Jump to content
The Education Forum

An unfired cartridge?


John Dolva
 Share

Recommended Posts

Is it possible to say that one of the cartridges found on the sixth floor has not been fired, or if fired then with a lighter load than the other two?

One of the cartridges has a 'crimped' rim at the bullet end.

One may expect this to cause the sides to bulge out.

Even so, the size of this rim fits within the other two indicating that this cartridge end has not expanded like the other two before being 'crimped'.

the total area of this cartridges hole where the bullet would have fitted is 6 to 8 % smaller than the other two.

What are the expected deviances from a set of fired cartridges. Does this third cartridge fall within this expected deviance or is it sufficiently outside of it and can therefore be said to have not been fired?

The image is derived from careful matching of the rulers in the photos from the HSCA on maryfarrels site.

The crimped cartridge rim is oerlaid on the other two and the black surround being the larger areas of the two fired cartridges.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello John

The explanation that I recall is that one was crimped from being re-chambered supposedly after it was fired.

What I find most unbelievable, being a hunter and shooter myself, that one would go hunting for the "biggest game" on earth, with less than a fully loaded magazine. I have never known any hunter to do this even when hunting "small game". I feel that a real hunter/shooter never handled this rifle on 11/22, and that it was planted before the actual shooting began. Not to change the purpose of your post, but I have never forsaken a shot coming from same floor, farther West.

Charlie Black

Charlie Black

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is it possible to say that one of the cartridges found on the sixth floor has not been fired, or if fired then with a lighter load than the other two?

One of the cartridges has a 'crimped' rim at the bullet end.

One may expect this to cause the sides to bulge out.

Even so, the size of this rim fits within the other two indicating that this cartridge end has not expanded like the other two before being 'crimped'.

the total area of this cartridges hole where the bullet would have fitted is 6 to 8 % smaller than the other two.

What are the expected deviances from a set of fired cartridges. Does this third cartridge fall within this expected deviance or is it sufficiently outside of it and can therefore be said to have not been fired?

The image is derived from careful matching of the rulers in the photos from the HSCA on maryfarrels site.

The crimped cartridge rim is oerlaid on the other two and the black surround being the larger areas of the two fired cartridges.

John:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mr. FRAZIER - I am sorry--yes, 543, 544, and 545. These three cartridge cases were placed one at a time on the comparison microscope, and the surfaces having the breech-face marks or the bolt marks were compared with those on the test cartridge cases, Exhibit 557. As a result of comparing the pattern of microscopic markings on the test cartridge cases and those marks on Exhibits 543, 544, and 545, both of the face of the bolt and the firing pin, I concluded that these three had been fired in this particular weapon.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Although Robert Frazier was at times mislead in regards to evidence which he had/played no part in the actual physical examination, I have never found a single instance of his having committed perjury or even come close to telling an intentional lie.

His work on examination and comparative analyis of the firing pin imprint marks as well as the bolt face marks on the three found empty cartridges is as definitive and as factual as it gets.

And, in this regards, he also completely dispels any potential for "short load" as these imprints would not have been/would have carried the capability for the exact duplication.

In event one wishes to continue to foster and chase this, which has been fostered by those who quite obviously have checked none of the ballistic facts, and continued by those who grasp for straws, then so be it. Have at it for another 40+ years.

Of course, those who recognize the "ballistic fact" of the toolmark work, then want to get into the same boat as the "Planted Bullet" scenario and thus claim that the shells were also planted.

Which would of course leave everything as having been "planted" in this great scheme of their minds.

As to the dented casing: A Chiropracter by the name of Zimmerman once had a website (he posts on the alt. assassination/McAdams sight, and although his novice work in obtaining and test firing a Carcano is highly commendable, work such as his creation/having reproduced the dented casing is open to debate as to the exact cause.

Personally, I have never created the extent of dented lip on the ejected/empty cartridge which Chad claims to have duplicated.

However, one can easily create this same "dent" when he short-strokes the bolt of the rifle.

In "short-stroking", the bolt is not fully pulled to the rear and thus the ejector does not release and "flip" the empty cartridge out of the weapon.

However, the moment the bolt is pulled forward, the bullet nose of the next-in-line projectile rises and aligns itself with the rifle chamber.

If one then pushes the bolt forward with the empty cartridge still locket into the bolt fact, the front lip of the cartridge will, each and every single time, encounter the bullet nose as both are now being directed towards the chamber of the weapon.

With only normal force, this creates a "jam" in which the empty cartridge forward lip is easily bent/slightly flattened as it is driven against the bullet nose of the next-in-line cartridge.

The only way to correct this is to re-operate the bolt and thus fully eject the "jam fire" empty casing and thus allow the the next-in-line bullet to be picked up at it's bottom by the bolt face and thus driven forward.

Therefore, there is nothing whatsoever uncommon in regards to the "dented/flattened" casing lip of the one casing.

However, what this does of course require is a longer bolt operation time for the weapon (firing time), as the bolt must now be operated twice.

Now! When one actually checks what history will eventually designate as the actual firing sequence, they will find that there is approximately 5.6 to 5.9 seconds between the first shot (CE399) and the second shot at Z313.

With an immediate and rapid third shot thereafter.

So, exactly WHY? is it that LHO/the Shooter, took over twice as long between shot#1 and shot#2, as the expended time between shot#2 and the final shot#3 down in front of James Altgens.

You have demonstrated the excellent trait of examination of evidence by empirical methods. However, in demonstrating the ballistic as well as often forensic facts, one must either accept what is written by true experts or else take the time and effort to acquire a Carcano and WCC 6.5mm Carcano ammo and thereafter conduct their own testing.

Personally, I utilize the former as a tool for learning, and the latter for verification as to what I think I may have learned.

