How far do bullets travel?


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Nowhere Man
August 3, 2009, 10:36 AM
My local gun club is redesigning our property. They are able to put in a 400 yard rifle range.

One of the members is concerned that some bullets would not go 400 yards and could create a hazard by ricocheting off of the range floor.

I didn't know how to respond and thought I'd post it here.

I do know a bullet shot towards the ground can ricochet. Will a bullet shot level and allowed to continue until it's energy is gone just fall to the ground or, can it ricochet and leave the range?

:confused:

Dave

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John Wayne
August 3, 2009, 10:42 AM
The local DNR range recently posted a rule that you can't hang targets below 3' from the ground. This is a 200 yard range and they were having problems with bullets hitting the ground and ricocheting above the berm. With the minimum target height, you can at least ensure that anyone who is a decent marksman will fire rounds that hit the backstop before they hit the ground. They also don't allow pistols to be fired (except the big scoped magnums and TC's, etc.) on the rifle range for this reason.

Rembrandt
August 3, 2009, 11:11 AM
How far a bullet travels involves a number of factors, (altitude, caliber, elevation) but this chart should get you in the ball park. There are no charts for ricochet trajectory's. Keeping targets so far off the ground and using lower and overhead baffles will eliminate strays.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v405/Rembrandt51/HowFar.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v405/Rembrandt51/baffle1.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v405/Rembrandt51/baffle2.jpg

Nowhere Man
August 3, 2009, 11:23 AM
Rembrandt,

In the "How far can a rifle shoot" chart, was the test conducted by shooting the rifle at the optimum angle to achieve the greatest distance or, with the rifle held level at a certain height off of the ground?

Dave

Nowhere Man
August 3, 2009, 11:24 AM
I love the pictures of the baffles. The idiots at my range would use them as a place to staple target.


Dave

Shung
August 3, 2009, 11:29 AM
In the "How far can a rifle shoot" chart, was the test conducted by shooting the rifle at the optimum angle to achieve the greatest distance or, with the rifle held level at a certain height off of the ground?

looking at the distances, certainly the 1st method !

Rembrandt
August 3, 2009, 12:55 PM
The pictures of the baffles were taken at the Tenorac range near Lakeland, Fla. when it first opened. At the time I was down there for a gun range seminar. The State if Florida spent nearly 10 million on the facility and gave us the full blown tour. Baffles are filled with pea gravel to stop stray rounds. Range was designed by Clark Vargas & Associates.

Don't know what elevation the guns were held at to get the chart statistics.


http://www.tenoroc.us/Home/tabid/38/Default.aspx

Jim Watson
August 3, 2009, 02:13 PM
Maximum range in air is at an elevation of 32 - 35 degrees, which is why you see those overhead baffles on some ranges.

There is certainly some risk of riccochet off of hard ground but the bullet will be deformed and not travel as far as a high shot over the berm.

Blue .45
August 3, 2009, 09:50 PM
Is there a chart for common handgun calibers?

JimKirk
August 3, 2009, 09:56 PM
http://www.jbmballistics.com/~jbm/cgi-bin/jbmdist-5.0.cgi

Maximum Distance

Jimmy K

Ron James
August 3, 2009, 10:37 PM
It also depends on whether or not they any frequent flyer miles built up.:)

flrfh213
August 3, 2009, 11:34 PM
Ballistic Coefficient...... no just a JHP....


wow

loop
August 4, 2009, 05:47 AM
A friend of mine has a ranch that borders a dry lake bed and we set up our range shooting out at the lake bed. The lake bed is bit more than four miles across and fairly flat. When it fills with water in the rainy season it is no more than four feet deep.

What we have seen from shooting over the lake bed is that ricochets are kind of like skipping stones on a pond. The first "bounce" is pretty long, but it is followed by shorter, faster, bounces. Bear in mind this lake bed is very smooth. It has a fine layer of hardened salts coating it so we don't see odd-angle ricochets.

Shooting things like 30-06 or 8mm Mauser we've seen as many as seven or eight bounces. We've even used binoculars to watch them skitter across the desert.

Rifles like the AK (7.62X39) and .223 don't bounce nearly as far or as many times.

Pistol ammo only gets three to four bounces.

That said, I don't really consider the risk of ricochets to be too severe.

I've been hit by a number of ricochets. Twice they've broken the skin, but they were just a scratch. The one that hurt the most was fired from an 8mm Mauser using armor-piercing ammo. I was curious about its penetration and power and fired at a lava rock at about 100 yards. It came back and hit me in the sternum. It raised a small welt. It did hurt like the dickens and I recall feeling somewhat faint for a moment, but it passed quickly.

At a pistol match last month I got hit with a 9mm ricochet that came from fewer than 25 yards total distance from the muzzle (off of a pepper popper that had been turned sideways by the first shot). It hit my forearm and I got the tiniest little scratch. (Not including it in the ones that made me bleed.)

I live 1.3 miles downrange from a 400-yard rifle range. No one in my neighborhood has ever complained about a bullet issue. A few gripe about the sound of gunfire, but not too many. This is, after all, Arizona.

