100 yard pistol shooting, standard sights?


March 26, 2003, 08:27 PM
I've read this here and there and I can't for the life of me figure out how the hell this is done. I can't even clearly and distinctly make out bullseye past 50 yards let alone even get a group there. 50 FEET is my maximum range for effective shooting. So how are people grouping at 300 feet?

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March 26, 2003, 08:36 PM
I shoot milk jugs out to about 100yds. With the 44mag. It takes alot of practice.:D

March 26, 2003, 09:27 PM
First, see if you can hold steady on a pistol with a red dot, and see if you can get a group, or even hit a paper plate at 50 yards.
If you can't, start where you can, and take a few steps back.
It takes a while,and not every gun/ammo/shooter combination can do it consistantly.
If you can, it impresses the heck out of your friends. ;)
BTW, don't be in a hurry, take your time.
Practice, practice, practice.

March 26, 2003, 09:42 PM
Since you're focusing on your front sight your target need not be clear. However, it does have to be big enough so that you can align the blur of it with your focused front sight. Try shooting at a large bullseye at long distance, it might help out.

March 26, 2003, 09:44 PM
I've only tried it once. I set up a 3'x3' piece of plywood at 100 meters and loaded up my Beretta 92FS. It took about five rounds walked up the range to get the proper elevation, which was about fifteen degrees above horizon. The next ten rounds ended up netting me a 40% hit ratio.

If I try it again, I'll shoot from the prone, but I don't hold out much hope of anything over a 24" group ;)

March 26, 2003, 09:46 PM
I shoot bowling pins with my usp 45 at 100 yards... Just sight like you would normaly and drop the rear sight so that the top of the rear sight is even with the bottom of the white dot on the front sight...blammo:D

March 26, 2003, 10:48 PM
Try 200 METERS. The IHMSA marksmen shoot Rams at 200 meters. Turkeys at 150 meters, Pigs at 100 meters and chickens at 50 meters. With a 44 mag Dan Wesson Revolver, STANDING ON YOUR HIND LEGS. Try it you may like it. 10 inch barrel, 48 ounce handgun.

March 26, 2003, 11:45 PM
The trick is to move your focus from sight to target and back without moving your head or the gun. You don't have to focus on both at the same time.

March 27, 2003, 12:00 AM
If you have the facilities to do it, you will be surprised at how quickly you can start hitting stuff at long range with a handgun. I live in the desert and we often shoot at stuff at long ranges. It is very common to be out shooting and someone says, hey you see that beer can out there, and we shoot at it. After you do this a few hundred or a few thousand times, you get an idea how to hold on the target. I was out bird hunting last year when I saw a coyote run down a hill side into a gulley. It went through some brush and stood broadside to me. I put my shotgun between my legs and drew my Ruger P89. I shot and hit the coyote right behind the front shoulder. My buddy had a laser rangefinder and we later determined the range to be just over 90 yards. I don't think that I could impress anyone with my long range shooting. I certainly couldn't put any kind of decent group on paper. But it is fun to play with. I think a lot of it is psycological. If you shoot at long range, at shorter ranges the target appears huge.

March 27, 2003, 12:05 AM
I can hit aluminum cans fairly frequently at 100 yards. Shooting double action with a S&W revo.

March 27, 2003, 12:28 AM
I've only tried it once. Shooting 45 super from a 6" STI. All I was after was hitting the paper, not interested in grouping. Out of 8 shots, I hit 3 times...I was happy enough :D

March 27, 2003, 12:32 AM
You'd be surprised how "easy" it is to hit at long distance with a short gun. If you have a dump/farm/etc nearby, try aiming at 55 gallon drums. Large icicles hanging from cliffs, etc work quite well too during the wintertime. You need a steady hold to make it work. I generally shoot at a 100 yard rifle range. Any leftovers from regular pistol practice go towards rocks out on the berm at 100-125 yards. It's certainly more entertaining than aiming at a black dot at 7 yards.


Nero Steptoe
March 27, 2003, 12:42 AM
Do a quick search for articles by/about Elmer Keith's long-range sighting methods. You'll be glad you did.

