How long does it take a bullet to come down, if you shoot straight up?


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buenhec
November 8, 2008, 11:17 PM
Unfortunately there are lots of people out there who give handgun owners a bad name. Once in a while I will hear gunshots around 3AM. I think its some yahoos that live close to the foothills probably drunk off their ass.

If they are shooting straight in the air, with most likely a 9mm, how many seconds would it take before that bullet comes back to earth? Also I wonder how much force it has coming down? Enough to go through a wall or roof (drywall)?

Things to ponder with the holidays around the corner...

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Kind of Blued
November 8, 2008, 11:42 PM
It can and will kill you if it's shot at an angle, or if it hits you just right. It happens much more often than some people think.

Dr_2_B
November 9, 2008, 12:01 AM
gravity acts to decelerate the ascent at 9.8meters per second each second until the bullet reaches its apex. Then gravity accelerates the thing at 9.8meters per second each second. And there's like 39.36 inches in a meter. But it's too late in the evening for me to care enough to do the math.

LightningMan
November 9, 2008, 12:02 AM
This is something I have pondered also but remember the gun must be pointing perfectly perpendicular or at a right angle to the ground. Also there would have to be no wind to change the flight path. If you could accomplish that, with the bullet going straight up untill it stalls out, I would think it would just free fall to the ground like a hail stone from the sky. Anyone else have any thoughts? LM

wep45
November 9, 2008, 12:07 AM
you dont want to be standing in the spot where the bullet comes down:eek:

woad_yurt
November 9, 2008, 12:11 AM
Which bullet? From which gun? With which powder loading?

Anyway, if one can shoot perfectly straight up, it'll rise, slow, stall and then free fall. Sooner or later in its fall, the friction developed from passing through the air will bring the acceleration to a halt and it'll fall at the same speed until it hits the ground. It'll probably hurt but it won't kill you if it hits you. I remember reading somewhere that terminal velocity for a free falling bullet (I forget which bullet) was about 200 MPH or so. They did a Mythbusters show on this. The bullets they could find only made little dings in the desert floor.

Treo
November 9, 2008, 12:38 AM
I found a bullet hole in my roof after Cinco De Mayo a couple of years ago. The bullet went through the roof and lodged in the insalation in the attic, I found it when my kitchen ceiling started leaking. I was quite pissed :(

withdrawn34
November 9, 2008, 12:46 AM
If there was no air friction, then it would come down at the exact speed that it had when it was initially fired.

Nonethless, even with air resistance, it will still be very fast. Enough to injure and/or kill.

Drue
November 9, 2008, 03:54 AM
On New Year's Day 1993, as I approached my car, I noticed broken glass shards on the driver's seat. I thought that someone had broken into the car but a quick look showed that the windows were intact. It was not until I got in that I saw the bullet hole in the windshield about an inch below the roofline. There was a 230 gr. .45 ball bullet on the floor. It had penetrated the carpet and put a small dent in the floorpanel. It appeared that the bullet had come almost straight down. If someone had been sitting in the driver's seat, they would have been hit in the right knee.

Beware of falling bullets.

Drue

NavyLCDR
November 9, 2008, 06:14 AM
They did a Mythbusters show on this.

I was just thinking that would be a great Mythbusters... apparantly some other genious thought the same thing.

If there was no air friction, then it would come down at the exact speed that it had when it was initially fired.

I had to ponder that one a minute, but yes, I would say you are correct.

DRYHUMOR
November 9, 2008, 06:30 AM
Don't forget the earth's spin. If shot exactly straight up, it won't come exactly straight down because of the spin.

Zebraranger
November 9, 2008, 09:32 AM
Last year during new years celebration here in tha Tampa area, a guy standing in his front yard was hit by a falling bullet. It hit him on top of his left shoulder and exited his arm pit. A few inches over and I think he would have been a dead man. He was obviously lucky.

1858rem
November 9, 2008, 10:21 AM
ok, the likelihood they shoot at a perfect 90 degree angle is slim to none,if they did.... it would not fall too fast- roughly 90mph and it would tumble on its side because there would be no spin to stabilize it, 90mph= 125fps... 115g 9mm= 4 ft/lb energy? if there was ANY angle the stabilizing spin would retain MUCH more lethal velocity

The Bushmaster
November 9, 2008, 10:42 AM
32 feet per second per second multiplied until the bullet's weight is equal to the friction pressure place on it during the fall. That's if shot straight up. There have been incidents where a person was killed by a "falling bullet". However, most of them have been outside.

