Are falling bullets fatal?

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David Clark

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Are falling bullets fatal?
« on: 05/12/2010 15:30:03 »
David Clark  asked the Naked Scientists:
I enjoy your podcast very much. 

Your podcast of 10.11.28 responded to a question about firing a bullet straight up and causing serious death or injury contradicts an American TV show "Mythbusters" (another favourite of mine).  You can search their website for the episode entitled:  "Bullets Fired Up Uncut".  Unfortunately this clip is composed of out-takes verses the TV show so it doesn't provide the televised answer to the question. 

However, I recall the field testing showed that the bullets tumble as they fall which limits their terminal velocity as they hit the ground. 

When fired vertically, the bullet energy was insufficient to cause death as measured by how far the bullets penetrated into the desert lake bed.  However, if the bullet has some horizontal trajectory, then the bullet could remain stable and cause injury which explains why firing a bullet into the air is dangerous!

David Clark
Springfield, Virginia

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 05/12/2010 15:30:03 by _system »