For You Whizz Kid Scientific Type Members - A Bizarre Hypothetical

For You Whizz Kid Scientific Type Members - A Bizarre Hypothetical

This is a discussion on For You Whizz Kid Scientific Type Members - A Bizarre Hypothetical within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; My Lil' Brother asked me this question. I added the muzzle velocity and the handgun, caliber, & muzzle velocity for the purpose of adding something ...

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  1. #1
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    Question For You Whizz Kid Scientific Type Members - A Bizarre Hypothetical

    My Lil' Brother asked me this question. I added the muzzle velocity and the handgun, caliber, & muzzle velocity for the purpose of adding something specific to work with.

    I already gave him my answer. It was..."I Have Absolutely No Doggone Idea."

    Here Goes It............

    If you were an astronaut on the surface of the Moon and you had (let's say) a Ruger BlackHawk .44 Magnum 5.5" Barrel that was loaded with a Buffalo Bore bullet w/ an Earth Bound muzzle velocity of 1500 FPS - Could you fire a bullet at the Earth and hit the Earth if the bullet was made of some exotic alloy that wouldn't burn up in the Earths upper atmosphere?

    Would a handgun bullet even be able to leave the (admittedly much lesser) gravitational pull of the Moon?

    I'm just guessing that the bullet wouldn't lose velocity IF it actually made it off the Moon & into the vacuum of outer space.

    If so...how long would it take for the bullet to reach the Earth?

    I'm also guessing that some degree of Kentucky windage would be in order.
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    Gunpowder would have difficulty functioning in an oxygen-less environment. So there's your first problem. Well, I suppose getting to the moon with a handgun is your FIRST problem, but....
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Since the moon has approximatley 1/8 the gravity of the earth,that whimply little pistol round would never make it. Granted, it would go much higher on the moon, but it still wouldnt be enough to break gravity and shoot out into outer space.

    If you were on the moon, you could fire away.
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    Gunpowder would have difficulty functioning in an oxygen-less environment.
    Not really. Gunpowder produces its own oxygen, thus its ability to fire underwater. Think about it. There isnt enough space in a case to contain enough oxygen to sustain combustion.
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    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR View Post
    Gunpowder would have difficulty functioning in an oxygen-less environment. So there's your first problem. Well, I suppose getting to the moon with a handgun is your FIRST problem, but....
    I don't believe this is true.. ever seen guns firing underwater? All of the oxygen they need is inside the casing.

    I saw some calculations on this once. You need a specific escape velocity. I don't remember what that is for the moon. Since there is no atmospheric drag, the velocity is basically all you have to worry about. With earth it is a bit more complicated. I seem to recall handgun rounds do not have enough velocity to escape the moon's gravity, but some high power rifle rounds just might.
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    Gunpowder/smokeless powder would work fine. It has it's own oxidizer. Escape velocity of the moon would be the first problem. However, I think aim would be a trifle touchy. Probably need a Crimson Trace or something.
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    I stand corrected. Though I actually knew that guns fire underwater, having their own oxidizer (and, assuming the case is sealed, it's own O2 in the case)... I was just looking for a way to get to the punchline. :)
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Distinguished Member Array claude clay's Avatar
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    7857 feet per second is lunar escape velocity
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    VIP Member Array high pockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by claude clay View Post
    7857 feet per second is lunar escape velocity
    My reference shows 7776 fps. Not enough diff to argue, and definitely more than the Ruger in question could generate.
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    Senior Member Array RKflorida's Avatar
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    Does anyone know of any weapon that will achieve nearly 8,000 fps? The sabot from an M1 Abrams tank will get to about 5,300 fps. I don't know of anything faster.

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    I got an escape velocity of 7874 fps, but still doesn't change the answer to the question in the OP.

    It's a good thing a bullet on the moon can't hit the earth - if it could, moonians could shoot at us and we couldn't return fire
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangle View Post
    I got an escape velocity of 7874 fps, but still doesn't change the answer to the question in the OP.

    It's a good thing a bullet on the moon can't hit the earth - if it could, moonians could shoot at us and we couldn't return fire
    Moonians?? I love it.

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    Distinguished Member Array claude clay's Avatar
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    design of rail guns in the 1970's used in a vacuum on the moon were to place into L1 or L2 lunar material to be fabricated
    in lunar orbiting factories. idea was to make stuff that would take us on a manned exploration of our solar system. it was deemed too expensive at 3 trillion dollars....

    of course a debt of 15.2 trillion is now money well spent keeping the unproductive with cutting edge toys and prsions....err, i mean educational facilities.
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    Distinguished Member Array Elk Hunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RKflorida View Post
    Does anyone know of any weapon that will achieve nearly 8,000 fps? The sabot from an M1 Abrams tank will get to about 5,300 fps. I don't know of anything faster.
    Check out the Navy Railgun

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    Senior Member Array RKflorida's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elk Hunter View Post
    Check out the Navy Railgun
    Looks like between 4500 and 5500 mph. Assume 5,000 mph that is 7,333 fps. Not quite enough, but that's firing really heavy shells. Probably much faster with a 240gr bullet instead of a 240 pound shell. OK, so now we gotta aim that puppy and keep it from melting through the atmosphere.

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