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How fast do bullets have to be going to break the sound barrier, and how loud is it.

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by Aaron Michal on 31 October 2012

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Transcript of How fast do bullets have to be going to break the sound barrier, and how loud is it.

How fast does a bullet have to go to break the sound barrier? It really just depends on the caliber and weight of the shell. It really just depends on the caliber and weight of the shell. Most rifle calibers travel at supersonic speeds with that crack you hear from where you shot being a mini-sonic boom. From what I found though after firing different types of shells off, was that handgun ammunition, such as a 9mm or .45 round, traveled much slower than that of a rifle. A 9mm will travel at about 1100 Fps. A .50 round can exceed well over 4000 Fps however and will create a significant sound delay. What is a sonic boom in the first place? How fast do the individual shells travel to achieve making a sonic boom? It is the sound that is produced by the shockwave of something, such as a shell or airplane, moving at supersonic speeds.
When the detonation from the gunpowder in the jacket is done it sends all of the force from that explosion straight to the only place there is to go, the shells bullet point.
Sonic booms cause enormous amounts of sound energy, sounding much like an explosion by themselves.
To break the sound barrier, and average shell will have to achieve 1165 Fps at sea level. Temperature and the pressure on the shell will also affect it and cause this to change. So 1165 is usually the standard at about 59 degrees fahrenheit. When I was out hunting one day, I was carrying a .30-06 over my shoulder and was going to set up a blind, so I went off to find some brush to put around the sides of it. I had a block set up about 50 yards away, give or take a little, and after I waited for a while there was a buck and two does that came up to it. Well before I could even get a shot off a my pastor took a pot shot at one and didn't take into account how loud the sonic boom would be as soon as that shell left the barrel. He was actually carrying a shotgun with 12 gauge slugs in it though, the closest house to us was about a mile away, they thought someone had been shot and called the police. Had he not been so eager to get some jerky and coffee he would have remembered that a .30 alt wouldn't have alerted everything within a mile radius, and we wouldn't have been fined.... That was my personal rant for the day, and it helped prove my point, so why not. Also something else that be worth note, if something is going faster than the speed of sound and breaking into difference pieces, then depending on the mass of the pieces, the speed will be divided between them.
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