Sawed Off Shotguns

Test firings, by the author, of sawed-off shotguns at ranges of 21 ft or less revealed that decreasing the barrel length of a cylinder-bore shotgun has no significant effect on the size of the pattern until the barrel has been sawed off to less than 9 in. At this point, the patterns begin to open up significantly.

Moreau et al. found that with birdshot, as the barrel length decreased, any change in the size of the pattern produced depended on the brand of ammunition. Patterns either did not change or increased.11 For 00 Buckshot, the size of the pattern increased as the barrel length decreased. The greatest increase occurred at 12 inches and less.

In a sawed-off shotgun in which the end of the barrel has not been reamed out, slivers of steel may project into the bore. If plastic wads are fired in such a weapon, the spicules of steel may mark the wad with individual markings, making ballistic comparison possible.

Shotgun Diverters

A shotgun diverter is a device attached to the end of the shotgun barrel that changes the normal circular pattern of shot to a controlled, predictable, rectangular pattern. This rectangular pattern is formed by the diverting ribs integral with the bore of the device coupled with compounded angles. The mass of shot is reformed after it leaves the barrel and enters the forward diverter section. The action of the gases on the walls of the diverter reorient the shot, so that a rectangular pattern is formed after exiting the muzzle. Shotgun slugs may be fired through the diverter. These slugs, however, will be deformed, having a rectangular shape.

Automatic Ejection of Fired Hulls

The author has seen a number of irrefutable cases of suicide, utilizing pump shotguns, in which death was instantaneous, yet the pump shotgun used to commit suicide was found to have an empty chamber and an ejected hull was present adjacent to the gun. These circumstances, understandably, aroused the suspicion of homicide. Examination of the shotgun in these cases, as well as other pump shotguns, revealed that they would eject the fired case after discharge if the slide was not restrained in a forward position. Other pump shotguns will unlock and only partially extract the fired case. If this latter weapon falls to the ground, landing on its butt, enough momentum may be given the shotgun bolt to cause it to go backward, ejecting the fired case. Though ejection may occur in the aforementioned situations, there is never sufficient energy for the bolt to come forward and chamber a new round.

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