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View Full Version : Which caliber best for long range pistol shooting?


Wicked Pete
07-29-2011, 9:32 AM
Here is my question: what would be a better round for long range pistol shooting? Another Calgunner and I are having an on-going discussion about which caliber for 100 yd. accuracy. If you watch Hickok45 (YouTube) he might say any caliber.

Our topic is mostly 9mm versus .45 cal. He says the .45 has too much drop, too heavy and slower moving. Opposed to the 9mm that has greater muzzle velocity, a faster round with less drop. True?

I do not reload therefore use only over-the-county ammo. Anyone with a little more experience and/or opinion of which caliber is best to “bang the gong” at 100 yds.?

asgalindez
07-29-2011, 9:35 AM
10mm

NytWolf
07-29-2011, 9:38 AM
A few come to mind, but not necessarily in this order:

10mm
357 magnum
41 magnum
357 sig
38 super

For what you're asking, you're not going to find it cost-effective to buy over-the-counter ammo with these calibers.

Kodemonkey
07-29-2011, 9:41 AM
Bullets drop at the same speed (gravity is universal). Therefore, higher velocity will get your bullet to the target faster and in less time for gravity to have effect on the bullet.

I hear 40 shoots pretty flat, but it seems to me a 90 gr 357 mag round going out at 1600fps would shoot "even flatter".

BigDogatPlay
07-29-2011, 9:42 AM
You can "bang the gong" with just about any handgun cartridge at 100 yards. I've shot .45's at 100 yards plus and it's actually kind of fun to lob them in. It's neat watching 230 grain hardball in flight and it gives you a good appreciation for what the pill does through the air.

9mm will reach out as well. 9mm is moderately faster / flatter, but you are still shooting a relatively slow moving pistol bullet out of a (usually) four inch or shorter barrel... so you're going to have to work at it to dial in consistently.

If you are shooting informally at a gong or a plate, .357 Mag with adjustable sights will fill the bill nicely. If you want more accuracy, or are considering metallic silhouette, then you might consider a .41 or .44 Magnum (.41 is superior ballistically on paper and in my experience), or some type of a bottleneck cartridge in a TC Contender or Encore pistol.

jakuda
07-29-2011, 9:43 AM
22, 38 special, 45acp (needs a precise, swaged lead bullet, or a nosler jhp bullet). All rounds should be loaded to be sub-sonic. Super-sonic rounds lose some precision when it breaks the sound barrier. As long as your sights are set to account for bullet drop, you're fine.

generalpetres
07-29-2011, 9:43 AM
nope i would actually have to say the 460 from smith and wesson, if i recall its good out to 200 yards. .460 S&W (http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product4_750001_750051_785511_-1_757771_757767_757751_ProductDisplayErrorView_Y)
GhKT_9cwLZI

Kodemonkey
07-29-2011, 9:44 AM
Then there is 454 Casull doing 1900fps at 240gr and 1923ft lbs :eek:

Shoot flat, but I would guess it would punch through most target steel.

Kodemonkey
07-29-2011, 9:46 AM
nope i would actually have to say the 460 from smith and wesson, if i recall its good out to 200 yards.

Winner. Holy crap that is some energy and speed:

200 gr (13 g) Corbon DPX 2,300 ft/s (700 m/s) 2,350 ft·lbf (3,190 J)

Swift Justice
07-29-2011, 9:50 AM
Accuracy at longe range? 5.7x28. Yeah, I said it. Flat trajectory all the way out to 100 yards and beyond.

shooting4life
07-29-2011, 9:52 AM
445 super mag, shown next to 44 mag. You can get ammo on line.

http://i630.photobucket.com/albums/uu30/shooting4life/89cfcc6f.jpg

The super mag guns were designed to shoot long range and knock stuff down when the bullet got there.

http://i630.photobucket.com/albums/uu30/shooting4life/e4a9336d.jpg

Capt.Dunsel
07-29-2011, 9:57 AM
My choice for long range handgun....
TC Contender in 357 Maximum ( 357 Supermag) keeps up with my 30-06

gose
07-29-2011, 9:59 AM
Drop is pretty much irrelevant if youre shooting at known distances and 100 yards still isnt that far, so other factors like differences in wind drift between a 9 and .45 are small.
If you're serious about long range pistol shooting, you get a Contender in a rifle caliber, if you're just plinking on 100y, the gun you pick, trigger, sight radius etc will be much more important than caliber.

a 124gr 9mm @ 1150 fps will drop ~8" at 100y
a 200gr .45 @ 900 fps will drop ~14" at 100y
and both will drift 0.3-0.4" / mph cross wind, so not really a massive difference.

