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ANGELES UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION

CRIMINOLOGY REVIEW CENTER
www.rkmfiles.net

FORENSIC BALLISTICS
BALLISTICS
The term “Ballistics” was derived from the Greek word “Ballo” or “Ballien” mean “to throw”. Its root
was also called “Ballista” means a gigantic bow or catapult which was used to hurl large objects such as
stones at a particular distance to deter animals or enemy forces.
The meaning of the term however, has greatly broadened since the development of science of
Firearms Identification. And so today, the word Ballistics is frequently used synonymously in the press and
in the Police Parlance to Firearms Identification.
DEFINITION
BALLISTICS is defined as the science of motion of projectiles. Science to the systemized body of
knowledge; Motion refers to the movement of projectile from the firearm to the target; Projectile refers to
the metallic or non-metallic objects propelled from a firearm.
BALLISTICS is a science in itself because it evolved from systematic knowledge, research and
development. Training experience and education of those who pioneered in this field.
Technically, the term Ballistics refers to the science of Firearms Identification which evolves to the
scientific examination of Ballistic exhibits like bullets, shells, firearms and allied matters used in crimes.
With the application of this science, it is now possible to determine whether or not certain evidence such
as bullets or shells were fired from a particular firearm. It also involves the use of equipment such as
Bullet Comparison Microscope, Stereosopic, Shadowgraph, Bullet Recovery Box, Calipher and Analytical
Balance.
BRANCHES OF FORENSIC BALLISTIC
Interior Ballistics
The study of motion of projectiles within the gun barrel. The time during which the projectile is
influenced by Interior Ballistics is very short. From the release of the firing pin to the moment the sound of
the shot can be heard as it leaves the muzzle occupies only about 0.01 seconds, in a modern rifle. A blow
from the firing of a small arms-arms weapon on the center of the primer cup compresses the primer
composition violently between the cap and the anvil, thus causing the composition to explode, releasing
very hot gases and hot particles. The holes of vents in the anvils allow the flame to pass through the
primer vent in the cartridge case, thereby igniting the propellant. The powder begins to burn and the
pressure inside the cartridge rises rapidly. Almost at once the bullet is pushed from the case mouth, at
first the side of the bullet are forced outside to make firm contact with the bore, so that the gas would be
confined within the chamber of the firearm. As the bullet moves down the barrel the available combustion
space is increased. The powder burns progressively, at first increasing its burning rate faster that the
space increases. As long as this condition continues, the pressure continues to rise. The maximum
pressure is reached when the two rates are momentarily equal.
THINGS INVOLVED IN INTERIOR BALLISTICS:
Ignition of the primer - Flames is produced - Combustion of the gunpowder - Energy that is
generated - Force/Pressure developed - Velocity of the bullet (from the chamber to the muzzle) - Rotation
of the bullet - Engraving of the cylindrical surface of the bullet.
Exterior Ballistics
It deals with the motion of projectiles from the time they leave the muzzle of the firearm to the
time they hit the target. The flight of most bullet or projectile does not exceed 30 seconds at maximum
rang, which for almost any firearms is obtained at an elevation of about 33.
THINGS INVOLVED IN EXTERIOR BALLISTICS
Muzzle blast - Muzzle energy - Trajectory range - Range – Velocity - Air resistance - Pull of
gravity

Rkmfiles 2008/ Reviewer in Criminalistics

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Terminal energy . The term also includes air rifles. Owing to presence of the rifling at the inner wall of the bore. MECHANISMS OF FIREARM ACTION Generally.Technical examinations of the ballistic exhibits . Penetration of the bullet is of prime interest. carbines.rkmfiles. The marked expansion of the gases will force the projectile forward with certain velocity. The primer will in turn ignite the gunpowder or propellant which will cause evolution of gases under pressure and temperature. shotguns. the principles involved in all firearms action are the same.is an instrument that is used for the propulsion of projectile by means of the expansive force of gases of burning gunpowder. Firearm (Technical) . revolvers and all other weapons from which a bullet.Legal proceedings or Court trials FIREARMS Firearms or Arm (legal) – includes rifles.net Terminal Ballistics The study dealing with the effect of the impact of the bullet on the target. THINGS INVOLVED IN TERMINAL BALLISTICS Terminal accuracy . a shot. When the firearm is cocked and ready to fire. it includes the lands and grooves are running parallel with one another concentrically. The barrel of any firearm is considered a complete firearm for purposes of Section 877 of the Revised Administrative Code. there is a backward fick of the firearm which in automatic firearm cause the cocking and the cartridge cause thrown out by the ejector. pistols. The backward movement is called recoil of the firearm. PURPOSE OF THE RIFLING 1. Penetration is important also in determining safety requirements for target backstops. muskets. the projectile will produce a spinning movement as it comes out in the muzzle. They are important to both sportsman and military. In as much as the riffling are arranged in a spiral manner.ANGELES UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION CRIMINOLOGY REVIEW CENTER www. RIFLING Consist of the number of the helical grooves cut on the surface of the bore. During explosion. a pull on the trigger will cause the firing pin of the hammer to hit the percussion cap of the cartridge in the firing chamber which is aligned with the rear portion of the barrel. So that the bullet will travel nose towards the target Rkmfiles 2008/ Reviewer in Criminalistics 2 . a ball. To impart of rotation to a bullet 2. except that are in small in caliber and usually used as toys. a shell or missiles may be discharged by means of gunpowder or other explosives. To insure stability in flight 3. THINGS INVOLVED IN FORENSIC BALLISTICS Field investigation . unburned powder grains with flame and smoke. the barrel offers some degree of resistance to the projectile.Terminal penetration Forensic Ballistics The study of Firearm Investigation and Identification of firearms by means of ammunition fired through them. Together with the bullet passing out of the barrel are high pressure heated gases. The hit by the firing pin on the percussion cap will cause generation of a sufficient heat capable of igniting the primer.

