DEFINITION OF BALLISTICS
• In its broadest sense, ballistics is defined as is the science dealing with the
motion of projectiles and the conditions governing that motion. Science is a
systematized body of knowledge which has been observed tested and proven.
Motion refers to movement or mobility.
• 3 Types of Motion
• Direct motion – is the forward movement of the bullet or shots out of the shell
by the action of the expansive force of gases from a burning gun powder.
• Gyroscopic motion – is the action of the bullet passing through a rifled bore
barrel firearm which is either twisted to the left or right.
• Translational – is the action of the bullet once it hits a target and subsequently
• Projectile means to metallic and non-metallic object propelled
by means of force. In strict sense, it is the study of natural laws
relating to the performance of gunpowder and projectiles in
firearms and the means of predicting such performance. It is also
refers to the science of firearms identification which involves the
scientific examination of ballistics exhibits (fired bullets, fired shells,
firearms and allied matters) used in crimes involving scientific
equipments such as bullet recovery box, bullet comparison
microscope and others.
• The term ballistics was derived from the Greek word “ballo” or
“ballein” which literally means “to throw”. Its root word was also said
to have been derived from the name of an early Roman war
machine called “ballista” - a gigantic bow or catapult which was
used to hurl missiles or large objects such as stones at a particular
distance to deter enemy forces. The term ballistics is frequently
used synonymously in the press and in police parlance to firearm
identification and investigation.
BALLISTICS AS A SCIENCE
• Ballistics is classified, formulated and verifiable knowledge
gathered by observation, research and experiment and based on
scientific theory and using scientific equipment and apparatus.
Results of firearms identification is an exact science because it
permits an absolute precision in results free from possibility of error
normal to human perception. Therefore, ballistics per se is not an
exact science rather it is a branch of physics or applied science
which is subject to changes and development depending upon the
demands of the modern civilization.
EARLY RECORDED FIREARMS
• The earliest recorded identification of firearms by the trained observer was
recorded in the criminal investigation by Hans Gross, the great Austrian
Criminologist and considered as the father of criminalistics. This refers to the
French bullet fired by soldier of Napoleon Bonaparte’s Army, which lodge behind
the eye of his grandfather in 1799. The bullet was recovered in 1845 after the
death of his grandfather. When Hans Gross saw it, he observed and found out
that it was still with traces of gunpowder and this would prove evidentiary value.
• Another was done by Charles Waite in the United States of America. He
was an employee of New York State who conducted an investigation involving
firearms. In 1915, a farmer was accused of murder with a gun. Waite was not
convinced by the evidence of the firearms’ experts, and his effort showed that the
accused is innocent. Through Waite’s effort, to trace the gun from which the bullet
was fired, consequently identify the manufacturer of the gun.
• Alexandre Lacassagne (1844-1921)- was the first to recognize
the significance of the striations etched found on a bullet extracted
from a murder victim and its to link to the gun from which it was
fired, thus beginning the science of ballistics.
• Edmond Locard (1877-1966) – established the first forensic
laboratory in France. His principles “objects or surfaces which
came into contact always exchange trace evidence”.
• Col. Calvin H Goddard (1920) – pioneered the introduction of
science of Ballistics in the different universities in U.S.,
subsequently it was universally practiced and accepted in the
different courts throughout the world.
• Forensic – a term originated from the Latin word “forum”, meaning “marketplace
where people gather for public disputation or public discussion”.
• Forensic Ballistics – it refers to the science of investigation and identification of
firearms and ammunition used in crimes.
• It is a refined Tool Mark Identification where the firearm is made of a
material harder than the ammunition components, acts as a tool to leave
impressed or striated marks on the various ammunition components that come
into contact with the harder surface of the firearm.
• Dr. Albert Llewellyn Hall, the pioneer in the field in forensic ballistics, was
an expert in identifying firearm from the fired bullets. Identification of the crime
gun is in the principal purpose and objectives of criminal investigation, to
establish the identity of criminal offender and assist in their prosecution.
BRANCHES OF BALLISTICS
• 1. Interior (internal) Ballistics
• It refers to the properties and attributes of the projectile
while still inside the gun. It covers from the time; the firearm is
loaded with the cartridge, the explosion and the movement of
the bullet from the breech to the muzzle of the gun.
ATTRIBUTES OF INTERIOR BALLISTICS
• Firing pin hitting the primer
• In order that the primer should explode, the firing pin should hit such. This
is due to the theory of friction wherein there is a resistance to motion
created by the firing pin.
• Ignition of the priming mixture
• Priming mixture is made up of very sensitive material that is commonly
located in the center portion of the cartridge case. In order to ignite the
priming mixture, it must be live and potent and must be devoid of any
• Combustion of the gunpowder
• As the primer crushed and ignited, the flash passes through the vent
towards the gunpowder that provides the combustion of gunpowder.
• Expansion of the heated gas
• There will be equal expansion of heated gas inside the cartridge,
after the combustion of gunpowder. The gas expanded in the
different direction that tends the bullet and shell to separate from
each other in the cartridge.
• Pressure developed
• When the heated gas created by the burning powder charge is
developed, a tremendous pressure is produced in the chamber of
• Energy generated
• Energy refers to the fatal equivalent of a bullet compared to a pound
that is drops from a certain height.
• Recoil of the gun
• The recoil of the gun is due to the Newton’s third law of motion
(law of interaction) which states that in every action is always equal
and opposite reaction. The forward movement of the bullet after the
explosion results to backward movement of the cartridge case.
Recoil of the gun is affected by several things such as tightness with
which the firearm is held, height of the bore above the center of the
stock line of wrist for pistols, shape and design of the butt plate or
the pistol’s grip, weight of the firearm and the physical and mental
condition of the shooter.
• Velocity of the bullet in the gun
• The bullet will travel the bore of the barrel depending on the powder
load of the cartridges, since it is the powder load that will propel the
bullet in the bore of the barrel of the firearm.
• Rotation of the bullet in the barrel
• When the bullet is driven by the heated gas by tremendous pressure
towards the muzzle end, the bullet will rotate following the riflings
inside the gun barrel. But if the firearm does not have riflings inside
the barrel, the bullet (shot) would just move forward without rotating
inside the bore of the barrel until the bullet left the gun muzzle.
• Engraving of the cylindrical surface of the bullet
• The riflings starting from the breech end up to the muzzle end
of the barrel will engraved in the body of the bullet, depending
on the number of lands and grooves as part of the class
characteristics of the firearm.
2. EXTERIOR (EXTERNAL) BALLISTICS
• It refers to the attributes and movements of the bullet after
it has left the gun muzzle, which includes the condition of the
bullets’ movement and flight up to the target.
ATTRIBUTES OF EXTERIOR BALLISTICS
• Muzzle blast – it is the noise created at the muzzle point due to
sudden escape of the expanding gas coming in contact with the
surrounding atmosphere. Due to this sound at the muzzle end of the
gun, a silencer was invented to minimize the sound, which the
criminal took advantage to conceal the crime.
• Muzzle energy – it is an energy generated at the muzzle point,
whenever the cartridge explodes from a firearm.
• Trajectory – actual curve path of the bullet during its flight from the
gun muzzle to the target. There are three stages of trajectory
namely, straight horizontal line, parabola like flight and vertical drop.
• Range – straight distance from the muzzle to the target. It is
1. Accurate /maximum effective range – it is the distance within a
shooter has control of his shots.
2. Absolute maximum range – it is the farthest distance that a
projectile can be propelled from a firearm. It is based upon the
intrinsic accuracy of the firearm and ammunition, size of the
target, marksmanship ability of the shooter, the ability to discern
the target, knowledge of the ballistics characteristics of the
ammunition, and the level of power needed to be delivered to the
• Velocity – rate of speed per unit time.
