# What is Ballistics: Definition and 60 Discussions

Ballistics is the field of mechanics concerned with the launching, flight behavior and impact effects of projectiles, especially ranged weapon munitions such as bullets, unguided bombs, rockets or the like; the science or art of designing and accelerating projectiles so as to achieve a desired performance.
A ballistic body is a free-moving body with momentum which can be subject to forces such as the forces exerted by pressurized gases from a gun barrel or a propelling nozzle, normal force by rifling, and gravity and air drag during flight.
A ballistic missile is a missile that is guided only during the relatively brief initial phase of powered flight and the trajectory is subsequently governed by the laws of classical mechanics; in contrast to (for example) a cruise missile which is aerodynamically guided in powered flight like a fixed-wing aircraft.

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1. ### Maximum Point Blank Range (MPBR) -- Help zeroing my rifle

I have been attempting to calculate optimal zero for my H&R 30-30. 190g 170g 160g 150g These links are the optimal zeros for my rifle based on each of the four grain weights available to fire thru the rifle. I don't want to have to re-zero my rifle every time I switch between ammo types so I...
2. ### Found PhysicForums while working on ballistics problem

Several different sites, including PhysicsForums, mention/discuss a formula for computing a bullet's Ballistic Coefficient based on measuring two downrange velocities where the measurements are made a distance L between them. This can be done with traditional skyscreen (optical) chronographs or...
3. ### Calculating ballistics coefficient from two velocities

Homework Statement: I am trying to figure out how to calculate the BC from two velocity readings with a known distance between the two readings Relevant Equations: BC = (AirDensity * Distance) / ( SQRT(Velocity0) - SQRT(Velocity1)) In long range rifle shooting, knowing your true ballistics...
4. ### I Why do bullets precess in the opposite way from gyroscope diagrams?

1) Bullet spin causes a bullet to become a gyroscope. Specifically, bullets have their center of pressure in front of their center of mass. Therefore, when pressed, gyroscopic forces cause a bullet to spin 90 degrees instead of tumble. See this diagram: 2)The precession does not cause the...
5. ### I Gyroscopic precession of a spin-stabilized bullet

Hi! I am trying to understand the physics behind the gyroscopic phenomenon called spin drift. Spin drift occurs to bullets that are spin-stabilized over the course of their flight. Spin drift starts with an induced rotation in a spin stabilized bullet. As a bullet flies through the air...
6. ### I On whether the motion of a Foucault pendulum bob is comparable to ballistics

A recurring question is: while the motion of a polar Foucault pendulum is fairly straightforward, the case of a non-polar Foucault pendulum is quite difficult to visualize. In 2020, on physics stackexchange someone submitted that question and I contributed an answer. In a comment to another...
7. ### I Question about transfer of Energy and Momentum in Ballistics

My apologies if the prefix is too high of complexity. I don't know where this would fall, difficulty or academically speaking. While it may be surprising to some given Hollywood's portrayal of it in movies, if a person in wearing hard bulletproof armor is struck by a projectile, the person is...

:)
9. ### Comp Sci Solving the ballistic trajectory equation for Launch Angle

In a process of writing a game. Effectively need to know how to angle the barrel for the projectile to hit the selected target. So for the equation y = h + x * tan(α) - g * x² / 2 * V₀² * cos²(α) Everything except α is known. Could anyone more wise in the ways of science than me help me solve...
10. ### Ballistics -- How deep does the bullet penetrate into the wood?

Hi, I was given this exercice where I have to calculate the penetration distance, knowing that m = 20g, v = 300km/h and C = 750 N and I have to give the results with two significant numbers. I really thought that all I had to do was replace the values so I did : d = (20.10^-3) x (300/3,6)^2 /...
11. ### Why do heavier projectiles tend to have higher momentum?

I am wondering why heavier bullets have a higher momentum than lighter bullets when using similar powder charges? At the muzzle, a typical 150 grain bullet fired from a 30-'06 will travel at around 3000 ft/s. A 200 grain bullet from the same rifle will travel around 2600 ft/s. (The velocities...
12. ### Why Are Multi-Barreled Muzzleloaders Inaccurate Despite Aligned Barrels?

