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The Physics of a Gun

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Lee Cardwell

on 30 May 2015

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Transcript of The Physics of a Gun

The Physics of a Gun
How a Gun Works
1. Once the chamber has the bullet in it, you pull the trigger which hits the hammer which then activates the firing pin.
2. The firing pin then hits the primer (a part of the bullet that is next to the chamber that holds the gun powder) which activates the gun powder to produce gases.
3. As more gases are produced, the pressure in the bullet increases which pushed the bullet out of hte barrell.
4. The pressure behind the bullet is the driving force that pushes the bullet down the barrel and out of the muzzle and gives it all of its force.
The Physics Behind Each Step
Springs are used to load each bullet into the gun.
The firing pin hits the primer which ignites the gunpowder to produce gas. This buildup of pressure creates more force behind the bullet which then pushes it out of the barrel and muzzle. The potential energy in the bullet becomes kinetic because of this buildup of force and pressure.
When the gun is fired, the shooter feels a 'kick back' which is connected to the Law of Conservation of Momentum. When the bullet is expelled from the gun it has a forward momentum, but because of the Law of Conservation of Momentum there must be an equal but opposite momentum force to balance it out. This momentum backwards is what is known as the kick. The momentum is transferred from the gun to the shooter.
As the bullet travels through the barrel and out the muzzle it gains acceleration.
Is there a difference between in the physics with different guns?
While there is no difference in the actual physics of different guns, the barrels of different guns have different lengths which many people believe to cause differences in accuracy and distance, however these are common misconceptions. According to scientific studies there are no marked differences in either of these topics. The differences between these guns are barrel length, the type of bullet used, and the ammount of power generated from the shot.
One factor that causes differences with guns is the size of the bullets.
Diagram of a Gun and Bullet





Lee Cardwell
Review of Topics Covered in this Process
potential and kinetic energy
momentum/ the conservation of momentum
Affects of Bullets
The weight of the bullet affects the momentum (P=m x v) because the heavier the bullet the greater the momentum, therefore the greater the recoil felt.
This also means that the heavier a bullet is, the great force it will have on whatever is being shot.
Another factor that goes into the choice of a bullet is the caliber. Caliber is the measure of the diameter of the bullet. A bullet with a smaller caliber will exert more pressure on its target than a larger caliber bullets. (Pressure= force/area)
Force= mass * acceleration so bullets with a higher mass will allow the bullet to be expelled from the gun with more force. All of these factors must be taken into account by the hunter when considering what bullet to use for their target.
Law of Conservation of Momentum
Momentum cannot be created nor destroyed, only transformed.
initial momentum= final momentum
How to Manage/Prevent Recoil
Most large guns (rifles, shotguns, etc.) are made with a foam pad attached to the back of the gun, where the shooter rests the gun on their shoulder. This padding cushions the recoil, which is explained using the impulse theory:
force* change in time= change in momentum or
force= change in time/change in momentum
By increasing the time it takes to recoil into the shooters shoulder, the force of recoil felt by the shooter is lessened.
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