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


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Q: "Did you mount scopes on the 40.2 inch rifles?"
A: "No. The particular package deal Klein's was trying to market was the 36 inch carbine with a 4 power scope."

Note the RED UNDERLINED text in the document below from John Armstrong's files:

sharp2_zpsd000df49_1.jpg?t=1422474782

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You are correct, Robert. It doesn't say wooden shims. I don't know where I got that from. These shims appear to be brass.

http://www.maryferrell.org/mffweb/archive/viewer/showDoc.do?absPageId=139085

LOL You had me going for a while there, Pat. The hardest part for me to grasp was what kind of saw could cut a .015" thick shim from a piece of wood. :)

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I think that one of the most important omissions was the fact that the question was never asked by the WC, or anyone else involved in the "investigation", as to why there was a discrepancy in the length of the rifle that was found on the 6th floor (40.2") and the rifle advertised that Oswald purportedly purchased (36")? When Marguerite brought this up (via Mark Lane), the FBI did their usual hatchet job on her - essentially saying that she's a batty old woman who rambles on about all sorts of things and should be ignored - that was it, problem gone.

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The late Tom Purvis also mentioned that that there was a "short rifle" with conventional rifling in the barrel, and a "shortened rifle" sold in America, which had its barrel sawed off...and which had usually begin life as a long rifle with progressive twist rifling. The "shortened rifles" were inaccurate due to losing the most important part of their rifling.

So has anyone ever actually examined the rifling of the barrel of C2766 to see whether it's a "short rifle" or a "shortened rifle"? Could you do this with a borescope ?

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The late Tom Purvis also mentioned that that there was a "short rifle" with conventional rifling in the barrel, and a "shortened rifle" sold in America, which had its barrel sawed off...and which had usually begin life as a long rifle with progressive twist rifling. The "shortened rifles" were inaccurate due to losing the most important part of their rifling.

So has anyone ever actually examined the rifling of the barrel of C2766 to see whether it's a "short rifle" or a "shortened rifle"? Could you do this with a borescope ?

Yes, you could, Mark. In fact, a quick look down the barrel would show anyone with good eyesight what they were dealing with.

According to WCR evidence, SA Frazier of the FBI made a thing called a "sulphur cast" of the interior of C2766's barrel. Whether anyone has ever been allowed to see this up close, and whether this is another piece of "evidence" from the FBI, I am unsure.

The "shortened rifle" you speak of is actually the M91/24 carbine, whose production began in 1924 and ended in 1928. Many thousands of these carbines were made and issued to frontline troops in an effort to modernize the Italian army, by moving away from the long cumbersome M91 long rifles to a much shorter and handier carbine. This one particular model of carbine alone likely contributed to most of the reputation Carcanos had for inaccuracy.

To understand why the M91/24 carbine was such a disaster in the accuracy department, it is necessary to understand the rifle this carbine was made from. All M91/24 carbines were made by cutting short the worn out barrels of M91 long rifles. Contrary to popular belief, the Carcano M91 long rifle, with its almost 31 inch long barrel, was a very accurate rifle. However, its barrel had a very unique feature, almost unheard of on other rifles. Most other rifles have what is called "standard twist" riflings cut into the interior of their barrels. For instance, if a sporting rifle has a 1:7 standard twist, this means the riflings start out, at the breech, with a twist that will make one complete turn in 7 inches, and will continue at this rate of twist out to the muzzle. The M91, and many other Carcanos, have something called "progressive" or "gain" twist. The M91 riflings begin, at the breech, at a very slow rate of 1:22.79, and gradually get tighter, until, at the muzzle the riflings are at a rate of twist of 1:7.94. A rate of twist of 1:8 is about the minimum you need to stabilize the 162 grain Carcano bullet, as this is rather heavy for this calibre.

The Italians, in what many consider one of the stupider cost cutting measures ever employed, took these lovely M91 Carcanos with their 31 inch barrels and cut 14 inches off the muzzle end of each barrel, making a carbine with a 17 inch long barrel. If the tightening of the riflings was uniformly progressive, and they began at 1:22.79 and eventually tightened to 1:7.94, halfway down the barrel, at 15.5 inches, the rate of twist would be 1:15.37. As only 45% of the barrel was removed, let's be generous and say the final rate of twist for the M91/24 was 1:14. This rate of twist would be totally inadequate for stabilizing a 162 grain bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2000 fps and, needless to say, the M91/24 could not hit the water from a boat.

The "shortened rifle" Tom Purvis spoke of may also have been a sporterized Carcano M91 long rifle, sold to the European and American public, called a Suprema. When sold to the American public as surplus, the M91 long rifles were not very popular as they were too long and did not look "sporty" enough. Once again, barrels were cut short with no consideration for the progressive rifling, and Carcano rifles spent a few more decades earning a bad reputation. The most famous of these Supremas appears in the Klein's ad LHO allegedly responded to, and is often confused with an M91/24 carbine.