Mike J
November 9, 2008, 11:47 AM
If the bullet is shot straight up it will lose its velocity & fall down. The dangerous thing is that I believe most are not shot straight up but at an angle & will therefore arc before returning to earth retaining more velocity. Read an article about this once I think they said a .30 caliber round shot at a 30 degree angle would travel about 3 miles.

Sepia
November 9, 2008, 01:24 PM
If the bullet is shot straight up an a 90* angle, it will tumble on the way down and not be a problem. If it isn't a 90* angle, the bullet may maintain a its ballistic trajectory and could be fatal. It happens more that people would like to think.

rcmodel
November 9, 2008, 01:43 PM
If it isn't a 90* angle, the bullet may maintain a its ballistic trajectory and could be fatal. It happens more that people would like to think.You win the cigar for the correct answer!

Unfortunately, drunks shooting in the air to celebrate often shoot at more like a 45 degree angle then straight up.

SO the bullet will go a long ways, and come down fast enough to kill someone.

If it just falls straight down at terminal velocity, it would likely only raise a welt if it hit you.

Eightball
November 9, 2008, 01:59 PM
So, if you *shoot* a round straight down, it will temporarily go faster (at the beginning) than a bullet will in a straight vertical freefall, am I right? And it would eventually slow down to the same velocity as the round that was (theoretically) shot at a perfect vertical, when the round is in its descent?

The Bushmaster
November 9, 2008, 03:27 PM
If you were high enough and fired a bullet straight down it would eventually slow down...Yes. Will it start out faster then fired level? No...It will leave the barrel at the same speed as fired level...

Lookn4Brass
November 9, 2008, 04:48 PM
Mongo (from "Blazing Saddles") says "Me not gonna shoot straight up to try dat. Me not ever been that bored...Please don' be offended. I gonna be runnin' away now." :p

rcmodel
November 9, 2008, 06:25 PM
So, if you *shoot* a round straight down, it will temporarily go fasterWe need to find us a fighter pilot.

I've always wondered if an F-16 in a full-throttle vertical dive, fired it's 20mm Vulcan cannon, would it shoot itself down when it eventually caught up with the cloud of bullets? :neener:



.

Crazy Fingers
November 9, 2008, 08:10 PM
The actual flight time is going to be difficult to calculate because it depends on air resistance (which depends on atmospheric conditions, which of course change based on the altitude), the angle it was shot at, the initial velocity, the ballistic coefficient of the bullet, blah blah blah.

I can tell you from a number of dove hunts that shot usually takes 5 - 10 seconds to fall back to earth.

HB
November 9, 2008, 08:17 PM
Don't forget the earth's spin. If shot exactly straight up, it won't come exactly straight down because of the spin.

On a 20in. cannon maybe! A pistol round will go a mile or so, and could still be lethal at the max range depending on angle.

HB

woad_yurt
November 9, 2008, 08:29 PM
The shooter and the gun and, thus, the bullet are also spinning with the planet, so, if it was shot straight up, it wouldn't be left behind by the earth's rotation.

Eightball
November 9, 2008, 09:09 PM
We need to find us a fighter pilot.

I've always wondered if an F-16 in a full-throttle vertical dive, fired it's 20mm Vulcan cannon, would it shoot itself down when it eventually caught up with the cloud of bullets?Planes have indeed shot themselves down under less drastic circumstances.

From http://www.aerofiles.com/tiger-tail.html:
"On Sep 21, 1956 Grumman test pilot Tom Attridge shot himself down in a graphic demonstration of two objects occupying the wrong place at the same time—one being a Grumman F11F-1 Tiger [138260], the other a gaggle of its own bullets.."

From http://www.check-six.com/Crash_Sites/Tiger138260.htm:
This diagram, and more information.
http://www.check-six.com/images/Crash_Sites_images/Tiger260/TigerBulletPath.jpg

General Geoff
November 9, 2008, 09:11 PM
I've always wondered if an F-16 in a full-throttle vertical dive, fired it's 20mm Vulcan cannon, would it shoot itself down when it eventually caught up with the cloud of bullets?

Yes. There have been several incidents where a fighter jet caught up with cannon fire during a dive, and subsequently damaged the jet. Generally speaking it's not as damaging as if being shot at directly, since the relative velocities of the projectiles are much closer than if the cannon were purposely fired at the jet.

