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What would happen if you shot a gun in space?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Tech Ninja, Nov 9, 2012.

  1. Tech Ninja

    Tech Ninja Well-Known Member

    Cool article on guns and physics.


    "Shooting someone in the back is a cowardly act. In space, "theoretically you could shoot yourself in the back," Schultz said.

    You could do it, for example, while in orbit around a planet. Because objects orbiting planets are actually in a constant state of free fall, you have to get the setup just right. You'd have to shoot horizontally at just the right altitude for the bullet to circle the planet and fall back to where it started (you). And you'd also have to consider how much you'll get kicked backwards (and consequently, how much your altitude will change) when you fire.

    "The aim has to be perfect," Schultz said."

    If you were a cosmonaut you could get this cool three barrel TP-82:


    Attached Files:

  2. Impureclient

    Impureclient Well-Known Member

    "In space, no one can hear you scream".......when you shoot yourself in the back.
  3. Tech Ninja

    Tech Ninja Well-Known Member

    Well played sir. Well played indeed.
  4. Ky Larry

    Ky Larry Well-Known Member

    Of all the things there are to worry about.......:rolleyes:
  5. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Well-Known Member

    Wouldn't TSA have disarmed you first?:neener:
  6. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Well-Known Member

    I think they forgot to account for the gravitational pull on the bullet while circling either a planet or the moon. You would have to aim high.....
  7. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

    Yosemite Sam don't need no steenking rocketpack.
  8. Sauer Grapes

    Sauer Grapes Well-Known Member

    I seem to remember reading with the 1\6th gravity of the moon, a 22cal rifle on the moon would be equivalent to shooting a 30-06 on earth.
  9. M-Cameron

    M-Cameron member

    when i plug in the numbers, using a (40/6) grn bullet, at 1200 FPS, with a (7/6) lb rifle.....i get a recoil force of 0.08 FT- lbs.

    seems a tad off the .30-06 mark.
  10. BCRider

    BCRider Well-Known Member

    I think they forgot to account for the gravitational pull on the bullet while circling either a planet or the moon. You would have to aim high.....

    You're not thinking correctly about orbital factors. When you're in orbit you're rotating around the globe fast enough that the centrifugal force is balanced against the pull of gravity.

    So gravity is already factored in.

    But what WOULD happen is that if you shot the bullet back along your path it's now traveling too slow to stay in orbit. So it'll come around and be too low to hit you. So you want to aim up? Sorry but that won't work either. What'll happen is you'll make the orbit of the bullet egg shaped and it'll STILL decay until it enters the atmosphere and burns up.

    Trying to "shoot yourself" while in orbit in this manner would require a lot of high falutin' calculations.
  11. Steel Horse Rider

    Steel Horse Rider Well-Known Member

    IF you were in orbit and fired a gun, the bullet would be travelling faster than your orbital speed and your own orbital speed would be decreased by the reaction of the action of the conversion of static energy to active energy. The mass and speed of the projectile would then have to be calculated to determine its natural orbital plane, which is likely to be a parabolic arc towards the center of the gravitational pull.

    This thread proves to me that we have too much time on our hands....
  12. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

    What the heck else am I supposed to do when I'm covering the Saturday on-call shift and the phone isn't ringing? :)
  13. allaroundhunter

    allaroundhunter Well-Known Member

    Take work with you to the range ;)
  14. Ehtereon11B

    Ehtereon11B internet infantryman

    I think you are all forgetting the most important fact of firing a round: combustion. In space there is no oxygen which would make a round not fire very far or not at all. Similar to shooting under water if you negate the buoyancy effect of the water on terminal ballistics.
  15. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Well-Known Member

    The oxygen necessary for the ignition and firing of a round of ammo is chemically contained in the gunpowder itself. No outside oxygen is required.
  16. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I think they forgot the effect of the guns recoil too.

    If you shot a gun in space, you wouldn't be there later to get shot in the back.

    The recoil of the gun would push you away in a new orbit, just like a litttle thruster rocket is used to maneuver a spacecraft.

  17. The M

    The M Well-Known Member

    You would have to speed up your forward velocity just before firing, so that after the recoil your newly lowered speed is perfect to maintain orbit. Lots of calculations to determine what angle to shoot at to compensate for the speed at trigger pull. Ah good stuff guys...
  18. whanson_wi

    whanson_wi Well-Known Member

    I doubt you could do it on purpose, but Murphy's Law implies you could do it by accident fairly regularly.
  19. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

    In zero gravity the recoil would put the shooter in perpetual rearward motion also.
  20. Archie

    Archie Well-Known Member

    Guns in Space!

    A number of years ago I was thinking about weaponry on space-faring ships. I think 'guns' would work as well as anything.

    My brainstorm was to have medium caliber (for cannon) shells to penetrate and detonate, causing rents in the hull structure. A computer system on the ship would fire 'jets' on the opposite side of the ship to balance the recoil and keep the ship stable.

    Without gravity, the rounds would fly as true as 'beams'. And possibly be less costly to operate.

    It was for a sci-fi story. Details to be solved another day.

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