Maybe The ARRB Can Help
That Pesky Remington XP-100
Where does James Files' claim he used a Remington XP-100 and one .222 bullet to assassinate John F. Kennedy originate?
Actually the die was probably cast on May 22, 1990 when the discoverer of the shells, John Rademacher, sent his "To Whom It May Concern" letter. In his opening paragraph he indicated, "This is an update to the letters, diagrams and pictures that I sent to your show in October 1989 on the JFK assassination."
From this we can infer three things 1. His discovery of the shells predated October 1989 - 2. Since the diagram of his "dig" is dated 90, it may well be a revision of an earlier sketch 3. The reference to "your show" indicates he was trying to get the attention of the media.
Included in Johns information packet was his five page letter, a diagram of Dealey Plaza detailing the location of the shell casings (included at the end of this article), six pages reproduced from a gun catalog showing various rifles that fire the .222, a picture of an Armalite AR-18 with the printed notation "Shoots Rem. Cal .222 in 1963", a page on the development of the .222 and a page with two photographs of the Remington XP-100. Some of these items will be considered in due course but first we need to read relevant portions of his letter, quoted verbatim below:
"In brief I will now list my accomplishments and findings of my investigation into the assassination of JFK, 1987 to 1990.
1. The discovery of two high powered spent bullet shell casings on the grassy knoll in Dealey Plaza. These shells are Remington 222 bullets the shells date back to the year 1963. Dating is through the manufacturer and through the technique called terminus post quem dating. These bullets were found where witnesses saw flashes from gun blasts. One witness Malcolm Sommers (sic) saw an assassin with a gun under a mans coat over his arm, within ten feet of where the second 222 shell was found. All witnesses on the grassy knoll said the shots came from the knoll and the area where I found the shell casings.
2. Ive matched the Remington 222 bullets to the wounds' on JFKs body as first seen by the Dallas doctors.
3. I have matched the Remington 222 bullet to a target pistol that was first manufactured in 1963. Through photographic evidence of it in the assassins hand and through eye witnesses who saw the strange gun under the mans arm. I believe this is the gun seen by Malcolm Sommers right after the shooting on the grassy knoll. Malcolm Sommers said the gun looked very strange and different looking. The gun I have matched to the 222 bullets is a Remington XP 100 long range target pistol bolt action with telescopics (sic) sights and a balance weight on the barrell (sic). This (is an) odd looking weapon especially in 1963 the first year it came out. The 222 bullets and XP 100 long range pistol have made many world records for accuracy.
4. I have discovered an assassin in a photo that has not been seen or discovered by any other expert. It is in the Mary Mooreman (sic) photo taken at the moment of the last shot to JFK. The assassin is in the upper right hand corner behind a four foot wall sixteen feet behind and to the right of Zapruder. He is stooped behind a wall with a short gun with sights on it resting on the wall and pointing it at the street where the presidents (sic) limo is. The gun appears to be the Remington XP 100 long range target pistol going by the length and appearance of it in the Mary Mooreman photo the assassin which I have named "The Grassy Knoll Assassin" is clean cut with a suit and tie on. He is clearly visible in my blowup of the Mary Mooreman poloroid (sic) picture of November 22, 1963."
Next we need a time line to determine significant dates and review them in light of Johns letter.
It would seem that upon discovery of the two-.222 casings, John started a search for weaponry capable of firing the bullets in question. Actually, he found at least thirteen such firearms. He photocopied pages from gun catalogs, as mentioned above, picturing guns such as the Remington Model 722, Winchester Model 70, Savage Model 340, Sako Vixen Sporter, BSA Majestic Deluxe and Marlin Model 322 Varmint to name but a few. In each case he carefully underlined the number .222 that appeared as a bullet caliber that the rifle could fire.
Then John heard about and probably spoke to Malcolm Summers. I say probably, because John continually misspells his last name. In Summers he found a witness that "said the gun looked very strange and different looking." At this point, for better or worse, using Summers unverified "testimony" John wrote, "The gun I have matched to the 222 bullets is a Remington XP 100 long range target pistol." I have to wonder if John, at the time of his revelation, knew the exotic weapon he had selected didnt fire the .222. It was designed exclusively for the .221. I know this because Remington Arms staff expert on the XP-100, when contacted on April 1, 1998, flatly denied the pistol was ever chambered for the .222. Additionally, Files (if you believe him) indicated he had to modify the pistol to accept the .222. Someone at some time prior to May 22, 1990 modified a number appearing next to the picture of the XP-100 taken from a gun catalog. The number in question was changed from .221 to .222. Therefore since both Remingtons expert and Files claim the pistol was developed to fire the .221, the only conclusion I can reach is someone faked the exhibit! (See below)
When John wrote his "To Whom It May Concern" letter he was convinced Summers had seen the XP-100. Interestingly enough the "update to the letters, diagrams and pictures that I sent to your show in October 1989" mentions nothing about a dented shell casing. Additionally, he made a mistake, when he claimed, "The 222 bullets and XP 100 long range pistol have made many world records for accuracy." John included another photocopied page describing how accurate the .222 was. "The introduction of the .222 Remington on March 1, 1950 provided the mainstay of Benchrest shooters for the next twenty five years." There is no mention of the XP-100. Why? Because, as mentioned earlier, the XP-100 was chambered to fire only the .221. Not important to you or me, but certainly important to the best shooters, or possibly professional assassins, in the world.
At one point, Bob Vernon remembered a Joe West report which mentioned ". . . a young Dallas-Ft. Worth man who had discovered .222 casings under the soil in Dealey Plaza." This shows West had knowledge of Rademachers find well before Vernon entered the case. It is also quite clear West interviewed Files at least once, probably more, before Vernon arrived on the scene.
Thanks to Johns inaccurate matching of the XP-100 to the .222 shell casings, there are several problems to overcome if the Files story is to pass muster.
In my opinion, all parties at interest were painted into a corner back on May 22, 1990. John Rademacher coupled his finding of two .222 shell casings and the statement of Malcolm Summers into his personal assessment that the weapon had, absolutely had, to be the Remington XP-100. Of course, we now know the weapon couldn't handle the casing(s) he discovered. How Johns erroneous conclusion ended up as part of the Files story will be left up to the reader but there were, as the timeline shows, opportunities for Files to be coached.
Once revealed, the XP-100 problems had to be minimized. The pistol had to be rebored. The bullets had to be special mercury loads. A shell casing had to have a bite mark. And to what end? I quote from an article by Richard Johnson that appeared on page six in the July 27, 1994 New York Post entitled "Call this JFK tale knoll and void." "The convict recounted this outlandish tale in two* videotaped interviews to Bob Vernon, a Houston producer who is trying to sell the yarn as a TV special for $2 million."
** In a recent internet post, Jack White has provided valuable insight into this and similar situations. "It is reasonable to assume that JFK disinformationalists are at work; we can reasonably assume that disinformationalists infest the internet; to be effective, they must be convincing and seem like one of us; however, some are openly obvious, figuring that novices will not notice; some, however, assume the role of respected researchers; genuine JFK researchers have a motive...a desire for truth, justice and history to prevail." (emphasis mine)
Which would you prefer, the truth or a $2 million dollar TV special? In my opinion that's the one question for which Mr. Vernon has already provided an answer.
Dave Perry ~ April 23, 1998
Below ~ John Rademacher's Dealey Plaza "Anthropological" Map