Is it a good idea to fire a shotgun against a tree?

Homework Statement

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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.

Homework Equations

Conservation of Momentum & Energy
ΔEsys=Wsurr+Q

The Attempt at a Solution

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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.

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jedishrfu
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?

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?
It would hurt more if it was touching a wall, because the wall will have energy pushing back?

jedishrfu
Mentor
So what would happen to your shoulder?

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.

jedishrfu
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.

You shouldn't have to explain this scientifically to know it's a bad idea..

phinds
Gold Member
2019 Award
It would move more, resulting in a big mistake
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.

mfb
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?