Does a bullet fired with a clockwise spin travel faster or slower

  • #1

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or the same speed than if it had a counter-clockwise spin?
 

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  • #2
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Why do you believe there'd be a difference?

Perhaps I'd even extend the question: would a spinning bullet travel faster than a non-spinning one?
 
  • #3
Delta2
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It can travel faster slower or at same speed with a non spining bullet.

However if we have two bullets of same speed, one spinning and one non spinning, then the spinning one carries more energy and thus can have more devastating impact on collision with other bodies. Simply put, a spinning bullet behaves not only as a fast moving body but also like a drill.
 
  • #4
vanesch
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It can travel faster slower or at same speed with a non spining bullet.

However if we have two bullets of same speed, one spinning and one non spinning, then the spinning one carries more energy and thus can have more devastating impact on collision with other bodies. Simply put, a spinning bullet behaves not only as a fast moving body but also like a drill.
On the other hand, purely theoretically, if a same amount of energy is transferred to a bullet by the gun, then a spinning bullet must travel slower than a non-spinning bullet, exactly because of the fact that in the last case, the total energy budget has to be divided between the rotational energy and the translational energy.
 
  • #5
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I think the spinning (rifling) is to help the bullet trace as straight a line as possible as it is less affected by differences in mass, surface and temperature across the bullet. It may help it to cut through the air (in particualr perhaps air currents). One would have thought though, that if the bullet did not spin, it would actually go faster for the same explosive force (as energy would be used to push the bullet only and not to make it spin or overcome the extra drag caused by the rifling in the barrel).

The direction of the spin could make a difference given the direction of the asir currents against it I guess, but as these change (probably several time in a single flight) it would not be a reason to reverse the rifling.
 
  • #6
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I think the spinning (rifling) is to help the bullet trace as straight a line as possible as it is less affected by differences in mass, surface and temperature across the bullet. It may help it to cut through the air (in particualr perhaps air currents). One would have thought though, that if the bullet did not spin, it would actually go faster for the same explosive force (as energy would be used to push the bullet only and not to make it spin or overcome the extra drag caused by the rifling in the barrel).

The direction of the spin could make a difference given the direction of the asir currents against it I guess, but as these change (probably several time in a single flight) it would not be a reason to reverse the rifling.
The spin of the bullet causes it to gyroscopically stabilise itself - that is all. As it is uniform in shape effects from variations in conditions make no difference to the bullets path.

Regardless, it doesn't matter what way it spins. The final trajectory would be the same.

It's only in strong winds or over long ranges that wind effects become and issue - rotation of spin still makes no difference.

A faster bullet is useless if you can't hit anything.
 
  • #7
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Does a bullet fired with a clockwise spin travel faster or slower...
...or the same speed than if it had a counter-clockwise spin?
The same. Why?
 
  • #8
rcgldr
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  • #9
sophiecentaur
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The same. Why?
I think it's up to you to suggest "why not?", perhaps.

Isn't the point of the rifling, to give better range? Surely a tumbling bullet would be less aerodynamic and slow down quicker. A ball, of the same mass would be wider and experience more drag than a bullet shaped projectile so a spinning bullet is the best buy.
I wonder whether the gas seal whilst in the barrel is better, too.
 
  • #10
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I think it's up to you to suggest "why not?", perhaps.
I was always under the impression that if you make a claim, it was your responsibility to back it up. As per my initial question, I'm curious why the OP believes it would be slower in one direction than the other.
Isn't the point of the rifling, to give better range? Surely a tumbling bullet would be less aerodynamic and slow down quicker. A ball, of the same mass would be wider and experience more drag than a bullet shaped projectile so a spinning bullet is the best buy.
I wonder whether the gas seal whilst in the barrel is better, too.
Rifling makes the round more accurate and improves the range by stabilising it. Not much more to it. The trade off between a ball and bullet is that a balls profile will give more stopping power, but you lose accuracy and range using them.

I shot an air rifle without rifling once, I'd have been lucky to hit the end of my finger if I'd put it over the end of the barrel.
 
  • #11
sophiecentaur
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Yes - point taken - Your justification would have been needed after his :-).

Thinking again about the effect of tumbling, the same sort of thing would happen with an unstablised bullet (or ball) as with a cricket ball with spin. Low pressure on one side and high pressure on the other , causing a curved path- and in some random sense from shot to shot.
But clockwise or counter clockwise? Nah - no difference - unless we are considering the rotation of the Earth . . . . . . ..

And your 'naff' air gun could just have been 'naff' in many ways. Far eastern import when that meant cheap and cheerful - not like today.
 
  • #12
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But clockwise or counter clockwise? Nah - no difference - unless we are considering the rotation of the Earth . . . . . . ..
Perhaps the galactic rotation should be invoked... :wink:
And your 'naff' air gun could just have been 'naff' in many ways. Far eastern import when that meant cheap and cheerful - not like today.
I'm 21, it was brand new top of the line a few years back and anything but "naff" (not a far eastern import for one). The phrase "not like today" doesn't apply to me. I had two, one was a single shot rifle (rifled) and the other was a semi-automatic. The single shot could hit the target perfectly everytime, but the semi-automatic - due to the law surrounding it - wasn't allow to be rifled, and when you shot it you couldn't hit bugger all. When the C02 cartridge ran down you could actually watch the pellets veering off.
 
  • #13
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jarednjames


The trade off between a ball and bullet is that a balls profile will give more stopping power, but you lose accuracy and range using them.

Is not the modern profile of a bullet vastly more aerodynamic than a round ball?
would not the bullet have more speed due to less aero drag than the ball and thus have more impact ( is both weighed the same). Or am i a victim of out dated thinking?
 