March 27, 2003, 07:45 AM
I like shooting Milk Jugs at 100 yards with a high quality, super accurate pistol like my Mauser .30 cal Broomhandle. It is even easier when I shoot it with the should stock attached. The Mauser's high velocity and flat trajectory make hitting the milk jugs a piece of cake.

March 27, 2003, 11:31 AM
I assure you guys it's possible to shoot things at 100 yards. With a 6" Dan Wesson 22 revolver from a rest, I can usually keep 3 out of 6 shots in the black of a 50 yard small bore rifle target... What's that, 5"

With centerfire, I admit that I don't have a gun that lend's itself exceptionally well to 100 yard shooting. I've tried a couple of 1911s, Taurus PT99 (poor sights), a CZ IPSC Standard and EAA Silver Team and usually get one out of 5 or so in the black of the same target, generally all shots land on the 8.5x11. I used to have a 7.5" Super Blackhawk that was pretty easy to keep on target with.

Sometimes I wonder how 'on' our sights are at shorter distances. Slight problems at 25 yards become big problems at 100 yards. A 185 or 200 Gr 45ACP out of a 5" barrel should only be down about 4" at 100 yards if right on at 25 yards. Point is, with well regulated sights, very little holdover should be needed at 100 yards.

I said on another thread, shooting a normal handgun at 100 yards is a pretty Zen activity. You aren't so much aligning the sights with the target at 100 yards as much as doing pretty much the same as what you do at 25 yards but further out. If you know what to do at 25 yards, just do the exact same thing at 100 yards and you should be close. Larger reactive targets are the easiest and most reqarding. There's a reason so many people have a gong out there.

March 27, 2003, 11:56 AM
Speaking of .22s at long range: When I was growing up, my best friend an I spent a lot of time at the local sportsman's club since our dads were members. They had a handgun silhouette range and beyond the ram targets there was a mastodon target. Now I don't remember how far it was, but it was over 200 meters. Since we were there all the time, we both knew exactly where to hold to hit this target everytime with our .22 pistols. I had a Ruger Standard Model autoloader, and he had a Ruger Single Six. I could get down into what I believe is called the modified creedmore position (on your back with the barrel of the pistol on your strong side leg) and fire the whole mag before the first round hit the target. Then ring, ring, ring........ all ten rounds would clang the target. We would take guys from high school out there to shoot and this was our "shock and awe" campaign. They would be amazed, but in reality, we just shot at it until we learned where to hold.

In centerfire handguns, revolvers are usually the way to go for long range shooting. The have a much larger front sight.

March 27, 2003, 12:05 PM
As the others have said, it's pretty much familiarity. But the garden variety shooter who has trouble hitting paper consistently at 50 feet is shocked and awed when you start plinking beverage cans at 100 yards. A good S&W target model revo has perfect sights for this activity. 22 caliber is the most economical and about as fun as any. Handy said it's about aligning the sights and switching your vision between sights and target without moving anything. Good insight. You can also do it DA much easier than people would believe. I find the DA pull helps steady the gun more than cocking it and trying to squeeze off the shot SA. YMMV

Also a good way to get your DA up to speed as you will probably be using muscles that you don't normally.

March 27, 2003, 12:27 PM
Outa interest ....... I used to shoot long range pistol competition, back in early and mid 80's. Used my Redhawk, std iron sights. We did tho use what was affectionately called a ''flying machine'' .... a usually home made sorta low seat with a support table at front, on which to use a sandbag. So .... aim was steady.

The targets i shot at were 100 yds and 300 yds ... forget size right now but at 300 I expect it was about 8 feet x 6 feet ... pretty big ...... but at that range it sure wasn't lookin much!

Many guys used super hot loads .. for example one of my buddies stoked his 357 Blackhawk with 180 grn bullets on top of a fully compressed Blue Dot charge!! Interestingly .. grouping was not that impressive, tho of course trajectory flatter.

I went other way .... found that a sorta ''44 spl'' type reload worked best. 8.5 grns Red Dot shovin my hard cast Keith 250 grn SWC. .... meant I had to ''lob'' my shots a lot but, surprisingly, the grouping was very acceptable. Never won a first place but beat some of the guys with what seemed better gear.

