Clarity of Microstamped Identifiers as a Function of Primer Hardness and Type of Firearm Action

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Kreiser, J.
Lizotte, T.
Ohar, O.
Grieve, T.
King, B.
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Eisenmann, David
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Ames National Laboratory

Ames National Laboratory is a government-owned, contractor-operated national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), operated by and located on the campus of Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

For more than 70 years, the Ames National Laboratory has successfully partnered with Iowa State University, and is unique among the 17 DOE laboratories in that it is physically located on the campus of a major research university. Many of the scientists and administrators at the Laboratory also hold faculty positions at the University and the Laboratory has access to both undergraduate and graduate student talent.

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Materials Science and Engineering

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering teaches the composition, microstructure, and processing of materials as well as their properties, uses, and performance. These fields of research utilize technologies in metals, ceramics, polymers, composites, and electronic materials.

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering was formed in 1975 from the merger of the Department of Ceramics Engineering and the Department of Metallurgical Engineering.

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Center for Nondestructive Evaluation

The Center for Nondestructive Evaluation at Iowa State has been involved in the use of nondestructive evaluation testing (NDT) technologies to: assess the integrity of a substance, material or structure; assess the criticality of any flaws, and to predict the object’s remaining serviceability. NDT technologies used include ultrasonics and acoustic emissions, electromagnetic technologies, computer tomography, thermal imaging, and others.

In October of 1985 the CNDE was approved by the State Board of Regents after it had received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) as an Industry/University Cooperative Research Center.

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The transfer of microstamped identifiers to the primers of fired cartridges was examined using a stereomicroscope and scanning electron microscope (SEM). The identifiers were placed on the firing pins of three different 9mm handguns, namely, a Sig Sauer, a Taurus, and a Hi-Point. Ten different brands of ammunition were fired from each handgun, 100 rounds being fired using each brand for a total of 1000 rounds fired per handgun. The quality of the markings was evaluated using a simple observation rubric. These results were compared to Vickers hardness values obtained from the ammunition primers and are discussed in light of the types of actions of firearms used.


This article is published as Chumbley, L. Scott, J. Kreiser, T. Lizotte, O. Ohar, T. Grieve, B. King, and David J. Eisenmann. "Clarity of Microstamped Identifiers as a Function of Primer Hardness and Type of Firearm Action." AFTE Journal 44, no. 2 (2012): 145. Posted with permission.

Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2012