Rifles

Wounds from Centerfire Rifles

Wounds caused by centerfire rifles are markedly different from those caused by handguns or .22 rimfire rifles. Handguns and .22 rimfire rifles are relatively low-velocity weapons with muzzle velocities of between 650 and 1400 ft sec. With the exception of the .357 Magnum and the .44 Magnum, muzzle energies are well below 500 ft-lb. The widely proclaimed .45 automatic has a muzzle velocity of only 850 ft sec, with a muzzle energy of 370 ft-lb. In contrast, the muzzle velocities of modern centerfire rifles range between 2400 and 4000 ft sec (Table 7.1). The muzzle kinetic energy is never less than 1000 ft-lb it is commonly in the 2000 ft-lb range and may be as high as 5000 ft-lb. Because of the low velocities and kinetic energies, injuries from both handgun and .22 rimfire rifle bullets are confined to tissue and organs directly in the wound path. In contrast, a centerfire rifle bullet can injure structures without actually contacting them. Table 7.1 Ballistics of Various Handgun and...

Centerfire Rifle Bullets

Hollow Point Bullet Wound Medical

Centerfire rifle bullets differ in construction from handgun bullets in that rifle bullets have to have either full or partial metal jacketing. This is necessary because of the high velocities at which rifle bullets are propelled down a barrel. If the bullets were lead or lead alloy, these high velocities would result in the lead being stripped from the surface of the bullet by the rifling grooves. Some handloaders will load centerfire rifle cartridges with cast lead bullets. In such cases, however, they reduce the powder charge so that the muzzle velocities produced are generally below 2000 ft sec. These bullets may or may not have a gas check. They are easily recognized by their long length and deep cannelures for lubricants (Figure 7.1). Rifle bullets can be divided into four general categories on the basis of their configuration and construction. First is the full metal-jacketed bullet. This is the standard form of ammunition used by the military. The bullet Figure 7.1 Cast rifle...

Short Long and Long Rifle Cartridges

The .22 Short, Long, and Long Rifle cartridges can be fired in both handguns and rifles. The term Long Rifle as it is applied to the most powerful of these three cartridges does not indicate that the cartridge is intended exclusively for rifles. Rifles and handguns chambered for the .22 Long Rifle cartridge will fire the Short and Long cartridges as well. In the case of semi-automatic weapons, however, the weak recoil generated by the Short and Long cartridges is generally insufficient to work the action. A few semi-automatic rifles can fire .22 Short, Long, and Long Rifles interchangeably. Repeated firing of .22 Short cartridges in a weapon chambered for the Long Rifle cartridge may cause leading of the firing chamber, with subsequent difficulty in inserting Long Rifle cartridges. Some handguns and rifles are designed to use Shorts only and will not chamber the longer cartridges. Weapons chambered for the .22 rimfire cartridge have an 0.223-bore diameter with a 1-in 16 in. (1 16)...

Addendum Rifle Calibers

At present, at least 50 different caliber rifle cartridges are being manufactured in the United States. Some of these cartridges have been introduced recently, whereas others are almost obsolete with no weapons currently manufactured for them. Obsolete cartridges no longer manufactured are sometimes available from overseas sources as well as being manufactured by home reloaders or small specialized companies. Rifle cartridges that are not popular in the United States but are popular in other countries can be obtained from the overseas sources. A few of the more common centerfire rifle calibers will be described.

Perforating Tendency of Centerfire Rifle Bullets

Full metal-jacketed rifle bullets almost invariably exit if the deceased is the primary target and is within a few hundred yards of the muzzle of the weapon. The 5.56 X 45 mm round is the only full metal-jacketed round that has a tendency to stay in the body. Most hunting bullets of medium and large caliber also exit the body. Varmint cartridges such as the .222 or .22-250 tend to stay in the body. With a cartridge such as the .243, it depends on bullet weight, the area of the body struck and the length of the wound path.

Centerfire Rifle Wounds

Wounds from centerfire rifles may be classified as contact, intermediate, or distant. Contact wounds of the head are the most devastating, producing a bursting rupture of the head (Figure 7.7). Large irregular tears in the scalp radiate from the entrance site. Powder soot and searing are typically present at the entrance. Rarely, virtually no soot will be present. In some contact wounds of the head, the entrance may be difficult to locate because of the massive destruction. Large pieces of the skull and brain are typically blown away, with pulpification of the residual brain in the cranial cavity. Pieces of scalp may be sheared off. The skull shows extensive comminuted fractures. Such wounding effects are due partly to the large quantities of gas produced by combustion of the propellant, emerging from the muzzle under high pressure. This gas begins to expand as soon as it emerges from the muzzle of the weapon. If the gun is held in contact with the head, this gas follows the bullet...

Assault Rifles

The term Assault Rifle refers to an auto-loading rifle having a large capacity (20 rounds or more) detachable magazine, capable of full automatic fire and firing an intermediate rifle cartridge. This term has been corrupted by the media, politicians and the bureaucracy to include virtually all self-loading weapons that look ugly and or mean . Weapons that fire pistol ammunition, e.g., Intratec Tec-9's, Cobray M-11's, are not assault rifles by virtue of their firing pistol ammunition and that they were not designed for full-automatic fire. Nor are weapons that while firing an intermediate rifle cartridge have fixed magazines and were never intended for full automatic fire, e.g., the SKS-45. In the United States, civilian versions of true assault weapons, such as the AKS-47, MAK-90 and AR-15, that can only deliver semiautomatic fire, are widely available. Strictly speaking, these are also not assault rifles as they are designed for semi-automatic fire only. Conversion of these weapons...

