Course LogoFirearm Examiner Training
Print Page Previous PageNext Page

Reloading and Handloading

Home > Toolmark Identification > Basic Toolmark Identification > Reloading and Handloading
Case turning tool

Case turning tool

Courtesy of Hornady

The processes involved in reloading and handloading ammunition produce toolmarks of a specialized type on ammunition components.  In reloaded ammunition the marks are not the result of the discharge of a firearm.  The action of the steel tools of a reloading press on the softer components of metallic ammunition may produce striated or impressed marks that can reflect class, subclass, and individual characteristics. The marks may potentially be reproduced, compared, and identified with a particular reloading tool.

The process of identification of toolmarks produced by reloading tools is parallel to other toolmark identifications in that they include the following:

  • Characteristics that may be class, subclass, or individual
  • Pattern identification
  • AFTE Theory of Identification as it Relates to Toolmarks
  • Principle of sufficient agreement
  • Principle of consecutive matching striae
  • AFTE Range of Conclusions

In general, the most useful toolmarks produced by reloading equipment fall into two categories:

  • Cartridge case marks
    • Holding tools on a reloading press which grips the base of cartridge cases 
    • Resizing tools (e.g., sizing die) which squeeze fired cases back to their original specifications
    • Crimping tools used for some loads to press the mouth of cases slightly into a cannelure used as a crimping groove
  • Bullets bearing bullet-seating toolmarks

< Previous Page  ::  Next Page >

Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners logo
Submit Change Request