  • #14
sophiecentaur
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Perhaps the galactic rotation should be invoked... :wink:


I'm 21, it was brand new top of the line a few years back and anything but "naff" (not a far eastern import for one). The phrase "not like today" doesn't apply to me. I had two, one was a single shot rifle (rifled) and the other was a semi-automatic. The single shot could hit the target perfectly everytime, but the semi-automatic - due to the law surrounding it - wasn't allow to be rifled, and when you shot it you couldn't hit bugger all. When the C02 cartridge ran down you could actually watch the pellets veering off.
That was no air gun - it was a popgun, my boy!!!:wink:

The 'far eastern imports' could well be the best nowadays. "Made in England" used to mean that someone took hours getting a gun 'right' and you paid for it. I think the dreaded Health and Safety thing has spoiled a lot of things.
Shame about the BB gun coming along.
 
  • #15
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Is not the modern profile of a bullet vastly more aerodynamic than a round ball?
would not the bullet have more speed due to less aero drag than the ball and thus have more impact ( is both weighed the same). Or am i a victim of out dated thinking?
Think 9mm round, .45 and .50 caliber. The bigger the round, the greater the stopping power. A small high speed round may have the same momentum as a large slow round, but one of them will do more to 'stop' you than the other.

Imagine I have a 1kg needle with a 1mm diameter and I stab you with it. Yes it may do some damage, but it wouldn't incapacitate you straight away - you could keep coming at me for example. Now imagine I have a 1kg bag of sugar and throw it at you. This has a far greater ability to stop you in your tracks.

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

I'll be honest, I was thinking of a musket ball (around 15mm diameter) against 9mm round when doing the comparison.
 
  • #16
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That was no air gun - it was a popgun, my boy!!!:wink:
It fired a .22 pellet 100 yards and (when on target) could drop a hare in one shot. That's one hell of a "popgun".

Besides, under the definition of airgun, it's well covered.

BB guns are rubbish. Used to have loads of them when I was a kid - best ones from Spain.
 
  • #17
sophiecentaur
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Different circumstances call for either maximum momentum or maximum energy. Sometimes a shotgun is what you need.
 
  • #18
sophiecentaur
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It fired a .22 pellet 100 yards and (when on target) could drop a hare in one shot. That's one hell of a "popgun".
Sounds quite pokey but totally spoiled by the regulations.
If I don't sign off now, I'll never get my shopping done!!!
 
  • #19
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Different circumstances call for either maximum momentum or maximum energy. Sometimes a shotgun is what you need.
Yes, but people seem to confuse the ability of a small bullet going faster with it's ability to "stop" someone. One of the reasons for hollow point 9mm ammo is to give greater stopping power to the weapon.
 
  • #20
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Sounds quite pokey but totally spoiled by the regulations.
100 yards is damn good even for the best air rifles. Granted you could barely hit the floor at that range, but still it's 100 yards.

I only got rid of it because it was so crap with aim.
 
  • #21
Well the reason I asked was I was thinking of the bullet spinning like a gyroscope and the inertia caused by a left or right spin would cause it to speed up or slow down. LIke how a spinning gyroscope can cause motion in a direction.

As far as weight of a bullet and size. Ive been into shooting for years and reload my own ammo. Personally, I prefer small rounds going very fast out of my ar-15. Not only do I get to hold more rounds (30), but they the 5.56 round creates a very large primary and secondary wound cavity. When the bullet enters your body it begins to rotate. Somewhere around 90 degrees the stress of bullet traving sideways in your body causes it to come apart and explode, showering your organs with bits of metal, not to mention the trauma caused by the pressure wave it crates inside you. Not only that, but the light 5.56 round sheds velocity quicker than heavier handgun rounds, so the risk of shooting my neighbors if I miss someone goes down.
 
  • #22
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I think it's up to you to suggest "why not?", perhaps.

Isn't the point of the rifling, to give better range? Surely a tumbling bullet would be less aerodynamic and slow down quicker. A ball, of the same mass would be wider and experience more drag than a bullet shaped projectile so a spinning bullet is the best buy.
I wonder whether the gas seal whilst in the barrel is better, too.
The question is about left hand verse right hand riffling. I suppose the answer is that macroscopic mechanics, where Newton's equations are applicable, the laws of physics are invariant under parity change, and also that the conditions normally encountered shooting a riffle the constituent matter has no strong parity preference of comparable magnitude.

--Actually, come to think about it, we are generally right handed, so the "constituent matter" does have a parity preference. Does a riffled barrel tend to twist a little when fired?
 
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  • #23
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I'm disappointed there was no "in Australia" clause :tongue2:

The direction of the spin doesn't matter.

Now a spinning bullet will travel faster, farther, more accurate, and with more energy when it strikes the target than a non-spinning bullet. Spinning makes the bullet travel in a straighter path, but it also causes the bullet to meet less air resistance when traveling.
 
  • #24
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but it also causes the bullet to meet less air resistance when traveling.
OK, this has been bothering me for a while and I must ask - why does it encounter less air resistance?
 
  • #25
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OK, this has been bothering me for a while and I must ask - why does it encounter less air resistance?
The short answer is it is aerodynamic :wink: If it wasn't spinning, it would be prone to tumbling. Just image throwing a football (US) properly with spin, versus throwing it spinning end over end. The nose of the bullet (or football) sort of pushes the air around it. I suppose the same reason nails are pointy at the end instead of flat, when you pound it into wood the wood splits at the point of the nail.

The much longer answer.......

http://waterocket.explorer.free.fr/aerodynamics.htm" [Broken]
 
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