Let's put it to a vote ... which way are the barrels pointing relative to the sights?


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1858
November 29, 2010, 03:10 PM
The question of point of aim (POA) vs. point of impact (POI) with regards to handguns comes up regularly. Recoil affects the muzzle during firing and if you consider that a revolver with a sight radius of approximately 4-1/2" will shoot 6" higher at 15 yards with only 0.053" of recoil induced muzzle rise, is it any wonder that handgun manufacturers have to account for this. If you have the time and if you're remotely interested and particularly if you've read THIS (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=557163) thread, which way are the barrels pointing relative to the top of the sights. I'm showing one adjustable sight model and two fixed sight models. The adjustable sight model is held such that the rear sight isn't compressed. There are three options and don't forget that the revolvers are upside down (this wouldn't be a problem for Bob Munden but that's not how most of us shoot our handguns).

When held the right way up and if the sights are aligned with the target ...

The barrels and the top of the sights are PARALLEL (barrels are pointing at the point of aim)
The barrels are pointing ABOVE the point of aim
The barrels are pointing BELOW the point of aim

http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/revolvers/usfa/photos/usfa_upside_down.jpg

http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/revolvers/gp100/photos/gp100_upside_down.jpg

http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/revolvers/gp100/photos/gp100_upside_down_2.jpg

http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/revolvers/blackhawk/photos/blackhawk_upside_down.jpg

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9mmepiphany
November 29, 2010, 03:22 PM
I might suggest that you flip the pictures, because their orientation might throw some folks off.

This will be in interesting poll to follow as it has never occurred to me that there was a question as to the relationship between the bore line and the sight line

Vern Humphrey
November 29, 2010, 03:23 PM
Barrels are pointing below point of aim.

In most, but not all handguns, the gun is in recoil with the barrel rising as the bullet leaves the muzzle. That means to get a hit, the barrel must be pointing below the intended point of impact at the instant the hammer falls.

1858
November 29, 2010, 03:36 PM
I might suggest that you flip the pictures, because their orientation might throw some folks off.

Good idea!!

http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/revolvers/usfa/photos/usfa_upside_down_flipped.jpg

http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/revolvers/gp100/photos/gp100_upside_down_flipped2.jpg

http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/revolvers/gp100/photos/gp100_upside_down_flipped.jpg

http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/revolvers/blackhawk/photos/blackhawk_upside_down_flipped.jpg

1858
November 29, 2010, 03:46 PM
This S&W 629 (used and abused) is not included in the poll but I figured I'd add it anyway to show another model from a different manufacturer.

http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/revolvers/s&w/photos/s&w_upside_down.jpg

http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/revolvers/s&w/photos/s&w_upside_down_flipped.jpg

BCRider
November 29, 2010, 03:52 PM
Well of course the barrels have to point down. All handguns lift the muzzle to some extent before the bullet leaves the barrel and the sights need to take this into account.

I know this is a revolver forum but if you were to do this with a semi auto and had a bore size dowel pushed into the barrel the dowel would be angled down much like the revolver barrels.

The only time a barrel may be parallel or angled up would be for short range shooting of a gun that has a significant amount of distance between the center of the muzzle and the sights. An example of this would be the new Chiappa Rhino when sighted in for fairly close range. Even then I'm not sure if it would come up past parallel or not.

It's also interesting to note that the snub nose Ruger with the short barrel and rated for shooting the fastest ammo of the lot has a very shallow angle where the barrel is just about parallel to the sight's top line. That would reflect short time the bullet spends in the barrel of this gun due to the barrel length and velocity compared to the other examples.

Walkalong
November 29, 2010, 03:58 PM
Voted.

How about a hard question next time. :)

RevolvingGarbage
November 29, 2010, 04:03 PM
Rg40 .38spl
http://img263.imageshack.us/img263/911/1129001457.jpg
http://img152.imageshack.us/img152/5007/copyof1129001457.jpg

orionengnr
November 29, 2010, 11:18 PM
Sorry, but before voting, I will say that this question should be so self-evident that the poll results should be 100% to zero.
Not only is it intuitively apparent, but your pics provide sufficient visual evidence that I must honestly wonder at the reasoning behind the question.

