It is often the case that stolen weapons will have the serial number obliterated in an attempt to hide the weapon 's origin. Methods of obliteration generally fall into the following categories:
This is simply removing the number by hand filing or grinding with a high-speed carborundum grinding wheel. This is often followed by polishing and then over-stamping with a new number.
Handbook of Firearms and Ballistics: Second Edition Brian J. Heard © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
This merely involves the hammering of the surface with a round punch to completely hide the number.
Over-stamping is simply stamping a new number over the old. For numbers with curved surfaces, that is, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9 and 0, the 8 stamp is the one most often chosen. For numbers with straight surfaces, that is, 1 and 7, the 4 stamp is the obvious choice. Serial numbers with a preponderance of '8' or '4' numbers should be treated with suspicion.
8.2.4 Centre punching
Centre punching is obliterating the whole numbered surface with a pointed punch.
Drilling is completely removing the number and the surrounding metal with a drill. The hole left is usually filled up with either lead solder or weld material.
Welding is heating the surface until the metal flows with either an oxy-acetylene welder or an arc welder.
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