CK_32
07-29-2011, 10:25 AM
.50 :D

Be a real man!

starsnuffer
07-29-2011, 11:19 AM
Are there any pistols that use .22 mag? That cartridge has almost the same ballistics as .223 at 100 yards, and it's inexpensive to shoot.

-W

Black Majik
07-29-2011, 11:34 AM
I do not reload therefore use only over-the-county ammo. Anyone with a little more experience and/or opinion of which caliber is best to “bang the gong” at 100 yds.?

.22 LR.

I'm serious. With a gun so easy to shoot as long as you know where to hold over you can hit steel at 100 yards with a .22 LR handgun. Since it's so easy you'll probably get the most hits on steel with a .22 over a centerfire handgun.

techshot
07-29-2011, 11:48 AM
I like to use my .357 6" for 100yd's. Once I get a shot or two off I can keep dinging the plates almost every time. Ammo is more expensive then 9mm but less then my 45acp. I feel like it gives me the most umph and accuracy within my price range.

someR1
07-29-2011, 12:02 PM
I agree on .22 being the farthest shooter

9mm will be slightly better than the .40 or .45

but lets be honest, if someone is 100 + yards away, you're going to use a rifle to defend yourself ....hand guns weren't meant to shoot far

BigDogatPlay
07-29-2011, 1:07 PM
but lets be honest, if someone is 100 + yards away, you're going to use a rifle to defend yourself ....hand guns weren't meant to shoot far

While I agree that using a rifle to defend yourself at that distance, and that handguns aren't meant to shoot that far defensively, I'd take the discussion a step further and suggest a deep read of Elmer Keith.

In the 1920's and early 1930's Keith was experimenting with hot .38 Special and .44 Special loads in what are now N frame S&W's, in part around his fascination with hunting using handguns. He was reliably putting hits on man sized targets at 200 yards over sandbags and iron sights, with enough apparent energy to do damage on a soft tissue target.

When the .357 Magnum was introduced in 1935 he moved the target, again man sized, out. He was eventually able to acheive reliable results out to 600 yards. Again... iron sights and using sandbags as a rest.

Given the modern, high energy cartridges we have in this thread and on the market, coupled with optics, I'd wager Keith's experience could be easily replicated. I'd like very much to play with a .460 S&W at 500 or 600 yards as I think it would be more than plenty to knock down anything I'd want to shoot at with it.

westcoast362
07-29-2011, 1:13 PM
How about a Remington XP-100 in .223?

Brd_Hntr
07-29-2011, 1:14 PM
http://www.hunt101.com/uploads/69463/longRangePistolComp.GIF

Comparison of some of the mentioned pistol cartridges for long range. In my experience bigger is definitely better...

7 tcu has a lot more reach than the others. The recoil is mild, but the high bc of the bullet means much better long range performance.

redcliff
07-29-2011, 2:41 PM
Here is my question: what would be a better round for long range pistol shooting? Another Calgunner and I are having an on-going discussion about which caliber for 100 yd. accuracy. If you watch Hickok45 (YouTube) he might say any caliber.

Our topic is mostly 9mm versus .45 cal. He says the .45 has too much drop, too heavy and slower moving. Opposed to the 9mm that has greater muzzle velocity, a faster round with less drop. True?

I do not reload therefore use only over-the-county ammo. Anyone with a little more experience and/or opinion of which caliber is best to “bang the gong” at 100 yds.?

You don't need a special caliber for 100 yards, either the 9mm or 45acp you have will do. Bullet trajectory/performance isn't whats causing you to miss. The 45acp will ring the gong louder.

