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Thread: How close to hear a bullet?

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    How close to hear a bullet?

    Recently my father was talking about a situation where he was in a wooded area, during deer season in Pennslyvania, and heard a crack, followed by a whiz - the sound of a bullet nearby. Got us wondering how close does one have to be in order to hear that sound - obviously, too close for comfort, but neither one of us knew the answer to that one. Would there be a difference based on air/weather conditions, type of bullet, etc?

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    " Be NOT ye afraid of them..
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    Quote Originally Posted by .223Pound View Post
    Recently my father was talking about a situation where he was in a wooded area, during deer season in Pennslyvania, and heard a crack, followed by a whiz - the sound of a bullet nearby. Got us wondering how close does one have to be in order to hear that sound - obviously, too close for comfort, but neither one of us knew the answer to that one. Would there be a difference based on air/weather conditions, type of bullet, etc?
    Bullets are about 145-150dB, so...quarter mile maybe?
    The "whizzz" sounds like it was tumbling, and I can hear that from 100+ yards with just a .22.

    No way to tell.

    I do know the air turbulence/shock of a supersonic 5.56 round will shake my camera from a few feet away.

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    Stabilized bullet in flight makes a hissing/sizzling sound based on being on the pistol range adjacent to a turd on the adjacent rifle range. Think I could hear it from about 100' away, but possibly further if the muzzle blast was covering.

    Public range, I didn't notice any sound from shotgun pellets at about 75'. Have read that Brenneke slugs make a distinct sound versus others, but haven't been in on a slug fly by.

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    Really depends on atmosphere conditions, winds, cloud levels and thickness etc. but mostly would depend on bullet speed and direction of travel. (toward, away from, perpendicular to listeners ear)

    My experience with long range shooting involved being in a “pit” behind a hill and concrete wall where targets were raised over our heads and people 1,000 yards away were firing at them. This is wide open sky, non-wooded area. Essentially bullets were flying about 15 feet directly over our heads and 100 ft away from us was the berm. It’s quite a brow raising situation the first time you hear a bullet whiz over your head and smack into something.
    The sounds went something like this:

    Very very loud crack that seemed to resonate throughout the whole atmosphere. No way to tell what direction it came from. No hiss or whiz though.
    Immediately after, I mean simultaneously, you hear the slam of the bullet into the berm, or whatever it hit. That in comparison is louder to the ear than the supersonic crack. It over powered the crack sound in a way. I mean even .308 at 1,000 yards sounded like Nolan Ryan just slammed a fast ball directly into that berm from point blank range. Bullet is probably louder than that if anything. Then the 338 bullets were even more impactful, by A LOT.
    About a second after the crack/smack you hear the muzzle report.

    Remember the muzzle was pointing directly down range at us. If it were facing away, we probably would have never heard anything. If it were shooting perpendicular to us we probably would have only heard the muzzle report and a long faint hiss.

    I’m guessing if your father heard a sudden crack and whiz in a wooded area the he was within a few hundred yards of the path of travel. Undoubtedly someone shot at an angle towards him; meaning he was forward of being 90 deg (perpendicular) to the muzzle. How close was the bullet, y’all will never know. The woods could have echoed and expounded some sounds for sure. Still too close for comfort nonetheless. If he didn’t hear the bullet smack a tree, dirt, or animal then maybe he was more than 100 yards away as I remember that smack being much louder than the crack. And if he heard a hiss or whiz then I bet it’s even safer to say he had some distance from the path of the bullet; meaning he was maybe 45 degrees or more from the direction of bullet travel.

    One hears that hiss when the bullet is traveling for quite some distance perpendicular to where they are. I think if it had come within a few feet from your father that he wouldn't hear the hiss coming and once it passed all he would have heard was the crack, no hiss or whiz. The fact that your father heard a hiss was probably a good thing.
    Last edited by matemike; 10-19-19 at 17:42.
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    Quote Originally Posted by matemike View Post
    Really depends on atmosphere conditions, winds, cloud thickness and levels etc. but mostly would depend on bullet speed and direction of travel. (toward, away from, perpendicular to from listeners ear)

    My experience with long range shooting involved being in a “pit” behind a hill and concrete wall where targets were raised over our heads and people 1,000 yards away were firing at them. This is wide open sky, non-wooded area. Essentially bullets were flying about 15 feet directly over our heads and 100 ft away from us was the berm. It’s quite a brow raising situation the first time you hear a bullet whiz over your head and smack into something.
    The sounds went something like this:

    Very very loud crack that seemed to resonate throughout the whole atmosphere. No way to tell what direction it came from. No hiss or whiz though.
    Immediately after, I mean simultaneously, you hear the slam of the bullet into the berm, or whatever it hit. That in comparison is louder to the ear than the supersonic crack. It over powered the crack sound in a way. I mean even .308 at 1,000 yards sounded like Nolan Ryan just slammed a fast ball directly into that berm from 3 ft alway. Probably louder than that. Then the 338 bullets were even more impactful, by a lot.
    About a second after the crack/smack you hear the muzzle report.

    Remember the muzzle was pointing directly down range right at us. If it were facing away, probably would have never heard anything. If it were shooting perpendicular to us we probably would have only heard the muzzle report and a long faint hiss.

    I’m guessing if your father heard a sudden crack and whiz in a wooded area the we was within a few hundred yards. Undoubtedly someone shot at an angle towards him. How close was the bullet, y’all will never know. The woods could have echoed and expounded some sounds for sure. Too close for comfort. If he didn’t hear the bullet smack a tree, dirt, or animal then maybe he was more than 100 yards away as I remember that smack being much louder than the crack. And if he heard a hiss or whiz then I bet it’s even safer to say he had some distance from the path of the bullet. You hear that hiss when the bullet is traveling for quite some distance perpendicular to where you are. I think if it were came within a few feet from you that you don’t hear the hiss coming and once it passed all you would have heard was the crack, no hiss. The fact that your father heard a hiss was probably a good thing.
    This.

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    Hearing that crack or pop is chilling.

    Especially followed by a close up metallic *pang* or *crunch* by a wall. Close up with pistol calibers is worse.

    And if you feel a thump or a slice and its numb then wet. Well, I have bad news for you.....

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    A jerk off fired about 8 shots a me from 200 yards away. By the report I presume 22lr. I could very clearly hear the bullets as they flew past me.
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    Pappabear fired a 1000 yard shot over/past me when I was setting steel at 600 yards or so. (our targets weren't in a direct line so I was off to the side about a hundred yards)

    When the bullet snapped by me, I thought someone fired a pistol 50 yards from me. I had no idea what happened at first, but it was fairly loud.
    "You people have too much time on your hands." - scottryan

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