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Fredster
11-01-2009, 03:07 AM
I have the following scenario:

1. Person A is out in the desert in the night, with a rifle.

2. Person B is on the road, talking to a person C. There is a gun on the ground between them. There are many police about 100 feet away from the two people talking, down the road, and they're paying attention to something else in the road.

3. There is some machinery making enough noise to confuse the direction of a sound, but not cover it.

Person A is going to shoot person C, and all the cops are going to initially think person B did it because they couldn't tell the shot came from further away.

Now, what I need is this: what is a kind or caliber of rifle that is capable of taking someone out at 100-150 yards, but won't do much more damage than a handgun that's at close range? I'm thinking something like a sniper rifle would do a lot more damage than I want, like leave a soccer-ball sized hole. :)

Any ideas?

Thanks in advance!

Summonere
11-01-2009, 05:58 AM
Now, what I need is this: what is a kind or caliber of rifle that is capable of taking someone out at 100-150 yards, but won't do much more damage than a handgun that's at close range?

Any pistol-caliber rifle or carbine would seem to fit the bill. There's no shortage of possibilities, there, anything from .22 Long Rifle, 9mm, .45ACP, .357 Magnum, and .44 Magnum, and so on. But much may depend on what you mean by “close range.” If the gunshot is alleged to have occurred at very close range, the shot would produce forensic evidence that a longer-range shot wouldn't.

Here are a few possibilities:

Marlin .22 rifle, Model 60 (http://www.marlinfirearms.com/Firearms/SelfLoading/60.asp)

Beretta CX4 Storm (http://www.cx4storm.com/), 9mm, .40 caliber, .45 ACP

HK USC (http://world.guns.ru/civil/civ010-e.htm), .45 ACP

Kel Tec Sub-2000 (http://www.kel-tec-cnc.com/sub2000.htm), 9mm, .40 caliber

Ar-15 (http://www.bushmaster.com/catalog_carbon15_AZ9-C15R16FT.asp) in 9mm

Ruger PC4 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruger_Police_Carbine), 9mm, .40 caliber

… and so on …

Nivarion
11-01-2009, 12:26 PM
For the set up, it wouldn't matter what rifle they were shot with. At 150 yards you won't hear the noise till after the impact, with most rifles. (All the rounds I can think of go at 200+ fps)

But saying that the police just see the guy go down. At the initial scene they would arrest person B assuming that he was the killer. At the autopsy they would find the bullet and be able to match its calibre and normally what kind of gun it came out of. If it wasn't a super fast bullet that was a solid point then they should also be able to find the rifling of the gun still in the sides of the ball.

After they identified the bullet, they can look at the penetration depth and often determine (with rough accuracy) the range of the encounter. After realising that person B couldn't be responsible they would likely let him go and search the desert for bullet casings. B would still be suspect, but they likely wouldn't be holding him.

If Person A was using a bolt action, they won't ever find such a casing. Unless he reloaded carelessly. I recommend a bolt action because they are more accurate, and you can control where the casing goes.

As for what they'd see at the site. Most bullet holes look like most others. A long range rifle shot wouldn't produce any more of an effect than a close range hand gun.

Fredster
11-01-2009, 02:43 PM
Thanks guys -- by "initially" I meant right then and there, in the moment. I know forensics would show what really happened, but I need these cops to think person B did the shooting enough to give chase when he runs. :)

jclarkdawe
11-01-2009, 05:01 PM
I have some other questions that would be occurring to me as a reader.



Why do they have a gun lying on the ground. Seems to be very careless at best, but more likely down right stupid. Dirt and dust would be getting into the mechanism.
Deserts get cold at night. A gun lying on the ground would probably be rather cold. When a gun is fired, it generates heat. I'm thinking, but not really sure that, the barrel would retain heat long enough for a police officer to feel it.
A gun that is freshly fired has a distinct odor to it. You could smell if it had been fired.
There would be a piece of brass somewhere, or the fact that it is missing is significant.

I think it is more likely that with the problems that they would cuff him immediately, but not arrest him. They would hold him until they develop the case a bit more. They don't need to arrest him to hold him, and I think would be wondering why he fired a shot when he's only a few feet away from them. Although criminals are frequently dumb, they do have some limits in how dumb they are.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Fredster
11-01-2009, 05:16 PM
I have some other questions that would be occurring to me as a reader.
As a reader, you would know everything that's happened up to this point, how they got there, and wouldn't have those questions. :)

WittyandorIronic
11-01-2009, 05:20 PM
Thanks guys -- by "initially" I meant right then and there, in the moment. I know forensics would show what really happened, but I need these cops to think person B did the shooting enough to give chase when he runs. :)

Truthfully, if I were a cop and the the sequence of events (from my cop perspective) went:
Shot fired > Person C drops > Person B runs - I am going to chase them. Whether the bullet hole looks like it came from a .22 or a RPG, I would still likely want to talk to Person B immediately and chase after them.

hammerklavier
11-03-2009, 06:52 AM
I agree with Summonere in that, if you want it to be the same caliber, there are rifles (carbines, actually, for the most part) that fire handgun calibers. I would not go with the .22 as it would be unlikely to drop someone dead where they stand from that range.

Another possibility, if you want a real rifle caliber is the .223 (the AR-15/M-4/M-16 caliber) with a FMJ (full metal jacket, or military style) bullet. .223 comes in a wide variety of rifles including AR-15, bolt action, mini-14, etc.

