" entrance wound was almost impossible to find. That being said, a full metal jacket bullet, especially a 6.5 mm Carcano with a thicker than normal jacket, should not have broken into pieces inside of JFK's head.

Edited by Robert Prudhomme
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I will be posting a thread in a day or two dealing strictly with the 6.5x52 mm Carcano cartridge itself, and how the cartridge may have made LHO's purported short rifle incapable of the fantastic shooting accredited to it on 22/11/63.

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Ever score the tip of a fmj Bob...

Mr. Lamson

Are you suggesting LHO purposely made a soft point or hollow point bullet by cutting the tip from a full metal jacket bullet?

I hardly think this could be the case, for a number of reasons.

First, the unfired cartridge in LHO's alleged carcano was intact and unmodified, as WC evidence photos will attest. Do you seriously think LHO knew exactly how many rounds he needed and only scored one (or two) of them? Why was CE 399 not scored?

Second, I have tried this before with surplus Lee Enfield .303 cartridges. It is impossible to make a straight and even cut, even if all one is doing is scoring the tip (and considering the thickness of the 6.5 Carcano jacket, this would have to be a VERY deep score). Although a hit at very close range is possible, accuracy at distances approaching 100 yards suffers accordingly.

Third, was not the intact jacket nose of the bullet that hit JFK's head supposedly found in the front of the limousine?

You are babbling bobby. Try a file next time.

Translated from bobbyspeak...

"I can't deny this so ill spew instead"

If the bullet that struck JFK's head was "filed", why was CE 399 and the unfired cartridge found in the 6.5 Carcano not "filed"? Do you seriously believe Oswald knew exactly which bullet was going to strike JFK's head and only "filed" that one?

And have you forgotten that the INTACT jacket nose of the bullet that struck JFK in the head was supposedly found in the front of the limo passenger compartment, completely "unfiled"?

If you do not wish to address these two points, this will be the last time I respond to you on this thread.

Please stop wasting everyone's time.

In the event that he has "forgotten" this information, it is to the best.---------Since it is not now nor has it ever been factually true.

The highly deformed (and split) lead core to the bullet nose was recovered, and this fragment contained a small extent of the remaining copper jacket (which was so insufficient that it could not be made as a "ballistic match" to the recovered 91/38 Short Rifle).

Which, along with your other misleading information, is no doubt sending more and more uninformed persons diving off down into the deep, dark, damp rabbit hole in the ground.

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5.jpgFigure 5: Bottom is the “multi shot” round showing the cuts made on the projectile to facilitate it coming apart

The one funny looking projectile (with cuts on the side of the projectile) turned out to be a “multi shot” round. According to the Carcano website, the projectile actually is hollow and contains lead shot and it is not uncommon to run across these in surplus ammo.

I'm a little busy right now but, I'll try to find the time to elaborate on the above photo tonight.

Edited by Robert Prudhomme
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Fascinating round, that "multi-shot" round. I wonder if it penetrates and comes apart inside the target or if it breaks up on the surface?

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  • 1 month later...

Poor bobby.

First I'm not ct or ln. At least try and get ONE thing correct.

Second. Your expectations are really quite meaningless.

You don't know and most likely never will. Welcome to reality

The possibility exists for a modified or even damaged bullet.

Actually! It is an extremely high probability!

Purvis

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Guns Review

Official Journal of the The British Sporting Rifle Club

Vol 4 No 2 (February 1964), 65-66

Details and Doubts about the Assassination Gun

By Lieut.-Colonel A. Barker

Many of the details attendant on the tragic demise of John F. Kennedy have been obscured by the shock with which the world received the news that the President of the United States could be assassinated in his own country, in this day and age. Of those facts which have been revealed, it is difficult to reconcile the technicalities associated with shooting at a moving target, surrounded by security guards trained to react at the first sign of any hostile action against their ward, with an old hand-operated carbine fitted with a cheap telescopic sight.

