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Home > Characterization and Evaluation of Fired Projectiles > Physical Features > Composition

Bullet composition refers to the materials used in the fabrication of a bullet.

Basic types of compositions include the following:

  • Solid Bullets.
    • Swaged and cast lead.
    • Single metal (e.g., steel, aluminum, zinc, copper alloys, and brass).
  • Bullet Jackets.
    • Jacketing metals (e.g., copper alloys, brass, aluminum, nickel, and steel).
  • Bullet Cores.
    • Heavier metals (e.g., lead and steel).
  • Bullet Coatings.
  • Sabots.
    • Plastic sleeve or adaptor surrounding a subcaliber bullet that allows it to be fired in a larger caliber firearm. The projectile never directly touches the barrel, and the sabot typically falls away after firing. Because the bullet never directly engages the barrel, rifling impressions will not be impressed on the bullet but rather the sabot.

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