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

Forensic Investigation of Unusual Firearms
Ballistic and Medico-Legal Evidence

ISBN 9781466571372
Published November 7, 2014 by CRC Press
212 Pages 88 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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


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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.