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The range at which a weapon has been fired is an important measurement for the reconstruction of firearms offenses (murder, suicide, accident). All changes caused by a shot and which vary according to the distance from the weapon are suitable in principle for determining this distance. However, some procedures are very elegant in theory but hardly applicable in practice. The constructions of ammunition and the sequence of events during a shot are dealt with first as this knowledge forms a basis for understanding the various methods. \ The individual zones (classes) of firing distances (contact shot, intermediate shot, distance shot) are described. In this connection, the morphological methods for determining the firing distance are discussed. From the shape and size of the powder residue distribution (soot stains, powder tattooing) and with the knowledge of the weapon and ammunition, the distance from the target can be elucidated. In this chapter, the methods of making an invisible distribution visible are also dealt with. In order to determine the range of the shot from the appearance of the wound no complicated apparatus is necessary. One can judge with the naked eye. These procedures have a great advantage over the methods discussed in the following chapter in that they give stronger proof. They are more vivid and convincing for the uninitiated (judge or jury) than abstract measurements obtained by scientific devices.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

1. Introduction

Abstract
The range at which a weapon has been fired is an important measurement for the reconstruction of firearms offenses (murder, suicide, accident). All changes caused by a shot and which vary according to the distance from the weapon are suitable in principle for determining this distance. However, some procedures are very elegant in theory but hardly applicable in practice.
Karl Sellier

2. General Section

Abstract
The knowledge of the composition of the primer ingredients is important in that, with the help of the metals contained therein, the shot range can be determined. The first firearms were touched off with a glowing coal and later with a red-hot iron. Very early on (1378), a match made from loosely spun hemp which had been soaked in lead acetate solution and subsequently dried was employed. In about 1500, the first flintlock weapons appeared although at first not flint but iron pyrites was used. Only later was flint or sometimes agate utilized.
Karl Sellier

3. Classification of Shot Range Zones

Abstract
In practice, shot ranges are separated into 3 zones according to the changes to the target caused by either the effect of the powder gases or through the constituents and/or residues of the propellant and/or primer.
Karl Sellier

4. Qualitative Detection of the Signs of a Close Range Shot

Abstract
This section is concerned with qualitative methods of determining the signs produced by a close range shot. The exact range cannot be so determined, only the exclusion of a distant shot. The close range shot, as previously mentioned, is characterized by the presence of powder soot, powder particles, and soot elements on the target.
Karl Sellier

5. Morphological Methods of Shot-Range Determination

Abstract
As already mentioned in Sect. 2.2, the shape, form and density of the soot pattern, powder tattooing and the soot elements, together with other factors (cartridge type, barrel length etc.), are dependent on the shot range. From these findings, the expert can, with knowledge of the weapon and ammunition, estimate the shot range with the naked eye.
Karl Sellier

6. The Sampling Test Method for the Quantitative Determination of Shot Range

Abstract
The procedures described in Chapter 5 involve the use of the overall pattern, be it directly after “development” in order to determine the shot range. With the sampling method, however, only a particular area (sector) of the distribution pattern is taken and quantitatively examined for soot elements.
Karl Sellier

7. Shot Range Determination for Shotguns

Abstract
The range that can be determined for shotguns is much greater than that of shots from “normal” cartridges which only contain a single bullet. With a single bullet the intermediate range shot indications (powder soot and powder particles), because of the low cross-sectional capacity are restricted to 1 meter range, whereas with a shot gun, the density of pellets in the target is used to determine the range. It is thus possible in favorable cases to ascertain a shot range of more than 30 m. The decisive factors are the shape and type of pattern and its changes as a function of the shot range, the type of barrel, and the characteristics of the shotgun shell. These dependences will now be discussed.
Karl Sellier

8. References and Further Reading

Without Abstract
Karl Sellier

Backmatter

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