Lead-Free Primer Residues: A Qualitative Characterization of Winchester WinClean™, Remington/UMC LeadLess™, Federal BallistiClean™, and Speer Lawman CleanFire™ Handgun Ammunition*

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Abstract

ABSTRACT

The elemental composition and postfiring residues of several “lead-free” or “nontoxic” centerfire handgun ammunition types currently available to the general public were examined. Offerings from Winchester, Remington/UMC, Federal and Speer were obtained from retail sources in both .45 ACP and 9 mm when possible. A total of 112 postfiring residue samples (SEM pins) were collected at varying distances from the muzzle, at two distances from target and from the shooter's hands. An additional 20 samples were collected by direct ignition of primers. Qualitative determinations were carried out using scanning electron microscopy (SEM)/electron dispersive spectrometry (EDS) analysis. All types tested contained aluminum (Al), silicon (Si), copper (Cu), and zinc (Zn). Most contain traces of sulfur and calcium. Winchester WinClean™ and Remington LeadLess™ contained potassium as the principle ingredient. Federal BallistClean™ contained barium, while Speer Lawman CleanFire™ contained strontium. In the main, these compared favorably with manufacturers' MSDS publications and patents granted. The characterizations undertaken here will be of use to the forensic electron microscopist as these formulations gain popularity.

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