Revolver B. Shotguns e. Paltik shotguns CLASSIFICATION OF FIREARMS ACCORDING TO ITS POWER PURSUANT TO R. 8294 Section 1. Examples: Rifles and Shotguns. Target and Outdoorsman known as Sporting a. Example: Automatic pistols. Paltik rifles d. Unusual/Miscellaneous Firearms – those that are unique in mechanism and construction.000. automatic loading or feeding of the chamber takes place. Revolvers c. Pocket and Home Defense Firearms a. Slide Action Type (Trombone) – loading takes place by back and forth manipulation of the under forearm of the gun. Revolvers. Shotguns. Muskets SHOTGUN – it is smooth bore firearm designed to shoot a number of lead pellets one discharge. Rifled Bore Firearms . Shotguns 3.net CALIBER OF THE FIREARM The caliber of the firearm is the diameter of the bore of the barrel measured from land to land in rifled firearm. Rifle 2. Rifle. Unlawful Manufacture. Repeating Arms – type of firearm designed to fire several shots in one loading. Machine guns 2. Revolvers c. Lever Type (Break-type) – loading takes place by lever action on the firearm.rkmfiles. GAUGE – as applied to shotgun indicates that the bore diameter is equal to the diameter of lead ball weighing in pounds. a. Shotguns. Acquisition. Shotguns 3. 6. Shotguns 5. Paltik revolvers c. Rifles. Rifles d. Shotgun 2. TYPES OF FIREARMS ACCORDING TO USE 1. Examples: Rifles. Examples: Rifles. Bolt Action Type – reloading is done by manipulation of the bolt.ANGELES UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION CRIMINOLOGY REVIEW CENTER www. 4. Automatic Loading Type – after the first shot is fired. Shotguns 2. Sale. It is expressed in inches or fraction of an inch by the American and English manufacturers and millimeters or in centimeters ir fraction there by manufacturers in Continental Europe. Rkmfiles 2008/ Reviewer in Criminalistics 3 . CLASSIFICASTION OF FIREARMS AS TO BORE A. Pistol 3.00) shall be imposed upon any person who shall unlawfully manufacture. Single Rifle Firearms – type of firearm designed to fire only one shot for every loading. Pistols b. The penalty of prision correctional in its maximum period and a fine of not less than Fifteen thousand pesos (P15. Military Firearms a.A. Pistols b. Such as the following: 1. TYPES OF FIREARMS ACCORDING TO MECHANICAL CONSTRUCTION 1. Paltik pistols b. Revolvers c. Example: Pistol. dealt in. Riflings refers the lands and grooves such as the following. Smooth Bore Firearms – those that have no riflings inside the gun barrel for the breech end up to the muzzle of the firearm. Examples: Rifles. Pistols b. 1. Rifles d. Rifles 4.those that contain riflings inside the gun barrel. Disposition or Possession of Firearms or Ammunition or Instruments used or intended to be used in the Manufacture of Firearms or Ammunitions.

