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smith & wesson semi-auto

Over-stabilized bullet

Over-stabilized bullet on a high angle trajectory

This figure schematically shows an over-stabilized bullet on a high-angle trajectory.

An over-stabilized bullet rotates too fast and its axis tends to keep its orientation in space. The bullet´s longitudional axis becomes uncapable to follow the bending path of the trajectory. Over-stabilization is said to occur, if the angle enclosed between the bullet´s axis of form and the tangent to the trajectory (the yaw of repose) exceeds a value of approximately 10°.

Over-stabilization of a bullet is most probable, if a bullet has excessive static stability (a high value of sg and a low value for the tractability factorGo to formula) and is fired at a high angle of departure, especially when fired vertically. An over-stabilized bullet on a high-angle trajectory lands base first.

However, when firing bullets from handguns, over-stabilization is of minor importance in normal shooting situation, but must be considered when firing at high angles of elevation.

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