Tuesday, May 5, 2015


As all of you may or may not know, the 6.5x52mm Carcano rifles (one version of these was reputedly used by Oswald to kill JFK) have a reputation for being inaccurate rifles. This is not a particularly fair judgement, as some models of Carcanos (the long rifles especially) are very accurate rifles, IF loaded with the correct ammunition.

While the Italians did embark on some rather silly programs in their efforts to economize the manufacture of 6.5mm Carcano carbines and short rifles, and while many of these programs ended in the production of disastrous rifles, the bulk of the blame for inaccuracy lies in the ammunition. Surprisingly, most of the ammunition problems were not with Italian military ammunition, and a good deal of these problems did not become apparent until long after World War Two.

However, we should begin with the Italian 6.5mm ammunition that was issued to troops in WWII, as it had its own unique problems.

By the time Italy entered WWII in June, 1940, the bulk of its 6.5x52mm rifle ammunition, manufactured for WWI and Italy's African campaigns in the 1920's, was twenty year old ammunition. While most good American made ammo will still be serviceable after twenty years, there was something unique to these cartridges that made very unreliable. The primers in these cartridges (the small round device at the bottom of the cartridge that is struck by the firing pin and ignites the gunpowder) were charged with a compound that proved to be very corrosive. Misfires (cartridge does not fire) and hangfires (cartridge fires several seconds or many seconds after the trigger is pulled) are consistently reported over the decades by gun enthusiasts attempting to fire military surplus Italian cartridges in their Carcanos, to the point that gun experts have routinely warned against shooting this ammunition. Needless to say, improper ignition of a cartridge's gunpowder load will seriously effect the accuracy of a bullet fired from that cartridge.

In a worst case scenario, the Carcano firing pin will rupture the corroded primer and allow burning gases from the gunpowder to escape the base of the cartridge. This has led to myths of American GI's in post war Italy firing Carcanos and, from a ruptured primer, having the Carcano rifle bolt driven through their skull. The starters of this myth are not only unfamiliar with the Carcano's Mauser bolt and its two forward locking lugs, they also must be unaware that bolt action rifles are equipped with gas port vents on the sides of the chamber that will vent high pressure gases in the event of a primer or case rupture.

More interesting about Italian milsurp ammo is that researchers have removed the bullets from these cartridges and discovered, in a box of 18 cartridges, vast differences in the amount of gunpowder loaded into each cartridge; indicating that quality control was seriously lacking in Italian munitions factories. One can only imagine how frustrating it was for Italian troops attempting to home in on the range of a target, only to have successive bullets leaving their rifles at different muzzle velocities.

But enough of Italian ammunition. The real reputation for inaccuracy enjoyed by the Carcanos began after WWII when these rifles began showing up on the domestic market in North America. There are many 6.5mm calibre rifles in the world and they all share one thing in common; a bore diameter of 6.5 mm or about .256". The rifling groove diameter of these rifles (also the bullet diameter) is also identical in every single one of these rifles EXCEPT the 6.5mm Carcano. While the world standard diameter for 6.5 mm bullets is .264", the makers of the Carcano elected to cut deeper rifling grooves in these barrels, and this rifle will only shoot accurately with a bullet that is .268" in diameter; the groove diameter of a Carcano barrel.

The problem is well detailed in this article:


As strange as it may sound, until 2002, the only 6.5mm bullets manufactured to a diameter of .268" were those loaded into Italian military cartridges pre-1945. In other words, for just over 50 years, sporting ammunition was made for Carcano rifles but, EVERY SINGLE MANUFACTURER was loading bullets into these cartridges that were too small. Finally, in 2002, Hornady addressed this problem, and made available to handloaders 6.5mm Carcano bullets that were the proper diameter of .268".

To those unfamiliar with ballistics, a difference in diameter of only .004" may seem insignificant, yet this is all that is needed to entirely throw off the accuracy of a Carcano rifle. Not only do the rifling grooves have insufficient grip on the smaller bullet to gyroscopically stabilize it in flight, there are now four gaps around the bullet, each .002" deep, that allow the propellant gases driving the bullet down the barrel to escape past the bullet; diminishing velocity.

This, of course, leads us to the ammunition purportedly used by Oswald to kill JFK; namely, the 6.5x52 mm Carcano ammunition manufactured by the Western Cartridge Co. of East Alton, Illinois, USA. The FBI provided a lovely little cock and bull story about the WCC manufacturing 4 million rounds of this ammunition in 1954 for the USMC who, of course, had no weapons capable of shooting this ammunition. In cloak and dagger fashion right out of the Spy vs. Spy comics, the FBI hints that this ammunition was, in fact, made for the CIA and spirited away to arm anti-Communist factions in some remote Third World theatre. It is an amusing story, and almost believable, until one looks at this period in history and realizes there were no armed conflicts, at that period in time, where one or both of the factions had a preponderance of 6.5mm Carcano rifles.