Farnorthdan
November 10, 2008, 01:44 AM
Stand Skinny.................

chrissmallwood
November 11, 2008, 10:34 AM
I remember watching that epsiode of mythbusters and they said that as long as the bullet was fired perfectly straight up then when it came back down it wouldnt have enough energy to kill someone, however they stated that if it was fired at more than a few degrees past 90 degrees then it could remain lethal when it came back down. If I remember right they fired a Garand and 9mm handgun and both rounds barely penetrated more than 2" into dirt. My memory of it is a bit sketchy so hopefully someone else remembers it aswell.

Claude Clay
November 11, 2008, 10:51 AM
thats the way i remember the show also.

2 rules about wive's:
#1--they make all the rules
#2--they can change the rules at anytime and they do not have to tell us.

Japle
November 11, 2008, 12:37 PM
I'd have to dig the book out, but in Hatcher's Notebook, the General talks about experments he did between wars. His team fired 30/06 rifle bullets straight up from a platform in the middle of a fair sized lake and timed the bullet's flight. Most of the time, the bullets missed the lake completly. Once, a bullet hit the roof of the shelter they were standing under and bounced into the water. Once a bullet hit the side of a rowboat tied up to the platform. It made a small dent. From the shape of the dent, he concluded that the bullet hit base first.

When I lived in Tuscon, some friends and I tried the same thing with .45 pistols. Firing as close to straight up as we could, we never saw or heard a bullet fall. Probably fired about 30 rounds. Nada.

The Bushmaster
November 11, 2008, 01:58 PM
Hummm...And your intellectual level? Wonder where they came down?

RPCVYemen
November 11, 2008, 02:47 PM
I remember watching that epsiode of mythbusters and they said that as long as the bullet was fired perfectly straight up then when it came back down it wouldnt have enough energy to kill someone, ...

As a complete non-physicist, I that they concluded that the bullets hit "terminal velocity" on the way back down, and that terminal velocity was substantially less than muzzle velocity.

Mike

Japle
November 11, 2008, 03:14 PM
No problem, Bushy, we were over 20 miles outside of town. Flat desert. We'd sit in the car and look for puffs of dust. Never saw a thing.

Guns and more
November 11, 2008, 03:39 PM
If the bullet is shot straight up an a 90* angle, it will tumble on the way down and not be a problem.
Mythbusters disproved this. It doesn't tumble
The time it takes to go up is dependant on the velocity. That decreases by 32'/sec/sec. That will determine the maximum altitude, minus a bit for air resistance. On the way down, it will max out at about 120 mph. and assume a sideways orientation.
When shot straight up, the bullet did not penetrate anything with enough force to kill someone. (2" deep in the hard desert sand).
As we heard, the one NOT shot straight up may kill someone.

The Bushmaster
November 11, 2008, 03:39 PM
O K...Just checkin'...

JimmerJammerMrK
November 11, 2008, 09:37 PM
If you're given the mass of the bullet and it's initial velocity, this isn't all that hard of a problem if you ignore air resistance and only care about gravity. Someone post some fictional or real numbers and I'll do it, if you want.

buenhec
November 11, 2008, 10:03 PM
Lots of good info, but after I hear the gunshots during the holidays, I can come out from under my bed after 15 seconds?

indoorsoccerfrea
November 11, 2008, 10:05 PM
i would say longer than that. give it about a minute. mile long shots can take sometimes as long as 10 seconds (thats a guesstimate, dont shoot me). thats parallel with the ground. one would think that straight up would take long to hit.

eatont9999
November 12, 2008, 11:02 AM
At terminal velocity, how hard does a 9mm 125grn bullet hit? I have no idea, but I have heard of people being hit in the head and the bullet breaking the skin. I have not heard of many people being killed by a bullet traveling at terminal velocity, however I bet it is possible. The best bet is to stay in the house. I would expect the bullet to reach the surface of the earth within 2 minutes. It does not matter what powder charge the shell has because we are assuming the bullet is shot straight up and reaches terminal velocity.

Gump
November 12, 2008, 11:14 AM
No one mentioned the treadmill :neener:

Claude Clay
November 12, 2008, 11:18 AM
1150 feet per sec will reach -0- speed at 8 seconds. takinig 8 seconds to fall back tand stike the ground at a a speed of 246 feet per second [167 mph]. air resistance not factored in. terminal velocity would likely be closer to 125 mph.

16 seconds 'flight time'

who can figure the height--the apex ??

