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The "Shallow" Back Wound and the "Short" Shot


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Just because some horse's patoot in the OSS office thought .22 rifles were effective at killing people at 100 yards, does not make it true.

Wouldn't it be much simpler for soldiers going into combat to use .22 rifles? Just think, each soldier could carry a couple of thousand rounds on his person.

P.S.

That rifle shoots .22 Long Rifle ammo, not .22 subsonic or .22 Short.

Holy smokes, Bob. Focus. I've said from the beginning that the CIA assassination manual suggested the use of long rifle ammunition, hand-loaded to be subsonic.

As far as your next line, you're joking, right? No one has ever said or even suggested that a slienced assassination rifle is an ideal weapon for a common soldier. It is a special weapon made for special jobs, for use by only the most skilled marksman. We have no idea how well they performed in the field, by the way, because that kind of info is classified. Still.

I kind of stumbled into this whole area, by the way, by accident. I was reading Mortal Error, when I noticed that within its pictures was an exhibits list handed out by the HSCA. Well, among this exhibits list was a gelatin block showing the trajectory of an M-16 bullet (essentially a souped-up .22) fired at 800 fps, the approximate velocity of a subsonic bullet upon striking Kennedy. Now, this set off alarm bells. Why was Sturdivan talking about a subsonic M-16 round? I then realized that the caption to this exhibit in Sturdivan's published testimony said this was a bullet fired at 800 mps, not fps, and that Sturdivan's testimony reflected that, yessirree, the bullet was fired at 800 mps. Well, that solves it, right? Only not so fast. I compared this gelatin block to other M-16 gelatin blocks and realized that it was in fact the block of a bullet fired at 800 fps, as shown on the original exhibits list. I then contacted Sturdivan, and he told me that I was right and that it was in fact the gelatin block for a subsonic round, quite possibly around 800 fps. I then asked him who would change his testimony and the title of his exhibit, and he said it would have to have been I. Charles Matthews, an assistant counsel to Blakey.

A few years later, however, I realized that I'd ignored the possibility Sturdivan had mis-stated the velocity as mps in his actual testimony, and that someone had changed the name of the exhibit to match his testimony, and ignored the original exhibits list and the script which they all were supposed to follow. And so I gave in and purchased a tape of Sturdivan's testimony, and found that he did briefly state that the gelatin block reflected an M-16 round traveling at 800 mps, but that he then corrected himself and said it reflected the velocity 800 meters downrange. Well, this was strange, first, because his correction never made it to the published transcript, and second, because he described the bullet in terms of how far it was downrange, and not how fast it was traveling. By then, I'd read dozens of articles by Sturdivan and others in which bullet velocity was discussed, and no one discussed the velocity of a bullet in such terms. I then wrote Sturdivan and asked him if he remembered using those terms, and if he'd been asked to use those terms to disguise that his exhibit reflected an M-16 bullet fired at a subsonic velocity, and/or to conceal that the wound ballistics experts hired by the WC and HSCA had conducted tests regarding the lethality of subsonic ammunition. I got no response, that I recall, but I came away with the ongoing suspicion tests were performed to see if JFK's and Connally's non-lethal wounds could have been caused by subsonic ammunition, and that this all got covered up when the answer came up "Yep."

This might all be true but, I still consider using a subsonic .22 comparable to bringing a pen knife to a gun fight.

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After following this thread quite a ways, I'd really like to hear both Pat and Robert's thoughts on some basic questions:

1. Was there a shallow, non penetrating wound in the back or not?

2. What is the most probable reason for such a wound if it existed?

3. Why would someone use a weapon and ammo not corresponding to Oswald's if Oswald was to be set up as a lone nut patsy?

-- thanks in advance, Larry

Thank you, Larry. You can always be counted on to ask carefully considered questions that go right to the heart of the matter.