ALWAYS,

Doubting Thomas

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That does help a lot Tom, as well as Charles's introducing the keyword 'chambering'.

Using this and some further reading I rang a couple of local gunshops.

A cartridge does expand to some extent when fired. The mouth does expand to seal the chamber to prevent gasses that should be used to project the bullet forward from escaping backwards.

If a cartridge that has markings indicating it has been fed through a chamber, and a marking indicating that a firing pin has struck it, yet the mouth of the cartridge case is significantly smaller than other cartridges known to have been fired

then:

either it was fired with the bullet not in place, or it was fired in a different chamber, ie different gun.

Is the variance of the dimensions of the casemouth here 'significant'?

Tom, do you have an unfired M/C cartridge case and a few fired ones that you could check the internal diameter of the mouth to see what the varainces are?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are other reasons to consider ce543 different from 544 and 545.

Again a careful scale matching of the HSCA photographs.

The case in question is the cartridge next to the one recovered from the rifle.

Various analysis reveals differences.

544 and 545 are very similar. They seem to have oxidised more than 543 which is more similar to the unfired shell.

544 and 545 are longer.

IF the mouth of 543 was NOT 'crimped' it MAY be dimensionally similar to the unfired shell.

Overall area of the unfired shell minus its bullet is close to the area of 543, which both are smaller than 544 and 545.

545 and 544 are different in area. So that shows a variance in fired cartridges is to be expected.

The edges of the unfired shell and 543 are straighter than 544 and 545 which both show a bulging on both sides.

So, while it has been testified that all three of the shells did spend time in a chamber, has it been shown that they all have been fired?

Has it been shown that they all have been fired with a bullet in place?

If with a bullet in place has it been shown that the load/bullet was the same?

Has it been shown that they all have been fired from the same chamber/weapon?

Edited by John Dolva
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hypothesis:: (please refer to above posts)

a) The cartridge designated WC-543 was fired after the bullet was pulled out and possibly fired in a weapon with a narrower chamber than the M/C.

b ) The cartridge was fired in the M/C with the bullet in place and the load weaker than the other two.

c) The error margins or variances are such that one cannot say this one way or the other.

Are there experienced reloaders who can say something about the amount one could expect a case mouth to expand?

Edited by John Dolva
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1. Each "chambering" of a round is of itself a "unique" event.

A. The 6.5mm Carcano round, as produced by WCC (or for that matter anyone else) will vary in actual diameter by several thousands of an inch.

Generally, these rounds will run in the 0.265 range, but many will exceed this by several thousands and many will fall even below the 0.260 range.

Depending upon how seated into the cartridge casing, the bullet diameter can affect the extent to which the round can be driven forward with the force of the bolt, thus affecting the "seating" of the casing within the taper area of the chamber.

B. Although rated at approximately 1.185 inches in length, not unlike the diameter, each round may be slightly different in length, thus again affecting to exact position at which the round seats in the chamber.

C. Lastly in this category, the exact length at which each round is inserted into the cartridge casing and crimped in place, may also vary by a few thousands of and inch, thus again affecting the ultimate seating of the round in the chamber.

2. Although similar to the naked eye, each casing, not unlike each individual bullet, may vary in both diameter as well as exact length by a few thousands of an inch.

A. This dimension is particulary critical in the "neck" area of the casing where the round is actually crimped and the neck must fit into the tapered chamber.

B. A "longer' casing and specifically the neck, will affect the extent to which the entire round can be driven forward. A slightly larger diameter cartridge/neck may in fact "seat" even though the bullet nose has not reached it's maximum depth within the taper of the chamber and beginning point of the riflings of the barrell.

Likewise, a slightly smaller taper on the diameter of the neck may allow the round to be driven farther forward then are most other cartridge casings.

3. The actual powder charge within the casing also has considerable effect on the extent to which the casing expands as well.

And, after firing there is always a "residue" inside the barrell as well as the chamber of the weapon, which has some effect on the seating of the next round.

This is especially true if there is any inadequate burning of the propellant/powder.

A. In "Match" grade ammo, the round as well as the exact amount (grains) of powder are carefully monitored.

In "production" ammo, the actual grain weight of the powder can vary considerably, thus affecting internal pressures upon the casing during firing, and having some bearing on actual expansion of casing.

4. Head Spacing.

Head spacing is one of the singular most important aspects of proper seating of the cartridge within the chamber of the weapon, and this is an "adjustable" feature of the weapon in order to achieve the best seating and minimal "blowback" of any escaping gases around the seated casing.

5. Thermal expansion of component parts.

This happens to be the single most common item which totally affects the depth at which a cartridge casing may go in it's seating process.

A "cold" weapon which has not been fired has the internal aspects of the chamber actually larger in size at the time that the first shot is fired, then in subsequent shots.

Immediately after the first shot, the heat from propellant ignition immediately causes the steel within the chamber as well as the rifle barrel to expand.

Thus, even the second round is now being seated into a chamber which is in fact smaller in size than was the chamber at the time that the first round was fired.

Subsequently, when the next/third round is fired, it has to seat into a chamber which was in fact slightly smaller in dimension than was the second round, and considerably smaller than was the first round fired, due to a continuation of thermal expansion of the barrel and chamber after each progressive round, as well as the slightly longer time frame which gives the metal more time to expand due to the heat.

For this reason, depending upon the weapon, it is sometimes harder to drive the bolt forward and completely seat each succeeding round.

This is a particularly common problem when the weapon has insufficient head space adjustment to compensate for this thermal expansion of the chamber.

It is also noted that when the cartridge expands in this now smaller chamber, the cartridge is attempting to expand in a far tighter space and there is considerably less forced exerted by the cartridige in it's backward force which is exerted against the bolt face and the firing pin.

