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Thread: The Ballistics of Assassination



  1. #11
    Marlin Marksman
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    How could he possibly miss an entire car on the first shot and hit the next two in rapid succession with such accuracy. I also don't for one minute buy the "pristine" bullet "theory.
    We will NEVER know the truth, but no one can argue there aren't a LOT of discrepincies. I do believe Oswald did SOME of the shooting, just not the only person(s)
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  2. #12
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    Imagine that in all this great big country we would have such a hard time combining disciplines so often as we do. Even in my small town, the animal control have a hard time finding someone to shoot their dart guns. That combination of drugs and guns is a problem …

    Combining real ballistic smarts with medical knowledge was very unusual 50 years ago. Even now, as we see so many more of these ideas kicked around, there are those that can't grasp facts from fiction. Perhaps its just journalism, but its perhaps a problem with our original perceived idea of what happened. I never thought a second shooter made any sense. I've seen the slow motion tape, and know that the abilities of the Carcano and his shooting abiliy were up to the task. . Having read again a lot of the Lincoln conspiracy, its amazing how much information was gleaned without the help of the internet, and mass communication. They simply put in hundreds of thousands of man hours tracking Booth down.

    How lucky we are to have the ability to converse like this. It seems there are more like minded individuals in this world than I originally thought.

    Thanks to everyone for their thoughts.

    David
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  3. #13
    High Priest of the Powder Hoarders Super Moderator
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    Massad Ayoob did a feature on the Kennedy Assassination several years ago, he talked to a lot of forensic folks, took in a lot of interviews with witnesses, and came away with the conclusion that Oswald was the only shooter. His arguments were compelling, but I've always been skeptical. He was the one who mentioned that Oswald was a lefty, and that he could run a right-handed (standard) bolt-action pretty fast under stress, even a cock-on closing design. For years we heard that the 6.5mm rifle used was a piece of junk, but with a scope sight and the short distance involved, an average shooter could probably hit a walnut at that distance, even moving slowly away.

    I'll admit I've always thought that the final shot looks like it was delivered from the front, but the agonal response could well be responsible for that. Then I read that some guy admitted on his deathbed that he had shot JFK with a .222 handgun from the grassy knoll.......and that sounds VERY feasible to me, given the Zapruder film.
    Congressman John V. Lindsay (1921-2000): “Those who suppress freedom always do so in the name of law and order."
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  4. #14
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    30wcf,

    The only real fact that we know that is 100% true is, Kennedy was hit twice and is dead. Since Oswald never confessed before being killed himself, it is only circumstantial evidence that Oswald was a shooter although that evidence is certainly convincing and I believe it. Lattimer's conclusions are just another theory, no more a fact than the conclusions of Colin McLaren's book that the episode I mentioned earlier was based on, or the book by Bonar Menninger's "Mortal Error" written many years ago that concluded the final shot accidentally came from a AR15 carried by a secret service agent in the follow up car.

    McLaren and ballistics expert Howard Donahue spent years pouring over documents and film to form their theory of the AR15 fired accidental by a secret service agent and the subsequent coverup by the secret service to hide embarrassment. There is actually film footage showing the agent standing up in the followup car holding a AR15 level by the pistol grip in his right hand while looking over his right shoulder.

    What's the first thing a predator hunter will tell someone that wants to save the pelts they take? Use a bullet that will fragment inside and not exit or a solid that will punch a small hole in and out. I just can't buy that the solids fired from Oswalds gun came apart inside Kennedy's head so violently. Here is another little oddity......when the doctors at the hospital measured the hole in the back of Kennedy's skull, it was noted on the report of the diameter of that hole. A 6.5 bullet (.264) would not fit through a hole of that size but a .224 bullet was almost a perfect match......something to think about.

    Nope.....the only real fact we know today is as I said, Kennedy was hit twice and is dead. Everything else is just theory but the "Smoking Gun" episode presented by McLaren and Donahue are very compelling for me.
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  5. #15
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    Gohon, it is very much expected and plausible that the 6.5 FMJ round produced the effects it did upon striking Kennedy's head. Hydraulic displacement of this sort is very much the effect when a projectile of 2,000 fps strikes this fluid filled region. No matter its composition.

    Is is also very likely a mischaracterization to suggest that the 6.5 bullet had a "heavy jacket." It most assuredly did not. The jackets of FMJ's of the military and domestically produced persuasion are usually rather thinly drawn, as it saves material, and the jacket itself is rolled over at the heel of the bullet, giving it the appearance of having a much heavier jacket than it usually does. The jacket material is actually thin.

    Hatcher, in his Textbook of Pistols and Revolvers, notes the shattering effects of bullet passage of the higher velocity 9mm and 30 Mauser FMJ types of rounds when they strike the skull....and this Carcano bullet was traveling about 50 to 60 percent faster than those round's maximum speed when it struck the skull. Dismissing the 6.5 as not capable of producing these effects is a significant underestimation of their potential when striking fluid filled objects that have a hard outer surface.

