Thursday, 30 November 2023 14:52

Part 5 of 6: The Rifle and the Ammunition

Written by

Scottish researcher Johnny Cairns outlines 60 reasons disproving the official Warren Commission conclusions.

41. The Ammunition Clip.

“No link between the [Ammunition] clip and Oswald has been established. By either purchase, possession, fingerprints or other methods.” (Accessories After The Fact; p. 120)

42. The Same Prefix?

Commission Conclusion. “Information received from the Italian Armed Forces Intelligence Service has established that this particular rifle was the only one of its type bearing serial number C2766”  WCR P119.

Documentation In The Record Refutes Commission Conclusion.

In a memorandum from FBI director J Edgar Hoover to General Council of the Warren Commission, J Lee Rankin, Hoover discloses the following information: “The Mannlicher-Carcano rifle was manufactured in Italy from 1891 until 1941; however, in the 1930’s Mussolini ordered all arms factories to manufacture the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle. Since many concerns were manufacturing the same weapon, the same serial number appears on weapons manufactured by more than one concern.” In her fantastic study of the origins of the rifle, Martha Moyer reported that Dr John K. Lattimer had in his possession a Mannlicher Carcano which bore the serial number C2766. (Volume XXV; p. 808. p 30) (see this)

43. The Refurbished Carcano.

The credibility of the Mannlicher-Carcano as evidence has been significantly undermined due to its refurbishment at the hands of the US Army. This refurbishment seriously compromises the integrity of the weapon in evidence. The addition of shims to correct the telescopic sight indicates that the rifle required modifications to function properly during the Warren Commission tests. While an azimuth correction could have been made without the shims, using the available adjustment range, the shim provided a more permanent means of correction. This suggests that the alleged murder weapon of President Kennedy was not suitable for accurate use on 11/22/63 and required alterations to be operable.

Given these circumstances, the credibility of C2766 as evidence is severely compromised. In a court of law, evidence that has undergone substantial modifications or alterations to render it functional would be deemed inadmissible due to concerns of tampering and lack of reliability.

Eisenberg – “Was it reported to you by the persons who ran the machine-rest tests whether they had any difficulties with sighting the weapon?”

Simmons – “Well, they could not sight the weapon in using the telescope and no attempt was made to sight it in using the iron sight. We did adjust the telescopic sight by the addition of two shims, one which tended to adjust the azimuth and one which adjusted an elevation...the azimuth correction could have been made without the addition of the shim, but it would have meant that we would have used all of the adjustment possible and the shim was a more convenient means - not more convenient, but a more permanent means of correction.” (Volume III; p. 443.)

The testimony provided by Simmons further supports the conclusion that refurbished Carcano cannot be considered credible evidence. Their acknowledgment of the difficulties encountered in sighting the weapon and the subsequent adjustments made reinforce the notion that the rifle's original condition was compromised, casting doubt on its value as reliable evidence in legal proceedings.

44. The Hardships Of C2766.

“Indeed, common sense suggests that if he [Oswald] had practiced with that rifle, he would have lost no time in dumping it for a bow and arrow.” Sylvia Meagher.

The testimonies of US Army Officer Ronald Simmons and Special Agent Robert Frazier, provides us with an insight into the operational deficiencies of the Mannlicher-Carcano [C2766]. The weapon, test fired by three master riflemen, who the Commission neglected to call, gives us a detailed account of the problems connected with the rifle.

Testimony of US Army Officer Ronald Simmons. “Yes, there were several comments made particularly with respect to the amount of effort required to open the bolt. As a matter of fact, Mr. Staley [Master rifleman] had difficulty in opening the bolt in his first firing exercise. He thought it was completely up and it was not, and he had to retrace his steps as he attempted to open the bolt after the first round.
There was also comment made about the trigger pull which is different as far as these firers are concerned. It is in effect a two-stage operation where the first - in the first stage the trigger is relatively free, and it suddenly required a greater pull to actually fire the weapon…. In our experiments, the pressure to open the bolt was so great that we tended to move the rifle off the target, whereas with greater proficiency this might not have occurred.” None of the Master Riflemen were called to testify to the Commission.” (Volume III; p. 441/451)

Testimony of Special Agent Robert Frazier.When we attempted to sight in this rifle at Quantico, we found that the elevation adjustment in the telescopic sight was not sufficient to bring the point of impact to the aiming point.”

