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View Poll Results: More bullets have been fired in...
The American Revolution 7 18.42%
The sum of all American movies. 30 78.95%
Pass. Next question. 1 2.63%
Voters: 38. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-14-2021, 05:33 PM  
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An offseason random question

More bullets have been fired in ....


A. The American Revolution.

B. Every movie ever made in the USA.


Rules.

Movies typically don't use real bullets, so you can assume that it's "fake gunshots" to be technically correct. Also, we're only counting gunshots that are seen or heard onscreen, so there's no implied gunfire in WWII movies where you assume that Stalingrad is happening even though the movie is about Bataan. So for movies, count it only if you see the gun being fired onscreen or you hear the gunshot.

For the American Revolution, we're counting bullets on all side: American, British, and all of the various mercenary groups like Hessians, Germans, French, Indians, etc.

Gunshots include all firearms, and so can include cannons, rifles, pistols, mortars, etc., that fire projectiles. However, gunshots will include ONLY gunpowder-based weapons, so we're not talking about lasers, directed energy weapons, trebuchets, or household items launched via telekinetics. Similarly, we will only count items that are fired as projectiles, so we don't include sticks of dynamite, bombs, or Fat Man/Little Boy.

Last edited by Rain Man; 07-14-2021 at 05:40 PM..
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Old 07-14-2021, 11:46 PM   #2
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Ok, let's estiguess the shit out of this one.

American Revolution.
There were about 265 notable battles. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...ry_War_battles
The most number of American Soldiers on the battle field at any time was about 13,000. Most battles would have far fewer. Let's call it 2500, with another 2500 British.
Soldiers typically carried 20 to 30 rounds, but a typical battle using tactics at the time would consist of a few volley exchanges, followed by bayonet/hatchet charges. Let's call it 10 rounds fired per combatant per battle.https://www.ncpedia.org/history/usrevolution/soldiers

Max upper limit might be 265 battles*5000 combatants per battle*10 rounds per combatant = 13M rounds

American Cinema
Estimates of the number of American movies range from 50,000 to 500,000. Assuming Rain Man is referring to the narrower range of movies (defined as having an MPAA release number or appearing on IMDB) there have been around 50K movies made.

So taking our 13M rounds and dividing by 50,000 movies gives us a break even of 265 rounds fired per movie. As a reference point, The Matrix (a movie with above average automatic weapons fire) had around 2000 rounds fired. Clearly it is on the high end of distribution of all American Movies.

On average, I'm fairly confident that there are less than an average of 265 rounds fired per American movie, but it is in the ball park. The number of rounds fired in the American Revolution is probably a high estimate. Still, I am going with the estimates here, and going to say more rounds were fired in the American Revolution, but would not be surprised either way.
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Old 07-14-2021, 11:55 PM   #3
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As a ground truth, there were around 24,000 combat wounds on both sides during the American Revolution. https://www.battlefields.org/learn/a...evolution-faqs

Which equates to around one wound per 500 rounds fired.

In comparison in WWII it is estimated the 45,000 rounds were fired per kill. http://www.shootingrangeindustries.c...aining-helped/ So if anything, my estimate of 13M rounds fired during the American Revolution might be on the low side. Based on this, I feel better about going against the Chiefs Planet consensus (and my own intuition) and choosing more rounds fired in the American Revolution, compared to movies.

War consists primarily of scared soldiers firing blindly.
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Old 07-15-2021, 12:00 AM   #4
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I think that between the opening scene in Saving Private Ryan and this scene from Predator, you have your answer.

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Old 07-15-2021, 01:40 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdcox View Post
Ok, let's estiguess the shit out of this one.

American Revolution.
There were about 265 notable battles. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...ry_War_battles
The most number of American Soldiers on the battle field at any time was about 13,000. Most battles would have far fewer. Let's call it 2500, with another 2500 British.
Soldiers typically carried 20 to 30 rounds, but a typical battle using tactics at the time would consist of a few volley exchanges, followed by bayonet/hatchet charges. Let's call it 10 rounds fired per combatant per battle.https://www.ncpedia.org/history/usrevolution/soldiers

Max upper limit might be 265 battles*5000 combatants per battle*10 rounds per combatant = 13M rounds

American Cinema
Estimates of the number of American movies range from 50,000 to 500,000. Assuming Rain Man is referring to the narrower range of movies (defined as having an MPAA release number or appearing on IMDB) there have been around 50K movies made.

So taking our 13M rounds and dividing by 50,000 movies gives us a break even of 265 rounds fired per movie. As a reference point, The Matrix (a movie with above average automatic weapons fire) had around 2000 rounds fired. Clearly it is on the high end of distribution of all American Movies.

On average, I'm fairly confident that there are less than an average of 265 rounds fired per American movie, but it is in the ball park. The number of rounds fired in the American Revolution is probably a high estimate. Still, I am going with the estimates here, and going to say more rounds were fired in the American Revolution, but would not be surprised either way.
This is an interesting analysis. I wanted to do something similar, but settled for guessing. My thinking was that there was a good number of soldiers in the Revolution and it lasted a long time, but there wasn't a large quantity of gunfire just due to the loading rate.

