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Homework Help: Is it a good idea to fire a shotgun against a tree?

  1. Apr 5, 2015 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    When Danny was 13, he went deer hunting with his grandfather. He decided that he didn't like the "kick" of the gun, so he pressed himself against a tree before firing a 12-gauge (3.5kg) loaded with a deer slug (0.22kg). Evaluate this idea.

    It was a big mistake.
    It really won't matter.
    It was a good idea.

    Based on your knowledge of momentum conservation, explain the reasoning for your answer.

    2. Relevant equations
    Conservation of Momentum & Energy
    3. The attempt at a solution

    I believe it would be a good idea because the kick would transfer from the gun to your shoulder, and then into the wall due to the conservation of momentum and energy.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 6, 2015
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 5, 2015 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Okay consider hanging a piece of wood in front of you from two strings and hitting it with your fist. Does it hurt more or less than if the wood is hanging and touching a wall when you hit it?
  4. Apr 5, 2015 #3
    It would hurt more if it was touching a wall, because the wall will have energy pushing back?
  5. Apr 5, 2015 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    So what would happen to your shoulder?
  6. Apr 5, 2015 #5
    It would move more, resulting in a big mistake. I really liked the example you used, made it very easy to think through the concept, thank you.
  7. Apr 5, 2015 #6


    Staff: Mentor

    No I was thinking more that it could seriously damage your shoulder.

    It would probably be a more accurate shot though as your shoulder wouldn't move as much keeping the shot straight and accurate.
  8. Apr 7, 2015 #7
    You shouldn't have to explain this scientifically to know it's a bad idea..
  9. Apr 7, 2015 #8


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    No, it would move LESS, resulting in a bad idea. When your shoulder is not against a tree it can absorb some of the recoil by moving backwards. When it's against a tree it can't move so all the recoil goes into your shoulder.
  10. Apr 9, 2015 #9


    User Avatar
    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    Can you press the shotgun against the tree?
    Or get something hard connecting the shotgun with the tree to transfer momentum via this object instead of the shoulder?
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