• Air resistance/aerodynamic drag – resistance encountered by the
bullet during its flight which reduces its speed. There are three parts
of drag bullet, the bow resistance, skin friction and the base drag.
• Pull of gravity – downward reaction of the bullet towards the center of
the earth, due to its weight. The pull of gravity will apply only, starting
from the parabola, then to the maximum range and to the final
vertical drop. However, in the effective range, the bullet could
withstand the pull of gravity due to its velocity and gyroscopic
• Penetration – depth of entry on the target based on the power and
velocity of the bullet.
3. TERMINAL BALLISTICS
• It refers to the effects of the impact of the projectile in the
target. The knocking power of particular powder load of the
cartridges which makes a devastating lesion, caused by the
ATTRIBUTES OF TERMINAL BALLISTICS
• Terminal accuracy – it is the size of the bullet grouping on the
• Terminal energy/striking energy – it is energy of the projectile when
it strikes the target. This refers to the fatal equivalent of a bullet
when it struck the victim.
• Terminal velocity – it is the speed of the bullet upon striking the
• Terminal penetration – it is the depth of entry of the bullet in the
4. FORENSIC BALLISTICS
• It refers to the investigation and identification of firearms by
means of ammunition fired through them. This is the real branch
of the science which the police use as their guide in field
ATTRIBUTES OF FORENSIC BALLISTICS
• Field investigations – it is conducted the first responders when they
investigate a case wherein firearms have been used.
• Technical examinations of ballistics exhibits – it is conducted by the
firearms examiners in the ballistics laboratory to determine the
value of firearms exhibits in the solution of the case.
• Legal proceeding – it includes making of ballistics report and
presentation of the result of the examination conducted before the
5. SHOT BALLISTICS
• It is the study of shotgun ammunition including its
characteristics spread and trailing.
6. Wound Ballistics
It refers to the study of the effects of a projectile on a
target and the conditions that affect them
Equipment Used in
• By means of these equipment and with qualified men to
use them, the police will be more effective in their drive against
crimes involving firearms. At times, an insignificant fire bullet or
shell found at the crime scene will serve as the only “missing
link” in the final solution of a crime wherein a gun has been
used. And this is brought out to light only in the laboratory by the
use of different equipment. It includes:
1. BULLET COMPARISON MICROSCOPE
• It is designed to permit the firearm examiner to differentiate
two fired bullet or shell, by simultaneously observing their
magnified image in a single microscopic field. Fired bullet and shell
are examined and compared in either INTERMARRIAGE (half of
the same image of the evidence bullet/shell and half of the same
image of the test bullet/shell of the same direction, the same
magnification, and the same level or plane are merge into one
image to look for the congruency of stations or the same markings)
and in JUXTAPOSITION (critical side by side comparison at the
same time, direction, magnification, image and level or plane to
find the same feature, structure of striations to the specimens
• The forensic examiner can take photomicrographs which are
needed for court presentations as an exhibit to support the
ballisticians’ findings he observed under this instrument. The
photomicrograph will give a clue to the judge how the ballistician
arrived with his findings and conclusions.
• It was introduced by Dr. Calvin H. Goddard on April 1925. He
was the first to own and use the first bullet comparison
microscope, and through his efforts, he is considered as the father
of modern ballistics. He took active participation in the
examination of the fired shells in the infamous General Castañeda
and Salgado Ambuscade in Quezon City.
2. STEREOSCOPIC MICROSCOPE
• It is generally used in the primary examinations of fired bullet
and shells to determine the relative distribution of the class
characteristics or for orientation purposes. It can also be used in the
closed-up examination of tampered serial numbers of firearms.
• In the middle of 19th century, Francis Herbert Wenham of
London designed the first successful stereomicroscope. The first
modern stereoscopic microscope was introduced in the United
States by Cycloptic.
• It contains a series of microscopic lenses of different
magnifications that can be used in examining fired bullets or fired
shells to determine the class characteristics and also for orientation
purposes. This instrument contains a large circular ground glass,
and a diameter about 14 inches, wherein the observation and
comparison of class characteristics is dome similarly with the bullet
4. CP-6 COMPARISON PROJECTOR
• Similar to bullet comparison micro-scope in which two fired
bullets of shell can be compared simultaneously by projecting the
image on a large screen and is observed at a vertical and
• The instrument was invented by William Howard Livens, an
engineer and British army.
5. BULLET RECOVERY BOX
• It used is to obtain test fired bullets or test fired shells for
examination and comparison to the questioned bullets or shell.
Several designs of bullet recovery box are now adopted, for as
long as it could meet the desired result in test firing and retrieved
the fired bullet undamaged. This is commonly filled with cotton but
sometimes water tank, sawdust with oil, sand, waste threads,
darak, banana trunks or rubber strips can be used and separated
• It is used in measuring pitch of riflings of firearms. This
instrument is generally used in highly advanced ballistics
laboratory. With this instrument, it is possible to measure the
angle of twist in a rifled pistol or revolver barrel. It is used in
inserting the telescope and aligning it with the axis of the bore.
The scope is mounted in a rotatable bearing, with a graduated
disc which permits reading circular measurements to three
minutes of an arc.
• This instrument was invented by John H. Fisher.
• This is used in making measurements such as bullet
diameter, bore diameter, barrel length and other important details.
8. ANALYTICAL OR TORSION BALANCE
• Used for determining weights of bullets or shotgun pellets –
for possible determination of type, caliber and make of firearms
from which fired.
• A small instrument that is sometimes used in examining the
internal surface of the gun barrel with a tiny lamp at the terminal
portion and this is inserted inside the bore for internal examination.
10. TAPER GAUGE
• Used primarily for determining the bore diameter of firearms.
11. SCANNING ELECTRON MICROSCOPE
• A high powered electron microscope used to identify left
over particles like gunpowder residues and primer residues. This
is a computer system combined with an electron microscope and
laser spectrophotometry unit. Its power is so great that with a
mere speck of dust it could identify the elemental components of
the particle under examination.
12. ELECTRIC GUN MARKER/STYLUS
• Used in the laboratory for marking fired bullets, fired shells and
firearms submitted for examination.
• It is used to measure the speed of bullet.
• It was invented by Alfred Lee Loomis in 1918.
14. BULLET PULLER
• It is used to separate the bullet form the cartridge case.
15. COMPUTERIZED COMPARISON
• It is similar to the bullet comparison microscope; the only
difference is the magnified image is seen in the monitor. It is
more convenient to use than a manual one.
HISTORY OF FIREARM
The development of firearms followed the invention of
gunpowder in Western Europe in the 13th century. Many
stories have been told about the discovery of gunpowder,
but most are legendary and have little support facts. It also
often that gunpowder was first invented by the Chinese and
that the Arabs, with their advance knowledge of chemistry at
that time, may have developed it independently.
One of the earliest recorded uses of firearms in
warfare was an attack in Seville, Spain in 1247. History also
showed that cannons were used by King Edward III of
England in Crecy in 1346 and by Mohammed II of Turkey in
his famous conquest of Constantinople in 1453.
The first firearm were inefficient, large and heavy,
making it difficult for common soldier to carry; and later the
development of small arms weapons were rampant.
It was many years later before the use of gunpowder
was applied to a portable arm which could be operated by
MEN BEHIND FIREARM
Roger Bacon – an English monk and
scientist who credited for the invention of
gunpowder in 1248.
Berthold Schwartz – credited for the
application of gunpowder for the propelling
of a missile in the early 1300s.
COL. CALVIN HOOKER GODDARD (1891–1955)
He was a forensic scientist, army officer,
academic, researcher and a pioneer in forensic
In 1925 Goddard wrote an article for the
Army Ordnance titled "Forensic Ballistics" in
which he described the use of the comparison
microscope regarding firearms investigations.