1. No, I don't believe there was a shallow non-penetrating wound in JFK's back. If you re-read my account a few posts back about my experience with the .303 Enfield with the worn barrel, you will see what happens when one aims a rifle sighted in for a specific distance (in my case 100 yards) and the bullet does not leave the barrel with a velocity equal to what is normally expected for that rifle and cartridge. The bullet just doesn't fall slightly short of its target, it falls WAY short of its target. Yet, once the sights were adjusted for the lower velocity, this .303 still had plenty of hitting power at 100 yards to bring down a deer, in contrast to the "short" shot that supposedly only penerated JFK's back an inch.

My argument, then, is that, if the shooter did indeed get a "bad" round that reduced the velocity of the bullet to the point it could barely penetrate flesh, it would have dropped so severely that, instead of missing JFK by just a few inches, it would have impacted the back end of the limo, if it managed to hit the limo at all. And, the shooter would not have expected this. Nor would he be able to understand what had happened to this shot, and simply have corrected his aim by shooting higher. As I said about shooting the .303 at the range, I needed a small spotting scope just to see whether or not I had hit the target. How would a shooter know he had hit JFK in the back instead of the head?

2. My answer to Question 1 negates this question.

3. A very good question. There is always the argument that it was intended to be seen as a conspiracy, in order to justify invading Cuba, but as time goes by I am less and less convinced of this.

The frangible bullets I spoke of could be made to match the full metal jacket bullets for a 6.5mm Carcano, and any pieces of bullet jacket or bullet lead found in the limo or the victims could be attributed to one of these bullets. While the M91/38 short rifle (C2766) would not be my first choice for this job, the 6.5 Carcano M91/41 long rifle (pictured below) was a supremely accurate rifle and fired the same ammunition as C2766.

M.1891-41.JPG

The rifle seen above, with the double set triggers, was built for military target shooting, and was used by Italian shooting teams in national and international competitions right up into the 1960's.

The M91/38 and the M91/41 share one very important feature. Of all the models of Carcanos, they are the only two that have standard rifling grooves cut to a ratio of 1:8.47. This means that if an investigator were to find part of a bullet jacket and he was able to determine the rate of twist of the rifling impressions left on the bullet jacket, he would have no way of knowing if the bullet had been fired from an M91/38 or an M91/41 without performing further forensic analysis. Considering the style of evidence gathering the FBI was known for, it would be very easy for them to attribute all bullet evidence to Oswald's rifle, just as they already have done.

Edited by Robert Prudhomme
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3. Why would someone use a weapon and ammo not corresponding to Oswald's if Oswald was to be set up as a lone nut patsy?

-- thanks in advance, Larry

3. A very good question. There is always the argument that it was intended to be seen as a conspiracy, in order to justify invading Cuba, but as time goes by I am less and less convinced of this.

I don't think we can assume there was tight co-ordination between the team that killed Kennedy and the team that killed Oswald.

The only consideration for the JFK team was that the President didn't get out of Dealey Plaza alive.

Who was set up to take the fall was incidental to their mission.

If Oswald had been killed that morning in a freak traffic accident getting to work, the assassination would have gone on exactly as it did.

Or so I speculate.

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From Pat Speer

"As far as your next line, you're joking, right? No one has ever said or even suggested that a slienced assassination rifle is an ideal weapon for a common soldier. It is a special weapon made for special jobs, for use by only the most skilled marksman. We have no idea how well they performed in the field, by the way, because that kind of info is classified. Still."

You are purposely confusing two issues here in an attempt to confuse people.

My question had nothing to do with soldiers carrying silenced assassination weapons. I was attempting to point out the complete inadequacy of a .22 round for 1) accuracy at any range beyond 25 yards and B) the .22's complete lack of stopping power when it comes to shooting deer or people.

This is why soldiers carry weapons such as the M-16, which fires a 5.56mm cartridge, instead of a .22 rifle.

