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We used to do a lot of long range shooting with handguns, mostly revolvers. We had several places to do it; one was a 28 acre soybean/corn field. We shot at a 55 gallon drum, using the hood of a pickup as a rest. We estimated it to be a little over 500 yards. Using large caliber guns (.45 Colt, .41 Mag) it wasn't all that hard to walk the slugs into the target. The barrel is still there, full of holes. Shooting the .45 Colt at 800-900 fps, it seemed to take forever for the 'plunk' sound to arrive but you have to consider that's the time it took for the bullet to strike PLUS the time it took for the sound wave to come back to the shooter. That old barrel is still there but there are too many houses close to that field now to shoot there.

Hardest to hit with was .45 1911 because of the front sight.
 

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Long range pistols are something many don't practice.

Spring and summer, when we are shooting every week, most of our drills are inside 15 yards. We do generally shoot at least one 10 shot slow fire string at 25 yards off hand. We have a 2/3 IPSC silhouette at 35 yards which is the 'stop plate' for one of our standard drills.

Occasionally we will do a 'walk back': We start at 40 yards. Each shooter takes 1 off hand shot at a full size IPSC silhouette (18" x 30"). Those who hit move back 10 yards and repeat. We do this with either our carry or home defense pistols. It's great fun. I once got back to 70 yards with my 640 Pro.

The 'Epic Walk Back': We started at 40 yards with 17 shooters. I was shooting a Glock 19 and went out at 120 yards. 3 shooters advanced to 130 yards. 2 missed. My cousin, Joe,, was the survivor. He was shooting a Walther PPQ. When one of us losers made a good natured 'lucky shot' comment, Joe stepped back to 140 and put a round on steel!

The Walk Back is a great low round count drill.
I routinely shoot from 50-85. I've had my Springfield semi autos out to 100. I have had a couple of my Blackhawks out to 200. 12"x22" silhouettes. I don't shoot my Smith's out that far because I only have the 460 & 500 magnums. If I miss and overshoot the backstop, they are going a really long way before they run out of gas. I like to shoot those at 50-65 but I can pelt 8" round plates at that distance pretty consistently. I shoot so dang much I have to push myself otherwise I get bored. Takes accurate sights, a stead hand, the ability to see the target and an idea of how much each round drops at a given distance.
 

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How high over do you have to aim at 50 yards or are the sight adjustable enough??
At fifty I use my normal sight alignment with a 6 o'clock hold on the head of the silhouette for center of mass torso hits. Like Jonesy said, at longer ranges it's a matter of putting the front sight 6 o'clock on the target and learning how far to bring the front sight up out of the rear sight notch. That way you aren't covering the target with the front sight or having to hold over. When I was a teenager a friend of the family showed me how to hit a 5 gallon bucket at 100 yards with an H&R .22 revolver. He called the high front sight hold "Shootin' with a coarse bead."
 

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Bullet speed has a lot to do with your hold. A .22lr from a revolver, depending on ammo and barrel length could be moving anywhere from 800-1000 fps. Once you reach magnum velocities, 1200-1400 fps, there’s very little drop at those distances (100 yards), if any. Depends on how heavy the bullet is. At super magnum velocities 1700-2000 fps, you can actually see rise instead of drop.
 

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All bullets follow a similar trajectory, regardless of velocity. If the sights are above the bore, the bullet rises, crosses the line of sight at a close distance, remains above line of sight for a distance until gravity pulls it back down to line of sight, then continues falling below line of sight. The shooter compensates by holding under the desired point of impact for very close targets and holding over for targets beyond the "sighted in" range. The shape of this trajectory is known as 'parabolic.'
 

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At fifty I use my normal sight alignment with a 6 o'clock hold on the head of the silhouette for center of mass torso hits. Like Jonesy said, at longer ranges it's a matter of putting the front sight 6 o'clock on the target and learning how far to bring the front sight up out of the rear sight notch. That way you aren't covering the target with the front sight or having to hold over. When I was a teenager a friend of the family showed me how to hit a 5 gallon bucket at 100 yards with an H&R .22 revolver. He called the high front sight hold "Shootin' with a coarse bead."

I never shoot a handgun that far, I looked up the ballistics of a 45 ACP looks like it only drops maybe 1-2 inches at 50 yards. I was thinking it was more.
So the sights can be adjusted enough to compensate for the drop?
 

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All bullets follow a similar trajectory, regardless of velocity. If the sights are above the bore, the bullet rises, crosses the line of sight at a close distance, remains above line of sight for a distance until gravity pulls it back down to line of sight, then continues falling below line of sight. The shooter compensates by holding under the desired point of impact for very close targets and holding over for targets beyond the "sighted in" range. The shape of this trajectory is known as 'parabolic.'

The faster that bullet is moving the longer it’ll take for it to peak in rise and the slower (more distance it’ll cover) it’ll drop.
 

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Fall of gravity is a constant, speed and momentum are not. An object weighing 20 lb will fall straight down at the same rate over time as an object weighing 100lbs. That's rate/time. A faster moving object, moving horizontal will cover more distance relative to the rate of fall by gravity. That's why at 100 yards, a slower moving bullet will drop more than a faster one. Momentum because of the weight factor vs drag will determine how fast its velocity is lost. A lighter bullet, the same diameter bullet, with the same BC will lose energy, therefore lose speed, faster than one that is heavier.
 

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As I also said earlier, the distance at which a bullet reaches its peak height will be a factor in the bullet drop. It would be important to note the point of impact at 25 yards vs 50 yards vs 100 yards with similar bullets traveling at different speeds. The faster moving bullet will have a flatter arc in its climb. It is possible to have a + point of impact with a faster bullet when slower moving bullets have a - point of impact. The examples I gave above show that, as do these:

Font Pattern Number Circle Brand


The 454 @ 1800 fps didn't reach peak until about 75 yards. That's why its point of impact is so high.
 
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