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Shell Casing Not Likely Evidence in Shootings (7.62mm, not .233)
Washington Post ^ | October 19, 2002 | Carol Morello and Allan Lengel

Posted on 10/19/2002 6:52:55 PM PDT by John H K

...The casing, found by a truck rental company and turned over to police on Friday, was for a 7.62 mm bullet, which is the equivalent of about .30 caliber, the sources said. In 12 shooting incidents attributed to the sniper in which nine people have been slain and two wounded since Oct. 2, authorities have said .223-caliber bullets have been used. Those are significantly smaller than .30 caliber....

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Breaking News; News/Current Events; US: District of Columbia; US: Maryland; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: sniper
Well, I guess people can start spinning elaborate "sabot" theories; but the truck seems pretty irrelevant.
1 posted on 10/19/2002 6:52:55 PM PDT by John H K
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To: John H K
Seven-point-six-two-millimeter-full-metal-jacket-sir bump
2 posted on 10/19/2002 7:02:51 PM PDT by johnb838
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To: John H K
Is doesn't seem too outlandish that a .223 could have been sabotted into a .30.

Anyone know if a sabot requires any different seating or crimping in the case that might give it away?
3 posted on 10/19/2002 7:07:01 PM PDT by El Sordo
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To: John H K
We waited a day to find out the shell was for a 7.62 round? We are never going to catch anyone if seeing the difference between a 0.223 caliber and a 0.306 takes a day.
4 posted on 10/19/2002 7:08:56 PM PDT by LoneRangerMassachusetts
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To: LoneRangerMassachusetts
I thought 7.62 = .308 and 5.56 = .223?
5 posted on 10/19/2002 7:13:00 PM PDT by SolitaryMan
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To: SolitaryMan
For all practical purposes, yes.  There are some subtle, but important differences, though. (I suspect the '.306' above was simply a typo.)
6 posted on 10/19/2002 7:20:42 PM PDT by absalom01
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To: John H K; Travis McGee; Lazamataz
Disquieting to say the least. A spent 7.62 x whatever cartridge does not look like a spent 5.56.

Well, I guess people can start spinning elaborate "sabot" theories ...

Note to anyone so tempted: if the recovered bullets have striations, best to find another theory.

7 posted on 10/19/2002 7:21:33 PM PDT by dighton
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To: SolitaryMan
It is .308. Thirty-aught-six refers to ".30 caliber, year 1906," and ".30 caliber" is .308. I think. I'm not super sure, though...
8 posted on 10/19/2002 7:21:36 PM PDT by xm177e2
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To: dighton
How do you know they didn't fire it once first into a bullet trap to produce striations, and THEN use it in a sabot? That would be fiendishly clever! </sarcasm>
9 posted on 10/19/2002 7:22:24 PM PDT by xm177e2
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To: El Sordo
Is doesn't seem too outlandish that a .223 could have been sabotted into a .30.

But what would be the advantage of that (aside from the higher velocity possible)?

10 posted on 10/19/2002 7:23:03 PM PDT by xm177e2
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To: xm177e2
I'm on the sidelines here, because it's been a loooong time.....but a 7.62mm is what I had in the USMC; the entire bullet is 3 to 4 inches long. A .223 is reported to be in the size range of a .22 caliber peashooter. Am I missing something?
11 posted on 10/19/2002 7:25:42 PM PDT by ErnBatavia
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To: LoneRangerMassachusetts
We waited a day to find out the shell was for a 7.62 round? We are never going to catch anyone if seeing the difference between a 0.223 caliber and a 0.306 takes a day.

Right. And this story appears to me to be an exclusive to the Washington Post, with the AP still saying that the extensive scientific study of the shell casing (measure it with a good ruler?) won't be in until Monday. So assuming that the Post story is true, which is a pretty good assumption, then the investigation is not only barely competent but also plagued by insider leaks. I'd like to believe it's all a clever media campaign designed to spook the shooter(s), but it seems more likely that there's a competence gap somewhere.

12 posted on 10/19/2002 7:27:40 PM PDT by Steve Eisenberg
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To: SolitaryMan
Lots of different 7.62 - different ones for Kalashnikovs, Dragunovs, and M-14s. Heck, there's even a pistol in 7.62mm.