Loss of Kinetic Energy

The second factor is the angle of yaw of a bullet at the time of impact.1 The yaw of a bullet is defined as the deviation of the long axis of the bullet from its line of flight. When a bullet is fired down a rifled barrel, the rifling imparts a gyroscopic spin to the bullet. The purpose of the spin is to stabilize the bullet's flight through the air. Thus, as the bullet leaves the barrel, it is spinning on its long axis, which in turn corresponds to the line of flight. As soon as the bullet leaves the barrel, however, it begins to wobble or yaw. The amount or degree of yaw of a bullet depends on the physical characteristics of the bullet (its length, diameter, cross-sectional density), the rate of twist of the barrel, and the density of the air. As the bullet moves farther and farther from the muzzle, the maximum amplitude of the yaw (the degree of yaw) gradually decreases. At 70 yards, the degree of yaw for the 55-gr. .223 (5.56 X 45-mm) caliber bullet decreases to approximately 2...

Wounds from 22 Caliber Rimfire Weapons

The most popular and most commonly fired cartridge in the United States is the .22 rimfire. It is estimated that over 2.2 billion rounds of this ammunition are produced each year in the United States. There are four types of .22 rimfire ammunition the .22 Short, the .22 Long, the .22 Long Rifle and the .22 Winchester Magnum rimfire (Figure 6.1). The .22 Long cartridge appeared in 1871. This consisted of a lengthened case (the current .22 Long Rifle case), loaded with the 29-gr. Short bullet. Five grains of black powder were used as a propellant. The .22 Long Rifle cartridge appeared in 1887. It consisted of the .22 Long case loaded with a 40-gr. bullet and 5 gr. of black powder. This is the most useful and most accurate of the rimfire cartridges. Figure 6.1 From left to right .22 Short, .22 Long, .22 Long Rifle, and .22 Magnum. Figure 6.1 From left to right .22 Short, .22 Long, .22 Long Rifle, and .22 Magnum.

Stippling Powder Tattooing and Pseudo Powder Tattooing

One of the more unusual cases of lesions simulating powder tattooing involved a young boy who after shooting himself in the head survived a short time at a hospital. At autopsy, powder tattoo marks were seen on the flexor surface of the left forearm. Because the weapon was a bolt-action rifle, such tattooing could not have occurred. Subsequent investigation revealed the deceased had had a tourniquet placed on his arm when seen in the emergency room. This tourniquet was never removed. Close examination of the markings on the skin, originally interpreted as tattoo marks, revealed them to be petechiae.

Intermediary Targets

If a centerfire rifle bullet passes through an intermediary target, such as a wall or door, before striking an individual, the severity of the wound produced may be much greater than if the same bullet had not perforated the target. If the intermediary target is of sufficient thickness and resistance, the bullet will destabilize be deformed or even break up. Such a bullet when it strikes the victim will more readily lose kinetic energy, thus, possibly increasing the severity of the wound. This is true even though the bullet has lost kinetic energy in piercing the intermediary target. This phenomenon is Figure 7.17 Large irregular entrance wound of the face from centerfire rifle bullet that passed through intermediate target. Stipple marks around entrance caused by fragments of bullet and intermediate target. Figure 7.17 Large irregular entrance wound of the face from centerfire rifle bullet that passed through intermediate target. Stipple marks around entrance caused by fragments of...

Winchester 762 x 51 mm

This rimmed cartridge was introduced in the Russian M1891 Mosin-Nagent rifle. Rifles chambered for this cartridge are almost all of Russian or former Soviet-bloc manufacture. This cartridge is comparable in performance to the .30-06. A typical loading would be a 150 gr. bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2850 ft s.

Wound Ballistics of the Shotgun

At close range, the shotgun is the most formidable and destructive of all small arms. For birdshot and buckshot loads, the severity and lethality of a shotgun wound depends on the number of pellets that enter the body, the organs struck by the pellets and the amount of tissue destruction. Like handgun bullets, the extent of tissue destruction from each individual pellet is limited to that tissue they physically shred. Temporary cavities play no significant role in injury. This is, of course, not the case with rifle slugs which, like rifle bullets, produce injury both directly and from temporary cavity formation. In rifled weapons, the weight of the bullet does not change no matter how great the distance. In contrast, in shotguns, as the range increases there is dispersion of shot with resultant decrease in the number of pellets that strike the target. Although velocity decreases with range in rifled weapons, this decrease is very little at the short ranges at which most killings...

Wounds Seen in The Emergency Room

Some surgeons, especially those who have had military training, perform wide debridement of entrance wounds in the skin from handguns and rimfire rifles even though this is unnecessary due to the small amount of kinetic energy possessed by these bullets. As the removed tissue is supposed to be sent to Surgical Pathology for examination, this tissue can often be retrieved and examined.