In attempting to adjust and sight-in the rifle, every time we changed the adjusting screws to move the crosshairs in the telescopic sight in one direction, it also affected the movement of the impact or the point of impact in the other direction.”

That is, if we moved the crosshairs in the telescope to the left, it would also affect the elevation setting of the telescope. And when we had sighted-in the rifle approximately, we fired several shots and found that the shots were not all landing in the same place but were gradually moving away from the point of impact.”

This was apparently due to the construction of the telescope, which apparently did not stabilize itself -that is, the spring mounting in the crosshair ring did not stabilize until we had fired five or six shots.” (Volume III; p. 405) (Accessories After The Fact; p. 133)

45. Marksman Vs Masters.

"Let me tell you what we did at Quantico. We reconstructed the whole thing, the angle, the range, the moving target, the time limit, the obstacles, everything. I don't know how many times we tried, but we couldn't duplicate what the Warren Commission said Oswald did." Carlos Hathcock.

Commission Conclusion: “Based on testimony of the experts and their analysis of films of the assassination, the Commission has concluded that a rifleman of Lee Harvey Oswald's capabilities could have fired the shots from the rifle used in the assassination within the elapsed time of the shooting. The Commission has concluded further that Oswald possessed the capability with a rifle which enabled him to commit the assassination”. (WR; p. 19.)

The Warren Commission choose enlisted the services of three riflemen rated as Master by the National Rifle Association to carry out the firing tests with the Mannlicher-Carcano [C2766]. This was to ascertain if the deficient weapon in the hands of marksman Oswald, could have been utilized to carry out the assassination of President Kennedy. It is obvious to any object observer what the Commission’s motives were here. On one hand they wanted to give themselves the optimal chance of re-creating the assassination shooting performance in the time span of six seconds while on the other, knowingly committed fraud by embellishing the record and suppressing the fact that Oswald’s skill was in no way comparable to that of these Master Riflemen.

Oswald's shooting record in the Marine Corps provides insights into his marksmanship abilities. In 1956, he achieved a score of 212, just two points above the minimum requirement for the sharpshooter classification. It's important to note that even this medium-level classification was barely attained after an intensive training period, primarily involving shooting at still targets. However, on his last recorded score with a rifle, Oswald's score dropped to 191, placing him in the "marksman" category, which signifies a poor shooting ability.

Lieutenant-Colonel Allison G. Folsom, US Marine Corp, testified to the Commission regarding his interpretation of Oswald’s shooting record:

Ely – “I don't see any point in doing this page by page. I just wonder, after having looked through the whole scorebook, if we could fairly say that all that it proves is that at this stage of his career, he was not a particularly outstanding shot.”

Col. Folsom – “No, no, he was not.”

Folsom’s interpretation of Oswald’s shooting record is of a Marine who was a “rather poor shot. (Volume VIII; p. 303/311.)

This disparity between Oswald and the Master Riflemen’s shooting proficiency further underscores the need to critically evaluate the conclusions drawn from the firing tests conducted by the Commission and in particularly Oswald's alleged role in the assassination.

46. I’d Pick Oswald.

In 1977, author Henry Hurt located and interviewed more than fifty of Oswald’s Marine Corps colleagues. These men had never been questioned by officials or journalists before. One of the Marines, Sherman Cooley told the following to Hurt. “If I had to pick one man in the whole United States to shoot me, I'd pick Oswald. I saw the man shoot. There's no way he could have ever learned to shoot well enough to do what they accused him of. Take me, I’m one of the best shots around, and I couldn’t have done it.”

James R. Persons, another Marine Corp colleague, stated to Hurt that “Oswald possessed a lack of coordination that contributed to his being very poor in rifle marksmanship.”

