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FORENSIC BALLISTICS

Compilation by John Michael C. Bantonare Top 5, 2008, CLE

BALLISTICS
A science that deals with the motion of projectiles.
Technically, it refers to the science of firearms identification.

Legal meaning:
It is the microscopic examination of fired cartridge cases and bullets together with the recording and
presentation by means of photography of what is revealed by the microscope.

Origin
It was derived from the Greek word “ballo” or “Ballien” which means “to throw”.
The root word of ballistics was said to be derived from the Roman weapon “ballista”.

Branches of Ballistics
 Interior Ballistics
 Exterior Ballistics
 Terminal Ballistics
 Forensic Ballistics
 Shot Ballistics
 Wound Ballistics

Interior Ballistics
 It refers to the motion of projectiles while it is inside the firearm.
 The bullets occupies the muzzle of the firearm for only 0.01 sec.
 The explosion of the bullet is .0002 sec.

Interior Ballistics . . . .
It includes the following:
1. Firing pin hitting the primer
2. Ignition of the priming mixture
3. Combustion of the gun powder
4. Expansion of the heated gas
5. Pressure developed
6. Energy generated
7. Recoil of the gun
8. Velocity of the bullet in the barrel
9. Rotation of the bullet in the barrel
10. Engravings of the cylindrical surface of the bullet.

Exterior Ballistics
It refers to the motion of projectiles from the time it leaves the muzzle of the firearm and reaches the target.
1. Muzzle blast
2. Muzzle energy
3. Trajectory
4. Range
5. Velocity
6. Air resistance
7. Pull of gravity
8. Penetration

Terminal Ballistics
It is the study that deals with the effect or the impact of the projectile on the target.
1. Terminal Accuracy
2. Terminal energy
3. Terminal penetration
4. Terminal velocity

Forensic Ballistics
It refers to the study of firearms identified by means of ammunition fired from them.
1. Field investigation
2. Technical examinations of the ballistics exhibit
Shot Ballistics
It refers to the study of shots from smooth bore firearms like shot guns and muskets.

Choke types To control spread and impact point of shot

Wound Ballistics
It refers to the study of projectile penetration on tissues.

BULLET HOLE CHARATERISTICS


 There are cases that occur all the time where an examination of the victim's body can't determine which bullet
hole is the entrance and which is the exit.

General Features of Entrance Wounds


 A dirt ring around the wound caused by the bullet 'cleaning' itself off on the skin as it passes through fibers may
be found in the wound from clothing covering the wound a smaller defect than the diameter of the bullet due to
elastic recoil of the skin.
 Powder blackening may indicate direction of fire (ex. a circular zone of blackening from a shot fired at right
angles to the skin surface, compared to an oblique zone from an oblique shot etc) stippling/ tattooing of the skin
charring of the skin entry wounds caused by shots fired at a distance.
 Entrance wounds into skull bone typically produces beveling, or coning, of the bone at the surface away from
the weapon on the inner table.
 In thin areas such as the temple, this may not be observed. Sternum, iliac crest, scapula, or rib may show similar
features.

General Features of Entrance Wounds


 Tangential entrance wounds into bone may produce "keyhole" defects with entrance and exit side-by-side, so
that the arrangement of beveling can be used to determine the direction of fire.
 Use of silencers (or "muzzle brakes" to deflect gas and recoil) may produce atypical entrance wounds. A silencer
is a device, often homemade, fitting over the muzzle that attempts to reduce noise by baffling the rapid escape
of gases. Entrance wounds may appear atypical at close range.

General Features of Exit Wounds


 A larger wound than the entrance wound, due to the bullet tumbling in it's passage through the body, and bony
fragments being forced out through the skin can be of any size or shape, but are usually irregular (slit-like or
square).
 May be similar to the entrance wound in size if the bullet was fired from a high velocity rifle shot at long
distance (ex. a military rifle) a 'shored' exit wound occurs where the wound edges are abraded against an
overlying object pressed firmly against the skin, as the skin is pushed out from the body by the bullet.
 The features were directly proportional to the Kinetic energy of the projectile and the rigidity of the shoring
material.