AMM-2230_2.jpg

5.56mm cartridge for M-16 (.22 calibre)

1024px-22_short_22_long_rifle_22_magnum_

Left to right: .22 Short Hollow Point, .22 Long Rifle, .22 Magnum Hollow Point, .22 Hornet

Edited by Robert Prudhomme
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The CIA Manual on Assassination, Robert, says that .22 caliber subsonic bullets fired from a rifle with a sound suppressor are nearly undetectable and are accurate up to 100 yards. It follows then, that should one of these bullets be undercharged, the person firing the weapon would insufficiently lead the target, and the bullet would fall a bit short of its target. If a skilled shooter was aiming at the head in such circumstance, his shot might very well hit his target on the back.

Where is your proof otherwise? If I didn't know better, I might read your comments as a claim bullets traveling 400 fps fall to the ground before traveling a hundred yards. That's not what you're claiming, is it?

Seriously, Pat, have you ever tried shooting anything over 50 yards away with a .22 rifle?

Seriously, Pat, have you ever tried shooting anything over 50 yards away with a .22 rifle? Don't know what Pat's answer is/was but I have many times. No problem with a rifle. 22 pistol, hard to hit anything that far.

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The .22 round--assuming we're talking about .22 rimfire and not .22 Hornet or another such bottlenecked cartridges--would, IMHO, be highly susceptible to wind drift at much over 50 yards...based upon personal experience. Trying to attain repeatable accuracy with a subsonic .22 at distances over 50 yards is akin to buying a lottery ticket: somebody might eventually have a winner, but MOST WILL NOT.

I'm a little surprised at all the discussion about the accuracy/inaccuracy of a 22 rifle. Why is there a discussion? The facts are known. I'm not going to quote any because it's been very documented by very many people. But, it IS possible to repeatedly hit a target with a 22 at 50 yards. Anyone that does not think so has not fired one very much.

BUT...... what difference does it make? If someone fires a 22 at a person in an automobile and hits that person, then it's kinda useless to talk about whether a 22 is accurate or not, isn't it? It might have changed the odds of hitting the person, but obviously not enough that it couldn't be done.

But then, no bullet was recovered from JFK back so we don't know if it was a 22 or a 50 cal. so from that context, why not talk about the accuracy of a 50 cal?

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The .22 round--assuming we're talking about .22 rimfire and not .22 Hornet or another such bottlenecked cartridges--would, IMHO, be highly susceptible to wind drift at much over 50 yards...based upon personal experience. Trying to attain repeatable accuracy with a subsonic .22 at distances over 50 yards is akin to buying a lottery ticket: somebody might eventually have a winner, but MOST WILL NOT.

I'm a little surprised at all the discussion about the accuracy/inaccuracy of a 22 rifle. Why is there a discussion? The facts are known. I'm not going to quote any because it's been very documented by very many people. But, it IS possible to repeatedly hit a target with a 22 at 50 yards. Anyone that does not think so has not fired one very much.

BUT...... what difference does it make? If someone fires a 22 at a person in an automobile and hits that person, then it's kinda useless to talk about whether a 22 is accurate or not, isn't it? It might have changed the odds of hitting the person, but obviously not enough that it couldn't be done.

But then, no bullet was recovered from JFK back so we don't know if it was a 22 or a 50 cal. so from that context, why not talk about the accuracy of a 50 cal?

Not only is a .22 nowhere near as accurate as a high powered rifle, the point I was trying to make about shooting something at 50 yards with a .22 is whether or not it is going to fall down dead or go scampering off into the woods with a .22 slug lodged in his body somewhere.

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I cannot believe how Pat Speer, as usual, has managed to direct discussion completely away from the actual topic of the thread. Do none of you see a pattern here, and think it remotely possible this man is doing this on purpose?

I don't give a rat's back end about a @#$%^&* .22 calibre rifle, simply because I don't think anyone in his right mind would try to assassinate the President at any kind of range with such an underpowered cartridge.

Now, that being said, the topic is the impossibly shallow back wound, and the equally impossible "short shot" that supposedly caused it.

Edited by Robert Prudhomme
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Although I'm skeptical of all the so-called medical evidence, I accept JFK was shot in the back because of his suit jacket and shirt.