357 and caliber . The earliest small arms ammunition or cartridge consisted of a pre-measured charge of powder wrapped in a paper.22 center fire magnum and other firearms with firing capability of full automatic and by burst of two (2) or three (3): Provided. 2.000. part of firearm. a cartridge is defined as “A case capsule. the Latin word for paper. shell or other missile may be fired by means of gunpowder or other explosives. pasteboard.30 – used in carbines and other rifles Caliber . 9.380 – used in pistols Caliber .00) shall be imposed in the firearm is classified as high powered firearms which includes those with bore bigger in diameter than caliber .45 and also lesser caliber firearms but considered powerful such as caliber . Rkmfiles 2008/ Reviewer in Criminalistics 4 . . Caliber .45 – used in Automatic pistols Caliber . of the like. revolvers and pistols from which a ball. 6.32 and other firearm of similar firepower.357 – used in .50 – used in caliber .50 machine guns The abovementioned different classes of small arms cartridges are generally encountered by the Police in the field of firearms investigation in our jurisdiction.380. . In time. dispose or possess any lowposered firearm. conceal. gunpowder and primer.44. it came through the French word “cartouche”. muskets. The term may also refer to a “single round”. pistols. Later on. tool or instrument used in the manufacture of any firearm or ammunition: provided.rkmfiles. rifles Caliber . II. 7. Moreover. The term also includes ammunition for air rifles as mentioned elsewhere in the Code. such as rimfire handgun.25 – used in pistols and rifles Caliber . which indicates that the original cartridges were not the brass gilding. In our discussion of ammunition. 10. cartridge. the bullet was either attached faster or more convenient. TECHNICAL DEFINTION – Technically speaking.net acquire.metal tipped units which we are familiar with today.357 revolvers (Magnum) Caliber . meaning a roll of paper. we shall limit ourselves to metallic cartridges and modern shotgun shells since these are the types greatly encountered by investigators in most cases most criminals prefer to use revolvers and pistols because these are easy to conceal before. however. shotguns. 4. The term cartridge is derived from the word “charta”. ACCORDING TO CALIBER 1.22 – used in revolvers. These are commonly used by criminals because they are used in firearms that are easy to carry. In Webster’s later edition. containing the explosive charge and in small arms and some cannon. 8. it is easy to obtain ammunition for these types of firearms. 290 of the National Internal Revenue Code as well as in Sec. shot. during and after the commission of crime.44 – used in Magnum revolvers Caliber . ammunition or machinery. . case. the projectile to be fired. 5.32 – used in automatic pistols and revolvers Caliber . ORIGIN The term “cartridge” evolved from about the turn of sixteenth century. fire and dispose of. carbines.ANGELES UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION CRIMINOLOGY REVIEW CENTER www. avoided waste of powder from spillage. DEFINITION LEGAL DEFINITION – it maybe found in Chapter VII. the term ammunition refers to a group of cartridges or to a single unit or single cartridge – meaning a complete unfired unit consisting of a bullet. The penalty of prision mayor in its minimum period and a fine of thirty thousand pesos (P30. 877 of the Revised Administrative Code. and provided a uniform charge from shot to shot. that no other crime was committed. III. bullet.40. . The use of paper-wrapped powder charged greatly speeds the loading of military weapons. Sec.38 – used in revolvers Caliber .38 and 9mm such as caliber . 3. that no other crime was committed by the person arrested. shell or bag of metal. AMMUNITION I. MODERN AMMUNITIONS: ITS COMPONENTS AND MANUFACTURE It is important for students if firearms investigation and identification to be well versed with ammunition. It refers to ammunition as s “loaded shell” for rifles.

FUNCTIONS OF CARTRIGE CASE: The function of cartridge case are basically the same whether it is fired in revolvers. 9. RIM – the projecting rims of rimmed and semi-rimmed cases serve the purpose of limiting the forward travel of cartridges into their chambers and thus also limit the clearance. The word can properly be used in connection with pistol. or machine guns. 3. Originally.) holding primers securely in certain position. The layman uses the abovementioned terms indiscriminately. These includes: 1.) providing a means to prevent the escape of gas to the rear of the cartridge. When an investigator uses a term “cartridge” he invariably refers to revolver. and in speaking of any shotgun ammunition he will use the term “shell” or “shotshell”. rifles. CARTRIDGE CASE – the tubular metallic container for the gunpowder. PRIMER POCKET – performs three functions: a. 5. the word “bullet” as often misused. 2. b) it offers resistance to the movement of the bullet out of the neck which affects the burning of gunpowder. It prevents the escape of the gases to the rear as the sidewalls of the cartridge case are forced against the walls of the chamber by the pressure. rifle ammunitions and “shells” when referring to shotguns. 6. caliber. powder. b.the bottom portion of the case which holds: a)the primer which contains the priming mixture. 8. as it is commonly used to apply to any sort of any unfired cartridge. without which the latter could not be fired. CANNELURES – shell cannelures are the serrated grooves that are sometimes found rolled into the neck and body of cases at the location of the cases of the bullet to prevent the bullet from being pushed back or loosened. 10. The term “round” refers to a single cartridge. the word “ammunition” means any unfired assembly of cartridge case. In ammunition and firearm parlance. EXTRACTING GROOVE – the circular groove near the base of the case or shell designed for the automatic withdrawal of the case after each firing. It serves as a waterproof container for the gunpowder. 3. BULLET – the projectile propelled through the barrel of a firearm by means of expansive force of gases coming from burning gunpowder. VENTS ORFLASH HOLES –the “vent” or “flash holes” is the hole in the web or bottom of the primer pocket through which the primer “flash” provides ignition to the powder charge. It is also often used to refer to the supply a person may be carrying with him. c.loading days when all rifle projectiles were round lead balls. It holds the bullet. pistol. pistols. But today the word is generally used when referring to a “file of assembled cartridges” in bulks as in boxes or lots. It is the “opening” or “canal” that connects the priming mixture with the gunpowder.net Ammunition for various types of firearms is preferred to in several context.) providing a primer support for primer anvils. It serves as a “gas seal” at the breech end of the barrel. 2. shotguns. the bullet is only that solid portion of the cartridge which leaves the muzzle of the gun and does the “striking” or “killing”. CRIMP – is that part of the mouth of a case that is turned in upon the bullet. SHOULDER –that portion which supports the neck. Sometimes called ”shell” or “casting” Rkmfiles 2008/ Reviewer in Criminalistics 5 . BASE . 4. Actually. revolver. b) the shellhead which contains the headstamp. It works two ways a) it aids in holding the bullet in place. and year of manufacture. gunpowder and primer assembled into one unit. PARTS OF THE CARTRIDGE CASE: 1. Among the uniformed. although as general rule he speaks of “cartridges” when referring to a pistol. 2. THE HEAD AND BODY – the “head” and “body” constitute the “cork” that plugs the breech of the barrel against the escape of the gas. shotgun cartridges are commonly referred to as “shell” or “shotshell” and rifle ammunition to as “metallics” or “cartridges”. if any between the head and the supporting. NECK – applied to that part of the cartridge case that is occupied by the bullet to prevent the bullet from being push back or loosened. 7.ANGELES UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION CRIMINOLOGY REVIEW CENTER www. revolver or rifle ammunition but other common designations for the bullet are “projectile” or “ball” is a relic of old muzzle.rkmfiles. or rifle cartridges. primer and projectile which may be used in a firearm. PARTS OF A CARTRIDGE 1.

