Approximate ballistics formulas for spherical pellets in free flight

Date

2018

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

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Abstract

The ballistics equations for spherical pellets in free flight are simplified through appropriate scaling of the pellet velocity and pellet distance. Two different drag coefficient curves are averaged to yield a single curve applicable to shot pellets and round balls. The resulting S-shaped drag coefficient curve is approximated by three straight-line segments. The scaled ballistics equations are then solved exactly and simple formulas are found for the velocity and flight time with respect to trajectory distance. The formulas are applicable to spherical shot pellets and round balls of any composition under any atmospheric conditions. The formulas are amenable to quick and easy computation and may also serve as an aid in understanding and comparing black-box ballistics calculators. For shotshell ballistics, an important assumption in the present investigation is that the pellets are moving as single, free spheres and not as a dense cloud or in a shot column, in particular, the pellets are not interacting during flight. Therefore, the formulas are most appropriate for single round balls, for large shot sizes, and for pellets of small shot size fired from open chokes. The formulas are clear and accessible, and can be implemented by military or law enforcement personnel as well as hunters and shooters. This work differs from previous investigations in that accurate ballistics formulas are derived for spherical projectiles of shotguns and muzzleloaders using realistic drag coefficients.

Description

© 2018 cc-by-nc-nd

Keywords

Ballistics, Drag, Muzzleloader, Nondimensionalization, Shotgun, Sphere

Citation

Allen, E.J.. 2018. Approximate ballistics formulas for spherical pellets in free flight. Defence Technology, 14(1). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dt.2017.11.004

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