As Hurt points out: “Many of the Marines mentioned that Oswald had a certain lack of coordination that, they felt, was responsible for the fact he had difficulty learning to shoot.” (Reasonable Doubt; p. P99/100. Picture Section)

47. Maggie’s Drawers.

Nelson Delgado who once served in the Marine Corp’s with Lee Oswald, feared reprisal from the FBI for the testimony he gave to the Warren Commission. Mr Delgado testified to the Warren Commission regarding Oswald’s rifling abilities:

Nelson Delgado – “It's broken down into three categories: Sharpshooters--no; pardon me, take that back; Marksman is the lowest, Sharpshooters, and Experts. And then Oswald had a Marksman's badge, which was just a plain, little thing here which stated ‘Marksman’ on it.”
Wesley Liebeler – “And that was the lowest one?”
Nelson Delgado – “That was the lowest. Well, that was qualifying; then there was nothing, which meant you didn't qualify.”
Wesley Liebeler – “Did you fire with Oswald?”
Nelson Delgado – “Right. I was in the same line. By that I mean we were on line together, the same time, but not firing at the same position, but at the same time, and I remember seeing his. It was a pretty big joke, because he got a lot of "Maggie's drawers," you know, a lot of misses, but he didn't give a darn.”
Wesley Liebeler – “Missed the target completely?”
Nelson Delgado – “He just qualified, that's it. He wasn't as enthusiastic as the rest of us. We all loved--liked, you know, going to the range.” Vol VIII, P235.

Mr. Delgado's experience with the FBI left him feeling that they were pressuring him to alter his account concerning Oswald's rifling abilities. Delgado had valid reasons to be concerned, for after testifying to the Warren Commission, he was shot in the shoulder. Fearing for his life, Delgado and his family fled to England. (watch this)
Assistant council for the Commission Wesley J. Leibler understood what the Commission was doing by their embellishment of Oswald’s rifling capabilities. In his famous “Leibler memorandum” the lawyer warns what such an approach will do to the Reports credibility:

The conclusion indicates that Oswald had the capability to fire three shots with two hits in from 4.8 to 5.6 seconds. The conclusion at its most extreme states that Oswald could fire faster that the Commission experts fired in 12 of their 15 tries. [With] The fact that most of the experts were much more proficient with a rifle than Oswald could ever be expected to be, and the record indicates that fact… To put it bluntly, that sort of selection from the record could seriously affect the integrity and credibility of the entire report.” (Reclaiming Parkland; p. 91). (read this)

48.The Ammo-Less Assassin?

“The alternative is that this singular assassin squandered more than $20 of his meager earnings for a rifle but—unable or unwilling to spend a small additional sum for ammunition—stole, borrowed, or found on the street five cartridges that just happened to fit the weapon; and that those five cartridges sufficed, from March through November 1963, for dry runs, attempted murder, and successful assassination.” Syliva Meagher, Accessories After The Fact; p. 115.

What is the evidence in the record which would substantiate the supposition that Lee Oswald possessed ammunition for the Mannlicher-Carcano? And how does this evidence impact the case against Oswald? “The Dallas Police and FBI’s investigation regarding the source of Oswald's alleged ammunition ownership included a canvass of all places of business that sold guns and ammunition in the Dallas and Irving area including hardware stores, pawn shops, department stores, sporting goods stores and Army/Navy surplus stores” (Volume XVI; p. 62/63).

Only two stores were known to have handled the 6.5 mm Western Cartridge Company Mannlicher-Carcano and ammunition. These stores were:

John Thomas Masen, owner of Masen’s Gun Shop, 7402 Harry Hines Boulevard in Dallas and John H. Brinegarn, owner of The Gun Shop, 11448 Harry Hines Boulevard in Dallas. By examining the testimonies of store owners Masen & Brinegarn, we can better understand what this means for the prosecution's case.

John Masen advised the FBI that he was “unable to identify this individual as being a person to whom he had previously sold 6.5 ammunition.”

Masen also stated he bought some ten boxes of the 6.5 mm Mannlicher-Carcano ammunition from the Western Cartridge Company. He advised that if he had “sold more than a box or two to any one person he would have remembered the sale.”

Upon further reading of CE 2694, we come across the following in regard to Masen:

Masen claimed, “he had never seen Lee Harvey Oswald, had no recollection of him ever having come to his place of business, and he had never sold any of this ammunition to Oswald.”

Picture1John Brinegarn, was also shown a photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald, the report states that “A photograph of Lee Harvey Oswald was exhibited to Mr. Brinegarn and he advised he was unable to identify this individual as being a person to whom he had previously sold 6.5 ammunition...Mr. Brinegarn stated he did not know Lee Harvey Oswald, had no recollection of ever seeing him and did not believe he had sold him any of this type of ammunition.” (Volume XXVI; p. 62.)

