There's been a lot of talk about guns in here lately, and there's
something I've always wondered about...
I don't know how far a regular pistol or rifle will shoot, but this web
site about the battleship USS Missouri (which is the one that McArther
accepted the Japanese surrender on at the end of WWII)
states as follows:
"Missouri's main battery consisted of nine 16 in (406 mm)/50 cal Mark 7
guns, which could fire 2,700 lb (1,200 kg) armor-piercing shells some 20
mi (32.2 km)."
20 miles! Geez. Obviously, that's a lot farther than any rifle or
pistol will shoot.
Is that because:
a) the gunpowder used in those cannons is more powerful than the stuff
used in regular bullets,
b) or is it because the battleship's cannons are pointed upward to
c) or is it that the cannon's barrel is longer so the power in the
explosion acts on the projectile for a longer period of time, thereby
accelerating the shell more than a bullet
d) or something else entirely.
It just strikes me as odd. I'm thinking that the ratio of lengths
between a bullet in a rifle barrel and a shell in a cannon barrel would
probably be pretty similar. So, what accounts for the cannon having 20
times the range? Is it just that the gunpowder used in the cannon is 20
times as powerful as than that used in bullets, or is it that the shell
stays in it's barrel 20 times longer than a bullet and therefore
receives 20 times as much of a push?