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Bernoulli Principle with Bullets

  1. Jun 22, 2011 #1
    I was reading about long range sniper bullets been affected by gyroscopic affect with the spin of the bullet. I was wondering if Bernoulli's principle could be applied to this, as the pressure at one side of the bullet is greater than the other (depending on the rotation).
    Is this true and if so, how can it be applied?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 22, 2011 #2
    I always thought bullets used spin to generate angular momentum so that they stay going straight out of the muzzle (like how a bicycle is stabilized by the rotation of its wheels).
  4. Jun 22, 2011 #3


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    The spin of a bullet keeps it moving (nominally) straight. It does not provide any lift due to the fact that there is no circumferential velocity around the bullet except that induced by the spin, and the spin-induced velocity is the same everywhere.
  5. Jun 22, 2011 #4
    To expand on what bonehead said, in practicality, there is almost always some crosswind component between the sniper and the target. And this WILL cause the bullet to produce a force, which is dependent on the bullets spin as well as the direction of the crosswind.
  6. Jun 22, 2011 #5
    Modern long-range shells are bullet shaped too. The late Gerald Bull was an artillery designer reputedly assassinated by the Mossad for helping Saddam Husein make a supergun capable of reaching Israel from Iraq.

    Prior to that work he developed an artillary shell which had a controlled burn of a propellant in the back. The purpose was not to propel the shell but to fill in the vacuum behind the shell as it flew. This one innovation cut the aerodynamic drag on the shell in half and doubled the range of the conventional artillery shell.

    A long-range sniper bullet could be designed using this same principle.
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