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The Most Important Error the FBI told the Warren Commission about the Rifle


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I must admit, I am not privy to any scientific methods of determining if a rifle has been fired recently, though this does not mean there aren't any.

That being said, just sniffing the chamber or muzzle of a recently fired rifle will let a person, with a good nose, pick up a definite whiff of burnt gunpowder; something not nearly as detectable on a rifle not fired for a few months.

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To Robert Prudhomme,

No one has asked you about 'Annie Oakley' style of shooting with the MC. Some of Annie's famous shooting demonstrations included pointing some of her weapons at a target, firing & striking the target without using aiming sights or scopes.In the Army (back in the day) it was called 'slop shots', 'luck shots' & several other not nice & proper nicknames I can't repeat here. Basically, it's simply pointing the barrel of a weapon at a target mass without using a scope or fixed aiming sights and pulling the trigger. Some of the 'good 'ol country boys' I served with were quite good at this sloppy appearing style of marksmanship, particularly in battle. As a pre-teenager, I remember seeing Chuck Connors firing a repeating rifle from the hip on TV's 'The Rifleman'. Sometimes he did this while walking down the street of an old West town. Assuming the MC was the sole murder weapon, do you see any possibility of 'slop shots' by the shooter?

Also, by adding shims to the MC scope, didn't the FBI invalidate it's MC test results by changing the configuration of the weapon? The 'Oswald weapon' scope originally had no shims. Some feel how the weapon fired in the hands of a murderer as found an hour after it was allegedly used to ambush President Kennedy & Governor Connally is what needed to be publicly presented, not how it fired with a scope adjusted post-ambush. In comments I have read online, some are stating that a shooter in the TSBD 'sniper's nest' using the 'Oswald weapon' would have had to be aiming at the trunk of JFK's parade car & to the left of JFK in order to hit him with either of the back or head shots. Do you agree with that assessment?

I've read some discussion on other venues that the weapon scope mounted on the Oswald carbine suggests to some that a left-handed shooter used it to shoot at JFK, the MC's barrel resting on the window sill (or boxes) with the southpaw working the bolt with their right hand on the bolt's pull back knob ('riding the bolt knob'). The reasoning being that a right handed shooter would have taken the scope off as a hindrance. I seem to recall a WC era witness describing seeing 2 men in the sniper's nest 'fiddling' with the scope of a rifle just before the ambush. Is it possible the scope was added as a prop at the last minute to enhance the MC's appearance as a sniper weapon to those who found it, entered it into evidence & displayed it to the global public as the assumed murder weapon of JFK?

I'm not a southpaw & know nothing about the pros & cons of left-handed shooters. Would a left mounted carcano scope be as equal a hindrance for a leftie as it would for a right handed shooter?

BM

Edited by Brad Milch
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Hi Brad

I guess anything is possible, although I don't think Oswald was exactly raised in the hills and hunted squirrels for supper every night. Being able to sight down the side of a barrel and hit a moving target would take a phenomenal degree of skill. I've heard people brag about being able to do this, but have yet to see anyone do it.

Frazier conducted the firing tests of C2766 without the addition of shims to the mount. From Frazier's testimony, no adjustments were made to the scope between the shots at 15 yards, 25 yards and 100 yards. It was not until the rifle was tested by the US Army Ballistics Research Laboratory on March 27, 1964 that the shims were added to the scope mount. Considering the style of mount used, and the fact this rifle seemed to be shooting to the right, I would imagine the shim was placed under the forward mounting screw of the base mount, in order to bring the scope to the left enough to allow for accurate windage adjustment. This clearly demonstrates a hurried careless mounting of the scope at Klein's. A good gunsmith would have checked out the scope installation with a bore sighter, and would have spotted this deficiency and corrected it.

It is a little strange to see Frazier, in his testimony, describe C2766 as "a very accurate rifle". It shot a 3" x 5" group at 100 yards. An accurate rifle should be able to shoot a 1" group at this range.

This whole "scope mounted for a left handed shooter" thing is a non-starter. The scope was mounted on the left side of the receiver, simply because it could not be mounted on top of the receiver or on the right side of it. I think I see what you are saying, though. You are picturing a left handed shooter, resting the barrel on the boxes (almost bench resting) with the rifle against his left shoulder, left hand on the trigger and the right hand staying on the bolt and operating it. It might work, although it might be just as easy to keep your right hand supporting the forestock, and bring it back each time to operate the bolt. Either way, I don't think it possible to alleviate the obvious disadvantage a left handed shooter has in operating a right handed bolt action rifle.

It is hard to say whether the left side mounted scope would offer more hindrance to a right or left handed shooter. The placement of the scope might make it marginally easier for a left handed shooter to see the open sights but, if he was operating the bolt with his left hand, as most lefties do on a right hand rifle, he would be forced to reach over top of the bolt to grasp the bolt handle.

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Howdy, Robert Prudhomme:

Thank you for the info you provided, particularly when the shims were added to the scope. There is some confusion about this event on the Internet & in books. I had completely forgotten about the shooting skills of TV's Jed Clampett & Jethro Bodine shooting flies off a fixture on their Beverly hills mansion (LOL). As I recall, Granny was mostly seen wielding a shotgun in the TV series. The shooting skills of Annie Oakley during traveling rodeo shows is a fascinating subject to delve into.

From what I have been reading online, I believe the possibility of a southpaw shooter has been gaining popularity in discussion forums following the research of John Armstrong. Mr. Armstrong believes Roscoe White is holding the weapons in the Oswald 'backyard photos' & explains why at his website. I'm not sure if Roscoe White was a southpaw or where the perception he was originated.

