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Author Topic: AFTE 2008 Summaries  (Read 142821 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


  • Guest
Re: AFTE 2008 Summaries
« Reply #30 on: June 07, 2008, 09:32:36 PM »
Falling Bullets
Lucien Haag
Falling bullets from the reckless discharge of small arms in populated areas becomes a matter of considerable concern and discussion every New Year's Eve and 4th of July in the United States. Misconceptions and misinformation abound on the subject of falling bullets and their potential for harm.
The ballistic behavior of small arms projectiles that are truly fired vertically has been studied to some extent in the early 1900s and at least one exterior ballistics program predicts the free fall velocity of many small arms projectiles but virtually no experimental data exists to support the computer model.
An interest in the properties and consequences of vertical firings of small arms is not new. Hatcher reviewed the work and computations of military ballisticians of the early 20th century. In Chapter XX of Hatcher’s Notebook ("Bullets from the Sky") he also reported on various practical efforts to document and recover returning rifle bullets fired vertically from .30 (7.62mm) to .32 caliber (7.92mm) military arms. Out of 500 rounds fired vertically from a specially built platform, only four (4) returning bullets were documented. From their impact impressions in relatively soft wood he concluded that they were falling base-first or at an angle with the base downward and that the round trip flight times were in good agreement with the previously calculated values.
The development of, and access to tracking radar systems has offered a new and unique opportunity for acquiring useful data on this frequently misunderstood subject. The sophisticated Weibel Doppler radar equipment at the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Grounds was first used in 1992 to track some vertically fired pistol bullets with limited success. The experimental design was revised in the fall of 2007 and multiple test-firings carried out in January of 2008. Pistol bullets of three calibers (9mm, .40-caliber and .45-caliber) and 7.62mm rifle bullets were fired and successfully tracked using departure angles of 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 and 80 degrees. A subsequent examination of the tracking data and the graphics produced by the Weibel system allowed the determination of maximum altitude reached, its downrange location, the time necessary to reach this altitude, the return time and downrange impact zone, the nominal free-fall velocity of the various projectiles and specific insight into their orientation during their return to earth, i.e. - nose first, base first or tumbling.
This presentation will show the experimental design and equipment used to carry out this work as well as the results for representative members from each caliber and bullet type. The data should allow members to evaluate future cases and evidence suspected of being instances of high angle gunfire or falling bullets.
(See previous Haag article for contact information)


  • Guest
Re: AFTE 2008 Summaries
« Reply #31 on: June 07, 2008, 09:33:31 PM »
Visualized General Rifling Characteristics File
Tsuneo Uchiyama
Objectives: General rifling characteristics files compiled by FBI is one of the most useful tools for make estimation of firearms when evidence bullets and/or cartridge cases were recovered. Matrix of Robert H. Kennington is another excellent tool. Dr. Ruprecht Nennstiel of BKA has integrated tool for make estimation. The author added a visual tool for make estimation which is specified for Japanese gun crime circumstance to reduce the number of candidates.
Methodology: To reduce the number of estimated make, the file includes statistics of number of seized guns in Japan. The images of marking impressed on expended cartridge cases of each make of guns and photos of guns are also included in the file.
Results: Simple and quick system was developed using Microsoft Excel 2007. GRC data is very powerful condition to narrow down the candidate make of firearms. This system can be upgrade easily according to circumstance of firearms often used in crime.
Conclusions: The number of estimated make of gun of an evidence bullet and/or an evidence cartridge case will increase according to expanding volume of GRC file year by year. Visual data of marking on cartridge cases and the number of seized guns are effective to reduce the number of estimated makes of guns.
Biography: The author is deputy chief of Identification Center of National Research Institute of Police Science. He was an examiner and research engineer of second mechanical section where handling firearms examination since 1973. He joined AFTE in 1985 and frequent attendee of AFTE training seminar. He received the distinguished member’s Award in 1987 and the Key Person of the Year Award in 1989.
Tsuneo Uchiyama, National Research Institute of Police Science, 6-3-1 Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa, Chiba, Japan 277-0882 - +81.4.7135.8001, Fax +81.4.7133.9189,


