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Thread: Bullets Fired into the Air - Results

  1. #1
    Regular Member SFCRetired's Avatar
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    Bullets Fired into the Air - Results

    This is what happens when some individual (won't call them what I want to) fires a bullet into the air in a populated area. Thankfully, my wife, I, the neighbors, nor my car were in the way when this thing came down. The bullet looks to be about a .38 and is ball ammo.
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    The left photo is the hole in my carport roof and the right photo is the bullet next to my pen.

    Note: Didn't mean to add the second image of the bullet but don't know how to get rid of it.
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    Last edited by SFCRetired; 02-01-2012 at 06:47 PM. Reason: Senior moment

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    Founder's Club Member PrayingForWar's Avatar
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    Even in the country only an idiot fires into the air. I'm glad the only thing hurt was the carport.
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    Regular Member Baked on Grease's Avatar
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    Make sure to report it to local police...

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    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baked on Grease View Post
    Make sure to report it to local police...
    Yes, report it. Now.
    The First protects the Second, and the Second protects the First. Together, they protect the rest of our Bill of Rights and our United States Constitution, and help We the People protect ourselves in the spirit of our Declaration of Independence.

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    Campaign Veteran Verd's Avatar
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    Thirded. Report it.
    One loves to possess arms, though they hope never to have occasion for them. Thomas Jefferson to George Washington, 1796.
    If someone has a gun and is trying to kill you, it would be reasonable to shoot back with your own gun. - Dalai Lama (Seattle Times, 05-15-2001).
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    Regular Member SFCRetired's Avatar
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    Already reported. Two officers came out. Reaction? "Ho Hum." They did fill out a report, though. I expected no more as it would be an exercise in futility to try and find the person who did this.

    Only problem now is that my lovely Chinese wife is convinced that someone was deliberately shooting at our house. I foresee a couple of weeks trying to convince her otherwise. She does not believe that a bullet fired into the air can come down with enough force to go through a metallic roof.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SFCRetired View Post
    She does not believe that a bullet fired into the air can come down with enough force to go through a metallic roof.
    Why not? The bullet is made of metal, not play dough...

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    Founder's Club Member PrayingForWar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SFCRetired View Post
    Already reported. Two officers came out. Reaction? "Ho Hum." They did fill out a report, though. I expected no more as it would be an exercise in futility to try and find the person who did this.

    Only problem now is that my lovely Chinese wife is convinced that someone was deliberately shooting at our house. I foresee a couple of weeks trying to convince her otherwise. She does not believe that a bullet fired into the air can come down with enough force to go through a metallic roof.
    The impression I got from the picture was that the bullet was tumbling, since it apears to be dented on it's side and not the nose. I've also hear a bullet fired STRAIGHT UP, won't have the force on it's way straight down. However a bullet lobbed at a 45 degree arch can maintain lethality. I doubt anyone on earth could have done that on purpose though.
    If you ladies leave my island, if you survive recruit training. You will become a minister of death, PRAYING FOR WAR...

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    Regular Member SFCRetired's Avatar
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    @PistolPackingMama: You have to understand that she is only recently removed from a culture where only the police and military have guns. What she knows about firearms and bullets could be written on a postage stamp with the blunt end of a two-by-four.

    @PrayingforWar: The hole and the deformation of the nose of the bullet indicates to me that it came down at an angle. Of course, I have the advantage of viewing the bullet and hole directly and not through a photo. I would estimate the angle of impact to be around forty-five to fifty-five degrees based on the placement of the dent on the bullet.

  10. #10
    Herr Heckler Koch
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    'Bullets in the Sky', The Ballistician, LoadAmmo.com Topic of the Month: March 2001

    http://www.loadammo.com/Topics/March01.htm
    Topic of the Month: March 2001

    Bullets in the Sky

    We frequently get questions about firing bullets vertically into the air. The most frequent question is, "Will bullets fired into the air return to the earth at the same speed they left the gun?" Other questions asked are; "How far does the bullet travel when fired vertically and how long does it take to come down, or does the falling bullet have enough energy to be lethal should it strike someone on the ground?"

    Some have tried vertical shooting, but very few have had any luck hearing the bullet come back and strike the ground. When a bullet is fired vertically it immediately begins to slow down because of the effects of gravity and air drag on the bullet. The bullet deceleration continues until at some point the bullet momentarily stops and then it begins to fall back toward earth. A well-balanced bullet will fall base first. Depending on bullet design, some bullets may tumble on their way down and others may turn over and come down point first.

    The bullet speed will increase until it reaches its terminal velocity. The bullet reaches terminal velocity when the air drag equals the pull of gravity or stating it another way, the bullet weight and drag are balanced. Once this velocity is achieved the bullet will fall no faster.