He is generally credited with the conception of
the term "forensic ballistics", though he later
admitted it to be an inadequate name for the
He was considered as the father of
HORACE SMITH (1808-1893)
He was a gunsmith, inventor, and
businessman. He and his business partner Daniel
B. Wesson formed two companies named Smith &
Wesson, the first of which was financed in part by
Oliver Winchester and was eventually reorganized
into the Winchester Repeating Arms Company
Smith was employed by the U. S. Armory
service from 1824 to 1842, when he moved to
Newton, Connecticut. He was employed by
various gun makers up to the 1840s, when he
moved to Norwich, Connecticut. He is then listed
as a partner of Cranston & Smith. It is known that
while in Norwich, he engaged in the manufacture
of whaling guns and he is credited with the
invention of the explosive bullet used to kill
DANIEL BAIRD WESSON (1825 – 1906)
He married Cynthia Maria Hawes, May 26,
1847 in Thompson, Connecticut. He partnered with
Horace Smith in Norwich, Connecticut in the early
1850s to develop the first repeating rifle, the
He is an associate or partner of Smith in
JOHN MOSES BROWNING (1825 – 1926)
He was an American firearms designer who developed many
varieties of firearms, cartridges, and gun mechanisms, many
of which are still in use around the world. He is the most
important figure in the development of modern automatic and
semi-automatic firearms and is credited with 128 gun
patents—his first was granted October 7, 1879.
Browning influenced nearly all categories of firearms
design. He invented or made significant improvements to
single-shot rifles, lever action rifles, and slide action firearms.
His most significant contributions were in the area of
autoloading firearms. He developed the autoloading pistol by
inventing the slide design found on nearly every modern
automatic handgun. He also developed the first gas-operated
machine gun, the Colt-Browning Model 1895—a system that
would surpass recoil operation in popularity. Other successful
designs include the M1911 pistol, the Browning .50 caliber
machine gun, the Browning Automatic Rifle, and a ground-
breaking semi-automatic shotgun, the Browning Auto-5.
DAVID “CARBINE” WILLIAMS
He was the maker of the first
ALEXANDER FORSYTH (1768-1843)
He was a Scottish Presbyterian clergyman
who invented the percussion ignition. He was
educated at King's College, Aberdeen, and
succeeded his father as minister of Belhelvie in 1791.
While hunting wild duck he was dissatisfied
with his flintlock fowling-piece due to its hang-fire; by
the time the bullet was discharged the duck had time
to dive before the shot reached them.
He patented his scent-bottle lock in 1807;
this was a small container filled with fulminate of
ELISHA KING ROOT (1808–65)
He was the inventor, engineer,
manufacturer; born in Ludlow, Mass. In 1849
he became superintendent of the Colt
Firearms Company, eventually becoming
president. He remained there until his death.
Root invented a drop hammer in 1853, which
was soon used in every forge. He also
invented a revolving cylinder firearm and
developed numerous machines for tooling
ELIPHALET REMINGTON (1793 – 1861)
He was born in 1793 in the town of Suffield,
Connecticut, to parents whose origins lay in Yorkshire,
England. He was a blacksmith, and at 23, he hand-made a
revolutionary sporting rifle using a firing mechanism
bought from a dealer, producing the barrel himself.
The gun received such an enthusiastic response
that Remington decided to manufacture it in quantity, and
formed the firm of E. Remington and Sons, which he
headed until his death in 1861 . By the mid-1800s the gun
had become immensely popular with American sportsmen
and was one of the standard guns used in what has been
called "the winning of the West".
The company continued to grow and to develop
its product and gradually began the manufacture of other
sporting goods, such as bicycles. At the present time, the
company is known as the Remington Arms Co., Inc.
JOHN MAHLON MARLIN (1836 - 1901)
He was an American firearms manufacturer
Marlin was born in Boston Neck, near
Windsor Locks, Hartford County, Connecticut as the
son of Mahlon Marlin and Jennette Bradford.
He worked at the Colt plant in Hartford
during the Civil War. Starting in 1863, he made
pistols in New Haven, Connecticut, expanding into
manufacturing pistols and then different types of
firearms by 1872, then called Marlin Fire Arms
Company, today Marlin Firearms.
Initially producing single-shot weapons only,
his company started manufacturing lever-action
repeating rifles in 1881.
JAMES WOLFE RIPLEY (1794 –1870)
He was an American soldier, serving as
a brigadier general in the Union Army during the
Civil War. He was instrumental in the early days
of the war in modernizing the artillery's
ordnance. However, Ripley also delayed the
introduction of repeating rifles into U.S.
arsenals, an act has been widely criticized by
SAMUEL COLT (1804 - 1862)
He was an American inventor and
industrialist. He was the founder of Colt's Patent
Fire-Arms Manufacturing Company (now known
as Colt's Manufacturing Company), and is widely
credited with popularizing the revolver. Colt's
innovative contributions to the weapons industry
have been described by arms historian James E.
Serven as "events which shaped the destiny of
Colt never claimed to have invented the
revolver, as his design was merely a more
practical adaption of Collier's revolving flintlock,
which was patented in England and achieved
great popularity there.
HENRY DERINGER (1786 – 1868)
He was an American gunsmith. He invented,
and gave his name to the Deringer pistol. Further
development and copying of his design resulted in the
derringer (note the double-r) pistol that was
generically manufactured widely by other companies.
He was born in Easton, Pennsylvania on Oct.
26, 1786 possibly to Johannes Heinrich (and Maria
Catherina) Thuringer. However, no family tree entry
indicates that the senior Deringer had a son named
Henry. He may have been born to Henry Deringer, Sr.,
a colonial gunsmith who made Kentucky Rifles (and
Catherine McQuety Deringer). He married Elizabeth
Hollobush at the First Reformed Church in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 5, 1810.
He gave his name to the whole class of
firearms (rifles and pistol).
JOHN T. THOMPSON
• pioneered the making of Thompson
HIRAM MAXIM (1858)
built the first fully automatic gun and the silencer.
• Richard J. Gatling – patented his design of the "Gatling Gun", a
six-barreled weapon capable of firing a (then) phenomenal 200
rounds per minute.
• Oscar Mossberge – maker of high quality caliber .22 rifle,
sporting rifle and pump action shotgun.
• Fedor Tokarev – designed the service pistol for Soviet forces.
• Carl Walter – developed a reliable small caliber automatic pistol
• George Luger – designed the 9mm parabellum and cartridge.
• Eugene Stoner – designed the M16 assault rifle.
• Joseph Laumann – invented the first automatic handgun.
• The term “firearm” has two definition – legal as well as technical.
• Legal definition – it may be found in Section 877 of Revised Administrative
Code as well as in Section 290 of National Internal Revenue Code and this
runs as follows:
• Firearms or arms are herein used, includes rifles, muskets carbines,
shotguns, pistols, revolvers and all other deadly weapon from which bullets,
balls, shots, shells or other missiles may be discharged by means of
gunpowder or other explosives. This term also includes air rifles except such
as being of small caliber and of limited range use as toys. The barrel of any
firearms shall be considered a complete firearm for all purposes thereof.
• While Republic Act 10591, it is define as:
• Firearm refers to any handheld or portable weapon, whether a small arm or
light weapon, that expels or is designed to expel a bullet, shot, slug, missile
or any projectile, which is discharged by means of expansive force of gases
from burning gunpowder or other form of combustion or any similar
instrument or implement. For purposes of this Act, the barrel, frame or
receiver is considered a firearm.
• Technical definition – a firearm is an instrument used for the propulsion of
projectiles by means of expansive force of gases coming from the burning
THE MAIN PARTS
A. Revolver C. Rifle
1. barrel assembly 1. barrel assembly
2. cylinder assembly 2. magazine assembly
3. frame or receiver 3. stock group
B. Pistol D. Shotgun
1. barrel assembly 1. barrel assembly
2. slide assembly 2. magazine assembly
3. frame or receiver 3. stock group
Top Strap Barrel
Cylinder Release / Thumb
ACTIONS OF REVOLVER
• Single-action revolvers - the trigger performs only one task, when the trigger is pulled the
hammer falls, firing the handgun.