This "tighter" sealed cartridge is what creates frequent differences in the depth of firing pin indentation as well as machine/tool mark transfer from the bolt face to the base end of the cartridge.

Thermal expansion of the chamber is what causes many of the rapid fire weapons to "hang-fire" as the expanded cartridge is now wedged so tight within the chamber of the weapon that the casing extractor will not provide sufficient grip to extract the empty casing.

If one goes back and studies the history of the M16, they find that the first versions of the weapon frequently would not even drive the round fully forward to the extent that the round would seat and the bolt would completely lock in place for firing.

This was of course due to the rapid rate of fire and the heat generation and expansion of the chamber of the weapon.

Therefore, the next version of the weapon came out with the "Forward assist" which was basically a manually means of exerting pressure against the bolt in order to completely drive the round into the expanded chamber of the weapon.

Therefore, with all of these variables, any exercise in attempting to determine much of anything based on the photographic examination of casing mouth size, is an exercise in futility.

The maching/toolmark work/comparison of the firing pin impressions as well as the transfer marks from the bolt face to the base of the empty cartridge cases are recognized as "ABSOLUTE PROOF" that these casings were fired in that weapon recovered, to the exclusion of ALL other weapons.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Clay Shaw Trial:

Q: Would you please describe these tests and the results of them?

A: The tests I conducted consisted of firing test cartridge cases in the 6.5 millimeter Italian military rifle and comparing the firing pin markings left in these fired cartridge cases with the firing pin markings in the three fired 6.5 millimeter cartridge cases which I had received for comparison.

This test also included comparing the marks from the bolt face of the weapon as left on the test cartridge cases. There was a microscopic examination, that is mounting the two portions, the test on one side of the microscope and the evidence on the other side, and comparing the microscopic marks found in the firing pin impressions and those microscopic markings left by the face of the bolt of the weapon in which they were fired.

As a result of these examinations I concluded that all three of the fired cartridge cases submitted to me for examination had been fired in the 6.5 millimeter Italian military rifle which had been also submitted for comparison.

Q: Mr. Frazier, is that a conclusive test you just described?

A: Yes, it is.

Q: As a result of having made that test are you able to testify that those three empty cartridge cases had been fired from the rifle submitted to you from the exclusion of all other firearms?

A: Yes, sir.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

WC:

Mr. FRAZIER - I am sorry--yes, 543, 544, and 545. These three cartridge cases were placed one at a time on the comparison microscope, and the surfaces having the breech-face marks or the bolt marks were compared with those on the test cartridge cases, Exhibit 557. As a result of comparing the pattern of microscopic markings on the test cartridge cases and those marks on Exhibits 543, 544, and 545, both of the face of the bolt and the firing pin, I concluded that these three had been fired in this particular weapon.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lastly!

When WCC produced the WCC ammunition, each and every round produced had a "moisture seal" of light read lacquer painted over the primer and it's entire area of installation at the base of each bullet.

This is a common practice for ammunition produced to military standards, and virtually no "reloader' would have the equipment nor expend the time to engage in such activities as they are part of the designated manufacture of the ammunition with a guaranteed shelf-life of 5 years.

Each and every round which FBI Agent Frazier examined had this original "moisture seal" still at/on the primer of the weapon, thus demonstrating clearly that no reloading/replacement of the primer of the casing had taken place.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mr. FRAZIER - Yes. The bases were cleaned of a paint which was placed on them by the manufacturer. In spots this red lacquer on the base of the case was overlapping the head of the case where some of the microscopic marks were located, and some of that color was taken off.

Mr. EISENBERG - Why is that lacquer put on the cartridge cases?

Mr. FRAZIER - It seals the primer area against moisture.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Excellent, thank you Tom for taking the time to provide that information. It seems to answer the apparent problem very well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...
Is it possible to say that one of the cartridges found on the sixth floor has not been fired, or if fired then with a lighter load than the other two?

One of the cartridges has a 'crimped' rim at the bullet end.

One may expect this to cause the sides to bulge out.

Even so, the size of this rim fits within the other two indicating that this cartridge end has not expanded like the other two before being 'crimped'.

the total area of this cartridges hole where the bullet would have fitted is 6 to 8 % smaller than the other two.

What are the expected deviances from a set of fired cartridges. Does this third cartridge fall within this expected deviance or is it sufficiently outside of it and can therefore be said to have not been fired?

The image (posted, lost, but reproducable) is derived from careful matching of the rulers in the photos from the HSCA on maryfarrels site.

The crimped cartridge rim is overlaid on the other two and the black surround being the larger areas of the two fired cartridges.

topical bump

Edited by John Dolva
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1. Each "chambering" of a round is of itself a "unique" event.

A. The 6.5mm Carcano round, as produced by WCC (or for that matter anyone else) will vary in actual diameter by several thousands of an inch.

Generally, these rounds will run in the 0.265 range, but many will exceed this by several thousands and many will fall even below the 0.260 range.

Depending upon how seated into the cartridge casing, the bullet diameter can affect the extent to which the round can be driven forward with the force of the bolt, thus affecting the "seating" of the casing within the taper area of the chamber.

B. Although rated at approximately 1.185 inches in length, not unlike the diameter, each round may be slightly different in length, thus again affecting to exact position at which the round seats in the chamber.

C. Lastly in this category, the exact length at which each round is inserted into the cartridge casing and crimped in place, may also vary by a few thousands of and inch, thus again affecting the ultimate seating of the round in the chamber.

2. Although similar to the naked eye, each casing, not unlike each individual bullet, may vary in both diameter as well as exact length by a few thousands of an inch.