M1 Carbine 762 x 33 mm

The .30 M-1 Carbine cartridge is neither a rifle cartridge nor a pistol cartridge. The round was originally developed for the U.S. military M-1 Carbine. Commercially, this round is loaded with a 110-gr. soft- or hollow-point bullet. The military round is loaded with a 110-gr. (7 g) full metal-jacketed bullet. Muzzle velocity is around 1975 ft s (579 m s) muzzle energy 955 ft-lb (1173 J). The M-1 Carbine should not be confused with the M-1 Rifle (the Garand), which was chambered for the .30-06 cartridge.

Rubber and Plastic Bullets

Rubber and plastic bullets used by the Israelis are smaller and faster but have considerably less kinetic energy. Four types of rubber bullets have or are being used.22 Two are spherical in configuration and measure 1.8 cm in diameter two cylindrical, measuring 1.8 cm in diameter by 1.8 cm long. One of the spherical forms and one of the cylindrical are plain rubber. The other two are steel with a thick rubber shell. The pure rubber bullets weigh 8.3 g with a muzzle velocity of 75-100 m s and kinetic energy of 23.3 to 41.5 J. The rubber coated steel bullets weigh 15.4 g with a muzzle velocity of 100 m s and kinetic energy of 77 J. Rubber bullets are fired from a metallic canister that is mounted on the muzzle of either an M-16 or Galeil rifle. The cannister can hold up to 15 rubber bullets.

Blank Cartridge Injuries

While serving in the military, the authorhadoccasion toreviewadeath from a rifle blank. A 22-year-old black malewasdeadonarrivalatadispensary in Germany with a blank gunshot woundof the chest. Inspectionof thebody revealed a circular wound of entry of theleft chestinthesecondinterspace, 5 cm from the midline. The wound measured15mmindiameterandwas surrounded by a 75 mm area of powder blackening. Subsequent autopsy revealed a fracture of the third costal cartilageandadjacentlateralhalf of the sternum. There was an irregular lacerationof theanteriorwallof the right ventricle, the interventricular septum, and the aortic valve. A bilateral hemothorax and hemopericardium were present. The weapon involved in this incident was an M-1 rifle (caliber .30-06)loaded withablank training round. The nature of the wound suggested eitheralooseoranear-contact wound. In the civilian population, blank cartridge injuries and death are extremely rare. It is unlikely for a civilianforensicpathologist...

Feeding ecology and diet

Menoptera (wasps and bees), occasional arachnids, and sometimes small birds they also rifle blossoms for nectar. Termite emergences have a special attraction. Large items are carried in the foot and held by it at a perch, to be torn apart with the bill moths, butterflies, and dragonflies have their wings torn off before being swallowed.

Older Adult Consumers

Pedic shoes, and vitamins, older adults also spend money on art supplies, books, clothing, a wide variety of games backgammon, mah-jongg, electronic and computer games), home furnishings, travel, and entertainment (Leventhal, 1991). For the sports-minded, there are lightweight rifles, special golf clubs, and other equipment adapted to age differences for the more affluent, there are cruises and flights to everywhere, furs, jewelry, and luxury cars of all kinds and for readers, there are magazines designed specifically for the mature market (e.g., Active Aging, 50-Plus, Golden Years, Modern Maturity, Prime Time). Older adults read newspapers and magazines more frequently than other age groups, and their preferred television viewing includes news and sports programs. Older shoppers also rely more on mass media and salespersons than younger shoppers.

Hollow Point Bullet Wound

Hollow Point Bullet Wounds

The .223 Remington cartridge was introduced in the Armalite AR-15 rifle (the precursor of the M-16) in 1957. It is the standard rifle caliber of the U.S. Army, having been adopted with the M-16A1 rifle in 1964. It is widely used overseas by other countries. The military cartridge was initially loaded with a 55-gr. full metal jacked boat-tail bullet (the M-193 Ball) with a muzzle velocity of approximately 3200 ft sec. Muzzle energy is 1290 ft-lbs (1798 J). Civilian cartridges are loaded with either soft-point or hollow-point bullets weighing from 40 to 69 gr. These are used for varmint and small game hunting. In 1980, NATO adopted the SS109 cartridge loaded with a 62-gr. bullet. This has become the standard military loading in the United States where it is designated as the M855. The bullet has a mild steel core in front of a lead base core. Muzzle velocity is 3100 ft s muzzle energy 1325 ft-lbs (1680 J). While firearms chambered for this cartridge are currently available in only small...

The Forensic Aspects of Ballistics

Rifles and handguns have rifled barrels, that is, spiral grooves have been cut the length of the interior or bore of the barrel (Figure 2.1). Rifling consists of these grooves and the metal left between the grooves the lands (see Figure 1.13). The purpose of rifling is to impart a rotational spin to the bullet along its longitudinal axis. This gyroscopic effect stabilizes the bullet's flight through the air, preventing it from tumbling end over end. This spin does not, however, stabilize the bullet after it enters the body due to the greater density of tissue compared to air. The term twist, as it pertains to rifling, refers to the number of inches or centimeters of bore required for one complete rifling spiral. All modern weapons have a twist which is constant for the entire length of the barrel. Some weapons manufactured in the beginning of the 20 th century, had a gain twist in this type of rifling, the rate of twist increases from breech to muzzle. A different form of rifling for...

