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Microengraved Firing pin and Rifling

Marks the bullet and the brass while fireing.
(+1, -1)
  [vote for,

Micro engrave the end of the firing pin of all guns such that casings fired from that gun will be traceable to that serial number. Also slightly modify the rifling in the barrel so that it leaves an intentionally unique pattern on the bullet. A set of microscopic carbide points in the bottom of each groove would mark the bullet as it fires. In effect printing a bar code on the bullet.

This will allow both the bullet and the casing to be traced back to a particular weapon. If that weapon is found in the possession of a suspect, a significant amount of data about the details of the crime would be instantly available. And if the weapon serial number were on file as having been sold to a particular person, that person would be immediately under suspicion.

Galbinus_Caeli, Apr 23 2007


       And engrave the serial number on the suspect's, um, purchaser's hand, maybe?
DrCurry, Apr 23 2007

       Perhaps by engraving the serial number on the trigger, and coating it with an ultraviolet ink? It would wear off after a few dozen firings, but for the guys who buy a gun and pretty much immediately shoot up a place it would work.   

       On the other hand I understand that it is relatively straightforward to get a finger print from spent brass, so you could at least identify who loaded the gun, if not who fired it.
Galbinus_Caeli, Apr 23 2007

       I saw something on a TV program about the battle at Little Big Horn, which featured figuring out which gun shot which cartridge based on firing pin impressions. So it could be done, though perhaps only for a limited number of guns. Firing pins are replaceable, and brass can easily be picked up.
baconbrain, Apr 23 2007

       Bullets can already be matched to guns for the most part. The only problem is that it changes with wear, and so would this. Even brushing out the barrel with an oversized brush can alter ballistic fingerprints, so enough cleanings and/or a new firing pin could completely go around this.
Hunter79764, Apr 23 2007

       The matches we have now can only go so far as they are based on effective random elements of the barrel. Intentionally placed shards of carbide could give a predictable, repeatable pattern to every bullet fired from that gun. And a simple steel brush is not going to wipe them away.
Galbinus_Caeli, Apr 24 2007

       Given enough wear, it would change, but I suppose it would take a while. I expect that the effect on accuracy could potentially be signifigant, though. And while this would work for first owner guns, paperwork doesn't usually carry over to the next owner.
Hunter79764, Apr 24 2007

       Accuracy should not be affected if the same pattern of micro barbs is in each groove.
Galbinus_Caeli, Apr 24 2007

       True... I'm going to still refrain from voting either way, though. I still think there's many ways around this, but anything that can help solve crimes without putting an undue burden on innocent people is a good thing, so it's a step in a right direction. (And it's a heckuva lot better step than trying to mark and track every box of ammunition manufactured...)
Hunter79764, Apr 24 2007


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