In light of the above, what definitive evidence would Henry Wade have presented, at trial, which links Oswald to the purchase of the ammunition for the Carcano? The existing gaps in evidence connecting Oswald to the specific stores and the unestablished ownership of ammunition introduce a substantial degree of reasonable doubt. This casts serious reservations on Oswald’s involvement in the assassination of the President. It also brings into focus the question of whether the prosecution has adequately met its burden of proof.

It's important to remember that in criminal proceedings, the onus of providing proof beyond a reasonable doubt lies squarely with the prosecution.

Adding to these uncertainties is the testimony of Ronald Simmons. He testified that the master riflemen found that the pressure required to open the bolt [on C2766] was so immense that it invariably caused them to shift the rifle off target. Simmons speculated that a higher level of proficiency might have prevented this, but proficiency requires practice and practice requires a consistent consumption of ammunition. (Volume III; p.441-451)

49. World War II Ammunition.

Speculation - Ammunition for the rifle found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository had not been manufactured since the end of World War II. The ammunition used by Oswald must, therefore, have been at least 20 years old, making it extremely unreliable.

Commission’s Finding - The ammunition used in the rifle was American ammunition recently made by Western Cartridge Co., which manufactures such ammunition recently. In tests with the same kind of ammunition, experts fired Oswald's Mannlicher-Carcano rifle more than 100 times without any misfires. (WCR; p. 646.)

In reply to Stewart Galanor [Cover-Up] regarding the ammunition, Dated July 14, 1965, the Assistant Sales Manager for the Winchester-Western Division of Olin Mathieson wrote:

Concerning your inquiry on the 6.5mm Mannlicher Carcano cartridge, this is not being produced commercially by our company at this time. Any previous production on this cartridge was made against Government contracts which were completed back in 1944.” (Rush To Judgement; p. 107.)

In April of 1965, researcher Sylvia Meagher wrote to Western Cartridge Company about the ammunition for the 6.5 mm Mannlicher-Carcano. A corporate official replied: “The ammunition had once been produced under a government contract but was no longer available.”

A reply to a second correspondence to Western dated April 20th, 1965, prompted this note in Meagher’s book Accessories After the Fact - “The manufacturer stated quite frankly that the reliability of the ammunition still in circulation today is questionable.” (Accessories After The Fact; p. 113.)

Despite compelling contrary evidence, the Commission posits that Lee Oswald, wielding a compromised, cannibalized Carcano, whilst discharging unstable, twenty-year-old ammunition, single-handedly executed the assassination of Jack Kennedy with success.

50. The Police Conduct Searches

Despite extensive searches conducted by the Dallas and Irving Police Department on properties associated with Lee Oswald, no evidence linking him to ammunition purchase or ownership was found. Additionally, no oil, oil-stained rags, or cleaning solutions for weapons, which would be expected for routine maintenance, were discovered.

Lawyer Freda Scobey questions the legalities of the search of Oswald’s possessions at the Paine residence. Scobey writes that “The rifle/blanket and much other incriminating evidence was obtained from the Paine residence on the afternoon of November 22. At this time no search warrant was obtained. Mrs Paine had no right without a warrant to consent to a search of Oswald's personal effects segregated in her garage, and it does not appear that Marina gave any knowing consent…. [because] it is fairly obvious that Marina Oswald, considering her scanty knowledge of English and Ruth Paine’s difficulties with Russian in a crisis, gave no intelligent consent to a search of the garage. Although Marina pointed out the blanket in the belief, as she said, that it still contained the rifle. Because of these factors there would seem to be a strong basis for excluding this evidence.” (see this and this)

Go to Part 1 of 6

Go to Part 2 of 6

Go to Part 3 of 6

Go to Part 4 of 6

Go to Part 6 of 6

Last modified on Saturday, 02 December 2023 17:17
Johnny Cairns

Johnny Cairns is an electrician living in Edinburgh. He first got interested in President Kennedy through his father, Robert Cairns. Since then, he has held an undying admiration for Jack Kennedy and what he stood for. Through familiarizing himself with the facts of this crime, he has also become an advocate for the innocence of his alleged assassin, Lee Oswald. Through the various friendships developed with other researchers and making the trip to Dallas in 2018, he has spoken at JFK Lancer presenting the case for Oswald’s innocence and co-authored a book which is due for release at the end of 2021, titled “Case Not Closed.”

Find Us On ...


Please publish modules in offcanvas position.