Unless you are looking for someone to come up with some inverted-rainbow barrelled weapon or gravity-defying bullet... or you are doing a "dolt check"... which isn't exactly sporting (IMHO).

Maybe I'm missing something obvious and I'm the dolt...:confused:

1858
November 29, 2010, 11:25 PM
Sorry, but before voting, I will say that this question should be so self-evident that the poll results should be 100% to zero.
Not only is it intuitively apparent, but your pics provide sufficient visual evidence that I must honestly wonder at the reasoning behind the question.

If you look at the thread that I linked to in the first post, it should be obvious as to why I made this poll. I wanted to get an idea as to how many "flat-eathers" there are out there. Seems like there's a bunch.

By the way, that USFA Rodeo shown above from www.longhunt.com shoots to POA at 25 yards using a 200gr bullet and 6.0gr of Trail Boss powder.

9mmepiphany
November 30, 2010, 12:46 AM
OK...now I want to know who the 2 folks are that voted that the bore line is above the sight line :p

I will admit to being surprised when I first found out that the 1911, with the slide locked forward, had the barrel locked at a downward angle at the front...the chamber/barrel hood is higher than the muzzle

1858
November 30, 2010, 01:11 AM
OK...now I want to know who the 2 folks are that voted that the bore line is above the sight line

The poll is public and now there are 3 members who think that the barrels are pointing up relative to the sights ... hmmm.

RevolvingGarbage, thanks for taking the time to present another manufacturer and model.

1858
November 30, 2010, 01:19 AM
I will admit to being surprised when I first found out that the 1911, with the slide locked forward, had the barrel locked at a downward angle at the front...the chamber/barrel hood is higher than the muzzle

Semi-autos can be misleading in this regard and it's easier to show the discrepancy between the sights and the barrel with a revolver. I'll admit that until fairly recently I'd never given a thought to the relationship between the barrel and sights. All I cared about was hitting the target. BCRider makes a very good point about the 3" GP100 chambered for a fast .357 Mag.

9mmepiphany
November 30, 2010, 01:42 AM
I'd like to hear the reasoning of some folks who voted that the bore line is above the sight line.

Honestly, I would. Being an instructor, I'm interested in how people with differing views see things...otherwise I wouldn't be able to address their perceptions. I've actually heard a logical reason from a student for inserting rounds backwards in magazines....it put the famous H&K ad in a whole different light

Norrick
November 30, 2010, 06:56 AM
Would have never guessed.

I'd like to hear the reasoning of some folks who voted that the bore line is above the sight line.

I just assumed the bore would be pointed above point of aim to compensate for the fact that a bullet is falling due to gravity as soon as it exits the barrel. By the time it reaches the target the initial point of aim (of the sights) and point of impact of the projectile would coincide. This was my rationale.

I'm still scratching my head because if you watch slow motion videos of bullets in flight, the amount of motion a gun experiences before a bullet exits the barrel is almost negligible. The bullet is seemingly out of the barrel before the gun even appears to experience any significant muzzle rise:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s37ZTy4hLUU&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5PHkv3f-9U

I am guessing the effect is less pronounced on an autoloader.

berettaprofessor
November 30, 2010, 10:19 AM
Barrel points above point of aim;

Say a gun is sighted for 25 yards. Put it in a vise and level sights at target 10 yards away. Bullet will hit HIGH at 10 yard target. The sights are set to compensate for drop due to gravity at 25 yards (i.e. the barrel angles above the sights) and it doesn't drop that far by 10 yards. Recoil has nothing to do with it; the bullet has already left before the muzzle begins to flip up, revolver or autoloader.

CraigC
November 30, 2010, 11:58 AM
I reckon I'm a flat-earther. You will also notice that the big bores and hard kickers will have taller front sights than say, .357's. You will also notice that shorter barrels usually need taller front sights than longer ones. The conventional wisdom, purported by folks far more knowledgeable than myself, holds true. Despite what 'some' folks may think.

"For a given velocity, heavier bullets will print higher than lighter bullets; for a given bullet weight, lower velocities will print higher than higher velocities."

And of course there are always exceptions....obviously.