New Forms of Handgun Ammunition

Soon after their introduction, hollow-point handgun bullets became the center of controversy. Many civil libertarian groups protested that they were Dum-Dum bullets, violated the Geneva Convention, and caused severe and more lethal wounds. All these statements are incorrect. The Dum-Dum bullet was in fact a .303 centerfire rifle cartridge loaded with a soft-point style bullet manufactured at the British Arsenal at Dum-Dum, India, in the late nineteenth century. The 1970s saw the introduction of exploding ammunition for handguns.16 Exploding ammunition dates back to the early nineteenth century and was used in rifles in the American Civil War. Present-day exploding ammunition intended for handguns has been manufactured in at least three forms for President Reagan was shot with .22 Long Rifle exploding ammunition. This ammunition was constructed from ordinary commercially available .22 Long Rifle hollow-point ammunition. A hole was drilled in the tip of the bullet, with insertion of an...

Interchangeability of Ammunition in Weapons

Mention should be made of adapters (Figure 10.22). These permit firing of a cartridge in a weapon not chambered for it by the use of a device that fits in the weapon's chamber and will accept a different caliber cartridge. Adapters permit the use of .22 rimfire ammunition in .22-caliber centerfire rifles as well as .32 ACP and .30 Carbine ammunition in high-velocity .30-caliber centerfire rifles. Adapters have been made to permit firing a handgun cartridge from a shotgun and a .410 shotgun cartridge in a 12-gauge shotgun. Ruger manufactures a line of single-shot revolvers that have interchangeable cylinders. Thus, one weapon will fire .38 Special and .357 Magnum ammunition in one cylinder and 9-mm Luger in another interchangeable cylinder. Another weapon fires .45 ACP in one cylinder and .45 Colt in a second. A number of firearms companies manufacture .22 rimfire revolvers with two interchangeable cylinders one for .22 Short, Long, and Long Rifle cartridges and the other for the .22...

Iiiliii 1111111 Jll Siil

Pendulum Hit by a Bullet. A ballistic pendulum is used to determine the speed of rifle bullets. This pendulum is a rectangular block of mass m2 that is supported by two cords (Fig. 8.7). A bullet of mass m1 and velocity v1 strikes the pendulum at time t1 and becomes embedded in the block. Develop an equation that relates the velocity of the bullet to the amplitude of the pendulum swing.

Methods of Analyzing Gunshot Residues

With rifles and shotguns, residue is virtually never detected on the firing hand using FAAS. Residue is often detected, however, on the non-firing hand that has been used to steady the muzzle against the body. The residue is detected more commonly on the back rather than on the palm. Occasionally, only high levels of lead are detected on the non-firing hand. It is hypothesized that the absence of antimony and barium is due to the fact that only small quantities of these elements are used in the primer and that they precipitate out inside the long barrel before they have a chance to exit in elevated levels. Automated (computer-controlled) SEM-EDX analysis involves the automated scanning of lifts for particles possessing certain physical characteristics, e.g., size. The particles are then analyzed by EDX.6 Particles of lead-antimony-barium (Pb-Sb-Ba) and antimony-barium (Sb-Ba) composition are considered characteristic of gunshot residue while other particles, containing various other...

Bullets without Rifling Marks

Occasionally a bullet recovered at autopsy will show no rifling on its surface. Lack of rifling indicates that the weapon is a zip-gun, a smooth-bore handgun, or rifle, or a revolver whose barrel has been removed. Zip guns have been previously discussed. Weapons intentionally manufactured with smooth-bores are almost all .22-caliber rifles made for the exclusive use of .22 shot cartridges. Rarely, weapons that are supposed to have rifled barrels, inadvertently, get out of a factory with smooth bores. Absence of rifling in a smooth-bore weapon does not indicate that a ballistic comparison cannot be made. The author had a case in which an individual was shot with a smooth-bore .22 rifle in which there was enough pitting of the bore to produce striations on the bullet, thus making possible a positive comparison with test bullets fired down the barrel.

Wounds Due to Handguns

Handguns are the most commonly used form of firearm in both homicides and suicides in the United States. Handguns are low-velocity, low-energy weapons having muzzle velocities generally below 1400 ft sec. Advertised velocities of revolver cartridges traditionally have not been accurate because they are obtained in test devices that have no cylinder gap. Even in well-made revolvers, this gap will cause a velocity loss of approximately 100 to 200 ft sec, depending on initial velocities and pressure as well as the construction tolerances of the weapon. Advertised velocities for semiautomatic pistols are more accurate as there is no cylinder gap from which gas can escape. The length of the barrel also influences muzzle velocity. The longer the barrel, the greater the velocity. Table 5.1 gives the advertised muzzle velocities of some .22-caliber and .38 Special ammunition compared to the actual velocities determined in revolvers with 2-, 4-, and 6-in. barrels. The velocity of .22-caliber...

