How dangerous is firing a gun into the air? - Page 2

How dangerous is firing a gun into the air?

This is a discussion on How dangerous is firing a gun into the air? within the Basic Gun Handling & Safety forums, part of the General Firearm Discussion category; Each July 4th and New Years, the ghetto erupts with gunfire. Thousands of rounds fired in the course of about an hour. Most of these ...

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Thread: How dangerous is firing a gun into the air?

  1. #16
    Senior Member Array kb2wji's Avatar
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    Each July 4th and New Years, the ghetto erupts with gunfire. Thousands of rounds fired in the course of about an hour. Most of these come from 380's, 9mm's, and AK's (the weapons of choice, and availability, for our local bangers) These rounds penetrate car windshields, leave nasty dents in car hoods, and can take a nice chunk out of your wood patio. Defenitely would not want to be on the receiving end of one of those things. That said, even though there are thousands of rounds fired (most in the air, but who knows) we dont get a whole lot of "incidents" (injury, property damage etc...). I think the odds are slim of a falling bullet doing any real damage, but its still reckless and stupid.


  2. #17
    VIP Member Array Civil_Response's Avatar
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    Leave it to Minnesota to add a twist and forbid it only in cemeteries.

  3. #18
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    I've been bird hunting enough to experience BBs from a 12 gauge bird shot rain down on my head and also witness the rain on a parked truck. No damage. Noting that I've always assumed firing bullets in the air would not cause fatalities. I still think its a very bad idea, you are breaking rule #4 and eventually have to explain to the police why you're drinking beer and shooting guns in a residential area. Fireworks are a much better option.

  4. #19
    VIP Member Array gottabkiddin's Avatar
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    What goes up, must come down; somewhere.
    "He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." – Luke 22:36

    "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so." – Thomas Jefferson

  5. #20
    Distinguished Member Array DefConGun's Avatar
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    Its very dangerous; people have been killed from doing so.

    Don't do it.

    Buy some firecrackers if you must celebrate with a bang. Guns aren't toys and they aren't intended to be noise makers for parties.

    DCG

  6. #21
    Member Array redbeardsong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DefConGun View Post
    Its very dangerous; people have been killed from doing so.

    Don't do it.

    Buy some firecrackers if you must celebrate with a bang. Guns aren't toys and they aren't intended to be noise makers for parties.

    DCG
    Yep. A 4-year old boy at church was killed in Atlanta last year by celebratory gunfire coming back down.

    Celebratory Gunfire Kills Boy Attending New Years Eve Church Service | FoxNews.com

  7. #22
    Senior Member Array dV8r's Avatar
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    Statistically?:
    Lets say that it is a .38.
    An area of ~ .1134"
    If it could come down into a 2500 foot diameter area (just under 1/2 mile).
    It would be like playing Russian roulette with a 264,657 cylinder revolver.
    Your odds are pretty good surviving 6 rounds. YMMV :)
    LEARN something today so you can TEACH something tomorrow.
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  8. #23
    mkh
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    Distinguished Member Array mkh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dV8r View Post
    Statistically?:
    Lets say that it is a .38.
    An area of ~ .1134"
    If it could come down into a 2500 foot diameter area (just under 1/2 mile).
    It would be like playing Russian roulette with a 264,657 cylinder revolver.
    Your odds are pretty good surviving 6 rounds. YMMV :)
    The odds may be statistically high but if on hits you you are in a heap of trouble.

    Some of you are acting like this is an urban myth or something. It's not. It's a fact. It has happened and people have been killed.
    SFury likes this.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ICTsnub View Post
    Mythbusters has been all over this. If you can truly fire straight up, it is near to harmless, but any angle creates a ballistic trajectory that is harmful.
    Yeah, and an airplane on a treadmill can take off, too!

  10. #25
    Ex Member Array dcselby1's Avatar
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    It's been about 50 years, now, and I've told this story many times since then. A friend of mine and I were talking after school one day. I was on the sidewalk and she was on the steps leading to her porch. All of a sudden she lurched to the side a little bit and said, "Ouch," or "Ow," something like that, and clasped her left shoulder. She said that "Something hit me on (the top side) of my shoulder." We looked around on the ground and spotted a bullet lying on the side walk. I didn't know at the time what caliber it was, but from memory and the knowledge I posses now, I believe that it was probably a .45. She wasn't hurt and said it felt like a rock had hit her. I also remember that the Vietnamese used to fire in the air a lot. ('Course the U.S. paid for the ammo!)

