Oswald’s Rifle?

I bought a 1938 Italian Carcano 6.5 x 52 rifle last year, the same one Lee Harvey Oswald is said to have killed JFK with – and  finally had a chance to test it out today.

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At 150 feet, standing, using gun sights it made about an 18 inch spread. By contrast, my 1936 Mosin 7.62 x 54R made about a two to three inch spread – fired the same way. If all Carcano’s are like that, they are completely useless as a sniper rifle. It is the most inconsistent rifle I have ever fired.

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About Tony Heller

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52 Responses to Oswald’s Rifle?

  1. daveburton says:

    I’m not a gun expert, but could your barrel be worn out? They don’t last forever, and as they wear the accuracy drops.

  2. JJ Swiontek says:

    DaveBurton is close to the answer. It isn’t wear. It’s the original craftsmanship. One Mosin rifle in 10 is crafted well enough to be used for accurate shooting. One Carcano rifle in 1,000 is crafted good enough for the same level of accurate shooting.

  3. PJ London says:

    Yes it is rubbish rifle.
    “With properly bulleted ammunition, the 6.5×52mm Carcano is an effective deer cartridge up to about 200m (220 yards).[citation needed] However, the standard Italian service round used an unstable round-nosed bullet with a propensity to tumble, whether hitting soft tissue/ballistic gel or harder material such as bone.
    Hand loaders should note that the currently available factory ammunition may lack accuracy due to use of a 6.7mm (.264 in) bullet instead of the 6.8mm (.268 in) as originally loaded.” (Wiki)

    Excellent article on why the Carcano is so poor, :http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=20247
    There are a dozen or more variations which took a brilliant idea (Mannlicher progressive twist) and screwed it up (Just cut off the end of the barrel.)
    Depends on which model you have, they are all called 91/38 but the variation is enormous, some were so bad they did not issue them to the troops but only to the home guard. The cavalry model had a very good butt, for bludgeoning people to death.

    On the other hand, a good one – : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uy_T7D2-Y3o

  4. What ammo were you shooting? Serbian? Surplus (not sure there is any)?

    • Expensive new ammo

      • That’s really disappointing, Tony. The reason I asked about the Serbian factory ammo was a discussion of bullet diameter problems I’ve read about somewhere. I couldn’t find it last night but I came came across a different post at the Keg Island Research blog I posted below. It seems that brand new, factory Prvi Partizan and other 6.5 Carcano rounds were causing serious problems for him.

        Unfortunately his rifle has also been modified and he makes some detailed disclaimers but there definitely seemed to be a problem with the bullet diameters of the new ammo he was shooting:

        I wondered why my 6.5 Carcano short rifle was sending bullets all over an area approximately several feet in diameter at 50 yards, so I checked the bullet diameter.

        The Prvi Partizan – manufactured 139 grain FMJ 6.5 Carcano ammo on hand measured a .2635 inch diameter. Judging by Hornady’s dedicated bullets, 6.5 Carcano “should” be .268 inch in diameter. A second box on hand measured the same bullet diameter. However, actual measurements of both mil-surp SMI and WCC 6.5 Carcano bullets were .2665 inch.
        5/7/2015 WARNING — KIR Has Not Been Able to Identify a Commercially Available Safe and Correct Bullet for use in Italian 6.5X52mm Carcano Rifles and Carbines.

        There are plenty of documented problems with various production versions of the Carcano but yours may be OK after all since there are also some great shooting ones out there. I would definitely look into the ammo issues (if you haven’t done it already).

  5. Steve Weiss says:

    I know virtually nothing about rifles, but I have never been convinced that Oswald could use a bolt action rifle to hit a moving target in the time required. Snipers usually shoot at fixed targets or at those which are hardly moving. They usually have a tripod and practice frequently. I doubt that Oswald had the ability to perform at the level necessary.

    • I doubt Oswald had the skill to ricochet a bullet off the grassy knoll, since that’s the direction the fatal shot came from.