On the basis of the information revealed in the Press, the following essay is an attempt to highlight some of the considerations which may be considered irreconcilable by those who know something of the world of small arms.

The first thing an assassin has to decide is whether he wishes to escape the consequences of his crime. If he does, then this excludes any method of closing on his victim and using a short range weapon. Stabbing, or shooting in the stomach with a pistol is out, since this means capture. Execution from a distance entails much more careful consideration. A warehouse is ideal since an upper storey window will provide a clear field of fire over the heads of the crowd.

Choosing the weapon

The next problem is the choice of weapon. The specification for this is that it should be capable of delivering a number of aimed shots quickly and accurately, and that the bullets themselves should be lethal. This suggests some form of automatic or semi-automatic weapon, which is known to have a high stopping power. It is possible to kill with a .22 weapon, or even an air gun, but such a killing is dependent on striking a vital organ and to ensure success a larger calibre weapon which will deliver a heavy, smashing projectile will be necessary. Whether it is preferable to deliver a large number of projectiles with lesser accuracy rather than one or two carefully aimed shots hinges on the problem of surprise, and the feasibility of concealing the firing point. If the guards react as quickly as they might be expected to react, the location of an automatic weapon will be determined very quickly, whereas the first report of rifle shot may not even cause a head to turn.

If, as result of this argument, it is decided to use a few, well-aimed highly lethal rounds, what is needed is a high-powered self-loading rifle. And, if the weapon is fitted with a telescopic sight, the system must be carefully zeroed at the anticipated range and thereafter preserved, almost in cotton wool in its fully assembled state, until the fateful hour. (Ideally the zeroing will be done as close to this time as possible.)

Having selected his weapon and found a suitable firing point, the next considerations are of the target. For the occasion, the victim is travelling in an open car across the assassin’s front at an approximate speed of 20 m.p.h. The minimum ground range is estimated to be not more than 100 yards. In ten seconds, if the speed of the car remains constant, it will have travelled another 100 yards; this will mean a slight increase in range, but of more importance for another shot there will have been a rather large change in the lateral angle.

In 30 seconds the car – still travelling at 20 m.p.h. – will have covered almost 300 yards; the range will have more than trebled and the aspect of the target will have changed considerably. There will be a lesser vulnerable area at which to shoot, and for the next shot a sighting correction must also be applied. Consideration might even have to be given to a change in the firing point.

£7 10s. carbine

Economic reasons may well decide the type of gun which our assassin is able to procure; its size may be influenced by the need for concealment. Unfortunately the requirements of an accurate and reliable weapon are at variance with both of these facts. Well-made and reliable guns are never cheap, accurate guns tend to have long barrels and are not easily disassembled. Good telescopic sights add to the cost, as does a semi-automatic mechanism. In the event, an ex-Italian army carbine, of a design perfected in 1891, which had been fitted with a cheap 4x telescopic sight was selected. Its cost ($19.95) was less than £7 10s.

Now, carbines are not the most suitable weapon for the requirements that have been discussed. Developed originally as a lighter version of the rifle, shorter and more handy, for use by mounted troops, such a weapon has most of the disadvantages of that from which it has been cut down; together with a few others. It uses the same ammunition as its big-brother rifle which, fired through a shorter barrel, produces greater flash and heavier recoil. Not that these effects are relevant to our problems of assassination; it is just that the adoption of modern self-loading rifles by the Services of most European countries has made such weapons virtually obsolete – hence presumably the disposal of the Mannlicher-Carcano with which the President’s assassin was able to equip himself.

Three shots apparently struck the car in which the President was travelling; the time taken to fire these shots is variously reported as 5.5 seconds, 8 seconds and 15 seconds. Even allowing for the fact that the Mannlicher bolt action is reasonably quick and easy to work, the added telescopic attachment undoubtedly would tend to hinder its quick manipulation when the gun was reloaded. Much play has been made of the assassin’s marksmanship capabilities and there is no doubt that it is possible for an expert to fire three rounds in 5.5 seconds with such a weapon. To do so demands constant and recent practice however, and it seems doubtful whether the man Oswald had any opportunity to keep his marksmanship up to scratch since he left the U.S. forces. It seems that there had been no such opportunity during his sojourn in Russia, since lack of shooting facilities was one of the things he complained about.