Bullet Entrance Holes


 Bullet entrance holes typically have very even margins.
 Almost all non-contact bullet entrance holes will be smaller in diameter than the bullet due to the elasticity of
the fabric.
 Contact or near contact entrance holes and entrance holes caused by a bullet that has struck an intermediate
object will typically have very uneven margins.
 Contact entrance holes will typically show extreme damage to the material of a garment.
 Bullet Exit Holes
 Full-metal-jacketed or round nosed bullets may leave holes that are similar to bullet entrance holes but most
will be absent of bullet wipe residue.
 If bullet wipe residue is present it will normally be very light and on the inside of the exit hole.
 Bullet exit holes caused by fragmented or expanded bullets usually have irregular margins and it's not too
uncommon for the bullet exit holes to be larger in diameter than the original diameter of the bullet.
 Fragmented bullets will typically grab the material of an object as it passes through causing the material to be
frayed outward.

Firearms
Technically, it refers to an instrument that is used for the propulsion of projectiles by means of expansive force
of gases coming from burning powder.

Legally:
Section 877 of revised Administrative code and section 290 of National Internal Revenue;
“firearms or arms include rifles, muskets, carbines, shotguns, pistols, revolvers, and all other deadly
weapons from which bullets, balls, shots, shells, or other missiles may be discharged by means of
gunpowder or other explosives. The barrel of any firearm is considered a complete firearm for all intents
and purpose thereof”.

Group of firearms
o Long arms or shoulder arms
o Hand arms or short arms
o
Classes of firearms
According to gun barrel:
o Smooth-bore firearm
o Rifled bore firearm
According to Caliber:
o Artillery
o Small arms
According to Mechanical construction:
o Single shot firearm
o Repeating arms
o Bolt action type
o Automatic loading
o Slide action type
o Lever type

Important persons

1. Col Calvin Hooker Goddard – Father of modern ballistics

 Valentine’s Day Massacre


During the height of prohibition, gang warfare raged over control of the illegal alcohol trade. One of the
bloodiest battles was between Al “Scarface” Capone and George “Bugs” Moran. On Valentines night, 1929,
seven of Moran’s men were awaiting a shipment of stolen alcohol. The shipment was actually a set up by
Capone in an attempt to kill his rival, Moran. Moran was supposed to be at the warehouse but arrived late.
Moran saw a “police car” pull up so he stayed back and watched. The “police” entered the warehouse
and a barrage of machine gunfire was heard. Moran then saw the “cops” come out and drive away. The real
police arrived and found each of the 7 inside shot numerous times. 70 casings were recovered from the scene.
Bullets were later recovered from the victims.
Goddard was called in and determined that the casings were from Thomson submachine guns. Using his
comparison microscope, Goddard was able to prove that none of the PD’s guns were the murder weapons.
Suspicion fell on Capone. Police later raided the home of one of Capone’s hit men and found two Thomson’s
that were matched to the casings on the scene.

2. Horace Smith – founded the great firm Smith and Wesson pioneered the making of breech-loading rifles.
3. Daniel B. Wesson – Partner
4. John M. Browning – the wizard of modern firearm.
5. John T. Thompson – pioneered the making of thompson sub – machine gun.
6. David “Carbine” Willliams – maker of the first known carbine.
7. Alexander John Forsyth – father of percussion ignition.
8. Samuel Colt – produced the first practical revolver.
9. John C. Garand – invented the US Rifle. Cal. .30 M1
The largest gun (Gustav Gun)

The smallest gun

The SwissMiniGun is the size of a key fob but fires tiny 270mph bullets powerful enough to kill at close range.
Officially the world's smallest working revolver, the gun is being marketed as a collector's item and measures just 2.16
inches long (5.5cm). It can fire real 4.53 bullets up to a range of 367ft (112m

Ammunition/Cartridge
Ammunition
 It refers to a complete unfired unit consisting of a bullet, cartridge case, propellant powder and primer.
 It is a generic term meaning (the assembly of) a projectile and its propellant. It is derived through French from
the Latin munire (to provide).