RPCVYemen
November 12, 2008, 12:42 PM
air resistance not factored in

Now I am a little confused - I thought that without air resistance, a vertically fired bullet will reach the ground at exactly the speed with which it left the ground.

Mike

Koos Custodiet
November 12, 2008, 12:56 PM
If you assume no air resistance,
v = u + at
s = ut + 1/2at^2

v is velocity, u is starting velocity, t is time, a is acceleration, s is distance.

So take your muzzle velocity u, make v = 0, remember that a is negative (bullet slowing down to v = 0) and get t=u/a. That's your time, going up, with no air resistance factored in.

Coming down, as others have said, the bullet will accellerate to terminal velocity (terminal velocity v = 0 + at (u=0 for this leg) and from that you can get time to terminal t=v/a). From there it's just the terminal velocity over the remaining distance.

Of course you first have to figure out what the distance up and down is, for that you use s = ut+1/2at^2 once you have the up time t.

But as others have said air resistance will make a difference. Basically it increases a (works with gravity). But it's non-linear, based on the velocity, which is decreasing all the time. Remember, bullets have a different BC depending on the velocity.

A complex issue, but using the above equations and sticking in the MV might give you some idea.

I read somewhere that bullets fired straight up come down base first, still rotating. This is because of two reasons, firstly that the rotational velocity of the bullet is much higher than the MV and secondly that air resistance doesn't act on the rotational velocity much.

But as others have said, firing straight up is difficult and the coriolis force will also bend the flight path a bit (depending on how high the bullet goes).

OK, I'll stop now :-)

JimmerJammerMrK
November 13, 2008, 12:22 AM
Now I am a little confused - I thought that without air resistance, a vertically fired bullet will reach the ground at exactly the speed with which it left the ground.
For a perfectly round object and no air resistance you'd be correct. The projectile is slowed as its height increases by the acceleration of gravity, which is opposite the direction of the velocity. At the apex of the path, the velocity is equal to zero. Now for the second leg, reverse the situation: the object falls the same distance it rose and is now sped up by the acceleration of gravity. If this occurs over the same distance as before, the velocity at the end of the path will be the same as the initial velocity of the upward leg of the path. Give me some theoretical numbers and I'd be glad to do a quick calculation.

Eightball
November 13, 2008, 03:03 AM
If this occurs over the same distance as before, the velocity at the end of the path will be the same as the initial velocity of the upward leg of the path. Give me some theoretical numbers and I'd be glad to do a quick calculation.But, wouldn't it be possible that muzzle velocity exceeds terminal velocity?

And, so, you're suggesting that if an old rifled musket fired a perfectly smooth and round lead ball straight up, it would fall the same way (since there's no "direction" to it), but are you saying that it would reach the same ###'s coming down as when it first left the barrel? Without air resistance, how would that affect terminal velocity calculations (goes up, goes down?)

JimmerJammerMrK
November 13, 2008, 03:30 AM
But, wouldn't it be possible that muzzle velocity exceeds terminal velocity?

And, so, you're suggesting that if an old rifled musket fired a perfectly smooth and round lead ball straight up, it would fall the same way (since there's no "direction" to it), but are you saying that it would reach the same ###'s coming down as when it first left the barrel? Without air resistance, how would that affect terminal velocity calculations (goes up, goes down?)

Theoretically, the initial velocity just after leaving the barrel and the final velocity just before impact with the ground will be the same, in the absence of air resistance.

Adding in air resistance allows the problem to "make sense", because I'm fairly sure once air resistance is accounted for you'll see the the final velocity upon impact with the ground is much less than the initial velocity just after the bullet is fired. The problem is we'd need someone fairly well versed in calculus to do a problem like that (and my calculus is a few years rusty), as the air resistance changes depending on the velocity, which is changing because of the constant acceleration of gravity.

Bottom line:
If you ignore air resistance, final velocity is the same as initial velocity. If you include air resistance the problem gets a lot harder, but it's most likely safe to say that final velocity <<< initial velocity.

ericyp
November 13, 2008, 04:14 AM
If you're given the mass of the bullet and it's initial velocity, this isn't all that hard of a problem if you ignore air resistance and only care about gravity. Someone post some fictional or real numbers and I'll do it, if you want.

Mass has zero effect, you would not need that. If you ignore air resistance, it's a simple problem. But air resistance is there and has a massive effect. Bullets reach a terminal velocity as an effect of air resistance.

k-frame
November 13, 2008, 07:50 AM
First, please see this link:

http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/airplane/mofall.html

Which tells us that an object falling to Earth accelerates at 9.8 meters per second-squared.

