November 22, 1963
In less than
"If you shut up the truth and bury it under the ground, it will but grow, and gather to itself such explosive power that the day it bursts through it will blow up everything in its way."
- French author Emile Zola
"Treason does never prosper.
What's the reason?
When it prospers,
None dare call it treason."
Sir John Harrington
.221 Remington Fire Ball
Introduced in 1963, the .221 Fire Ball and its Experimental Pistol Number 100 were the brainchild of Remington's Wayne Leek. An abbreviated single shot version of Leek's Remington Model 600 Carbine, the pistol was introduced to the shooting world as the XP-100. During it development stages, the XP-100 was first chambered for the .222 Remington cartridge, but Leek eventually decided it burned a bit more powder then was necessary in a 10-3/4 inch barrel. Consequently, the .222 case was shortened to 1.40 inches and the new cartridge became known as the .221 Fire Ball. Muzzle velocity with a 50 grain bullet was advertised as 2650 fps.
During the infancy of handgun metallic silhouette shooting, the 221 Fire Ball was mildly popular among competitors in that sport, but as more powerful cartridges became available in the XP-100, it went back to doing what it had always done best, tumbling varmints at distances handgunners had never thought possible before its introduction. Even today the 221 Fire Ball is an excellent choice for varminting with single shot handguns. When chambered in custom XP-100 or Contender barrels measuring 14-16 inches long, it is only about 150 fps slower than the more popular 223 Remington.
For shooting varmints at long range with th .221 Fire Ball, 50 grain bullets with extremely thin jackets are the very best choices. Good examples are the Nosler Expander, Hornady Super Explosive, Sierra Blitz, and Speer TNT. H4227 is an excellent powder for this mild mannered little cartridge.
Note that in this article it is mentioned that the XP-100 was initially designed for a .222 cartridge, exactly as James Files said. Indeed, the XP-100 Fireball was introduced to the market in 1963, but prototypes were available well before. It is not difficult to understand that the CIA would be interested in such a compact, yet such an accurate weapon. Interestingly, the weapon was originally chambered for a .222 caliber cartridge, which is the caliber that James Files used. That caliber was later changed to a .221 cartridge.
Here are some exchanges from an Internet discussion board:
Is the James Files story true? The weapon in question, a combination pistol-rifle would have been absolutely perfect for the short dimensions of Dealey Plaza. Especially concealment after the Assassination. Many witnesses thought a pistol had been fired/An Explosion had occurred. The location from which Files allegedly fired has been verified by Donald Thomas, the HSCA, and a peer reviewed British Science publication.
Clearly there is a figure there in that precise spot in the Moorman Photo just to our right of a large tree the person is crouched with a possible barrel resting between the picket fence line....Jeff
It's possible that James Files story is "close" to the truth. The ammo available for the old 221 fireball was rifle ammo........The barrel of the Fireball pistol was too short to allow the slow burning rifle powder to burn completely. Consequently the unburned powder ignited when it hit the air at the muzzle....creating a hell of a boom and a fireball....
Recall that nearly all of the witnesses said they thought the loud "boom" was a railroad torpedo, a motorcycle backfire, or a cannon they had heard
at football games.
Some folks say there is a fireball visible in some photos and several witnesses said they saw smoke on the G.K,
The wound on JFK's head is typical of the damage a Fireball pistol would
inflict on a human head....
All of this tends to support James Files story that a Fireball pistol was
one of the weapons used.
And here is an opinion of a gunstore-owner:
If as the official records claim, Lee Harvey Oswald is the shooter of JFK, the rifle that was "recovered" in the depository was a Manlicher bolt action rifle. It shoots a 6.5 mm cartridge, more powerful than the .223 win/5.56 NATO or the .221 Rem Fireball. Recoil from that rifle with the military loading is slightly less than the .308 win/7.62 Nato. Never have I seen in print (anywhere) that JFK was shot with a handgun. Whomever is telling you that a .221 fireball kicks "like a mule" and "harder than any rifle", apparently is regurgitating information that he/she has heard somewhere.
The fireball was introduced in a bolt action hand gun in 1962 (not a pistol), and propelled a 50 gr bullet in the 2600-2700 fps range. I'd even be picky enough to tell you that someone who calls an Remington XP100 a "pistol" has a lot more to learn about firearms than they are going to by reading internet conspiricy theories. Felt recoil from a typical 4lb6oz handgun will be in the 5 to 7 lb range. Compare this to a typical 30-06 rifle (180 gr bullet) at 19 lbs, and you'll wonder how big this person's mule really is.
And the view of another gun-expert:
I found the .222 version to be quite manageable with one hand, having no more recoil than my .44 magnum, and in a 2 handed combat stance it can thread a needle at 150 yards. Up to those ranges, the Fireball would by a perfect choice for an assassination weapon if portability and concealability were at issue.
John Ritchson (SSGT. 499th TC USATC HG US Army Class of 69) (GunSmith/Ballistician,Black Eagle Gun Works) (Survivor, SE Asian Games, 11BRAVO7,Tet 1970) To read a more extensive and excellent article by John Ritchson click here.