  • Guest
Re: AFTE 2008 Summaries
« Reply #32 on: June 07, 2008, 09:35:25 PM »
Toolmark Considerations in Damaged Commercial Drug Packaging
Sergeant Gerard Dutton
Objectives: To determine if a single morphine sulphate tablet seized from a suspect was torn from a larger sheet of tablets in possession of a second suspect. Both suspects denied any association.
Methodology: The physical characteristics of the torn packaging, along with the random processes used in the manufacture of the sheets were taken into consideration before forming an opinion. These will be discussed.
Results: Both sections of packaging were formerly part of the same sheet of tablets.
Conclusions: Out of the ordinary toolmark comparisons are occasionally encountered in casework. When the class and individual characteristics are identified and assessed, along with research into the manufacture of the questioned items, reliable conclusions can often be formed as to whether there is common origin or not.
Biography: Gerard Dutton has been involved in firearm and toolmark investigation for over 21 years with New South Wales and Tasmania Police, Australia. He has had over 60 related articles published in a dozen police, forensic and other journals. He is a Distinguished AFTE member and a past recipient of the AFTE Steve Molnar Award.
Sergeant Gerard Dutton, Tasmania Police Ballistics Section, 43 Liverpool Street, Hobart, Tasmania, AUSTRALIA 7000 – 0011.613.62302346, Fax 0011.613.62302244 –


  • Guest
Re: AFTE 2008 Summaries
« Reply #33 on: June 07, 2008, 09:36:40 PM »
Establishing the Golden Images of NIST SRM Standard Bullets and Casings for Nationwide Ballistics Measurement Traceability and Quality System
Dr. John Song and others
Objectives: In response to a need by law enforcement to meet ISO 17025 standard for establishment of ballistics measurement traceability and for laboratory accreditation and assessment, NIST has developed SRM (Standard Reference Material) 2460/2461 standard bullets and casings and NIST 2D and 3D ballistics topography signature measurement system. NIST and ATF have recently proposed a joint project to establish Nationwide Ballistics Measurement Traceability and Quality System using NIST SRM 2460/2461 Standard Bullets and Casings.
Methodology: The NIST standard bullets and casings are designed as the virtual/physical ballistics signature standards. The "Golden Images", or the virtual standard, are established at the National Laboratory Center of ATF based on the best IBIS images of SRM bullets and casings. At each local IBIS laboratories, the SRM bullets and casings, or the physical standards, are routinely measured by their IBIS systems and correlated with the “Golden Images”. The IBIS correlation scores are statistically analyzed for determining the measurement repeatability of the IBIS systems, and the short and long term measurement reproducibility in each laboratory. From the statistic analyses, a NIST developed "Dynamic Control Chart" with both the Fixed and the Dynamic Control Limits is used for establishment of measurement traceability to ATF, and for nationwide ballistics measurement quality control and laboratory accreditation and assessment.
Results: Up to date 35 SRM bullets have been delivered. A set of Golden Images for SRM bullets has been established at ATF. 27 prototype SRM casings are developed and have completed IBIS correlations at the NIST workshop held on Jan. 8th, 2008 in Largo, FL. A statistical analysis is currently in progress for developing the Golden Images of SRM casings. 250 SRM casings are scheduled for delivery in 2008. A NIST/ATF joint project entitled "Establish Nationwide Ballistics Measurement Traceability and Quality System Using NIST Standard Bullets and Casings" has been proposed. The 35 SRM bullets have been delivered to the NIST SRM office for sale.
Conclusions: The Golden Images can be used as a reference standard (virtual standard), combined with the use of the NIST SRM 2460/2461 standard bullets and casings (physical standard) for establishment of the Nationwide Ballistics Measurement Traceability and Quality System, and for promoting nationwide, even international, ballistics laboratory accreditation and assessment in accordance with the ISO 17025 standard. Biography: J. Song, Project Leader, NIST SRM 2460/2461 Standard Bullets and Casings Project. Ballou, Program Manager, Office of Law Enforcement Standards (OLES) of NIST, B. Renegar, Senior Technician, Precision Engineering Division (PED) of NIST, A. Zheng, Engineering Student (PED), NIST, R. Silver, Acting Group Leader, Surface and Microform Metrology Group, PED, NIST, T. Vorburger Acting Deputy Director, Center of Nano-scale Science and Technology (CNST) of NIST, M. Ols, Ballistics Examiner, National Laboratory of ATF.
Dr. John Song, DoC, NIST, 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8212, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8212, 301.975.3799, Fax 310.869.0822,


