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Historical Clarity On The Construction Of WCC 6.5mm Carcano Ammunition


Gary Murr

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On October 3rd, forum member Jean Ceulemans started a thread on "Carcano bullets..." This topic thread elicited several responses from fellow forum members. As someone who has more than a passing interest in this subject matter I was one of those members who did read this posting. For my part I debated an initial response to the information being offered by those who did exchange their thoughts on the ammunition in question, specifically 6.5mm Mannlicher Carcano ammunition manufactured by the Western Cartride Company, East Alton, Illinois. After debate with myself I have decided to offer to those interested some background on the true history of this same ammunition. I am attaching below a link which when copied and pasted and opened will lead the reader to several chapters -and the accompanying footnotes - of my as yet unpublished writings on this ammunition. Some of what is contained in this writing deals directly with questions/points raised in the original thread of October 3. As some members of this forum may know, I have spent, as free time has allowed, over 10 years researching anything and everthing I could find and accumulate on this subject matter. The end result, to date, has been a collection of documentation that exceeds 5,000 pages. Like most Pandora's Boxes, this unexpected acquisition of material has forced me to alter my end goal. Initially I had hoped to write a comprehensive history of this ammunition, hopefully making it as historically accurate as I possibly could. However, along this path I found myself stumbling onto information that initially seemed peripheral to the story. But, as it turns out may just be of greater interest than the advent of TSBD discovery of the ammunition itself. Therefore, I am in the processing splitting my materials into two volumes. The chapters you will find in the link provided are a few from the first volume, while the second volume remains a work in progress. 

In closing, for those of you who choose to take the time to read this work, I thank you. And anyone who has any questions about what is contained within are free to express their  opinions or ask any questions.  The link below will stay open until October 29th.

Gary Murr    Link: https://www.transferbigfiles.com/c6f2fd96-1cae-4a21-8c7a-fe9dbdc959a4/u4TF5ZRswMSIGZBIffrIjg2  

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In the characteristics it says about the bullet  : cupro-Nickel, or Clad Steel or Gilding Metal 

Am I reading this correctly that there initially were 3 options to choose from ?  

Did they produce these 3 types, or just one,  as such that would be the cupro-Nickel or perhaps the Gilding Metal (both contain copper If I'm not mistaken).   And as CE399 was copper jacketed.  

I know they had a bunch of different bullets in Italy, I assumed WCC had produced only one specific type of bullet (the copper jacketed one).  If WCC produced different types... that would seriously complicate matters

 

bullet.jpg

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11 minutes ago, Jean Ceulemans said:

I assumed WCC had produced only one specific type of bullet (the copper jacketed one).

In terms of the original "ask" as per the contractual agreement of June, 1952, your assumption is correct - the WCC would eventually produce 4 million rounds of copper jacketed 6.5mm carcano ammunition. However, there is documentation that indicates they may have produced an unkown quantity of "steel clad" ammunition of this caliber - 6.5mm - as part of the first test batch run tested originally at the St. Louis Ordnance Works. Similarly, some of this same "steel clad" ammunition may have been further tested at the Aberdeen site in February, 1954. 

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36 minutes ago, Gary Murr said:

In terms of the original "ask" as per the contractual agreement of June, 1952, your assumption is correct - the WCC would eventually produce 4 million rounds of copper jacketed 6.5mm carcano ammunition. However, there is documentation that indicates they may have produced an unkown quantity of "steel clad" ammunition of this caliber - 6.5mm - as part of the first test batch run tested originally at the St. Louis Ordnance Works. Similarly, some of this same "steel clad" ammunition may have been further tested at the Aberdeen site in February, 1954. 

Thanks, it's getting more and more interesting. 

I found it somewhat odd when in the early documents they did not mention the headstamp "WCC", apparently they wanted to find out first what it was, before making it public. I still wonder why Fritz kept one cartridge (if that story is true), didn't he trust the FBI....  

