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Warren Commission Report: Page 172« Previous | Next »

(CHAPTER IV - The Assassin)

fired from the Smith & Wesson revolver taken from Oswald. He concluded that all of these cartridges were fired from the same weapon.573


Cunningham compared four lead bullets recovered from the body of Patrolman Tippit with test bullets fired from Oswald's revolver 574 He explained that the bullets were slightly smaller than the barrel of the pistol which had fired them. This caused the bullets to have an erratic passage through the barrel and impressed upon the lead of the bullets inconsistent individual characteristics which made identification impossible. Consecutive bullets fired from the revolver by the FBI experts could not be identified as having been fired from that revolver.575 (See app. X, p. 559.) Cunningham testified that all of the bullets were mutilated, one being useless for comparison purposes. All four bullets were fired from a weapon with five lands and grooves and a right. twist 576 which were the rifling characteristics of the revolver taken from Oswald. He concluded, however, that he could not say whether the four bullets were fired from the revolver in Oswald's possession.577 "The only thing I can testify is they could have on the basis of the rifling characteristics--they could have been." 578


Nicol differed with the FBI experts on one bullet taken from Tippit's body. He declared that this bullet 579 was fired from the same weapon that fired the test bullets to the exclusion of all other weapons. But he agreed that because the other three bullets were mutilated, he could not determine if they had been fired from the same weapon as the test bullets.580


The examination and testimony of the experts enabled the Commission to conclude that five shots may have been fired, even though only four bullets were recovered. Three of the bullets recovered from Tippit's body were manufactured by Winchester-Western, and the fourth bullet by Remington-Peters, but only two of the four discarded cartridge eases found on the lawn at 10th Street and Patton Avenue were of Winchester-Western manufacture.581 Therefore, one cartridge case of this type was not recovered. And though only one bullet of Remington-Peters manufacture was recovered, two empty cartridge cases of that make were retrieved. Therefore, either one bullet of Remington-Peters manufacture is missing or one used Remington-Peters cartridge case, which may have been in the revolver before the shooting, was discarded along with the others as Oswald left the scene. If a bullet is missing, five were fired. This corresponds with the observation and memory of Ted Callaway,582 and possibly Warren Reynolds, but not with the other eyewitnesses who claim to have heard from two to four shots.

Ownership of Revolver

By checking certain importers and dealers after the assassination of President Kennedy and slaying of Officer Tippit, agents of the FBI determined that George Rose & Co. of Los Angeles was a major distributor
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