  • Guest
Re: AFTE 2008 Summaries
« Reply #34 on: June 07, 2008, 09:37:30 PM »
Release of NIJ Sponsored AFTE Media Based Training Program
Dr. Katy Savage
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) contracted with the National Forensic Science Training Center (NFSTC) in Largo, Florida to develop a web based training program for firearms examiners. Several AFTE members were involved in assisting NFSTC develop this program. The NIJ is officially releasing the program for use within the forensic science community.
Dr. Katy Savage, NFSTC, 7881 114th Avenue North, Largo, FL 33773, 727.549.6067, Fax 727.549.6070,


  • Guest
Re: AFTE 2008 Summaries
« Reply #35 on: June 07, 2008, 09:39:29 PM »
Wednesday May 21, 2008

Morning moderator Luke Haag


  First Speaker

The Effects of Geometry of Force on Trigger Pull Measurements
Garry Lawrence
Objectives: To optimize trigger pull procedure by determining whether it should be conducted by pulling the trigger a) parallel to the bore axis (NRA style), b) at an angle to bore axis, or c) both techniques.
Methodology: For each gun, two sets of data were collected. By the NRA protocol, ten measurements were collected by pulling the rod on the digital gauge parallel to the bore axis of the firearm.
The second set of data, that is, the Natural grip pulls, are collected by first assuming a natural grip on the long gun. However, this step may be subjected to variability due to the inherent, random manner in which a person may hold onto the hand grip each time. Therefore, the angle of the trigger finger to the bore axis may be slightly different each time.
Results: The Hypothesis that the Natural grip method would generate higher trigger pull values due to the natural angle imposed on the trigger finger by the hand grip of long guns was not always correct.
Conclusions: That the existing procedure in conducting trigger pulls be updated to include both parallel (NRA) and that an angle to the bore axis (Natural Grip).
Biography: Garry Lawrence started working as a Firearm and Toolmark Examiner In Vermont. In 2003 he accepted a position with the Centre of Forensic Sciences, Toronto Ontario, Canada where he continues to work.
Holly Lee was a student at the University of Toronto at Mississauga during this research. She performed her internship at the Centre of Forensic Sciences under the mentorship of Garry Lawrence.
Garry Lawrence, Centre of Forensic Sciences, 25 Grosvenor, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA L9S 2K2, 416.314.3783, Fax 416.212.4748,


  • Guest
Re: AFTE 2008 Summaries
« Reply #36 on: June 07, 2008, 09:42:12 PM »
Case Study: Homemade, Compressed Air Powered, Multiple Arrow Launcher
Garry Lawrence
The Firearms and Toolmarks Section of the Centre of Forensic Sciences routinely examines various homemade devices to determine whether or not they constitute a firearm as defined by the Criminal Code of Canada, in support of the investigation and prosecution of weapons offences in the province of Ontario, Canada.
This presentation will detail the examination and features of an interesting homemade, compressed air powered, multiple arrow launcher. The item was examined to determine its function and classification under Sections 2 and 84 of the Criminal Code of Canada. This presentation will also describe the velocity and energy testing conducted and the results generated to assist in the classification of the item.
(See previous Lawrence article for contact information)

« Last Edit: June 07, 2008, 10:20:02 PM by Jerry Petillo »


  • Guest
Re: AFTE 2008 Summaries
« Reply #37 on: June 07, 2008, 09:43:45 PM »
The Poor Man’s Tour of Ammunition Manufacture
Paul Szabo
A review of the steps involved in manufacturing the four basic ammunition types, with a concentrated look at Winchester STHP- and SXT-style bullets and shellcase headstamps and headstamp tooling.

