If you watch any news program, you are bound to see footage of gun-toting militants in various parts of the world firing AKs heavenward in celebration or protest or whatever. But have you ever wondered what happens to all those Kalash slugs? Oddly enough, there was real scientific research performed on the subject by the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps between 1918 and 1920 by a young officer who would later become the noted firearms writer Major General Julian Hatcher
Here’s some of what the Army found:
*The tests were conducted with a machine gun locked in a fixture that held the barrel vertically. The gun was sited so that the bullets would fall either on still water or on sand. The men doing the shooting were protected by armor over their heads.
*Using 150-grain service bullets, it was calculated that the slugs would strike the earth with an energy of about 30 foot pounds. At the time, the Army believed that 60 foot-pounds were required to produce a disabling wound.
*On the downward trip, the bullets would reach a point where air resistance equaled the force of gravity. At this point, they were traveling at 300 fps, and they would not go any faster.
* At 9000 feet, at the apex of the bullet’s path, and for the first 16 feet of its fall, it is moving only 32 fps, giving the strong winds at this altitude plenty of time to push on it. Of 500 rounds fired from a 10-foot-square platform, only 4 struck it on the return trip. That’s why if you shoot a slug straight up, it will probably not crack your skull on the way down.
But it may crack someone else’s, so I advise against doing it.