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Bullet Abrasion from Small Arms Ammunition



When at bullet moves along a rifled barrel, the engraving of the jacket or the driving band will cause some degree of abrasion which is emitted as metallic dust. This effect is especially prominent in small caliber guns. For small arms bullets, the jacket surface is exclusively made of tombac for which the emitted dust will consist of copper and some zinc. Inhalation of these metals may cause severe health problems among the users. Although the illness is temporary, the soldiers may be unfit to maintain his task for several hours after exposure. This paper documents a series of measurements for which the amount of emitted dust has been measured. Steel-cored projectiles may have more than 100% more dust emission than lead-cored ones. However, the amount does not depend solely on the ammunition, but the shape of the barrel is also a significant factor.

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