Bio: Paul Szabo is a 25+ year employee of Olin Corporation – Winchester Ammunition in East Alton, IL.   With experience in manufacturing, engineering, and ballistics Paul currently holds Winchester’s Technical Consultant position.  He is a 10 year AFTE Technical Advisor and chairs the TA Committee.


  • Guest
Re: AFTE 2008 Summaries
« Reply #38 on: June 07, 2008, 09:44:34 PM »
The ENFSI Expert Working Group (EWG) Firearms/GSR
Dr. Walter Wenz
Objectives: ENFSI - European Network of Forensic Science Institutes - has been established in October 1995, with the purpose of sharing knowledge, exchanging experiences and coming to mutual agreements in all fields of forensic science. ENFSI is recognized as an expert group in the fields of forensic science. 16 independent forensic expert working groups have been established. This introduction of the EWG Firearms/GSR should initiate a co-operation between ENFSI and AFTE in our field of forensic investigations.
Results: The presentation is supposed to give an overview of the history of the EWG Firearms/GSR, its organization, objectives and a way to co-operate.
Conclusions: Presentation of the next venue: Annual Meeting 2008 in Dubrovnik, Croatia
Biography: Dr.-Ing. Walter Wenz, born 1946, PhD in Chemical Technology, 12 years experience in the chemical industry. Since 1983 at the forensic science institute of the BKA, Germany. Head of the sub-division KT2 -Firearms/Toolmarks/GSR.
Member of DGRM (German Society for Legal Medicine). Since 2004, Chairman of the ENFSI expert working group on Firearms /GSR.
Dr. Walter Wenz, Bundeskriminalamt, Aeppelallee 45, Wiesbaden, GERMANY D-655203, +49.611.55.14338, Fax +49.661.55.45084,


  • Guest
Re: AFTE 2008 Summaries
« Reply #39 on: June 07, 2008, 09:45:20 PM »
EVOFINDER – A Really Useful System for Firearms Examiners
Dr. Walter Wenz
Objectives: Automated ballistic comparison systems for firearm identification will never reach a similar performance as DNA or fingerprint identification. But the existing systems haven a potential for improvements. Enhanced image quality allows a qualified trace comparison for bullets and cartridge cases on the computer screen, that help to preselect results from the hit list. The preselection should exclude as many candidates from the hit list as possible in order reduce the efforts for manual comparison at the microscope.

Methodology: EVOFINDER ballistic information system is presented, that - based on 2D-Images - demonstrated a high level of performance in correlation and on-screen comparison.

Results: The EVOFINDER combines all relevant features of a ballistic comparison system:

• Good image quality

• User-independent quality of input

• Qualified on-screen comparison
• Structured comparison database
• Good correlation results
Based on these properties EVOFINDER deserves recognition in the market.
Conclusions: After six years of testing during system development, the BKA has finally established EVOFINDER in casework.
(See previous Wenz article for contact information)