    The results were exactly what you'd expect a bullet of this type and speed to do when it hits in this way.

    Donahue was a very questionable ballistic expert in asserting what he did......he doesn't have much experience if he thinks such is not possible with a 6.5 traveling at 2,000. Bonar Meninger made a ridiculous book called Mortal Error in which he claims an agent in close proximity to Kennedy accidentally fired his AR 15 and shot Kennedy in the head because somehow only an AR 15 or similar high velocity rifle is capable of producing such results. Basing the entire premise of a book on a flawed ballistic premise results in a comically flawed book.

    Now c'mon......do you really think that if an AR 15 went off only a few yards in front of literally hundreds or thousands of witness at the same street level, that it wouldn't have been immediately noticeable and recognizable? They are pretty loud and the sound would have been in very close proximity to people looking directly at the source of a shot. Hundreds of people would have accurately remembered it happening.....yet there is not any such record. This theory would have to be backed by the eyewitness accounts of a great many people, and it isn't.

    Again, for those so asserting.....the hole wasn't in the back of Kennedy's skull but rather much more to the side. The defect describing the semicircular hole of entrance (the outer periphery of the hole left with the rest of the skull) nowhere in the medical description suggests that is is of a perfect match for any particular bullet diameter. Reread that. Most of the hole is gone, and only a small curve remains.

    As mentioned before, because the President and Connolly were unquestionably lined up in the direction the shot came from, the single bullet theory is more plausible than any other by far. The bullet recovered, C.E. 266 tagged by the evidence number assigned, is ovate at the base. Base damage resulting in an ovate cross section is exactly the appearance a bullet assumes after traveling part of its journey sideways through a resistance medium. Since the base is essentially a weak point, forces acting on the side of the bullet flatten and deform the base to a some degree. The bullet was not and is not pristine, and since the bullet traversed considerable soft but not necessarily heavily fluid filled material on its initial impacts with Kennedy and Connolly and was traveling sideways when it struck Connolly, (ovate entrance hole) and struck Connally's ribs and wrist bones while tumbling, its appearance is quite expected for a bullet having made such a journey.
    Last edited by 35remington; 11-23-2013 at 12:38 PM.
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  6. #16
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    I find the explanation for the curious oddity that Oswald completely missed the car on the first shot is one that subsequent investigation suggested......Oswald attempted the first shot when the limousine went behind a tree in the line of fire. Bullet deflection can account for such an event. There is no compelling evidence of shots from any other direction.
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  7. #17
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    My thoughts were not even directed towards the first shot which I suspect was deflected by a stop light, not a tree as the tree was not in line with the shot when it was fired at the time of the assassination. That tree is there today but it has had 50 years to grow. I have no problems with the single bullet theory as I believe since Connolly was sitting several inches lower and to the left of Kennedy the bullet trajectory would have lined up for the wounds it produced in both men.

    It is the third shot I question and I don't buy this particular bullet would have produced the effect it did on the third shot, especially since it was in the back of the head and not to the side as the drawing from pictures taken in Dallas below shows.

    Where is the evidence the bullet was traveling sideways at anytime? Even that is only theory. Again, hard facts are not available in this assassination, only leaving theory and who one decides to believe. Yes, with all the noise, horn's, siren's, motorcycle engine noise, and two shots drawing attention elsewhere, a AR-15 with a a flash hider could have gone off with very little attention drawn to it.

    To question Donahue's expertise and call Meninger's findings ridiculous seems kind of closed minded to me but that's just me. I'm pretty much open minded about this but right now Donahue, Meninger, and McLaren's finding seem a lot more plausible to me than the FMJ exploding in Kennedys head and leaving no fragments inside Kennedy's head. Keep in mind the warren commission found no fragments in the limousine nor in the autopsy performed in Washington. The only bullet fragments produced were in the x-rays in Dallas and the Lab Technician later testified he falsified those on orders from a secrete service agent who gave him the fragments to place on the undeveloped film so they would be visible. The whole situation stinks to high heaven...........


    "In order for the entrance wound photograph to be taken, the autopsy surgeons lifted the president’s right shoulder from the autopsy table, and rolled him onto his left shoulder. Then, per his own testimony, Dr. Boswell gathered together these loose strands of scalp between his thumb and index finger and drew them forward across the gaping hole in the right front of the skull, thereby making the entrance wound on the back of the president’s head clearly visible to the photographer’s camera"
    SI VIS PACEM--PARA BELLUM

  8. #18
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    We're getting toward the "Shadow Man" type assertions here. Best to stick with what can be verified rather than innuendo. What a "lab guy" testified about has nothing to do with what can be credibly verified, and all kinds of kooky ideas can be forwarded without being vetted first, which makes for active imaginations but little real proof. This is when it is said "the whole situation stinks to high heaven......." But, does it really when completely unverifiable assertions are forwarded without proper vetting and presented as fact? Then anything at all can be asserted, limited only by the imagination.