9mmepiphany
November 30, 2010, 02:16 PM
Barrel points above point of aim;

...Recoil has nothing to do with it; the bullet has already left before the muzzle begins to flip up, revolver or autoloader.

Just looking at it from Newton's Laws of Motion, wouldn't the gun start moving to the rear as soon as the bullet started to move forward?

Since the bore, and hence the direction of the rearward force is above the pivot point (gripping hand) in a revolver, wouldn't the barrel be levered in an upward arc?

How would you dissociate your statement with that of the pictures posted above showing the bore line obviously pointing at a downward angle compared to the alignment of the sights on a flat surface.

Are you saying that the bore line isn't cut concentrically with the barrel or that there is some optical illusion to what we appear to be seeing?

Walkalong
November 30, 2010, 02:27 PM
I just assumed the bore would be pointed above point of aim to compensate for the fact that a bullet is falling due to gravity as soon as it exits the barrel.For a rifle that is usually correct, especially for scoped rifles, assuming it's sighted in at a reasonable yardage, but we are talking pistols at relatively close range.

Recoil has nothing to do with it; the bullet has already left before the muzzle begins to flip up, revolver or autoloader.The barrel is rising before the bullet exits. Not guesswork, simple fact.

ChristopherG
November 30, 2010, 02:44 PM
The barrel is rising before the bullet exits. Not guesswork, simple fact.

Right; and one proof of this is that a HEAVIER bullet fired at the same velocity as a LIGHTER bullet from the same handgun will impact HIGHER than the lighter bullet at normal handgun distances--because the greater energy required to overcome the heavier bullet's larger inertia causes the barrel to rise more BEFORE the bullet exits. I remember how befuddled I was by this phenomenon when I first encountered it years ago--because I was expecting gravity to be the force at work. Internal ballistics, the instructor said. Neato.

But this is also right:
a bullet is falling due to gravity as soon as it exits the barrel.

IF you mean that the bullet is falling relative to the trajectory at which it leaves the barrel--which has risen during the bullet's travel down its length.

1858
November 30, 2010, 03:03 PM
Barrel points above point of aim;

How can you make that statement based on the photos above? :confused: How can eight other members agree with you based on the photos above? :confused::confused: I honestly wasn't expecting 15% of the votes to be in favor of "the barrel is pointing above the point of aim." :what:

1858
November 30, 2010, 03:07 PM
This will be in interesting poll to follow as it has never occurred to me that there was a question as to the relationship between the bore line and the sight line

Prophetic words indeed ...

Red Cent
November 30, 2010, 03:09 PM
Handgun did not occur to me. My first instinct ws scope. Above POA

Monster Zero
December 1, 2010, 09:45 AM
It's just a plain ol' fact that the barrel points below the point of aim of the sights. Not a matter of opinion, like "what's your favorite revolver", etc.

Vern Humphrey
December 1, 2010, 10:08 AM
It's kind of like asking us to vote whether Pi should be 3.0 or 3.14.

AKElroy
December 1, 2010, 10:10 AM
Handgun--below; rifle--above.

CraigC
December 1, 2010, 10:47 AM
Well, this is the revolver forum, afterall.

The Bushmaster
December 1, 2010, 11:15 AM
Walkalong...Check your Kimber. I just answered wrong in the poll because when I checked my Kimber UCC II the barrel looked like it was pointed slightly up at the muzzle.

berettaprofessor
December 1, 2010, 11:57 AM
The barrel is rising before the bullet exits. Not guesswork, simple fact.

I agree that recoil begins when the bullet starts to move, but the rise is negligable during the time the bullet exits the barrels. Walkalong take a look at the videos below and then tell me if you want to correct your statement; it's a theory, not a fact till you prove it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIqnvdQn5NM&list=PL4842AC9A702314D0&playnext=3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Um9Eos9bJDk&p=4842AC9A702314D0&playnext=1

For a rifle that is usually correct, especially for scoped rifles, assuming it's sighted in at a reasonable yardage, but we are talking pistols at relatively close range.

Pistols/rifles/all the same....physics is physics and the only difference between pistols and rifles is the degree of compensation in the sights for the drop expected by gravity.