revolvers and caliber . TO THE CONFIGURATION OF ITS BASE 1. 2.56mm cartridge cases Belted – ex.ANGELES UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION CRIMINOLOGY REVIEW CENTER www. 5.22s. the belt is for additional strength in high pressure cartridge. caliber 22. 1.22 pistols. Straight cased – where the case diameter is approximately the same along its length. which may or may not have a headstamps are merely letters or design found on the base of the cases that identifies the manufacturer. 3. Such action is called “percussion. 2. This type of cartridge is no longer used. reduced in diameter to that of the bullet. If a rim fire cartridge is struck anywhere in the sensitive area. just before the case mouth. REBATED – It has an extractor flange which is less than the diameter of the cartridge case. there are many ways of classifying ammunition used in various types of firearms.rkmfiles. Pin-fire cartridges were made for all types was small arms in appearance to a modern shotgun shell wherein it had a head of the cartridge and a percussion fixed by a wad or metal cup. They can be fired in either caliber . SEMI-RIMMED – It has a flange which is slightly larger than the diameter of the cartridge case and a groove around the case body just in front of the flange. which when heat or struck by firing pin would ignite. 5. RIM FIRE CARTRIDGE – The most simple form of modern cartridge is the “rim-fire cartridge”.22 rifles. This flange is to enable the cartridge to be extracted from the weapon in which it is used. Straight – ex. 2. The percussion had a pin resting on its detonating compound. BELTED CASE – It has a pronounced raised belt encircling the base of the cartridge. 9mm cartridge cases Bottleneck – ex. 4. Bottled-necked – where a wide bodied case is. the priming mixture is contained or located in a cavity inside and around the rim of the cartridge which is a very sensitive area. TO SHAPE a. d. 38 special Tapered – ex. In this type. Rim-fire cartridges may be identified by the smooth base of the cartridge case. b. Rim-fire cartridges can be further classified into: CLASSIFICATION OF CARTRIDGE CASE ACCDG. . PIN FIRE CARTRIDGE – the first cartridge of a self –exploding type which enjoyed any real general use was the type called the “pin fire” commonly attributed to Monsier Le Facheux of Paris. Tapered case – where a wide based cartridge case is gradually reduced in diameter along its length. This rim-fire cartridges are generally found in caliber . around 1896. The end protruding of the e pin is hit by a hammer coming down vertically from the side of the cartridge instead of penetrating horizontally from its fear. for extraction purposes. FUNCTIONS OF CARTRIDGE CASE Rkmfiles 2008/ Reviewer in Criminalistics 6 . b) Rim fire cartridge and the c) Center fire cartridge. PRIMER – the metal cap containing the highly sensitive priming mixture of chemical compound. c. The name “rim-fire” is derived from the fact that this type can be fired only if the cartridge is struck by the hammer of firing pin on the rim of he case. Caliber. RIMMED – It has a flange at the base which is larger than the diameter of the body of the cartridge case. This denotes or ignites the priming mixture.” CLASSIFICATION OF CARTRIDGE ACCDG.30 magnum CLASSIFICATION OF CARTRIDGE ACCDG. the priming substance is crushed between the front and rear of the case rim. causing a flash of flame. TO PRIMERS As we mentioned before. RIMLESS – The flange diameter is the same as the body and there is. 3.net 3. CARTRIDGE CASES ACCORDING SHAPES 1. Once such classification is according to the location of the primer such as:a) Pin fire cartridge. a groove around the case-body in front of the flange.