Sight picture was actually no harder to utilize than with closer ranges .... just meant a lot of eye discipline and a very steady release. I still shoot milk jugs at 100 with .357 and 44 ...... just for hell of it!!

This pic was taken in '84 IIRC.


March 27, 2003, 12:41 PM
Where did you get the chairs ?

March 27, 2003, 01:06 PM
Where did you get the chairs ? 444 - almost all were home made!!! Mine was based on 1 1/2" thin wall steel tube frame - one length for the upright with ''table'' on it ..... and a sorta spreading ''V'' from front to back to accept seat ...... I did some welding and also made it fairly collapsible for carrying .... seat and back was just plywood.

There were many designs ..... each was probably unique!!

March 27, 2003, 01:14 PM
That looked like it would have been a lot of fun.

March 27, 2003, 01:20 PM
In good weather 444, yep, great fun and hell of a challenge. cery satisfying too. Only once did I have weather probs ..... and that made for some very tricky shooting ... but then of course everryone had same deal.

I also used 44 cap and ball at 100 yds ... now THAT was tricky in the wet .... despite great care, invariably had at least one cyl that would not ignite!:p

March 28, 2003, 01:14 PM
I used to shoot some silhouette with 22 LR. At 100 meters you shoot a ram with, IIRC, a body that was about the size of a sheet of typing paper. The good guys were using Anshutz (SP?) bolt action pistols and they seldom missed, shooting reclined with the gun braced against their leg. Some used ordinary 22’s, Ruger MKII for instance, and could still hit most of them.

At ranges with a 100 yard dirt backstop it’s a lot of fun to shoot clay pigeons. The bigger calibers allow you to see the hits better so you can walk the rounds in. 45’s are great for this. Once you figure out how much front sight to hold over the rear blade you can hit often enough to make it fun.

March 28, 2003, 02:53 PM
If you have a place you can do it safely, I think that shooting clays against a dirt backstop is the very best way to start shooting at 100 yards. You get to see where the bullet is going and shooting while aiming for the exact same spot several times shows how much variation you're having as opposed to worrying about how much holdover to use.

March 28, 2003, 03:03 PM
I kill balloons at 100 yds with my Mark23.

March 29, 2003, 10:14 AM
A lot of years ago there were 100 yard pistol matches held on a regular basis, at the old Black Canyon shooting rang North of Phoenix, Az. The shooter sat at a table , and shot at a rifle "A" target. You shot what you brung. If I remember correctly , the match consisted of four ten round stages. I shot the course numerous times , mostly with a Hi Standard .22, and Mod. 1911 .45 . Once a friend insisted I shoot it with his S&W .44 Mag. , he even provided a box of ammo. I didn't do very well with the .44 Mag. I won several times with the .22 , came close with the .45 .
During the same time period , they also held pistol silhouette matches. the animals were set at 25, 50, 75, and 100 yards. The shooting was done offhand ,standing up . Here again, you shot what you brought.
Both of these matches were with open sights . I'm not even sure if pistol optics were even invented at that time.

May 28, 2004, 09:08 PM
The Gunsite 499 (Advanced) class has quite a lot of pistol shooting from various field positions out to 100 yards on plates and Pepper poppers. When you consider that an average man is quite a bit larger than a Popper, and that we learned to hit that popper most of the time, it's a great confidence builder, even though it might not seem to be all that practical. (then again if a threat has a rifle...)

What it really does is to force good technique- frontsight...pressssssssssss.

See my signature !

May 28, 2004, 09:24 PM
orange golf balls with one of my 678 Ruger 2-d-2s...

May 29, 2004, 12:30 AM
As has been mentioned, read Keiths articles and comments on longrange shooting.

When living in N Arizona we had a steel plate, 18" X 30" hanging at 300 yards. With the K-22 I could often make 6 hits for 6 shots. With my 4" 29 the best I could do was 5 hits for 6 shots (Medium loads, 250 gr @1000fps).

I shot a 6" group on paper with a 6" 29 at 100 yds, and a 5" group at 100 yds with a Colt National Match .45 with a .22 conversion kit on it. Linebaugh figures that a 1 1/2" group at 50 yards is not out of the question for a well built sixgun.