A. This dimension is particulary critical in the "neck" area of the casing where the round is actually crimped and the neck must fit into the tapered chamber.

B. A "longer' casing and specifically the neck, will affect the extent to which the entire round can be driven forward. A slightly larger diameter cartridge/neck may in fact "seat" even though the bullet nose has not reached it's maximum depth within the taper of the chamber and beginning point of the riflings of the barrell.

Likewise, a slightly smaller taper on the diameter of the neck may allow the round to be driven farther forward then are most other cartridge casings.

3. The actual powder charge within the casing also has considerable effect on the extent to which the casing expands as well.

And, after firing there is always a "residue" inside the barrell as well as the chamber of the weapon, which has some effect on the seating of the next round.

This is especially true if there is any inadequate burning of the propellant/powder.

A. In "Match" grade ammo, the round as well as the exact amount (grains) of powder are carefully monitored.

In "production" ammo, the actual grain weight of the powder can vary considerably, thus affecting internal pressures upon the casing during firing, and having some bearing on actual expansion of casing.

4. Head Spacing.

Head spacing is one of the singular most important aspects of proper seating of the cartridge within the chamber of the weapon, and this is an "adjustable" feature of the weapon in order to achieve the best seating and minimal "blowback" of any escaping gases around the seated casing.

5. Thermal expansion of component parts.

This happens to be the single most common item which totally affects the depth at which a cartridge casing may go in it's seating process.

A "cold" weapon which has not been fired has the internal aspects of the chamber actually larger in size at the time that the first shot is fired, then in subsequent shots.

Immediately after the first shot, the heat from propellant ignition immediately causes the steel within the chamber as well as the rifle barrel to expand.

Thus, even the second round is now being seated into a chamber which is in fact smaller in size than was the chamber at the time that the first round was fired.

Subsequently, when the next/third round is fired, it has to seat into a chamber which was in fact slightly smaller in dimension than was the second round, and considerably smaller than was the first round fired, due to a continuation of thermal expansion of the barrel and chamber after each progressive round, as well as the slightly longer time frame which gives the metal more time to expand due to the heat.

For this reason, depending upon the weapon, it is sometimes harder to drive the bolt forward and completely seat each succeeding round.

This is a particularly common problem when the weapon has insufficient head space adjustment to compensate for this thermal expansion of the chamber.

It is also noted that when the cartridge expands in this now smaller chamber, the cartridge is attempting to expand in a far tighter space and there is considerably less forced exerted by the cartridige in it's backward force which is exerted against the bolt face and the firing pin.

This "tighter" sealed cartridge is what creates frequent differences in the depth of firing pin indentation as well as machine/tool mark transfer from the bolt face to the base end of the cartridge.

Thermal expansion of the chamber is what causes many of the rapid fire weapons to "hang-fire" as the expanded cartridge is now wedged so tight within the chamber of the weapon that the casing extractor will not provide sufficient grip to extract the empty casing.

If one goes back and studies the history of the M16, they find that the first versions of the weapon frequently would not even drive the round fully forward to the extent that the round would seat and the bolt would completely lock in place for firing.

This was of course due to the rapid rate of fire and the heat generation and expansion of the chamber of the weapon.

Therefore, the next version of the weapon came out with the "Forward assist" which was basically a manually means of exerting pressure against the bolt in order to completely drive the round into the expanded chamber of the weapon.

Therefore, with all of these variables, any exercise in attempting to determine much of anything based on the photographic examination of casing mouth size, is an exercise in futility.

The maching/toolmark work/comparison of the firing pin impressions as well as the transfer marks from the bolt face to the base of the empty cartridge cases are recognized as "ABSOLUTE PROOF" that these casings were fired in that weapon recovered, to the exclusion of ALL other weapons.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Clay Shaw Trial:

Q: Would you please describe these tests and the results of them?

A: The tests I conducted consisted of firing test cartridge cases in the 6.5 millimeter Italian military rifle and comparing the firing pin markings left in these fired cartridge cases with the firing pin markings in the three fired 6.5 millimeter cartridge cases which I had received for comparison.

This test also included comparing the marks from the bolt face of the weapon as left on the test cartridge cases. There was a microscopic examination, that is mounting the two portions, the test on one side of the microscope and the evidence on the other side, and comparing the microscopic marks found in the firing pin impressions and those microscopic markings left by the face of the bolt of the weapon in which they were fired.

As a result of these examinations I concluded that all three of the fired cartridge cases submitted to me for examination had been fired in the 6.5 millimeter Italian military rifle which had been also submitted for comparison.

Q: Mr. Frazier, is that a conclusive test you just described?

A: Yes, it is.

Q: As a result of having made that test are you able to testify that those three empty cartridge cases had been fired from the rifle submitted to you from the exclusion of all other firearms?

A: Yes, sir.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

WC:

Mr. FRAZIER - I am sorry--yes, 543, 544, and 545. These three cartridge cases were placed one at a time on the comparison microscope, and the surfaces having the breech-face marks or the bolt marks were compared with those on the test cartridge cases, Exhibit 557. As a result of comparing the pattern of microscopic markings on the test cartridge cases and those marks on Exhibits 543, 544, and 545, both of the face of the bolt and the firing pin, I concluded that these three had been fired in this particular weapon.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lastly!

When WCC produced the WCC ammunition, each and every round produced had a "moisture seal" of light read lacquer painted over the primer and it's entire area of installation at the base of each bullet.

This is a common practice for ammunition produced to military standards, and virtually no "reloader' would have the equipment nor expend the time to engage in such activities as they are part of the designated manufacture of the ammunition with a guaranteed shelf-life of 5 years.

