The whip would be around 10–11 feet long and most likely made from some steel alloy. If we were to ignore the strength limitations of humans and assume that someone could actually effectively use this theoretical whip as they would a normal one, would it be able to crack the same way that a whip usually does. Could this solid metal whip produce firearm like ballistics if the tip had the same mass as a rifle caliber round, and would the whip be able to survive the forces at play and not destroy itself. (plz ignore my horrible grammar, I'm an engineer in training and should probably be studying for my exam instead of asking this question).

  • $\begingroup$ Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking. $\endgroup$
    – Community Bot
    Nov 3, 2023 at 1:51

2 Answers 2



And the reason I say no will come across as quite nit-picky, but I think it's rather relevant.

Assuming for the moment that at the moment the Whip cracks, the tip departs the whip with the same velocity/energy as your 5.56 round - there are 3 immediate problems which is why I say the ballistics will not be the same.

1: The direction of travel vs the shape of the whip tip.

So with your bullet - it's shaped to be aerodynamic (ignoring WW1 inverted rounds) in the direction of travel. Pointy at one end, spitzer'd at the other - nice.

Your whip crack tip however - assuming one is able to crack it in such a manner as to accurately in the desired direction would most likely shear off the end - even if this is by design - you first have the problem of uneven breakage - but worst of all - you don't have a means of controlling exactly when the break will be and what angle the now projectile will have relative to it's trajectory. It could be nice and aligned - but more likely it's going to be at an angle - this is going to impact your Ballistics.

2: Barrel length vs indeterminacy of the above.

So, for a rifle - we have Barrel length and the sight radius and various other things to try and make sure that everything is as tightly aligned as possible 1 degree offset at 100 yards is 5.2 feet - that's more than a Human's width. Realistically - a good quality 5.56 platform with 1 MOA is accurate to 0.16 degrees.

I don't think it's feasible that someone could crack a whip and have a projectile detach within such a narrow window.

3: Spin!

The big thing about Rifles is that they are... Rifled! those grooves in the Barrel aren't there to increase manufacturing costs - nope - they spin the projectile and impart a degree of stability for the projectile that leads to predictability - the Bullet goes in approximately the direction you want it.

Your Whip crack, if it's going to spin at all, it likely to spin/tumble in the direction of flight, rather than perpendicular to it (like a rifle round) - this combined with the angle of the projectile when it breaks relative to the direction of travel means your projectile will probably be similar enough as makes no difference within a short distance - but air drag and tumbling and lack of stability etc. etc. will mean significantly different Ballistics

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ So I did not think of the idea that the tip breaking off would be intentional, but that is a very interesting idea. I should have explained better, but I meant that if the whip is cracked would it be able to inflict the same if not greater damage than a rifle as the metal tip would be moving at approximately twice the speed of sound and have the same mass as the rifle projectile. If the whip was made of say s7 shock steel could is realistically in the hands of some super human be used repeated the same way that a normal whip functions $\endgroup$ Nov 3, 2023 at 3:57
  • $\begingroup$ @TannerFerguson If you want to know whether a metal tipped whip could deal comparable damage to a bullet at normal whip range, that would be a good follow-up question to ask. $\endgroup$ Nov 3, 2023 at 15:48
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @sam_phillips_1628534640: As far as I understand, this is the question the OP wanted to ask. I've re-read the question a few times, and at no point to they ask about a whip "firing" a bullet. $\endgroup$ Nov 3, 2023 at 15:55
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @MatthieuM. Ballistics refers to the science of projectiles, which implies disconnected from the whip. I can see the original intention, but as written this answers the question. $\endgroup$ Nov 3, 2023 at 16:45
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @MatthieuM. - I think the question OP wanted to ask is about terminal Ballistics - however, that's a completely different question. FWIW - answer is still no, but for completely different reasons. $\endgroup$ Nov 3, 2023 at 17:52

Here is a supersonic trebuchet video. It has a fair amount of physics in it if you are interested. So, the speeds are possible. It does not spin what it launches, but this was never the aim of the thing. But at least the velocity part of the problem has been comprehensively answered.


This site is temporarily in read-only mode and not accepting new answers.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .