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Author Topic: A bullet's terminal velocity is too low to kill...  (Read 7185 times)

Jon

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Jon  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
I just stumbled upon The Naked Scientist, and I am enjoying listening to your programmes.

In one podcast, you stated that if one shoots a bullet up into the air, it will return to earth at near the same velocity at which it exited the gun. 

While you may be correct, the TV show MythBusters actually tried to replicate this, and they were unable to do so.  It turned out that the terminal velocity of the bullet was quite small (120 MPH if I recall properly), which is only enough to annoy someone, not to injure them.

It might be interesting to revisit this topic with the MythBusters on the phone.

Thanks for listening!

Jon

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 14/01/2011 12:30:02 by _system »


 

Offline wolfekeeper

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A bullet's terminal velocity is too low to kill...
« Reply #1 on: 18/03/2011 22:41:39 »
In one podcast, you stated that if one shoots a bullet up into the air, it will return to earth at near the same velocity at which it exited the gun. 

While you may be correct, the TV show MythBusters actually tried to replicate this, and they were unable to do so.  It turned out that the terminal velocity of the bullet was quite small (120 MPH if I recall properly), which is only enough to annoy someone, not to injure them.
That's technically true, but not important.

If you fire it straight up then it will stop spinning and tumble and fall, and then it's not too bad. But if you fire it at any kind of angle then it will come down with a lot of its speed still there; people have actually died from this.

Mythbusters have rated it:

busted / plausible / confirmed

all three, depending on conditions.
 

Offline Geezer

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A bullet's terminal velocity is too low to kill...
« Reply #2 on: 19/03/2011 02:31:31 »
In one podcast, you stated that if one shoots a bullet up into the air, it will return to earth at near the same velocity at which it exited the gun. 

While you may be correct, the TV show MythBusters actually tried to replicate this, and they were unable to do so.  It turned out that the terminal velocity of the bullet was quite small (120 MPH if I recall properly), which is only enough to annoy someone, not to injure them.
That's technically true, but not important.

If you fire it straight up then it will stop spinning and tumble and fall, and then it's not too bad. But if you fire it at any kind of angle then it will come down with a lot of its speed still there; people have actually died from this.

Mythbusters have rated it:

busted / plausible / confirmed

all three, depending on conditions.

Quite so. It's a question of trajectory. A bullet's potential to do damage depends on how much initial momentum was retained.
 

Offline daveman

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A bullet's terminal velocity is too low to kill...
« Reply #3 on: 27/03/2011 18:51:58 »
In one podcast, you stated that if one shoots a bullet up into the air, it will return to earth at near the same velocity at which it exited the gun. 

While you may be correct, the TV show MythBusters actually tried to replicate this, and they were unable to do so.  It turned out that the terminal velocity of the bullet was quite small (120 MPH if I recall properly), which is only enough to annoy someone, not to injure them.
That's technically true, but not important.

If you fire it straight up then it will stop spinning and tumble and fall, and then it's not too bad. But if you fire it at any kind of angle then it will come down with a lot of its speed still there; people have actually died from this.

Mythbusters have rated it:

busted / plausible / confirmed

all three, depending on conditions.

Quite so. It's a question of trajectory. A bullet's potential to do damage depends on how much initial momentum was retained.

A good mathematical equation could have saved the mythbusters a lot of trouble..... but I like the "new chick" they've got on there!

 

The Naked Scientists Forum

A bullet's terminal velocity is too low to kill...
« Reply #3 on: 27/03/2011 18:51:58 »

 

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