I hesitate to recommend the other classic "varmit calibers" because they would generally be loaded with hollow points and the would would be messier than the typical handgun due to the higher velocity. The AK-47 would be another possibility, although a good low-light optics would be necessary since AK-47 sights are terrible.

rugcat
11-03-2009, 07:10 AM
I'd use a Remington .243 (http://www.remington.com/products/firearms/centerfire_rifles/model_700/model_700_BDL_specs.asp), maybe with a Redfield scope. Solid, reliable, very accurate.

hammerklavier
11-03-2009, 08:55 AM
Great rifle. Big hole.

Summonere
11-03-2009, 08:32 PM
Ditto. A rifle round traveling at around 3,000+ fps will produce a markedly different wound than a handgun round traveling at roughly one-third that speed. A .243 would more than do the job, though.

Tiger
11-03-2009, 11:23 PM
Ruger makes several rifles that take handgun rounds, such as .44 magnum, 9mm parabellum and .40 cal. S&W. I'm not sure what the effective ranges are with these, but if the shooter is a good shot, the weapon is scoped and he's in an elevated position, I'd think he could hit the mark at 100 yards. The round would bleed a lot of its velocity on the way in so maybe it could be confused with a pistol shot from closer range.

Richard White
11-03-2009, 11:54 PM
100 yards? We used to engage targets at 300-600 meters with the M16A2. A 100 yard shot with a scope should be a piece of cake.

Tiger
11-03-2009, 11:57 PM
Was your M16 loaded with handgun rounds?

Richard White
11-04-2009, 12:08 AM
Admittedly no. Although .223 isn't a huge round, it did have a somewhat larger case to hold powder *grin*

However, I think for the larger caliber shells that were being discussed, (.357mag, .40 S&W, etc.), a shot at 100 yards should be still pretty easy, especially if you're using a scope and have some experience with the weapon.

I agree a shot with 9mm could be tricky.

.22LR on the other hand has enough speed that it shouldn't drop too much, but as some others have mentioned, unless you hit just right, you're not likely to kill the target.

Tiger
11-04-2009, 12:20 AM
I think the .223 is only something like 55 grains? Small, but streamlined :D

Richard White
11-04-2009, 12:38 AM
That sounds right. Course, I've been out of the Army for over 10 years now, so I'm having to rely on a much fuzzier memory.

"The M-16A2 is a shoulder held, gas chambered, air cooled weapon firing a 5.56x45 round with a maximum effective range of 800 meters at 2450feet per second, with 20 and 30 round magazines standard."

I think that's roughly how it went when asked at guard mount.

rugcat
11-04-2009, 04:37 AM
Colonel Sebastian Moran used an an air powered rifle to fire a revolver bullet from distance to murder Ronald Adair, thus confusing Scotland Yard. (Though not Holmes.)

Shattuck
11-04-2009, 09:55 AM
There is a lot of misinformation going on in here.

First of all, what kind of gun is going to be on the ground (I assume this is supposed to be the weapon that the police initially think is the murder weapon?) I would suggest using a revolver, since an automatic pistol would eject a casing upon being fired, which would be noticeably absent. As for heat from the barrel, a single shot would not be sufficient to make the barrel hot to the touch, and even if multiple shots were fired a police officer would not pick up a gun by the barrel anyways, so it is irrelevant. However, as someone said, firing any firearm does create a very strong gunpowder odor in the immediate area, so you might want some strong smell that could overpower it.

As for the "wound size": There is no hard and fast rule for how a bullet wound will look. In most cases with a round traveling at or above roughly 2000 feet per second, the wound will be a relatively clean hole at the point of entry. The exit wound is your problem here, since that would make it obvious that it was not a pistol round. Most commercial pistol rounds are designed to flatten or shear away on impact, reducing the chance of an exit wound. With rifle cartridges meant for hunting or military use, the round is designed for penetration and in most cases will easily pass through a human body. However, some notable exceptions: Some rifle systems (most commonly a primitive gas-operated system such as the ones you see in the AK platform and its derivatives) can cause the bullet to "tumble", which makes a very distinct entry wound commonly known as keyholing. For reference, see the uppermost hole in this target:
http://media.photobucket.com/image/keyholing/hilljacknm/PIX__43.jpg

However, generally speaking, an entry wound caused by a rifle round is going to be indistinguishable from one made by a pistol round, especially so for someone who is not extremely familiar with them (which a police officer would not be.)

One way you could get around this problem is by using non-jacketed rifle ammunition. This ammo is not very widely used since it doesn't serve any particular purpose for hunting, but the most common variants are either hardened lead or nylon. You could also use a subsonic ammunition. This is ammunition that travels below the speed of sound (these bullets travel at roughly 1100 feet per second). They are more quiet than a traditional rifle round, though they still create an audible crack, but due to their lower velocity the bullet is much less likely to pass through the body and make an exit wound.

Keep in mind that most subsonic ammunition is not created for use in hunting or "sniper" rifles, but a carbine or sub-machine gun is more than capable of killing someone at 100 yards. If you want to see how little of a problem that truly is, look up Elmer Keith, who shot and killed a buck with a short-barreled revolver from 600 yards.

Hope this helped. :)

Summonere
11-04-2009, 08:11 PM
And here I thought I had the obvious answer: pistol caliber carbine! :)