    In 1920 the U.S. Army Ordnance conducted a series of experiments to try and determine the velocity of falling bullets. The tests were performed from a platform in the middle of a lake near Miami, Florida. The platform was ten feet square and a thin sheet of armor plate was placed over the men firing the gun. The gun was held in a fixture that would allow the gun to be adjusted to bring the shots close to the platform. It was surmised that the sound of the falling bullets could be heard when they hit the water or the platform. They fired .30 caliber, 150 gr., Spitzer point bullets, at a velocity of 2,700 f.p.s. Using the bullet ballistic coefficient and elapsed time from firing until the bullet struck the water, they calculated that the bullet traveled 9,000 feet in 18 seconds and fell to earth in 31 seconds for a total time of 49 seconds.

    As a comparison, the .30 caliber bullet fired in a vacuum at 2,700 f.p.s. would rise nearly 21.5 miles and require 84 seconds to make the ascent and another 84 seconds to make its descent. It would return with the same velocity that it left the gun. This gives you some idea of what air resistance or drag does to a bullet in flight.

    Wind can have a dramatic effect on where a vertically fired bullet lands. A 5 mile per hour wind will displace the 150 gr. bullet about 365 ft based on the time it takes the bullet to make the round trip to earth. In addition the wind at ground level may be blowing in an entirely different direction than it is at 9,000 feet. It is no wonder that it is so difficult to determine where a falling bullet will land.

    Out of the more than 500 shots fired from the test platform only 4 falling bullets struck the platform and one fell in the boat near the platform. One of the bullets striking the platform left a 1/16 inch deep mark in the soft pine board. The bullet struck base first.

    Based on the results of these tests it was concluded that the bullet return velocity was about 300 f.p.s. For the 150 gr. bullet this corresponds to an energy of 30 foot pounds. Earlier the Army had determined that, on the average, it required 60 foot pounds of energy to produce a disabling wound. Based on this information, a falling 150 gr. service bullet would not be lethal, although it could produce a serious wound.

    Many other experiments have been made to find the amount of air drag on a .30 caliber bullet at various velocities and it was found that the drag at 320 f.p.s. balances the weight of the .021 lb. (150 gr.) bullet and terminal velocity is achieved. For larger calibers the bullet terminal velocity is higher since the bullet weight is greater in relation to the diameter. Major Julian Hatcher in his book Hatcher’s Notebook estimates that a 12 inch shell weighing 1000 pounds and fired straight up would return with a speed of 1,300 to 1,400 feet per second and over 28 million foot pounds of striking energy.

    Watch our web site for the next topic of interest "How Far Will My Gun Shoot." Until then, shoot safely and know where you bullets are going.

    Sincerely,

    The Ballistician

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    Quote Originally Posted by SFCRetired View Post
    @PistolPackingMama: You have to understand that she is only recently removed from a culture where only the police and military have guns. What she knows about firearms and bullets could be written on a postage stamp with the blunt end of a two-by-four.
    Gotcha.

  12. #12
    Regular Member Contrarian's Avatar
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    Exclamation falling bullets

    Herr Koch:

    See you and raise you one:

    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/...-it-comes-down

    "...doctors at King/Drew Medical Center, a major L.A. trauma center, published a report in a medical journal (Journal of Trauma, December 1994) saying that between 1985 and 1992 they treated 118 people for falling bullet injuries around New Year's Eve or the Fourth of July.
    Thirty-eight of the victims died."

    I suspect that in the quoted article there was no effort made to determine versatility.

  13. #13
    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    Mythbusters did a test to determine the velocity of a 'falling' bullet fired vertically. The velocity was judged based on the bullets depth of penetration into the ground. I think they stated that the bullet impacted at terminal velocity. They noted that a bullet likely retained its lethal velocity if fired at angles less that 80 degrees.
    "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it." - Thomas Jefferson.

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    2 montha ago someone cleared a muzzleloader in the air and it hit a amish girl in the head 1 1/2 miles away. Killed her.

    I found a ak bullet lodged in the sheating of the shop. Took a big tug to get it out. There is a shooting range 2 miles away. You can see the back stop flag a half mile from the shop. Its right inline with the shop. Told the neighbor in passing and he has had his storm door shot out with a deer slug. We reported it and it was confirmed that a AK was used a few days prior to me finding it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OC for ME View Post
    Mythbusters did a test to determine the velocity of a 'falling' bullet fired vertically. The velocity was judged based on the bullets depth of penetration into the ground. I think they stated that the bullet impacted at terminal velocity. They noted that a bullet likely retained its lethal velocity if fired at angles less that 80 degrees.
    Simply drawing the problem on a piece of paper should be enough to convince anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of what terminal velocity is that a bullet fired straight up CAN'T regain higher velocity than aforementioned terminal velocity.
    Don't believe any facts that I say! This is the internet and it is filled with lies and untruth. I invite you to look up for yourself the basic facts that my arguments might be based upon. This way we can have a discussion where logic and hints on where to find information are what is brought to the forum and people look up and verify facts for themselves.