Ammunition based on:


Section 877of revised Administrative code andSection 290 of National Internal Revenue;
“ shall mean loaded shell for rifles, muskets, carbines, shotguns, revolvers, and pistols from which a ball, bullet,
shot, shell or a missiles may be fired by means of gunpowder or other explosives”.

Cartridge
It was derived from the word “charta”, the Latin word for paper.Later on, it came from the French word
“cartouche” meaning a roll of paper which indicates that the original cartridges were not the brass gilding metal
tipped units which we are familiar with today

Parts of ammunition

 Bullet
 Cartridge case
 Gunpowder
 Primer

Bullet/slug
 It refers to metallic or non-metallic, cylindrical projectile propelled from a firearm by means of expansive force
of gases coming from burning gunpowder.
 Originated from the French word “boulette” which means a small ball.
 Slug is a layman’s term use during court proceeding. Projectiles propelled from a shotgun are termed shots or
pellets.
Classification of bullets
 Non-jacketed or Lead Bullet – those which are made of lead alloy of this metal, lead, tin, antimony, – which are,
slightly harder than pure lead.
 The most common material used in the manufacture of non-jacketed bullets is lead. Lead bullets are usually an
alloy of lead and antimony which is added to give the bullet some additional hardness.

Jacketed Bullets – those which core of lead covered by jacket of harder material such as gilding metal, a copper-alloy of
approximately 90 % and 10 % zinc.
The primary function of the “jacket” in a bullet is to prevent adherent of metal (lead) to the inside of the gun
barrel.

Classification of bullets . . . .
 Tracer bullet – set fire when projected because of the compound barium nitrates.
 Incendiary bullet – can set on fire by impact.
 Fragmentation – the bullets will split into fragments when hitting a soft tissue.

Classification of bullets . . . .
 Dumdum bullet – outlawed for use in war, this includes all soft bullet.
 Soft point or mushroom bullet – will expand on striking an object and produces more serious shock.
 Hollow point bullet – with a cavity on its nose designed to increase the expansion and sometimes called as the
express bullet.
 X-bullet – a solid copper projectile that may form a four razor edge petals.

Cartridge Cases
refers to the tubular metallic or non-metallic container which holds together the bullet, gunpowder and primer.

Parts of a Cartridge cases


 Rim  Cannelure
 Primer pocket  Crimp
 Vents or flash hole  Base
 The head and body  Shoulder
 Neck  Extracting groove

Classification according to:


Shape
 straight
 Bottle neck
 tapered
Head forms
 Rimmed
 Semi-rimmed
 Rimless
 Rebated rimless
 Belted case

Primer
 It is that portion of the cartridge which consists of a brass or gilding metal cup. The cup contains a highly
sensitive mixture of chemical compound, which when struck by the firing pin would detonate or ignite. Such
action is called percussion
 It is a small, self-contained metallic ignition cap at the center of the base of the ammunition case.
 It was first conceive by Alexander John Forsyth in 1807.
 Commonly composed of lead styphnate, barium nitrate and antimony sulphide.

Parts of primer
 Primer cup
 Priming mixture
 Anvil
 Disc

According to location:
 Center-fire
 Rimfire
According to types:
 Boxer (USA)
 Berdan (Europe)

Parts of primer
 Primer cup – the container of the priming mixture. This is made of brass, gilding metal or copper, depending
upon the kind.
 Priming mixture – the highly sensitive chemical mixture contained in the primer cup. This priming chemical
varies in composition depending upon the manufacturer.
 Anvil – that portion of the primer against which the priming mixture is crushed by a blow from the firing pin.
This must be hard, rigid and firmly supported to provide resistance necessary for firing the priming mixture.
 Disc – piece of small paper or disk of tin foil which is pressed over the priming mixture. Its purpose is to hold the
priming mixture in place and to exclude moisture.