• Double-action revolvers - as the trigger is pulled two actions occur. The hammer comes
back and falls forward to fire the handgun.
ACTION OF PISTOLS
• Semi-auto operation
When the pistol is fired, the slide moves to the rear, ejecting the spent cartridge and
usually cocking the pistol in the process. The cartridges located in the magazine are forced
upward by the magazine spring into the path of the slide. When the slide (under pressure from
the recoil spring) moves forward, it picks up and pushes the next cartridge into the chamber,
ready to be fired again.
• Automatic operation
The firearm can fire continuously as long as the trigger is pulled.
These fires either on automatic or semi-automatic by using the selector level of the
firearm. Ex. Glock Pistols
Rear Sight Drum Carrying Handle
Front Sight Assembly
Magazine Release Button
Forward Assist Button
Rubber Recoil Pad
Upper Sling Swivel Handguard
Rear Sling Swivel
CLASSIFICATION OF FIREARMS
1. According to gun barrel
a. smooth-bore firearms
– have no riflings inside the
b. rifled-bore firearms –
firearms that have riflings
inside their gun barrel.
2. According to the caliber of the
a. artillery – can propel
projectiles more than one inch in
b. small arms - can propel
projectiles less than one inch in
diameter. E.g. machine gun,
shoulder arms and hand arms.
3. According to mechanical construction
a. single shot firearms
b. repeating arms
c. bolt action type
d. automatic loading type
e. slide action type (trombone)
f. lever type (break-type)
4. According to use
a. military firearms
b. pocket and home defense firearm
c. target and outdoor men’s firearms
5. Unusual or miscellaneous type – those types of firearms
that are unique in mechanism and construction.
a. paltik pistols
b. paltik revolvers
c. paltik rifles
d. paltik shotgun
Found in Chapter VII, Section 290 of National Internal
Revenue Code as well as in Section 877 of Revised
- It refers to a loaded shell for rifles, muskets, carbines, shotguns,
revolvers, and pistols from which a ball, bullet, shot, shell or other
missiles may be fired by means of gunpowder or other explosives.
It refers to a group of cartridges or to a single unit
cartridge – meaning a complete unfired unit consisting of a bullet,
cartridge case, gunpowder and primer. The term may also refer to
a “single round”.
Cartridge – is a complete round of ammunition for a firearm.
The term cartridge and ammunition can be used
The cartridge evolved about the turn of the 16th century.
In 1635, the first cartridge was invented by King Gustavus
Adolphus of Sweden. He was credited with this invention. These
were simple packages, which he furnished to his troops during the
30 years of war. The package was torn, and the content was
poured down inside the barrel. Most shooters during those days
had to carry two powder horns, the first is for the powder to be
poured in the barrel, and the second is for the fine grains powder
for priming charge. The invention of paper cartridge eliminated the
package of the use of horn in carrying the powder mixture in
bottles or tube.
The term cartridge evolved about the turn of 6th century.
The earliest small arms ammunition or cartridge consisted of a
pre-measured charge of powder wrapped in paper. The term
cartridge is derived from the word “charta”, the Latin word for
paper. Later on, it came through the French word “cartouche”,
meaning a roll of paper, which indicates that the original cartridge
were not the brass gliding metal tipped units which we are familiar
The paper cartridge remained standard, for muzzle
loading firearms though the middle of the 19th century. The paper
cartridge was designed for combustible cartridge. It was
employed in muzzle-loading firearms, revolving chamber firearms,
and in several breech-loading firearms. The casing and enclosing
the gunpowder was made from nitrated paper, collodion, cloth,
animal intestine or some other materials which would not leave a
residue in the chamber of the gun barrel after firing.
ACCORDING TO LOCATION OF
1. Needle-fire cartridge – the primer is placed in the base of the
bullet. A long sharp firing pin is pierced the paper or foil case to
reach the primer.
2. Tit-fire cartridge – a copper case nipple containing the
protruding cup, through which a hole rear the breech block, to
the struck and detonated by the falling hammer.
3. Tail-fire cartridge – the opening of the rifle for loading is
compressed by spring, once the rifle has been loaded and the
breech is closed, operation of the trigger to crush against the
underside of the block, and detonate a flat percussion tail
from the rear of the cartridge.
4. Pin-fire Cartridge – the first cartridge of self-exploding type
developed by Monsieur Le Facheux of Paris, around 1836.
The primer was placed on the sidewall of a copper case and a
brass pin was installed in the opposite side of the case, the
intended pin rested on the primer then the hammer fall on the
side of the case, driving the pin into the primer.
5. Rim-fire Cartridge – developed by Louis Nicolas Auguste
Flobert of France, around 1845, the priming mixture is
contained or located in the cavity inside and around the rim
of the cartridge which is a very sensitive area. This cartridge
is usually applied to caliber .22 firearms.
6. Ring-fire cartridge – it is a type of cartridge used on the
sabotage case. This is a special type of cartridge wherein the
priming mixture is placed in a circular hollow ring about 1/3 of
the base of the cartridge.
7. Volcanic cartridge – a system made by Robin and Laurence
around 1854. The cartridge was a mini ball with a base cavity
filled with propellant. A paper disc holding a fulminate pellet
is closed at the back of the base, this type of cartridge is
similar to needle-fire but the firing pin can easily damaged.
8. Center-fire Cartridge – in 1858, the Moors cartridge marked
the development of this cartridge. The primer cap is forced
into the middle portion of the head of cartridge case.
ACCORDING TO TYPE OF FIREARM
1. Revolver cartridge – it has a rimmed base, which allows the
cylinder where the chamber is located to clamp its rim.
2. Pistol cartridge – extracting grooves are designed to allow
easier packaging of the rounds in the magazine.
3. Assault rifle cartridge – longer than a hand weapon and
generally bottle necked for larger powder capacity and
4. Shotgun cartridge – the case is generally made up of plastic
or paper designed to fire several projectiles spreading out to
create a come of fire.
5. Caseless cartridge – the powder is the casing itself, of the
projectiles. It requires varnishing to protect it from moisture
and moderate shocks. There are few residues left after the
gunpowder had exploded. The cross section is generally
fragile to cause for fragmentation.
ACCORDING TO TYPE OF CALIBER
The caliber of a gun is the diameter of its bore, measure
in fraction of an inch between two opposite lands for barrel with
even lands. The caliber of a firearm designated only as an
approximation of the bore diameter, and is usually closer to the
groove diameter. The different systems of measuring caliber of
firearm are Metric or European (millimeter) and English or
American (inches) systems of measurement.
In converting millimeters to inches – multiple the
millimeters by .03937 or divide by 25.4 while converting inches to
millimeters – multiple by 25.4 or divide by .03937.
It is the cartridge for shotgun. It is also called a “shell”,
and its body may be made up of metal or plastic or paper with a
metal head. The length of a shot shell is normally given in inches
and is based on the length of the spent hull.
PARTS OF SHOTGUN SHELL
1. Shot cup – it is a plastic cup that holds shot in pattern as it
leaves from the muzzle of the firearm.
2. Tube or case – prior to 1960, a paper tube were used, with
mouth closed by rolled crimps or with plastic body or hull
with mouth closed by die crimp, eliminating need for
3. Primer – it is the very sensitive part of the cartridge located
in the bottom portion of the case which ignites the powder
4. Propellant – a chemical compound used in firearms that
burns upon ignition. The gases produced by this rapid
combustion propel the pellet down the bore of the firearm.