This was not the only time the Italians embarked on a cost cutting campaign in rifle production, and there is one incident directly related to the short rifles, of which group C2766 belongs to. If I can find the post I made about this, on another forum, I will re-post it here for you.

Edited by Robert Prudhomme
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Found it.

Interesting thought, regarding the M91/38 being made from a cut down M91 long rifle barrel with progressive twist rifling. I don't know whether or not you have read the thread I posted concerning the history of the short rifle so I will give you a brief synopsis.

The M38 short rifle made its debut in 1938. The 6.5x52mm cartridge, used exclusively in the Carcano since its introduction in 1891, was to be scrapped forever and to be replaced with the 7.35x51mm cartridge. Everything about the 6.5mm rifle (bolt, receiver, magazine, etc.) stayed the same in the new rifle, including the cartridge. Only the neck of the cartridge was expanded to accept the larger diameter bullet.

A radical idea was introduced into the 7.35mm bullet. First, the bullet was pointed instead of round nosed, inducing the bullet to tumble upon hitting bone and cause greater damage. Second, inside the jacket, the front third of the bullet was made of aluminum, instead of lead, while the rear two-thirds of the bullet was made from lead. This imbalance in mass between front and back end of this bullet further enhanced the tumbling effect, and made these bullets even more deadly. To understand where they got the idea for this bullet, Google the .303 British Mk. VII cartridge.

The thing that must be understood is that it was possible to effect all of these bullet changes to the 6.5x52mm cartridge, and be just as successful. There was no ballistic reason to go to a larger diameter bullet.

The reason it was decided to go to the 7.35mm calibre is that the Italians planned to cut the 31 inch barrels of worn out M91 long rifles down to 21 inches and recycle them as new M38 short rifle barrels. Each cut down barrel would be bored out to a new bore diameter of 7.35 mm, and this would effectively remove all traces of the 6.5mm rifling grooves. It was actually a very sound idea and, considering Italy's limited steel resources, freed up a lot of steel that could go into other weapons.

Below are two photos of 6.5mm Carcanos made prior to 1938.

433412d1355075189-italian-wwi-m1891-carc

dscn1876.jpg_thumbnail1.jpg


As you will notice, there are five flat facets machined onto the base of the barrel, just behind the rear sight.

Below is a photo of a 7.35mm Carcano short rifle. The "SA" stamped onto the barrel designates this rifle as one of almost the entire production of 7.35mm Carcano short rifles sold to Finland, once production of the 7.35mm M38 was completely abandoned in 1939:

8ea23f92728285a1547bc601f27770b2.jpg?aa=



Notice the flat facets are absent and the chamber is now round in shape, and somewhat smaller than the pre-1938 chambers. Here are another three photos, one of them quite famous:

c2766.JPG

*I have exceeded the limit for images per post, and the other two images can be seen in the next post.

As it is an established fact that ALL 7.35mm barrels were cut down 31 inch M91 barrels, the only possibility that exists is that the barrels were put in a lathe and the flat facets machined down, leaving only a round chamber and effectively removing all stampings that would ID this barrel as an M91 barrel.

As they were, in effect, making an entirely new barrel and rifle, and not a re-work, they had every right to begin afresh with the stampings. However, the new round shape of the chamber, which was retained even after the 7.35mm was discarded and the 6.5mm was brought back, opened up other possibilities.

Before going further, it should be pointed out that the 7.35x51mm M38 short rifle was the first Carcano to have standard twist rifling, with a rate of twist of 1:9.45. This standard twist rifling was kept when the M38 was discontinued in 1939, and the M91/38 introduced in 1940. The M91/38 had a standard twist with a rate of twist of 1:8.47.

When the 7.35mm M38 short rifle was discarded in 1939 and the 6.5mm M91/38 short rifle was introduced in 1940, it must be understood that it was no longer possible to recycle 31 inch M91 long rifle barrels (progressive twist) in their manufacture, as the M91/38 had standard twist rifling, and attempting to re-machine standard twist rifling over top of the M91 progressive twist rifling was impossible. The M91/38 short rifle was also the first 6.5mm Carcano to have standard twist rifling, as well as the first 6.5mm Carcano to have a fixed, non-adjustable rear sight. This, plus other cost cutting features seen in the short rifles, clearly indicates Italy went into WW II without a lot of extra money to throw around, and were willing to cut corners wherever possible.

It must also be understood that, as the M91/38 short rifle was an all new design they had NEVER planned to manufacture following the introduction of the 7.35mm short rifle in 1938, Italy began the manufacture of M91/38's in 1940 with NO 6.5mm short rifle barrels stockpiled, and they also declared war on the Allies in 1940. This declaration of war led to the immediate impounding of a good portion of Italy's merchant fleet in harbours around the world. As Italy's steel production was only a fraction of other European nations, a good part of their steel industry was dependent on imports.