How would you dissociate your statement with that of the pictures posted above showing the bore line obviously pointing at a downward angle compared to the alignment of the sights on a flat surface

Good point 9mmepiphany, I can't explain it.

Are all you guys/gals really arguing that if you put a handgun in a vise and fire it with the sights exactly on target that it won't hit below the target?

By the way, the video's are both from a previous thread in General Discussion just from August that was closed (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=540863). Anybody got any better and more recent info? Or should we just close this one now because nobody gets convinced?

9mmepiphany
December 1, 2010, 02:00 PM
Good point 9mmepiphany, I can't explain it.

Are all you guys/gals really arguing that if you put a handgun in a vise and fire it with the sights exactly on target that it won't hit below the target?
Actually we're not...because that wasn't the original question.

The OP was:

When held the right way up and if the sights are aligned with the target ... (Are)
The barrels and the top of the sights are PARALLEL (barrels are pointing at the point of aim)
The barrels are pointing ABOVE the point of aim
The barrels are pointing BELOW the point of aim

...and from the pictures I think you have your photographic proof that when the sights are aligned (on a flat surface), the barrels point below the point of aim

Are you really arguing that the barrels are pointing above the point of aim?

Given the photographic evidence and that no one is arguing that a gun in a vise would hit below the point of aim, you really only have two choices. Either:
1. The gun recoils enough to cause the bullet to launch upward
or
2. The bullet rises on it's own in it's flight downrange

the rise is negligable during the time the bullet exits the barrels.
How much rise at the muzzle would you think it would take to bring the bore above the line of sight?

I have watched both of the video clips that you have attached and don't think that they support your stance...I think you are being distracted by the initial flash before the bullet exits the barrel

1858
December 1, 2010, 03:04 PM
I agree that recoil begins when the bullet starts to move, but the rise is negligable during the time the bullet exits the barrels.

Define NEGLIGIBLE!! I've already given an example earlier when I mentioned my GP100. It has a 4-1/2" sight radius. If it's shooting to point of aim, the barrel would only need to rise by 0.056" to be 6" high at 15 yards. To me, 0.056" is NEGLIGIBLE movement and more than likely I wouldn't notice the barrel rising by such a tiny amount if I were watching a video or someone shooting. But make no mistake, if you double that muzzle rise to 0.120" (just under 1/8"), the POI would be 12" higher!!

Are all you guys/gals really arguing that if you put a handgun in a vise and fire it with the sights exactly on target that it won't hit below the target?

No, that's exactly the point. If a handgun is fixed in a vice and CAN'T move, and the sights are aligned with the target, the bullet will impact where the barrel is pointing i.e. LOW. But you have to realize, when we fire a handgun offhand, we align the sights BEFORE the bullet starts to move down the barrel. If you could freeze the handgun at the very instant the bullet leaves the barrel, the barrel will be pointing at the POA (if you've done it right) but the sights will be aligned with a point on the target ABOVE the point of aim. This is where manufactures of fixed sight models have to scratch their heads and make an educated guess as to the most likely type of ammunition that an owner will use. For my GP100 with a 3" barrel, Ruger probably assumed I would be shooting something like 125gr .357 Mag ammunition since it just about shoots to POA at 15 yards with that type of loads.

ants
December 1, 2010, 03:24 PM
...I was going to vote Above, but too many people voted that choice already. It won't be funny any more.



Try this: Shoot your gun (ANY type of action) and adjust the sights at any range you want. Then get one of those lazer bore-sighters and stick it in the muzzle, then aim the gun at your chosen distance. You just learned something, didn't you?




Those who use a Ransom Rest know to use the sights just as a point of reference, because the POI will not be the same as hand-held shooting.

KodiakBeer
December 1, 2010, 03:53 PM
Pistols/rifles/all the same....physics is physics and the only difference between pistols and rifles is the degree of compensation in the sights for the drop expected by gravity.

