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Warren Commission Report: Page 559« Previous | Next »

(APPENDIX X - Expert Testimony)

Revolver Cartridges and Cartridge Cases

When Oswald was arrested six live cartridges were found in the revolver. 63 Three were Western .38 Specials, loaded with copper-coated lead bullets, and three were Remington-Peters .38 Specials, loaded with lead bullets. 64 Five additional live cartridges were found in Oswald's pocket, 65 all of which were Western .38 Specials, loaded with copper-coated bullets. 66 The Western and Remington-Peters .88 Special cartridges are virtually identical--the copper coating on the Western bullets is not a full jacket, but only a gilding metal, put on principally for sales appeal. 67


Four expended cartridge cases were found near the site of the Tippit killing. 68 Two of these cartridge cases were Remington-Peters .38 Specials and two were Western .38 Specials. 69 Based on a comparison with test cartridge cases fired in the V510210 revolver, the four cartridge cases were identified as having been fired in the V510210 revolver. 70

Revolver Bullets

Four bullets were recovered from the body of Officer Tippit. 71 In Nicol's opinion one of the four bullets could be positively identified with test bullets fired from V510210 revolver, and the other three could have been fired from that revolver. 72 In Cunningham's opinion all four bullets could have been fired from the V510210 revolver, but none could be positively identified to the revolver 73 --that is, in his opinion the bullets bore the revolver's rifling characteristics, but no conclusion could be drawn on the basis of microscopic characteristics. 74 Cunningham did not conclude that the bullets had not been fired from the revolver, since he found that consecutive bullets fired in the revolver by the FBI could not even be identified with each other under the microscope. 75 The apparent reasons for this was that while the revolver had been rechambered for a .38 Special cartridge, it had not been rebarreled for a .38 Special bullet. The barrel was therefore slightly oversized for a .38 Special bullet, which has a smaller diameter than a .38 S. & W. bullet. This would cause the passage of a .38 Special bullet through the barrel to be erratic, resulting in inconsistent microscopic markings. 76


Based on the number of grooves, groove widths, groove spacing, and knurling on the four recovered bullets, three were copper-coated lead bullets of Western-Winchester manufacture (Western and Winchester are divisions of the same company), and the fourth was a lead bullet of Remington-Peters manufacture. 77 This contrasts with the four recovered cartridge cases, which consisted of two Remington-Peters and two Westerns. There are several possible explanations for this variance: (1) the killer fired five cartridges, three of which were Western-Winchester and two of which were Remington-Peters; one Remington-Peters bullet missed Tippit; and a Western-Winchester cartridge case and the Remington-Peters bullet that missed were simply not found. (2) The killer fired only four cartridges, three

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