I know bullet speed is measured in feet per second and not usually MPH. But if a .357 we shot directly straight into the air from a handgun, how high would it go, roughly?

Didn’t Mythbusters do something about this, kinda? Maybe it was looking at how dangerous the projectile was when it returned to earth, and part of the equation was how high it went, can’t remember. Never mind.

Using the lightest bullet’s muzzle velocity from wikipedia, I get a height of around 45000 feet. The procedure is below

g=9.81 m/s^2

vo=519 m/s

ho=0

h=-.5*g*t^2+vo*t+ho

h=-.5(9.81)(t^2)+519*t

take a derivative to find the time where the bullet reaches its max height, setting dh/dt=0

0=-9.81*t+519

solving for t gives approx 53 s

substitute back into the first equation, and we get the answer.

This, of course, ignores any possible aerodynamic effects due to rifling as well as the possiblity of an angle anything less than vertical.

Mines Mystique

Maybe without the atmoshphere. With an atmosphere your going to be a bit shy of your 45,000 foot number. Well, more than a bit.

Maybe without the atmoshphere. With an atmosphere your going to be a bit shy of your 45,000 foot number. Well, more than a bit.

Thanks, Mines Mystique

Oops.

and these were missing from the above (twice i guess): ’ e

So for those who don’t want to look it up, it appears that the actual max height will be somwhere between 1000-3000 feet for a rifle, according to the FAQ section on the page **astro** referenced. See the question “If a bullet is fired vertically from a rifle, what will its terminal velocity be if it strikes the top of someones head on its way back down?” for more information.

It can go much higher than 1000-3000 feet. A typical rifle bullet (30-06) can exceed 9000 feet. A pistol bullet, like the .357 Magnum, is less aerodynamic and has a lower starting velocity.

A rifle shot can go a lot higher than 3000 feet. When I was in the military, I witnessed somebody take out a plane with 1 shot from a 30 caliber rifle. That plane was a lot higher than 3000 feet.