How fast does a bullet accelerate as it leaves a gun barrel? © Getty Images

How fast does a bullet accelerate as it leaves a gun barrel?

'Muzzle velocity' is the speed of a bullet at the moment it leaves the barrel of a gun. This speed depends on both the type of gun and the type of bullet.

Asked by: Mark Ellis, Oxford

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‘Muzzle velocity’ depends on the type of gun and bullet, with high-velocity rifles firing bullets at much higher speeds than small handguns. But the explosive charge that propels a bullet out of a gun will typically produce accelerations of over 100,000 times that due to gravity. That means a bullet goes from a standing start to the speed of sound after travelling less than 50mm.


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