  • Guest
Re: AFTE 2008 Summaries
« Reply #40 on: June 07, 2008, 09:47:38 PM »
The Cast Breech Block of a SIG-SAUER Mosquito Pistol and Its Effect on Cartridge Case Identifications
Stephen M. Ostrowski
Objectives: This is a case study in which an examination was trying to determine whether three discharged .22 LR cartridge cases were indeed discharged in a particular SIG-SAUER Mosquito pistol. Breech face marks are often utilized to effect an identification of a discharged cartridge case as having been fired in a particular firearm. The amount of weight put on this set of toolmarks greatly depends on how that particular tool was manufactured.
Methodology: During initial examination of a SIG-SAUER Mosquito pistol, it was noted that the breech face appeared cast. SIG-SAUER in Exeter, NH was contacted to ascertain about the various manufacturing techniques for this model. It was discovered that SIG-SAUER is only the marketing company and that the pistol had been manufactured by German Sports Guns (GSG) under contract from JP Sauer. While receiving some mixed information, it was eventually determined that the entire breech block, to include the breech face, were fabricated using the metal injection molding (MIM) process. It was also determined that the breech face was not tooled post-fabrication.
Results: It could not be determined whether the characteristics transferred onto the cartridge cases by the cast breech face surface were individual to that piece or whether these were sub-class characteristics imparted onto the piece by the mold. Since the breech face marks could not be trusted due to their potential as sub-class characteristics, other toolmarks had to be utilized. Identification of the cartridge cases as having been discharged in the Mosquito pistol were affected using the firing pin impressions from the stamped and milled firing pin.
Conclusions: The findings in this case support the theory that a firearms examiner should always examine the internal surfaces of a firearm to determine the manufacturing techniques used to make particular components. It also sends a cautionary warning to those examiners who identify cartridge cases using only breech face marks without having the firearm. It is the intent of the speaker to obtain three MIM fabricated breech blocks from the same mold that are not tooled post-fabrication for additional testing.
Biography: Steve Ostrowski is a firearms and toolmarks examiner with the New Hampshire State Police Forensic Lab. He has earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Dickinson College and a Master of Science degree in Forensic Science from the University of New Haven. Steve is a provisional member of AFTE and is certified in the areas of Firearms, Toolmarks, and Gunshot Residue/Distance Determination. He was a member of the AFTE 2006 Host Committee and is currently serving on the AFTE Website Review Committee (Ad Hoc).
Stephen Ostrowski, New Hampshire State Police Forensic Lab, 33 Hazen Drive, Concord, MA 03305, 603.271.3573, Fax 603.271.1086,


  • Guest
Re: AFTE 2008 Summaries
« Reply #41 on: June 07, 2008, 09:49:02 PM »
Bullet Trajectory Demonstration – A Graphical Presentation
Paula M. Ernst, PE
Outline of Objectives: To show case samples of how the FBI Laboratory documents and illustrates bullet trajectory data, especially in vehicles.
Brief Methodology: The Special Projects Unit works closely with the Firearms and Toolmarks Unit within the FBI Laboratory. SPU uses grids, total stations and lasers as measuring devices to document the trajectory data.
Summary of Results: The FBI Laboratory produces two and three dimensional computer graphics for report and court room presentation. Case examples include the death of a Border Patrol Agent in Kona, Hawaii and the death of Officer Aubrey Hawkins by the Texas Seven fugitives.
General Conclusions: The documentation of bullet trajectories can be compiled into compelling graphics, easily understood by a jury.
Biography: Paula Ernst is a licensed Professional Engineer and is employed as a Forensic Engineer by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory Division. Prior to her tenure with the FBI, Ms. Ernst was employed as an Accident Reconstructionist in Connecticut.
Paula Ernst, FBI Special Projects Unit, 2501 Investigation Parkway, Quantico, VA 22135, 702.632.8217, Fax 703.632.8196,


  • Guest
Re: AFTE 2008 Summaries
« Reply #42 on: June 07, 2008, 09:49:56 PM »
Afternoon Moderator Peter Striupaitis