Remarkable accuracy

Nor was the President an easy target. The problems associated with a moving target and a depressed line of fire have already been mentioned (dependent on how long it took for the occupants of the car to realise what was happening and for the driver to accelerate out of range), together with the state of the gun and Oswald’s skill...so the accuracy of the shots seems remarkable.

The fatal shot was said to have been a 6.5 mm. round, which ballistic tests showed to have been fired from the Mannlicher-Carcano found in the Dallas warehouse. The carbine was easily traced to Oswald’s ownership and his fingerprints were on it. After his capture Oswald’s hands were subjected to a liquid paraffin test to determine whether he had filed a rifle, but as he had fired a pistol and killed a policeman immediately prior to his capture the validity of this test seems to be somewhat dubious.

Finally there is the question of the missing “charger” – the clip which holds the six rounds which are the magazine capacity of the weapon. In loading the gun the charger is discarded and might be expected to have been found near the firing position, or on Oswald’s person. It was never found. And if the carbine was loaded at the time of the shooting without a charger there can be no question of his being able to discharge three shots in even 15 seconds.

Like so many other enigmas, so much depends on the factor of time. But let us return briefly to the assassination planning. If one way to really make certain of an assassination is to have more than one shot, then surely it might be preferable to have more than one man shooting.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Guns Review

Official Journal of the The British Sporting Rifle Club

Vol 4 No 2 (February 1964), 65-66

Details and Doubts about the Assassination Gun

By Lieut.-Colonel A. Barker

Many of the details attendant on the tragic demise of John F. Kennedy have been obscured by the shock with which the world received the news that the President of the United States could be assassinated in his own country, in this day and age. Of those facts which have been revealed, it is difficult to reconcile the technicalities associated with shooting at a moving target, surrounded by security guards trained to react at the first sign of any hostile action against their ward, with an old hand-operated carbine fitted with a cheap telescopic sight.

On the basis of the information revealed in the Press, the following essay is an attempt to highlight some of the considerations which may be considered irreconcilable by those who know something of the world of small arms.

The first thing an assassin has to decide is whether he wishes to escape the consequences of his crime. If he does, then this excludes any method of closing on his victim and using a short range weapon. Stabbing, or shooting in the stomach with a pistol is out, since this means capture. Execution from a distance entails much more careful consideration. A warehouse is ideal since an upper storey window will provide a clear field of fire over the heads of the crowd.

Choosing the weapon

The next problem is the choice of weapon. The specification for this is that it should be capable of delivering a number of aimed shots quickly and accurately, and that the bullets themselves should be lethal. This suggests some form of automatic or semi-automatic weapon, which is known to have a high stopping power. It is possible to kill with a .22 weapon, or even an air gun, but such a killing is dependent on striking a vital organ and to ensure success a larger calibre weapon which will deliver a heavy, smashing projectile will be necessary. Whether it is preferable to deliver a large number of projectiles with lesser accuracy rather than one or two carefully aimed shots hinges on the problem of surprise, and the feasibility of concealing the firing point. If the guards react as quickly as they might be expected to react, the location of an automatic weapon will be determined very quickly, whereas the first report of rifle shot may not even cause a head to turn.

If, as result of this argument, it is decided to use a few, well-aimed highly lethal rounds, what is needed is a high-powered self-loading rifle. And, if the weapon is fitted with a telescopic sight, the system must be carefully zeroed at the anticipated range and thereafter preserved, almost in cotton wool in its fully assembled state, until the fateful hour. (Ideally the zeroing will be done as close to this time as possible.)

