RIP Philo

just how many people are killed each year by firing into the air

It strikes me as a REALLY stupid practice.
Permalink JOSer 
March 14th, 2007 11:55am
LOL! "Sometimes very large children play with them." So true.
Permalink Send private email के. जे. 
March 14th, 2007 12:01pm
I would think another major factor would be the spinning of the bullet.
Permalink Billx 
March 14th, 2007 12:10pm
Nah, the spin of the bullet just keeps it 'pointed'.

Oh, wait, you may have a point.  If the bullet spin is killed by friction too, then the bullet may become aerodynamically unstable, and 'tumble'.

A 'tumbling' bullet may have a still lower terminal velocity, and may have slightly less penetrating power than if it struck "on the pointy end".

This doesn't apply to 'ball' type ammunition, of course, but most ammunition these days isn't 'ball' type.

This sounds like a problem for Myth Busters!
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
March 14th, 2007 1:04pm
Myth-busters already did a test with a falling penny from very high places. They determined it wouldn't kill you - just leave a nasty bruise.
Permalink bob's your uncle 
March 14th, 2007 1:22pm
They also did a test of "shooting up into the air".  Don't remember the results, but basically they said "Don't do this -- it's a stupid idea"
Permalink Send private email xampl 
March 14th, 2007 1:27pm
Mythbusters results:

Firing the bullet straight up won't kill anyone because its terminal velocity on the way down isn't fast enough to do that much damage.

Firing it up at an angle is a different story.
Permalink Lurk Machine 
March 14th, 2007 2:25pm
If you're standing on the Atlantic Ocean it can't be too bad to fire the bullet into the air. The earth rotates westward so the bullet will come kuplunking down approximately 80 seconds = 8000 feet in the sea (for 9mm guns).
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
March 14th, 2007 3:15pm
grrr... oops. it's 70 seconds = 7000 feet. grr. damn, Imperial G-force unit.
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
March 14th, 2007 3:19pm
Um, the air is rotating with the planet (mostly), so I think it would carry the bullet with it (mostly).

Also, if you start to figure that way, you'll need to add in the angular velocity of where you're standing on the surface of the earth -- which is surprisingly high, considering that you feel like you're standing still.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
March 14th, 2007 3:36pm
Um, yeah, that's why I thought my comment was funny (cause that's what people used to think during Galileo's time). But then I messed up my own humor by not only adding precise-seeming numbers, but also then correcting my precise (but oh so inaccurate) numbers. Ugh.

Still we know air doesn't quite keep up with the earth's rotation 'cause weather moves eastward, mostly.
Permalink Send private email strawberry snowflake 
March 14th, 2007 3:55pm
That's caused by the rotation of the earth? wow. who knew?
Permalink JOSer 
March 14th, 2007 3:59pm
173 fucking people, that's how many. Mostly in Third World countries where firing automatic weapons into the thin air is considered a rite of passage for nubile boys.

            (stop fantasizing you freak!)
Permalink bleaty heartsheep 
March 15th, 2007 12:20am
I was referring to the enrgy stored in the spin of the bullet
Permalink Billx 
March 15th, 2007 5:47am
The mythbuster's used a pneumatic device to propel a bullet straight downward into a pigs head at a calculated terminal velocity.

The skin on the head was not broken, but there was a slight fissure in the bone of the skull.

Some people have been killed by falling bullets as a matter of record. I am not so sure the bullets were 'falling'. How can you be certain from where they were fired?

At any rate, it isn't a great idea. Still, it would seem your chances of survival in a crowd of moon shooters is no worse than driving down a highway at 3am.