Shotgun Injuries

Unlike handguns and rifles which have lands-and-grooves cut on the inside of their barrels, shotguns have a smooth bore. Lands-and-grooves cause specific identifying features (rifling) on projectiles as they pass along the barrel. These markings allow examiners to test-fire weapons and compare test-fired bullets to those discovered in bodies. Since shotguns have no lands-and-grooves, their projectiles cannot be positively matched to those found at the scene or inside a body.

A shotgun cartridge contains pellets, gunpowder, and a wad that separates the pellets from the gunpowder. Some ammunition have plastic shot containers that hold the pellets and also act as the wad. The recovery of the wad or plastic shot container is important because they may be specific for certain types of ammunition. Shotguns usually fire pellets; however, slugs can also be used as ammunition.

The range (distance) of fire can usually be more easily determined in shotguns than in handguns or rifles. In addition to the presence or absence of gunpowder, the presence or absence of pellet spread aids in the distance determination. However, it is still important to test-fire the same gun and ammunition that was used in the shooting to determine an accurate comparison with the distance in question.

Injuries Gunshot
figure 8.1 A shotgun blast can be very destructive. This man stuck the gun in his mouth.
Gunshot Wound The Left Upper Chest
figure 8.2 Tight contact shotgun wound of the chest. All of the gunpowder is inside the wound. The wound edges are abraded and there is a thin linear abrasion on the upper right from the muzzle.
Gun Shot Wounds
figure 8.3 Loose contact shotgun wound and a larger, more ragged exit wound.
Pictures Gun Shot Wounds
figure 8.5 This loose contact suicide wound to the neck is larger than expected because the neck was bent over the barrel. Most of the decedent's face was blown out.
Gunshot Wounds Suicide
figure 8.7 Pellet spread may be used to aid in distance determination when there is no more gunpowder. In this case, the pellets are beginning to spread. Once again, the distance may be determined with accuracy only if the same ammunition and weapon are test-fired.
Contact Distance Wound
figure 8.4 Loose contact shotgun wound to the back of the head and neck. The decedent was essentially executed during a robbery.
Loosecontact Shotgun
figure 8.6 This "cookie cutter" type wound shows a few separate pellet injuries forming as the distance increases. This is not a suicide.
Central Defect Gunshot
figure 8.8 The central defect may be small as the weapon is moved further away from the body when fired. The wad was discovered in the body.
Gunshot Injury

figure 8.9 The spread of pellets indicates a considerable distance; however, the distance is affected by the choke of the weapon. Adjacent to the corner of the mouth is an abrasion from the wad.

Mouth Abrasion
figure 8.11 This woman was shot with a shotgun. The wound does not appear like a typical shotgun wound. Many of the ragged defects were not caused by pellets. See next photo.
Gunshot Abrassion RingGunshot Wounds
figure 8.12 An X-ray revealed multiple pellets and other odd-shaped metallic objects. These other objects were keys and the ring they were on. The woman was wearing a ring of keys around her neck. The white arrow points to a zipper. She was X-rayed in a body bag.
Shotgunpellet Xray
figure 8.13 This man had two shotgun wounds. The lower one in the abdomen reveals a pellet direction up to the decedent's left. The neck blast was from a closer distance. The wound on the left side of the neck is the exit wound.
Gunshot Wounds
figure 8.14 The gray marks on this bone are lead markings from shotgun pellet impacts. No pellets were remaining in the body; however, this finding proved the person was killed with a shotgun.
Shotgun Pellets
figure 8.15 A relatively small external wound can be accompanied by a larger defect in the body. The external entrance wound in this case was half the size of the defect in the chest plate, as seen here.
Gunshot Wounds

figure 8.16 This is another defect in a chest wall. This one is approximately the same size as the external wound.

Entrance Wound
figure 8.17 This is the scene of a woman shot twice by her estranged husband She was killed with shotgun slugs and not pellets. See next photo.

figure 8.16 This is another defect in a chest wall. This one is approximately the same size as the external wound.

Shotgun Injuries

figure 8.18 Scene close-up revealing powder on the shirt and abundant blood. See next photo.

Women With Gunshot Wounds

figure 8.19 The woman was shot first in the right knee. There is a slight amount of gunpowder on the inferior aspect of the wound. See next photo.

figure 8.18 Scene close-up revealing powder on the shirt and abundant blood. See next photo.

figure 8.19 The woman was shot first in the right knee. There is a slight amount of gunpowder on the inferior aspect of the wound. See next photo.

Gunshot Wounds
figure 8.20 Fragments of bone caused damage to the right upper arm. See next photo.
Gunshot Wounds Face
figure 8.21 Fragments of bone from her knee were imbedded in her face (arrow). This gives an indication of her defensive posturing at the time of the shot. See next photo.
Gunshot Wound
figure 8.22 This is her right arm where the second shot began. This wound is superficial. There is gunpowder on the inferior aspect (to the right). See next photo.
Shotgun Wounds
figure 8.23 The main charge from the second shot entered the left side of the chest, creating this huge defect. There were a few small exit wounds on the left back. Metal fragments from the slug were located in the muscle and tissue of the back.

figure 8.24 This man and his best friend were arguing over his daughter. The assailant said he shot at this man from about 10' away as the decedent was rising out of his sofa and coming after him with a knife. See next photo.

Shotgun Wounds
figure 8.25 The main wound was just below the chin on the left side. The charge went into the neck and ended in the right upper chest area. See next photo.
Imagenes Heridas Bala
figure 8.26 There were drops of blood on the tops of the boots. They appear to have fallen straight down onto the boots. See next photo.
Shotgun Gunshot Wound The Shoulder
figure 8.27 The wound is an irregular defect. The abrasions around the mouth were caused by the plastic pellet container. Both the angle of the shot and the blood spatters suggest the shooter was telling the truth.
Gunshot Wounds The Shoulder

he was in bed. See next photo. FIGURE 8.29 There were wounds to his shoulder, top of head, and side of the head (arrows). See next photo.

he was in bed. See next photo. FIGURE 8.29 There were wounds to his shoulder, top of head, and side of the head (arrows). See next photo.

Shotgun Injuries
figure 8.30 This wound caused death. The pellet spread is greater than expected because the pellets grazed the arm. See next photo.
Gunshot Wounds The Shoulder
figure 8.31 The wound on the right shoulder matched up with the blast to the right side of the head when the arm was raised up and to the left in front of his body. These facts give evidence as to the decedent's position at the time of his death.
Shotgun Gunshot Wound
figure 8.34 Dispersed pellet marks were left on the wall after the charge passed through the headboard.
Gunshot Shotgun Wounds The Head
figure 8.35 This man has a "distant" shotgun wound to the back. He was shot with a slug. See next photo.
Buckshot Shotgun Wound

figure 8.37 The slug went through the heart (arrow). See next photo.

Gunshot Wounds
figure 8.36 The shotgun slug. See next photo.
Gunshot Wounds

figure 8.38 A close-up of the hole in the heart.

figure 8.37 The slug went through the heart (arrow). See next photo.

figure 8.38 A close-up of the hole in the heart.

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Responses

  • aimone
    How many gunshot injuries were there in 2012?
    2 years ago
  • Jenni
    Are shotgun wounds fatal?
    1 year ago
  • tuuli
    What is the fatality of a shotgun wound to the chest?
    1 year ago
  • gabriel yemane
    What type of wounds are caused from a shotgun?
    1 year ago
  • Gorbulas
    What injury does shotgun slug to chest cause?
    4 months ago
  • heli
    What is more fatal shotgun blast to heart or mouth?
    2 months ago

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