My sons enjoy our proximity to the range. They can now distinguish a .45 from a 9 or .40 at a distance of 1.3 miles. They sit outside on match night and listen for "daddy's gun." It's the .45 with the boom, but no crack...

I love it because almost every day I am reminded the Second Amendment is alive and well. I know that every time I hear the sound of gunfire to the west...

ChaoSS
August 4, 2009, 07:16 AM
I do know a bullet shot towards the ground can ricochet. Will a bullet shot level and allowed to continue until it's energy is gone just fall to the ground or, can it ricochet and leave the range?


A bullet does not simply keep traveling until it loses energy and drops, rather, as soon as it exits the barrel of the gun it begins to drop. A bullet that is not moving quickly enough to get to 400 yards before it hits the ground will ricochet. (this is all assuming a perfectly level shot)

I would guess that a poorly shot rifle round (such as one shot too low, so it shoots into the ground) would be much more of a danger than one that is already moving so slowly that it simply doesn't make it the full 400 yards before hitting the ground.

I can't answer the question of how dangerous this particular setup is, just thought I would clear up the physics question for you.

jackstinson
August 4, 2009, 07:31 AM
Until they stop.

Nowhere Man
August 4, 2009, 08:11 AM
Let me try to rephrase the question.

Will a .22LR fired from a rifle, held 4 feet off of the ground and, level to the ground, travel 400 yards?

Is there any rifle fired round, using the same scenario, that would not travel 400 yards?


Dave

gbw
August 4, 2009, 08:44 AM
Your question has no answer. It depends on the nature of the ground, the shape and composition of the bullet, initial velocity, ballastic coeffiecient, altitude, etc.

You can get the formula for amount of time required for the bullet to fall 4' from any physics text. Mulitply that time by the initial velocity and you'll get a poor (overly long) approximation to where the FIRST ground strike will occur. A little more work to account for the slowing of the bullet speed horizontally as it falls vertically will yield a much closer approximation of the the actual range of the first strike and the remaining velocity at that point. Beyond that it's guesswork, far too many unknowns, and there is simply no way to tell. Extensive actual testing is the only way to know with any certainty. True for any bullet. You cannot assume that it would not travel far more than your 400 yd. limit.

griz
August 4, 2009, 09:20 AM
Will a .22LR fired from a rifle, held 4 feet off of the ground and, level to the ground, travel 400 yards?

Is there any rifle fired round, using the same scenario, that would not travel 400 yards?

400 yards is a LONG way for a 22 LR. I've fired them at 200 yards and you have to aim several yards high to lob the bullet in. To get it to go 400 I think the amount of elevation would be apparent to a casual observer.

For the second question, there are many pistol caliber rifles and low power rounds that would hit the ground before the bullet got out to 400 yards if you held the gun "level". So much depends on how the gun is sighted in and other factors, but with a 100 yard zero something like a 30-30 will drop well over three feet at 400, enough to hit the ground if fired at a target three feet high.

AR-15Nutt
August 4, 2009, 09:34 AM
did you all know that any rifle or handgun held perfectly level at 4 feet above the ground surface and fired and the exact same bullet dropped at the exact instant the bullet exits the barrel will hit the ground at the same moment ??

some will disagree and call BS, but it has been proven to be true, something to do with the law of gravity and physics.

griz
August 4, 2009, 09:35 AM
By the way, when designing a range you can not assume that everybody will do things "right". You will get a huge variety of skill levels and common sense levels as well.
Otherwise sensible people will:
Set up targets on the ground so the bullets bounce off the ground right behind the target.

Hang targets close enough and high enough to shoot over the backstop.

Shoot as fast as they can without aiming with the attendant muzzle rise.

Shoot from the hip.

And somebody who doesn't know how to shoot (we all started somewhere) will hold the gun in such a way that it isn't pointing where they intended.

And these are all people who think they are being safe because they are shooting downrange. So the only way to be foolproof is have a combination of baffles and backstops (like the range pictured above) so that a round fired ANYWHERE DOWNRANGE will be captured.

Hud
August 4, 2009, 10:37 AM
Nowhere Man,
Will a .22LR fired from a rifle, held 4 feet off of the ground and, level to the ground, travel 400 yards?


Nope.
I ran the numbers for a CCI Mini-Mag & with your criteria the bullet will first strike the ground at approx. 185 yds. As previously stated, it may ricochet & travel farther.
At 400 yds. the same bullet has a drop of approx. 250".

Nowhere Man
August 4, 2009, 10:45 AM
griz wrote;
By the way, when designing a range you can not assume that everybody will do things "right". You will get a huge variety of skill levels and common sense levels as well.


You're exactly right. That's why I said I loved the pictures of the baffles. The idiots at my range would use them as a place to staple targets.

Thanks guys,

Dave

Hud
August 4, 2009, 11:02 AM
AR-15Nutt said
any rifle or handgun held perfectly level at 4 feet above the ground surface and fired and the exact same bullet dropped at the exact instant the bullet exits the barrel will hit the ground at the same moment ?? ...something to do with the law of gravity and physics.

That's what we are taught in high school physics.
True in a vacuum, not so in the atmosphere or we would not need to be concerned with bullet BC's.
The time difference is very small, but then again, drag races are won or lost based on hundredeths of a second.

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