5. Crimp – portion of the cartridge that is bent inward to hold the
shots in place.
6. Wads – it helps to contain the shot, seal off the shot payload
from the ignition gases to prevent deformation and protects
the barrel from lead building up. The four types of wads are
base wad, under powder, over powder and filler.
7. Shot/pellet – small spherical projectiles for shotgun.
KINDS OF SHOT/PELLET
1. Buckshot (BS) – consist of a number of lead balls that spread
out as they travel. These pellets are not very effective (in 00
buckshot, each one is .33 inch in diameter), but collectively
they result in large and destructive wounds. At longer
distance, however the shot spreads and fewer pellets hit the
2. Slug (SL) – instead of a group of lead balls, the shell
contains a single huge bullet with angled grooves cut into its
side to spin it, as it travels down the smooth bore of a
shotgun. The penetration of a slug is better than shot, but
the wound channel is not as wide as the shot.
3. Tungsten-Iron shot – it is formed either powdered tungsten
and powdered iron, they are blended together and pressed
into pellet, then sintered or bonded together by heating
process. The shot is coated with a rust inhibitor and it is
harder than both lead and steel.
4. Flechette Shot (FS) – a cluster of sturdy steel needles,
replaced the shot of the standard shotgun shell. These
flechettes have tiny fins at their base to stabilize them in
flight. Air resistance is greatly improved over shot, than in
armor piercing capability.
5. Armor-piercing Bullet (APB) – the discarding sabot slug
processes an aerodynamic shape that keeps it stable flight
even though it does not spin. It is smaller in diameter than a
standard slug, and surrounded within the shell by a tow-
piece plastic sabot. After exiting the barrel, the sabot splits in
half and falls away because of air resistance.
6. Steel Shot – it is made by cutting soft steel wire into short
lengths, which are formed into shot. The shot is then
annealed and coated with a rust inhibitor. Wads for steel
shot ammunition, are molded from high density
polyethylene. It has thick sidewalls to prevent the pellets
from contracting the shotgun bore surface. High velocity
steel loads have a cushion to reduce recoil.
7. Tungsten-Iron and Steel – this shell has a layer of steel over
a layer of tungsten-Iron. It gives a dense combined pattern
at longer ranges. It can be used in any shotgun
recommended for steel shot.
It is a metallic or nonmetallic, cylindrical projectile
propelled from a firearm by means of an expansive force of gases
coming from burning gunpowder.
The term may also include projectiles propelled from
shotguns, although strictly speaking, these projectiles designed
for shotgun are called “shots” or “pellet”.
The term bullet originated from the French word
“boulette”, means “small ball”. The projectile of most small arms
ammunition primarily means a projectile from a rifled arm which is
cylindrical or cylindro-conoidal in shape as opposed to round
projectiles which are commonly called either a ball or shot.
ACCORDING TO USE
1. Ball bullets – those have soft cores inside a jacket and are
used against personnel only.
2. Armor piercing bullet – those that have steel cores and are
fired against vehicles and other armored targets in general.
3. Tracer bullet – those that contain compound at its base
which is set on fire when the bullet is projected. The flash of
smoke from this burning permits the flight of the bullet to be
seen, especially at night time. This type of bullet is primarily
used for target acquisition.
4. Incendiary bullet – those that contain mixture, such as
phosphorous or other material, that can be set on fire by
impact. They are used against the targets that will readily
burn such as aircrafts or gasoline depots.
5. Explosive (fragmentary) bullet – those types of bullets that
contain a highly charged explosive. Because of their small
size, it is difficult to make a fuse that will work reliably in
small arms ammunitions.
ACCORDING TO MECHANICAL
1. Lead bullets – those which are made of lead or alloys of this
metallic lead, tin and antimony which are slightly harder than
2. Jacketed bullets – those with a core of lead covered with a
jacket of harder material such as: gilding metal, a copper
alloy of approximately 90% copper and 10% zinc.
3. Synthetic bullets – those made of plastic/plasticize and other
composition or those made of sand polymer mixed. Such
bullets were designed for special purposes.
BULLET DESIGNED FOR HANDGUNS
1. Full metal jacket – lead core is enclosed by a strong metal
jacket on this non-expanding, deep-penetrating, general
purpose bullet which provides smooth, reliable feeding in all
types of semi-automatic handguns.
2. Jacketed hollow point – the exposed lead at the tip of the
jacketed hollow point, rapidly initiates uniform controlled
expansion that progresses to the depth of the hollow point cavity.
It has excellent accuracy and bullet integrity.
3. Semi-jacketed hollow point – it has more exposed lead at the
tips, which expand less than a jacketed hollow point bullet.
4. Full metal cone – the lead core of this bullet is enclosed in a
light copper jacket, which has a cone shape and a flat point. The
result is less expansion than JHP bullet, but more than an FMJ,
and deeper penetration than SP bullet.
5. Lead wadcutter – the full wadcutter profile of this solid lead
cuts clean signature in paper targets for precise scoring.
6. Lead semi-wadcutter – solid lead bullet with semi-pointed
nose. Formed by swaging process with sharp shoulder for
clean hole punching in paper targets. It is good choice for
general purpose shooting.
6. Soft point – Exposed lead soft point initiates reliable
expansion, provides deeper penetration than hollow point
bullets. Precisely engineered copper jacket and the swaged
lead core provide the necessary concentricity and balance
required for top-level accuracy.
7. Lead round nose – solid lead bullet with rounded ogive for
BULLET DESIGNED FOR RIFLES
1. Full metal jacket – the lead core of this bullet is enclosed in
a heavy copper jacket, which results in little or no expansion
and deep penetration.
2. Full metal jacket boat tail – same with full metal jacket with
boat tail heel to further reduce drag to improve downrange
3. Hollow point boat tail – extremely accurate hollow point
bullet with pointed aerodynamic design. Boat tail heel to
further reduce drag to improve downrange velocity. Precision
balance and exceptional concentricity greatly increase bullet
stability to assure superb accuracy.
4. Soft point – Exposed lead tip on this bullet and broader point
diameter provides rapid, controlled expansion at somewhat
lower velocities. Broad wound channel results from
expansion up to 200% of original bullet diameter.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF BULLET
1. Hard ball – a copper sheath, the jacket, over a core of lead.
It is the standard projectile type, expanding very little, but
giving good penetration.
2. Depleted Uranium – it is ideal for use in armor penetrators
because it has an exceptional performance against armored
3. Semi-wadcutter – a bullet with a flat nose in front of a sharp
wad-cutter style shoulder. This type of bullet, when the
shoulder is too sharp, this will have a clear cut hole on the
4. Silver tip – Winchester trademarks for certain bullet designs.
The jacket will disintegrate into small pieces that will
precisely cause hemorrhage.
5. Fragmentation or explosive bullet – splits to fragment when
hitting soft tissues, creating big wounds but tends to retain
its form when penetrating armor.
6. Spitzer – a type of bullet having a sharply pointed nose. This
type of bullet when it hit the hard object likes bones inside
the body, it changes it bullet track hence, and the tendency is
that, the bullet traveled sideways which will create a wider
size of exit wound.
7. Dumdum bullet – outlawed for use in war, any bullet with the
8. Soft point or mushroom bullet – expands as it strikes an
object and produces much more serious shock and has
correspondingly greater stopping power.
9. Hollow point bullet – a bullet with a cavity in the nose
designed to increase the expansion when it hits the target.
10. Steel jacketed bullet – composed of a soft steel jacket, often
clad or plated with gliding metal to prevent rusting and
reduce frictional resistance in the bore.
11. X-bullet – is a solid copper projectile, heat treated for extra
toughness with no separate jacket and no lead core. It
designed by Randy Brooks.
12. Pointed bullet – more effective than round ball because
there are fewer surfaces presented to the air and thus the
speed of the bullet is less retarded so quickly.