I do not believe anyone intended to shoot JFK in the back unless such a shot was made to establish without doubt shooting came from behind. I consider that a non-negligible possibility.

I believe there was a careful plan to kill JFK and to create confusion as to his wounds, with the help of certain high-ranking military officers and other government officials.

I don't make much of the back wound. It cinches firing from behind but is otherwise insignificant, IMO; even a distraction.

Martin Schotz, M.D. (sp?) has the best take on the back wound, IMO. His take is consistent with the idea the wound was created merely to establish there was firing from behind.

OTOH, Jon, if it can be proven that the so-called "short shot" was an impossibility, thus also making the "shallow" back wound impossible, the significance of the back wound then takes on a whole new dimension; for the simple fact that a FMJ travelling at normal rifle velocities (2000+ fps) should not have barely penetrated the skin of JFK's back. Under normal conditions, that FMJ bullet travelling at 2000+ fps (1363 mph) should have gone straight through JFK's chest and out the front.

Since it did not exit the front of his chest, we do indeed have a mystery on our hands. As I am a little old to believe in magic, I find it necessary to deduce what kind of bullet can enter the chest at 2000+ fps and not exit. While there are several types of bullets that MIGHT do this, there are only a couple that actually COULD do this; the mercury tipped bullet and the hollow point frangible bullet. I seriously doubt either would have been available to Oswald. If it were proven such bullets were used on the back shot AND the head shot, Oswald would be ruled out as a suspect. Well, at least as a lone suspect, anyways. I have never completely abandoned the possibility of Oswald having some minor role in the assassination.

P.S.

There is a great deal of evidence of frangible bullets being used in the assassination, as well as JFK having a serious injury to the top of his right lung. Would you care to see it?

If,,if,,,,if...... Lot of if's there. OTOH, Jon, if it can be proven that the so-called "short shot" was an impossibility, thus also making the "shallow" back wound impossible, Robert, would it matter if the shot can be proven to be 'impossible' but it happened anyhow? It certainly is possible that there was a shallow back wound so even though it might have been 'impossible' it still seems to have happened. If it did, then the 'semantics' of proving it couldn't have happened is a little useless.

Oh, and I almost missed this: I seriously doubt either would have been available to Oswald. Is that another 'assumption'? What difference would it make if it were available to Oswald? He wasn't one of the shooters. And he wasn't in the sniper's nest.

Edited by Kenneth Drew
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Although I'm skeptical of all the so-called medical evidence, I accept JFK was shot in the back because of his suit jacket and shirt.

I do not believe anyone intended to shoot JFK in the back unless such a shot was made to establish without doubt shooting came from behind. I consider that a non-negligible possibility.

I believe there was a careful plan to kill JFK and to create confusion as to his wounds, with the help of certain high-ranking military officers and other government officials.

I don't make much of the back wound. It cinches firing from behind but is otherwise insignificant, IMO; even a distraction.

Martin Schotz, M.D. (sp?) has the best take on the back wound, IMO. His take is consistent with the idea the wound was created merely to establish there was firing from behind.

OTOH, Jon, if it can be proven that the so-called "short shot" was an impossibility, thus also making the "shallow" back wound impossible, the significance of the back wound then takes on a whole new dimension; for the simple fact that a FMJ travelling at normal rifle velocities (2000+ fps) should not have barely penetrated the skin of JFK's back. Under normal conditions, that FMJ bullet travelling at 2000+ fps (1363 mph) should have gone straight through JFK's chest and out the front.

Since it did not exit the front of his chest, we do indeed have a mystery on our hands. As I am a little old to believe in magic, I find it necessary to deduce what kind of bullet can enter the chest at 2000+ fps and not exit. While there are several types of bullets that MIGHT do this, there are only a couple that actually COULD do this; the mercury tipped bullet and the hollow point frangible bullet. I seriously doubt either would have been available to Oswald. If it were proven such bullets were used on the back shot AND the head shot, Oswald would be ruled out as a suspect. Well, at least as a lone suspect, anyways. I have never completely abandoned the possibility of Oswald having some minor role in the assassination.

