When a bullet passes through air, it creates a high pressure area in front of, and around it, and creates a slight increase in temperature as the bullet impacts the molecules in the air. The pressure and temperature difference creates enough of a disturbance to bend light slightly. The result is a what appears to be a wavy donut that enters the bottom of your field of view, arcs upward above the target, and drops down into the target. (I call it a “wavy donut,” JD calls it the “undulating donut of death.” I like his better.)
Seeing this phenomenon with my own eye was really amazing. I knew how rifles worked, I knew the physics involved, I knew the trajectory was parabolic, and I’ve seen many charts of bullet flight path; but it’s still hard for your brain to wrap around the idea of a tiny thing flying through the air at 2800 feet per second. Actually seeing it happen seemed to dispel the magic the non-logical part of my brain was convinced was involved. Squeezing a trigger here, didn’t just make something happen there; it began a very simple set of physical principals that ended in a predictable manner that I could view with my eye.
Plus, it was wicked cool.
May 11, 2009
[Yup. It’s wicked cool alright.
On the longer shots you can see the bullet arc up above the target and the wind push it off to the side. Then, if you called the range and wind doping right you are rewarded with seeing that wavy donut drop into a little white box on the hillside and transform it into a red flash and a cloud of water vapor 20 feet tall. You and your partners are in the middle of whoops of joy when the boom hits you. The boom is a deep earth shaking sound that video cameras and sound equipment somehow cannot adequately capture with enough fidelity to duplicate the thump to your chest you feel when you are there live.
There are still two positions available at Boomershoot 2010. They are positions #2 and #4. Even though they are in the “.50 Caliber Ghetto” smaller caliber shooters may use them with the restriction that the tree line targets are not available. Sign up here.–Joe]