Suicides Due to Long Arms

In suicides with long arms (rifles and shotguns), just as with handguns, the preferred sites are the head, chest, and abdomen, in that order. There is, however, very little difference in the percentage of head wounds between the sexes (Table 14.2). Thus, 69 of the men and 65 of the women had entrance wounds of the head.3 The percentage of people shooting themselves in the head with rifles and shotguns is not as great as with handguns. This may be due to the fearsome reputation of these weapons. People do not mind shooting themselves in the head but do not want to blow their head off. In deaths involving centerfire rifles, most wounds of the head are in the mouth or temple. A study of 46 suicidal centerfire rifle wounds of the head revealed the location of the entrance, in decreasing frequency, was the mouth (41.3 ), the temple (26.1 ), underside of the chin (15.2 ), the forehead (13 ), and other (4.4 ).2 A study of 89 contact shotgun wounds of the head by Harruff found a similar...

Handgun Shot Cartridges

Handgun cartridges loaded with lead shotare availableinvariouscalibers, e.g., .22 Long Rifle, .38 .357. This ammunition, often called birdshot or snakeshot, is used to kill small game usuallyvarmints orsnakesat close range. The rimfire versions of these cartridges have been discussed in Chapter 6. Blount (CCI) manufactures centerfire handgun shot cartridges in

Comparison of Bullets

Being manufactured for the 9-mm Parabellum and .45 ACP cartridges. Some revolvers have even been chambered for rifle cartridges, e.g., .30 Carbine, etc. Revolvers have been and still are manufactured with the capability of firing different calibers by changing the cylinder, e.g., .38 9-mm, .22LR .22 Magnum. Semi-automatic pistols have been chambered for revolver cartridges, e.g., .32 Smith & Wesson Long, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum etc. derringers for semi-automatic pistol cartridges (.25 ACP, .32 ACP, 9-mm Parabellum, .45 ACP, etc.), rifle cartridges (.22 Hornet, .223, .30-30, etc.) and shotgun cartridges. Single-shot weapons have been chambered for a host of revolver, pistol, and rifle cartridges. Rifles have been chambered for handgun cartridges. Double-barreled rifles have been produced with one barrel chambered for a rifle cartridge and the other for a shotgun shell. In some instances, bullets may appear distorted when recovered from a body due to the fact that they were...

Hard Contact And Loose Contact Bullet Wounds

Incomplete-contact wounds are a variation of angled-contact wounds. In these, the muzzle of the weapon is held against the skin, but, because the body surface is not completely flat, there is a gap between the muzzle and the skin. A jet of soot-laden gas escapes from this gap producing an area of seared, blackened skin. The location of this seared, blackened zone can be anywhere in relationship to the muzzle circumference, depending on where the gap is. Incomplete contact wounds are most often seen in self-inflicted contact wounds of the head due to long arms, i.e., rifles and shotguns. In these cases, a zone of blackened and seared skin extends downward from the entrance. The most probable cause for the appearance of this wound is a momentary break in contact between the muzzle and skin along the lower margin of the barrel as the victim reaches for the trigger with one hand while holding the muzzle against the skin with the other hand. A jet of hot sooty...

Gunshot Wounds of the Brain

Gunshot wounds of the brain constitute approximately one-third of all fatal gunshot wounds. Wounds of the brain from centerfire rifles and shotguns are extremely devastating. Such injuries are described in Chapters 7 and 8. This section will deal with gunshot wounds of the brain caused by low-velocity weapons handguns and .22 rimfire rifles. brain in the case of high-velocity missiles may produce massive fragmentation of the skull. In the case of handgun bullets, the pressure waves are considerably less but still may cause fractures. Linear fractures of the orbital plate are the most common because of the paper-thin nature of the bone. Fracture lines may radiate from the entrance or exit hole or even be randomly distributed in the vault or base of the skull. These secondary fractures of the skull are seen most commonly with medium- and large-caliber handguns, though they occur even in distant .22-caliber Long Rifle wounds. No matter what the caliber, secondary fractures are more...

Effect of Environmental Temperature on Bullet Velocity

Environmental temperature can significantly effect the velocity of a bullet. In tests conducted by the military using M-16 rifles, two rifles, having a rifling twist of 1 12, lost 167 ft sec and 109 ft sec, respectively, in muzzle velocity when the environmental temperature was decreased from 70 F to 0 F.29 Table 10.3 shows the results of the experiment with the two rifles at different temperatures. Table 10.3 Effect of Temperature on Bullet Velocity (weapons used, M-16 rifles) Table 10.3 Effect of Temperature on Bullet Velocity (weapons used, M-16 rifles)

Military Ammunition Converted to Sporting Ammunition

Ammunition loaded with full metal-jacketed bullets cannot be used for hunting in the United States. Some individuals have attempted to sporter-ize such ammunition by cutting or grinding off the tip of a full metal-jacketed bullet, exposing the core, in an attempt to facilitate expansion. This is potentially dangerous in that the base of such bullets is open. On firing, pressure of the gases of combustion on the exposed core may cause it to be propelled out the tip of the bullet with deposition of the jacket in the barrel. On firing the rifle a second time, the deposited jacket may cause the barrel to explode.

