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Droping Bullets

  1. Mar 23, 2009 #1
    Pretty simple question that I was curious about earlier today. If I were to drop a bullet from the same height and at the same time as my friend shot the bullet from a gun, would they hit the ground at the same time?
    I think that they would considering the bullets frame of reference it is at rest. Though I've come to hasty conclusions before only to have a small factor completely prove me wrong, so I just wanted to ask you guys at the forums:smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 23, 2009 #2


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    Depends which direction you fired it !
    In 'school textbook physics' without air resistance then if you fire a bullet horizontally and drop a bullet from the same height at the same time then they will hit the ground together.
  4. Mar 23, 2009 #3


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    Yeah, air really messes it up. Since all bullets other than wadcutters have bevelled or rounded leading edges, there is some aerodynamic lift resultant of their forward speed. That decreases the rate of drop.
  5. Mar 23, 2009 #4
    This reminds me of the famous "shoot the monkey" experiments done in introductory physics classes. Here's one with a crossbow..

    In my younger days, I remember seeing it done with a cannon. These are pretty convincing demonstrations that launched projectiles fall at the same rates as dropped objects.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  6. Mar 24, 2009 #5
    Thx for the replies. The shoot the monky video was pretty cool:smile:
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