Stretcher Bullet Pictures

I was following the discussions (trying to at least) in the alt.assassination.jfk Usenet news group about the 6 vs 4 rifling groove discussions. I asked if I could find some of the relevant pictures. I was given several.

These first several bullets pictures are from the 1960s

For years they were the pictures of the famous "stretcher bullet" a.k.a."Magic Bullet". This bullet was Warren Commission Exhibit 399 (CE 399).

I got the photos at the request of Walt Cakebread from Jerry Robertson who made these excellent scans. I lightened most of them a bit for better display on my computer. For faster loading, I compressed the pictures into JPEG images. One picture is indeed worth a thousand words.

This picture is from volume 17 of the Warren Commission 25-volume set of evidence. Note the ratio of width between the lands and grooves of the bullet.

This is the same picture cropped and rotated.

This is a blowup of the tip of the same bullet picture.

In the 1990s Walt Cakebread noticed that this bullet has 6 rifling grooves. The official Manlicher-Carcano 6.5mm assassination rifle had only 4 grooves.

This 4- vs 6-groove revelation came to Walt after reading the 1985 book Reasonable Doubt by Henry Hurt. A set of bullet pictures in that book seemed to have something strange.

Harold Weisburg published a book in 1965 about the assassination. One of his assertions involved tracking missing lead from the base of the famous bullet. During the research Harold was granted access to the official CE 399 bullet to take photos. He was more interested in the base. However the published photos also show the sides of that bullet. Page 602 is pictured here. The book is Whitewash: The Report on the Warren Report, New York, Dell, 1965, 1966

This picture is a blowup of the bullet base. Note the land to groove width ratio.

The question to ask yourself is do the above pictures show a 4- or 6-groove bullet? The model pictured at the bottom of the page illustrates the difference.


Photos from the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) in 1978

HSCA pictures (below) show a 4-groove bullet!. It seems incredible that such a discrepancy would not be noticed publicly for so many years.

These pictures and the bullet photos below are from the HSCA volumes.

This is a 4-groove bullet as published in 1978. Note that there is now some nose dent that has appeared.

This is a cropped blowup of the above.

This is a further cropped blowup of the above.

Another 1978 picture.

This is a cropped blowup of the above.

And again ... I also received some photos of the base of the bullet that were published by HSCA which are not posted here.

These were bullets fired from the claimed murder weapon for the 1978 investigation.

This chart provides data for the rifle barrel. The width numbers are in thousandths of an inch. Note that the grooves in the barrel correspond to the high points on the bullet. The lands of the barrel correspond to the grooves visible in the bullet. Note that this results in the grooves of the bullet (=lands of the barrel) are significantly narrower than the non-grooved portion of the bullet.

This picture below shows a simple wooden mockup of 4- and 6-groove bullets. It is shows how a side view of how the respective grooving looks. They are not intended to be scale models.

They look like two different bullets to me. There is an argument against the six-groove bullet interpretation that you may want to check out. The scenario presented is that the HSCA and WC photos are just two sides of the same bullet and that the extra groove(s) are just scratches. We would certainly agree that multi-angle photos of the official bullet are in order. I would strongly suggest that whoever does this also makes microphotographs too. I have visions of an engraver laboring over a piece of metal to produce a result compatible with both sets of photos.  :-)