Date of Award

Fall 12-1-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Forensic Science



First Advisor or Mentor

Peter Diaczuk

Second Reader

Patrick McLaughlin

Third Advisor

Andrew Winter


Firearms are commonly used by law enforcement, hunters, and civilians either for protection, sport or criminal activity. Ammunition is used in traditional firearms such as rifles and handguns, and consists of a cartridge case, propellant, a bullet (projectile), and primer. The two types of priming systems within the cartridge that are commonly used today are rimfire and centerfire cartridges. There are several types of malfunctions that can occur with ammunition. Improper ammunition storage is one major factor that plays a role in ammunition failure. One form of improper ammunition storage is where the storage environment being used abruptly changes due to an external liquid or solid material submerging the ammunition. As a result, ammunition failure and damage to the firearm may occur if used. This study observed how ammunition function is affected when it is improperly stored in the following materials: water, soil, Hoppe’s No. 9 Gun Bore Cleaning Solvent, and WD-40. This research showed that although there were distressed cartridges that fired successfully with an expected average velocity measurement obtained, the majority of the cartridges exhibited changes such as ammunition failure, low velocity, and anomaly velocity measurements. All of the distressing materials used had an adverse effect on the cartridges, with Hoppe’s No. 9 Gun Bore Cleaning Solvent being the most detrimental on all cartridge sets. These findings encourage future work to be done to observe any additional detrimental effects of improper ammunition storage in an external liquid or solid.



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