P.S.

There is a great deal of evidence of frangible bullets being used in the assassination, as well as JFK having a serious injury to the top of his right lung. Would you care to see it?

If,,if,,,,if...... Lot of if's there. OTOH, Jon, if it can be proven that the so-called "short shot" was an impossibility, thus also making the "shallow" back wound impossible, Robert, would it matter if the shot can be proven to be 'impossible' but it happened anyhow? It certainly is possible that there was a shallow back wound so even though it might have been 'impossible' it still seems to have happened. If it did, then the 'semantics' of proving it couldn't have happened is a little useless.

Kenneth

What evidence is there that the shallow back wound actually was a reality? What makes you certain that "it still seems to have happened"?

I'm all ears.

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I have nowhere near the shooting experience Robert has but I routinely shot both handgun and rifle 22's when I was growing up and I can't think of even a good shooter seriously thinking of making a lethal hit beyond about 50 yards and at 100 years, the distance of a football field, you best be practicing every day and be shooting at a deer or something larger. And at that range thinking a 22 would be lethal is ....strange. The CIA and other organizations did consider a 22 as a good assassination weapon but that was at extremely close range, with a stealthy shot holding the gun virtually at the back or side of the targets head. I'm also having trouble with the manual being cited that seems to imply 22 rounds have more carrying range than other handguns (which would usually think of as higher caliber).

The ballistics book I cited says the remaining velocity for .22 rifle cartridges at 100 yards is between 920 and 1040 fps. That is still faster than a .22 pistol bullet fired at point blank range, is it not?

(Perhaps we should recall hear that the bullet that killed Lincoln was about 50% larger than a .22 bullet, but traveling only 400 fps. Well, this means it delivered far less energy to the brain than a .22 bullet would at 100 yards. And it sure did the trick.)

One hundred yards? Are you seriously trying to tell this forum that someone was able to hit JFK from 100 yards with a .22 calibre rifle??????? :help

P.S.

John Wilkes Booth was only two feet from Lincoln when he shot him.

You're mixing up the issues. My reference to the Lincoln assassination was to show that a subsonic .22 bullet at 100 yards would still have enough punch to kill someone. I wrote this to show that the CIA's manual on assassination was not out to lunch in saying subsonic .22 rounds could be effective out to 100 yards.

You're way out of your league here, Pat.

The only subsonic .22 cartridge available is the .22 short. These barely have enough hitting power to kill varmints at 25 yards. Your chances of killing something large at 100 yards with a .22 short are about 1:1,000,000.

Did you not see that even the 22-250, with a muzzle velocity of 4000+ fps, is not recommended for even deer hunting?

Even if you could kill someone at 100 yards with a .22 short at subsonic velocities (less than the speed of sound at roughly 1035 fps), the problem is still in getting the bullet to the target. It is the same reason I do not believe JFK was shot with a pistol; at these low velocities, these weapons are just not that accurate, despite what your "CIA manual" tells you.

Not only that, low velocity weapons are not flat shooting at 100 yards. While the 22-250, if sighted in at 100 yards, likely is only one inch high at 50 yards, the .22 short will be as much as 8 inches high at 50 yards if sighted in at 100 yards.

It is all about energy. As I pointed out earlier, your subsonic .22 short bullet has about 60 Joules of energy leaving the muzzle, while the 22-250 bullet has 2149 Joules of energy at the muzzle, yet both are .22 calibre bullets. See why no one (unless he is a frickin' idiot) goes deer hunting with a .22 short?

Robert, when, how and by whom has it been established that a 22 was used? Isn't any discussion about a 22 a waste of time until a 22 cal bullet is found?

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There's also this chart which I found on gunsmoke.com. This demonstrates that a subsonic .22 LR bullet starts out below the line of sight and then briefly rises above the line of sight, whereby it passes back across the line of sight around 50 yards. In other words, it demonstrates that there is no bullet drop at 50 yards, and only 7 inches of drop at 100 yards.