Each and every round which FBI Agent Frazier examined had this original "moisture seal" still at/on the primer of the weapon, thus demonstrating clearly that no reloading/replacement of the primer of the casing had taken place.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mr. FRAZIER - Yes. The bases were cleaned of a paint which was placed on them by the manufacturer. In spots this red lacquer on the base of the case was overlapping the head of the case where some of the microscopic marks were located, and some of that color was taken off.

Mr. EISENBERG - Why is that lacquer put on the cartridge cases?

Mr. FRAZIER - It seals the primer area against moisture.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hey Tom:

A great and most informative post that everyone should read over carefully. Just by way of substantiation on a couple of points you have indicated herein: I am attaching a j-peg of the headstamp of a WCC 6.5mm cartridge which clearly shows the red lacquer primer sealant that was affixed to everyone of the 4 million rounds of this ammunition manufactured in 1954. Also, regarding your contention about the variance in the "amount"/ grains of powder found in production lot runs of military ammunition, such as the WCC 6.5mm lots, Robert Frazier indicated during his testimony that he weighed several cartridges of this ammunition as part of his examination of this ammo and arrived at a figure of 161 grains as an average weight for this same mass produced cartridge. However, as his handwritten work notes indicate, in truth Frazier only weighed three such rounds which possessed individual total weights of 160.85 grains, 161.50 grains, and 161.10 grains. Frazier also took each of these rounds apart and weighed only the powder found within the three cartridges; these weights for the powder only were; 43.60 grains, 43.50 grains, and 43.80 grains. Though the variances may not appear particularly startling, they are indicative of the discrepancies found within "production" runs of ammunition and could effect pressure etc.

While I share your indication that Robert Frazier did not purposefully commit perjury at any point during his three testimony sessions before the Commission, I also know that Robert Frazier knew a great deal more about a lot of matters of evidence than he ever revealed to the Commission, and this was particularly true when it came to the WCC 6.5mm ammunition. What many people may not be aware of is that Frazier spent over five hours with Melvin Eisenberg, the Commission staff member who would question Frazier on matters ballistic during Frazier's longest session before the Commission, March 31, 1964, a few days prior to this same testimony session. Again, Frazier's surviving notes constructed during and after this pre-testimony session with Eisenberg clearly indicate that he and Eisenberg potentially discussed facts Frazier knew about the WCC ammunition that never came to light during the actual testimony session.

FWIW

Gary Murr

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for this very informative post, Tom. You said:

However, one can easily create this same "dent" when he short-strokes the bolt of the rifle.In "short-stroking", the bolt is not fully pulled to the rear and thus the ejector does not release and "flip" the empty cartridge out of the weapon.

However, the moment the bolt is pulled forward, the bullet nose of the next-in-line projectile rises and aligns itself with the rifle chamber. If one then pushes the bolt forward with the empty cartridge still locket into the bolt fact, the front lip of the cartridge will, each and every single time, encounter the bullet nose as both are now being directed towards the chamber of the weapon. With only normal force, this creates a "jam" in which the empty cartridge forward lip is easily bent/slightly flattened as it is driven against the bullet nose of the next-in-line cartridge. The only way to correct this is to re-operate the bolt and thus fully eject the "jam fire" empty casing and thus allow the the next-in-line bullet to be picked up at it's bottom by the bolt face and thus driven forward. Therefore, there is nothing whatsoever uncommon in regards to the "dented/flattened" casing lip of the one casing.

I have been told by others that in such a "short-stroking" situation the short-stroked cartridge case rides over the next bullet in the clip and lodges in the breech of the weapon where it has to be removed by shoving a cleaning rod down the barrel. If this happened, the weapon would have been found with a stuck cartridge case in the breech. Is this true about short-stroking?

Josiah Thompson

Is it possible to say that one of the cartridges found on the sixth floor has not been fired, or if fired then with a lighter load than the other two?

One of the cartridges has a 'crimped' rim at the bullet end.

One may expect this to cause the sides to bulge out.

Even so, the size of this rim fits within the other two indicating that this cartridge end has not expanded like the other two before being 'crimped'.

the total area of this cartridges hole where the bullet would have fitted is 6 to 8 % smaller than the other two.

What are the expected deviances from a set of fired cartridges. Does this third cartridge fall within this expected deviance or is it sufficiently outside of it and can therefore be said to have not been fired?

The image is derived from careful matching of the rulers in the photos from the HSCA on maryfarrels site.

The crimped cartridge rim is oerlaid on the other two and the black surround being the larger areas of the two fired cartridges.

John:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mr. FRAZIER - I am sorry--yes, 543, 544, and 545. These three cartridge cases were placed one at a time on the comparison microscope, and the surfaces having the breech-face marks or the bolt marks were compared with those on the test cartridge cases, Exhibit 557. As a result of comparing the pattern of microscopic markings on the test cartridge cases and those marks on Exhibits 543, 544, and 545, both of the face of the bolt and the firing pin, I concluded that these three had been fired in this particular weapon.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Although Robert Frazier was at times mislead in regards to evidence which he had/played no part in the actual physical examination, I have never found a single instance of his having committed perjury or even come close to telling an intentional lie.

His work on examination and comparative analyis of the firing pin imprint marks as well as the bolt face marks on the three found empty cartridges is as definitive and as factual as it gets.

And, in this regards, he also completely dispels any potential for "short load" as these imprints would not have been/would have carried the capability for the exact duplication.

In event one wishes to continue to foster and chase this, which has been fostered by those who quite obviously have checked none of the ballistic facts, and continued by those who grasp for straws, then so be it. Have at it for another 40+ years.

Of course, those who recognize the "ballistic fact" of the toolmark work, then want to get into the same boat as the "Planted Bullet" scenario and thus claim that the shells were also planted.

