Bullets collided in mid air?

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With 2015 being the 100th anniversary of the second year the First World War entered, there has been much media reporting and renewed interest. In addition, it is also the centennial of the Gallipoli landings on April 25th, 1915. Within this wave of media coverage, a number of social media sites have been releasing this picture of “Two bullets collided in mid-air”. All sorts of people are raving about it on Twitter and Facebook, and it even has an Imgur, and Reddit page. The whole premise is that the rounds collided with each other in mid air, thus saving the lives of two combatants and so forth (among other crazy assertions). However, take a look closer at the picture. It’s quite obvious that yes, one round collided with another. But the round on the left doesn’t have any rifling on it whatsoever, whereas the round on the right does. They collided alright, it’s just that the round on the left probably wasn’t moving as fast as an actual speeding bullet. Maybe it was part of a clip on an ANZAC soldiers webgear as he was in an attack, or some other bizarre reason. But this most certainly wasn’t the intersection of two trajectories between the lines.

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Unlike some faux internet sensation, these minie balls actually did meet in mid air, at the battle of Petersburg, or “The Crater” in the American Civil War. Projectile velocity and proximity of combatants was much slower and closer back then.

Regardless of the facts, the picture itself is very compelling and is interesting to ponder on, given the juxtaposition of both of these rounds, regardless of how they got there. And of course, the Gallipoli anniversary this past month and the fact that these are apart of a private collection in Turkey.

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Some more examples of collided rounds. But somehow, these aren’t as emotionally compelling as the quality in the main picture.



Miles V

Former Infantry Marine, and currently studying at Indiana University. I’ve written for Small Arms Review and Small Arms Defense Journal, and have had a teenie tiny photo that appeared in GQ. Specifically, I’m very interested in small arms history, development, and Military/LE usage within the Middle East, and Central Asia.

If you want to reach out, let me know about an error I’ve made, something I can add to the post, or just talk guns and how much Grunts love naps, hit me up at miles@tfb.tv


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  • lucusloc

    I find it strange how stuff like this becomes a momentary internet sensation.

    • Look at the timing, and the why of it. Timing is around the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing, and the why is because Turkey is going through a real identity crisis right now. With ISIS on their borders, the Kurds facing a real chance of becoming an independent nation, talk from other countries asking Turkey to finally officially recognize the Armenian genocide, and not to mention much internal corruption and strife, it’s no wonder that stuff like this is popular among Turkish social media and leaking out into the international scene. Seeing an image of two bullets colliding (supposedly in mid-air) kind of sums up the violence that Turkey went through, and is still going through, while also showing a parallel sort of miracle that somehow occurred 100 years ago, is still relevant to today.

  • Herr Wolf

    I don’t think Churchill would have lost too much sleep over a few more casualties at his Gallipoli bloodbath failure anyway.

    • Yellow Devil

      I think he more than made it up for his foresight of Chamberlain’s failure to deal with Hitler and his overall leadership rallying the British to fight the Nazi war machine, even knowing full well it would be the final nail in the coffin for the dying British empire.

  • I think that based on the bending at the base of the pierced bullet, we can reasonably conclude that the bullet struck a complete cartridge, and not another flying bullet. The bend corresponds closely with where the bullet would have been seated in the neck of the cartridge, which would have caused the base to bend when struck by the projectile.

    • Great point, I hope you read into the context of the article to see that I pointed out that I debased the internet theory of them colliding in mid-air, but that certainly adds weight to it.

  • SirOliverHumperdink

    Impressive that someone even bothered to save them.

  • WFA

    Wonder if these are actually “trench art items” made by troops to sell or send to loved ones as curios.

  • Jpax

    When metals collide at high velocity the impact pressure causes a change of phase-state in the inferior material (or in both materials if they are similar), .. for a few millionths of a second it ..or they.. become a liquid.

    So, density is a big deal for penetration. If the intervening material can be made to ‘give-up’ (by not being, per se, metal anymore for a moment) then the penetration will be very high as only the penetrator remains a solid .. while the barrier behaves as a liquid.

    Check this video of bullet impacts filmed at 1 million frames per second. Relative to the materials from each example – strongs survive, weaks liquify, equals cancel out, independent of which is moving or not moving:

    In the examples from this article, that dynamic was in play .. but only barely as these would have been very low velocity collisions, with likely only one of the pair having been in motion. At actual rifle velocities both bullets (being similar materials) would become splatter.

    • Ron Fox

      That video was mesmerizing. Thanks for sharing that

  • Tassiebush

    It’s worth pointing out this could also have been an Indian, French or British soldier’s webbing. As Australians we make a big deal of this battle and probably drive much discussion on it but a lot of other countries were also present fighting hard and suffering.

  • Blake

    Yep, American Civil War in-flight bullet collisions were not that uncommon. There are a couple of examples in the museum in my town.

  • Darrell

    Reminds me of those CSA belt buckles with minie balls embedded in them. Fake, in other words.

  • Brad Ferguson

    When I was a youngster my Dad took me to Gettysburg. The thing that made the biggest impression on was……………….On display in the museum were, 2 lead balls had collided in midair and wrapped themselves around one another. When you consider the weapons were muzzle loaders…………..Just amazing.

  • Zebra Dun

    Back when I was a kid we had dirt clod wars, we marveled slack jawed when one kids dirt clod collided in mid air with another kids dirt clod, no doubt saving some kid from having his eye put out.

  • Jamie Clemons

    It would be interesting to see a slow motion video of two bullets colliding.

  • WFDT

    The Anzac bullets are at right-angles to each other, leading me to believe that it’s one bullet striking a round in a clip, not striking each other in mid-air.

  • Lockmazter

    Can anyone explain to me just what the F#%K the first part of the first sentence of this article is supposed to mean? What does “the 100th anniversary of the second year the First World War entered” MEAN????