Physics of Firearms Essay

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Shooting is a popular activity and it is enjoyed by many people, so much so that it is also done at a competitive level. Although many people may have shot a firearm of some sort, few of those people actually realize how much physics is involved with the shot. So what exactly is Ballistics? Ballistics is the science or study of the motion of projectiles and in the case of most firearms, these projectiles are the bullets. There are two things that affect the flight of a bullet once it has been shot out of the gun. These things are the drag of air on the bullet and the force of gravity acting upon the bullet. The force of gravity acting upon the bullet is always in a constant direction, which is down, at a rate of 9.81m/s^2.…show more content…
Sectional density, in metric units, is calculated by multiplying the bullet weight in grams by 1.422, then dividing this by the caliber, in millimeters, squared. So what affect does sectional density have on the bullets trajectory? Sectional density is the number that states the bullets ability to retain it's velocity. In other words, the higher the sectional density value is, the flatter the trajectory of the bullet will be. After the sectional density, next there is the shape of the bullet that affects its trajectory. The number that is related to the shape of the bullets is called the Ballistic Coefficient (BC). So how does the ballistic coefficient affect the bullet's trajectory? The BC is the ability for the bullet to go through the air or it's air resistance. The higher the BC, the easier it is for the bullet to travel through the air. If one bullet has a ballistic coefficient of .273, and another bullet has a ballistic coefficient of .623, this difference in the two BC values is due to the shape of the bullet. The rounded-tip of the one bullet has a harder time moving through the air than the other sharply-tipped bullet. So what other physics are involved in shooting a firearm? Energy! When a bullet is fired, it has a huge amount of kinetic energy. This can be calculated using the formula F=MA. That is, the force, F, is calculated with M, which is the mass of the bullet, times it's acceleration, A. For every action

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