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    Regular Member MilProGuy's Avatar
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    Only an idiot would fire a handgun or rifle into the air.

    Not long ago, an Amish girl was killed when a thoughtless hunter "cleared" his muzzleloader by firing it into the air. The round struck the girl in the head over a mile away.
    Proud Veteran ~ U.S. Army / Army Reserve

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    Quote Originally Posted by MilProGuy View Post
    Only an idiot would fire a handgun or rifle into the air.

    Not long ago, an Amish girl was killed when a thoughtless hunter "cleared" his muzzleloader by firing it into the air. The round struck the girl in the head over a mile away.
    Ever go squirrel hunting with a 22? Its very common.
    Don't believe any facts that I say! This is the internet and it is filled with lies and untruth. I invite you to look up for yourself the basic facts that my arguments might be based upon. This way we can have a discussion where logic and hints on where to find information are what is brought to the forum and people look up and verify facts for themselves.

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    Regular Member MilProGuy's Avatar
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    Usually a squirrel is in a tree.

    That's a lot different than firing into the open sky. Just sayin'.
    Proud Veteran ~ U.S. Army / Army Reserve

    Mississippi State Guard ~ Honorably Retired


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    Quote Originally Posted by MilProGuy View Post
    Usually a squirrel is in a tree.

    That's a lot different than firing into the open sky. Just sayin'.
    Fair enough.
    Don't believe any facts that I say! This is the internet and it is filled with lies and untruth. I invite you to look up for yourself the basic facts that my arguments might be based upon. This way we can have a discussion where logic and hints on where to find information are what is brought to the forum and people look up and verify facts for themselves.

  20. #20
    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
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    Many other experiments have been made to find the amount of air drag on a .30 caliber bullet at various velocities and it was found that the drag at 320 f.p.s. balances the weight of the .021 lb. (150 gr.) bullet and terminal velocity is achieved.
    218 mph is more than enough smash for a 150 gr bullet to kill you. Depends on where it hits, though. If it's on top of your head, that might not be enough to penetrate your skull. It's enough to give you a decent concussion, though.
    The First protects the Second, and the Second protects the First. Together, they protect the rest of our Bill of Rights and our United States Constitution, and help We the People protect ourselves in the spirit of our Declaration of Independence.

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    Regular Member William Fisher's Avatar
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    Wouldn't a bullet fired up whether straight, 45° angle or any other angle come down straight once it reaches it's maximum hight. I can't pitcure it going up at an 45° angle and then branch off and come down at another angle making a tri-angle of sorts.

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    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William Fisher View Post
    Wouldn't a bullet fired up whether straight, 45° angle or any other angle come down straight once it reaches it's maximum hight. I can't pitcure it going up at an 45° angle and then branch off and come down at another angle making a tri-angle of sorts.
    I think it would be similar to a baseball being thrown at a 45 degree angle. It would follow an arc as it gradually loses speed. Right?
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

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    Regular Member SFCRetired's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William Fisher View Post
    Wouldn't a bullet fired up whether straight, 45° angle or any other angle come down straight once it reaches it's maximum hight. I can't pitcure it going up at an 45° angle and then branch off and come down at another angle making a tri-angle of sorts.
    But that is exactly what it does. If it did not come back down at an angle, none of your artillery would work. I don't know the exact ballistics, never having been a "cannon-cocker", but I believe the angle of return is roughly equivalent to the angle of departure from the weapon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigsd View Post
    I think it would be similar to a baseball being thrown at a 45 degree angle. It would follow an arc as it gradually loses speed. Right?
    An object in free fight within a gravitational field will have a flight trajectory described by a parabola. Here's a simple explanation...

    http://www.allmathwords.org/en/p/parabola.html

    A function which describes a parabola will have what is called an asymptote. Explanation...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asymptote

    If an object is launched high enough into the air at some angle, when that object returns to earth, it will appear to fall straight down. This is because the slope of the parabolic curve is getting (close to infinity?) very large..

    Edit - Keep in mind that the parabolic shape can be distorted by the atmosphere.
    Last edited by georg jetson; 02-12-2012 at 05:40 PM.

  25. #25
    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    Georg,

    So I was, in essence, correct?
    Last edited by thebigsd; 02-13-2012 at 02:39 AM.
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

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