Oswald’s Rifle?

I bought a 1938 Italian Carcano 6.5 x 52 rifle last year, the same one Lee Harvey Oswald is said to have killed JFK with – and  finally had a chance to test it out today.

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At 150 feet, standing, using gun sights it made about an 18 inch spread. By contrast, my 1936 Mosin 7.62 x 54R made about a two to three inch spread – fired the same way. If all Carcano’s are like that, they are completely useless as a sniper rifle. It is the most inconsistent rifle I have ever fired.

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25 Responses to Oswald’s Rifle?

  1. Andy Oz says:

    Oswald – “I am just a patsy.”
    He was most likely CIA, but they always needed a patsy to hang it on.
    Why they didn’t choose a better rifle to frame him with beats me.
    I suggest watching 11.22.63 series. James Franco is very good in it.

  2. Stephen Richards says:

    How much variation is the in the quality of bullets in any pack. I remember paying a lot extra for competition quality shells. What is it about the gun makes the spread so different?

  3. richard says:

    was his gun ever tested for accuracy.

    He could of got a lucky shot in.

  4. Lee Christal says:

    Forward your data to NASA…they will be able to adjust and homogenize the results, thereby proving that the Carcano is an equal rifle

  5. R Shearer says:

    Lefthand Canyon?

  6. Dan Kurt says:

    re: @Stephen Richards: “What is it about the gun makes the spread so different?”

    I have NO personal knowledge on the Italian Carcano 6.5 x 52 rifle. However, second hand scuttlebutt affords a universal opinion that the gun was junk.

    As to why such a large spread, possible causes include:
    1) Non-spitzer; bullet;
    2) possible large bullet jump from cartridge case to lands;
    3) worn out rifling, corroded rifling, poorly done rifling.

    Dan Kurt

  7. dave1billion says:

    The Carcano has always had a bad reputation, especially compared to its contemporaries such as the Mauser 98K, the British SMLE and the US Springfield M1903.

    Look inside the barrel at the rifling. A bore light would be the best way to check it, but if you remove the bolt you should be able to just hold it up to a light and look at the rifling. You can look at your Mosin Nagant’s rifling as a comparison.

    If the Carcano has had a lot of rounds put through it and the rifling is worn it would make a big difference. I can’t think of any other explanation for an 18″ spread at 50 yards.

    I do believe that Oswald’s rifle was tested after JFK’s assassination and a sniper was able to make the shots. That’s purely a memory though so I wouldn’t want to bet on it.

  8. Jack Striker says:

    Maybe Ted Cruz’ father was the second shooter.

  9. Brad says:

    You may be wading into shallow waters with your free hand gun sight shooting.

    “They judged that the rifle was “very accurate,” and could group three shots into 3-5 inches at 100 yards.”


  10. Fred Harwood says:

    Earned silver with pop-ups out to 800 yards with the Garand M1, a few decades back.
    Love my R 700 30.06.

  11. Henry Barth says:

    In March 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald purchased a “6.5 [mm] Italian carbine,” later improperly called a Mannlicher–Carcano, through mail order, for $19.95 ($155 in 2015 dollars). The advertisement only specified a “6.5 Italian Carbine” and actually shows a Carcano model M91 TS, which was the 36″ Carcano carbine model sold through the ad when it was originally placed. However, from a time 11 months before Oswald placed his order, the Chicago sporting goods store from which he purchased it had been shipping the slightly longer (40.2″) Model 91/38 under the same ad, and this is the weapon Oswald received.

    Official reports have concluded that Oswald used this weapon to assassinate U.S. President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. The rifle, made in the Terni arsenal in 1940 and bearing the serial number C2766, was equipped for an extra $7 with an inexpensive new 4×18 Japanese telescopic sight, on a sheet metal side mount. It was later scrutinized by local police, the FBI, the U. S. Army, and two federal commissions. Shooting tests, conducted by those groups and others using the original rifle or similar models, addressed questions about the speed and accuracy with which the Carcano could be fired. Following lawsuits over its ownership, the rifle ended up in storage at the National Archives. The assassination was one of the factors leading to passage of the Gun Control Act of 1968, which banned mail order sales of firearms.


    CBS TV recreated the JFK assassination using the correct rifle, and it worked perfectly, even getting off the three rounds correctly in the time frame.

    • GoneWithTheWind says:

      But was CBS able to emulate the magic bullet that changed directions multiple times, deposited material from the bullet into various wounds but came out having not lost any lead and weighing what it did before firing? Were they also able to cause Kennedy’s head to snaap backwards from a rifleshot from the rear? And last but not least were they able to fire at Kennedy’s head hitting him from the front with a rear exit wound but firing from behind him?

      • Bernie says:

        These are uncomfortable questions for the LN official version people, yet they have a way of weaseling their way out of them. A neuromuscular reaction explains the head snap. If one traces the trajectory of a shot which pushes the head upwards and to the left, can one think of Jack Lawrence firing from the storm drain?

  12. Brad-DXT says:

    There was also a Nova 50th year special

    From my experience, all firearms have slight differences that affect accuracy. Even the cheap ones can be accurate but, there are more bad ones than the finer manufacturers. Luck of the draw.

  13. R2Dtoo says:

    I had a 6.5 about 45 years ago. It was a piece of junk. It never would consistently group ANY bullet style or weight. Traded it for a real rifle – my first R700 and never looked back. My 50cal muzzleloader is more accurate than that 6.5!

  14. Andyj says:

    I suggest you look out of Oswalds “sniper window” and figure out the only way he could of shot JFK was with a rifle that slung its lead in a curve ball.
    “whatreallyhappened.com” covered it nicely and this video is…. interesting.

  15. jones says:

    Not if it was fired from the opening road edge rain drain under the sidewalk.

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