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OneWriter
06-15-2010, 02:56 PM
Suppose a person has been shot with a revolver. What clues, if any, do the investigators have ON THE CRIME SCENE that it was a revolver and not a pistol? Revolvers do not leave slugs (right?) but that alone doesn't help, since the killer could have removed them. What about the shot wound? Would it be wider for a revolver? More likely to leave an exit wound?

Thanks.

Stanmiller
06-15-2010, 04:18 PM
Nothing except the caliber of the bullet itself. And even that could be problematical as some revolvers shoot the same ammo as pistols.

As far as I know there are no revolvers chambered for .40S&W, and no pistols chambered for .38SPL, .41 Mag, .44 SPL.

What caliber did you have in mind?

--Stan

OneWriter
06-15-2010, 04:42 PM
Thanks for your reply. I could use whatever if it made a difference on the crime scene, but from what you're telling me it wouldn't... What about hollow points? Do they make a difference in terms of shot wounds?

Chris P
06-15-2010, 04:48 PM
I think hollow points make a much messier wound, since the projectile flattens and fragments once it hits the person's body. "Full metal jacket" bullets were touted as a humane advance over the older lead slugs because the soldier was more likely to survive once hit.

As far as telling if a revolver or automatic was used, most revolvers only hold six bullets while (correct me if I'm wrong) automatics hold eight or twelve. The problem is a victim with six wounds doesn't eliminate an automatic, but one with eight indicates an automatic or the shooter stopping to reload.

And in your OP, I think you mean "shell casings" left at the scene instead of "slugs." Slugs are the projectiles.

Don Allen
06-15-2010, 04:50 PM
Suppose a person has been shot with a revolver. What clues, if any, do the investigators have ON THE CRIME SCENE that it was a revolver and not a pistol? Revolvers do not leave slugs (right?) but that alone doesn't help, since the killer could have removed them. What about the shot wound? Would it be wider for a revolver? More likely to leave an exit wound?

Thanks.

Just a couple of definitions, a slug is actually the part of the bullet that is fired from the gun, I think you're referring to the casing or cartridge left behind that would not be ejected from a revolver.

A pistol used to be defined as a single shot or limited shot weapon, which is not the same as single action compared to double action. But, you will find that some people refer to single action guns as pistols even though you can have a single action revolver, actually single action revolvers were the norm in the 1880's.

Don't know if this helps...

OneWriter
06-15-2010, 04:51 PM
A-ha! Thanks. Tells you how knowledgeable I am with this stuff!! :)

ETA: But I am right in that revolvers do not leave shell casings? So, if there are none on the crime scene, only two things are possible: (1) the killer collected them afterward, or (2) it was a revolver. Is this correct?
Do revolvers have a more powerful recoil than pistols?

Thanks.

Kathie Freeman
06-15-2010, 07:04 PM
The amount of recoil depends on the amount of powder in the shell, usually higher in larger caliber rounds. Revolver or pistol makes no difference. Either one could be anything from a .22 to a .45 or 9 mil.

Stanmiller
06-15-2010, 07:20 PM
A-ha! Thanks. Tells you how knowledgeable I am with this stuff!! :)

ETA: But I am right in that revolvers do not leave shell casings? So, if there are none on the crime scene, only two things are possible: (1) the killer collected them afterward, or (2) it was a revolver. Is this correct?
Do revolvers have a more powerful recoil than pistols?

Thanks.

Correct. Revolvers retain the cases. Pistols eject the cases, a surprising distance in some circumstances. If your shooter uses a revolver chambered for .38 SPL or .41 Mag and forensics gets a bullet to examine, they can tell it came from a revolver by the caliber.

*If you want your shooter to be extra tricky, have him handload 9mm bullets into .38SPL cases, or have him use a revolver chambered in 9mm. That'll throw off forensics for a while.

Lhun
06-15-2010, 09:42 PM
Just to add to the confusion (my hobby), the shooter could also have reloaded a revolver on scene, and carelessly dropped the shell casings. So, shell casings make a revolver less likely, but don't rule one out. If it was a real shoot-out where the guy with the revolver had to reload in the middle of it, shell casings on the floor are even more likely.

Chris P
06-15-2010, 09:52 PM
Do revolvers have a more powerful recoil than pistols?


I think so. The mechanism that spits out the spent cartridge and loads the new one runs off the recoil, so some of the energy that a revolver would send up your arm does work in an automatic. I don't know if the shooter would notice the difference, though.

hammerklavier
06-15-2010, 10:29 PM
A few random facts that might help you.

9mm is actually a slightly different diameter than .38special.

Anyway, the caliber and number of shots fired would be two things they would look at. Noting that there are revolvers that fire automatic cartidges. And, much rarer, a few autos that fire revolver rounds.

Both types can fire hollow point bullets. One common revolver target ammo called the wadcutter would not be found in autos.

Revolvers cannot be silenced very well and would probably leave more powder residue on the shooter because of the "cylinder gap".

If the shooter reloaded, then he might dump his revolver shell casings on the ground.

The most powerful revolvers (like the .44 magnum) often have only five shots instead of six, depending on the size of the gun (also true of lesser calibers in very small revolvers).

Drachen Jager
06-15-2010, 11:16 PM
Suppose a person has been shot with a revolver. What clues, if any, do the investigators have ON THE CRIME SCENE that it was a revolver and not a pistol? Revolvers do not leave slugs (right?) but that alone doesn't help, since the killer could have removed them. What about the shot wound? Would it be wider for a revolver? More likely to leave an exit wound?

Thanks.

You mean casings, not slugs. Slug is another name for bullet.

There are a couple of ways they could figure out it was a revolver.

1) Identifying the bullet striation pattern and matching it with a known firearm. Then they would not only know it was a revolver but they'd know the manufacturer and MAYBE the model. This test can be performed on about 80-90% of spent bullets.

2) IF the pistol were fired close to a wall or other surface (within a foot or two) a good forensic team would be able to pick up on the powder burn pattern. This is trickier than the first option but quite possible. Having fired revolvers many times I can tell you they spray out a bit of burning powder when they're fired. If you're not wearing gloves you'll get burned enough to feel it after a few dozen shots.

Drachen Jager
06-15-2010, 11:19 PM
Revolvers cannot be silenced very well and would probably leave more powder residue on the shooter because of the "cylinder gap".

Actually that's not entirely true. There was a Russian revolver where the cylinder moved forward and back when it rotated and the end of the casing went a few mm into the barrel to complete a near perfect seal specifically so that it could be silenced effectively.

They're rare I'll grant you but it's not impossible to have a silenced revolver.

hammerklavier
06-15-2010, 11:20 PM
I think that was called the Nagant, wasn't it?

Drachen Jager
06-16-2010, 01:16 AM
That's the one Nagant M1895. There's a pretty modern one too called the OTs-38.

WriteKnight
06-16-2010, 02:05 AM
And just to throw in a little historical reference - you COULD have them shot with a 'cap and ball' revolver. They are easier to come by in some states - and would not leave a shell casing behind. Of course, it WOULD leave other tell tale debris, depending on how it was loaded. But if you're looking for some sort of interesting death weapon - then yeah... think about a replica or antique cap and ball pistol. Something an historical reenactor might have access to. (Army Remington, or Colt Navy are common replicas used by reenactors)

OneWriter
06-16-2010, 12:09 PM
wow, lots of info, thank you all!!

Nivarion
06-17-2010, 05:55 AM
Another name for the casings is the Brass. (since most of them are made of brass)

The caliber works. If they shot very close to a wall with a heat sensitive wall, an automatic would leave one burn, where revolver would leave two. One for the cylinder gap and one for the muzzle.