13. Boat tail – a bullet with a base tapering to smaller diameter.
14. Gas check – a small metal cup fitted to the base of a lead
bullet, to protect it from the hot gases created by the burning
15. Glaser safety slug – is high performance ammunition that
gives superior penetration in solid targets, while delivering
maximum stopping power, with minimum danger from over
penetration and ricochet.
PARTS OF BULLET
1. Base – the portion of the bullet that receives the thrust and heat
from the burning gunpowder.
2. Bearing surface – the area of the bullet that contacts the barrel
riffling. A tight fit is required to prevent chamber pressure leaks
and to provide good contact with the rifling grooves.
3. Core – the bulk of the mass in the bullet.
4. Head height – length of the bullet from the shoulder to the tip.
5. Heel – the location of the bullet where the heel ends and the
bearing surface begins.
6. Jacket – is material that covers some or the entire core.
7. Meplat – is the diameter of the flat or blunt end of the nose of a
8. Ogive – is the radius of curve between the bearing surface and
the point usually stated with respect to the caliber.
9. Point – the most forward point of the ogive.
10. Shoulder – is the place on the bullet where the parallel sides’
end and the ogive begin.
It refers to a tubular metallic or nonmetallic container
which holds together the bullet, gunpowder and primer. Another
term used is shell or casing.
The cartridge is the portion of cartridge that is
automatically ejected from automatic firearm during firing and
these remains in the crime scene.
Drawing - refers to the machine operation of making cartridge
FUNCTIONS OF CARTRIDGE CASE
• It holds the bullet, gunpowder and primer assembled into one
• It serves as a waterproof container of the gunpowder and gas
seal at the breech end of the barrel.
PARTS OF CARTRIDGE CASE
a. Rim – limits the forward travel of cartridge into their chambers
and thus also limits the clearance between the heads and
b. Primer pocket – holds the primer securely in the central position,
provides a means to prevent the escape of gas to the rear of the
cartridge and a solid support of primer anvils, without which the
latter could not be fired.
c. Vents/flash hole – the hole in the web which serves as opening
or canal that connects the priming mixture with the gunpowder.
d. Head/body – constitutes the cork that plug the breech of the barrel
against the escape of gas.
e. Neck – it is occupied by the bullet.
f. Cannelure – the serrated grooves that are sometimes found rolled
into the neck and body of the case at the location of the bases of the
bullet; they prevent the bullet from being pushed back or loosened.
g. Shoulder – portion that supports the neck.
h. Base – bottom portion of the case which holds the primer and shell
i. Extracting groove – circular groove near the base of the case or shell
designed for the automatic withdrawal of the case after firing.
j. Crimp – this is the part of the mouth of a case that is turned in upon
THREE TYPES OF CRIMP
a. Roll Crimp – the cartridge case neck was
rolled into the bullet material of groove in
the bullet, to secure it, and ensure even
from tension of the cartridge case. It need
to be trimmed to a uniform length and are
primarily used on cartridges that have
headspace on the rim or cartridge case
b. Taper Crimp – it is used primarily in the
cartridge with headspace on the
cartridge case mouth, with lead bullets.
While it can be used to secure jacketed
bullets, this can led to bullet distortion.
With a taper crimp, the mouth of the
cartridge case run into a die, with a
tapered opening that squeeze the
diameter of the neck down, enough to
grip the bullet securely, but still leaves
enough space for headspace on the
c. Stab/Rim Crimp – it is used only on jacketed
ammunition, which consist either several
impressed dimples or a groove, pressed into
the cartridge case mouth by a collet. The
crimp can either enter a groove on the bullet
or can just press into the bullet body, which
distorts the bullet. It is primarily used on
military or commercial heavy caliber hunting
ammunition, where rough handling may be
CLASSIFICATION ACCORDING TO
• Bottle neck
• Tapered (obsolete)
CLASSIFICATION ACCORDING TO
a. Rimmed – the diameter of the base of the cartridge is very much
bigger than the diameter of the body of the cartridge. (44 magnum,
303 British, 38 special, 357 magnum, etc.)
b. Rimless – the diameter of the rim is equal with the diameter of the
body of the cartridge case. (.30-06, .270, .308 etc)
c. Semi-rimmed – the diameter of the rim is slightly greater than the
diameter of the body of the cartridge case. (.25 ACP, .38 Super)
d. Belted – has a protruding metal around the body of the cartridge
case. (.7mm Remington Magnum, .300 Winchester, .375 H&H
e. Rebated – the diameter of the rim is smaller than the body of the
cartridge case. (.41 AE, 50 Beowulf)
It is a small, self-contained metallic ignition cap at the
center or at the cavity of a cartridge case that when struck by the
firing pin combusts and sends sparks through the flash hole of the
cases and ignites the powder charge. (percussion)
Alexander John Forsyth (1847) is credited with being the
first to conceive the idea by using detonating compounds for
igniting powder charge in small arms by percussion. A Scottish
Presbyterian clergyman, he invented the percussion ignition.
While hunting wild duck he was dissatisfied with his
flintlock fowling-piece due to its hang-fire; by the time the bullet
was discharged the duck had time to dive before the shot reached
them. His first successful priming mixture was composed of
Potassium Chlorate, charcoal and sulfur in powder form.
PARTS OF PRIMER
a. Primer cup – the container of priming mixture.
b. Priming mixture – a highly sensitive chemical mixture contained in the primer
c. Anvil – portion of the primer against which the priming mixture is crushed by
blow of firing pin.
d. Disc – a piece of small paper or disk of tin foil which is pressed to the priming
CLASSES OF PRIMERS
a. Corrosive Primers (potassium chlorate)
- draws moisture from the air when ignited, and this moisture
speeds the rusting of gun barrel.
b. Non-corrosive Primers
- potassium chlorate was replaced by barium nitrates. It was
invented by Swiss army and inventor Karl Ziegler.
TWO KINDS OF PRIMER
a. Berdan Primer
The primer cup contains only the priming mixture and the
anvil is part of the cartridge case. It contains two of more vents
and requires special tools to remove them easily and not
generally reloaded. It was invented by Hiram Berdan in March 20,
b. Boxer Primer
The anvil is an integral part of the primer assembly and
contains only one flash hole. This kind of primer is commonly
used in present time for centerfire cartridges. It was invented by
American Inventor Col. Edward M. Boxer on June 29, 1869.
It refers to the chemical substances of various
compositions, particles sizes, shapes and colors, which when
ignited by the primer flash, is converted to gas under high
pressure and propels the bullet or shot charge through the barrel
to the target.
The term gunpowder is synonymous to the term
propellant, cordite and powder charge that can be used
About the weight of the powder charge in a cartridge, the
weight of the gunpowder is expressed in grains in English System
of while in Metric System, the weight of gunpowder is expressed
CLASSIFICATION AND COMPOSITION
1. Black powder – the oldest form of propellant and when fired,
produces large volume of grayish smoke and leaves
considerable residue in the barrel. The person credited for
the invention of such is Roger Bacon in 1248. It is composed
of potassium nitrates (75%), sulfur (10%) and charcoal
2. Smokeless powder – the powerful propellant used today and
is made up of nitrocellulose. The term smokeless is a
misnomer for they are neither powder nor smokeless. The
powder is said to be smokeless only because it does not
give off huge cloud of white smoke like black powder.
In 1886, Paul Vieille, invented the smokeless gunpowder
with nitrocellulose, a single base propellant called Poudre D,
made from gelatinize guncotton mixed with ether and alcohol. It
was cut into flakes of the desired size.
In 1887, Alfred E. Nobel of Great Britain developed
smokeless gunpowder called Ballistite, a double base propellant.