Gunpowder
 The chemical substances of various compositions, particle, sizes, shapes, and colors that, on ignition, serves as
propellant.
 Types of gunpowder:
 Black powder
 Smokeless powder

Forerunners of gunpowder
 Chinese - by their alchemists, gunpowder was invented on 9th century with a mixture of sulfur, charcoal and
saltpeter.
 Employed in military application during 10th century.
 Francis Bacon – the one who first record the actual chemicals for gunpowder in his book Opus Magnusset.
 Berthold Schwartz – first person who used the gunpowder for a rifle.

Barrel
 It is made from a solid steel. Most of the hunting rifle and military firearms are made of high alloy Crome
Molybdenum.
 4140/4150/4340 in USA
 EN 19 or EN 24 in Britain
 another one is the 416 type stainless steel.

Process in barrel making:


 Drilling
 Reaming
 Rifling
 Lapping

Rifling
 Refers to the helical lines cut in the interior of the bore of gun barrel.
 Consists of grooves cut or formed in a spiral nature, lengthwise down the barrel of a firearm.

Composition of a rifling
 Number of lands
 Number of grooves
 Width of lands
 Depth of grooves
 Pitch of rifling
 Twist of rifling
Class characteristics according to riflings
 Styr type – 4-R-G=L
 Smith & Wesson type - 5-R-G=L
 Browning type – 6-R-G2x
 Colt type – 6-L-G2x
 Webley type – 7-R-G32x
 Army type – 4-R-G3x

Marks found on a bullet


 Land marks
 Grooves marks
 Skid marks
 Stripping marks

Marks found on a fired cartridge case


Striated action marks
 Chamber marks
 Shear marks
 Firing pin drag marks
 Extractor marks
 Ejector marks

Impressed action marks


 Firing pin impression
 Breech marks
 Ejector marks

Chamber marks
 Roughness in the chamber of a firearm can scratch the outer walls of a cartridge case when loaded and
removed from the chamber. Most chamber marks occur after the cartridge is fired.

Shear marks
 When a cartridge case is forced backwards from recoil the primer imbeds itself in the firing pin hole. As
the slide of the pistol starts to recoil, the barrel will drop slightly as the action opens.

Firing Pin Drag marks


 When the firing pin springs forward to strike the primer of a cartridge, it may remain slightly forward
and imbedded in the primer.
 Certain barrels drop down slightly as recoil is forcing the action open.

Extractor marks
 The extractor is a small part sometimes resembling a hook that is used to remove a cartridge or
cartridge case from the chamber of a firearm.
 As the slide of the pistol moves to the rear, the extractor pulls the cartridge case along with it until it is
ejected from the pistol.

Ejector marks
 The ejector is designed to expel the cartridge case from the action of the firearm.
 The resulting impact of the cartridge case with the ejector will cause another action mark that can be
used as a means of identification.

Firing pin marks


 These are indentations created when the firing pin of a firearm strikes the primer of center fire cartridge
case or the rim of a rim fire cartridge case. If the nose of the firing pin has manufacturing imperfections
or damage, these potentially unique characteristics can be impressed into the metal of the primer or rim
of the cartridge case.

Breech marks
 Most fired cartridge cases are identified as having been fired by a specific firearm through the
identification of breech marks.
 The breech face rests against the head of the cartridge case and holds the cartridge case in the chamber
of the firearm.

Marking of Physical Evidence

On fired bullets:
- mark on the ogive near the nose or base
On fired cartridge case:
- mark on the side of the cartridge near the mouth or inside the mouth.

IBIS
 A computerized identification system that stores ballistics information on bullets and cartridge cases submitted
as evidence in connection of a crime.
 Developed by Michael Barrel
- Bulletproof
- Brasscatcher

Firearms laws
 PD 1866 – Illegal possession of firearms
 RA 8294 – Act Amending the PD 1866
 Section 877of Revised Administrative Code
 Section 290 of National Internal Revenue