    This sounds more like picking and choosing what is believed rather than producing verifiable information. There's a difference.

    An oblique shot would leave few fragments behind and much material exited the right side of the skull as I show in the links below.....and the skull missing was on the right side of the head. The bullet was a FMJ as you claim, was it not? Fragments of bullet were found to have put a crack in the windshield and the metallic edge around the windshield.

    General Julian Hatcher stated pistol ballistics with FMJ's frequently fracture skulls. The ability of a much faster, heavier FMJ fired from a rifle to produce such a wound should be unquestionable to any ballistic "expert" with true bona fides, and is. Reference Hatcher. Forget Donahue. I can produce such evidence myself, which is why I have such complete disdain for Donahue's level of expertise.

    Suggesting an AR 15 went off by accident and failed to attract the notice of people standing very close by looking directly at the person accused of making the gun go off is indeed a ludicrous assertion. Dozens if not hundreds of people were looking directly at said agent and completely failed to notice his rifle went bang when he was only a few yards away? Not likely no matter how many horns were going off. Many people would have immediately noticed such a thing, and they did not. That's why it's ludicrous. It's also ludicrous for any ballistic expert to assert a FMJ bullet at rifle velocities could not produce such a damaging head wound.

    The ability of a FMJ from a 6.5mm rifle to create such a wound is absolutely not questionable to those with a true understanding of ballistics. We're talking substantial energy carried by said bullet. What's incredible is a whole book was devoted to the extremely flawed premise that the 6.5 Carcano's bullet cannot produce such a wound when no less an authority than Julian Hatcher would and essentially clearly did state that such was likely, over 25 years before the event happened.

    The sideways travel of the bullet is not theory but fact. It is confirmed by the nature of the holes in Connolly's clothing, which were ovate, and the wounds were not clean round holes of entrance. Remember the ovate condition of the bullet's base I mentioned several times before which confirms the tumbling of the bullet. Further, read the report of the findings of the wounds on Connolly's body.

    Let's talk about the drawing above, which is definitely not a photo. Note the flap of skull hanging to the side.

    Read the following sites:

    JFK Assassination: Kennedy's Head Wound

    HSCV 7 FPP

    The second site also describes Connolly's wounds, with the passage, " There is an irregularly shaped oval defect perforating all layers of the jacket on the right back,"

    Notice on the high resolution of Zapruder on YouTube that Connolly and Kennedy are reacting to the shot that passed through both men as they emerge from behind the sign in the limousine. Kennedy's hands are locked below his chin in the position known as Thorbun's, a reaction to trauma occurring near the spine. The head hit is gruesome.
    Last edited by 35remington; 11-23-2013 at 09:21 PM.

  9. #19
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    As a further comment, if there weren't many fragments in Kennedy's head, why, exactly, is the conclusion drawn that the bullet "exploded?" Evidence suggests it did not if there were not many fragments. As mentioned before, conventional FMJ's at much lower pistol velocities are noted to produce fracturing wounds of the skull by a true ballistic expert. There should be absolutely no doubt in your mind a much heavier, faster rifle bullet can produce damaging head wounds and considerable hydraulic displacement of the fluid and soft tissue therein. Velocity helps in producing hydraulically displacing head wounds with FMJ bullets, just as expert Julian Hatcher stated.
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  10. #20
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    You keep bringing up Hatcher and the work he did back in the 30's and 40's using crude instruments and techniques that can't come close to what ballistic experts have available today. If you want to use outdated expert writings over today's modern experts then that is your right to do so. I've shot enough 30 caliber FMJ at 2000 fps and various 22 caliber bullets at 3000 fps to know what the difference in wound channels those to bullets are capable of. As a result of my experience, not Hatchers, not Donahue, I choose to believe the third shot possible did not come from Oswalds rifle.

    As for the link you posted, they show nothing but sketches drawn from memory. Not very compelling evidence to me. At least the drawing I posted was from the actual photo which I put more faith in, shows the entrance hole was not on the right side of the head but more in the center. The blown out section of the skull, exit wound, may have to the right side but not the entrance wound.

    I don't know who John Adams is but the posted links are nothing more than one of thousands on the net debunking Kennedy assassination theories which is fine with me as I'm not putting forth any positive theories of what did happen.....only what could have happened.

    The bottom line is other than concluding that Oswald was a shooter, neither you nor I know for sure what really happened. All we can do is look at everything available and draw our own conclusions. All I was doing was carrying on a conversation of what might of happened and new information that has become available and is worthy of considering, so if you want to discredit that then feel free to do so. I really could care less and to tell the truth, at this point in time of our history, I really don't care who shot Kennedy.
    Last edited by Gohon; 11-23-2013 at 11:29 PM.
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