In 1890, Sir Frederick Abel and James Dewar obtained a
patent on a modified form of smokeless gunpowder known as
KINDS OF SMOKELESS POWDER
1. Single base/nitrocellulose – contains only pure nitroglycerin
2. Double base – composed of nitrocellulose and nitroglycerin
as major ingredients; accompanied by one or more minor
ingredients such as centralite, vaseline phthalate and
3. Triple base – the three principal ingredients used such as
nitrocellulose, nitroglycerin and nitro-guandine.
4. High Ignition Temperature Propellant – the main constituent
of high explosives from RDX group.
The barrel, which is one of the most important parts of
firearm, is a cylindrical in shape with projecting length. It is made
of a carefully selected solid piece of metal, fitted for its chemical
and metallurgical structure which has the capability to withstand
explosion and tremendous pressure coming from the expansion of
heated gas coming from burning gunpowder. This provides a high
quality product after the various machine operations, until it
becomes a finish product and consequently as a real firearm.
Making of Rifled Barrels
• Drilling Stage – a solid piece of cylindrical metal is drilled by
special deep-hole drill; through the center of which lubricating
oil is forced under pressure.
• Reaming Stage – removes scars and scratches left by the drilling operation. The
reamer used is slightly greater in diameter than that of the drill therefore removes
excess metal from the entire surface of the bore. There are three types of reamers
used in reaming the bore of barrel; roughing, finishing and burnishing.
• Rifling stage – the creation of the land and grooves inside the bore to improve
projection of the bullet during firing.
• Cut rifling technique – the oldest method of making riflings invented in
Nuremberg at around 1942. A hook cutter is pulled through the bore numerous
times and indexed after every stroke to produce the riflings.
• Broaching system – broaching cutter that cuts a longitudinal spiral grooves
inside the barrel. It produces the desired number of lands and grooves in a
• Button system – it produces the desired number of lands and grooves
simultaneously but in a different manner. It does not cut longitudinal spiral
grooves inside but it produces the same by depressing a portion of the
internal surface of the bore thus creating the grooves.
• Lapping stage – this is the polishing operation wherein a lead plug is used in removing
many of the larger imperfections due to the cutting of forming operation.
COMPOSITION OF RIFLINGS
• Lands – refers to the raised metal between
• Grooves – depressed portion of the gun barrel.
• Width of lands and grooves
• Depth of grooves
• Pitch of riflings – the number of inches traveled
by the bullet to make one complete run.
• Twist of riflings – the direction of twist whether left or
MAKING OF BREECHFACE AND FIRING PIN
The breechface of all firearms are machine
cut in the first place, and in the higher grade
weapons are finished off by hand filing and
grinding. Similarly, the firing pin of all weapons are
cut and shaped, receiving different degrees of fire
finishing according to the grade of weapon in which
they are to be used.
The breechface is the portion of the firearm
against which the cartridge case and the primer are
forced backwards upon firing while the firing pin is the
part of the firearm which strikes the primer of the
FACTORS THAT AFFECTS BREECHFACE
1.Powder charge of the cartridge
2.Softness of the primer cup and the
3.Sharpness of the striations on the
4.Presence of oil, grease or foreign matters
on the block
5.Factory stampings on the cartridge head
PRINCIPLE IN FIREARM IDENTIFICATION
• It is a refined toolmarks identification.
• The natural wear and tear of the tools is involved.
• When the soft surface come in contact with the hard surface is
left with the impressions or scratches from any irregularities on
the hard surface.
• Principle of individuality, i.e. no two things are absolutely
MARKS FOUND ON FIRED BULLETS
a. Lands marks – depressed portion caused by lands that can
be found in the cylindrical surface of the fired bullet.
b. Groove marks – raised or the elevated portions caused by
the grooves that can be found in the cylindrical surface of
the fired bullet.
c. Skid marks – found on the anterior portion of the fired
bullets and caused by the forward movement of bullet from
the chamber before it initially rotates due to the rifling
inside the barrel.
d. Stripping marks – found on bullet fired though loose fit
barrels wherein the riflings are already worn out.
MARKS FOUND ON FIRED SHELLS
1. Striated action marks are common to cartridge cases that have
passed through the action of an auto loading or repeating
firearm. Striated action marks can be produced on cartridge cases
by contact with a number of different areas within the firearm.
2. Impressed action marks, with a few exceptions, are produced when
a cartridge case is fired in a firearm. The two most common
impressed action marks are firing pin impressions and breech
1. Chamber mark – found in the body of the shell due to the irregular
makings in the chamber.
2. Firing pin mark – found in the primer cup or the rim of the cartridge
3. Shearing marks – secondary firing pin mark found near the firing pin
4. Extractor mark – found in extracting groove in automatic firearms.
5. Ejector marks – located in the rim in automatic firearms.
6. Pivotal mark – marks found on the shell caused by turning of the
7. Magazine lip markings – these are markings found at the low points
of the rim of the base of the shell and these are caused by the
magazine lips during the loading of the cartridge into the magazine
8. Breechface marks – found on the base of cartridge case as a result
of the rearward movement of cartridge case during firing.
Those are characteristics that are determinable even
prior to the manufacture of firearms. These characteristics
are factory specifications and within the control of man.
These serve as basis for identifying certain group or class of
firearms. These are:
a.Bore diameter/caliber – the diameter which the bore was
reamed. It is the distance measured between two opposite
lands inside the bore. Caliber is of English origin while the
millimeter (mm) is a European origin.
b. Number of lands and grooves – the number of lands is always
equal with the number of grooves.
c. Width of lands – it is the remainder of the circumference after
subtracting the groove width.
d. Direction of twist – it cause the bullet to rotate as it passes
through the barrel for the bullet to have gyroscopic motion
during its flight.
e. Depth of groove – measured on the radius of the bore as seen
in cross section. It is equal to the height of the side of a lands.
f. Pitch of riflings – it is the twist of lands and grooves. It also
refers to the distance advanced by the riflings in a complete
TYPE OF RIFLINGS
a. Steyr Type – 4RGL
b. Smith and Wesson Type – 5RGL
c. Browning Type – 6RG2X
d. Colt Type – 6LG2X
e. Webley Type – 7RG3X
f. Army Type – 4RG3X
Those are characteristics peculiar and not found in all
other firearms. These serve as the basis for identification of
particular firearm and identifiable only after the manufacture of the
firearm. These characteristics is beyond the control of the man
and which have random distribution inside the gun. Their
existence in a firearm is brought about by the tools used in their
manufacture in their normal operation resulting to the wear and
tear, abuses, mutilations, corrosions, erosions and other fortuitous
causes. These characteristics are generally found in the interior
surface of the gun barrel and breechface.
7 PROBLEMS OF FIREARM IDENTIFICATION
1. Given a bullet; to determine the caliber and type firearms
2. Given a cartridge case; to determine the caliber, name of
manufacturer and the type of fire arm used.
3. Given a bullet and firearm, to determine whether or not
the bullet was fired from suspected firearm submitted.
4. Given a fired cartridge case and a suspected firearm, to
determine whether or not the cartridge case was fired
from the suspected firearm submitted.
5. Given two or more bullets, to determine whether or not
the bullets were fired from only one weapon.
6. Given two or more fired cartridge cases, to determine
whether or not the cartridge cases were fired from only
7. Given a firearm, to determine whether it is serviceable or
Glass – a super cooled liquid that possess high viscosity
Two kinds of Crack
a. Radial Crack – primary fracture resembles the spokes
of a wheel radiating outward from the point of impact.
b. Concentric Crack – secondary fracture forming in an
approximately circular pattern around the point of
3 R RULE
A principle used for radial crack which states that stress lines on radial crack will
be at right angle to the rear side of the glass.
A principle used for concentric crack which states that stress lines on a
concentric crack will be at right angle to the front side, that is the side from which the impact
or blow came.