Discerning the difference takes about, oh, a second or two.

13 posted on 10/19/2002 7:31:23 PM PDT by struwwelpeter
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To: xm177e2
That's an interesting idea, but a few things are problematic with it:

1. They might be very hard to find, but the sabot pieces would be left behind at the scenes of the shootings somewhere just ahead of the shooter's position. I think that the investigators that are getting cadets to police the area would have come up with a few sabots by now if your theory is true -- assuming they're smart enough to know to look for them.

2. Small rifle bullets don't survive bullet traps well, even the water tank kind. If they do survive, they might not be very reloadable. If they are in enough shape to reload, they wouldn't be very accurate. Not accurate enough to hit someone in the head at the ranges this sniper is probably firing from.

Clever of you, though.

14 posted on 10/19/2002 7:31:38 PM PDT by The KG9 Kid
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To: xm177e2; Travis McGee; Lazamataz
How do you know they didn't fire it once first into a bullet trap to produce striations, and THEN use it in a sabot? That would be fiendishly clever!

Really and truly, I was hoping someone would pursue the sabot thing (even in jest, as you did) to that point. There's at least one big practical objection, which I trust you and other knowledgable FReepers will point out.

Small hint, which won't need: why would someone use a sabot for criminal purposes?

15 posted on 10/19/2002 7:32:58 PM PDT by dighton
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To: ErnBatavia
Per the Sierra Reloading Manual, the .223 Remington is overall length 2.260 inches.

/john

16 posted on 10/19/2002 7:34:00 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper
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To: dighton
Uh, "Small hint, which YOU won't need."
17 posted on 10/19/2002 7:34:01 PM PDT by dighton
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To: The KG9 Kid
Those objections too. Thanks.
18 posted on 10/19/2002 7:35:19 PM PDT by dighton
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To: xm177e2
...and ".30 caliber" is .308. I think. I'm not super sure, though...

True enough. The .30 calibre barrel is .300 inches inside diameter before the rifling grooves (.004 inches deep on each side) are cut. The bullet is .308 inches in diameter so it completely fills the barrel and the rifling grooves.

19 posted on 10/19/2002 7:46:24 PM PDT by Grut
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To: John H K
Doesn't the Ak-47 shoot 7.62mm?
20 posted on 10/19/2002 7:51:13 PM PDT by jd777
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To: El Sordo
Saboting would leave absolutely no markings on the bullet as it is simply a plastic jacket that goes around a smaller bullet.

The problem with saboting is that the rifling in a barrel is typically selected for a bullet of a specific weight to acheive maximum stability and accuracy. A .223 is typically rifled with one complete twist every 9 inches, called 1 X 9, while a .30 caliber barrel is typically rifled with a 1 X 12 twist rate.

A saboted bullet suffers in the accuracy department to such a degree that a head shot at 100 yards is about half as likely to be successful.
21 posted on 10/19/2002 8:07:22 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants
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To: John H K
And it only took them two(?) days to figure out the difference between a .223 casing and a .30 cal. I tell you, them boys are as sharp as bowling balls.
22 posted on 10/19/2002 8:09:10 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants
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To: jd777
Yes. And so do about 30 other rifles, military and otherwise, although there are many different case dimensions and none are interchangeable.
23 posted on 10/19/2002 8:11:31 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants
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To: JRandomFreeper
That makes it real, real hard to confuse with a 7.62 then.
24 posted on 10/19/2002 8:13:40 PM PDT by ErnBatavia
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To: ErnBatavia
A .223 Remington casing is about the same diameter as an ink pen and about 1 7/8" long, necked down to .224" at the end. Loaded it is about 2 1/4" long.
25 posted on 10/19/2002 8:15:58 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants
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To: dighton
I wonder how long it took the lab boys to figure this out?

Ballistic fingerprinting my Aunt.

26 posted on 10/19/2002 8:28:39 PM PDT by Travis McGee
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To: xm177e2
That's sort of the plot of the Steven Hunter novel "Point of Impact", one of the best 'shooters' books ever.

(Mine will be better.)

27 posted on 10/19/2002 8:30:01 PM PDT by Travis McGee
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To: Blood of Tyrants
My first thought. You can't fool those boys in the lab.
28 posted on 10/19/2002 8:30:49 PM PDT by Travis McGee
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To: ErnBatavia
There are several variants of 7.62. I just miked a 7.62x39 and the overall length is 2.145. I know the 7.62x54 Nato round is longer, obviously.

It doesn't matter that I can pick up a round and mike it, I can also read. The bottom of the case clearly indicates what round it is, and the manufacturer. Even if it's coded, I pick up a book and figure it out in a couple of minutes. Sheesh.

I don't know why it took the cops so long.

/john

29 posted on 10/19/2002 8:31:39 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper
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To: Blood of Tyrants
Will rifling be left on the discarded sabot parts? A shooter will not be able to recover his sabot parts; the police certainly will.
30 posted on 10/19/2002 8:31:59 PM PDT by Travis McGee
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To: xm177e2
It is .308. Thirty-aught-six refers to ".30 caliber, year 1906," and ".30 caliber" is .308. I think. I'm not super sure, though...

Yes, that's correct. .308 as in ".308 Winchester," which is for all practical purposes one and the same as "7.62x51mm" or "7.62 NATO." The number .308 refers to the diameter of the bullet's cross-section in inches. The .30-06 also uses a .308-diameter bullet. The caliber designation refers to ".30-caliber of 1906." The designation was intended to give supply sergeants a way of telling it apart from the previous U.S. standard infantry cartridge, the .30 US (or .30-40 Krag for us civilians).

The .223 number also refers to the diameter of the bullet's cross-section in inches. Anyone who knows this can tell at a glance whether a given cartridge is a .22 or .30 caliber.

31 posted on 10/19/2002 8:51:22 PM PDT by Oberon
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To: Travis McGee
The sabot parts could be anywhere as they become unstable after they seperate from the bullet, tumbling and flying off at random angles.
32 posted on 10/19/2002 9:20:03 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants
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To: John H K
Is it possible that the "sniper" can have more than one type of gun?
33 posted on 10/19/2002 9:39:56 PM PDT by toupsie
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To: xm177e2
--or gently tap a .223 bullet through a short section of .22 barrel with a punch, protecting the base of the bullet with a wad, reloading it in a sabot---not too accurate but effective.

I was saving that for my novel, along with a few other tricks--

34 posted on 10/19/2002 10:07:17 PM PDT by rellimpank
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To: JRandomFreeper
You can read the case head to see what the cartridge is(or what it started life as,if we're dealing with a wildcat),and so can I,and so can just about everyone else on this board who's ever done any shooting or reloading.

But that's you and me,because we regard firearms as relatively simple mechanical devices that are a lot of fun to play with and that we might need someday.

According to the media,though,firearms are akin to voodoo. From what I can tell,the average reporter thinks that guns are to be placed in the realm of black magic-they're DANGEROUS!!!!,and everyone knows that unless you cast a very powerful protective spell on them,the things are liable to just hop out of the closet on their own and go do bad things.

And guns have all those numbers on them. Mysterious numbers like .223(and just why is that dot in front of the numbers???),and 6.5x55(must really be evil,since there's an "X" in that one...),and everyone knows that numbers are way too complicated for people like us to handle. Best that we watch television and let the really competent sorcerers do the firearms handling,lest someone get hurt.

35 posted on 10/20/2002 8:54:40 AM PDT by sawsalimb
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To: xm177e2
It is .308. Thirty-aught-six refers to ".30 caliber, year 1906," and ".30 caliber" is .308. I think. I'm not super sure, though...
7.62 x 51 = .308 Winchester = 7.62 Nato (used in the old M14 infrantry rifle, and M60 Machinegun) 7.62 x 64 = 30-06 Springfield (used in the famous M-1 Garand, and many others...)
7.62 x 54R = well, the same! The "R" designates "rimmed", as in a rim that protrudes from the case wall proper, instead of the more modern recessed extraction groove used in most other military weapons. (The old "30-30" still popular in this country, has a bit of a "rim" at it's base.) 7.62R was adopted by the Czar, then used by the Soviets for a long time...they may even have some weaponry that still accomodates the round.
From photos, it appeared to me this cartridge was still in use in Afghanistan, for I saw a belt-fed automatic weapon that appeared to me to be using 7.62R in some of the footage and photographs of the "Northern Alliance".
Many thousands of bolt-action rifles using this caliber have been imported from ex-Soviet block nations in the last dozen years or so...
There are a few others designated .30 (thirty caliber) ---like .30 Carbine, which is shorter, and less powerful than all the above. More a super jacked up handgun round than a rifle round, but it worked ok in semi-auto.
Finally,
7.62 x 39 = what one feeds an AK-47! (and at least a few other rifles, too, like Soviet/Chinese SKS, or the "Type 53"...this round can also be had in a fairly common american made Ruger Mini-30)
Stubby little round, noticably fatter than .308, and .308 cases are a little fatter than 30-06.
Short cases can cycle easier in "automatic", or semi automatic modes, which helped lead to their wider adoption by military forces...and there is a nearly brand-new "sporting", or hunting round which is kinda' short in overall case length, but fatter yet! Short fat cases seem to get more punch for the same amount of powder compared to the longer variants---well, as long as one is using modern smokeless powders. Black powder might like longer cases, i dunno, but we do know that black powder likes longer barrels. Some of those old mountain-man rifles had 48 inch barrels. A short one was 32 inches. For "modern" hunting rifles, 26 inches is considered about as long as practical, in that much longer than that actually slows things down. I myself have hunting rifles of 16, 21, 24, & 26 inches, differing calibers...
I think there is another 7.62 rifle round, but I can't remember what it is right now...there are a few 7.62 projectile firing handgun rounds, and to confuse things even more (!) there are both rifle and handgun rounds whose bores are made for 7.65 (seven-point-six-five). HA! and 7.7 MM, and 6.5 MM, etc., the list is quite long for all the stuff at "about" thirty caliber, particularly when one includes all those of a little more, or a little less! The reporter for the story which quotes "7.62", obviously doesn't know much what he's writing about. Although when it's spoken that way, seven-six-two, what comes most readily to mind is 7.62 Nato. Well, that was up until Norinco flooded the market with all those $100-$250 SKS's semi-autos that fired 7.62 x 39. If one is looking for a rifle of that nature get the Soviet block SKS's, milled from a billet, (if you can find one for sell cheap enough) for they're a bit better, I'm told...
But the reporter can be forgiven for not knowing beans about firearms. Let's face it. There are a seemingly bewildering array of "calibers" and types...
It's the cops who really need to know what shell cases they are finding, to match 'em up with possibles. But I do hope it doesn't come down to "just" shell cases. If the fellow (or fellows) could be STOPPED---that would be nice!
36 posted on 10/20/2002 9:03:08 AM PDT by BlueDragon
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To: Oberon
7.62-51 = .308 winchester = Nato Round for the M-14
and other rifles and machine guns. Which would really be the prefered round for a sniper, if shooting at long range. It is also an excellent hunting cartridge.
7.62-54 = The round the Russians fire in their long guns
7.62-39 = The round for the AK-47
30 06 = Thirty Caliber slug used in the American Long Guns
in WWI and WWII and Korea i.e The Springfield and
MI-Garand (the finest rifle ever made)

All of the Above are 30 caliber. None of the above can be interchanged between the rifles they are designed for.

.223 is the round the sniper is using and is the round used in the M-16 (the armys current main battle rifle), it is also used in many sporting weapons. At less than 150 yards it causes devestating injuries as the slug will fragment and
tumble upon impact, causing massive internal injuries and bleeding. It is still effective out to 300 yards but has lost a great deal of its energy at that distance. At that distance it will incapacitate the enemy but probably not kill him which in battle is good, as it will take other soldiers to care for him.
37 posted on 10/20/2002 9:14:58 AM PDT by cpdiii
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To: John H K
The casing, found by a truck rental company and turned over to police on Friday, was for a 7.62 mm bullet

I remember one of the first reports on the Sniper mentioning the SKS carabine... it's a Russian rifle exactly of calibre 7.62 mm.

38 posted on 10/20/2002 10:18:18 AM PDT by Neophyte
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To: John H K
Well, I guess people can start spinning elaborate "sabot" theories; but the truck seems pretty irrelevant.

What's elaborate about a "sabot"? The use of one might tend to lend more credence to the "right wing militia gun nut theory" than the "Islamofascitic terrorist" theory, but not much.

39 posted on 10/20/2002 12:13:35 PM PDT by El Gato
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To: BlueDragon
they may even have some weaponry that still accomodates the round.

They do, their standard sniper rifle for example, and their medium machine guns. The Finns also used 7.62X54R (and later 7.62x39) for quite some time, I don't know if they still do or not. They killed lots of Russians with the former.

40 posted on 10/20/2002 12:24:49 PM PDT by El Gato
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To: xm177e2
But what would be the advantage of that (aside from the higher velocity possible)?

Especially if you're only going to fire it at 50 - 100 yards from the target. Would make a louder report.

41 posted on 10/20/2002 12:28:14 PM PDT by Demidog
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To: Blood of Tyrants
The problem with saboting is that the rifling in a barrel is typically selected for a bullet of a specific weight to acheive maximum stability and accuracy. A .223 is typically rifled with one complete twist every 9 inches, called 1 X 9, while a .30 caliber barrel is typically rifled with a 1 X 12 twist rate.

Doesn't the velocity figure into that too? If the velocity were 1/3 faster with the sabot round, the bullet spin rate, in terms of revolutions per second, rather than revolutions per foot of forward motion, be the the same as the slower round fired from the 1 in 9 twist barrel.

42 posted on 10/20/2002 12:33:05 PM PDT by El Gato
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To: dighton
Note to anyone so tempted: if the recovered bullets have striations, best to find another theory.

True, but we don't know if they do or don't.

43 posted on 10/20/2002 12:35:14 PM PDT by El Gato
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To: Travis McGee
A shooter will not be able to recover his sabot parts; the police certainly will.

That's kind of a strong statment. They aren't big, they are very light, and they'd look like anyother piece of plastic junk to the average police cadet, or most anyone else other than a real gun nut, such as ourselves. Even I would probably have to be clued to be looking for something like that before I'd notice it.

44 posted on 10/20/2002 12:39:06 PM PDT by El Gato
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To: El Gato
Yes, velocity does. But there is a reason that the serious precision shooters don't use them; they are not as accurate as a full bore diameter bullet.
45 posted on 10/20/2002 2:04:07 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants
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To: cpdiii
You forgot to mention .30-40 Krag, .30-03, and .30-30.

That's okay... I did it for you. =]

Oh, and don't forget .300 Savage, .30 Remington, .30 Newton, .300 Winchester Magnum, .300 Holland & Holland Magnum, and .308 Norma Magnum.

Your turn... Take it, CPDIII!!!

46 posted on 10/20/2002 4:51:53 PM PDT by Oberon
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To: SolitaryMan
I thought 7.62 = .308 and 5.56 = .223?

Me too...

47 posted on 10/20/2002 5:44:25 PM PDT by Sir Francis Dashwood
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To: El Gato
Good point. IF they knew to look, they'd probably find.

But I doubt VERY much they are getting anything matchable from a thin jscketed high vel HP.

48 posted on 10/20/2002 8:56:34 PM PDT by Travis McGee
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To: John H K
Well what took them so long to classify it.
49 posted on 10/20/2002 10:10:44 PM PDT by The Red Zone
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To: John H K
The casing, found by a truck rental company and turned over to police on Friday, was for a 7.62 mm bullet, which is the equivalent of about .30 caliber, the sources said. In 12 shooting incidents attributed to the sniper in which nine people have been slain and two wounded since Oct. 2, authorities have said .223-caliber bullets have been used.

Whoops!

FBI stated today that the casing was a .223.

Looks like the media was wrong---again.

After conducting tests they have concluded the casing and truck are not tied to the sniper, however, the delay in giving an official report is very valid.

50 posted on 10/21/2002 4:34:35 PM PDT by cyncooper
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