Can ballistics tell you the make and model of the gun a bullet came from?

Discussion in 'General Handgun Discussion' started by TheNYResistance, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. TheNYResistance

    TheNYResistance New Member

    Can ballistics tell you the make and model of a gun?
    I was watching The Lincoln Lawyer and in it a person is shot with a 22 pistol, Matthew M. Says "good, so and so owned a 22" the cop says, "yeah, but it wasnt a woodsman, ballistics says it was a colt woodsman, an antique job."

    They had no shell, just the bullet in the guy's head, even with the shell, it is a 22 LR with a dimpled primer, how can they tell? Thinking Hollywood Bs, but I'm no expert.
  2. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

    Yes, at least sometimes they can tell. Guns have many different kinds of rifling. Most often they can only tell the brand not the model.

  3. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    Well, you can tell Colt from S&W (right hand S&W, Left hand Colt) identify Glocks (polygonal rifling) Can recognize NEW Marlin (microgroove) and distinguish between 1903 Springfield and an 03A3 (different number of grooves) and MAYBE a Carcano (gain twist rifling). 12 lands and grooves on a .38 is an FIE Titan Tiger. But there ARE limits.

    As far as a fired casing- the firing pin and extractor leave tool marks. You need a good microscope to see the variations that distinguish them, but it IS used in court- but not to say " This is from a 1937 Ferinshlurger .37 Magnamus" but to say "This cartridge was fired from this gun."

    Please do not confuse TV with reality, that makes my head hurt. You rarely solve all the crimes in 24 minutes plus commercials, and rarely get detailed forensic information while you wait from your genius in the basement.

    PS- .22 rimfire is a ***** to get ballistic info on. When it hits a bone, soft lead deforms really, I mean REALLY badly. Striations go bye-bye.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
  4. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    Normally a ballistics report will give a short list of possible suspects (could be S&W or Sig, etc). Glock cases look similar to Sigma or M&P cases, but under a microscope the Glock is obvious (rougher marks). .22 in the head? A skull is pretty brutal on .22 bullets. Likely deformed pretty badly and not identifiable at all.

    "CSI" type of BS is just BS
  5. gollygee

    gollygee New Member

    Yeah, hollow wood gave us 'knock down power' also.:(
  6. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

    An experienced forensics investigator can identify a spent bullet as being shot from a revolver because of the "skid marks".

    What are skid marks?

    A revolver fires a bullet that is not spinning, but is accelerating- until suddenly it encounters rifling- at that point, it is spun up rather abruptly, leaving a "skid mark" where the lands grab the bullet. However, pistols have a bullet sitting right at the start of the rifling. It does not have the distance to accelerate before encountering rifling. While the lands still grab the bullet, they spin it immediately.
  7. TheNYResistance

    TheNYResistance New Member

    No, skid marks are what my wife complains about while doing my laundry.
  8. vincent

    vincent New Member

  9. silverado113

    silverado113 New Member

  10. chewchew

    chewchew New Member

    I used to collect old military rifles years ago and still have about 100 more or less, but I lost interest in them and don't keep up them any more, so I have a question for c3Shooter. You said you could tell the difference between a Springfield 03 and a Springfield 03-A3. Isn't the Springfield 03-A3 the one marked USMC on the tip of the barrel.? I just checked both of my 03-A3's marked USMC and I've never noticed this before, but they are both Remington. My 03 is Springfield. I know all A3's were USMC, but did springfield make any A3 USMC's, and if so are the twist the same in both makers? I"ve not keep up with the old rifles or fired them in years so I don't remember. Thanks:confused:
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2012
  11. Trez

    Trez Well-Known Member

    The M1903 has a 4 groove barrel and the M1903A3 has a 2 groove barrel, it suppose to be just as accurate but was easier manufacture..

    The Medusa was required to have a 9 groove barrel, so it could be identified no matter what caliber was shot out of it. So, police would know to look for a Medusa and not just any .38 or 9mm
  12. pioneer461

    pioneer461 New Member

    Most myths, misinformation and confusion regarding firearms and investigation technique, come from..............HOLLYWOOD!

    Sometimes a movie or TV series has the benefit of good technical advisers, but most do not. It sometimes became a real problem in my former life as a detective, when trying to convince a victim / witness / juror, that just because they saw it on Tee-Vee doesn't make it true.

    Try to keep things in perspective. Hollywood is entertainment. They sometimes make stuff up to fit into the script. It isn't real.
  13. chewchew

    chewchew New Member

    You mean NCIS and Jethro are not real:confused::confused:
    You have got to be kidding. Wait until I tell my wife and you WILL have some explaining to do. Shame on you.:p:p

    AIKIJUTSU New Member

    The news in the last few years has exposed several police department (aptly named) "crime labs", in which the forensics "experts" rubber-stamped what the prosecutors wanted via false testimony. Apparently including "absolute proof" that a certain gun fired the fatal bullet. So, anyone convicted by that kind of BS (perjury) should automatically get a new trial, shouldn't they?
  15. primer1

    primer1 Well-Known Member Supporter

    Article in popular mechanics said they sent bullets to ballisticians, then rotated the same bullets between different labs....many different results! Long story short- tests showed they were wrong 20% of the time! Then examples were given on murder convictions overturned because of false convictions due to faulty lab work. Scary s#*#.