the liquid whipcrack of a high-powered rifle

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jacdac

Senior Member
Lebanese
A gunshot rang out, the almost liquid whipcrack of a high-powered rifle. Ralph felt the passage of the slug, which meant it had missed the top of his head by no more than an inch or two. The SUV’s passenger side mirror shattered and flew away, hitting the cracked asphalt and tumbling across it in a series of brilliant flashes.
Source: Outsider by Stephen King

What does the liquid whipcrack refer to?

Thank you.
 
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    It’s an imaginative way of describing the sound of the bullet.
    The words are being used in standard ways. You have to use your imagination to “hear” a bullet that flies 2” above your head.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    It's King. There's nothing "liquid" about the sound of a high-powered rifle. I disagree that it is describing the sound of a bullet; the text clearly associates "gunshot" and "almost liquid whipcrack" as references to the noise the gun makes when fired.

    Ralph didn't hear the passage of the slug; he felt it.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    The "whip crack" noise only occurs if the bullet is travelling at supersonic speeds (about 1,125 feet per second). It is the sound of the bullet breaking the sound barrier. Subsonic rounds will make a buzzing noise.

    These noises are independent of the loud explosive sound of the primer and the gun powder igniting. If you are more than 25 yards away from the rifle that noise will not be that loud.

    If you hear noises that close, you should up the ante on your life insurance.:)

    With the exception of .22 caliber rifle rounds almost all rifles have bullets that travel in excess of the speed of sound.

    Note: I am not speaking from experience here. No one has ever taken a shot at me. (They know better.:D)
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    It's King. There's nothing "liquid" about the sound of a high-powered rifle. I disagree that it is describing the sound of a bullet; the text clearly associates "gunshot" and "almost liquid whipcrack" as references to the noise the gun makes when fired.

    Ralph didn't hear the passage of the slug; he felt it.
    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
    Those of us who served on the military had the "pleasure" of working in the "pits" pulling the large targets down to paste and score them. The bullets flew 2-3 feet overhead.
     
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