Behavior of Ammunition and Gunpowder in Fires

Experiments have been conducted to determine at what temperature a small-arms cartridge will detonate.25 Cartridges were placed in an oven and the furnace was heated until the round exploded. It was found that .22 Long Rifle cartridges exploded at an average of 275 F, .38 Special rounds at 290 F, .30-06 at 317 F, and 12-gauge shotgun shells at 387 F. Whereas the cartridges detonated in every case, the primers did not. In some of the detonated rounds, the primers were removed, loaded into other cartridges cases, and fired. The aforementioned observations were verified in a series of experiments in which flame from a propane torch was applied to a total of 202 cartridges 10 shotgun shells (.410 and 12 gauge) 30 .22 Long Rifle cartridges 68 handgun cartridges from .38 Special to .44 Magnum and 94 rifle cartridges In regard to the rifle and handgun cartridges, when heat was applied to the base of the cartridge case, while the primers always detonated, the powder burnt only half the time....

Wounds from Shotguns

Shotguns differ from rifles and handguns in construction, ammunition, ballistics, and use. Rifles and handguns fire a single projectile down a rifled barrel. Shotguns have a smooth bore. Although they can fire a single projectile, they are usually employed to fire multiple pellets. Rifled shotgun barrels, intended for use with slugs, are available. Shotguns may be autoloaders, pump (slide action), over unders, side-by-side, bolt action or single shot. Some shotguns intended for military and or police use convert from semiautomatic to pump action and back as the user desires. The usual shotgun barrel does not have a rear sight. It possesses only a small rudimentary front sight consisting of a small brass bead. With the increased use of shotguns in deer hunting, manufacturers are now producing shotgun barrels, 20 and 22 in. long, that are equipped with rifle sights as well as optional rifling. Unlike rifles or pistols, many shotguns have barrels that are easily removable, so that an...

Bullet Wounds of the Skull

Secondary fractures are very common in contact wounds of the head. This is due to the gas produced by discharge entering the cranial cavity, expanding, and contributing to the stress placed on the bony chamber by the temporary cavity. The more gas produced, the more that enters the skull and the more likely that the fractures will be produced. An extreme example of this is provided by contact wounds from a centerfire rifle or shotgun. These weapons cause explosive wounds of the head, with large fragments of bone and brain typically being ejected from the head. In distant wounds, gas plays no part in the production of fractures. These fractures are produced by the pressure built up in the skull as a result of temporary cavity formation. The size of this cavity is proportional to the amount of kinetic energy lost by the bullet in its passage through the head. The greater the amount of kinetic energy lost, the larger the cavity the larger the cavity, the greater the pressure produced on...

Armor Piercing Handgun Ammunition KTW and Its Legacy

If one wishes to defeat the soft bodyarmor worn bymostpolice, there is no need to resort to the procurementof exotichandgunammunition. Most centerfire rifle cartridges will defeat this armor. Soft body armor used by police is intended to protect them from handgun bullets not rifle bullets. These vests are composed of multiple layersof bullet-retardantmaterialsuch as Kevlar . The number of plies of this material in a vest determines the ability of the vest to stop a handgun bullet. Vests are rated as to their ability to stop bullets of various calibers. Thus, one vest may be rated as suffcient to stop bullets from .22 LR to .38 Special, while another vest may be capable of stopping bullets up to .357 Magnum. Consequently, a vest will stop a bullet only as long as it does not exceed the capability of the vest. While increasing the number of layers of material increases the ability of the vest to stop bullets of increasing lethality, it also has the effect of making the vest heavier and...

An Inquiry Into The Nature Of Wounds Resulting In Killed In Action In Vietnam

NRA Illustrated Reloading Handbook. Washington, D.C. National Rifle Association of America. 25. Cooking-Off Cartridges. NRA Illustrated Reloading Handbook. Washington, D.C. The National Rifle Association of America. 26. Sciuchetti G. D. Ammunition and fire. American Rifleman 144(3) 36-38, 59-60, March 1996.

Shot Cartridges

In addition to the regular Long Rifle cartridges with which most people are familiar, .22 Long Rifle Shot cartridges are also available. As loaded by Federal, the cartridges have a crimped metallic mouth and contain approximately 25 gr. of 12 shot. Winchester manufactured a similar shot cartridge loaded with 37 gr. of 12 shot. The cartridge loaded by CCI contains 31 gr. (165 pellets) of 12 pellets in a blue plastic capsule. Muzzle velocity for this particular round is said to be 950 ft sec. CCI also manufactures a .22 Magnum Shot cartridge which contains 52 gr. of 11 shot enclosed in a blue plastic capsule. Deaths due to .22 shot cartridges are rare. Both suicides and homicides have been reported.23 The Federal .22 Long Rifle shot cartridge will perforate the temporal bone out to five inches of range (Figure 6.4A).2 In areas of the skull where the bone is thicker or at a range of greater than 5 in., close range wounds with this cartridge produce depressed skull fractures (Figure...

Friendships

I moved away from our town after high school graduation, and I'm not really certain what happened to my boyhood friends. I was told that Billy was admitted to a mental hospital, Johnny shot himself when he mistakenly concluded that he could withstand a rifle bullet, and Stephen joined the Navy. The Brainy brothers were a bit more successful They became university employees and were never heard from again.

