Bismuth shotgun pellets and cartridge

Bismuth shotgun pellets and cartridge

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Bismuth shotgun pellets and cartridge. These pellets are made from the metal bismuth (Bi), alloyed with small amounts of tin (Sn). Bismuth is used as a non-toxic alternative to lead (Pb), which is what was historically used for shotgun pellets. Hard metals and alloys, like steel and tungsten, pass through the target, whereas lead and bismuth (especially when alloyed as here) deform on impact, transmitting more energy to the target. Samples courtesy Eley Hawk Ltd.

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