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Bullets determined using gunshot residue

AAP logoAAP 18/08/2016 By Marnie Banger

The near-invisible residue of a gunshot has been used to identify the brand of bullet that was shot for the first time, a South Australian university says.

Forensic scientists at Flinders University have found a way to source gunshot residue, on a shooter or victim, and analyse it down to an isotopic level.

They then compare its makeup against that of various brands of bullets, to pinpoint the brand that was shot.

The research, led by Paul Kirkbride - former Chief Scientist at the Australian Federal Police - is focused on .22 bullets, which are the most commonly used in Australian gun crimes.

Professor Kirkbride said this discovery could revolutionise the way gun crimes are solved, by helping police link suspects with crime scenes that they wouldn't otherwise have been able to.

"This is like a fingerprint, which doesn't change before, during or after the gun is fired," Prof Kirkbride said.

"Eventually we hope to provide law enforcement agencies with the ability to identify not only the brand of ammunition, but also the location of manufacture and points of distribution, which all contribute significantly towards identifying the purchaser."

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