Where did they get enough steel to make all of the new 6.5mm M91/38 short rifle barrels from, and still manage to supply steel to the remainder of their war effort? While many M91/38's were made with standard twist rifling, there are enough out there with progressive twist rifling to indicate that, some time in 1940, the supply of steel for short rifle barrels dried up, and the old practice of cutting down M91 long rifle barrels was revived; much to the detriment of short rifle accuracy. This could also explain why the M91/38 short rifle was abandoned at the end of 1940, and replaced with the all "new" M91/41 long rifle. The M91/38 is quite unique amongst infantry rifles of the 20th Century, in that its entire production history lasted just over one year.

As can be seen in the photo of C2766, the chamber of this famous M91/38 has also been machined smooth and round. The only way to tell if this rifle has standard twist rifling or cut down progressive twist rifling is to do a sulphur cast of the inside of the barrel at the muzzle or the chamber.

Think they would lend us C2766 for the weekend? smile.png

Edited by Robert Prudhomme
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Here are the other two images:

carcano_short_004.JPG

CA7.jpg

Looking at the top photo, there is something shown here that has always bewildered informed researchers that have studied C2766.

Plainly visible is "42-XX". This, and the accompanying "V" notched rear sight, tell us this was a carbine, made some time in 1942. However, the "XX" tells us even more about the manufacture date. The "XX" is what is known as the fascist date, and is measured from Mussolini's March on Rome on October 22, 1922. As 1942 was twenty years after this date, the Roman numeral XX is added to the date. But, if the rifle had been made between October 23 and December 31 of 1924, we would see the Roman numeral XXI beside the 42.

Every Carcano seems to follow this rule, except for C2766. While there are few photos showing this side of C2766, the ones that are available do not seem to show the date.

Two questions come to my mind. Was C2766 made after Oct. 22, 1940? Why was the M91/38 discontinued after only one year of production in which, coincidentally, Italy's access to imported steel was severely curtailed by most of their merchant fleet being impounded in foreign ports, following their declaration of war on the Allies in June, 1940?

One more image:

38_Carcano_001.jpg

Above is an M38 Carcano made after Oct. 22, 1939, as indicated by the XVIII following the 1939. Also note the poor workmanship in turning down the five flat facets. If you look closely, you can just see the point of one of the facets. The lathe work is also crudely done, and looks like it was done with a coarse file.

Edited by Robert Prudhomme
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Robert,

I don't think that "they" want us to know about the rifling in C2766.

I think "they" would be embarrassed by what might be discovered, if it turns out to be one of the "shortened" rifles.

In which case, rather than "convicting" Oswald, the rifle itself might exonerate him.

Just a suspicion of mine...

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Mine too, Mark. There are a few other things in the C2766/ WCC ammo scenario that might seriously affect the accuracy. Put together with the scope and a few other things, I think Oswald would have been lucky to hit Texas with that rifle, and Frazier's test firing "results" only confirm my suspicions.

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Robert Prudhomme,

Assume you are a plotter who is charged with planting a weapon that implicates Oswald.

Why do you choose a Mannlicher-Carcanno as the weapon to plant?

Why do you choose to obtain or to fabricate obtaining the weapon from Klein's?

I want your answers. Here are mine: The story of Oswald's obtaining the M-C from Klein's was meant to be a big distraction. Something to focus the public's attention as being BAD. At the time, anyone could order a rifle and ammunition by mail. I've got a copy of a late 1950s "True" magazine in which there an ad for an automatic weapon. The ability to order weapons by mail was on the public radar screen. (The JFK assassination led to an end of the practice.)

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Another consideration: As a plotter, you didn't want to find a Winchester or other American brand name on the "killer gun." [i realized that back when it happened, and I was 9 years old then.] If the gun recovered had been a Marlin or a Winchester, their stock would've tanked and folks would've started buying other brands. THAT COULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO HAPPEN. You cannot make an American company a "patsy" in the JFK assassination.

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No one is saying an M91 Carcano was found in the TSBD. What I am saying is, after the rifle was identified as a Carcano, a hurried search was likely made for info on Carcano rifles. As the M91 long rifle was the main infantry weapon, and more of them were made than any other model of Carcano, the specs for it were what they probably found first.

This source should be seen as suspect, not only because they were way off with the muzzle velocity of an M91, but because they stated, as you pointed out, the calibre as being between .270" and .280", much larger than the Carcano calibre of .256".

I hate to say it but, the coincidence of the M91 Carcano and the Japanese Type "I" rifles both having identical barrel and overall lengths has started everyone on a wild goose chase that I do not believe will lead anywhere. Remember, the rifle was also identified early on as a Lee Enfield .303.