I was watching this video where they’re shooting an old muzzleloaded ”machine gun” with a barrel for each shot. I’m surprised that it’s so inacurrate. Why does the bullets spread, when each barrel is pointing towards the same direction? I’ve seen muzzleloaders like the ”duck foot pistol” that...
13. ### Calculating Miller Stability

<< Mentor Note:Thread moved from the Homework forums because it isn't really about homework >> Preface With my limited understanding of physics, I am unaware of what section of the forums this question would fall into. I am not doing this for school(though possibly it might help with that in...
14. ### Coriolis effect on ballistics and old chart

Hello, I was looking through an old Naval gunnery guide that tabulates deflections due to the Coriolis effect. I must be reading this wrong or I don't understand how they are reckoning direction. If I am at the equator and I shoot north, shouldn't the bullet deflect the the right of the...
15. ### What is known about helical flight paths in bullets?

I have a physics degree, I'm now retired and have taken up long range shooting as a hobby. When shooting at 600 yards, my spotters have noticed the contrail of my bullet follows a helical trajectory near the target. I shoot a 243 (6mm), 105 grain target bullet made by Berger at a muzzle...
16. ### A question about ballistics

According to wikipedia a battleship 16" gun fires a 2700 lb shell at a muzzle velocity 2690 fps with a range of up to 24 miles. A high power rifle bullet at that muzzle velocity can only be expected to travel 1-2 miles. Why the discrepancy? If both objects leave the muzzle at 2960 fps they...
17. ### How to control spin of a launched ball

Hello, i have to launch a ping pong ball for an engineering course. We have a system set up with two wheels spinning as fast as we can get them and a ping pong ball feeds between them and shoots. Our asignment is to create a model that shows distance shot related to the angle of launch. We also...
18. ### Need a little help, please -- Calibrating ballistic gelatin

Pardon my ignorance, guys, but I have what should be a relatively simple question for physics buffs. I haven't studied any real physics since HS... Here is the situation: I am performing some .45acp ammunition ballistic tests using a gelatin block. In order for my tests to be valid...
19. ### Does Kinetic Energy Apply to Bullets in Ballistics?

Homework Statement Just a simple question, does Kinnetic enrgy applies to a bullet that has being shot?Homework Equations K=1/2 * m * v^2 The Attempt at a Solution N/A
20. ### CFD analysis vs. internal ballistics

Apologies for the quick and dirty question, but I was wondering if a computational fluid dynamics analysis of the flow inside a rocket's combustion chamber and nozzle area would be regarded as an analysis of the chamber's/nozzle's internal ballistics. Looking up internal ballistics on wiki, it...
21. ### Question about straight-line ballistics

This article in the Economist magazine sparked a physics debate in my pub, on the topic of straight-line trajectories: My protagonist was arguing that anybody in a gravitational field will be subject to downward forces, no matter how fast it was going horizontally. His beermat calculation...
22. ### Ballistics Equations: Finding the Perfect Shot

Hello physics enthusiasts, I was hoping for some insight into ballistics. I've been playing some games (namely Planetside 2) with somewhat realistic bullet physics, and have been trying desperately to find an equation that takes into account distance from target, velocity of target, and velocity...
23. ### Looking for ballistics book. The physics of rockets, missiles, guns,

I've just finished a course on Mechanics on my university and wish to apply that knowledge to learn more about rockets, missiles, firearms.. projectiles in general. Do you know any good book about the subject. How do missiles work? Why was the first ballistic missile ever invented only in WW2...
24. ### How can increased altitude affect the trajectory of a fired projectile?

