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Effect of Shortening the Barrel in Contact Shots From Rifles and Shotguns

NCJ Number
International Journal of Legal Medicine Volume: 122 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2008 Pages: 81-85
M. GroBe Perdekamp; B. Vennemann; B. P. Kneubuehl; M. Uhl; M. Treier; R. Braunwarth; S. Pollak
Date Published
January 2008
5 pages
This study examined the effect on wounds from contact shots delivered by rifles and shotguns whose barrels had been shortened.
For a repeating rifle and a single-barreled shotgun, the contact shots from the sawed-off barrels produced significantly larger cavity diameters in the first section of the bullet track. This effect is due to the fact that a shortened barrel increases the gas pressure at the muzzle, leading to increased expansion in the initial part of the wound track in contact shots. The injury pattern may vaguely resemble pellet shots from a short distance or hits of shotgun slugs. The study involved the firing of test shots from two different long guns - a caliber 7.92 x 57 repeating rifle with full-jacketed pointed bullet and caliber 12/70 single-barreled shotgun with shotgun slug - into blocks of soap (38 x 25 x 25 cm). The contact shots were fired before and after shortening the barrels. The barrel of the repeating rifle was shortened from 60 to 30 cm, and the barrel of the single-barreled shotgun was shortened from 72 to 36 cm. The volume of the "wound" cavities in the blocks was visualized three-dimensionally with the help of a multislice computed tomography (CT) scanner and then calculated sectionally. 2 tables, 3 figures, and 19 references


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