Interesting stuff from Page 554 of the WCR:

The rifle was identified as a 6.5-millimeter Mannlicher-Carcano Italian military rifle, Model 91/38. This identification was initially made by comparing the rifle with standard reference works and by the markings inscribed on the rifle. The caliber was independently determined by chambering a Mannlicher-Carcano 6.5 millimeter cartridge in the rifle for fit, and by making a sulfur cast of the inside of the rifle's barrel which was measured with a micrometer. (The caliber of a weapon is the diameter of the interior of the barrel, measured between opposite lands. The caliber of American weapons is expressed in inches; thus a .30-caliber weapon has a barrel which is thirty one-hundredths or three-tenths of an inch in diameter. The caliber of continental European weapons is measured in millimeters. A 6.5-millimeter caliber weapon corresponds to an American .257-caliber weapon, that is, its barrel diameter is about one-fourth inch.) The identification was later confirmed by a communication from SIFAR, the Italian Armed Forces Intelligence Service. This communication also explained the markings on the rifle, as follows: "CAL. 6.5" refers to the rifle's caliber; "MADE ITALY" refers to its origin, and was inscribed at the request of the American importer prior to shipment; "TERNI" means that the rifle was manufactured and tested by the Terni Army Plant of Terni, Italy; the number "C2766" is the serial number of the rifle, and the rifle in question is the only one of its type bearing that serial number; the numerals "1940" and "40" refer to the year of manufacture; and the other figures, numbers, and letters are principally inspector's, designer's, or manufacturer's marks.

Are the measured dimensions of the sulfur cast available anywhere, I wonder?

Edited by Ian Lloyd
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Robert, will you please explain how a sulfur cast is made?

In particular I seek to know whether a sulfur cast is made from a clean barrel or whether it may be made from a corroded barrel.

I'm interested in knowing whether Robert Frazier did anything to clean the barrel, which he told John McCloy he did not test for metal fouling.

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Jon and Mark

Both of your answers are very good, and I can see both as being valid reasons for selecting the Carcano M91/38. Something else to consider is just how sporty it looked with its offset scope. Remember, many armies were still using, or had just retired, long and cumbersome bolt action rifles, and a short rifle might have looked quite modern in 1963.

I also don't believe the plotters, in 1963, could ever have envisioned the Internet, and just how organized and connected those of us who reject the WCR could possibly be in 2015. What we have done with our shared research and analysis ranks right up there with DNA analysis allowing wrongfully convicted persons the chance to appeal their convictions.

I believe the plotters relied on the American public to be uninformed about rifles and scopes. This seems to have worked quite well for the last half century or so.

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Hi Ian

Suffice it to say the person who supplied the material for this part of the WCR was not well acquainted with the designations for rifles.

First, the FBI's Robert Frazier tells us, erroneously, that the 6.5mm Carcano is the equivalent of North American .25 calibre rifles. Wrong. The .25 calibre rifles have a calibre diameter of .250" and a bullet and groove diameter of .257". The 6.5mm Carcano has a calibre diameter of .256" and a bullet and groove diameter of .268". See where they messed up?

Next, it says "A 6.5mm calbre weapon corresponds to an American .257 calibre weapon. WRONG! What is this "American .257 calibre weapon" they speak of? The 6.5mm (.257") calibre bullet was never popular in North America, as it was in Europe, and I believe, in those days, only the .264 Winchester Magnum and the 6.5 Remington Magnum fired a bullet of this calibre. Both of these rifles were considered failures and did not generate a great deal of sales. I believe the author is referring to .25 calibre rifles, and once again, we are shown the ignorance of the FBI's "experts".

I have seen evidence of the sulphur cast made by Frazier, and it appears to have been made from the muzzle end of the rifle, as no indication of the chamber can be seen. While this is not unheard of, most casts are made from the chamber end of the barrel, as the dimensions of the cartridge help a lot in identifying a rifle. I have never seen anything stating the measured dimensions of the cast, though this material may exist somewhere.

C2766 is a very strange Carcano, as it may be the only Carcano made between 1922 and 1943 that does not have the Fascist Date, in Roman numerals, next to the "1940" manufacturing date. The Fascist date commemorates Mussolini's March on Rome in October of 1922, and the fascist date was measured in years from this date. For example, if C2766 was made in 1940, but prior to October, 1940, there should be a "XVIII" (18) next to the 1940, signifying it was made 18 years after the March on Rome. However, if it was made in 1940, but AFTER October, 1940, there should be a "XIX" (19) beside the 1940, signifying it was made 19 years after the March on Rome. A rifle made in 1941 would have 1941 stamped on it, plus, again, the XIX, until October of 1941, when an XX (20) would be stamped on it. How did the FBI miss the Fascist Date?

Edited by Robert Prudhomme
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