By how much will I miss the target?

• TSN79
In summary, the amount of error in hitting a target with an air gun depends on various factors such as the alignment of the barrel and the symmetry of the projectile. However, other factors like gravity, air resistance, and the Coriolis force can also affect the accuracy of the shot. The ratio of error to distance is not always linear due to the projectile's changing speed, but there is a range where the results can be consistent.
TSN79
I just started shooting with an air gun that I got. What I wonder is this; if I from 5 meters miss the bullseye with let's say 2 cm (0,02 m), does that automatically mean that I'll miss it by 4 cm from 10 meters? I thought I would miss it by much more in the latter case, but that's what I found playing around with the law of sines, cosines etc. Can that be right...?

It depends.

If you miss because your barrel is not perfectly straight and aligned with the sight, because your pellet is not symmetrical, etc., then yes, 2 cm error from 5 meters means 4 cm error from 10 meters.

There are other possible sources of error. Earth's gravity makes the pellet drift downwards. As the pellet flies through the air, it slows down because of air resistance and, the slower it goes, the more it is susceptible to crosswinds.

In addition to the error sources mentioned by hamster, the Coriolis force can have a subtle effect.

This was experienced by British soldiers in the Falklands War; they had been trained to aim slightly off-target in order to compensate for the Coriolis effect, but going to the southern hemisphere, they had to re-adjust by aiming off-target to the OTHER side from which they were used to.

hamster143 said:
It depends.

If you miss because your barrel is not perfectly straight and aligned with the sight, because your pellet is not symmetrical, etc., then yes, 2 cm error from 5 meters means 4 cm error from 10 meters.

No, that's not necessarily true. The projectile (pellet, BB, etc.) loses speed as it continues to fly through the air, therefore, the farther you are from the target, the more speed the projectile loses and the farther it will drop from the point you are aiming at. Since the projectile's speed is not constant, and the effect of gravity is constant, the ratio of error to distance is not linear. That being said, there is a distance within which the projectile's speed remains fairly constant (which depends on the projectile, itself as well as the barrel design and means of acceleration); within that range, you can expect the results you quoted.

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1. What is the definition of "missing the target" in scientific terms?

"Missing the target" refers to the deviation or error from the intended or desired outcome. In scientific experiments, it can mean not achieving the expected results or not meeting a specific goal or criterion.

2. How is the degree of missing the target measured?

The degree of missing the target is typically measured by the difference between the actual outcome and the intended outcome, expressed in numerical values. This can be represented as a percentage, ratio, or absolute value, depending on the context of the experiment.

3. What factors can contribute to missing the target?

Several factors can contribute to missing the target, including human error, technical limitations, external influences, and unforeseen variables. It is essential to identify and address these factors to improve accuracy and reduce the chances of missing the target.

4. Can missing the target be beneficial in scientific research?

Yes, missing the target can sometimes lead to unexpected or serendipitous discoveries, which can contribute to scientific knowledge and advancements. However, it is crucial to minimize errors and maintain precision to ensure the reliability and validity of research findings.

5. How can scientists prevent or minimize missing the target in their experiments?

To prevent or minimize missing the target, scientists can take several measures, including careful planning and design of experiments, using reliable and precise equipment, conducting multiple trials, and analyzing data critically. Collaborating with other scientists and peer review can also help identify and address potential errors or biases.

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