Bhobbs
07-29-2011, 3:34 PM
I shot my M1 Garand one handed a couple times. Does that count? :D

someR1
07-29-2011, 4:03 PM
While I agree that using a rifle to defend yourself at that distance, and that handguns aren't meant to shoot that far defensively, I'd take the discussion a step further and suggest a deep read of Elmer Keith.

In the 1920's and early 1930's Keith was experimenting with hot .38 Special and .44 Special loads in what are now N frame S&W's, in part around his fascination with hunting using handguns. He was reliably putting hits on man sized targets at 200 yards over sandbags and iron sights, with enough apparent energy to do damage on a soft tissue target.

When the .357 Magnum was introduced in 1935 he moved the target, again man sized, out. He was eventually able to acheive reliable results out to 600 yards. Again... iron sights and using sandbags as a rest.

Given the modern, high energy cartridges we have in this thread and on the market, coupled with optics, I'd wager Keith's experience could be easily replicated. I'd like very much to play with a .460 S&W at 500 or 600 yards as I think it would be more than plenty to knock down anything I'd want to shoot at with it.

Regardless, most handguns and handgun rounds aren't capable of 200+ yard accuracy, epecially with an average shooter. I'm not saying Elmer Keith didn't do it, I'm just saying realistically handguns are better for 0-100 yard kills.

jakuda
07-29-2011, 4:09 PM
Regardless, most handguns and handgun rounds aren't capable of 200+ yard accuracy, epecially with an average shooter. I'm not saying Elmer Keith didn't do it, I'm just saying realistically handguns are better for 0-100 yard kills.

+1. Although sadly, 99% shooters can't seem to group in a 5.5" bullseye even at 25 yards.

Oceanbob
07-29-2011, 4:44 PM
I like 10MM..not exotic and available. It has as much energy at 100 Yards as a .45 auto does at the muzzle.

However, for the FUN FACTOR and long range Zombie Sniping I enjoy shooting my Glock 20 with a 9X25 barrel.

My red-dot scope is zeroed at 150 yards. Extremely fast bullet, close to 2000 Feet Per Second. Fun to shoot.!

(who cares about practical..?...its the FUN FACTOR with these wildcat bullets)

Here she is: 20 round magazine an all....

http://i55.tinypic.com/1z37xo6.jpg

Notice the bullet shape; Double Tap sells them as well as the DIES for reloading. Dillon as well. I just buy them.

http://i51.tinypic.com/11qsoj7.jpg

PRCABR4Christ
07-29-2011, 4:47 PM
10mm

+1

.41mag would also be good, if you want something lighter .357sig shoots pretty flat

CK_32
07-29-2011, 4:51 PM
+1. Although sadly, 99% shooters can't seem to group in a 5.5" bullseye even at 25 yards.

Guilty :(

PRCABR4Christ
07-29-2011, 6:28 PM
+1. Although sadly, 99% shooters can't seem to group in a 5.5" bullseye even at 25 yards.

Amen, not everybody is Elmer Keith LOL I'm somewhat fortunate to be able to hit a 12" gong at 100yds with most of my handguns, but if I'm shooting at 100yds, I prefer a rifle

unusedusername
07-29-2011, 7:29 PM
.22 LR.

I'm serious. With a gun so easy to shoot as long as you know where to hold over you can hit steel at 100 yards with a .22 LR handgun. Since it's so easy you'll probably get the most hits on steel with a .22 over a centerfire handgun.

I've done this with a sig 226 with the 22lr kit on it and it is surprisingly easy to hit the gongs at the sunnyvale range's rifle lanes with it. You need to aim at the very top of the target to hit the middle of it though...

Just don't try this when they are busy or you will get yelled at for using up one of their centerfiire lanes for a pistol...

CK_32
07-29-2011, 7:38 PM
Hahahaha I was going to say uhh any... Hitchcock hits that gong with any pistol.