Which would of course leave everything as having been "planted" in this great scheme of their minds.

As to the dented casing: A Chiropracter by the name of Zimmerman once had a website (he posts on the alt. assassination/McAdams sight, and although his novice work in obtaining and test firing a Carcano is highly commendable, work such as his creation/having reproduced the dented casing is open to debate as to the exact cause.

Personally, I have never created the extent of dented lip on the ejected/empty cartridge which Chad claims to have duplicated.

However, one can easily create this same "dent" when he short-strokes the bolt of the rifle.

In "short-stroking", the bolt is not fully pulled to the rear and thus the ejector does not release and "flip" the empty cartridge out of the weapon.

However, the moment the bolt is pulled forward, the bullet nose of the next-in-line projectile rises and aligns itself with the rifle chamber.

If one then pushes the bolt forward with the empty cartridge still locket into the bolt fact, the front lip of the cartridge will, each and every single time, encounter the bullet nose as both are now being directed towards the chamber of the weapon.

With only normal force, this creates a "jam" in which the empty cartridge forward lip is easily bent/slightly flattened as it is driven against the bullet nose of the next-in-line cartridge.

The only way to correct this is to re-operate the bolt and thus fully eject the "jam fire" empty casing and thus allow the the next-in-line bullet to be picked up at it's bottom by the bolt face and thus driven forward.

Therefore, there is nothing whatsoever uncommon in regards to the "dented/flattened" casing lip of the one casing.

However, what this does of course require is a longer bolt operation time for the weapon (firing time), as the bolt must now be operated twice.

Now! When one actually checks what history will eventually designate as the actual firing sequence, they will find that there is approximately 5.6 to 5.9 seconds between the first shot (CE399) and the second shot at Z313.

With an immediate and rapid third shot thereafter.

So, exactly WHY? is it that LHO/the Shooter, took over twice as long between shot#1 and shot#2, as the expended time between shot#2 and the final shot#3 down in front of James Altgens.

You have demonstrated the excellent trait of examination of evidence by empirical methods. However, in demonstrating the ballistic as well as often forensic facts, one must either accept what is written by true experts or else take the time and effort to acquire a Carcano and WCC 6.5mm Carcano ammo and thereafter conduct their own testing.

Personally, I utilize the former as a tool for learning, and the latter for verification as to what I think I may have learned.

ALWAYS,

Doubting Thomas

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have been told by others that in such a "short-stroking" situation the short-stroked cartridge case rides over the next bullet in the clip and lodges in the breech of the weapon where it has to be removed by shoving a cleaning rod down the barrel. If this happened, the weapon would have been found with a stuck cartridge case in the breech. Is this true about short-stroking?

Josiah Thompson

YES, but!

The Carcano operating mechanism (clip) is quite diffferent than, say the M-1 Garand.

The Carcano clip holds ONLY the base of the cartridge in place. Thusly, when the bolt is pulled back, the magazine follower spring pressure exerted against the bottom round in the clip causes/allows the bullet nose of the top (next in line to be loaded) round to rise at an angle and thereafter "point" upwards toward the weapon chamber.

During normal operation, when the bolt comes forward, it catches the top edge of the cartridge rim and then drives the round forward and "upwards" which drives the round into the chamber.

When the round is sufficiently driven into the chamber, and the round becomes sufficiently horizontal in plane, then the cartridge rim is forced up into the bolt face and becomes fully seated in the bolt.

Therefore, when a "short stroke" occurs and the bolt still holds an empty casing, it is driven forward, the lower edge of the bolt will frequently still pick up the cartridge rim of the full round still in the clip and, dependent on a variety of factors either carry this round forward (along with the empty cartridge casing), or actually scrape over the top of the round, which can cause bottom edge of the bolt face as well as the seated empty cartridge casing to scrape over the top of the live round below it.

In eather case, we have a full bullet attempting to enter the weapon chamber with the bullet nose on a slightly elevated plane as well as an expended round casing attempting to enter the chamber on a horizontal plane, which DON'T FIT!

Therefore, it is not unusual for the forward area of the expended/empty cartridge casing to come into contact with the forward area (nose) of the live round which is attempting to enter the chamber. All of which seldom will result in a jammed round in the chamber and which usually results in a dent becoming formed in the empty/driven forward casing nose.

All based on the force of the forward thrust of the bolt.

Hope that is more clear than mud.

Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1. Each "chambering" of a round is of itself a "unique" event.

A. The 6.5mm Carcano round, as produced by WCC (or for that matter anyone else) will vary in actual diameter by several thousands of an inch.

Generally, these rounds will run in the 0.265 range, but many will exceed this by several thousands and many will fall even below the 0.260 range.

Depending upon how seated into the cartridge casing, the bullet diameter can affect the extent to which the round can be driven forward with the force of the bolt, thus affecting the "seating" of the casing within the taper area of the chamber.

B. Although rated at approximately 1.185 inches in length, not unlike the diameter, each round may be slightly different in length, thus again affecting to exact position at which the round seats in the chamber.

C. Lastly in this category, the exact length at which each round is inserted into the cartridge casing and crimped in place, may also vary by a few thousands of and inch, thus again affecting the ultimate seating of the round in the chamber.

2. Although similar to the naked eye, each casing, not unlike each individual bullet, may vary in both diameter as well as exact length by a few thousands of an inch.

A. This dimension is particulary critical in the "neck" area of the casing where the round is actually crimped and the neck must fit into the tapered chamber.

B. A "longer' casing and specifically the neck, will affect the extent to which the entire round can be driven forward. A slightly larger diameter cartridge/neck may in fact "seat" even though the bullet nose has not reached it's maximum depth within the taper of the chamber and beginning point of the riflings of the barrell.