    • au1corsair says:

      Tripods have three legs (tri=3) and bipods have two legs (bi=2)

      Marine Corps snipers qualify at a moving target cut in half width-wise and moving at a walk–at 800 meters distance.

      Marine Corps snipers didn’t practice rapid fire–felt it was a waste of ammo, and that firing three shots from a single position allowed the enemy to pinpoint the sniper’s location. The preference was firing one shot and then displacing–two shots if necessary–and three shots was a no-no.

  6. gator69 says:

    I have a friend who never shot a shotgun, or a bolt action weapon, and never shot clays. Despite all of this, using my old Mossberg .410 bolt action, he was able to nail clay pigeons flawlessly the first time he tried. Anything is possible.

  7. omanuel says:

    1. The 1963 assassination of JFK is certainly one of the turning points in the history of this once great nation.

    2. The 1971 secret visit of Henry Kissinger to China to end Kennedy’s Apollo Program and re-establish the 1945 worldwide peace agreement was another.

    3. The 1989 collapse of the USSR together with the Berlin Wall, exactly as forecast by the great fortune-teller, US President Ronald Reagan, was the third.

  8. joekano76 says:

    Reblogged this on TheFlippinTruth.

  9. au1corsair says:


    You got your own rifles–good! Find these things out for yourself–but don’t abandon the Scientific Method.

    The National Academy of Sciences was commissioned to examine the forensic sciences and issued a report ten years ago that said only nuclear DNA examination was worthy of the name science, that the other forensic arts didn’t measure up. Recent headlines indicate that the FBI is under fire because hair analysis was flawed.


    The “science” that “proved” Oswald’s guilt in the Warren Commission Report was badly flawed by today’s standards. Bad science doesn’t prove Oswald was framed but the flaws in forensic ballistics does leave a lot of questions–and Oswald might have been the presidential assassin, or not. The science used in the Warren Commission Report hasn’t changed significantly.

    Your Italian rifle and ammunition are not what was used on 22 November 1963. Speaking scientifically, the condition of rifle and the ammunition used cannot be duplicated today, more than 50 years after the fact. Good group size on the Russian rifle–but what was the bullet weight of your 6.5mm ammunition? The original was a round-nosed parallel sided 162 grain bullet. I checked and most of the expensive commercial 6.5mm Carcano ammo is 123 grain spire point (sharp nose). The barrel’s rifling twist may stabilize the longer 162 grain bullet but over-spins the shorter 123 grain bullet and increases dispersion.

    I don’t think you fired 6.5mm ammo through the 7.35mm rifle.

    I don’t have the means to carry out testing, but have used issue M16 rifles with rifling twists of 1 in 12 inches (for the old M193 cartridge) and 1 in 7 inches (for the current M855 cartridge). The M855 fired through a barrel with a 1 in 12 (or the original 1 in 14) twist will result in excessive group size at distances of as little as 100 yards.

    Typical service rifle accuracy for period bolt action magazine rifles of the period was something like 4 minutes of an angle–and could range from 2 MOA to more than 8 MOA depending on manufacturing quality control, on ammunition quality, and on maintenance issues.

    • The Carcano ammo was much higher quality than the Mosin ammo

      • au1corsair says:

        I can believe that the Carcano ammo was higher quality than the Mosin ammo. Did you use Norma 6.5x52mm Carcano? I’ve fired many different 7.62x54R loads through a few Mosin rifles, but nearly all of it was military surplus, usually lacquered steel cases.

        What was the bullet weight of your 6.5mm ammo?

        There’s a lot of rubbish out there regarding guns and this sometimes shows up in police reports. Forensic ballistics needs improving.

  10. ristvan says:

    It might well just be the ammo. My significant other’s .308 grouped 10″ at 100 yards with one brand of factory load 150 grain SJSP, and 3″ with another brand same bullet. Working up hand loads with a powder giving medium mussle velocity got the 5 group accuracy within 1″, again same bullet.