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6 hours ago, Gary Murr said:

On October 3rd, forum member Jean Ceulemans started a thread on "Carcano bullets..." This topic thread elicited several responses from fellow forum members. As someone who has more than a passing interest in this subject matter I was one of those members who did read this posting. For my part I debated an initial response to the information being offered by those who did exchange their thoughts on the ammunition in question, specifically 6.5mm Mannlicher Carcano ammunition manufactured by the Western Cartride Company, East Alton, Illinois. After debate with myself I have decided to offer to those interested some background on the true history of this same ammunition. I am attaching below a link which when copied and pasted and opened will lead the reader to several chapters -and the accompanying footnotes - of my as yet unpublished writings on this ammunition. Some of what is contained in this writing deals directly with questions/points raised in the original thread of October 3. As some members of this forum may know, I have spent, as free time has allowed, over 10 years researching anything and everthing I could find and accumulate on this subject matter. The end result, to date, has been a collection of documentation that exceeds 5,000 pages. Like most Pandora's Boxes, this unexpected acquisition of material has forced me to alter my end goal. Initially I had hoped to write a comprehensive history of this ammunition, hopefully making it as historically accurate as I possibly could. However, along this path I found myself stumbling onto information that initially seemed peripheral to the story. But, as it turns out may just be of greater interest than the advent of TSBD discovery of the ammunition itself. Therefore, I am in the processing splitting my materials into two volumes. The chapters you will find in the link provided are a few from the first volume, while the second volume remains a work in progress. 

In closing, for those of you who choose to take the time to read this work, I thank you. And anyone who has any questions about what is contained within are free to express their  opinions or ask any questions.  The link below will stay open until October 29th.

Gary Murr    Link: https://www.transferbigfiles.com/c6f2fd96-1cae-4a21-8c7a-fe9dbdc959a4/u4TF5ZRswMSIGZBIffrIjg2  

Very kind of you. I am always interested in what is true, rather than my own opinion or beliefs, about the JFKA. 

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You are welcome, Ben, and thank you. It was your initial prod in the October 3rd thread that actually got me to thinking about sharing some of this information. As I indicated, I have split the final writing into two volumes. The first that deals specifically with the history of the ammunition from the inception of the first manufacturing run of March 4, 1954, up to the final shipment of the last 2000 rounds bearing lot number 6000 and completed on August 5, 1954, is virtually complete and has been since late 2021. As it currently sits this volume is 743 pages long with footnotes that comprise another 141 pages. Volume 2, on which I am constantly working, is ongoing and quite different than its companion piece. It has a definite "Canadian" bent to it but does tie into the events of November 22, 1963, most specifically what did truly happen to the WCC 6.5mm carcano ammunition after the order was complete. 

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1 hour ago, Gary Murr said:

You are welcome, Ben, and thank you. It was your initial prod in the October 3rd thread that actually got me to thinking about sharing some of this information. As I indicated, I have split the final writing into two volumes. The first that deals specifically with the history of the ammunition from the inception of the first manufacturing run of March 4, 1954, up to the final shipment of the last 2000 rounds bearing lot number 6000 and completed on August 5, 1954, is virtually complete and has been since late 2021. As it currently sits this volume is 743 pages long with footnotes that comprise another 141 pages. Volume 2, on which I am constantly working, is ongoing and quite different than its companion piece. It has a definite "Canadian" bent to it but does tie into the events of November 22, 1963, most specifically what did truly happen to the WCC 6.5mm carcano ammunition after the order was complete. 

GM-

We are always all eyes and ears when it comes to something GM is reporting on. 

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Hello Stu - apologies for not responding sooner. I do have copies of the actual "blueprints"/spec sheets that the engineers used at the WCC works in East Alton to produce the end product ammunition manufactured in 1954. However, the trail to this eventual result was not as easy as might have been originally thought. To wit, from Volume 1 of my manuscript:

 "The first issue that confronted the Western Cartridge Company, when in 1952 the wheels were set in motion to begin what was to become the lengthy process of completing the manufacture of 6.5mm Mannlicher Carcano ammunition, was the discovery that while the company had past experience with the manufacture of 6.5mm ammunition, most notably 6.5 X 53 Mannlicher Schoenauer in the 1930’s and 1940’s, they had absolutely no past manufacturing history with 6.5 X 52 Mannlicher Carcano ammunition. This is not to indicate that Western had never been approached in their past with a request for 6.5mm ammunition of various calibers, for they had.