In an effort to quiet people such as myself, and to spread confusion amongst conspiracy theorists, Cointelpro agents have attempted a compromise, and let it be known, through various channels, that the WCC 6.5mm Carcano ammo MAY have been manufactured in 1949, but no earlier. The recipients this time were named as Loyalist (read anti-Communist) factions in the Greek Civil War. This is getting much closer to the truth but, it is still an outrageous lie, as the Greek Civil War was winding down by 1948 and ended in 1949; a little late to be supplying ammunition. Often the Greek Civil War is cited as taking place between 1946 and 1949, yet, to anyone who has studied History, this too is misleading. Although the Greek Civil War really got into full swing after the end of WWII (once those pesky Krauts were out of the way in December 1944), it was British forces siding with the Loyalist Greek forces and issuing a disarmament ultimatum to Greek partisans post-WWII that excluded right wing forces that finally set things in motion.

The Civil War actually started in 1942 with the German/Italian occupation of Greece, and the Greek government in exile. The occupation acted as a catalyst to Communist forces in Greece, as it did in many occupied nations, and while the various partisan factions all had the ultimate objective of expelling the occupying German/Italian forces, there were no illusions in the minds of any of these groups, and it was understood that the expulsion of the occupiers would leave a power vacuum that could only be filled by one group. The British and Americans were also aware of this, and were careful to assure that pro-government partisans received a higher level of aid than the Communists.

With the signing of an armistice on Sept. 8, 1943, Italy was officially out of the War; much to the disgust and dismay of their fellow occupiers in Greece, the Germans. As the Italians never really had their heart in the War, and now saw the Germans in Italy as nothing more than occupiers in their own country, the German commanders were painfully aware of the predicament they could place themselves in by allowing several thousand Italian troops to return home from Greece, still armed with their 6.5mm Carcano rifles. Each repatriated Italian soldier had the potential of becoming a Nazi killing partisan once he got back to Italy, and it was decided that all Italian troops would be disarmed, by force if necessary, before they returned to Italy.

Great caches of 6.5mm Carcano rifles went into storage in Greece and, when Germany retreated in December, 1944, it was first come first serve and the rifles were quickly divided amongst the opposing partisans.

At this point, it should be pointed out that the ammunition for the Greek infantry rifle, the 6.5x54 mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer Greek, was about as close as you could get to a 6.5x52 mm Carcano cartridge. The main difference is the .264" diameter bullet loaded into the Mannlicher-Schoenauer cartridge and the .268" diameter bullet loaded into the Carcano cartridge.

6.5 x 52 mm Carcano cartridge (.268" bullet diameter)

Interestingly, the rimless bases of the two cartridges and the angle of the shoulders are identical. The only differences are the overall length of the cartridges (54 mm vs. 52 mm) and the fact that the shoulder of the Carcano cartridge is 1 mm closer to the base than the MS shoulder is. For this reason, you CANNOT load a 6.5x54mm MS cartridge into a Carcano rifle, as the shoulder will bottom in the chamber just before the bolt is closed, but you CAN load a 6.5x52mm Carcano cartridge into a 6.5mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer rifle and close the bolt. The only thing stopping you from pulling the trigger is the knowledge that you have loaded a cartridge into your 6.5mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer that is loaded with a bullet that is .004" too big for the MS barrel, and if you pull the trigger, the rifle could blow up in your face.

Can anyone see where I am going with this, and how it relates to the assassination of JFK? No? Well, be patient, I've almost gotten to the good part.

As I said, the British and Americans were no dummies, and they could readily see the power vacuum evolving in Greece and several other Balkan states. They also had, following the Italian Armistice in 1943, many thousands of ex-Italian troops, still carrying their Carcanos, taking up the struggle against the Nazis in Italy. These were uncertain times and, while the Nazis were forced out of southern Europe mostly in 1944, the rugged Italian terrain and the tenacity of the German troops led many to believe the war in Italy could last well into 1946 0r 1947.

This led to a logistics problem for the Americans, who wished to supply Italian and Greek partisans with ammunition as economically as possible. To further complicate matters, Greek armourers took many of the captured 6.5mm Carcanos and converted them to 6.5mm Mannlicher-Schoenauers. This was a simple matter of machining the inner shoulder of the barrel's chamber 1 mm further into the chamber, allowing the 6.5mm MS cartridge to seat and the bolt to close. As stated before, a great deal of accuracy would be lost by now shooting a MS bullet .264" in diameter through a barrel designed for a bullet .268" in diameter but, if a partisan aimed for an opponent's stomach, he still stood a good chance of hitting him somewhere.

So let's see what we have. We have the Greek 6.5mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer rifle which will shoot a Carcano cartridge IF that cartridge is loaded with a bullet .264" in diameter, we have the converted 6.5 MS rifles that will shoot a Carcano cartridge (the Carcano brass will stretch to take up the 1 mm slack) loaded with either a .264" or .268" bullet, and we have stock 6.5mm Carcano rifles in Greece and Italy that will also shoot a 6.5mm Carcano cartridge loaded with either a .264" or .268" bullet. Can the Americans make one cartridge that would supply everyone? Yes.

As it was almost certain there would be a civil war in Greece, the 6.5mm MS rifles took precedence. This is why the American Defense Dept., prior to 1944, contracted the WCC to manufacture 4 million rounds of 6.5x52mm Carcano cartridges and had these cartridges loaded with bullets that were .264" in diameter.

