Electronic Assassinations Newsletter

Issue #2 "New Discoveries in the Newly Released Assassination Files"

Appendix D
The Uniqueness of Western Cartridge Company Mannlicher Ammunition

Wallace Milam,

1. In the monograph he submitted coincident with his HSCA testimony, Dr. Guinn not only claimed that he could find homogeneity within individual Mannlicher bullets in contrast to the extreme heterogeneity from bullet to bullet and from lot to lot, but indicated further that these Western Cartridge Company 6.5 Mannlicher bullets were the only ones for which such positive fragment identification was possible! It seems all the other types of ammunition had been too homogeneous for differentiation. This is how Guinn put it:

In earlier studies of bullet leads from many different manufacturers it was found that bullets from a given manufacturer and production lot were generally quite uniform in their Sb and Ag concentrations, both within a given bullet and amongst bullets from the same box or production lot. Thus, for such typical ammunition it is generally not possible to distinguish amongst bullets or bullet fragments from the same box of cartridges.

However, when the author analyzed quite a number of Western Cartridge Company Mannlicher-Carcano 6.5 mm bullets ... this ammunition was found to differ sharply from typical bullet leads. Although individual bullets were found to be fairly homogeneous in their Sb and Ag concentrations, they differed greatly from bullet to bullet amongst samples taken from the same box. (HSCA, I, p. 511)

2. This is a remarkable set of paragraphs. It is important to see what is said and implied here:

a. Most bullet leads follow this pattern:
production lot--homogeneous
individual boxes of bullets--homogeneous pieces
of an individual bullet--homogeneous

b. Mannlicher-Carcano bullet leads are said by Guinn to follow this pattern:

production lot--heterogeneous
individual boxes of bullets--heterogeneous pieces of individual bullet--fairly homogeneous

c. Thus, according to Guinn, only with this WCC Mannlicher bullet lead could one hope to identify pieces of the same bullet. Ignoring for a moment the fortuitous coincidence that this specificity is the very one needed to bolster the single bullet theory, it is legitimate to ask two questions:

*What is the source of this specificity? Clearly the source of homogeneity in the other bullet leads studied was the use of measured, uniform amounts of metal, either in producing virgin leads or deliberately-hardened leads. With Mannlicher Carcano bullet leads being amalgams of recycled leads, virgin leads, and hardened leads, with no attempt to add measured amounts of other elements, what mechanism would exist for achieving homogeneity--at any level? If bullets from the same box had no homogeneity of antimony, how would the bullets within that box achieve internal homogeneity? Notice the pattern found with the other bullet leads: homogeneity-homogeneity-homogeneity. Guinn's claim is that somehow the WCC Mannlicher bullet lead achieves: heterogeneity-heterogeneity-homogeneity. *What is the database which allowed Guinn to suggest this uniqueness? Some may be troubled by Guinn's assertion that he had "analyzed quite a number" of Mannlicher bullets, when, by his own admission, that "number" totaled 14 bullets at the time he wrote his paper. The nub of the matter is that he had tested for homogeneity in only 3 bullets (which did not, contrary to his belief, represent samplings for all production lots), and had found figures suggesting heterogeneity-not homogeneity-in 2 of the 3.

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