 

The World War I Contract Files of Western indicate that between November, 1914 and August, 1915 they had received twelve requests from six different concerns regarding the potential manufacture of seven different makes of 6.5mm ammunition for use in the European theater of war.*142 Three of these requests were for 6.5mm ammunition to be used in various makes of the Romanian Mannlicher infantry rifles and cavalry carbines, models M1893, but all three orders were refused by Western with contract file “Remarks” indicating that in one instance Western simply were “unable to handle (this) proposition,” and in two other instances the “anvil was integral with the shell – would care not to make.” The Western records indicate that samples were manufactured by them, after alterations/modifications to the cartridge were instituted in October, 1915. The specifications on these modified cartridges were “sent to the Contract File by the Cartridge Department on June 22, 1916”, whereupon it appears that thereafter the orders died a quiet death.*143 Seven other WW I manufacturing requests concerned themselves with 6.5mm ammunition for Portugal – specifically for the Portuguese Naval Service and the Portuguese Army. These requests involved the manufacture of a 6.5 X 58 cartridge for use in the Mauser-Vergueiro weapons, a bolt-action rifle designed in 1904 by Jose Alberto Vergueiro, an infantryman in the Portuguese Army. Again Western contract file “remarks” indicate that this cartridge was a “rimless type” that Western “have never made”. Nonetheless, on December 31, 1914, Western sent the Portuguese Consulate a quote on the manufacture of this cartridge, as per specifications sent to them in samples received from the Portuguese agency representative, C. Mahony and Amaral, but again there is no indication that any of this ammunition was ever manufactured.*144  Curiously enough the final request received by Western came on August 12, 1915, by way of the Factory Products Export Corporation, and it involved production of ammunition for 6.5mm Italian Model 91/95 rifles and “machine guns.” It would appear that Western were given a “clip of 5 cartridges” as a “spec. sample,” but again there survives no paperwork anywhere in the WW I contract files to indicate that Western ever produced or followed up on what would have been 6.5 X 52 Mannlicher Carcano ammunition – in this instance the “remarks” column is blank."*145

 On July 14, 1952, seventeen days after Western had been informed by the OSAAC that they had won the contract bid for the 6.5mm Mannlicher Carcano ammunition, C. E. Becker, manager of the Government Sales Department for the WCC received, from the St. Louis Ordnance Command center, Ordnance Small Arms Ammunition Center, a series of "certified drawings for the 6.5mm Mannlicher Carcano type cartridge" to aid Western in their manufacturing process. However, the drawings were of such poor quality that Western were unable to work with/from them. What eventually was used were a series of eight Italian Arsenal Drawings acquired as a result of the allied campaign in Italy. These drawings revealed the dimensions of the cartridge as well as specifications for velocity, pressure, and accuracy. Western would eventual use three of these drawings to develop tooling and gages that were critical to the end product. 

 

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GM--

You have presented fascinating insights into the origins and manufacture of the Western Cartridge 6.5 mm (Mannlicher Carcano) ammo. What splendid research and reportage. 

Hare are some observations/questions---

1. As I understand your excellent report, Western Cartridge in fact received and executed upon an order for four million rounds of 6.5 mm ammo, from the US military, although the US military does not use that size of ammo. This was the 1952 order received from Ordnance Small Arms Ammunition Center, or OSAAC.

2. As it turns out, in 1963 the FBI, even with a substantial "library" of ammo and experts, was unfamiliar with this exact type of ammo (Western Cartridge 6.5 mm), and had to go on a hunt to find some, in the immediate aftermath of the JFKA. 

