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Journal Article


Ma L, Song J, Whitenton E, Zheng A, Vorburger T, Zhou J. J. Forensic Sci. 2004; 49(4): 649-659.


National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8553, USA.


(Copyright © 2004, American Society for Testing and Materials, Publisher John Wiley and Sons)






A bullet signature measurement system based on a stylus instrument was developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for the signature measurements of NIST RM (Reference Material) 8240 standard bullets. The standard bullets are developed as a reference standard for bullet signature measurements and are aimed to support the recently established National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN) by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The RM bullets are designed as both a virtual and a physical bullet signature standard. The virtual standard is a set of six digitized bullet signatures originally profiled from six master bullets fired at ATF and FBI using six different guns. By using the virtual signature standard to control the tool path on a numerically controlled diamond turning machine at NIST, 40 RM bullets were produced. In this paper, a comparison parameter and an algorithm using auto-and cross-correlation functions are described for qualifying the bullet signature differences between the RM bullets and the virtual bullet signature standard. When two compared signatures are exactly the same (point by point), their cross-correlation function (CCF) value will be equal to 100%. The measurement system setup, measurement program, and initial measurement results are discussed. Initial measurement results for the 40 standard bullets, each measured at six land impressions, show that the CCF values for the 240 signature measurements are higher than 95%, with most of them even higher than 99%. These results demonstrate the high reproducibility for both the manufacturing process and the measurement system for the NIST RM 8240 standard bullets.


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