Having selected his weapon and found a suitable firing point, the next considerations are of the target. For the occasion, the victim is travelling in an open car across the assassin’s front at an approximate speed of 20 m.p.h. The minimum ground range is estimated to be not more than 100 yards. In ten seconds, if the speed of the car remains constant, it will have travelled another 100 yards; this will mean a slight increase in range, but of more importance for another shot there will have been a rather large change in the lateral angle.

In 30 seconds the car – still travelling at 20 m.p.h. – will have covered almost 300 yards; the range will have more than trebled and the aspect of the target will have changed considerably. There will be a lesser vulnerable area at which to shoot, and for the next shot a sighting correction must also be applied. Consideration might even have to be given to a change in the firing point.

£7 10s. carbine

Economic reasons may well decide the type of gun which our assassin is able to procure; its size may be influenced by the need for concealment. Unfortunately the requirements of an accurate and reliable weapon are at variance with both of these facts. Well-made and reliable guns are never cheap, accurate guns tend to have long barrels and are not easily disassembled. Good telescopic sights add to the cost, as does a semi-automatic mechanism. In the event, an ex-Italian army carbine, of a design perfected in 1891, which had been fitted with a cheap 4x telescopic sight was selected. Its cost ($19.95) was less than £7 10s.

Now, carbines are not the most suitable weapon for the requirements that have been discussed. Developed originally as a lighter version of the rifle, shorter and more handy, for use by mounted troops, such a weapon has most of the disadvantages of that from which it has been cut down; together with a few others. It uses the same ammunition as its big-brother rifle which, fired through a shorter barrel, produces greater flash and heavier recoil. Not that these effects are relevant to our problems of assassination; it is just that the adoption of modern self-loading rifles by the Services of most European countries has made such weapons virtually obsolete – hence presumably the disposal of the Mannlicher-Carcano with which the President’s assassin was able to equip himself.

Three shots apparently struck the car in which the President was travelling; the time taken to fire these shots is variously reported as 5.5 seconds, 8 seconds and 15 seconds. Even allowing for the fact that the Mannlicher bolt action is reasonably quick and easy to work, the added telescopic attachment undoubtedly would tend to hinder its quick manipulation when the gun was reloaded. Much play has been made of the assassin’s marksmanship capabilities and there is no doubt that it is possible for an expert to fire three rounds in 5.5 seconds with such a weapon. To do so demands constant and recent practice however, and it seems doubtful whether the man Oswald had any opportunity to keep his marksmanship up to scratch since he left the U.S. forces. It seems that there had been no such opportunity during his sojourn in Russia, since lack of shooting facilities was one of the things he complained about.

Remarkable accuracy

Nor was the President an easy target. The problems associated with a moving target and a depressed line of fire have already been mentioned (dependent on how long it took for the occupants of the car to realise what was happening and for the driver to accelerate out of range), together with the state of the gun and Oswald’s skill...so the accuracy of the shots seems remarkable.

The fatal shot was said to have been a 6.5 mm. round, which ballistic tests showed to have been fired from the Mannlicher-Carcano found in the Dallas warehouse. The carbine was easily traced to Oswald’s ownership and his fingerprints were on it. After his capture Oswald’s hands were subjected to a liquid paraffin test to determine whether he had filed a rifle, but as he had fired a pistol and killed a policeman immediately prior to his capture the validity of this test seems to be somewhat dubious.

Finally there is the question of the missing “charger” – the clip which holds the six rounds which are the magazine capacity of the weapon. In loading the gun the charger is discarded and might be expected to have been found near the firing position, or on Oswald’s person. It was never found. And if the carbine was loaded at the time of the shooting without a charger there can be no question of his being able to discharge three shots in even 15 seconds.

Like so many other enigmas, so much depends on the factor of time. But let us return briefly to the assassination planning. If one way to really make certain of an assassination is to have more than one shot, then surely it might be preferable to have more than one man shooting.

Interesting article Paul, will you continue along this same vein? Perhaps a separate thread with the entire articles information. Thanks --David

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