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I have been volunteered by my wife to teach about bullet flight to a group of homeschool kids of which my two sons belong. How can I make it interesting to a group of 10-12 yr olds? Is there a website I can go to for help?

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Hi, sduve:
  That was last week's lesson in Hunter Safety, so I'll give it a try. The only website I'm familar with is way too advanced for your kids, but you should take a look at it.

 We roll it in with sighting in, so we show why a student needs to know a bit about external ballistics. The only big word we use is trajectory and that's because it's on the exam. Otherwise we'd call it the bullet's path.

  Start by pointing out that the barrel is below the sights and the bullet starts dropping as soon as the bullet leaves the barrel. So you have to tilt the barrel up to hit the target. Illustrate the line of sight, line of bore and trajectory. Show them that the bullet crosses the line of sight twice and compare it to throwing underhand. Tell them that the bullet starts dropping faster once it passes the sight-in distance. The Canadian text skips this, so I've made up a graph showing a .22 LR trajectory.
 0 yds.   -.8 in.
25 yds.  +1.4 in.
50 yds.  +1.7 in.
75 yds.   0.0 in.
100 yds.  -4.0 in.
125 yds. -10.4 in.

  Tell them that air resistance slows the bullet down and the wind blows it sideways. We don't use numbers here. Emphasize maximum range. Always work safety into your discussion.

  Most people, once they realize the bullet doesn't defy gravity, but climbs because the barrel is tilted up, assume that it drops at the same rate as if you had dropped it vertically from your hand. It actually gets some lift from the air and drops at a slower rate. I had to straighten out a high school physics teacher on that one.

  As to the ballistic coefficient, we just tell them that if a round nose and a pointed bullet are fired at the same muzzle velocity, the pointed bullet will be going as fast at 300 yds as the round nose bullet is at 200 yards.

  Use a toy top to illustrate the gyroscopic stability the rifling gives the bullet. I put it on the textbook, spin it up, then pick up the textbook and move it sideways. You can compare a bullet to a football thrown with a good spiral vs. an end over ender.

  It's getting close to bedtime. Give me a holler if you need some more hints.


(Edited by Jack Monteith at 10:41 pm on Feb. 27, 2001)

(Edited by Jack Monteith at 10:44 pm on Feb. 27, 2001)
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