A gun fires by creating a small explosion behind a bullet. Brit Lab takes a look at how far and fast a bullet can go.

Video Summary

Bullet speed is determined by its shape, mass and the force behind it. A larger explosion means a faster bullet. Additionally, a long muzzle gives the bullet more time to accelerate. This characteristic is called the muzzle velocity. The effective range, how far a bullet goes, is simply how far the bullet can travel while still on target (and still capable of doing damage). Heavier bullets, for any given muzzle velocity, can travel further than light bullets. A Winchester hunting rift can fire a 5.6mm bullet at 1,253 meters per second. A modern shotgun has a muzzle velocity of 400 meters per second, but its effect range is about 50 meters.