So our hypothetical bullet, fired straight up, starts falling at 0 velocity once it reaches the apex of flight.

Applying the math (which is just straight algebra) an object falling for 30 seconds - in a vacuum - has traveled a distance of 4,410 meters and has a velocity of 294 meters per second.

At 60 seconds the object has traveled 17,640 meters (a little over 10 miles) and is moving at 588 meters per second or about 1,929 FPS.

In a vacuum a rapidly spinning object will maintain that gyroscopic spin all the way up and all the way down. So, barring any other forces, our rifle bullet will hit butt first.

To calculate Terminal Velocity in the atmosphere, see this link:
http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/airplane/termv.html

The Janitor
November 13, 2008, 09:19 AM
Maybe we have a market for kevlar umbrellas.

ChemicalArts
November 15, 2008, 05:42 PM
Unfortunately there are lots of people out there who give handgun owners a bad name. Once in a while I will hear gunshots around 3AM. I think its some yahoos that live close to the foothills probably drunk off their ass.


I wish that people that shoot in the air would consider shooting the gun straight down at their foot. It would really cut down on the number of shots fired at 3 AM and the number of innocent bystanders getting hurt or killed.

I have no idea how long the bullet takes to travel, but I suspect that by the time you hear the shot, there won't be much time to respond. Good luck with this. Gun shots at 3 AM can't be good.


On a somewhat related note:

Recently here in Texas, a woman was seriously hurt by round shot from 5 miles away while she was attending a NASCAR race at TMS. Granted, that was 50 caliber rifle round so it could travel that far. Fortunately, the gun owner took responsibilty for his mistake:

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/110508dnmetspeedwaybullet.17df1f096.html

The preliminary ballistics tests show it was his gun:

http://www.kvue.com/news/state/stories/110608kvue_speedway_shooting-cb.188dd9855.html

I wonder how long that bullet took to travel from gun to ground...or in this case arm.

fws
November 15, 2008, 09:16 PM
Interesting question. Just to get an idea one could go through the following exercise:

Assumptions/Simplifications:
a) Bullet is fired exactly straight upwards.
b) Wind does not matter as it will only move the point of impact but not influence the downward velocity vector.
c) Let’s assume a 158 grain, .357 bullet with a coefficient of drag (Cd) of about 0.8, which is about right for elongated cylindrical objects like a wadcutter. (This is not the BC).
d) Let’s assume the bullet is not tumbling as this would seriously complicate our relatively simple computation.
e) Let’s assume constant, standard atmospheric pressure (even though it would change with altitude).

Based on the formula for terminal velocity

V = Square root ((2*weight)/(Cd*air density*cross sectional area))

the above bullet would travel with about 51 ft/s. Could it penetrate a skull? Don’t know.

FWS

fws
November 15, 2008, 09:22 PM
Oops, that was not even the question. How long it takes to come down should mostly depend on the initial muzzle velocity.

John_galt
November 16, 2008, 01:25 AM
Assuming all of the projectiles attain a terminal velocity, initial muzzle velocity would only affect the time it took for the bullet to return to earth, not its velocity in free fall. In free fall back to earth it will attain a terminal velocity and for the most part maintain it. The weight of the bullet has much more to do with the velocity when falling than the original muzzle velocity. I think this would be especailly true when you factor in the real world effects of air resistance and flight characteristics. Air resistance slows it down so it reaches terminal velocity sooner. It will be almost impossible for it to fly with the same characteristics of a fired bullet with axial rotation perpendicular to its flight, it will tumble in some fashion and decrease the terminal velocity because of increased air resistance.

OK my head hurts now. Has anyone been shooting up in the air nearby here? I think a bullet just dropped out of the sky and hit me in the head or I am thinking about htis too much. Either way it hurts.

ricklin
November 16, 2008, 12:52 PM
This thread reminds me of an experience I had when I was about 10-12 years old.
We enjoyed making things that went bang, our favorite was empty BB gun C02 cylinders, packed full of match heads!! Don't try this at home:) before the flames start, please remember, I was 12.

We took one of our "creations" to a large parking lot at a closed up grocery store. We always wondered whether the C02 cylinders exploded, or flew away like rockets.
We discovered they did fly like rockets! We pointed one straight up, touched it off and waited, and waited, and waited. We started walking home. We were about a half block away from the parking lot when our "rocket" landed on the gravel street about ten feet away from us.:eek: The cylinder was intact, the small end we packed the match heads through was blown out a bit, and it was quite warm.

I have always wondered just how high that sucker went before it came back to earth. Even given our youth we decided that this particular bit of fun with the C02 cylinders should not be repeated.

Ahh....... the memories of a sometimes misspent youth. We all survived, and with all of our digits and appendages intact.

Guns and more
November 16, 2008, 08:18 PM
If you're given the mass of the bullet and it's initial velocity, this isn't all that hard of a problem if you ignore air resistance and only care about gravity.
The mass of the bullet has nothing to do with it. An anvil and a bullet fired at the same velocity will reach the same altitude. (we're ignoring air resistance remember) I'm gonna run when the anvil comes down.

fws
November 16, 2008, 09:06 PM
Right on, Guns and More. As we know, in a perfect vacuum a feather and a stone fall at the same rate. If we include air resistance, it is the Coefficient of drag in combination with size and mass that matter mostly. Something shaped more aerodynamically will have a higher terminal velocity.
FWS

buenhec
December 26, 2008, 12:52 AM
Well they aired the Mythbusters episode today. A 9mm bullet went up 5000 feet, a 30-30 10,000 feet. The 9mm round trip took 37 seconds and came down at 150 FPS. It penetrated 2" of dirt and did not penetrate the skull of a Pig. It also keyholed on the way down. One Doc they interviewed said in some cases it had definately killed people, in some it barely pierced the skin. Almost forgot, the shots were fired straight up and were found 300 feet away due to air currents.

Guns and more
December 26, 2008, 09:45 AM
Correct, the bullets assumed a sideways orientation on the way down.
Shooting at an angle of less than 90 deg. is another story.

Jim Watson
December 26, 2008, 10:15 AM
As I recall, Hatcher's tests included one marginally stable .30-06 bullet that would sometimes drop back base first and sometimes turn over and fall more or less nose first. 1 min 6 seconds, 1 min 46 seconds.

He figured that a .30-06 150 gr FMJ would climb to about 9000 feet in 18 sec and fall back in 31 seconds. The same round fired in vacuum would go up 113,000 feet, 84 sec up, 84 sec back down. So when you start your little Internet Discussions saying "ignoring air resistance" you have completely departed the real world.

krs
December 26, 2008, 11:52 AM
In the 1980's a guy who was pasting a poster onto a billboard in San Jose, CA suddenly slumped and fell from his scaffold to the ground. He was dead, and the paper reported that a followup autopsy had found that he'd been shot and that the bullet had entered the top of his head.

The paper went on to say that in an interview a police spokesman surmised that the guy's death was the result of someone across the valley firing a gun into the air but they'd been unable to track down a source or even a report of gunfire near the time it happened.

What goes up must come down...

krs
December 26, 2008, 12:12 PM
Ricklin,

What you did, in a rudimentary way, was enter the hobby of rocketry. Kids and adults are involved in such pastimes even today, sometimes on a rather grand scale. There's a club in Arizona that routinely fires rockets complete with rear viewing cameras, altimeters, and assorted other intsruments to heights in excess of 40,000 feet as a hobby activity.

What was that guy's name in 1937? No, not Werner.....

rcmodel
December 26, 2008, 12:20 PM
surmised that the guy's death was the result of someone across the valley firing a gun into the air
Had the bullet been fired perfectly or even nearly straight up, they would only have suffered a bruise or bump on their head.

People who get killed or seriously injured by a falling bullet do so because the bullet was fired in a ballistic arc, and was still stable and flying point first when it came back down at fairly high velocity.

This is the same principal used by military forces around the world in indirect fire from machine guns, artillery, and mortars.

Indirect fire was even a tactic employed by groups of military riflemen long ago.
That's why the old bolt-action military rifles had ladder sights that went up so dang far.

rcmodel

Jim K
December 26, 2008, 05:55 PM
The Mythbusters findings were as would be expected.

A bullet fired straight up will come back down with its maximum velocity at terminal velocity (some 200 fps), which is not enough to achieve deep penetration on a human body, but could cause injury.

A conventional bullet will come down base first. In the absence of wind, there are no forces that would cause it to tumble or turn over in the air. It just stops and then starts back down.

But "a bullet fired in the air" has no meaning. Unless there is some special condition (under water, in a vacuum tank) ALL bullets are "fired in the air."

Jim

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