Paul Prudhomme Grazed By Falling Bullet

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by mactastic, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Colly-fornia
    #1
    Holy ****! Talk about a close one. A couple inches in a different direction and he'd be a dead celebrity chef.
     
  2. Bobdude161 macrumors 65816

    Bobdude161

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Location:
    N'Albany, Indiana
    #2
    I'll give this 10 posts before it's moved.....
     
  3. smokeyrabbit macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 19, 2005
    Location:
    Escape from New England
  4. runplaysleeprun macrumors 6502a

    runplaysleeprun

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #4
    See, this just goes to prove that..... just kidding.

    Lucky guy!
     
  5. kylos macrumors 6502a

    kylos

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2002
    Location:
    MI
    #5
    My guess is that the bullet wouldn't have done much damage even if it had been a direct hit. That bullet was probably shot at a high trajectory and was falling back to earth. I once found a spent .22 on my back porch (hey, I attended uni in Flint, MI) that had signs of rifling, but otherwise suffered no damage. So I doubt a falling bullet is going to achieve anything resembling lethal velocity when it's falling from the sky.
     
  6. brad.c macrumors 68020

    brad.c

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2004
    Location:
    50.813669°, -2.474796°
  7. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
  8. alFR macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
  9. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Location:
    On tenterhooks
    #9
    A 22 long-rifle, solid bullet, is 40 grains (2.8 grams).

    Memory says that terminal velocity of a falling object, all things being equal, is ~120 MPH.

    I doubt the even a head hit would result in anything more then a goose-egg.
     
  10. kylos macrumors 6502a

    kylos

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2002
    Location:
    MI
    #10
    Well, I decided to look up some numbers, so from everybody's favorite source, wikipedia, I give you this:

    iJohnHenry, 120mph is the free fall speed of a parachutist in the spread eagle position. Tucking in arms and legs and nosing in will get you up to 200mph.

    Muzzle velocity of a .22 is between 700 and 900mph. Its terminal velocity in free fall would be much lower.

    In the case of a .22 fired in the air at a steep enough angle so that at its max altitude it has lost most of its kinetic energy, I would guess that it would become destabilized and start tumbling. I'm not an aerodynamics expert, so I have no idea if it would stabilize as it gained speed, but considering that guns are rifled for a reason, I would guess that the bullet is not likely to restabilize, and its tumbling would cause significant drag, thus decreasing its terminal velocity. So, yeah, I doubt that bullet would be traveling very fast.

    Now all we need is the average puncture pressure of human skin, and with iJohnHenry's given weight, we can determine the minimum speed at which the bullet would have to be falling in order to do any damage. :D

    Sorry, all, I know you don't want to hear my guessing-game physics, but it's just so much fun. :D
     
  11. mperkins37 macrumors 6502a

    mperkins37

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2007
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #11
    Actually a few years ago, (7 or 8 actually) a girl was killed here in Phoenix by a falling bullet on New Years . A law was enacted that outlaws all shooting of guns into the air, as well as the non justifiable discharge of any firearms in city limits. Strange but absolutely true. I believe it was a larger caliber than .22 though, so that may have something to do with it.
     
  12. mactastic thread starter macrumors 68040

    mactastic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Colly-fornia
    #12
    I think it depends quite a bit on the trajectory. A shallow trajectory, and it's much more lethal because it's much more likely to be still stable in flight and have a much higher velocity than if it were tumbling in free fall. More than one person has been killed by a falling bullet.

    Seems not to be the case...
     
  13. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Location:
    On tenterhooks
    #13
    That's why I took shot at it. :p

    (Hang him!!! [​IMG])
     
  14. kylos macrumors 6502a

    kylos

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2002
    Location:
    MI
    #14
    I meant to imply that a steep trajectory would be needed when I used the phrase "high trajectory". However, I can see that I may not have been clear, especially considering how I used the phrase "direct hit". That was referring to a hit on the head rather than sleeve from a high trajectory shot that has destabilized, as opposed to a flatter shot, still in stable flight. In any case, I think my second post might be a little clearer, and you can see from that that we're saying about the same things.

    And I should say that I don't mean to imply that reckless discharge of firearms at a high trajectory isn't a big deal because of lessened lethality. Any idiot who fires a gun without properly assessing their target to ensure there is no possibility of their bullet doing unintended damage should not be allowed anywhere near a gun.

    Scientific speculation is always entertaining.:D
     
  15. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2007
    Location:
    Toronteazy
    #15
    Depends on the angle of fire and the calibre, but falling rounds can reach speeds high enough to inflict a lethal wound with most rounds. Different bullets have different speeds at which they'll inflict enough damage to pierce human flesh, and it varies a surprising amount. If the angle is low enough, the bullet may still have some of it's kinetic energy from when it was fired, and if the angle is high enough, it can reach heights that would allow it to reach close to terminal velocity.
     
  16. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2008
    Location:
    On tenterhooks
    #16
    Fortunately, for Paul, the 22 is the gnat of bullets. ;)
     
  17. Gasu E. macrumors 68040

    Gasu E.

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    Not far from Boston, MA.
    #17
    It took me a while to parse the title of this thread. When I first saw "Paul Prudhomme Grazed..."