Likewise, a slightly smaller taper on the diameter of the neck may allow the round to be driven farther forward then are most other cartridge casings.

3. The actual powder charge within the casing also has considerable effect on the extent to which the casing expands as well.

And, after firing there is always a "residue" inside the barrell as well as the chamber of the weapon, which has some effect on the seating of the next round.

This is especially true if there is any inadequate burning of the propellant/powder.

A. In "Match" grade ammo, the round as well as the exact amount (grains) of powder are carefully monitored.

In "production" ammo, the actual grain weight of the powder can vary considerably, thus affecting internal pressures upon the casing during firing, and having some bearing on actual expansion of casing.

4. Head Spacing.

Head spacing is one of the singular most important aspects of proper seating of the cartridge within the chamber of the weapon, and this is an "adjustable" feature of the weapon in order to achieve the best seating and minimal "blowback" of any escaping gases around the seated casing.

5. Thermal expansion of component parts.

This happens to be the single most common item which totally affects the depth at which a cartridge casing may go in it's seating process.

A "cold" weapon which has not been fired has the internal aspects of the chamber actually larger in size at the time that the first shot is fired, then in subsequent shots.

Immediately after the first shot, the heat from propellant ignition immediately causes the steel within the chamber as well as the rifle barrel to expand.

Thus, even the second round is now being seated into a chamber which is in fact smaller in size than was the chamber at the time that the first round was fired.

Subsequently, when the next/third round is fired, it has to seat into a chamber which was in fact slightly smaller in dimension than was the second round, and considerably smaller than was the first round fired, due to a continuation of thermal expansion of the barrel and chamber after each progressive round, as well as the slightly longer time frame which gives the metal more time to expand due to the heat.

For this reason, depending upon the weapon, it is sometimes harder to drive the bolt forward and completely seat each succeeding round.

This is a particularly common problem when the weapon has insufficient head space adjustment to compensate for this thermal expansion of the chamber.

It is also noted that when the cartridge expands in this now smaller chamber, the cartridge is attempting to expand in a far tighter space and there is considerably less forced exerted by the cartridige in it's backward force which is exerted against the bolt face and the firing pin.

This "tighter" sealed cartridge is what creates frequent differences in the depth of firing pin indentation as well as machine/tool mark transfer from the bolt face to the base end of the cartridge.

Thermal expansion of the chamber is what causes many of the rapid fire weapons to "hang-fire" as the expanded cartridge is now wedged so tight within the chamber of the weapon that the casing extractor will not provide sufficient grip to extract the empty casing.

If one goes back and studies the history of the M16, they find that the first versions of the weapon frequently would not even drive the round fully forward to the extent that the round would seat and the bolt would completely lock in place for firing.

This was of course due to the rapid rate of fire and the heat generation and expansion of the chamber of the weapon.

Therefore, the next version of the weapon came out with the "Forward assist" which was basically a manually means of exerting pressure against the bolt in order to completely drive the round into the expanded chamber of the weapon.

Therefore, with all of these variables, any exercise in attempting to determine much of anything based on the photographic examination of casing mouth size, is an exercise in futility.

The maching/toolmark work/comparison of the firing pin impressions as well as the transfer marks from the bolt face to the base of the empty cartridge cases are recognized as "ABSOLUTE PROOF" that these casings were fired in that weapon recovered, to the exclusion of ALL other weapons.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Clay Shaw Trial:

Q: Would you please describe these tests and the results of them?

A: The tests I conducted consisted of firing test cartridge cases in the 6.5 millimeter Italian military rifle and comparing the firing pin markings left in these fired cartridge cases with the firing pin markings in the three fired 6.5 millimeter cartridge cases which I had received for comparison.

This test also included comparing the marks from the bolt face of the weapon as left on the test cartridge cases. There was a microscopic examination, that is mounting the two portions, the test on one side of the microscope and the evidence on the other side, and comparing the microscopic marks found in the firing pin impressions and those microscopic markings left by the face of the bolt of the weapon in which they were fired.

As a result of these examinations I concluded that all three of the fired cartridge cases submitted to me for examination had been fired in the 6.5 millimeter Italian military rifle which had been also submitted for comparison.

Q: Mr. Frazier, is that a conclusive test you just described?

A: Yes, it is.

Q: As a result of having made that test are you able to testify that those three empty cartridge cases had been fired from the rifle submitted to you from the exclusion of all other firearms?

A: Yes, sir.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

WC:

Mr. FRAZIER - I am sorry--yes, 543, 544, and 545. These three cartridge cases were placed one at a time on the comparison microscope, and the surfaces having the breech-face marks or the bolt marks were compared with those on the test cartridge cases, Exhibit 557. As a result of comparing the pattern of microscopic markings on the test cartridge cases and those marks on Exhibits 543, 544, and 545, both of the face of the bolt and the firing pin, I concluded that these three had been fired in this particular weapon.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Lastly!

When WCC produced the WCC ammunition, each and every round produced had a "moisture seal" of light read lacquer painted over the primer and it's entire area of installation at the base of each bullet.

This is a common practice for ammunition produced to military standards, and virtually no "reloader' would have the equipment nor expend the time to engage in such activities as they are part of the designated manufacture of the ammunition with a guaranteed shelf-life of 5 years.

Each and every round which FBI Agent Frazier examined had this original "moisture seal" still at/on the primer of the weapon, thus demonstrating clearly that no reloading/replacement of the primer of the casing had taken place.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mr. FRAZIER - Yes. The bases were cleaned of a paint which was placed on them by the manufacturer. In spots this red lacquer on the base of the case was overlapping the head of the case where some of the microscopic marks were located, and some of that color was taken off.

Mr. EISENBERG - Why is that lacquer put on the cartridge cases?