22subsonic_plot.gif

Wrong. Bullets drop from the moment they leave the barrel. The parabolic trajectory described by the path of a rifle bullet is the shooter's way of overcoming that bullet drop. To hit a target at 100 yards, the barrel must be pointed higher than the target, in order to "lob" the bullet at the target.

A centre fielder does not make a direct throw to home plate, he must throw the ball in a high trajectory in order to have it come down at the catcher. If the centre fielder was Superman, and he could throw the ball ten times faster, the trajectory of the ball would appear to be almost flat.

If you're shooting targets at 100 yards, and your rifle is sighted in at 50 yards (as you show) and you have 7 inches of drop at 100 yards, I wish you luck.

P.S.

Does it not make you curious why they show a .22 bullet at a maximum range of 50 yards?

P.P.S.

The sight height (distance above the barrel the sights are situated) of 1.5" is quite unrealistic, especially if the .22 is equipped with open sights. A sight height of .5" is more realistic. At this sight height, the bullet will be 8.47 inches below the line of sight at 100 yards. Real flat shooting rifle, Pat.

Wrong. Bullets drop from the moment they leave the barrel.

Robert, you didn't read what Pat said correctly. His statement was:"This demonstrates that a subsonic .22 LR bullet starts out below the line of sight and then briefly rises above the line of sight, whereby it passes back across the line of sight around 50 yards" So he didn't say the bullet didn't drop as soon as it leaves the barrel, he only said it rises above the line of site briefly. You don't really argue that point do you?

I still fail to understand the discussion of 22 bullets, which have never been associated with the JFK assassination, to my knowledge.

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If you read this entire thread, Kenneth, as I suggested, you will see that .22 calibre rifles were never mentioned until Pat Speer deliberately set out to derail this thread, as is his agenda on this forum.

If you would like to discuss .22 rifles, why don't you and Pat go start another thread.

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How tedious.

Pat,

Would you agree that there is a great deal of difference between reading about physical skills and performing them?

For instance, you can purchase a book on "How to Play the Saxophone" from a neighborhood music store. You can also buy a book that teaches you how to read music. You can also buy the sheet music for popular songs.

So if you bought all of those books and gained a very good understanding of them you may even be able to pass a written test about the subject matter. If you were fairly bright and a good "test taker" you may even get an "A" on this hypothetical written exam without ever even having held a saxophone in your hands!

Let's go one more step: Now you buy a book that explains everything there is to "know" about playing the saxophone part for the song "Born to Run" by Bruce Springsteen. And, once again, you study it very hard and are given a written exam that you easily ace.

The next night you are at a party being held at a popular club. The band has been playing great cover tunes all evening. They are very popular. Someone in the crowd shouts out "Born to Run--play Born to Run!!!" -- as it is one of this band's best performances. Sadly, the lead singer comes to the microphone and announces that their sax player was in an accident and couldn't be there that night (although his instrument was packed with rest of the band's equipment). He adds that if anyone in the audience "knows the sax part for Born to Run" they are invited to play.

Question:

Do you really believe that you could play Born to Run on the sax if you have never played the sax before? Would it be fair to say that there is a completely different set of skills required to intellectually comprehend a subject versus acquiring hands-on knowledge? Would you enter into a debate with experienced, if not accomplished, saxophone players about the difficulty of playing "XYZ Song" if you had only read about saxophones, but never played one yourself?

So you can make any number of arguments in your "theoretical firearms/ballistics world" without ever having any practical experience. They may look good on paper (at least those that don't have glaring errors in them) but until you apply them to REAL WORLD scenarios they are rather irrelevant unless proven otherwise.

Many on this forum have a lot of firearm's experience.

So you can make any number of arguments in your "theoretical firearms/ballistics world" without ever having any practical experience. They may look good on paper. Hmmm, just gotta ask, does this apply to assassinations also? Seems as if a whole lot of people have been discussing all kinds of possibilities without ever actually having participated in an assassination. While it might all look good on paper................

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