Three Guns of Dallas, November 1963


by Darryl Choy

The Carcano rifle, serial number C2766, was manufactured in 1940 at the Terni Arsenal. This rifle was part of a small lot of rifles ordered for the “Guardie del Duce,” Benito Mussolini’s one hundred- man personal bodyguard unit. Stocks were thinner than regular production and did not have cartouches or serial numbers and were dyed black. After the war, many Carcano rilfes were imported and sold in the United States. The markings “Made in Italy” was stamped at the request of the US importer prior to shipment. Crescent Firearms Inc., NY, a distributor of surplus Carcano rifles, shipped this rifle to Klein’s Sporting Goods, Chicago. A gunsmith at Klein’s drilled and tapped the rifle for an “Ordnance Optic Inc., Hollywood, California, 4×18 coated, made in Japan” scope.

In March 1963, Klein’s received an order coupon clipped from the February 1963 issue of the AMERICAN RIFLEMAN. The order was from A. Hidell (aka Lee Harvey Oswald) and contained a postal money order for $21.45 for the $19.95 scoped rifle plus shipping.

Eight months later, Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots from this rifle killing JFK.

The 6.5mm x 52 Carcano ammunition used by Oswald was manufactured by the Western Cartridge Company, aka WCC (Winchester). It was a special order for President Kennedy’s Bay of Pigs invasion. (Training films show Cubans training with M38 rifles and bayonets.) Four million rounds, lots 6000, 6001, 6002 and 6003, were produced and received by Army for the CIA. Two million rounds were subsequently released on the US surplus market. This ammunition is the best ever available for 6.5mm x 52 in the U.S.

Smith & Wesson Victory

The S&W Victory, serial number V510210, caliber 38 S&W, was shipped to England during WW2 and received British inspection/proof marks. After the war, this revolver was “imported” back to North America. In January 1963, the Empire Wholesale Sporting Goods Ltd. in Montreal shipped this revolver with 98 other Victory models to George Rose & Company, Los Angeles. Prior to it being sold, the 38 S&W chambering was converted to 38 Special and the barrel shortened to 2.25”. In late January 1963, Seaport Trader, the mail order division of Geo. Rose, received a mail order for one Victory model for $29.95 from A. J. Hidell (aka Lee Harvey Oswald). A $10 cash down payment was enclosed. In March 1963, serial number V510210, Victory model was shipped, and the $19.95 balance due and $1.27 shipping was collected from “Mr. Hidell.”

Eight months later Lee Harvey Oswald fired four shots from this revolver killing police officer J.D. Tippit.

Colt Cobra

In 1960 Jack Ruby, along with a police officer buddy, went to Ray Brantley’s Hardware Store in Dallas and purchased a used early 1950s model Colt Cobra, serial number 2744LW. It had a 2″ barrel and had an after market hammer shroud installed. The revolver and a box of 38 Special ammunition cost $62.50. The hardware store gave the buyer a police discount and didn’t charge the tax.

Three years later Ruby fired one shot from this Colt, killing Lee Harvey Oswald.

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