Mr. FRAZIER - It seals the primer area against moisture.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hey Tom:

A great and most informative post that everyone should read over carefully. Just by way of substantiation on a couple of points you have indicated herein: I am attaching a j-peg of the headstamp of a WCC 6.5mm cartridge which clearly shows the red lacquer primer sealant that was affixed to everyone of the 4 million rounds of this ammunition manufactured in 1954. Also, regarding your contention about the variance in the "amount"/ grains of powder found in production lot runs of military ammunition, such as the WCC 6.5mm lots, Robert Frazier indicated during his testimony that he weighed several cartridges of this ammunition as part of his examination of this ammo and arrived at a figure of 161 grains as an average weight for this same mass produced cartridge. However, as his handwritten work notes indicate, in truth Frazier only weighed three such rounds which possessed individual total weights of 160.85 grains, 161.50 grains, and 161.10 grains. Frazier also took each of these rounds apart and weighed only the powder found within the three cartridges; these weights for the powder only were; 43.60 grains, 43.50 grains, and 43.80 grains. Though the variances may not appear particularly startling, they are indicative of the discrepancies found within "production" runs of ammunition and could effect pressure etc.

While I share your indication that Robert Frazier did not purposefully commit perjury at any point during his three testimony sessions before the Commission, I also know that Robert Frazier knew a great deal more about a lot of matters of evidence than he ever revealed to the Commission, and this was particularly true when it came to the WCC 6.5mm ammunition. What many people may not be aware of is that Frazier spent over five hours with Melvin Eisenberg, the Commission staff member who would question Frazier on matters ballistic during Frazier's longest session before the Commission, March 31, 1964, a few days prior to this same testimony session. Again, Frazier's surviving notes constructed during and after this pre-testimony session with Eisenberg clearly indicate that he and Eisenberg potentially discussed facts Frazier knew about the WCC ammunition that never came to light during the actual testimony session.

FWIW

Gary Murr

Gary:

As has been indicated here as well as other places. I have always known that Frazier has known far more than he has ever publically revealed.

Too bad that Eisenberg did not ask him anything in regards to the missing fragment from CE840, as Frazier could have informed him (and all of us as well) that the fragment was removed from the FBI Lab by William Sullivan.

To date, I have only caught Frazier in one "confirmed lie". Now, had he been senile back in the 1990's one could make excuses for his answers to me in regards to the spectrographic examination of JFK's clothing.

He was not senile! Merely evasive!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tom, The firing time and sequence would not be relevant, if the [dented lip] round, was the last one fired, no? If in fact it was the last round fired and the jam then occured , the bullet underneath would likely have scrape marks on it's upper surface. Was this ever checked?

Was this jam, the reason the operator of this gun didn't fire the final round? :) Did he abandon the effort upon chambering the final round, and realize his target was now out of reasonable sight?

-Bill

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tom, The firing time and sequence would not be relevant, if the [dented lip] round, was the last one fired, no? If in fact it was the last round fired and the jam then occured , the bullet underneath would likely have scrape marks on it's upper surface. Was this ever checked?

Was this jam, the reason the operator of this gun didn't fire the final round? :) Did he abandon the effort upon chambering the final round, and realize his target was now out of reasonable sight?

-Bill

"Was this jam, the reason the operator of this gun didn't fire the final round? :hotorwot Did he abandon the effort upon chambering the final round, and realize his target was now out of reasonable sight?"

Don't know! Was not there! For the official record, I was in Athens, Ohio working for Majestic Pipeline Contractors, driving a winch truck.

Scenario#1:

On 11/22/63, the "shooter" reloaded the ammunition clip w/four rounds into the weapon. In so doing, he installed the clip in the reverse order (upside down) from it's last previous loading. This effectively placed what had been, at the previously loading of the clip, the bottom round, now effectively becoming the top/first round chambered.

As a previously "bottom round", the bullet casing had magazine follower spring scrape marks on it.

Scenario#2:

On 11/22/63, the "shooter" arrived at the TSDB with the loaded rounds in his pocket, along with an empty clip.

Upon loading the clip, the top/last (or second, or third) round loaded was from a previously loading of the clip and weapon in which the round was located in the "bottom" position, during which the magazine follower spring created scratch marks on the casing.

Scenario#3:

The purported "scratch" marks are not the result of the magazine follower spring, and are in fact the results of this casing scraping over the top of another round as the result of a "short stroke" in which the casing was not fully ejected after firing and was driven forward over the edge of the rim of a loaded round within the clip.

Shooting Elapsed Time:

1. Time elapsed from first shot to second shot: approximately 5.6 to 5.9 seconds. Considerably extended beyond that time necessary to effectively operate the bolt and acquire the target, even in utilization of the scope in target acquisition. (actually, in excess of 2 times the amount of time necessary). So! Was the extended time between these two shots the result of a "short stroke" of the bolt, which jammed the empty shell casing from the first shot into the fully loaded round which was attempting to load for the second shot???? Thusly consuming additional time between the first and second shot fired?

2. Or was the extended delay merely the time taken for target acquisition for the second shot?

3. Time elapsed from the second shot to the third shot: Approximately 1.9 to 2.0 seconds. Certainly no time for a "short stroke" and time delay here.

4. Was the "short stroke" made between the time of the third shot and the loading of the fourth shot?

Quite possible. If so, then the unfired bullet should also demonstrate some indication of having been "scraped" by the empty cartridge casing (CE543) as it went forward.

P.S. Clint Hill was onboard the back of the limo immediately after the third/last shot, and effectively blocked the line-of-sight for a fourth/final shot. (assuming of course that we are referencing a shooter located on the sixth floor of the TSDB.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...