The effect of intermediate targets on the spread of pellets from shotguns


AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF FORENSIC SCIENCES, vol.47, no.3, pp.355-362, 2015 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


The distribution pattern of pellets due to shotguns is an important criterion for the determination of shooting distance. Many factors affect the distribution range, such as characteristics of the gun, the presence and type of intermediate targets, factors related to distance, and the physical variables of the environment. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the effects of different intermediate targets on the distribution range of pellets from a shotgun. Glass, mica auto glass, tempered auto glass, fibreboard, flat iron, aluminium, and grey cotton fabric were used as intermediate targets. The intermediate target was placed one metre away from the main target and shotgun. The spread of pellets was evaluated on the main target with seven shots by using either cartridge numbers 0 or 9. The spread of pellets was significantly larger in the presence of all intermediate targets tested with cartridge number 9 (p<0.05) but not in the presence of grey cotton fabric (p=0.33) with cartridge number 0. The distribution range of pellets increased in the presence of intermediate targets. This difference was more pronounced in higher density intermediates. In crime scene investigations, the presence and/or type of intermediate target should be taken into account to make information more accurate.