  11. ricks2014 says:

    Oswald did “not” murder JFK !

    It was a lie !

    JFK was murdered by a combination of the U.S. Government in very “low” places (More like the Secret Service knew where and when and looked the other way) and was carried our by the Mafia !

    In fact, the same liars who took out Kennedy are the same liars who push the Global Climate/Warming crap, the Liberal Left !

    Kennedy wasn’t taking orders so the Left ordered the Hit !!!

    And anyone who says different is either incompetent, or is a hypothetical and hypocritical liar !

    The cover up was unbelievable…

    • au1corsair says:

      Did the “same liars who took out Kennedy” find the Fountain of Youth or something? They’d be really old now if they were of age to be in positions of power back in 1963. Oh, you said “Liberal Left.” Not quite the same thing as specific individuals, but the “Liberal Left” of the late Fifties and early Sixties doesn’t seem to be a credible candidate for an Illuminati pulling the puppet strings of the world. At the time, Kennedy’s death was blamed on the “Reactionary Right.” Using Oswald as scapegoat for Kennedy’s death (muddled political history, but appeared leftist to a fault) kind of sunk the “vast right wing conspiracy” aspect.

  12. au1corsair says:

    Two sources for “Oswald didn’t do it” have little to do with fact.

    First, there is a mistrust of the Establishment. When the Establishment says something, many will not believe.

    Second, there’s the god factor. JFK was a god and Oswald was a nobody, so JFK could do anything and Oswald was completely incompetent. Therefore Oswald couldn’t have done it!

    I wonder how well JFK could read, speak and write Russian. Or how well JFK could operate and maintain the radar that Oswald did.

    There are many gaps in what Oswald knew. Oswald didn’t have a driver’s license, but that didn’t mean he COULDN’T drive a car, just that he didn’t have a license. The many investigations had evidence that Oswald used bus and taxi to travel places but there’s no evidence that Oswald did any driving himself–unusual for a male of military age in the Fifties and Sixties.

    Worse, the many investigations demonstrate that police work, news reporting and “intelligence” are all rumor, gossip and adherence to an agenda. So much has been written about the JFK assassination that you can prove almost anything using published material. Much of that published material is wrong.

    There’s reason to mistrust the Establishment, but “all men are created equal.” Ordinary humans have great potential for mischief.

  13. omanuel says:

    Steven aka Tony, we may never solve the enigma of Oswald’s murder lurking inside the puzzle of Kennwdy’s assassination – like RUSSIAN dolls – but the consequences are undeniable:

    1. NASA’s Apollo Program was cancelled in 1971 in exchange for an END to the “Cold War” and worldwide PEACE with USSR & CHINA;

    2. The USSR and the Berlin Wall collapsed in the late 1980s, about the same time the AGW (ANTHROPOLOGIC GLOBAL WARMING) campaign sprouted international wings;

    3. The new globalize NASA hid xenon isotope data from the 1995 Galileo Probe of Jupiter – experimental that confirmed the presence of “strange xenon” in Jupiter, as predicted in a 1983 paper on abundances of elements in the iron-rich Sun; and

    4. ClimateGate emails in late NOV 2009 confirmed President Eisenhower’s warning on 17 JAN 1961 that a scientific technological elite” group might take control of government funds in research agencies and use that to CONTROL OF US POLICIES !


    • gator69 says:

      Ollie’s Iron Sun, brought to you by Hormel Foods Corporation, the makers of Spam!

    • omanuel says:

      Two Technical Corrections & One Caution

      1. Paul Kazuo Kuroda (1917 – 2001)
      2. scientific technological elite” group might take control of government funds in research agencies and use that to CONTROL US POLICIES !

      CAUTION: Billions dollars are now controlled each year by this scientific technological elite” group – THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES OF SCIENCES, worldwide. They may react negatively if you start unraveling the mystery.

      • gator69 says:

        Two Photos of SPAM® & One Recipe



        SPAM® Musubi


        2 slices SPAM® Classic
        3 ounces cooked white rice, seasoned with furikake and toasted sesame seeds, if desired
        1 tablespoon House of Tsang® Hibatchi Grill Sweet Ginger Sesame Sauce or SAM CHOY’S® cooking sauce
        1 whole sheet nori


        1.In large skillet, cook SPAM® Classic until lightly browned and crisp.
        2.Place rice into musubi press or small can. Place SPAM® Classic on rice; drizzle with grill sauce or cooking sauce. Top with remaining rice; press down. Remove SPAM® and rice from musubi press.
        3.On work surface, lay nori shiny-side-down; top with SPAM® mixture. Wrap up. Cut each musubi in half. Slice each half diagonally into 2 pieces. Serve immediately.

        PS – Iron Sun.

    • Oliver, there is more to the story:

      “During World War II, of course, I ate my share of Spam along with millions of other soldiers. I’ll even confess to a few unkind remarks about it—uttered during the strain of battle, you understand. But as former Commander-in-Chief, I believe I can still officially forgive you your only sin: sending us so much of it.”

      -Dwight Eisenhower, in a letter to a former Hormel executive


      Hormel Girls
      By Elisa Korenne

      I left the war with a pink slip in my hand
      It was back to the kitchen, till
      Hormel gave me a chance. He said
      “Military ladies, come and drum for me”
      “Military ladies, find out what we can be”

      We were a 60 service girls drum and bugle corps
      JC Hormel thought we could do some more
      The drummers learned to dance,
      Then the new girls tried out, and he gave them a chance, he said
      “You can perform and sell door to door”
      So during the day we’d go store to store saying

      Hey ho, how do you like it?
      Hey ho, you gotta try it!
      Spam and Dinty Moore
      Delicious canned meat galore
      We got chili con carne, gonna twist your arm
      So tonight, come out, and give it a go

      The Hormel Girls Caravan Orchestra Show

      35 cars, white, attention-catching
      We drive up in pairs, our dresses all matching
      Comportment and style 60 hours a week
      Dance instructors keeping track of everything we eat, no tanlines can be seen
      It’s a small price to pay to live a service girl’s dream

      Hey ho, we‘re the Hormel girls
      Hey ho, we’re here to sing
      Spam and Dinty Moore
      Delicious canned meat galore
      We’ll take our show to the radio
      So tonight, turn it on and give it a go
      The Hormel Girls Caravan Orchestra Show
      We broadcast on CBS from Hollywood and Vine
      Our scripts are written for us we plug every Hormel line
      5 commercial breaks will tell you what you need to know
      About every Hormel product, you’ll hear it on our show

      We girls would be showing on a Saturday night
      Then we’d be selling before every flight
      Driving two by two with a plastic bag
      Full of dummy cans to sell the Hormel brand
      Mr. Manager, “How’re your products moving?”
      Free tickets to our shows should see your sales improving

      Hey ho, how do you like it?
      Hey ho, we’re here to sing!
      Spam and Dinty Moore
      Delicious canned meat galore
      We’ve got chili con carne, gonna twist your arm
      So tonight, come out, and give it a go

      The Hormel Girls Caravan Orchestra Show
      Tonight, come out, and give it a go
      The Hormel Girls Caravan Orchestra Show

      • RAH says:

        SPAM stands for ‘Shoulder Pork Ham’ Hormel was having trouble figuring out how to market the meat from pork shoulders. They hired a French Chef to work on the problem and SPAM was the result. During WW II the stuff spread around the world. Millions of cans went to Russia. The British got a bunch of it too as did most allied troops with the exception of the Muslims serving in British service in Indian and Burma. On US military manifests and menus it went by the nomenclature “Luncheon Meat, Canned. It didn’t matter what service you were in you were going see SPAM. Even US Submariners, the best fed of all the services, had the stuff in their larder.

        It was about the only meat the Marines on Guadalcanal had for the first few months of that campaign. SPAM and beans made up a good proportion of their diet, supplemented with captured Japanese rations. The beans caused some problems for the pilots Marine fighter pilots flying at higher altitudes.

        In Italy and France when the allies took over tons of the stuff appeared on the black market.

        I don’t care what people think about it. I keep a couple of the short cans in my trucks larder also. Pretty good dipped in buffalo sauce and put on a cracker.

        • RAH, it was more than black market in post-WWII Europe. The U.S. fed starving populations through UNRRA for a while and SPAM was on the menu. So was corn but that was an Anglo-German language mixup among the U.S. relief officers and the post-Nazi German administrators. When asked what they needed the most the Germans asked for Korn. The grain supplies were exhausted and they needed seed for the next planting season. They got corn by the shiploads. It was cleared up quickly but many German women of that generation still remember trying to make something acceptable out of corn flour arriving from America.

          As I mentioned a while back, I remember eating a can of UNRRA-marked Spam in mid-1960s Europe. My parents got it much earlier from who knows where and had it on the pantry shelf for a long time. They made it clear to us kids where it came from and what it meant to the people then. The white-labeled 12 oz. can must have been 20 years old. It was still good.

          People who say they would not eat SPAM have never been truly hungry. You know that even moderate hunger makes it taste delicious straight out of the can. SPAM with buffalo sauce on crackers? Une délicatesse, une poésie!

      • aeroguy48 says:

        That there is a catchy tune, I had to play it 3 times.

  14. omanuel says:

    “Kuroda was the first researcher to calculate mathematically that Enrico Fermi’s reactor had the potential to operate in nature. He made the prediction of the existence of self-sustaining, naturally occurring nuclear reactors early in his career and continually researched this, despite negative speculation in the field of chemistry. He called it his life’s work. However, Kuroda later recalled, “Scientists were saying that if this idiot is an indication of the program at the University of Arkansas, there must be nothing there at all.”


  15. Moors710 says:

    What I remember about the Kennedy assassination was the took my cartoons off TV to tell me “the President is dead for all of Saturday morning cartoons.

  16. omanuel says:

    Ignoring the above spam, government science BEFORE & AFTER Kennedy’s assassination are characterized by

    BEFORE: Eisenhower’s 1961 warning (See above video) that a “scientific technological elite” group MIGHT TAKE CONTROL OF US POLICY.

    AFTER: This 1998 CPAN news film captured UNDENIABLE EVIDENCE NASA hid xenon isotope data from the Galileo Probe of Jupiter that
    _ a.) Confirmed a 1983 prediction of “strange xenon” in Jupiter, and
    _ b.) Falsified 1975-1983 claims superheavy-element fission made “strange xenon”


  17. 2hotel9 says:

    I don’t know, guys, placing Spam in the same post as Carcano rifle just seems, well, sacreligious. All I have ever found carcanos good for is wall hanging and starting stupid arguments about JFK. While on that other hand Spam is a gift to humanity from that greatest of animals, the pig. Show a little respect.

    And omanuel? You are not winning anyone to your side of whatever argument you are having with yourself by posting these rambling and disjointed comments in random threads around the intratubesthingy. Just knock it off.

    • I agree that the pig is a divine gift to man and should not die in vain. They should all be well cooked and eaten, the wild invasive species first before they uproot everything and then the domestic ones in case hunt was not good. An exception should be made for Babe since it earned our respect as a service animal against the wolf.

      I also agree that it’s impossible to say anything about the Carcano without hearing somebody’s definitive opinion about Dallas and personally I like SPAM so much better than those unfortunate rifles.

      But that’s my subjective personal opinion, not unlike the preference of the married middle-aged gentleman who told us some years ago he likes the Super Bowl better than sex. It’s more often, he said.

      As to the contributions of Dr. Manuel, I reserve judgment on the science I didn’t look into but I question the effectiveness of his method. He also owes me his explanation of the mechanism through which the Sun’s iron core caused the very poor grouping from Tony’s Carcano down in the desert near Rio Grande.

      • RAH says:

        Yes, we did our part here at my house tonight to honor the swine today. Over Easter we had a family pitch in and Sherry bought a spiral cut ham which she had me slice down into pieces for sandwiches for the occasion. The spiral cutting didn’t really get deep enough so we had a great hunk of ham left around the bones and froze it. Today she used the ham and we had my girls over for Corn bread and Ham & Beans. Excellent meal for a dreary cool rainy day. I like mine with chopped red onion on top and some pepper juice drizzled on it. I hope the alarmists aren’t thinking of outlawing Great Northern beans due to their propensity when ingested to result in the increased emissions of methane clouds.

      • aeroguy48 says:

        Maybe the sun is rusty, maybe the Carcano is rusty, maybe Mr. Heller is rusty. See it’s easy peasy to connect the dots. I just have to listen to that Spam tune one more time 🙂

  18. catweazle666 says:

    Neither the Carcano nor the Moisin is a patch on the trusty Lee-Enfield .303 I cut my teeth on!

  19. au1corsair says:

    Socrates became the wisest man in Athens by admitting “I am ignorant–” and then setting out to cure his ignorance. That’s how the Scientific Method was born.

    We don’t have Oswald’s rifle, the ammunition Oswald used, and Oswald isn’t around–not as they existed on 22 November 1963. However, you’ve come much closer than I. That 18″ pattern at 50 yards, offhand or not, bothers me–and it appears to be vertical stringing of 18″ with between 4″ and 6″ of horizontal spread. Through the rifle scope I could see the bullets spiraling into the target and hitting high and hitting low…

    Do you have a chronograph? I experienced excessive group size from a bolt action .22 rifle–it was giving me groups in excess of six inches at 25 FEET and I shoot better than that. With CCI CB Long I was getting vertical stringing with a 2″ by 6″ group or bigger at from a rest at 25 feet measured with a Stanley retracting metal tape measure. My CCI Mini Mag groups (36 grain high speed hollow point) gave be five shot groups from STANDING of an inch or less that was circular.

    Your Mosin group was better–not bad at all.

    When I ran the CB Long over the chronograph I got velocities ranging from 479 fps to 630 fps with a ten shot average of 555 fps and about 20 foot pounds of energy. With the CCI Mini-mag I got less than 30 fps velocity spread. I made certain to use fresh CCI CB Long for the test and determined that velocity spread was the culprit–giving me excessive vertical spread in four different rifles.

    If we were neighbors I’d invite you to the county public range while it’s closed (I’m one of the range safety officers and have access to the range when it isn’t open to the public) and fire your Carcano with ammo over my chronograph. Pricey ammunition, unfortunately, isn’t always good ammunition. I don’t know how your ammo would perform over the chronograph.. The ad below surprised me because the soft point ammo cost less than the FMJ stuff:

    Like Socrates, I’m ignorant–and working to fix that problem. I don’t know what Oswald’s rifle and ammunition was capable of doing on 22 November 1963–especially when Oswald was the trigger technician. The Warren Commission Report claimed that three spent casings and one live cartridge were recovered but didn’t mention any other ammunition–and did mention that there was a clip for the rifle (part of the rifle’s feed system, the clip permitted using the magazine). No other ammunition? Part of the scientific method is “show your work” so that peer review can duplicate your experiment (or study) and either duplicate or fail to duplicate test results.

    There’s a lot of nonsense out there about firearms.

    I had a 7mm Spanish Mauser carbine that gave me a foot-long pattern at 50 yards and when checked out, there was a crack in the receiver–I was lucky it didn’t blow up on me. Nice carbine otherwise, but inaccurate (vertical stringing) and dangerous to fire–I scrapped it!

    Oddly enough, I can put twelve shots on an eight inch bullseye at 150 feet with a .357 Magnum revolver (from a rest) — I have my range log someplace along with a target, if I can find it in my clutter. Or I can go to the range and test-fire at 50 yards again.

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