Cartridge Cases

Figure 2.6 Markings on rifle cartridge case due to fluted chamber. Occasionally one will encounter a fired cartridge case having a series of parallel longitudinal markings impressed on the case (Figure 2.6).4 These marks may be either linear areas of swelling or linear deposits of soot. Such markings are a consequence of a fluted chamber. During manufacture, small parallel grooves have been cut into the wall of the chamber permitting powder gases to surround the cartridge case to allow the neck of the cartridge case to float on gas, thus aiding extraction. They are found in rifles, pistols, submachine guns, and machineguns. Flute marks may be present only on the neck or shoulder area of cases or along most of its length. The number of grooves may vary from 2 to 18. Heckler-Koch rifles, submachine guns, and pistols typically have fluted chambers. In the HK-4 pistol, there are 3 flutes that are designed to retard cartridge case extraction rather than facilitate it.

Falling Bullets

In some parts of the country, individuals celebrate New Years' Eve and July 4th by shooting guns in the air. Rarely, deaths are reported due to this practice. In most of these instances, the gun was probably not pointed straight up but at an angle to the horizon. In such a case, it is not unexpected for serious injuries to occur even if the bullet has traveled a great distance as a .30 caliber military rifle round has a maximum effective range of 4000 yards. Figure 9.5 Patterned abrasion from rifle butt. Underlying fracture of mandible. Figure 9.5 Patterned abrasion from rifle butt. Underlying fracture of mandible. The author has had two cases in which individuals were struck by bullets fired into the air. In the first case, a 17-year-old male was struck in the upper left chest, by a full metal-jacketed .303 rifle bullet. The bullet perforated the chest wall through the second intercostal space, penetrating the upper lobe of the left lung and the pulmonary vein at the hilum. The...

Frangible Bullets

Centerfire handgun ammunition, and to a lesser degree rifle ammunition, loaded with frangible bullets are now produced by all major ammunition manufacturers. The bullets are constructed of various materials depending on the manufacturer copper powder compressed under high pressure copper with a polymer binding agent powdered tungsten, copper and a nylon matrix twisted strands of zinc and powdered iron encased in an electroplated jacket. Kaplan et al. tested frangible ammunition composed of copper particulate material in calibers .38 Special, 9-mm Parabellum and .223 by firing them into the heads of pigs.19 The wounds caused by the handgun bullets were comparable in severity to those caused by regular bullets. The frangible handgun bullets, when recovered, while demonstrating class characteristics, did not possess individual markings necessary for bullet-to-gun comparison. The .223 frangible bullets fragmented in the heads. The x-ray picture produced was similar to the lead snowstorm...

Flechettes

During the Vietnam war, the United Statesmilitaryusedammunitionloaded with steel flechettes. A flechette is a small arrow-shaped projectile with a metal tail fin. It is made in both 8- and13-gr. form. The8-gr. flechette, which is the more common type, measures 1 mm in diameter by approximately 2.7 cm in length. Flechettes were fired from 90-mm recoilless rifles, 90-mm guns,

Powder Tattooing

The range out to which powder tattooing occurs from centerfire rifles depends on the physical form of powder in the cartridge cases. Two forms of powder are used in centerfire rifles cartridges manufactured in the U.S. ball and cylindrical powder (Figure 7.14). A series of tests were carried out by the author on anesthetized rabbits. The chest and abdomen were shaved and the remaining hair was removed by depilatory cream. The rabbits were shot in the chest and abdomen at varying distances, using a Winchester Model 94 .30-30 rifle and a Remington 788, caliber .223, with a 24-inch barrel. Two brands of ammunition were used in each rifle. One was loaded with cylindrical powder, and the other had ball powder. The tests indicated that the maximum range at which powder tattooing occurs is different for the different forms of powder. For the .30-30 rifle, cartridges loaded with cylindrical powder produced heavy powder tattooing with deposition of soot at a range of 6 in. (15 cm). By 12 in....

Bang Sticks

A Bang Stick is a device used by skin divers and fisherman to kill sharks, large fish, or alligators. It is also called a fish popper , shark stick or power head . A Bang Stick consists of a metal cylinder or barrel that contains a cartridge chamber. The front end of the cylinder is open to allow exit of the bullet. The other end is closed by a screw-on, cap-like breech through which a firing pin can project. The pin is ordinarily held out of the breech by a spring. A metal shaft, at least 26 inches in length, is permanently attached to the base of the firing pin. Sticks of varying length can, in turn, be attached to the back of the shaft. When the open end of the cylinder is jammed hard against a target, such as a shark, the chamber and breech are forced back, overcoming the tension of the spring. The firing pin is forced through a hole in the breech face into the chamber firing the cartridge. The bullet then exits the open end of the cylinder. Bang Sticks may be acquired in various...

Wound Ballistics

In the case of handgun bullets, the bullet produces a direct path of destruction with very little lateral extension within the surrounding tissues, i.e., only a small temporary cavity is produced. As a general rule, the temporary cavity plays little or no role in the extent of wounding. To cause significant injuries to a structure, a handgun bullet must strike that structure directly. The amount of kinetic energy lost in the tissue by the bullet is insufficient to cause the remote injuries produced by a high-velocity rifle bullet. The picture is radically different in the case of a high-velocity rifle bullet. As the bullet enters the body, there is a tail splash, or backward hurling of injured tissue. This material may be ejected from the entrance. The bullet passes through the target, creating a large temporary cavity whose maximum diameter is up to 11 to 12.5 times the diameter of the projectile.3 The maximum diameter of the cavity occurs at the point at which the maximum rate The...

