How Much Do You Know About Ballistics?

Annette

Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Do you know about the science of projectiles? Basically, ballistics studies any kind of projectiles, but we mostly associate it with guns. In this quiz, we're going to test your knowledge of the way things fly!

Which projectile is most commonly associated with the study of ballistics?

Ballistics mostly takes a look at the movement of bullets. These are projectiles that are fired from guns.

The science of ballistics shows us the _____ of projectiles.

The science of ballistics shows us both the path and behavior of projectiles. There are four main categories of ballistics.

The word "ballistics" is ____ in origin.

The word "ballistics" comes from the Latin word "ballista." This refers to an ancient military machine that threw stones.

Ballistics is mainly known for its role in _____.

Ballistics is very important for investigative purposes. If there is a shooting, a ballistics specialist helps to determine what happened. But ballistics is also involved in military/political and certain economic systems, to varying degrees.

Does ballistics study the bullet's path through the barrel?

Yes, ballistics includes the study of the path of a bullet through the barrel. Ballistics also studies its moment through the air and through its target.

The _____ of gunpowder is what propels the bullet.

Explosion and detonation are used interchangeably to describe what happens to the gunpowder. The effect propels the bullet down the barrel of the gun.

The distance a bullet travels depends on its _____.

The distance that a bullet can travel will depend upon its speed, which represents the energy at work.

What is yaw?

Yaw is the twisting or spinning effect that you also see in a football or spacecraft. Yaw definitely impacts the flight of a bullet.

A bullet is slowed by _____.

The frictional resistance of air, as well as the downward pull of gravity, will eventually slow the bullet down. The faster the bullet is traveling, the longer this process will take.

Which has a stronger firing chamber?

A rifle has a stronger firing chamber. That means that bullets fired from a rifle have more energy than that of a handgun.

The gunpowder of a handgun would likely ____ the barrel of a rifle.

The gunpowder of a handgun would be way too much for a rifle. In fact, it would likely rupture the barrel.

When gunpowder is detonated, it does what?

When gunpowder is detonated, it generates gas. This creates the force and pressure that propel the bullet.

Internal pressure pushes the _____ of a bullet.

The pressure from the gunpowder pushes the base of the bullet, which is essentially the size of the diameter of the gun's barrel. This doesn't allow for much gunpowder to contact any other part of the bullet.

A longer barrel produces a ____ bullet.

The longer a bullet travels down a barrel, the more speed it gains before exiting. Especially over long distances, this increase in speed can help with accuracy.

Does the shape of the bullet affect speed?

The shape of a bullet very much affects speed, for the same reason rockets and cars are designed to be aerodynamic. A pointed projectile will experience less friction from air. Even though the word "bullet" comes from a French word for "little ball," this is one of several very good reasons most people don't use muskets anymore.

External ballistics studies what happens outside the _____.

External ballistics studies the path of the bullet outside of the barrel. The path that it takes depends upon a number of factors.

______ of a rifle causes a bullet to spin.

The barrel of a rifle is what causes the bullet to spin. It has grooves that encourage a tight spin.

The core of a bullet is usually _____.

The core of a bullet is typically made of lead. But because this can deform, antimony and copper are often added.

The core of a bullet is also often ____ .

The "soft" lead core of a bullet is often jacketed with steel or another gilding metal to keep it from expanding after contact. Hence the phrase "Full Metal Jacket".

What can medical examiners determine from tissue damage?

Tissue damage is examined by forensics specialists in order to determine what type of bullet was used. They can do this even if the bullet has exploded.

Bullets are responsible for _____ .

Both of these terms express how bullets damage a body - shredding and also creating a hole in tissue. Be safe out there, everybody.

Ballistics experts can determine which of these?

A ballistics expert at a crime scene is able to determine all of these facts. The firearm can be identified by viewing the bullet or the casings on the scene.

Striations are like _______.

Striations are markings left on a bullet by the firearm used. These markings are unique to each weapon, like fingerprints.

_____ ballistics refers to the study of projectiles when they reach their target.

The angle and depth of an entry wound can tell a lot.

Does a gunshot leave residue on the hands?

Yes, a gunshot will leave residue on the hands. Forensic experts can test for this, as it is not removed by normal hand-washing.

If someone allegedly​ committed suicide with a gun, but there's no gunshot residue on their hands, then what?

If there's no gun residue on the hands of someone that supposedly committed suicide with a gun, it would be a red flag for forensics. In that case, it was probably murder.

Ballistics is a field of _____ .

Ballistics is a field of mechanics. Ballistic encompasses not only bullets, but also bombs, rockets and the like.

A ballistic missile is guided by _____.

A ballistic missile is guided by an initial phase of powered flight, but then it's subject to classic mechanics. This is the opposite of a cruise missile.

The earliest known ballistics were _____.

The earliest known ballistics were stones and spears. The list also includes the throwing stick.

Is archery a form of ballistics?

Archery is very much a form of ballistics. It came to America roughly 4,500 years ago.

The first gun was created where?

The first known gun was created in China around 1000 A.D. The technology arrived in Europe in the 13th century.

Anything that propels a projectile is called a projectile ______.

Anything that propels a projectile is called a projectile launcher. Your very arm is a projectile launcher!

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes