Whodunnit xv: The Shootist (b)

Second, it isn’t true Oswald had only 5.6 seconds to fire three shots. The clock did not start to run until the first shot was fired. He had 5.6 seconds to fire two shots. If he had used the telescopic site he had added to the rifle, it would have taken him 2.3 seconds to fire each shot, which gave him ample, if somewhat hurried, time. But, Bugliosi argues, since Oswald was firing rapidly, it would have been more accurate to use the rifle’s iron site, in which case he would have only needed 1.6 seconds between shots. (Additionally, the 1976 House Select Committee on Assassinations’s review of the Zapruder films identified the first shot as having come earlier than originally believed, which meant Oswald had 8.4 seconds, not 5.6, within which to fire his second and third shots.)
The Warren Commission had three experts fire two sets of three shots from Oswald’s rifle, none of whom had ever used it before. All used the scope, and one of the three got both his sets off within 5.6 seconds. In 1967, for a CBS documentary, ten riflemen used a similar rifle to Oswald’s. having had time to practice with it first. They took an average time of 5.6 seconds to fire three shots. Seven fired three rounds within 5.6 seconds. Of these, one hit the “head” target, positioned where Kennedy would have been at the time, once; five others hit it twice. One hit two of three targets in under 5 seconds. Another hit all three in 5.2. In 1979 an HSCA expert hit three out of three targets in under five seconds.
Third, Oswald was no slouch with a rifle, as some conspiracists have maintained. He had qualified as a sharpshooter when in the Marines. (He scored best when rapid-firing.) Kennedy was a barely moving (11 mph) target, only 88-feet from Oswald at his final shot. And, as Bugliosi points out, if you assume Oswald was aiming at Kennedy’s head, he missed twice.