  11. #26
    Ex Member Array dcselby1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dV8r View Post
    Statistically?:
    Lets say that it is a .38.
    An area of ~ .1134"
    If it could come down into a 2500 foot diameter area (just under 1/2 mile).
    It would be like playing Russian roulette with a 264,657 cylinder revolver.
    Your odds are pretty good surviving 6 rounds. YMMV :)
    People win lotteries every day with odds of millions to one against!

  12. #27
    Senior Member Array dV8r's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkh View Post
    The odds may be statistically high but if on hits you you are in a heap of trouble.

    Some of you are acting like this is an urban myth or something. It's not. It's a fact. It has happened and people have been killed.
    You are correct.
    ...and people have been killed walking across the street.
    The point is that lots of things are risky, but should that preclude doing them?
    Do you stay locked in your house/apartment all the time so as not to get run over by an errant driver?
    Do you drive to your grand parents house on the other coast so you won't crash in an air plane?
    Do you eat only food grown and prepared by you so there is no chance of getting poisoned?
    Life would be awful boring without taking a chance once in a while.
    LEARN something today so you can TEACH something tomorrow.
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  13. #28
    VIP Member Array rammerjammer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dV8r View Post
    You are correct.
    ...and people have been killed walking across the street.
    The point is that lots of things are risky, but should that preclude doing them?
    Do you stay locked in your house/apartment all the time so as not to get run over by an errant driver?
    Do you drive to your grand parents house on the other coast so you won't crash in an air plane?
    Do you eat only food grown and prepared by you so there is no chance of getting poisoned?
    Life would be awful boring without taking a chance once in a while.
    You can't seriously be advocating firing into the air are you?
    "Was there no end to the conspiracy of irrational prejudice against Red Ryder and his peacemaker?"

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  14. #29
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    Alright, I'm not advocating firing into the air...but, I majored in science in college and am currently in grad school for the same. So, here is the breakdown from what I have learned. This was actually a question on one of my physics tests, and the end of the question asked us whether or not we thought the falling bullet could kill someone....we were obviously not graded on that part b/c it wasn't med school, but still an interesting thought.

    Here is how we should think of this:

    Energy before the shot = energy after the shot

    So, the initial energy is all 'potential' energy (P.E.) because the gunpowder has not been ignited and the bullet at rest. The equation for this is P.E.=(mass)(force of gravity)(height), or 'mgh'.

    The energy after the shot is all kinetic energy because the bullet is actually in motion downwards after it changes directions at the top of its flight. So, this side of the equation is (1/2)(mass)(velocity)^2.

    The equation we get from this is mgh = (1/2)mv^2. Do some algebra and rearrange the equation to solve for velocity. This leaves us with the equation of velocity = square root[(2)(force of gravity)(height)].

    So mass plays no factor at all since it is on both sides of the equation....this is why a penny and a bowling ball will hit the earth at the same rate of speed in a perfect world with no drag and no wind, etc.

    So, I'm not really sure how far up a bullet will travel, and don't want to do the calculations, but lets just assume its 500m. The final velocity when it returns to earth will be 98.99 m/s, or roughtly 222 mph. The energy upon impact will be 36.5 Joules, or 26.9 foot-pounds.

    For comparison, your tipical pellet gun from Walmart can deliver between 15 and 30 foot pounds of force.

    So, there it is laid out in a 'perfect world' where we could technically shoot straight up in the air (or in a vacuum for any physicists out there).

    Sorry this was long, really long...and very far on the nerdy side. BUT, if a pellet gun can kill a squirrel, could a falling bullet do the same if it hit in the right place and the right time? My answer was yes on the test given in my undergrad years, and I won't be firing into the air anytime soon!

  15. #30
    Distinguished Member Array BadgerJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunthorp View Post
    I feel morally responsible to know the resting place of every bullet I fire.
    +10

    Obviously, knowing the resting place of a bullet is impossible, but if you're out hunting you hope that the bullet hits where you intend, if you're at the range, it's the backstop, if it's SD - the perp. The simple act of firing a gun involves a bit of risk the bullet won't ricochet, hit the wrong target, and not cause unintended harm. To fire chaotically, without care is morally reprehensible, imo. Unfortunately, it's actually more the norm than directed fire. 'Spray and Pray' in Viet Nam, War (in general), drive-by shootings (they just shoot and don't even have a target), celebrations, kids just being careless shooting birds with a .22, hunters hitting dwellings and each other. Sometimes you wonder why more people aren't killed from this. :(

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