This is NOT a school work/homework, it's just a problem relate to my personal interest found on a ballastics book. And I already converted all units into SI units to make it simple. I tried but couldn't get to correct answer. Please not a is speed of sound, K2 is a constant with equation. The...
25. ### Density altitude and applied ballistics

Hello, I am struggling with understanding air temperatures effect on density altitude and it's effect on the flight of a bullet. I understand that as temp goes up air resistance/density goes down but in looking at a chart I have I can’t seem to make out a pattern in relation to temp. It...
26. ### Ballistics Calculations/Charts

Hello, I'm new to these forums but hope to be here awhile to gather information about various aspects of weapon performance. I'll let you know right now I'm not really good at math, which is why I'm looking for a solution, or how to set up a solution, so that I can just input variables and get...
27. ### Troubleshooting Lab Errors with a Ballistics Pendulum

Hey guys, I was just wondering what is an error during a lab? I always get these parts wrong on my lab, mainly because I don't know of any errors that are occurring in a lab. For my lab I was using a ballistics pendulum and sometimes the rod wouldn't pull back right or shoot right. Would that...
28. ### Ballistics, hydrodynamics - tensile cavitation in tissue and fluids

I have made decent progress with my ballistics model, but I have run into trouble and I'm not quite sure how to solve it. This particular problem deals with penetration and tensile cavitation. Based on the Held equation for cavitation in jet penetration (still haven't found any sites discussing...
29. ### Ballistics pendulum - sort of - COM

Homework Statement A 4.00-g bullet, traveling horizontally with a velocity of magnitude 400 m/s, is fired into a wooden block with mass 0.800 kg, initially at rest on a level surface. The bullet passes through the block and emerges with its speed reduced to 120 m/s. The block slides a...
30. ### Why Does Calculating Bullet Transit Time Yield Different Results?

In a ballistics test, a 25.0g bullet traveling horizontally at 1100m/s goes through a 40.0cm -thick 250kg stationary target and emerges with a speed of 900m/s . The target is free to slide on a smooth horizontal surface. the 1st question of this problem ask: How long is the bullet in the...
31. ### Ballistics differential equations

i have wandered past my math background into drag equations on bullets. i found the equation that relates acceleration and speed of the bullet. I do not know how to integrate multi-varible equations. How to i get the equation so it can be graphed on an acceleration vs time? I am thinking from...
32. ### Supersonic ballistics is nonlinear right and not solvable exactly right?

So I thought I would try to figure out the maximum distance of our 7.62x54 round. obviously I used F=ma and for resistance I used Fdrag=(mass of bullet*density of air*v^2)/ballistic constant. the v^2 terms makes the equation nonlinear and not exactly solvable right? also, the angle at which...
33. ### Solving Two Ballistics Problems

Homework Statement I need help with these 2 problems: A hunter aims directly at a target (on the same level) 81 m away. If the bullet leaves the gun at a speed of 225 m/s, how far below the target will the bullet hit? A rifle bullet is fired at an angle of 15.2° below the horizontal...
34. ### External Ballistics: Deriving Equations for Long-Range Shooting

After watching the movie Shooter, my mind began to wonder how difficult it really is to make these “long-range” shots like they portrayed in the movie. Could it really be so easy? So I began thinking of how I could derive such formula’s. I, honestly, didn’t know much about the subject, however I...
35. ### Ballistics pendulum on steroids

Homework Statement I am doing a science fair experiment using a ballistics pendulum. Instead of a wooden block to fire into I am using ballistics gelatin. This will allow me to measure the amount of energy deposited into the gelatin. A ballistics pendulum is usually used to determine...
36. ### Solve Simple 2D Ballistics Equations: Max Height, Velocity & Distance

Well, finals are coming around. I'm reviewing stuff I thought I learned at the beginning of the semester only to find out that I don't remember what I'm doing. It's pretty easy until I forget everything. I think I have a handle on this, but I just want some verification to make sure I'm doing...
37. ### A ballistics question I have (regarding penetration)

I've been wondering about this for quite some time, and I was hoping I'd get some answers here. Well, here goes: 2 projectiles (bullets) enter the same homogeneous medium (let's say concrete) at a 0 degree angle. Both projectiles have identical impact velocities, however, "Projectile 2" has a...
38. ### Internal Ballistics: Determine Muzzle Velocity from Powder Mass

