Types of Bullets

The ordinary load for handguns and rifles is a bullet made of lead. The lead may be fully or partially covered by another metal, called a jacket, which has several purposes: it protects the barrel of the weapon from leading; it hardens and lubricates the bullet, thereby somewhat diminishing the possibility of bullet deformity when it strikes tissue, particularly bone; and it may be shed as the bullet traverses tissues in the body. Each weapon has grooves inside the barrel that leave identifiable marks on the bullet as it passes through. This is important for ballistics identification. In the unjacketed bullet, the pattern will be on the lead itself; in semi- or fully-jacketed bullets, the ballistic markings will be on the jacket. Hence, it is important to identify and retrieve the separated jacket for ballistic purposes (Fig. 84). Copper jacketing is usually quite easily identified. The so-called silvertip load, which has become quite popular in the United States, is jacketed with aluminum and can be quite difficult or impossible to locate with conventional radiography.

Plantar Aponeurosis Calcification
Fig. 27. Calcification at the site of the secondary attachment of the plantar fascia. It has no clinical significance and is not be to be confused with plantar fasciitis.
Sclerosing Osteomyelitis Garre
Fig. 28. Typical diaphyseal sclerosing osteomyelitis of Garre.
Sclerosing Osteomyelitis
Fig. 29. "Burned out" juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in a 22-year-old woman. The onset of disease was at age 6. Typical changes at the knee include massive overgrowth of the epiphyseal ends of the bones with atrophic osteoporotic shafts and joint destruction.

Military weapons tend to have high-velocity characteristics and, according to the Hague Piece Conference of 1899, must be fully jacketed. "Civilian" weapons and loads are mostly of a lower velocity (Figs. 85, 86). Some of the bullets used in civilian handguns and rifles have identifying characteristics, including the following:

Fig. 30. Osteogenic sarcoma in the distal metaphyseal-diaphyseal of the femur in an adolescent male.
Fig. 31. Typical fibrous dysplasia in the first metatarsal with expansion of the bone and "ground-glass" appearance of bone in a fibrous matrix.

Fig. 32. (A) Typical "bone island" composed of normal compact bone in the head of the femur. (B) Bone island in the head of the femur in a T-1 weighted MRI. (C) Bone island in the head of the femur of a victim of the Air India disaster. None of the individuals in these three images are related. This points out the difficulty involved in trying to match common lesions in images obtained using different modalities. Reprinted from Brogdon, BG, Forensic radiology (1998) with permission from CRC Press.

Fig. 32. (A) Typical "bone island" composed of normal compact bone in the head of the femur. (B) Bone island in the head of the femur in a T-1 weighted MRI. (C) Bone island in the head of the femur of a victim of the Air India disaster. None of the individuals in these three images are related. This points out the difficulty involved in trying to match common lesions in images obtained using different modalities. Reprinted from Brogdon, BG, Forensic radiology (1998) with permission from CRC Press.

• The unjacketed bullet commonly used in high-velocity hunting ammunition fragments so extensively that the resulting pattern is called a "lead snowstorm."

• The Black Talon mushrooms into a characteristic six-petal flower or star configuration.

• The Glaser safety slug carries multiple small lead pellets in a copper cup, producing an unusual mixed pattern of densities.

• The Winchester Western .25 caliber cartridge contains a copper-coated lead hollow-point bullet filled with a single no. 4 steel pellet and, thus, produces the unusual finding of a single small bullet accompanied by a single small shot.

Finally, unconventional loads—plastic bullets, rubber bullets, and ceramic bullets (Figs. 87,88)—are being seen with increasing frequency because they are used in crowd control.

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