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Re: Article in Man At Arms

Posted by John on Monday, 22 August 2011, at 1:56 p.m., in response to Re: Article in Man At Arms, posted by Dick Hosmer on Monday, 22 August 2011, at 12:07 p.m.

I respect the scientific abilities of forensic examination, but believe that some aspects are less reliable than others.

Comparison of bore scratches between bullets of the same type fired in the same gun relatively closely together can indeed provide positive matches.

Breech face markings can provide matches.

However, taking a fired case from an archaeological context after 100+ years of corrosion, and making a comparison with a recently fired case, (probably a different type, but perhaps they found some old original ammo to use for their tests- I have not seen the article yet) may require extraordinary leaps of faith rather than scientific analysis. How many additional rounds have been fired by the gun (breechblock/firing pin)in intervening years between LBH and the test?

Did they compare only this one gun with the artifact case?

How would the results be if they compared cases from the subject gun with those fired in 10, 20 or 50 other trapdoors (just M1873 carbines, or throw in M18979 and 1884 or 1888 rifles and carbines as well) and the identity of the subject gun not revealed until after the tests?

Color me skeptical that this was a totally valid scientific match process.

Then you can factor in any questions about the gun itself.

Of course I may be wrong, but I dont have a story to sell a magazine, or a gun to sell, based on a story in a magazine.

Man At Arms is a reputable publication, and I trust Stuart not to make up anything, and to be an honest broker in selecting material to print, so any skepticism I have is about the author and the gun, not the publication it appeared in.


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