I will stop here for now, and finish up tonight with the last installment of this tale.

 How the FBI Spilled the Beans
Before we start, I have a small confession to make. I have spent the last couple of years attempting to determine if the bullets loaded into the 6.5mm cartridges manufactured by the Western Cartridge Company, three of which were allegedly fired at JFK, were loaded with bullets that were .264" or .268" in diameter. I have attempted to purchase these cartridges but, as only 4 million were made roughly 70 years ago, the majority of them have either been fired or gone into the hands of JFK collectors. Besides that, with Canada's strict gun laws, importing ammunition is a difficult, if not impossible task.

What I was too dumb to see was that the answer was right in front of me all along and had been there since the FBI's firearms expert, SA Robert Frazier, testified to the Warren Commission in 1964. Frazier was even so good as to supply us with a photo of the Magic Bullet, CE 399, with a Metric scale in the photo in millimetres and centimetres that allows us to measure CE 399 for ourselves; just in case we wish to verify Frazier's measurements.

BTW, I should give credit here to David Josephs for posting the photo of CE 399 with the Metric scale, plus Frazier's testimony, on another thread. God only knows how much longer I would have continued looking at the obvious and completely missing it.

As I have stated before, Frazier was one of the biggest BS'ers to appear before the WC, and I take great delight in exposing his nonsense. Look closely at the photo of CE 399 below:

And now the best part, SA Robert Frazier testifying to the WC:

"Mr. EISENBERG - Yes; for the record, these cartridges were found on the sixth. floor of the School Book Depository Building. They were found near the south east corner window--that is, the easternmost window on the southern face of the sixth floor of that building.
Mr. Frazier, are these cartridge cases which have just been admitted into evidence the same type of cartridge-- from the same type of cartridge as you just examined, Commission Exhibit No. 141?
Mr. FRAZIER - Yes; they are.
Mr. EISENBERG - That is, 6.5 mm. Mannlicher-Carcano, manufactured by the Western Cartridge Co.?
Mr. FRAZIER - Yes, sir.
Mr. EISENBERG - You gave the weight of the bullet which is found in this type of cartridge. Could you give us a description of the contour of the bullet, and its length?
Mr. FRAZIER - The bullet has parallel sides, with a round nose, is fully jacketed with a copper-alloy coating or metal jacket on the outside of a lead core. Its diameter is 6.65 millimeters. The length--possibly it would be better to put it in inches rather than millimeters The diameter is .267 inches, and a length of 1.185, or approximately 1.2 inches.

Okay, now, Frazier, the great firearms expert, measured CE 399 and found it to be 6.65 mm in diameter or, as he testifies, ".267 inches". The actual diameter of a real Carcano bullet is .2677" and is normally rounded off to .268".

But, that is not the problem here. The problem here is that while Frazier may have measured the bullet and found it to be 6.65 mm, 6.65 mm does not equal .267". If you go to this handy dandy conversion site http://www.onlineconversion.com/length_common.htm and use their calculator, you will see that 6.65 mm equals .2618", not .267". In other words, not only did Frazier like to stretch the truth, he was a bit on the lazy side as well. He measured the bullet diameter in millimetres but never did the conversion to inches. He likely read the measurement of .267" in a text and assumed 6.65 mm would equal .267".

However, as there is no bullet on the planet that measures 6.65 mm in diameter, I compared the diameter of CE 399 in the photo to the Metric scale above it and found the diameter closer to 6.7 mm. Now, if we process that, we find that 6.7 mm = .263779" or *SURPRISE!!!* .264", the standard diameter of every 6.5mm bullet in the world except the Carcano, and exactly the bullet I suspected was loaded into the WCC ammunition.

And there you have it, folks, right from the horse's mouth. No theory, no conjecture, no wild imagination. Instead, we not only have the WC testimony of an FBI firearms expert that CE 399 was only .264" (or less) in diameter, we have the picture to prove it, PLUS a Metric scale in that photo to confirm Frazier's testimony. One of the WC commissioners, McCloy, later questioned Frazier about whether he was sure he came up with a measurement of 6.65 mm, and Frazier was quite adamant this was the figure. The photo, of course, confirms it. McCloy must have been intelligent enough to do the conversion from Metric to inches, and spotted Frazier's error. It is strange he never mentioned anything.

The search is over. The 6.5mm Carcano cartridges found on the 6th floor of the TSBD and made by the WCC were loaded with bullets that were too small in diameter for the rifle they were being fired from. Considering all of the other deficiencies I have pointed out, there is simply no way Oswald or the Carcano found on the 6th floor were part of the assassination of JFK.
Last edited by Bob Prudhomme; 03-29-2014 at 01:06 PM.

i'm not disagreeing with you because CE 2766 was probably used as a diversion or bullet evidence gun, however wasn't the magic bullet slightly deformed causing its width to vary? I would think a caliper measurement would be the best way to discover what you are looking for. I'm not sure looking at a photo would be good for .004

No comments:

Post a Comment