Wound Production by Ricocheted and Destabilized Bullets

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Abstract

Abstract:

Bullets destabilized by ricochet or as the result of an impact with some intervening object experience a yawing to tumbling motion in flight. As a result, they often produce atypical entry wounds, but, as will be demonstrated in this article, this is not a certainty and such bullets can produce normal-appearing entry wounds. It is these wounds that are more difficult to recognize as the consequence of a ricocheted or deflected bullet at the time of autopsy. With few exceptions, ricocheted or deflected bullets also acquire characteristic damage and trace evidence inclusions that often survive the wound production process. A careful inspection of such bullets at the time of recovery will usually reveal such ricochet damage. Moreover, the instability of ricocheted bullets alters their soft-tissue penetration behavior in 2 possible ways. Destabilized full-metal-jacketed bullets will typically penetrate less than direct strikes by the same bullet. Destabilized jacketed hollow-point bullets will often fail to expand and subsequently penetrate more deeply than direct shots with the same bullet.

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