Pseudo Soot

Another case involved an individual shot at multiple times with a highvelocity rifle while lying on an asphalt parking lot. The bullets striking the asphalt reduced some of it to a fine black powder that coated the clothing and body. Other bullets then entered the body in these areas. The powdered asphalt was initially mistaken as powder soot and partially burnt grains of powder associated with the gunshot wounds. In two cases, involving victims shot with 7.62 X 39 caliber rifles, one individual was lying on gravel and the other on concrete. In the first case, the cartridges were loaded with hunting bullets in the second, with full metal-jacketed bullets having lead cores. In both instances, the bullets impacted the ground immediately adjacent to the victim, breaking up, with bullet fragments penetrating the body. In the first case, powdered lead from the disintegrating core was deposited on the back of a jacket in a linear pattern that paralleled the ground. Associated with this...

Suicides in General

Figure 14.9 Powder tattooing of edge of palm from blowback of powder from muzzle of (A) shotgun and (B) rifle Figure 14.9 Powder tattooing of edge of palm from blowback of powder from muzzle of (A) shotgun and (B) rifle wound with potentially lethal levels of drugs. Apparently the drugs do not work fast enough and the individual decides to shoot himself. Another individual shot herself twice in the chest with a .22 rifle. Only one bullet entered the chest cavity piercing the left lung, producing internal hemorrhage. This apparently was not quick enough as the woman, then cut her wrists with a broken bottle. Another individual, wishing to make absolutely sure he would die, placed a noose around his neck, tied one end to a support, and then shot himself in the head. The bullet itself would have been fatal, but as he collapsed, he suspended himself by the neck. If he had survived any length of time from the gunshot wound, he would have died of hanging.

Sabot Ammunition

Army experimented with sabot-flechette rifle ammunition as well as a 5.56-mm cartridge loaded with a 4.32-mm bullet in a 5.56-mm sabot. Sabot shotgun slug ammunition that uses a plastic sheath to bring the diameter of the projectile up to the desired gauge is currently manufactured. It is discussed in detail in Chapter 8. In late 1976, Remington introduced rifle ammunition loaded with a sabot round. This cartridge is sold under the trade name of Accelerator . The round was originally introduced only in .30-06. Other calibers have appeared (.30-30 and .308). In these three calibers, a standard .30 caliber cartridge case of the designated caliber is loaded with a subcaliber .224 (5.56-mm), 55-gr., partial metal-jacketed soft-point bullet, loaded in a plastic sabot weighing 5.7 gr. and having six equally spaced slits down its side (Figure 10.8). The manufacturer Figure 10.8 (A) .223 bullet and plastic sabot disassembled. (B) Bullet in sabot inserted in .30-caliber cartridge...

Near Contact Wounds

The gas produced by combustion of the propellant can produce internal injuries as severe as or more severe than injuries produced by the bullet. Gas-produced injuries are most severe in the head because of the closed and unyielding nature of the skull. The skull, unlike the chest or abdominal cavity, cannot expand to relieve the pressure of the entering gases. In contact wounds of the head from high-velocity rifles or shotguns, large quantities of gas entering the skull produce massive blow-out fractures with extensive mutilating injuries. The top of the head is often literally blown off with partial or complete evisceration of the brain. Contact wounds of the head with handguns, while often producing secondary skull fractures, do not ordinarily produce the massive injuries seen in high-velocity rifles and shotguns. Massive injuries from contact handgun wounds of the head, when they do occur, are associated with Magnum calibers, e.g., the .357 Magnum, the .44 Magnum or high velocity,...

Small Arms

There are five general categories of small arms handguns, rifles, shotguns, submachine guns, and machine guns. Rifles A rifle is a firearm with a rifled barrel which is designed to be fired from the shoulder. Barrel length is immaterial in classifying a firearm as a rifle. However, U.S. Federal law requires rifles to have a minimum barrel length of 16 inches. The types of rifles commonly encountered are single-shot, lever-action, bolt-action, pump-action, and auto-loading. A single-shot rifle has one firing chamber integral with the barrel which has to be manually loaded each time the weapon is fired. A lever-action rifle has a lever beneath the grip which is used to open the rifle action, to extract the cartridge case, and, in closing the action, to insert a fresh cartridge in the firing chamber and to cock the gun. In a bolt-action rifle, a handle projects from a bolt. Pulling back and pushing forward on this projection causes the bolt to extract and eject a cartridge case and then...

Air Weapons

Air-powered guns are used throughout the world for target shooting, sport, and firearms training. These devices range from toys exemplified by the Daisy BB gun to expensive, highly sophisticated custom air rifles. There are, however, other air- and gas-powered guns with considerably greater velocity and striking energy than that of the Daisy BB gun. These devices are more properly classified as weapons as they can cause significant physical injury and occasionally death. Austrian armies used air rifles against the French during the Napoleonic wars from 1799 to 1809.2 These weapons were rifles of 12.8-mm caliber with an effective range between 100 and 150 yd. Air rifles, air shotguns, and air pistols were used for hunting and target shooting during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Air rifles are still used extensively for target shooting as well as gun training. An air rifle is a weapon that uses the expanding force of compressed air or gas to propel a projectile...