Methods Used for Removal of Serial Numbers

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:

8.2.1 Filing or grinding

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.

8.2.2 Peening

This merely involves the hammering of the surface with a round punch to completely hide the number.

8.2.3 Over-stamping

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.

8.2.5 Drilling

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.

8.2.6 Welding

Welding is heating the surface until the metal flows with either an oxy-acetylene welder or an arc welder.

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