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Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw Enforcement & Police · 1 month ago

Can recovery of bullets/shell casings lead to a gun trace?

So if the police find bullets and/or shell casings at a crime scene, they can find out the CALIBERS of the guns used in the crime.  But can the track the GUNS?  There are MANY types of guns that shoot the SAME bullet.  So someone shoots say a glock 17 (which is a 9MM caliber gun) in a crime.  The cops found the bullets.  They know the CALIBER of the gun used.  But there are MANY types of guns with that SAME caliber.

From that point on, how can they find the gun used?

Majority of criminals do NOT use their OWN guns.  If the police can recover the gun used in a crime, they can find out who it belongs to.  But if the criminals do NOT leave the gun at a crime scene (if they have commonsense/judgement) how can the police find the gun?

6 Answers

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  • 1 month ago

    Markings on the bullet and/or casings can be MATCHED to a specific gun, but can't be used to FIND the gun.

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  • Bruce
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    If they recover the bullet, the rifling leaves unique marks on the bullet. They can't identify the gun, but if they recover a gun and enough of the marks are identifiable on the bullet they can compare and determine if that was the gun that fired the bullet. 

    If they recover casings, the firing pin and extractor also leave unique marks. It won't identify the gun, but if they recover the gun they can compare and possibly confirm. 

    • Anon
      Lv 6
      1 month agoReport

      Only takes a $4 rat's tail file to change bore enough that it can't be matched to bullets at  crime scene. This is why many PD chiefs against the test bullet/case registration.  Crooks aren't necessarily stupid. 

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  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Cops  can't  always find  "whom it belongs to".

    In AZ and many states, no registration is required. Guns bought privately can only be traced to factory, or, last registered owner.  Not Necessarily  Present legal owner, or the crook who stole it. Even first dealer sale records  when new can only find that first purchaser. 

    All cops can do is check striation patterns from bores on bullets, and extractor marks/firing pin indents on cases. These are unique to each pistol. A crook can fire one, then  run a $4 rat's tail file thru it, suddenly, That  gun cannot have fired those bullets according to ballistics reports This is why registering guns by a test bullet/casing is useless. Even cops say it will only  cost tax payers millions and not solve anything.

    EDIT: Sales of antiques or muzzle loaders (not generally"used" to murder) are not required to be registered.

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    • Anon
      Lv 6
      1 month agoReport

      And, if a pre 1968, no serial numbers are necessary. I had a 1934 shotgun, No S./N. didn't  Need one. No records of sales of  pre 1898 (Non automatics) or muzzle loaders need be kept even of dealer sales.

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  • 1 month ago

    Just as with fingerprints, the *combination* of features - which necessarily includes unintentional marks - is essentially unique.  They can trace back to a specific weapon if it has already been tested and those test results are on file.  Again - just as with fingerprints.

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    Incidentally, they can tell FAR more than just caliber by examining spent casings and bullets.

    In your example: All Glock 17s will have the same rifling pattern, which is different from every other 9MM handgun.  So even without microscopic examination you can narrow it down at least that far.

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  • Kieth
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    They know the caliber, and the lands and grooves can help to identify the manufacturer. The mineral composition of the bullet can help determine the manufacturer of the bullet. The shell casing can give information about the gun as well, extractor marks can determine the make and model of the gun, and the firing pin strike on the primer is almost like a fingerprint.

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  • Rick
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    some times a certain weapon has very distinctive ejector marks ...........

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