I'll look for the name of the witness that claimed seeing two men in the TSBD monkeying around with a scope on a rifle shortly before the attack on JFK & John Connally began & post it when I find it.

As I remember, basic training Drill Instructors had a difficult time with some people during rifle marksmanship getting them out of the habit of taking 'slop shots'. I recall instruction in 'field visual aiming compensation adjustments' using tracer rounds. As I understand the evidence, the alleged 'sniper's nest' shooter had no tracer rounds to work with.

I believe your weapons & ammunition topics are of great interest to a global audience; many who gained their only experience in life with small firearms during the course of military basic training or boot camp. The shooting death of JFK & the wounding of John Connally & James Tague all with one weapon & 3 bullets has mystified people since the event happened 51 years ago. The time you invest to educate us is a tremendous humanitarian deed IMHO.

BM

Edited by Brad Milch
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In comments I have read online, some are stating that a shooter in the TSBD 'sniper's nest' using the 'Oswald weapon' would have had to be aiming at the trunk of JFK's parade car & to the left of JFK in order to hit him with either of the back or head shots. Do you agree with that assessment?

BM

Brad,

http://www18.zippyshare.com/v/G54CKwHf/file.html

It appears the WC agreed with those comments too.

Amazing how the WC knew what aiming adjustment was necessary and at what location to begin with.

chris

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Is it established with certainty that Klein's mounted a scope on the rifle alleged to be the murder weapon?

Just a question.

No, I don't think this has ever actually been established, at least not to the satisfaction of most people, anyways. The scope and mount are, however, identical to the ones Klein's installed.

I remember reading an article about the employee at Klein's who was responsible for mounting scopes on Carcano carbines and rifles. I do not recall if he was an actual gunsmith or not but, he seemed well acquainted with the basics of boresighting a scope on a rifle, and with the attention to detail he spoke of in the article, I would be surprised if he let C2766 out of the shop in the condition it was presented to the FBI in.

Although I have stated this before, it is worth repeating that the 4x18 scope by Ordnance Optics was not a good quality long range scope you could mount on a high powered rifle and go hunting mountain sheep with. This scope was designed to go on a youth's pellet gun or .22 calibre rimfire rifle, and 25 yards would be a more reasonable range for it. In other words, it was a toy, and the same thing can be purchased today at Walmarts for about $12.

The most limiting feature of this scope, and the main reason I believe it would not have been used, is the extremely limited field of view one would see looking through this scope. Trying to acquire and track a moving target through this scope would be very difficult. Believe me, it is difficult enough with a real scope, even the wide angle scopes some companies offer. And do not believe the story the WC defenders tell us about once the target is acquired, it is a simple matter of firing the rifle three times, as the rifle stays on target. Nothing could be further from the truth. The target must be re-acquired for each shot.

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Wow! What a stunning visual revelation, Chris! It makes one wonder how a TSBD sniper's nest shooter could be aiming at that spot on JFK's car with the SS car tailgating it with Agents Ready & Landis standing on the running boards. Perhaps that is why the FBI & WC did not include the SS follow-up car & actor stand-ins in their re-enactments?

I asked some hunter friends for comments about this topic. I was told that the found carcano, shooting high & to the right, would send all bullets fired from it flying into Kellerman or over the windshield where he sat in the car if the shooter aimed at JFK's head or back, possibly striking Mary Muchmore, James Altgens, the Franzen family & others in that vicinity. This tells them either the shooter knew the weapon's performance extremely well & compensated remarkably for it during the ambush or the weapon was not used at all.

BM

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Wow! What a stunning visual revelation, Chris! It makes one wonder how a TSBD sniper's nest shooter could be aiming at that spot on JFK's car with the SS car tailgating it with Agents Ready & Landis standing on the running boards. Perhaps that is why the FBI & WC did not include the SS follow-up car & actor stand-ins in their re-enactments?

I asked some hunter friends for comments about this topic. I was told that the found carcano, shooting high & to the right, would send all bullets fired from it flying into Kellerman or over the windshield where he sat in the car if the shooter aimed at JFK's head or back, possibly striking Mary Muchmore, James Altgens, the Franzen family & others in that vicinity. This tells them either the shooter knew the weapon's performance extremely well & compensated remarkably for it during the ambush or the weapon was not used at all.

BM

Or it was used and fired the bullet that ended up injuring James Tague.

--Tommy :sun

Now For A Devil's Advocate (Rhetorical) Question: Wouldn't it have been possible for the assassin to have (intentionally or unintentionally) bumped the scope on something while hiding the MC, thereby throwing it out of alignment after he had killed JFK?

Edited by Thomas Graves
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That's a possibility, Thomas. Let's say the assassin missed on his first shot & the bullet flew over Greer or Kellerman (or through the windshield) & the shooter saw it kick up debris near Mr. Tague & realized the weapon was firing high & to the right. Then that person compensated his aim with the next two shots & was spot on with the fatal shot & a bit low with the back wound. Time would be an obvious factor working against the shooter.

Some people are really good shooters under all kinds of conditions. I read that in one of Annie Oakley's shooting demonstrations she tossed a playing card up in the air & hit it multiple times before the card fell to the ground. 'Slop shots' at that!

Best,

BM

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In another thread long ago, it was suggested that the Carcano and scope MIGHT have been a great set-up for a shooter who was right-handed, but left-eye dominant. Haven't seen any photos of a right-hander trying to look through that scope with their left eye...but such a photo would tell us whether the concept is even feasible or not.

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