inorganic salts and etc. Pointed bullet Round Nose bullet Wad Cutter bullet Semi-Wad Cutter bullet Hollow Point bullet Boat Tailed bullet TYPES OF BULLETS ACCORDING TO USE: 1. “slug” or pellets. a small ball. there are two types of powder in small arms. The flash of this smoke from this burning permits the flight of the bullet to be seen. Jacketed Bullets – those with a core of lead alloy covered a jacket of harder metal such as guiding metal and copper zinc. powder charge and the primer 2. BULLETS PROJECTILE – is a metallic or non-metallic body usually referred to as a bullet that is completely dependent upon an outside force for its power. TYPES OF BULLETS ACCORDING TO SHAPE 1. the term may also include projectiles propelled from shotguns although strictly speaking these projectiles designed for shotguns are called “shot”. Explosives Bullets – contains a high charge of high explosive and because of their small size it is difficult to make a fuse tat will work reliably in small arms ammunition. 2. Smokeless Powder – Nitrocellulose and Nitroglycerine as the major ingredients. a projectile fired from a firearms is called slug. CLASSIFICATION AND COMPOSITION Generally. 2. GUNPOWDER Is a substance or a mixture of substances which upon suitable ignition releases a large amount of chemical energy at a high and controllable rate. Black Powder – the standard ingredients are: Potassium nitrate 75%. 6. the energy liberation is to convert the propellant into a high of gas. Sulphur 10% and Charcoal 15%. a bullet may be called “slug” which is a colloquial term. weapons and armored targets in general. CLASSIFICATION OF BULLETS ACCORDING TO MECHANICAL CONSTRUCTION Basically there are two (2) kinds of bullets: 1. 3. Rkmfiles 2008/ Reviewer in Criminalistics 7 . For this reason the use of high explosive bullets is usually limited to 20mm and above. 2. The term “bullet” originated from the French word “boulette”. Ball Bullets – have a soft cores and are used against personnel. It serves as the waterproof container of the powder charge. 5. Prevent the escape of gases 3.net 1.rkmfiles. 4. Tracer Bullets – contains compound usually similar to barium nitrates which is set on fire when the bullet is projected. 2.ANGELES UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION CRIMINOLOGY REVIEW CENTER www. 3. In common Police parlance. Armor Piercing Bullet – have hardened steel cores and are fired against vehicles. Under this definition. Vaseline esters. They are used against target that will burn readily such as aircraft. mixed with one or more minor ingredients such as centralite. tin and antimony. 4. Incendiary Bullets – contains a mixture such as phosphorous or other materials. Lead Bullets – those which are made of lead or alloy of this metals such as lead. Serves as container for bullet. These are: 1. 5. In a layman’s viewpoint. that can be set on fire by impact. although what be actually mean is a “bullet”.

In firing. Triple based – (Nitrocellulose. Double based – (Nitrocellulose and Nitroglycerine) 3. a paper disc (foil). TYPES OF PRIMER ACCORDING TO ANVIL 1. Rkmfiles 2008/ Reviewer in Criminalistics 8 . When bullet is fired. Formerly.45 revolver. The pattern obtain is comparable to a fingerprint. it acquires marks or scratches from the bore surfaces. Thus a caliber . by reproducible by firing another bullet through the same barrel. Berdan PARTS OF PRIMER AND FUNCTION 1. 5. and a brass anvil. the primer composition is spun into the rim of the cartridge case and the propellant is in intimate contact with the composition. The evidence thus obtained is generally accepted in criminal Courts trials to establish use or possession of a certain weapon. A blow from the firing pin of a small arms weapon on center of the primer cup compresses the primer composition violently between the cup and the anvil. the firing pin strikes the rim of the case and thus compresses the primer composition and initiates its explosion. there receiving an impression of any tool marks. The most important tools used was the Comparison Microscope.38 bullet could not have fired in a caliber . Primer Cap – it is the soft guiding metal which serves as the container of priming mixture. with corresponding surfaces adjacent.net CLASSIFICATION OF SMOKELESS POWDER 1. Boxer primer (one flash hole) 2. Priming Mixture – contains a small amount of explosive mixture which is sufficiently sensitive to result of chemical reaction being set up by the caused by a sudden blow. all that an “expert” could testify in Court concerning a bullet recovered from the scene of a crime was that it was a certain type and caliber.22 cartridge. Battery Cap – battery cap as applied to shotgun primer serves as the main support for the whole primer components. Colonel Calvin H. Anvil – it is made of spring tempered brass place inside the primer and it is on this side or point which the priming mixture is crushed. When a cartridge is fired it is pressed forcibly against the breechface of the firearm. About 1920. The hole or vent in the anvil allow the flame to pass through the primer vent in the cartridge case. A composition is that. The firing pin also leaves its marks can be compared by the microscope. This marks. paper disc and anvil. Nitroglycerine and Nitroguanadine) PRIMER An assembly which ignite the propellant. FORENSIC BALLISTICS Is the study of recovered projectiles to identify the firearms which fired them. The bullet is evidence and the second bullet can then be compared for match. great advances began to be made in identifying firearms by their fired bullets and/or cartridge cases. Rimfire ammunition. Paper Dics – this is made of thin shellacked paper disc that protects the priming mixture that will cause its disintegration. Goddard was the leader in this effort. a binocular instrument so arranged that two similar objects can be compared in detail simultaneously. there has been no system devised to classify such patterns. from irregularities left by the tool cuts or caused by wear and rust. Single based – (Nitrocellulose) 2. thus causing the composition to explode.ANGELES UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION CRIMINOLOGY REVIEW CENTER www. Linking a bullet to a specific revolver was not then possible. 2. thus making coincidence of identical patterns from two different guns most unlikely if not impossible. The primer assembly of centerfire cartridges consists of a brass or guiding-metal cup that contains a primer composition pellet of sensitive explosive.rkmfiles. thereby igniting the propellant. such as the caliber . and a fired cartridge case thus be linked to a specific weapon. as there is with fingerprints. and for the first time. 4. does not contain primer assembly. 3. It would be better termed firearms identification. was yet. formed criminology courses were offered by universities to train individuals in the techniques of Forensic Ballistics.