My hunch was that most movies have a very low rate of gunfire. Pretty much anything other than a war movie is going to have 50 or fewer gunshots, even if it's a Clint Eastwood or Charles Bronson movie. So then we have to ponder the scenes in war movies as our main source of gunfire, and those tend to be relatively short, maybe three minutes at most in a scene. So you have to have a LOT more movies than Revolutionary War battles.

But some movies are going to have a heckuva lot of gunfire. You get a movie like Platoon or Saving Private Ryan, and their short scenes are pumping out a whole lot of bullets The opening of Private Ryan would probably be in the top 50 in Revolutionary War battles based on ammo flying.

I eventually concluded that movies might have more just due to the volume of World War II films that exists, but I could easily be convinced that the opposite is true.
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Old 07-15-2021, 06:22 AM   #6
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Are you kidding? One Frank Clark uzi can fire more shots in 3 seconds than were fired in the entire war. Of course the movies win.
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Old 07-15-2021, 08:23 AM   #7
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I think moar bull ets were fired in that one scene in predator where (**** I'm forgetting his name.. the wrestler) has the mini gun and he decides that there is enough jungle in his vicinity... than any movie
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Old 07-15-2021, 02:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdcox View Post
As a ground truth, there were around 24,000 combat wounds on both sides during the American Revolution. https://www.battlefields.org/learn/a...evolution-faqs

Which equates to around one wound per 500 rounds fired.

In comparison in WWII it is estimated the 45,000 rounds were fired per kill. http://www.shootingrangeindustries.c...aining-helped/ So if anything, my estimate of 13M rounds fired during the American Revolution might be on the low side. Based on this, I feel better about going against the Chiefs Planet consensus (and my own intuition) and choosing more rounds fired in the American Revolution, compared to movies.

War consists primarily of scared soldiers firing blindly.
For wars in the WW I time frame and earlier, war consisted mostly of soldiers dying of disease.
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Old 07-15-2021, 02:53 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ChiefBlueCFC View Post
I think moar bull ets were fired in that one scene in predator where (**** I'm forgetting his name.. the wrestler) has the mini gun and he decides that there is enough jungle in his vicinity... than any movie World War Two
Fixed
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Old 07-15-2021, 03:02 PM   #10
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The question was answered when RM's rules said "Movies typically don't use real bullets".

While I appreciate the math that cdcox did, he forgot to add in the rounds fired in hit and run tactics made famous by Francis Marion. One of my many times great-grandathers was one of Marion's men and he wrote they rarely fired more than 1 round.
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Old 07-15-2021, 04:27 PM   #11
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Between 1997 and 2016, the average number of shots in a movie is 1,045. About 800 movies are released per year. So, in 20 years it's 16,720,000 rounds. Imagine the previous 100 years of movies.

https://stephenfollows.com/many-shots-average-movie/
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Old 07-15-2021, 05:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tx4chiefs View Post
Between 1997 and 2016, the average number of shots in a movie is 1,045. About 800 movies are released per year. So, in 20 years it's 16,720,000 rounds. Imagine the previous 100 years of movies.

https://stephenfollows.com/many-shots-average-movie/

but a movie generally doesn't use actual bullets
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Old 07-15-2021, 05:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tx4chiefs View Post
Between 1997 and 2016, the average number of shots in a movie is 1,045. About 800 movies are released per year. So, in 20 years it's 16,720,000 rounds. Imagine the previous 100 years of movies.

https://stephenfollows.com/many-shots-average-movie/
Had me going until I realized the data was for camera shots rather than gunshots.
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Old 07-15-2021, 05:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chief Pagan View Post
For wars in the WW I time frame and earlier, war consisted mostly of soldiers dying of disease.
I did not count disease victims in my Revolutionary war dead.
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Old 07-15-2021, 08:34 PM   #15
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It's undoubtedly close IMO.

Movies like Heat, Dredd, Scarface, Saving Private Ryan, Predator, Rambo, Public Enemies, Commando, Die Hard, The Matrix, The Expendables, The Winter Soldier, etc, you have 10's of thousands of rounds likely fired in some of them which at least makes you think it's possible it matches the Revolution.

I don't know, there's a lot of movies with a lot of gunfire out there.

Comparatively, I think cdcox is probably spot on... a max fire rate of 3 rounds per minute (and getting worse with more powder clogging up the musket), even firing in 3 ranks means the enemy is probably upon you long before you could conceivably use your 27-30 rounds.

And, many of the American soldiers probably had flintlock rifles which took far longer to load than muskets. I'd agree that 10-15 million shots is probably the range. Who knows for sure though.

I'll vote on the side of the Revolution but its hard to compute/rationalize how many gunshots are in a movie because your basing it on muzzle flashing and/or mixed sounds.
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