Forensic Investigation of Unusual Firearms: Ballistic and Medico-Legal Evidence, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Forensic Investigation of Unusual Firearms

Ballistic and Medico-Legal Evidence, 1st Edition

By J.K. Sinha

CRC Press

212 pages | 88 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2014-11-07
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In recent years, the use of illegally produced firearms has increased exponentially worldwide. These are often cheap, nonstandard firearms that defy known classification and identification criteria. The use of unusual firearms in crimes has frequently led to unpredictable and misleading reconstruction of shooting incidents. In this book, internationally known forensic firearm expert, J.K. Sinha, presents a detailed forensic study of unusual firearms, with the goal of helping crime-scene investigators to minimize erroneous conclusions in cases where these types of firearms are used.

Based on his extensive experimentation with more than 1,000 nonstandard firearms, the author identifies new class characteristic parameters needed to establish linkage of projectiles with irregular rifled and smoothbore barrels. The book begins with an introduction to unusual firearms and proceeds to discuss forensic investigation of fired bullets, medico-legal evidence, barrel marks on fired shots, and investigation of fired cartridges and shot charge. Chapters also cover topics such as timing of firing, unusual rifling marks, shooter identification, and unusual bullet hole evaluations.

Providing concise yet complete techniques for making forensic analyses and conclusions, this is the first book of its kind to critically examine the use of unusual, nonstandard firearms in perpetrating crimes. It is intended for professionals and academicians working in the field: forensic firearm experts and consultants, forensic medicine professionals and medico-legal experts, prosecution and defense attorneys, enforcement agencies and judiciary, university students and researchers studying forensic science, forensic medicine, criminology and law.

Table of Contents




About the Author

Introduction to Unusual Firearms

Advent of Unusual Firearms in Crime

Making/Manufacture of Illegal Firearms

Illegally Modified, Legal Firearms

Substandard and Copies of Branded Firearms

Homemade Firearms

Inappropriate Constructional Features of Unusual Firearms

Irregular Rifling

Varying Barrel Shape and Size

Varying Bore Dimension

Varying Barrel Lengths Irrespective of Type of Ammunition

Varying Muzzle and Breech Thickness Irrespective of Type of Ammunition

Varying Chambers: Shape and Size

Cartridge Headspace

Unusual Firing Pin Arrangement

Trigger Pull

Locking Arrangement

Unusual Locking Arrangement

Caliber Designation of Unusual Firearms: New Nomenclatures

Bore/Caliber Designation

Forensic Investigation of Fired Cartridges of Unusual Firearms

Breech Face Marks

Modified Procedures for Reproducing Breech Marks

Evaluation of Deceptive and Ambiguous Marks

Examination of Breech and Unusual Firearms

Chamber Marks

Chamber Shape and Size

Chamber–Bore Joint Marks

Modified Procedures for Reproducing Chamber Marks

Firing Pin Marks

Evaluation of Multifiring Pin Hits

Tampered Firing Pin

Extractor and Ejector Marks

Extractor Marks by Low-Pressure Round

Ejector Marks and Tampered Firearms

Summary of Modified Cartridge Identification Procedures

Forensic Investigation of Fired Bullets from Unusual Firearms

Inappropriate Rifled Bore Barrel Marks

Under-Bore Sized Rifled Barrels

Over-Bore Sized Rifled Barrels

Inappropriate Modified Chamber

Inappropriate/Irregular Rifling

Mismatch Rifled Firearms

Smoothbore Firearms Using Rifled Ammunition

Nature of Smoothbore Barrel Marks Using Rifled Ammunition

Class Characteristic Parameters of Unusual Firearms: New Parameters

Identification of Bullets Fired from Smoothbore Firearm

Forensic Investigation of Fired Shot Charge of Unusual Firearms

Dispersion of Pellets and Possible Misleading Range Determination

Type of Wad

Barrel Dimension

Linkage of Fired Pellets with Suspect Firearm

Barrel Marks on Fired Shot/Pellets

Reproducibility and Identification of Barrel Marks

Misleading Conclusion on Number of Fires from Fired Pellets

Pellets without Striations Appear as Unfired, Whether Fired or Not

Reloaded Shot Size from a Fired Shell

Dispersion of Wads and Reconstruction of Shooting Incidents

Wads at the Crime Scene

Unusual Firearms and Flight of Wads

Unusual Barrel Marks on Wads

Cartridge Splits and Unusual Chamber Marks on Fired Wads

Unusual Firearms and Medico-Legal Evidence

Shape and Size of Bullet Hole

Unrifled Bore Using Rifled Ammunition

Unusual Rifled Firearms

Presence or Absence of the Close-Range Phenomena




Powder Tattooing

Metal Vapor Smudging

Projectile Scrapings (Bullet Chips)

Gunshot Residue (GSR) Particles

Unusual Firearms and Contact Shots

Abraded and Dirt Collar

Abraded Collar

Dirt Collar/Ring

Visual Examination of Firearm Injuries and Caution Needed

Blackening and Blackened Bullet Periphery

Detection of Powder Particles on the Bare Body

Probable Caliber of Bullet and Type of Firearm from Bullet Hole

Caliber from Bullet Hole

Determining the Type of Firearm from a Bullet Hole

Entry Wound and Direction of Fire

Projectile–Tissue Interactions and the Wound Track

Exit Holes and Unusual Firearms

Wounding Effect of Fired Bullets of Unusual Firearms

Determination of Striking Velocity

Orientation/Area of Presentation of Nonspinning Bullets at Impact

Wounding Capability of Nonspinning Bullets of Unusual Firearms

Additional Reading

Firearm Discharge and Time of Firing

Evidence of Firing and Unusual Firearms

Time of Firing

Unusual Rifling Marks on Jacket Pieces and Lead Core


About the Author

J.K. Sinha received his PhD degree in forensic science. He has been associated with this field for more than half a century. An internationally known, forensic firearm consultant, he has been a firearm examiner of the federal/central government for 34 years and has served as Director-Incharge and Deputy Director (ballistics) of Central Forensic Laboratory, Chandigarh, India. He has examined more than 5,000 firearm cases and has testified in hundreds of courts as prosecution, defense, and court witness. His testimony on significant forensic issues can be found in law journals of court judgments, and referred to as case law by practicing attorneys/lawyers in India.

Dr. Sinha has been actively engaged in university teaching and research in forensic science. He has supervised successful PhD candidates on topics related to forensic ballistics and explosives. His area of research revolved around case-oriented practical problems and development of innovative identification techniques. He has published several papers in India and abroad. He has added new dimensions in the little-known and unsolvable area of illegally made firearms. His popular web page on forensic firearm and unusual forensic ballistics ( ranks among the top five in almost all popular search engines, directories, and metacrawlers. He had been the editor of the forensic firearm category of the open directory project of Netscape (popular web browser). Some of his published papers and unpublished work on evaluation of unusual, evidentiary clues detailed in his web site are cited and referenced by many popular forensic firearm sites, online educational institutes, manuals and books on forensic firearm, and forensic medicine.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Forensic Science