If the barrel is to be rifled it is done with the use of modern tools which automatically cut the spiral grooves on the inside the barrel and impart to every firearms characteristics which are peculiar to the barrel. The engraving on bullet from the same barrel will be the same.rkmfiles. Even in the button system imperfection will remain after the lapping and finishing operations are completed. TWO (2) GENERAL CHARACTERISTICSA REGARDING FIREARMS IDENTIFICATION CLASS CHARACTERISTICS – are those characteristics which are determinable even before the manufacture of the firearm.net SCOPE OF ARMS MANUFACTURING PROCESS AND ITS RELATION TO FIREARMS IDENTIFICATION How a firearm is manufactured? The first thing which is of importance for the Firearms Examiner is the understanding of the construction of a gun barrel and to be sufficiently familiar with the various steps in the manufacture of firearms which may influence the investigation of the crime. tear. In barrels intended for rifles the next steps after drilling consists of “reaming” and drilled hole for its entire length. just as every breechface leaves its “thumbmark” on the base of the fired cartridge case. when drilled from end to end makes it is steel pipe. In addition to these peculiarities there are other markings left by the rifling tools which cuts the grooves that is as the rifling cutter wears small imperfections on its surface are transmitted to the surface of the barrel and in similar manner the accumulation of metal chips remove by the cutter will scratch the barrel as it passes along. It is categorized into the following: Caliber . BULLET IDENTIFICATION a. These microscopic scars will make a series of striations on every bullet which passes through the barrel. c. after the drilling process the inside of the barrel is made very smooth by a process known as “lapping”.Pitch of the rifling .ANGELES UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION CRIMINOLOGY REVIEW CENTER www.Twist of riflings . It is the comparison of these bullet striations which is the basis of examination.Number of Lands and Grooves . Rkmfiles 2008/ Reviewer in Criminalistics 9 .Depth of grooves INDIVIDUAL CHARACTERISTICS – are those characteristics which are determinable only after the manufacture of the firearm. And conversely. Every barrel leaves its “thumbmark” on every bullet which is fired through it. PRINCIPLES GOVERNING FIREARMS EXAMINATION 1. it becomes engraved by the riflings and this engraving on a bullet fired from one barrel will be different from that on a similar bullet fire from another barrel. It is that portion of the firearm against which the cartridge is fired. When a bullet is fired from a rifled barrel. The interior surface at this stage bears numerous scratches resulting from irregular cutting of the drill and the metal chips which mark the finish. b. mutilations.Width of Lands and Grooves . The process of manufacture starts with a solid steel bar which.. These are the irregularities found on the inner surface of the barrel and on the breechface of the breechblock of the firearms as a result of the failure of the tool beyond the control of the manufacturer to make them smooth as a minor. Their existence in a firearm is brought about by the tools in their normal operation resulting through wear. Each manufacturer has its own characteristics designed for the lands and grooves. It has its individual patterns which determines whether the grooves are inclined to the left or to the right. The reamer removes metal from the entire surface because it is slightly larger in diameter than the drill. There should always be sound reason for all markings. No two barrels and micoscopically identical as the surface of their bores all posses individual characteristics markings. For smooth bore barrels. corrosion. erosions and other fortuitous causes. abuse. this removes some of the sears and scratches. They are characteristics whose existence is beyond the control of man and which have a random distribution. scratches or dents visible or firearms evidence and it is the function of the firearms examiner to determine how and why they were made and also to interpret their significance both to himself as well as to the Court of Justice. Another phase of firearm manufacture which is of great importance to the identification of firearms is finishing operations of the breechface of the breechblock of the firearm.