    I initially interpreted the third word according to this definition:

    "Informal.
    To eat a variety of appetizers as a full meal."
     
  18. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #18
    Theoretically, if the gun is fired straight up into the air, the bullet will return to earth at the same velocity at which it left the muzzle. Discounting for friction it won't of course, but falling bullets can do some damage. In some cities the police park under bridges and overpasses at midnight on New Year's Eve since so many people fire guns into the air in celebration and they have been known to pierce the roof of the car.
     
  19. kylos macrumors 6502a

    kylos

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2002
    Location:
    MI
    #19
    Theoretically, yes, but in practice, no way. The terminal velocity is much less than the muzzle velocity.

    Here's an article about an army study using .30 caliber bullets fired vertically at a muzzle velocity of 2700 fps (1840 mph). The study concluded that the 150 grain (0.342 oz) bullet returned with a terminal velocity of 300 fps (204 mph). That's just over 10% of its muzzle velocity, a major decrease in speed. That corresponds to 30 ft-lbs of energy. According to the article, a previous study determined that 60 ft-lbs is needed for a disabling blow, so being on the receiving end of such a shot would not be fun, but probably not lethal. The .22 would be even less lethal, as it has a lower mass, and thus less energy to dissipate on impact.

    In fact, the .22 would have a lower terminal velocity than the .30. Terminal velocity is achieved when the force due to gravity is equalled by the force due to drag. The force due to gravity is based on the mass of the bullet, which is in turn proportional to the volume of the bullet, while the force due to drag is related to area of the bullet and its velocity. Because the volume of similarly shaped objects increases faster than a given surface area when the object becomes larger, the force due to gravity will grow faster than the force due to drag at a given velocity (ie terminal velocity) as the size of the bullet increases. Therefore, a higher terminal velocity will be attained by larger caliber bullets.
     
  20. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
  21. mactastic thread starter macrumors 68040

    mactastic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Colly-fornia
    #21
    Plus, the Mythbusters took this one on too (and who can argue with Adam and Jaime?). Straight up is actually the safest :)eek:) airborne trajectory to take. The more the trajectory cants toward the horizontal, the more lethal the falling bullet is.

    But I'd have been wearing a dirty pair of chefs underwear if I'd been in Prudhomme's shoes that day...
     
  22. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Sod off
    #22
    From what I heard, Prudhomme was not "grazed", it was a direct hit.

    It's very unlikely for the bullet to have been tumbling - it was almost certainly on a ballistic trajectory. As Kyle? pointed out, a high-angle ballistic trajectory produces a much higher velocity than the terminal velocity of the same object in free fall - of course it's nearly impossible to fire a bullet *straight* up in the air without putting the gun in a vise and using a level or protractor.

    The .22 is so lightweight that even a light breeze could have slowed it down quite a bit and possibly even caused it to tumble though.

    My guess is that somebody was hunting squirrels, missed, the shot failed to hit any branches, flew out of the canopy in a ballistic trajectory and found Paul Prudhomme's arm a mile away. At that range I would guess the bullet was traveling at 200-250 fps...about the same velocity as a cheap air pistol. Even if it hit him in the head it would not produce a dangerous wound, with the exception of the oft-repeated "you'll shoot your eye out" scenario. Don't get me wrong, being shot is no joke but this incident involves the weakest commonly available caliber hitting someone at extreme range, which mitigates the flip-out factor. The only way this could have killed him is if the sting of the bullet disoriented him and he accidentally performed seppuku on himself with his kitchen knife.

    <MiniRant>

    I listened to Prudhomme being interviewed about this incident on NPR the other day - he joked about it, reminiscing about how his family used to hunt often etc. Robert Siegel then had to play "Radio Host Nanny" and remind the listeners that while they were laughing about certain aspects of this particular incident, NPR did not support, condone, or otherwise in any way associate themselves with the concept of firearms and their use. It was a way over-the-top finger-wagging, very patronizing. Then again, NPR adheres to the rules of political-correctness with standout rigidity.
     
  23. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #23
    Way over the top.
     
  24. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Sod off
    #24
    Hmm, doesn't look that bad in the transcript, does it? But it was the way he said it. :eek::rolleyes:

    Technically they might be going a bit overboard because it is possible that somebody was legally shooting on an adjacent property (we have a 1.5 mile radius to potentially work with). Still, if they were just shooting in the air that violates basic gun safety, period.

    ...But then again maybe I'm projecting all the things I dislike about NPR onto poor old Siegel's disclaimer. At the time I heard it I was struggling in the kitchen with an unruly roast and my temper was flaring, which may have colored the event for me. I often feel they are stereotypically PC.

    Does that count as a backpedal? Or a flip-flop? :D
     
  25. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Palookaville
    #25
    Back-peddling while flip-flopping -- I think that counts as at least an eight on the difficulty scale, so you do get extra points just for trying.

    I listened to the audio and transcribed what I heard. They spent most of the segment laughing and joking about the incident, and talking about cooking. I guess both of them thought under the circumstances it was worth mentioning that getting hit by a stray bullet wasn't inherently humorous.
     

Share This Page