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WIREs Forensic Sci

Manufacturing of firearms parts: Relevant sources of information and contribution in a forensic context

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Abstract In the context of forensic cases involving firearms, a major issue to address is the identification of the firearm used to discharge questioned elements of ammunition—bullets or cartridge cases—found during the scene investigation. When a questioned firearm is available, reference bullets and cartridge cases are produced through controlled test‐fires. The marks left on both the questioned and reference elements of ammunition are analyzed before being compared. The processes used to manufacture the firearms tend to influence the type and frequency of some of these marks. Knowing how the questioned firearm was produced is a key element to identify the relevant marks for comparison purposes. Finding this information can be challenging, as it is not necessarily publicly available. After presenting the manufacturing processes used to produce the main parts of firearms in contact with the elements of ammunition, this review includes an updated list of processes used by specific manufacturers, relying not only on the literature. The results highlight the necessity to consider a wide range of sources when gathering information about the manufacturing processes. Apart from general and specialized forensic literature, the online content made available by the manufacturers themselves is also a valuable complementary source of information. Contacting the manufacturers or visiting their premises is sometimes necessary to understand the full extent of the processes and how they can influence the marks of forensic interest. This article is categorized under: Forensic Chemistry and Trace Evidence > Fingermarks and Other Marks Forensic Chemistry and Trace Evidence > Trace Evidence
A straight barrel reamer
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Tumbling process: small abrasive stones and detergent
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A hammer forging machine with a mandrel introduced into a barrel blank
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A tungsten carbide mandrel
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An elliptical button with the negative imprint of lands and grooves
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Lands and grooves impressions on the bullets scanned with the Evofinder® ballistics identification system (ScannBI Technology Ltd, version 6.5.0.122) left on the same ammunition (9 × 19 mm Parabellum, Magtech, model 9B, FMJ, 124 g) by three semi‐automatic pistols manufactured by different rifling process: (a) Beretta 92FS (broaching), (b) Walther P99 (button rifling), and (c) Steyr M9‐A1 (cold hammer forging)
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Forensic Chemistry and Trace Evidence > Trace Evidence
Forensic Chemistry and Trace Evidence > Fingermarks and Other Marks

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