5 TEST FOR GLASS
1. Spectrographic test – used to determine the elements of the glass.
2. X-ray diffraction test – used to determine the type of glass pattern.
3. Physical properties examination – used to determine the density of
the glass by flotation method and refractive index by immersion
4. Study of polish mark – a test for fine glass wares and optical
5. UV light examination – used to determine the differences in
physical and chemical composition of glass specimen.
The search of the scene for ballistic exhibits is one of the
most important phases of crime investigation. Crime of violence,
especially wherein firearms had been used, sometimes involves
struggle, a break, and the element of unpredictability. In
homicide, murder and armed robberies, the criminal is in
contact with the physical surroundings in a forceful manner.
Traces of the commission of the crime may be left in the form of
fired bullets, fired shells, and suspected firearm. These firearm
evidences, or ballistic exhibits as they are sometimes called,
might be of value in tracing the perpetrator or perpetrators of
the crime so committed. Together with these, there might be
other traces that may link him to the crime committed.
A well-planned and organized method of investigation
should guide the basic search. The search to be followed by the
investigator should be thorough and complete, and no details of
the surrounding area should be over-looked by the investigator.
There might be some types of evidence, which might be of the
highest significance to firearms investigation.
1. STRIP METHOD
It involves the
demarcation of a series of
lanes down which one or
more persons proceed. Upon
reaching the starting point,
the searchers proceed down
their respective lane, reverse
the direction, and continue
in this fashion until the
scene has been thoroughly
2. DOUBLE STRIP METHOD
It is also known as grid
method. The researcher
perform first the strip method
and after which turns and
proceed back along new lanes
but parallel to the first
movement. This method offers
the advantage of being more
methodological and through;
examined from two different
viewpoints, the area is more
likely to yield evidence that
might have been overlooked.
It is usually employed in
outdoor scenes and is normally
executed by a single person. It
involves the searcher’s walking
in slightly ever-decreasing,
form the outermost boundary
determination towards a
central point and vice-versa.
4. ZONE METHOD
It requires that area
should be divided into four
quadrants, each of which is then
examined using of the methods
previously described. Where the
area to be searched is
particularly large, a variation of
the zone method would be
subdivide the small quadrants
into a smaller quadrants.
5. PIE METHOD
It is also referred to
wheel method. The searchers
gather at the center and
proceed outward along radii
or spoke. The principal
drawback of this method is
that the distance between the
researchers increases as they
depart from the center.
Anything that has material existence
and which may be used to establish the
nature of the offense or the identity of the
perpetrator and which may be presented to
the court for its evaluation or appreciation.
Properly prepared and presented
physical evidences may serve the same
purpose as taking the court to the scene of
the crime and reconstructing the events
which led to the commission of crime. A
thorough understanding of physical
evidence, its protection, preservation and
examination is important.
Evidence – is the means sanction by law, of ascertaining in a judicial
procedure the truth respecting a matter of fact.
“Evidence speaks by itself”
RECOGNITION OF EVIDENCE
At the crime scene, the prober must exercise keen observation
and extreme care in his search for these physical evidences or ballistics
exhibits like fired bullets, fired shells, firearm/s and allied items or
objects. The success of the case will depend heavily on how the prober
conducts himself in handling those ballistics exhibits. He has to do his
job well at “proper time” and “proper place”.
Proper time refers to when he is right there in the scene and
proper place refers to the right there at the scene. It is important
therefore that the investigator be familiar with the modern techniques in
the proper recognition, collection, marking, preservation and transmittal
of these physical evidences.
COLLECTION OF PHYSICAL
1. Collect all articles, which are, or may be in some future date, be of
value as evidence.
2. Evidence which may tend to show or indicate or not a crime was
committed or may connect some particular person with the crime or
crime scene such as fatal gun, fired bullet, fired shell, metal
fragment, broken glass, holster, magazine, cartridge, gloves and
3. Designate one officer to collect all evidence to centralized the
4. Don’t MAC the evidence.
M – mutilate the evidence
A – alter the very nature of evidence
C – contaminate the evidence
5. Sketch and photograph the crime scene.
COLLECTION OF PHYSICAL
6. Photograph the articles before removing them.
7. In cases if the fired bullets lodge in an object, extreme care must be
exercise in removing such.
8. If the bullet has broken into fragments, secure fragments as many as
9. When firearm/s is/are found in the crime scene, note the following:
a. type of FA
c. Serial number
d. Condition of FA
e. Position of FA relative to the body at the scene
f. Other details of FA
COLLECTION OF PHYSICAL
10. When bullet/s is/are found at the scene, the following shall be noted:
d. Metal or bullet fragments
e. Place and date of recovery
11. When shell/s is/are found in the crime scene, note the following:
a. Number of shells
c. Trademark or brand
d. Place and date of recovery
COMMON MARKS FOUND ON
• ACP – Arms Corporation of the Philippines
• Automatic Colt Pistol
• BAR – Browning Automatic Rifle
• RA or REM – Remington Arms Company
• RPA – Republic of the Philippines Arsenal
• LC – Lake City Arsenal
• FCC – Federal Cartridge Corporation
• EAA – European American Arms
• U or UT – Utah Ordnance Company
• WCC – Western Cartridge Corporation
• WRA – Winchester Repackaging Corporation
PROPER COLLECTION OF
FIREARMS IN THE CRIME
By using a handkerchief, string or wire inserted through the
trigger guard of the firearm. Be sure that in picking up the suspected
firearm the muzzle end of the barrel is not pointed to anyone in the
More so, if it is revolver and this revolver is in full-cocked
position, there is always the danger of a little amount of jarring
when picking up as the gun might fire, causing additional shooting
After picking up the revolver, a piece of crumpled paper or
carton maybe place just in front of the trigger after which the trigger
should be checked. This is done to prevent accidental or
MARKING OF PHYSICAL
1. Physical evidences should be properly marked or labeled for further
identification as they are collected and to complete the chain of
possession or custody of the ballistics exhibits.
2. Mark at the time that evidence is removed from its original
position. However, do not mark or move until photograph has been
3. Keep a complete note on the marks placing it on every single or
individual object recovered in the crime scene.
4. Use distinctive initials of the recovering officer. Never use “X”.
5. Record the mark used, and the position of the marks present on the
6. Record serial number or other distinct marks present on the object.
7. Always mark the container in which the object is placed even if the
object is already marked. (Tagging)
MARKING FIRED BULLETS
Fired bullet should be marked by the
recovering officer with his initial together
with the corresponding date of recovery in
the OGIVE or NOSE or its ANTERIOR
PORTION with stylus or any pointed
instrument. But is cases that the fired bullet
is badly damaged or disfigured the marking
could be place on the base but never in the
bearing surface or cylindrical surface of the
MARKING FIRED SHELLS
Same in marking of
fired bullets but the marking
should be place either
INSIDE, NEAR THE OPEN
MOUTH, OUTSIDE, NEAR
THE OPEN MOUTH OR
NEAR THE BODY OF THE
SHELL, but never place your
marks on the base of fired
MARKING A SUSPECTED
Same in marking
of fired bullets and fired
shell but the marking
should be place on all the
three main and
inseparable part of the
firearm. In addition, a tag
may be made indicating
the type of firearm, make
or model, caliber, serial
number, date of recovery,
name of suspect or victim
(if known) and other
features of value.
PRESERVATION OF PHYSICAL
Physical evidence should be preserve for future identification and
presentation during the trial of the case. The container of ballistics
exhibits should be properly labeled by the prober and put down all the
steps he has taken in preserving all these physical evidences for future
use. Preserving the evidentiary value of physical evidence determine the
acceptability and reliability of evidence in court.
TRANSMITTAL OF PHYSICAL
After the collection and marking of physical evidences, the prober
will transmit the evidences to their respective departments and submit the
same to the duty desk officer or designated receiving officer-in-charge.