Extractor mark . Consequently. WHAT TO COMPARE? 1. Other class characteristics varied from one manufacturer to another. SHELL IDENTIFICATION  The breechface and the striker of every single firearms leave microscopically individualities of their own. c. e. The first thing to do in the examination of bullets is to conduct a visual examination of the bullets in order to familiarize with all markings appearing on it. such markings are called accidental markings which came from foreign substances. MARKINGS APPEARING ON A FIRED CARTRIDGE CASE Breechface marks . then it is possible that it came from a Colt firearm.ANGELES UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION CRIMINOLOGY REVIEW CENTER www. A bullet recovered at the crime scene or formthe body of the victim may show those marks and on examination. Markings appearing on the test bullet No. the examiner may presumptively state from what make of firearm it came from.  The firearm leaves its “fingerprint” or “thumbmark” on every cartridge which is fires. firing pin impression. the location of the extractor and ejector markings. Examine those markings that are present on the base portion. Determine whether or not it came from a revolver or from an automatic pistol and sub-machine guns. first identify the particular firearm through the class characteristics appearing on the cylindrical surface of the bullet. Smith and Wesson manufacturer has five (5) lands. thus. if one examination or recovered bullet. Test/Standard Bullet Before proceeding in the examination of the firearm by means of the fired bullets. IMPORTANCE OF FIRED BULLET IN FIREARMS IDENTIFICATION  By means of fire bullet you can determine the particular barrel of firearm used. Check also the markings caused by the chamber of the firearm. The imprint on all cartridges fired from the same weapon are the same and those cartridges fired from different weapon must always be different. it was found out that there are six (6) grooves and the rifling marks are twisted to the left. the cartridge case which it fires are imprinted with this individuality. b. conduct a preliminary examination on the cartridge case having a visual examination on the condition of such cartridge case. d. If the bullet is undersized or the bore of the firearms is badly worn out there will be a cylindrical passage of the expending gas will appear dark or black in the picture. Manufacturers of firearms make certain marks which may distinguish firearms manufactured by them from that other manufacturers. caliber and make of firearm from which it was fired. The magazine and the ejector port markings must also be taken into consideration particularly those cartridge cases from gums having full automatic mechanism. 1 and does not appear on the succeeding test bullet such markings should be disregarded.net IDENTIFICATION OF FIRED BULLETS AND CARTRIDGE CASES BULLETS: a.  Recovered bullet can tell the type.Firing pin impression . Determine the conspicuous characteristics appearing on the bullet or any markings appearing therein. Each manufacturer make specific number of spiral grooves and direction of the twist of rifling. five (5) grooves and with right hand twit of rifling. Evidence Bullet 2.  The whole principle of identification is based on the fact that since the breechface of every weapon must be individually distinct. Conduct examination of the bore of the firearm.  Can determine also the condition of the firearm us FIREARM CARTRIDGE CASE Before proceeding in the examination. the breechface marks.Ejector mark .rkmfiles.Chamber mark Rkmfiles 2008/ Reviewer in Criminalistics 10 .

they may give a clue to the solution of a crime. BULLET COMPARISON MICROSCOPE Toady.net TWO TYPES OF MARKINGS 1. Cartridge cases will also be segregated to determine the caliber. the cartridge will be marked at the side of the case and on the nose portion of the bullet with letter “T” (to represent test) followed by the last two digits of the serial number of the firearm of the test to be made (eg) T-77-1 to T-77-3 in their order of firing to distinguish the number 1 test from the number 2 or 3 as the case may be. has had the experience of spending many hours in the attempt to get the satisfactory and convincing matching in cases where there was every reason to believe that the has the gun that fired the evidence bullet or shell. number of lands and grooves. The microscope tubes are built as a unit with the comparison eyepiece which has a prism arrangement that brings the images of the specimen held under the microcopic tubes into a side by side position in the left and right side of the eyepiece field the eyepiece is threaded for focusing on the dividing line between the two fields. the most widely and reliable instrument in Firearms Identification is the Bullet Comparison Microscope. Every examiner. If no identifying marks were found the firearms examiner will. Impression type – those markings caused by direct pressure contact. it will be examined of its vital parts whether or not it is in operating condition and a tag will be attached for distinction. Test Firing – The firearm is test fired before a bullet recovery box in order to obtain test bullets and test cartridge cases for comparison with the evidence bullets and cartridge cases. Once the two objects focused. With this instrument.adjust the stages through the rock and pinion mechanism. in which the images of two objects held on its two adjustable stages are fused into one.rkmfiles. affix his own identifying markings or initials derived form the names of the requesting party. victim or suspect in that order of priority. yet. Under the microscope the two fired bullets or fired cartridge cases can be examined in a “juxtaposition” and whatever the observation and findings obtained during the examination can be photographed for court presentation and also to give the Court a better understanding and good appreciation of how he came to that conclusion. to facilitate its easy final microscopic examination. Breechface mark) 2. cartridge cases and suspected firearm once submitted by the requesting party will be physically examined to determine its markings or initials made by the investigator for identification purposes. respectively. Although they may not have any ballistics probative value. twist of rifling. (ex. Microscope Examination – After the recovery of the test bullets and cartridge case.ANGELES UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION CRIMINOLOGY REVIEW CENTER www. they will be compared with the evidence cartridge cases under the Bullet Comparison Microscope to determine whether or not the have the congruency of striations or the same individual characteristics. (ex. type and make of firearm from which they were fired. If the objects cannot be seen . Rkmfiles 2008/ Reviewer in Criminalistics 11 . Bullets of different class characteristics will be segregated from one another especially the determination of caliber. etc. forming a single image as can be seen on the comparison eyepiece. TO OPERATE THE MICROSCOPE Place the two objects on the two adjustable stages under the two microscopic tubes and peep through the comparison eyepiece. Misfired or dud cartridges will also be taken into consideration. This instrument consists of two single tubes fitted with a cross arm and comparison eyepiece. before anything. The firearm will also be physically examine to determine its safety devices seeing to it that there is no cartridge inserted in the chamber that will cause accidental firing. Minute striations on the cylindrical surface of the bullet) TECHNIQUESOF EXAMINATION Physical – Evidence bullets. But before firing. no matter how experienced or expert he may be. Striated mark – those markings caused by sliding contact.. Likewise. the firearms examiner can make a complete examination and comparison of the so called Class and Individual characteristics that appears on the fired bullets and fired cartridge cases. the next step is to find the similarities existing between the objects either shifting them vertically or horizontally.

