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Thread: Ballistic Fingerprinting - Or something to that effect.

  1. #1 Ballistic Fingerprinting - Or something to that effect. 
    Forum Ph.D. stander-j's Avatar
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    I have a question about Firearm Ballistics and the analysis of it:

    If someone were to fire several consecutive rounds from the same firearm, can the order be determined? As in, would a forensics analyst be able to figure out which bullet was fired first, which bullet was fired second, and on so on.

    Just wondering because I once heard of a law, in South Africa, where a person can only fire upon a trespasser once they have fired a couple warning shots first (I do not know if what heard is true). A few days ago this came up in a conversation with a friend, neither of us could fathom how anyone would be able to verify the chronology in a series of bullets.

    So, can anyone answer that?
    also, if you can, I'd also like an explaination of the answer.
    Thanks.


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  3. #2  
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    If the number of shots fired could be determined, and if all shots fired are hits, then I suppose one could determine that no warning shot was fired.

    I don't think there is any other way, and if there is such a law, it is a very bad law. You could get yourself killed that way if the trespasser is armed, and if he is not, maybe you shouldn't be shooting at all.


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    Forum Ph.D. Leszek Luchowski's Avatar
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    I think the OP meant a situation where you shoot, say, the burglar through the head first, then fire another bullet into the ceiling, so the neighbours can hear two shots and you can claim the first one was a warning.
    Leszek. Pronounced [LEH-sheck]. The wondering Slav.
    History teaches us that we don't learn from history.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leszek Luchowski
    I think the OP meant a situation where you shoot, say, the burglar through the head first, then fire another bullet into the ceiling, so the neighbours can hear two shots and you can claim the first one was a warning.
    Right, and I doubt there is any kind of ballistic fingerprinting that could tell the difference. The way that ballistic fingerprinting works is by examining the microscopic streaks that a gun barrel leaves on the jacket of a bullet because of the scratches and imperfections in the bore. This isn't going to change much from shot to shot.

    Warning shots are a very bad idea. First of all, your shot into the ceiling could hit somebody upstairs, or possibly go out through the roof and come down onto somebody outside. If not, then it would still alert and scare the intruder and he might start firing back in self defense, if he is armed. If he is already attacking you, then you had better be firing for effect.

    In most places, it is not legal to shoot somebody who is unarmed and not threatening you, even if they are trespassing. If they are armed and threatening you, taking the time to fire a warning shot is crazy.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Ph.D. Leszek Luchowski's Avatar
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    The law and common sense are two different things.

    There was a time in Poland when it was not legal to use a real gun on an attacker who was threatening you with a gas pistol. Now some gas pistols legally sold in Poland at that time were ordinary real guns with a partition welded inside the barrel (splitting a part of the bore into two half-cylinders), which made them unusable for real rounds.

    So, in principle, if somebody was threatening you with a pistol, and you had a real gun with live ammo to defend yourself with, you were supposed to politely ask them to hand you their weapon, take it in your hands, unload it, look through the open action into the barrel against a light, and see if there is a partition. Then give the weapon back to the attacker and either use, or not use, your gun depending on what you saw.
    Leszek. Pronounced [LEH-sheck]. The wondering Slav.
    History teaches us that we don't learn from history.
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