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  » Appendix VI
  » Appendix VII
  » Appendix VIII
  » Appendix IX
  » Appendix X
  » Appendix XI
  » Appendix XII
  » Appendix XIII
  » Appendix XIV
  » Appendix XV
  » Appendix XVI
  » Appendix XVII
  » Appendix XVIII
Warren Commission Report: Page 554« Previous | Next »

(APPENDIX X - Expert Testimony)

which had a broad patch, which apparently had been inserted on the rifle and cut to length. 10 The sling was not a standard rifle sling, but appeared to be a musical instrument strap or a sling from a carrying case or camera bag.11 A basic purpose of a rifle sling is to enable the rifleman to steady his grip, by wrapping the arm into the sling in a prescribed manner. The sling on the rifle was too short to use in the normal way, but might have served to provide some additional steadiness. 12

The rifle was identified as a 6.5-millimeter Mannlicher-Carcano Italian military rifle, Model 91/38. 13 This identification was initially made by comparing the rifle with standard reference works and by the markings inscribed on the rifle. 14 The caliber was independently determined by chambering a Mannlicher-Carcano 6.5 millimeter cartridge in the rifle for fit, and by making a sulfur cast of the inside of the rifle's barrel which was measured with a micrometer. 15 (The caliber of a weapon is the diameter of the interior of the barrel, measured between opposite lands. The caliber of American weapons is expressed in inches; thus a .30-caliber weapon has a barrel which is thirty one-hundredths or three-tenths of an inch in diameter. The caliber of continental European weapons is measured in millimeters. A 6.5-millimeter caliber weapon corresponds to an American .257-caliber weapon, that is, its barrel diameter is about one-fourth inch.) 16 The identification was later confirmed by a communication from SIFAR, the Italian Armed Forces Intelligence Service. This communication also explained the markings on the rifle, as follows: "CAL. 6.5" refers to the rifle's caliber; "MADE ITALY" refers to its origin, and was inscribed at the request of the American importer prior to shipment; "TERNI" means that the rifle was manufactured and tested by the Terni Army Plant of Terni, Italy; the number "C2766" is the serial number of the rifle, and the rifle in question is the only one of its type bearing that serial number; the numerals "1940" and "40" refer to the year of manufacture; and the other figures, numbers, and letters are principally inspector's, designer's, or manufacturer's marks.17

The Model 91/38 rifle was one of the 1891 series of Italian military rifles, incorporating features designed by Ritter von Mannlicher and M. Carcano. The series originally consisted of 6.5-millimeter caliber rifles, but Model 38 of the series, designed shortly before World War II, was a 7.35-millimeter caliber. Early in World War II, however, the Italian Government, which encountered an ammunition supply problem, began producing many of these rifles as 6.5-millimeter caliber rifles, known as the 6.5-millimeter Model 91/38. 18 The 91/38 has been imported into this country as surplus military equipment, has been advertised quite widely, and is now fairly common in this country. 19

Like most bolt-action military rifles, the 91/38 is operated by turning up the bolt handle, drawing the bolt to the rear, pushing the bolt forward, turning down the bolt handle, and pulling the trigger. Bringing the bolt forward and turning down the bolt handle compresses the spring which drives the firing pin, and locks the bolt into

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