The impression or striation found on the evidence bullet or cartridge case appearing in every test bullets and cartridge cases. CONSISTENT – Possessing firmness. In comparative examination of the evidence bullet that are found on the periphery running from the forward shoulder to the base portion (these are surface of the barrel). are discernible with the test bullet or if they have the congruency. the expert must be prepared to explain why they do not.. Primers are softer metals and receive more prominent striation than any other portion of the base. Where the evidence has prominent or minor striations that the three tests. 3. As a rule. 2. When the evidence and the test bullets or cartridge cases have the same individual characteristics. ---------------------. Conclusion is the opinion gathered from the finding.. The first is for preliminary.rkmfiles.. FINDINGS/CONCLUSION Findings are the bases of conclusion. Although the individual characteristics of the cases may be found at the base portion where breechface. A conclusion cannot be made without the findings.380 6R G+ Llama Pistol -------------------------------------. ejector. 16. then the evidence bullet and the test bullet were fired from one and the same firearm. 2. 10.32 6L G+ Colt Pistol --------------------------------------. 17. Clip or magazine markings may also give discernible markings.38 6L G+ Colt Revolver ----------------------------------.38 7R G2X US Carbine --------------------------------------.357 6L G2X Smith and Wesson Rev..38 5R G=L Colt Revolver ---------------------------------.. ---------------.. 7. 12.ANGELES UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION CRIMINOLOGY REVIEW CENTER www.32 5R G=L Smith and Wesson MRF Rev.. judges are always unpredictable: if some pairs of grooves (or lands) match and others do not. 3..25 6L G2X Colt Revolver ----------------------------------. 9. 13. there be at least three (3) test that should be compared.45 6R GL Smith and Wesson Rev. 11.45 6R G+ Smith and Wesson Rev. readily noticeable.380 6L G+ Rkmfiles 2008/ Reviewer in Criminalistics 12 . ---------------------.22 6R G=L Enfield Revolver --------------------------------. ----------------------. the second is for confirmation and the third is for conclusion. This is so because the case may have these markings even if they were unloaded from the firearm without firing.. Te expert must always keep in mind the fact. These only serves as corroborative characteristics but certainly lacks legal significance. 18. For conclusive of findings. because convincing one’s self and convincing the Court “beyond all reasonable doubt” are two quite different matters. Only those evidence bullets or cases that have the same individual characteristics may be taken of photomicrograph for Court presentation.9mm 6R G=L Star Pistol ----------------------------------------. the point of the examination and comparison is at the area of the primer proper where breechface markings together with the firing pin impression are located. SIGNIFICANT – The markings have meaning or capable of being interpreted by the Firearms Examiner or Ballistician. it calls for uncertainty and doubt for a positive or negative conclusion. 6. 5. A good conclusion is always based on good findings. CLASS CHARACTERISTICS OF DIFFERENT FIREARMS 1. 15. 8... The is also true for fired cartridge cases. the competent examiner will conclude that they were fired from one and the same suspected firearm... Like the ejector or extractor markings if considered singly may not be a basis for conclusion. the evidence bullet or case were not fired from the suspected firearm. correspondence or intermarriage. extractor markings are found on the sides that are in contact with the inner surface of the chamber. 4. If they have different individual characteristics.30 4R G3x Browning Pistol ---------------------------------.. 14... certainly. the competent examiner will conclude that they were fired from one and the same individual characteristics.32 6L G+ Colt Pistol --------------------------------------. PROMINENT – Standing out or projecting beyond a surface or line. REQUIREMENTS FOR A POSITIVE IDENTIFICATION 1.38 6L G+ Colt Pistol Super------------------------------. judges are always keep in mind the fact. This is the end result of the examination and should be taken seriously as it involves the life and liberty of the suspect.45 6L G2X Grease Gun ------------------------------------.22 6L G2X Colt Revolver ----------------------------------. Colt Type ---------------------------------------..net Obtain matching as many as possible.

4 . 21.22 about 5.45 about 11.001 Rkmfiles 2008/ Reviewer in Criminalistics 13 .094 .0. Caliber .15.25 about 6. Beretta Pistol ------------------------------------.63 mm (Luger) 6.ANGELES UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION CRIMINOLOGY REVIEW CENTER www.32 6R G2X Arminius Revolver ------------------------------.38 about 9mm 7.0... cm to mm mm to inch inch to mm meter to yard grain to gram gram to grain gram to kg Multiply . Caliber . Caliber .10.43 mm CONVERSION TABLE 1.22 6R G2X Burgo Revolver -----------------------------------. 2.63 mm (Mauser) 5.22 8R G+ Marlin M57 Rifle --------------------------------.0 . 5. 3. Caliber . Caliber . 23. Caliber . Caliber . 6.35 mm 3..56 mm 2.43 .net 19. 22...30 about 7.25. 7. 4.65 mm 4.03937 .1.22 2OR G+ EQUIVALENT OF CALIBER TO MILLIMETER 1.rkmfiles.06480 .32 about 7. 20.32 6R G2X Astra Pistol --------------------------------------.0.30 about 7.