Cartridges and Firearm Identification

By Robert E. Walker

© 2012 – CRC Press

388 pages | 159 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9781466502062
pub: 2012-11-26
US Dollars$135.95

e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

At a time when crime scene television shows are all the rage amongst the civilian population, knowledge of firearm forensics is of paramount importance to crime scene analysts, police detectives, and attorneys for both the prosecution and the defense. Cartridges and Firearm Identification brings together a unique, multidisciplined approach to questions that arise regarding ammunition and firearms within the context of investigation. Supplying essential practical information about firearms and ammunition in a clear, easy-to-follow format, this volume:

  • Defines and depicts photographically all varieties of firearms
  • Presents investigative concerns of firearms evidence from the perspectives of evidence preservation and safe handling procedures
  • Introduces readers to the standards of measurement used to classify ammunition, including the significance of names, adjectives, and other descriptors used in conjunction with ammunition cartridges
  • Categorizes and identifies ammunition head stamps from cartridges produced around the world
  • Provides ammunition manufacturing practices for dozens of nations

The text offers a methodology for the identification of unknown firearms as well as ammunition of questioned identity. The author explains the terminology and describes each group of firearms and the aspects that identify the weaponry—including property marks, proof marks, and patent dates. Lavishly illustrated, this comprehensive reference includes case studies to support the text, making it a premier reference for all those responsible for the complicated task of investigating firearms and cartridges.

Table of Contents

The World of Firearms and Ammunition

Balancing Firearm Safety with Evidence Preservation

Crimes Involving Firearms and Ammunition

Firearm "Expert"? A Complex Question

Basics: Understanding What Makes a Firearm Operate

Methods of Operation

Manually Operated Firearms

Ammunition Cartridges

Ammunition: A Backdrop

Cartridge Identification by Dimensions, Names, and Identifiers

Components of Fixed Ammunition

Projectile Mass

Projectile Material Composition

Hand Loads, Reloads, and Wildcats

Caliber Interchangeability

Identification Markings

Cartridge Head Stamps

Cartridge Head Stamp Overview

Process of the Identification of a Cartridge, Cartridge Casing, or Projectile

Head Stamp and Manufacturing Practices for Selected Nations, including the Russian Federation, the former Soviet Union, and the former Warsaw Pact nations

Other Eastern European Sources


Firearm Classification Types


Long Guns

Air Guns

Ammunition-Feeding Devices

Firearm Alterations and Modifications

Case Studies of Commonly Converted Firearms

Assorted Other Conversions

The Firearm Receiver

DEWATS, Unserviceable Firearms, and Inert Firearms


Historical Footnotes on Older, Common Nameplates

Department Store Firearms

Firearm Designs Manufactured by Multiple Manufacturers

Modular Weapon Systems Concept

Firearms Identification Methodology

Firearm Markings

Serial Numbers

Model Designations

Import Markings

Other Markings

Patent Dates, Legends, and Other Information

Proof Marks



About the Author

Robert Walker has been involved in firearms examination for nearly two decades. He has been qualified as an expert in firearms, among other subjects, in the State of Florida’s 20th Judicial Circuit and in the Federal Middle District of Florida. During his tenure, Robert has taught courses such as crime scene investigation and forensic photography at various colleges. He is an active police academy instructor, teaching investigative subject matter and also serving as a range officer. He routinely presents lectures related to firearms and shooting investigation to trade organizations, law enforcement agencies, and in the university setting.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Forensic Science