Hi guys, I am hoping some one can help me out here and after some forumlas and very basic ones at that on internal ballistics. There is a heap of information out there and they tend to jump straight to the hard stuff which tends to be tough on a novice like myself. I have done a heap of...
39. ### Ballistics - Find velocity of arrow

Homework Statement You are a hunter who enjkoys shooting wild game with a bow. A moose, 100.0m away is charging with a velocity of 15 m/s toward the hunter. The hunter fires the bow at an angle of 30.0 degrees from the ground. What velocity must the arrow be fired at in order to hit the...
40. ### Ballistics Test: Calculating Time, Force & Speed

Homework Statement In a ballistics test, a 25.0 bullet traveling horizontally at 1100 goes through a 20.0 -thick 450 stationary target and emerges with a speed of 800 . The target is free to slide on a smooth horizontal surface. a.How long is the bullet in the target? b. What average force...
41. ### Air resistance in relation to ballistics

Having this discussion on another board, basically stemmed from one member saying that a bullet would be in flight for "over 5 seconds"in response to something else someone said about a 0.50 caliber sniper rifle firing at a target 2 miles away. I figured that negating air resistance, the time...
42. ### How to Calculate Bullet Trajectory and Distance in Game Development?

I'm not sure if this is the correct area to post, but I figure if I'm wrong it'll be moved or something. I'm working on a game and I need some help with calculating bullet trajectory. I need a formula for where the bullet will be at a certain time based off of the angle it is shot from...
43. ### Who Are the Ballistics Experts on Crime Shows?

Hey guys, I know that crime shows are largely exagerrated and most of it aren't real, however, the idea that they use ballistics in murders and shootings is obvious. What i want to know is, who are them guys when you hear them say, "The bullet just came back from ballistics, it was fired from...
44. ### Ballistics Pendulum Homework: Solving for Velocity After Bullet Emerges

Homework Statement A 23 g bullet traveling 235 m/s penetrates a 3.8 kg block of wood and emerges cleanly at 195 m/s. If the block is stationary on a frictionless surface when hit, how fast does it move after the bullet emerges? Homework Equations (1) mv= (m+M)v' momentum...
45. ### Model Ballistics Homework: 30ft Cliff, 15ft/s Speed & 25ft/s Arm Speed

Homework Statement A child running along level ground at the top of a 30-ft-high vertical cliff at a speed of 15 ft/s, throws a rock over the cliff into the sea below. Suppose the child's arm is 3ft above the ground and her arm speed is 25ft/s. If the rock is released 10ft from the edge of the...
46. ### I'm working on a simulation for ballistics

I'm working on a simulation for ballistics, and I am in dire need of some help with elasticity. It is primarily to be used in bullet penetration. Given the impact velocity (v := m/s), impact energy (E := J), and cross-sectional area (A := m^{2}) of a bullet, and the strength(s) of the material...
47. ### Ballistics - calculating initial velocity

Hello all, This is my first post so be gentle. :smile: I am programming a ballistics related script to a predefined physics engine. I am no physicist nor a mathematician so my knowledge in these things is quite limited. To the point: I need to calculate the initial velocity needed to...
48. ### How Does Projectile Range Change Over Non-Flat Terrain?

Homework Statement I completely understand the mathematics behind finding the range of a projectile flying over flat ground. But I cannot find a reliable formula for the projectiles range if it is flying over non-flat ground. Wikipedia had a formula but I did not understand how it could be...
49. ### Ballistics Formulae: Distance Traveled Without Air Resistance

I'm writing a talk on ballistics and was looking for the formula for the distance traveled by the projectile. However, all the formulae I have found exclude air resistance. I understand that the effect of air resistance depends on how stream-lined the projectile is, but is there not a general...
50. ### What is the Minimum Horizontal Velocity for a Safe Dive from a 61m High Cliff?

Please just check my answer. Divers at Acapulco dive from a cliff that is 61m high. If the rocks below the cliff extend outward for 23m, what is the minimum horizontal velocity a diver must have to clear the rocks safely? x problem x=Vx(t) 23=Vx(t) 23=Vx(3.52) 23/3.52=Vx Answer...