The amount of that drop is measured by the length of time the bullet is in flight. If the target is 10 yards away (30 feet) and the speed of the bullet is 1000 fps then the bullet doesn't have time to drop more than a negligible amount in that time. .03 of second? Hold a slug at arms length and time the distance it falls in .03 seconds... It's certainly not enough to bother compensating the sights for that drop.

wanderinwalker
December 1, 2010, 07:42 PM
Pistols/rifles/all the same....physics is physics and the only difference between pistols and rifles is the degree of compensation in the sights for the drop expected by gravity.



Completely different ranges and barrel dwell times, apples to oranges.

Consider this: As a rough rule of thumb, a movement of 8 thousandths of an inch (that's measured as .008") will shift a bullet fired from a rifle 1" at 100 yards. This is a very rough rule, as it varies a lot by sight radius, but you get the idea.

Think of the clicks on an adjustable sighted handgun. These will shift your POI about 3/4" at 25-yards on most models, again depending on sight radius. Can you look at the sights, adjust them a click and then tell they've moved using the old Mk I eyeball?

The firearm starts moving in reaction to the bullet moving down the barrel. The changes required to shift where that bullet impacts downrange are SO SLIGHT the even on high speed, while it looks like the bullet has left the barrel before recoil starts, the muzzle is in fact rising.

I used to have this discussion with one of my old coworkers. He never did believe me that the gun is moving before the bullet exits the barrel.

murf
December 1, 2010, 09:23 PM
interesting post. had to pull out the weapons and check. the only thing i have with barrels pointing above line-of-sight are my 2 ruger 22 auto's (a markI and III). both sighted in 6" high at 25 yards. the s&w41, k22 and bearcat come close, but are below LOS. everything else is well below LOS.

murf

oldfool
December 2, 2010, 09:26 AM
OK...now I want to know who the 2 folks are that voted that the bore line is above the sight line :p

I will admit to being surprised when I first found out that the 1911, with the slide locked forward, had the barrel locked at a downward angle at the front...the chamber/barrel hood is higher than the muzzle
I voted with the majority of course... but like all questions, it can be parsed

depending on adjustment range of your rear sight, and how far you are throwing lead at distant enough target, (bullet drop compensation req'd no matter how hefty the recoil), the barrel bore most certainly will be pointed upward slope relative to line of sight (bore line not "above", sights not mounted under the barrel of course, but at upward slope)
obvious analogy is a rear ladder sight on an old Sharps buffalo rifle.. or a scoped gun

true, not a likely out-of-box sight setup on any handgun I can think of, but some folks do throw lead a whole lot further out there than I do

Vern Humphrey
December 2, 2010, 09:36 AM
As I mentioned earlier, some but not all handguns point below the line of sight. The exceptions are those sighted for very long range which are mostly specialty pistols like the Thompson-Center single shots chambered in rifle calibers.

berettaprofessor
December 2, 2010, 11:56 AM
To paraphrase Maya Angelou, "Life has taught me undeniably that surrender, in its place, is as honorable as resistance, especially if one has no choice.

Yeah, that's me surrendering....to the math of 1858.

m33p0n3
December 2, 2010, 01:17 PM
So basically the sights should be pointing at an upward slope in relation to the bore, until you hit the point where the bullet drop due to gravity is great enough to offset the change in bore direction while the bullet is still in the barrel?

chicharrones
December 2, 2010, 02:41 PM
Well, this is the revolver forum, afterall.

Ooops. I voted with "rifle think" too. :p

murf
December 2, 2010, 03:43 PM
yes, m33p0n3, that is correct.

murf

BCRider
December 2, 2010, 04:17 PM
Remember the 4 position front sights that were available from S&W at one point? There was a cam that had 4 separetley adjustable screws that altered the height of the front blade just to compensate for target shooting in events such as PPC for the various range tasks. I suspect that the sight line to bore axis likely varied from quite negative for the close in shots to level or perhaps positive for the long range setting.

9mmepiphany
December 2, 2010, 07:42 PM
I suspect that the sight line to bore axis likely varied from quite negative for the close in shots to level or perhaps positive for the long range setting.

You would think so, until you realized that the PPC crowd, for which these sights were introduced (regardless of what market they used), used to use a neck hold (the head acting as a dot atop the front sight) for the 50 yard shots...meaning the front sight was raised and the bore depressed even more below the sight line

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