Less-Lethal Impact Munitions - Comparison of Human Analogs vs. Live Subjects
R. T. Wyant
Objectives: To determine if current forensic human analogs (10% ballistic gelatin and Maki Ballistic Media) are comparable to wounds observed on the human body when struck with less lethal impact munitions (bean bag, sponge rounds).
Methodology: Several Less-lethal rounds of the varying types type were fired into bare and covered (denim, neoprene) 10% gelatin and Maki ballistic media. Intrusion and disruption of the media were documented and measured to determine a profile of wound and lethality potential. These profiles were compared to actual wounds generated when applying theses rounds to the thighs of the same human subject. Results: Both the gelatin and the MBM provided a solid foundation for intra-comparison between Less-lethal rounds in regard to wound and lethality potential. Several characteristics observed on the media were consistent with the wounds observed in the human subject.
Conclusions: During controlled and consistent testing, the intrusion and disruption characteristics observed when firing less-lethal impact munitions into both 10% gelatin and Maki ballistic media may provide a basis to predict the outcome of less-lethal impact munitions when applied in the field.
Biography: Rick Wyant has been a forensic scientist since 1995, currently employed by the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory, Seattle. He obtained his Bachelor's and Master's of Science degrees from Colorado State University in 1993 and 1994. During his career, Rick has testified as an expert witness over 100 times. Rick is an associate member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS.ORG). He is a distinguished member of the Association of Firearm and Toolmark Examiners (AFTE.ORG), where he serves on the Research and Development Committee. For several years, Rick has served as a member on the FBI’s SWGGUN (Scientific Working Group for Firearms and Toolmarks SWGGUN.ORG) board and the NIJ TWG (Technical Working Group) for Less-Lethal. He is also an instructor for the National Firearms Examiner Academy (NFEA).
Rick began researching and evaluating Less-Lethal tools for law enforcement in 2001 along with two police officers. We have performed extensive forensic testing on electronic control devices and other Less-Lethal systems. Rick has presented scientific papers on forensic testing to numerous law enforcement and forensic groups in the US and abroad.
R. T. Wyant, Washington State Patrol, 2203 Airport Way South – Suite 250, Seattle, WA 98134, 206.262.6020, Fax 206.262.6033,
« Last Edit: June 07, 2008, 09:52:21 PM by Jerry Petillo »


  • Guest
Re: AFTE 2008 Summaries
« Reply #43 on: June 07, 2008, 09:53:02 PM »
The Vortex Effect
Evan Thompson (Presented by R. T. Wyant)
Objectives: To determine what was the cause and effect of a spiral gunshot residue pattern deposited at close ranges.
Methodology: Several handgun calibers of Independence and Winchester brand ammunition as well as representative firearms having conventional rifling, both right and left hand twist and polygonal rifling and different target materials were used to determine what the underlying cause of the Vortex Effect was. Testing was conducted indoors and at the Yuma Proving Grounds (YPG).
Results: Construction of the bullet jacketing allowed for the conventional rifled barrels to cut through the jacketing, causing a spray of lead to escape and deposit itself as a spiral pattern at close ranges. This was documented by high speed video done at the Yuma Army Proving Grounds.
Conclusions: This phenomenon could allow the examiner to determine the number of lands and grooves, the direction of barrel twist, muzzle to target distance and possible brand of bullet used in a shooting.
Biography: Author is a distinguished member of AFTE with over twenty years in the field of Firearms and toolmark identification.
Evan Thompson, Arizona Department of Public Safety, 1140 West Kaibab Lane, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, 928.773.3642, Fax 928.773.3665,


  • Guest
Re: AFTE 2008 Summaries
« Reply #44 on: June 07, 2008, 09:54:33 PM »
Blind Verification Models for Firearms-Toolmark Examinations
Erich D. Smith
This presentation will examine Blind Verification Models for use during forensic Firearms-Toolmarks examinations. The topics covered will include how these models work in a Quality Assurance System, examiner bias and potential error rates.
Biography: Mr. Smith is a Firearms-Toolmarks examiner for the FBI Laboratory, where he has been employed for the last ten years; he is an ASCLD/ISO-International assessor, serves as an instructor for the FBI Laboratory’s Scientific Techniques in Firearms Identification and Shooting Incident Response schools, and serves as the quality assurance program manager for FBI Laboratory Firearms-Toolmarks Unit. Prior to coming to the FBI Laboratory, Mr. Smith worked for the Virginia Division of Forensic Science.
Erich D. Smith, Firearms-Toolmarks Examiner, FBI Laboratory, 2501 Investigation Parkway, Quantico, VA 22135, 703.632.7242, Fax 703.632.7227,


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