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Establishing a Maximum Effective Range for String Shooting Reconstructions

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Identification Volume: 55 Issue: 5 Dated: September/October 2005 Pages: 611-617
David Rose
Date Published
September 2005
7 pages
This experiment attempts to identify an approximate maximum effective range for the string shooting reconstruction method, using various nylon strings.
How far away from the actual bullet strike can a string reconstruction be accurately performed? Nylon string that is typically used for this type of reconstruction lacks accuracy due to the sag in the string increasing the further away from the impact point. This experiment attempts to determine how accurate the nylon string approximates the flight of the bullet. In the experiment, a practice wall was used that had been created in the past for this type of reconstruction experiment with a number of preexisting 9mm bullet strikes. The experiment was repeated out to 50 feet in 10-foot increments and the results recorded. In addition, it was conducted with three types of nylon string similar to that found in commercial shooting reconstruction kits. The reconstruction performed at 10 feet and 20 feet were on average about ½ inch and 2 inches off, respectively, from the calculated trajectory. This error is acceptable when performing shooting reconstructions because the goal is to provide an approximation of the location of the barrel of the weapon and not to try to find its precise position at firing. A string reconstruction beyond 20 feet is considered unwise due to conflicting results. 2 figures, 3 tables