Kennedy Assassination Recreation

My understanding of attempts to recreate the shots supposedly fired by Oswald, with the rifle he supposedly used (does anyone know its make/model?) have failed. IE, Nobody, even the best shooters we can come up with, can knock off three shots with anything near the accuracy Oswald supposedly did.

A friend of mine swears he saw some show where a Marine sharpshooter, or someone similarly trained, was able to do it.

Who is right?


The rifle was a WWII surplus Mannlicher-Carcano, firing 6.5 mm rounds. It was equipped with a 4x scope.

And allow me to quote Gerald Posner’s damn-near definitive book Case Closed:

Estimates of the time it took for all three shots range from 4.8 seconds to more than 8 seconds. Either estimate is well within the range of what is physically possible with Oswald’s rifle.

There’s a vast difference between making the shots and recreating the shots. It’s a subtlety that eludes some people.

Take a BB gun, sit in a chair, and fire three BB’s at the opposite wall. No problem (except from your landlord).

Now try to hit the same three spots where your first three BB’s struck. You’ll go through thousands of BB’s trying to hit the same targets that you hit easily with your first three shots. Does this indicate that your first three shots succeeded against near impossible odds? Of course not.

So the issue is whether the marksmen were asked to recreate Oswald’s shooting by being directed to hit a moving target in the same spots Oswald hit or were directed to try to just shoot a moving target three times under similar conditions.

Why on earth would they want to hit the target in the same spots as Oswald? Like it was vitally important to his plan that the first shot miss entirely, the second shot hit Kennedy in the throat, and the third shot blow his head off?

I believe the criterion was just ‘hits on the body’. Just shoot three rounds, and count the hits on the body. So that would be a closer comparison.

But the re-creation can be skewed the other way as well. For instance, it’s tough to simulate how much anxiety the shooter would have been feeling, taking a shot at the President of the United States. Plus the complicating factors of shrubbery, visual noise in the sight picture, fear of being spotted, etc.

My conclusion is that it was certainly physically possible to have made the shots, but it would take an excellent marksman with good knowledge of his rifle. Oswald was an average shot and had apparently only fired the rifle a few times. But the result, as you point out, could have been due to chance. Maybe Oswald wasn’t that good, but the variance in his shots just came out ‘lucky’.

What’s proven by CBS’ recreation is that it wasn’t impossible, as some have maintained, for Oswald to make the shots.

In all the Kennedy conspiracy lore, I’ve never seen a convincing case either way, based on the evidence.


In all the Kennedy conspiracy lore, I’ve never seen a convincing case either way, based on the evidence.


Given a lack of any definitive proof, it’s easy to believe that the authors of books such as “Case Closed” or “Six Seconds in Dallas” first establish their point of view, then set about gathering evidence to support it.
Me, I think that Lee Harvey Oswald was Richard Nixon’s illegitimate son. Similar hairlines, after all.

To the contrary, Oswald was a pretty good shot. He qualified as a sharpshooter in the Marines, and had practiced repeatedly with the rifle he used to shoot Kennedy. And don’t forget, he’d already used that same rifle in an assassination attempt on Gen. Walker a few months earlier, so he wasn’t exactly new to that stressful situation.

Besides, the motorcade wasn’t that difficult as a target. The motorcade was traveling slow in the first place, and the idiot driver actually slowed down further after the second shot. Kennedy was only a couple hundred feet away when Oswald fired the fatal shot, and that just ain’t too hard to do with a scope on your rifle.

Any cites that he qualified as a ‘sharpshooter’ in the Marines? My recollection is that he only went through basic rifle qualification, and finished about average. In the marines, that might make you a ‘marksman’ or something, but it’s still the standard rifle qualification. I don’t think he went any farther than that.

I seem to recall reading somewhere that his entire rifle training in the Marines consisted of firing off only a few hundred rounds.

Any cites that he practiced ‘extensively’ with that rifle? I also recall reading that there was only documented evidence that he practiced with it once or twice.

what do you mean he tried to assasinate a general a few months before? and what was the distance of the shot?

too busy to read any more about the Kennedy business!

gotta get out there and find out who REALLY killed OJ’s wife!

I would just like to add that the “History” channel has been rebroadcasting the series on “The Men Who Killed Kennedy,” in which they show–beyond a shadow of a doubt–that it was Organized Crime (with some French connection that I don’t recall) who were behind the conspiracy.