And I think it's funny when I saw log range I expected 500 yards or maybe 400... Being a rifle guy anything below 400 is a pop shot for warm ups lol funny how the sameword can mean two totally differant things. But I can see how that would be a long shot for a 1/5 size barrel that I have on my 700 and less than 1/4 the powder lol

Still makes me chuckle calling that long range.

axhoaxho
07-29-2011, 9:00 PM
Another vote for the 5.7x28mm

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3408/3255896831_5535e3d0e0.jpg

JTROKS
07-29-2011, 10:01 PM
7-30 Waters.

huckberry668
07-29-2011, 10:01 PM
you'll get a lot of different answers on caliber choices. the truth is they'll all do but it won't hit the gong at 20-feet if the 'gun' ain't accurate enough. '100 yards' shooting with a standard pistol round requires more accuracy than ballistics. So I'd say which ever 'gun' is more than accurate enough to hit the 'gong' at 100 yard will do. Especially since you don't reload.

rshoemaker
07-29-2011, 11:12 PM
ar pistol? I hear good things about 10mm and there is always .45 super wich has similar velocity as the 10mm

BigDogatPlay
07-30-2011, 12:04 AM
Regardless, most handguns and handgun rounds aren't capable of 200+ yard accuracy, epecially with an average shooter. I'm not saying Elmer Keith didn't do it, I'm just saying realistically handguns are better for 0-100 yard kills.

And I don't disagree with your point on 0-100 yards. I do think you would be very surprised what many handguns and handgun rounds are capable of at longer distances, even with an average shooter. After all, half the fun of shooting is learning the capabilities of the weapon(s) and trying new things.

Unless the gun is a complete POS, 99% of them are more potentially accurate than the person firing them is capable of being.

Wicked Pete
07-30-2011, 8:48 AM
"Kentucky Windage" is when you have to adjust for sights that are misaligned, watch where the first one goes, then adjust your aim to the left or right. Or adjusting for high wind.

What would you call adjusting (up and down) for "bullet drop"? Seems like the variable in long range pistol, with blade sights. With a .45; aim 2 feet - above where you want to hit. Eh?

jakuda
07-30-2011, 12:37 PM
....

What would you call adjusting (up and down) for "bullet drop"? Seems like the variable in long range pistol, with blade sights. With a .45; aim 2 feet - above where you want to hit. Eh?

Um....adjusting the elevation screw on my adjustable sights on my pistols? Assuming they can go up that high. If the sights are zeroed at 25 yards, it'll be around 16 clicks up to be on bullseye at 100 yards for an average factory 45acp round.

jonzer77
07-30-2011, 1:00 PM
38 super, it's a suped up 9mm that has a flat trajectory.

redcliff
07-30-2011, 2:05 PM
"Kentucky Windage" is when you have to adjust for sights that are misaligned, watch where the first one goes, then adjust your aim to the left or right. Or adjusting for high wind.

What would you call adjusting (up and down) for "bullet drop"? Seems like the variable in long range pistol, with blade sights. With a .45; aim 2 feet - above where you want to hit. Eh?

Thats certainly one way, but... the easier way is to hold your front sight high in your sight picture and keep everything else the same.

For instance you may raise your front sight by half it's height for your sight picture at long range; the advantage is you aren't "coverring" up the target you're shooting at with your gun. You simply stand your target on your front sight while raising your front sight half of it's height above the rear sight, if that makes sense.

Elmer Keith had special serrations on his front sights to allow him to hold front sight high with repeatable accuracy at different ranges.

CSACANNONEER
07-30-2011, 2:07 PM
A friend of mine has a Contender in .12 squirrel that shoots about 1moa at 100 yards all day long. More common calibers would be 7 TCU, .221 fireball, etc.

dfletcher
07-30-2011, 2:21 PM
I think even the loosest definition of a handgun round would include the 22 Jet and 256 Winchester, either does very well out to 150 yards - probably a touch beyond. Stepping outside the usual and entering the "rifle calibers in a pistol" I'm beginning to like the 350 Remington Magnum using 110 JSPs. They do 3,000 fps and velocities from a 15" Encore are near the original Remmington 600 offering with an 18" bbl.

wu_dot_com
07-30-2011, 2:23 PM
wouldn't the question be can you shoot accurately out to 100 yds rather than what caliber?

as im sure you know, most people >80% cannot hit their intended target beyond 10-15 yds.