3. The four million rounds was evidently physically exported from the US by the US military, for purposes unknown. 

4. At the end of you Chapter 6, you say, 

"For as it turns out every piece of “information” offered by Frazier in his response to this specific Eisenberg question was and is false. Two million rounds of this specific ammunition was not reimported back into the United States by an “importer” left unidentified by Frazier or from a location left unmentioned by Frazier. And “this type of cartridge” was most certainly not “readily available for purchase” in the spring of 1964. In truth, and as the surviving record will show, by March, 1964, what 6.5mm WCC ammunition the unidentified importer had originally acquired was long gone and neither he nor anyone else was ever able to acquire anymore."

Questions:

1. How do we know that 2 million rounds of Western Cartridge 6.5 mm ammo was not re-imported?  

2. Obviously, Mannlicher Carcano rifles were being sold in the US. Were there other manufacturers of 6.5 ammo? I understand Italians were manufacturing 6.5 mm rounds for use in Mannlicher Carcanos. 

3. If all four million Western Cartridge 6.5 mm rounds were sent offshore, how did the FBI secure bona fide Western Cartridge 6.5 mm ammo, post-JFKA? Why did a least a few domestic suppliers have some bona fide Western Cartridge 6.5 mm ammo? 

4. Do you have an inkling where LHO got the Western Cartridge 6.5 mm ammo? 

5. Where did you get your Western Cartridge 6.5 mm ammo, provided in the Chapter 6 photo?

6. Is it just an optical illusion that the words on the headstamp in your color photo Western Cartridge 6.5 mm ammo example appear to indented into the headstamp, while the Western Cartridge 6.5 mm ammo in the b/w photo appear to protrude? 

Many thanks for your excellent presentation and research. 

 

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Ben ... I did see your answer and will respond in kind. I did start this afternoon but got interrupted by "real life." Additionally, not all the answers to the questions you pose present simple replies. Part of the issue is that when I decided to explore the possibilities of a second volume I put a lot of the documentation utilized in volume 1 - re WCC 6.5mm ammunition - aside. I will answer your queries but it may not be until tomorrow.

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Gary Murr, please excuse the off-topic but as long as you are here, a question I have long wanted to ask you: a while ago there was notice that you had prepared an extensive study on the shooting of Governor Connally, three volumes. Despite my best efforts I cannot find access to any of the three volumes. Specifically there was notice that you had something original to say concerning the angle Connally was turned or facing when he was hit. Would it be possible to tell your argument on that--to explain what I have bolded below from you if that is still your position today? When in Zapruder do you see that anatomical position? Thanks! (I can open a new thread on this inviting your comments there if you wish me to do so.) 

On May 17, 2020 James Gordon wrote:

"I have felt for a while that it is time again to look at John Connally’s wounds. The expert in this area is Gary Murr and you ought to read the two volumes of his work on John Connally that he has publicly released. I am not aware part 3 has been published for forum members. I write these words having been outside Connally research for some time.
In my view the Connally wounding is the key to the SBT. In Gary’s fourth appearance at Lancer he described the path of the bullet through Connally’s Thorax. His description suggested - and it compliments what he says in chapter 1 of his book - that the bullet was very shallow through his muscles. I remember thinking - when watching the video - the path of the bullet must be close to skin depth. I contacted Gary and he was pleased I had noticed this.

"In our many email conversations Gary constantly reminded that that you cannot understand Connally’s wounds without first understanding his position in the car when he was wounded: it is Connally’s position that explains the wounds. In an email exchange Gary made the following point:
one factor that to my way of thinking most influenced the flight path of the striking missile that generated the thoracic wound site is the anatomical position of the Governor at impact. I feel that it is virtually certain that he was not sitting anatomically erect, nor for that matter, erect and anatomically turned to his right - but that is my opinion. I do feel that the preponderance of physical evidence leads me to believe that the Governor was turned to or virtually on his left side at the moment he was struck in the back - but again that is my opinion.  (2020 discussion, https://educationforum.ipbhost.com/topic/26538-connally-hit-by-two-bullets/ )

 

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