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"The Cat's Whisper"


John Dolva
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The back wound topic has lead to this rather curious item.

Firstly:

The wound in the photograph is taken of a contoured body. It's likely to be obliquely to the plane of the skin at the wound site.

Skin does not stretch. It is, however, very flexible.

The hand on the shoulder is not only supporting the body, it is also quite posssibly pulling on the skin.

The head is tilted back, also the body because of its weight and the way its supported, between the shoulders is 'bulging out' towards the viewer.

What this would do to the wound shape is elongate it in the direction from the wound towards the hand on the shoulder and it would compress it slightly in the direction from the neck towards the wound.(image)

If one takes the wound picture and 'reverse' this effect one finds something rather curious. There is a symmetry.

What looked like a fan shape is then a squat slug with features of a wadcutter with a tapered base and a snub nose.

(image) ('corrected' and rotated to show left right symmetry

We have fire crackers, a first shot that sounds to many differently to the rest of the shots.

A slug that falls out.

and:

The Cat's Sneeze and the Mauser.

""Why all this long-winded sermon about Gallery Rifles and Zimmer-cartridges ? Nobody is able to reload .22 rimfire cartridges !"

It is true, dear Hard-Core Handloader, but millions of gun-nuts all-round the Globe knows just .22 RF non-Magnum rifle as a gun, able to become silenced, or "silent without silencer" gun, if loaded with proper cartridges.

Centerfire rifles are subjected to the very same Laws of Physics as is the gallery rifle. There was also know-how for handloading of gallery practice cartridges for military rifles in Finland. Loads were called as "Kissan aivastus", id est:

"The Cat's Sneeze"

(image)

Once upon a time were American buckshots No. 1 Buck, and/or British shots Special LG, plentifully available in Finland. Diameter of both sizes is 7.62 mm or .300 inch; nominal bore diameter of .30 caliber and 7.62 mm rifles, including those with "Russian rifling". (Actually Belgian, for Argentine 7.65 mm Mauser rifle. Difference of bore diameter was just nominal).

Finnish Civil Guard or National Guard (Suojeluskunta) had still many Russian Mosin-Nagant rifles, captured from Russians and Finnish socialists during the First Finnish Independence War in 1918, or bought from Imperial Germany before that war.

Mixed bag of Mosin rifles

Russian rifles were also obtained by swapping from Poland, which adopted caliber 7.9 x 57 mm Mauser after their own independence struggle in 1920. Polish government had captured Russian firearms, while Finnish cavalry had Mauser carbines. Both countries wanted rifles just with one caliber.

Groove diameter of Russian rifles is "considerably variable". (This notice on many reloader's handbooks isn't exaggerated !) Some wealthy Finnish Civil Guardsmen made things still more difficult: They bought barrels with Western rifling dimensions for their rifles, for use of most accurate British or American bullets in shooting competitions. Groove diameter of rifles could now be anything between 7.80 and 7.95 mm (.307 - .313"). Bore diameter was more uniform. Spherical soft lead bullet of "cat's sneeze" gallery load was dimensioned according to it.

With or without powder

Cat's sneezes of Finnish Civil Guard had the bullet weight like that of usual .22 LR rimfire cartridge, but because of bullet shape, the range and penetration were considerably less than those of the "gallery rifle" loaded with "full-length" cartridge. (Archaic names of .22 rimfire rifle and .22 LR ammo). Sneeze-handloads for 7.62 x 53 R cartridges were loaded into spent cases, previously shot in user's rifle with full-power charge, id est: "fireformed". Cat's sneezes could not be factory-loaded. They were exclusive reloads.

Loading tools and dies were unnecessary equipment, except a chisel or awl for tearing off the spent Berdan primer. 7.62 mm Mosin-Nagant cartridges with Boxer primers were uncommon luxuries in 20s or 30s. After re-priming was the very small charge of FFFG-grade black powder or DuPont's Schultz Shotgun Powder measured into each case with a dipper, made usually from a spent pistol case.

"silent without silencer"

7.9 x 57 mm Mauser + Cat's Sneeze reload = quiet sub-sonic shot designed to not penetate deeply, in order to protect othe people but to cause maximum damage to the person shot. However in this case it hit edge on as this type of bullet is less stable.

(image: five shot Cat's Sneeze pattern with at least two of the holes looking like the 'corrected' wound.)

And finally, a suggested adaptation of a long bullet proflile with the tip 'snubbed', a wadcutter rim and a tapered base. (image)

Edited by John Dolva
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Excellent work, John. It seems like it could be consistent with a good deal of the evidence, and seems not dissimilar to a category of half-load .22 that I mentioned recently in relation to the back shot, rumored to be in favor with some mechanics for certain applications.

Why are the numbers in your lower illustration not keyed to anything?

Ashton

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Excellent work, John. It seems like it could be consistent with a good deal of the evidence, and seems not dissimilar to a category of half-load .22 that I mentioned recently in relation to the back shot, rumored to be in favor with some mechanics for certain applications.

Why are the numbers in your lower illustration not keyed to anything?

Ashton

Ashton--I know you'll love this--the Assassination Manual handed out to Castillo-Armas' forces in Guatemala specified that .22 caliber rifle loads could be made subsonic and still be lethal up to 100 yards. It also specified that killing government officials in public was useful for "propaganda purposes." The Chief of Paramilitary Training for the operation was Rip Robertson, who just might be standing at the corner of Houston and Main in a photo taken by James Altgens on November 22, 1963. The Propaganda chief for the Guatemalan operation? Your favorite freshly dead ex-CIA man, E. Howard Hunt.

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Ashton, the numbers just make sense on the site I got the image from. It's a drawing of an expanding bullet

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