I have taken an interest in firearms since the politics in Australia
regarding gun possession and ownership have reached a stage where it is no
longer "politically correct" to be interested in such things.
My Speer Reloading Manual Number 12, not a reference you'll find on Medline
:) ,tells me that the jacket on bullets is called "gilding metal" and is a
copper/zinc alloy in either 90/10 or 95/5 ratios. No mention of Aluminium
(or Aluminum in US speak). Bullets can be either fully or partially
jacketed so depending on the jacketing the exposure to "nasties" will vary.
A Full Metal Jacket bullet should expose the person to copper and zinc only,
thereby exacerbating Wilson's Disease but aiding acrodermatitis enteropathica.
I have also noted in this thread that no distinction has been made between
bullet and cartridge or round.
A swallowed bullet is different to a swallowed round. A round includes the
bullet in its brass shell or case and also includes a primer at the bottom
of the shell, for centre fire cartridges. Rim fire cartridges have the
priming chemicals embedded in the rim.
The primer contains Lead Styphnate as the fulminant and powdered Aluminium
which helps fuel the initial reaction which then ignites the nitrocelluose
(plus or minus nitroglycerine) contained in the smokeless powder in the case.
Fortunately the primer is unlikely to leak, as was pointed out by another
contributor, who noted that rounds can be submersed in water for some time
and still function afterward.
Dr Greg Winterflood
BA MBBS DA DRCOG (MPH in progress!)
Director of Emergency Medicine
Alice Springs Hospital
Tel +61 (0)8 8952 4272
Fax +61 (0)8 8955 5523
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