Brass Fetcher Ballistic Testing

The 6.5x52mm Carcano cartridge was allegedly used by Lee Harvey Oswald in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. It is curious indeed how the wounding effect brought about by the first shot (documented on the Zapruder film) is quite different from the second shot. For the sake of decency and illustration, I will present below a gelatin block that has been shot by a FMJ bullet from a rifle and a JHP from a rifle to demonstrate the discrepancy in the account of a single shooter using a single ammunition type.

Figure 1: Simulated Shot Lines
Figure 2: Simulated Shot Lines

If you are interested, compare the shots above to the effects of the head shots that President Kennedy received. Remember that little voice on your shoulder—when something doesn’t seem right, it isn't right. Many people espouse the idea that JFK was shot by multiple shooters … it does appear that he was hit in the head from two directions and the second shot was a rapidly expanding bullet such as a varmint bullet.

We are in the business of factual analysis but we are also an ‘alternative information source’ because we don’t make any physical products to sell you. If you would like an interesting alternative viewpoint on the JFK assassination, check out the video below.

The 6.5x52mm Carcano projectile has an extraordinarily large length-to-diameter ratio but the bullets that are commercially available for it seem to be cylindrical in shape, which prevents tumbling. At the time of the Carcano bullets creation, a bullets penetration depth in pine boards was considered the measure of lethality. The more boards you can go through, the more powerful the bullet it was thought. For that reason, it is likely that the designers of the 6.5x52mm projectile made the bullet very sectionally-dense and shaped it so that tumbling was unlikely… in order to boost their ‘pine board score’ and sell more rifles.

Many interesting ballistic possibilities exist with this cartridge due to the exceptionally high l/d ratio. Bullets that have a pointer tip will shift the weight rearward and make the bullet more likely to tumble inside of the gelatin. A bullet that offers massive expansion and weight retention speaks for itself though in practical terms this may be difficult to achieve due to the limitations of material strength.

More Info


10-percent Ballistic Gelatin Shots
See how well this caliber stacks up against the FBI performance requirement of expansion and 12.0” or deeper penetration depth.


20-percent Ballistic Gelatin Shots
See how well this caliber stacks up in military-standard performance evaluations.

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