(Received 26 March 1987; accepted 13 May 1987)
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The Hydra-Shok® bullet is characterized by a hollow-point construction, with a distinctive central post in the base of the hollow. These features allow such missiles to be easily identified during the course of an autopsy examination of a gunshot victim. Higher velocity loadings of the Hydra-Shok may fragment along the wound path, occasionally forming a ring-like fragment that suggests this ammunition, but this feature cannot be considered unique. Although radiographic examination is helpful in bullet localization, the characteristic central post may be identified by X-ray only if sufficient expansion results in its exposure. Three cases of shooting deaths involving Hydra-Shok bullets are presented and discussed; in each case, the entrance wounds were indistinguishable from entrances associated with conventional ammunition, and in no instance did the missiles exit from the body (including head, chest, and abdominal wounds). Familiarity with relatively unusual ammunition types such as the Hydra-Shok allows for quick identification by the pathologist at the time of autopsy.
Chief medical examiner for the State of Utah, Utah Department of Health, Salt Lake City, UT
Medical investigator, Office of the Medical Investigator for the State of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
Stock #: JFS12435J