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Q: Rate at which a bullet drops ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: Rate at which a bullet drops
Category: Science > Physics
Asked by: bluechristmas-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 27 Nov 2005 05:43 PST
Expires: 27 Dec 2005 05:43 PST
Question ID: 598080
Does a bullet shot from a gun drop at the same rate as a bullet that
is dropped from your hand.  If the gun barrel is perfectly level and
the bullet does not create lift during its flight, it would seem to me
that it would drop at the same rate.
Subject: Re: Rate at which a bullet drops
Answered By: livioflores-ga on 27 Nov 2005 06:57 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

Your assumption in this ideal system is right, both bullets will drop
at the same rate:
"A projectile is an object upon which the only force is gravity.
Gravity, being a downward force, causes a projectile to accelerate in
the downward direction. The force of gravity could never alter the
horizontal velocity of an object since perpendicular components of
motion are independent of each other; vertical force does not effect a
horizontal motion."
From "Vectors and Projectiles - Parabolic Motion of Projectiles" at
The Physics Classroom:
See at this page the clarifying animation!!

See also "Facts About Projectile Motion":

For formulas and a nice applet on which you play a little see:
"Projectile Motion":

Finally for further reading and are some examples:
"Horizontally Launched Projectile Problems":

Search strategy:
projectile motion

I hope this helps you. Feel free torequest for a clarification if you need it.

bluechristmas-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thanks for your answers.  The links you provided were very helpfull.

Subject: Re: Rate at which a bullet drops
From: qed100-ga on 27 Nov 2005 07:39 PST
It's interesting to add that the gun barrel need no be horizontal for
the vertical acceleration to be equal to any other falling object.
There's a common question posed in physics classes that goes like

   A hunter is on the ground trying to bag a monkey. A monkey is
hanging from a high tree branch and notices the hunter, so it lets
loose from the branch to fall safely away. But is it safe? If the
hunter has the rifle barrel pointed directly at the monkey the instant
it lets loose, at what time should the gun be fired such that the
bullet will intersect the falling monkey?

   The answer is to fire the bullet at the *exact* instant the monkey
starts falling. The bullet's path will be a composition of its
inertial (straight) motion towards where the monkey was, and its
vertical acceleration downwards. The monkey's motion will be its
downwards acceleration, which will equal that of the rifle projectile.
The bullet will intersect the monkey as they both reach ground level.
Subject: Re: Rate at which a bullet drops
From: murunbuchstansinger-ga on 28 Nov 2005 14:31 PST
What an interesting question!
Subject: Re: Rate at which a bullet drops
From: mastakln-ga on 09 Dec 2005 00:14 PST
will the centripetal force that's acting upon the satellite be acting
on the bullet if it's fast enough and thus causing it to revolve
around the earth?

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