On the evening of April 10th, 1963 a shot was fired at Major General Edwin Walker, a well known figure on the far-right in Dallas, into the general’s house from outside. It missed. Marina Oswald testified to the Warren Commission that it was her husband who was responsible. Photographs of Walker’s house were also found amongst Oswald’s possessions. I’ve no idea what was involved in the shot.

[Rant Hat ON]

If there’s one thing the events of September 11 have proved, it’s that conspiracies are sloppy, and the bigger conspiracy the sloppier it gets. Follow the money, follow the paper trail, follow the guy sitting in a bar who shoots his mouth off after a couple of drinks. Sooner or later, the pieces fall into place.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Kennedy assasination would be the MOTHER conspiracy of all time. To have a coverup survive for almost 40 years, without the conspiratologists being able to come up with a unified theory (it’s the CIA - it’s the Mafia - it’s the Cubans - it’s LBJ - it’s Nixon!) is too outrageous to have a shred of credibility. Much less “beyond a shadow of a doubt.”

[Rant Hat OFF]

Certainly. Case Closed, Chapter 2: “On December 21, 1956, after three weeks of training, he shot 212, two points over the score required for a “sharpshooter” qualification. the second highest in the Marine Corps.” Posner cites the Warren Commission testimony of Lt. Col. Allison Folsom for that information. But of course, the Marines are part of the conspiracy too. :wink:

Certainly. Marina Oswald testified to the Warren Commission that Lee would practice with the bolt action for hours on end. She also testified that Oswald took the rifle out for target practice several times, each time for several hours. But of course, “target practice” was really only a cover story for Oswald’s secret meetings with Fidel Castro, Jack Ruby, and LBJ. :wink:

Any other misinformation you’d like cleared up?

I hope you’re kidding. Posner again:

Whoa there, Minty. You’re assuming too much about me here. I happen to believe that Oswald was the guy who shot Kennedy. All of the evidence points directly at him, and the only things that don’t point at him are shadowy and circumstantial.

As for the Marine training, there may be a semantic issue here. I specifically looked this up for someone a year or two ago, and the impression I got was that Oswald was an average shot. It may be that ‘sharpshooter’ IS the minimum qualification at that level. Unfortunately, all my books are still packed away from when we moved to our new house, so I won’t be able to validate that.

I’d never seen that Marina Oswald quote saying that he ‘practiced all the time’. Did she mean at home, just practicing working the action? Anyway, it’s not an important point since as I already said I believe Oswald could and did shoot him. I was simply asking because you were saying things I hadn’t heard before, so I wanted to know where you heard it.

I still find a lot of the whole situation odd. I’ve never understood how a person of Oswald’s character wound up in a sensitive position in the Marines with a ‘secret’ clearance, then could renounce his citizenship and becomes a Soviet citizen, then is allowed to leave the Soviet Union and come back to the U.S. without any repercussions or really even much of an investigation.

But such thoughts aren’t material and say nothing about his guilt or innocence. It’s just details like that that make the story so compelling.

She testified he practiced working the action at home for hours at a time, and she also testified that he took the rifle out for target practice on multiple occasions.

Well he was investigated by the FBI right up until the time of the assassination, although he wasn’t a high priority and the FBI lost track of him for a while after he moved from New Orleans to Dallas. So he certainly was investigated.

Oswald was never granted Soviet citizenship, although he was given some sort of “legal resident” status. He also never managed to officially revoke his U.S. citizenship. On the day he tried to do it, the U.S. embassy in Moscow told him to come back later to complete the renunciation (the official was thinking that he shouldn’t make that decision too rashly). Oswald never bothered to return, so he was still a U.S. citizen when he requested to come back to the States. And though it’s awfully hard to say a citizen can’t come to the U.S., it still took a year for all the paperwork to go through. It wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination.

Finally, although I can’t find a cite at the moment, ISTR that Oswald’s repatriation as a defector was far from unique. In fact, quite a few defectors around the same time were allowed to return from the Soviet Union after learning that life there sucked.

BTW, :wink: means I’m joking. :slight_smile:

That was not a 747 you heard going WHOOOSH over your heads, just a 747-sized load of sarcasm.:wink:

Maybe the single piece of evidence that strains credulity the most is the “magic bull(sh)et,” which supposedly hit Kennedy in the back, took un upward detour (no problem here, if it hit bone) and exited Kennedy near the collar, but then turned downward again to hit Connelly, before turning toward Las Vegas and taking in a show.

As a fence sitter, I’d be interested in knowing how that bullet is explained by the proponents of the “it was Oswald alone” theory.

“You’re dead. You’re all dead.” – Frank Sinatra