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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 7/14/2002 6:46:35 PM EST
This week end, a friend and I were doing some long rang shooting. I was spotting for him and eventually moved to be right behind him with the scope. I started to see what I thought were near misses, quickly followed by the round hitting near by, wasn't sure what I was seeing.

I finally figured out we were seeing the shockwave of the bullet as it traveled towards the target. You could sometimes even make out the trajectory. I swear to god it looked just like the trail left by slow-mo bullets in The Matrix. I guess I couldn't see it until I got right behind the path of the bullet and it's path kept it in the scope the entire time.

If you have never seen this, you gotta try it!
Link Posted: 7/14/2002 6:53:42 PM EST
Is there a certain temp or humidity factor that must be present to enhance the effect?
I'd like to see it.
Link Posted: 7/14/2002 6:57:05 PM EST
Did you find out if you can see it up close?
Link Posted: 7/14/2002 7:01:51 PM EST
The best I ever saw it was at Perry. It was hot and dry. ( isn't it always there? ) It is really cool to watch!!
Link Posted: 7/14/2002 7:14:29 PM EST
I've heard of this phenomenon but have never witnessed it myself.

From what I understand the observer has to be right behind the shooter, probably as close to possible to the line of the bore would be helpfull, and the spotting scope focused on the target or just short of the target. Also, I think you have to have the sun directly behind you, ie., shooting north at noon or to the west at sun up, etc. One more also , slower rounds are easier to see, obviously.
Link Posted: 7/14/2002 7:16:50 PM EST
Its a vapor trail (water molecules), similar to a jet flying overhead. Most easily seen while shooting 600 - 1000 yds.
Link Posted: 7/14/2002 7:19:26 PM EST
I don't know if it matters, but the temp was low 90s and pretty high humidity, sun was about high noon. I assume the longer (and straighter) the bullet travels down your line of site, the better.
Link Posted: 7/14/2002 7:20:31 PM EST
It's called a bullet trace, nothing new if you shoot HPower etc...
Link Posted: 7/14/2002 7:43:52 PM EST
A couple years ago I was shooting a .22 rimfire at 170 yards and my buddy swore he could see the bullet itself shining in the sun on it's way to the target. I wasn't able to see anything for sure myself.

Back when I was in the Army, I was supporting a Mk. 19 range one time and looking out across a large "impact area." At another range maybe a half mile or so away, they were firing bursts from a 20mm Vulcan out into the same area at maybe a 30 degree angle to my line of sight. The actual gun was hidden from our view, but we could plainly detect "something" moving down range before the sound of firing reached us and before the rounds hit. The projectiles themselves must certainly have been too small and too fast moving for us to see at such a distance and angle. I figure it was shock waves causing some sort of refraction in the air and slightly distorting our view of the background scenery in the "wake" of the bullets. The super-rapid string of continuous shots probably drew and held our attention much more than a single shot would have done, human reaction times being what they are.
Link Posted: 7/14/2002 8:12:45 PM EST
I once watched my brother shooting subsonic .22s, and I swear I could see sunlight reflecting off of the bullet. But just for a split second.
Link Posted: 7/14/2002 8:24:58 PM EST

Originally Posted By smoken44:
Its a vapor trail (water molecules), similar to a jet flying overhead. Most easily seen while shooting 600 - 1000 yds.


No, its light being bent, as the immediate air aroud the trail is being compressed.

Its easy to see if you video tape your shooting.
GG
Link Posted: 7/14/2002 8:54:41 PM EST
There is a video somewhere online of that same effect.
Link Posted: 7/14/2002 9:00:37 PM EST
I'm gonna go with the Guru's answer here. I just saw the exact same thing yesterday at the tactical rifle match. When I was behind and slightly to the right of a shooter, for a split second I could see distortion waves exactly like heat mirage coming off of hot pavement, except the waves came from the bullet path instead of the ground. I figured it had something to do with the combination of heat, humidity and compression of the air trailing the bullet. It was really awesome!
Link Posted: 7/15/2002 4:41:32 AM EST

about 40 or so years ago when i lived in Ohio, i got my brand new Sako Vixen .222 Rem., i wud go out in the evening to shoot "Whistlepigs", the air was usually humid & many tymes i saw VAPOR trails behind the bullet.., on other days i saw the SHOCK WAVE effect, there is another high velocity phenomenon, but you have to be down range & looking at a 90 degree angle to the bulets travel, but you can see the shock wave & feel it also, most folks will frown at this but it was an experiment that a VERY TRUSTED friend & i performed, the biggest & most impressive was the 7mm Rem. Mag. it & i am quite certain other similar calibers will do the same, but the shock wave will send chills thru your body you never experienced......

