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

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by buenhec, Nov 8, 2008.

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  1. buenhec

    buenhec Member

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    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...
     
  2. Kind of Blued

    Kind of Blued Member

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    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.
     
  3. Dr_2_B

    Dr_2_B Member

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    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.
     
  4. LightningMan

    LightningMan Member

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    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
     
  5. wep45

    wep45 Member

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    what goes up.............

    you dont want to be standing in the spot where the bullet comes down:eek:
     
  6. woad_yurt

    woad_yurt Member

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    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.
     
  7. Treo

    Treo member

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    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 :(
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2008
  8. withdrawn34

    withdrawn34 Member.

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    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.
     
  9. Drue

    Drue Member

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    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
     
  10. NavyLCDR

    NavyLCDR member

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

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

    DRYHUMOR Member

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    Don't forget the earth's spin. If shot exactly straight up, it won't come exactly straight down because of the spin.
     
  12. Zebraranger

    Zebraranger Member

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    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.
     
  13. 1858rem

    1858rem Member

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    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
     
  14. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    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.
     
  15. Mike J

    Mike J Member

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    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.
     
  16. Sepia

    Sepia Member

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    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.
     
  17. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    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.
     
  18. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    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?
     
  19. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    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...
     
  20. Lookn4Brass

    Lookn4Brass Member

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    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
     
  21. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    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? :neener:



    .
     
  22. Crazy Fingers

    Crazy Fingers member

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    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.
     
  23. HB

    HB Member

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    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
     
  24. woad_yurt

    woad_yurt Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2008
  25. Eightball

    Eightball Member

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    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.
    [​IMG]
     
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