Some of this has been said in previous posts, but perhaps some elaboration may be useful.
With some practice and an understanding of the sight picture it's not too tough for a decent pistol shot to make hits at longer ranges. Instead of holding the tops of the front and rear sights even as in close range shooting, keep the front sight and target image the same, but LOWER the rear sight in relation to the front sight. For example, your front sight and target look normal, but the top of the rear sight is about even with the bottom of the red insert of the front sight. Once you understand that, adjust how much front sight to show above the rear for varying ranges. No exact formula for each range, just practice a lot. 100 yards doesn't take very much adjustment from a normal sight picture, but as the range increases, you just hold more front sight above the rear. As Keith mentioned, "..It's an accident when you hit something far away with a sixgun, but the more you shoot at a distance, the more "accidents" you have."(paraphrased)

Experience has shown that trying to keep the tops of both sights even and holding on some (imaginary or always different) point above the target is not as easy or effective as the method explained above, and does not tend to make for as consistant results.

Practice with the 22 is about the best way to gain skill in longer range shooting as long as you can see the hits and work out your sight picture for the range you are shooting. High velocity is not neccesary for good results either. An accurate and consistant load is neccesary. About 1000 fps velocity range makes it easier to hit than slower rounds, but isn't uncomfortable to shoot for extended shooting sessions.

Great topic. Good luck and good shooting.

May 29, 2004, 10:54 AM
I sometimes take my handguns to the 200 yard range and give 'em a spin. The only thing I know about long range handgunning is that for me, it has been easier to achieve consistent hits with my GP-100 than with any of my autopistols.

Three reasons for this. 1) adjustible sights on the revo for elevation and windage and only have fixed on my pistols. 2) the .357 mag is a flat shooter that gets out there in a hurry. 3) My single action mode on the revolver is better than any I have on an autopistol, including my three 1911s.

May 29, 2004, 10:58 AM
Not questioning any of the claims in this thread but it is my opinion that some people lie about accuracy and distance. I think this bears itself out when folks claim substantially better accuracy freehand at distance then the manufacturer advertises from the same weapon on a mechanical rest.


Sean Smith
May 29, 2004, 11:53 AM
I hit mosquitoes in the nuts, but only at 100 yards. With a S&W 642. :evil:

May 29, 2004, 01:42 PM
Boats, I've had better results from revolvers as well. It may have to do with the bullet shape, or just the handling characteristics of the gun for each individual.

jptsr1, What manufacturers claims are you refering to? I've only heard of a couple of manufacturers that have any specific claims regarding accuracy. I have heard Kimber guarantees 1 1/2" at 50 yards.

I shoot kneeling, the reclining leg rest, or sitting with a back support and gun held between the knees whenever possible for longer shots, any help you can get is worth using. I agree that it's a "game", and I don't consider myself a "handgun hunter", though I have killed a deer, several coyotes (between 70 and 125 yards)and a lot of rabbits and squirrels. When I hunt, I prefer a rifle, I can hit much more reliably at distance with one. However, long range pistol shooting is a lot of fun, and is a good skill to know if the need arose. Many express skepticism at the possibility of such shooting, but in this area it's fairly common to shoot longer ranges. As with any other shooting skill, the more you do it, the better results you can achieve. Trap shooters often pull their hair out the first time they shoot sporting clays, but after getting the feel for it, things pick up. I'm amazed at what some people can do with a pool cue on a table, but I don't discount their ability because the cue maker doesn't say it's possible.

I've seen some surprising long range shooting, I've surprised myself sometimes, I know it can be done. A five gallon can at 200 yards will get holes in it, the same can at 300 will get a few. I've shown a number of skeptical people the general technique and they have surprised themselves.

Ben Shepherd
May 29, 2004, 06:38 PM
I pop clay pigeons at 100 yards regulary at 100 with my 9.5" 44 SRH. (In front of witnesses at a marked outdoor range.) Win lunch quite a bit this way. It all comes down to trigger control at these types of distances.

