Table of Contents
Ballistics is the study of the physics involved in the propulsion, flight and terminal impact of a bullet or projectile. These areas are broken down as the following:
- Internal ballistics
- Intermediate ballistics
- External ballistics
- Terminal ballistics
Areas of Ballistics
Internal ballistics starts in the chamber of a firearm, where the chemical energy of a propellant coverts into the kinetic energy of a projectile. It ends when the bullet leaves the muzzle.
Intermediate or transitional ballistics occupies the area between when the bullet leaves the muzzle and the pressure propelling the projectile is equalized.
External ballistics covers the bullet trajectory or flight. If only under the influence of gravity then the bullet trajectory is parabolic. There are other forces at play however:
- Projectile mass.
- Bullet drag coefficients.
- Atmospheric density.
- Spin drift.
- Magnus effect.
- Gravity variation.
- Target movement.
- Temperature (including propellant temperature).
- Muzzle velocity.
- Coriolis effect.
- Eötvös effect.
- Planetary axis deviation.
- Tailwind, crosswind and headwind components.
- Slope inclination.
- Height of sight above the bore centerline.
Terminal ballistics is the study the bullet when it hits the target.
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