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Railgun Makes Record-Breaking Mach 8 Shot

Like we said before, nothing beats the kinetic killing power of firearms. Yet for all this guaranteed stopping power, gunpowder is no match for pure unadulterated magnetic power. Nowhere else is this more evident than with the Navy's super-sized railgun. In last week's test fire, it achieved a record-breaking muzzle velocity of Mach 8.

That's enough to launch its solid warhead up to 125 miles away, and deliver 32 megajoules on impact. That's the energy of 21 high-speed car collisions all concentrated on a very small target area.

With numbers like that, you'd think that this hypersonic cannon will soon be ready to rain ultra-electromagnetic destruction on America's foes. You'd be wrong of course. The Navy hopes to achieve a final effective range of over 200 miles. The enemy will never know what hit them.

[source: Office of Naval Research via Popular Science]