I can usually get 6" 5 shot groups at 100. It takes a carefully made handload and a good rest though. As I posted in another thread, I have nerve damage in my support arm, making rifles difficult. So I've adjusted by learning to shoot my pistols at longer distances.

May 29, 2004, 09:02 PM
The IHMSA ram is 36" wide and 28" high set at 200 meters. For that you need a gun /ammo combination capable of better than about 1.25" at 25 yds. Your eyes BTW , get better(increase their resolution) with more shooting. Read the long range shooting chapter of "SIXGUNS" by Elmer Keith.

May 30, 2004, 12:48 AM
By not knowing the condition of your eyes, just start off with a target that has a large black or orange center.

May 30, 2004, 12:21 PM
I play with long range shooting pretty much every time I go out to shoot handguns. I live in the desert southwest and can shoot at whatever distance I want to up to the maximum range the bullet will travel.
Personally, I have no idea why someone would be skeptical about long range handgun shooting: at least the kind I do. I wouldn't, for a minute, tell you that I could take a given handgun and start placing precision shots on target at 200 yards. But, I will come close on the first shot and will then adjust my fire into the target. I won't hit it every time, but I will hit it often enough to make it fun.
The last time I shot handguns I shot at a propane bottle that was at approx. 150 yards. I didn't measure it, but I have measured out to 100 yards at the spot I was shooting and I think my range estimate is pretty close. I hit it numerous times with both a .22 LR handgun and a .38 Special handgun firing off hand. At least once or twice per cylinder. One of the last go-rounds I hit it four out of six.
The technique that Malamute posts is of course the correct way to do it. I have read articles by Skeeter Skelton and Elmer Keith who outlined the technique. However, I don't do it this way. I just hold over the target. I am usually shooting into a hillside and pick out something on the hillside that I aim at resulting in a hit on the target. This of course is just a game because my technique wouldn't work if there was no background to measure the amount of bullet drop against.
Like anything else, practice makes you able to do things that you might not have thought possible. Several years ago I was bird hunting when a coyote jumped into a wash in front of me. I held my shotgun between my knees and drew my Ruger P89, 9mm handgun. I knew I had a pretty good range estimate because regularly shot at such ranges. I knew where to hold because I regularly shot at such ranges. And I made a first round hit right behind the shoulder at 109 yards measured after the fact by a laser range finder. I don't consider being able to hit something the size of a coyote at that range to be any kind of a big deal. And I don't find it hard to believe at all.
When I was a kid, my dad belonged to a sportsman's club that had a handgun silhouette range. Beyond the Rams they had an elephant target. I used to shoot at it with my Ruger Mk. I, .22 autoloader. You could pretty easily spot your impact in the dirt. Before long I could hit the elephant target on demand simply because I knew exactly where to hold. I used to go out there with my friends in high school and amaze them by firing the whole ten round magazine from a rest, wait a second or two, then hear 10 rings from the target one after the other. Because they had never tried something like this they were awed, but it really wasn't hard if you had done it and knew where to hold.
It is similar to growing up as a kid with a BB gun and shooting in the same places all the time. You learn how much to hold over object that are there all the time and you can hit them on command. It isn't that you are a great shot, it is simply because you have done it hundreds of times.

Range Ninja
May 31, 2004, 08:16 AM
I work at a range and one of the most impressive things I have witnessed is a shooter who sandbag rested his Les Baer TRS and shot a 2" 5 rd group at 100 yds! I kept his target for quite awhile to remind me what good equipment and "familiarity" with your handgun can achieve.

May 31, 2004, 10:39 AM
The best advice that I can give is to use young eyes. Since that is no longer an option for me, I have not tried any serious long range pistol shooting in a while.

When I could do it, I discovered that the heavier bullets usually did better. The twist of most pistol barrels really over-stabilizes them, in my opinion. Selecting the heaviest, which usually means longest bullets helps to overcome this. You don't need a hot load, but you do need a consistent load. I wish that the 357 SIG had been around when I was 25 years old.

I still have a 4" S&W model 13 that will shoot 8" groups at 100 yards all day long, provided the operator does his part. I bet if you set up 6 targets, each one dedicated to a specific chamber, it would do even better.

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