Link Posted: 7/15/2002 6:18:22 AM EST
When service rifle high power matches were dominated by .30 cal. rifles, it wasn't uncommon for shooters and coaches to observe this phenomenon as part of their "discipline".

Cool, isn't it?
Link Posted: 7/15/2002 8:37:23 AM EST
The only time I've ever seen something like that I was at an indoor range. The range was big tube with a light that you turned on right next to you. I was standing next to my friend and I could see the .40 cal rounds everytime. It was really cool. I'm going to have to try and see the "bullet wake".
Scott
Link Posted: 7/15/2002 9:14:59 AM EST
The XM1911 rounds out of my buddies USPc .45 were moving slow enough I could see them!!
We usally use Fiocchi, I cannot see those.

I was in the next both over, his light was shining down on him and his target.

It was really neat. I had him try my fullsize USP .45 w. XM1911 and I couldn't see then bullets then.
Link Posted: 7/15/2002 9:32:43 AM EST

Link Posted: 7/15/2002 11:22:47 AM EST
Link Posted: 7/15/2002 5:51:23 PM EST
This was caught on camera earlier this year. The gun is a full size 1911 with 230 FMJ bullets. The gas cloud and bullet are visible.

Link Posted: 7/15/2002 6:47:16 PM EST
wow that's a realy cool picture
Link Posted: 7/16/2002 4:03:18 AM EST
Grock,

that is even cooler when you are inside the plane...!! i rode back seat in U.S.Navy F-4 Phantoms, it is so damn cool to break the sound barrier, you can see the shock wave move across the skin of the aircraft, front to rear, then when ya come back thru the shock wave moves from the rear to the front.....

if ya ever get a chance to fly super sonic go for it !!, there is not much of a thrill past mach 1, but i have been mach 2 & it's just a bit faster....., thats all, & the silence is almost deafening, you can not hear the engines, but you can "feel" them.......

it's a blast !!!!!!!!!!!
Link Posted: 7/16/2002 12:55:40 PM EST

Originally Posted By newtoma:

I finally figured out we were seeing the shockwave of the bullet as it traveled towards the target. You could sometimes even make out the trajectory. I swear to god it looked just like the trail left by slow-mo bullets in The Matrix.





I've seen Barretts do that a lot. After the shot, you could see a straight line of ripples in the air. Probably because of the weather.

Link Posted: 7/16/2002 1:59:11 PM EST
I've seen .45ACP bullets flying. If you stand behind an IPSC shooter and the sun is just right, it almost looks like tracers.
VERY COOL.
With the morning sun behind the targets, the sun will glint off the bullets.
Link Posted: 7/17/2002 12:02:11 AM EST

Originally Posted By macloud:
This was caught on camera earlier this year. The gun is a full size 1911 with 230 FMJ bullets. The gas cloud and bullet are visible.




I'm VERY skeptical that the bullet appears in this photo. For one thing, the hammer appears to be cocked and the slide is already fully forward. The bullet would be long gone by that time. Not to mention that it would have to be one heck of a high speed exposure to "freeze" the bullet, when taken at that angle to the bullet's path.

If the bullet was still that near the gun, I'd expect the slide to be just unlocking or maybe open 1/4 inch max.
Link Posted: 7/17/2002 2:25:52 AM EST

Originally Posted By RBAD:
That is simply amazing !




nice red X
Link Posted: 7/17/2002 3:07:07 AM EST

Originally Posted By rahimiv:

nice red X



I see the bullet breaking the sound barrier just fine.
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