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Thread: Effective Range

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    20th September 2007
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    Effective Range

    Is there such a thing as Maximum Effective Range for the 1911 Pistol? Reason I ask is I've seen a Browning HP with an adjustable sight out to 500 meters. Can the .45 ACP reach that far?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    4th September 2004
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    I believe 500 meters is very optimistic with any handgun.
    I have been successful with the .45 Automatic out to 100 yards but much further would require a lot of skill and some luck I believe.
    From my cold dead hands.
    If it ain't a Colt its a copy.

  3. #3
    I think the real question is at what range can the shooter be expected to hit a reasonable sized target consistently with a hand gun. I do not know any shooters who practice shooting at 100 yards with a .45 Auto. Fifty yards would be pretty far and twenty yards is more common.
    Last edited by Soft Walker; 30th March 2008 at 22:36.


  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soft Walker
    I think the real question is at what range can the shooter be expected to hit a reasonable sized target consistently with a hand gun.
    I think that depends of the shooter.
    I know more than just a few who practice at a 100 yards with a handgun. That will show you flaws in your technique that closer ranges may not.
    If the question is about defending oneself then the law will dictate the distance.
    From my cold dead hands.
    If it ain't a Colt its a copy.

  5. #5
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    Hunter, that's precisely my point...if the firearm is effective at longer ranges, I guess it would be advantageous to practice making those long shots instead of handicapping ourselves at short distances....much like a good basketball player who can hit the perimeter as well as the rainbow shots. Well, I know it's easier said than done...but with practice...one may attain a level of consistency.

  6. #6
    So what's the holdover with a .45 at 500 meters? I think you'd have to measure that in furlongs.

  7. #7
    Occasionally I shoot my 1911s at 100 yards, usually when Iím sighting in a rifle and waiting for the barrel to cool. I set up a cardboard box about 12x15 filled with dirt on the berm I shoot against. Iíll get out the 1911s just to see if I can do it, its actually kind of fun although the practical considerations are probably few. (unless someone bets you that you canít do it)

    Surprisingly there isnít as much hold over at 100 yards as you might think and once you figure it out you can pretty well consistently score hits. Iíve even done this with my Kimber Ultra Carry II, I figured with the 3 inch barrel that wouldnít work at all but I was wrong and trust me,,,,I'm not that good a shot.

    As for being effective, I have no idea but Iím sure not going to volunteer to stand 100 yards or 500 yards away and let someone shoot at me with a 45 auto...or a 9mm, 32 auto, 22 long rifle, ect......

    I did shoot at a coyote at over 500 yards one time (25 years ago) with my Colt 70 series. He was at the edge of the cattle herd during caving season and I mainly wanted him to leave (plus I didnít have a rifle with me). The hold over was substantial, as was the wait time for impact and no, I didnít hit him, it impacted about 30 feet to one side of him, but he left the area.

  8. #8
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    14th April 2007
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    I shoot at 100 yards frequently at metal gongs. I have a lot of fun but given that practice I don't think I would engage a life threatening target at that range if other options were available. By the way i score hits 80% of the time on a 12"x12" gong.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    2nd June 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by SAN JOSE
    Is there such a thing as Maximum Effective Range for the 1911 Pistol? Reason I ask is I've seen a Browning HP with an adjustable sight out to 500 meters. Can the .45 ACP reach that far?
    Sure. The warnings on a box of .22 shorts say the range is 1 mile "Be Careful." There's little doubt that a .45 ACP bullet can be launched 500 meters. The question is, what are you considering to be "effective"?

    The Hi-Power was originally developed around the 9mm Parabellum. You don't say so, but is it safe to assume that the pistol you saw with the long-range sight was a 9mm? Even if it was a .40 S&W, that's rather "optimistic," considering that the U.S. Army generally considers the maximum effective range of the M16 to be 500 meters. (Yeah, I know, but my basis for that statement is the fact that the built-in bullet drop compensator for the original 4x scope developed for the M16 was calibrated only to 500 meters.)

    Neither a .45 ACP nor a 9mm bullet is going to be carrying much energy out at 500 meters. In fact, the 5.56 M16 round isn't considered to be highly effective beyond about 150 meters due to loss of velocity. I would prefer not to be shot with a .45 ACP or a 9mm at 500 meters, but both will have lost a lot of "oomph," nonetheless.

    Then there's the problem of hitting what you're shooting at. In this regard, the 9mm is a much flatter shooting round at that distance. A 230-grain .45 ACP bullet typically will be 2.6" above line-of-sight at 25 yards, 2.5" high at 50 yards, 3" low at 88 yards, and 6.9" low at 100 yards.

    By contrast, a 124-grain 9mm bullet will be 2.1" high at 25 yards, 3" high at 50 yards, 1.7" low at 100 yards, and 3" low at 106 yards.

    Despite the 9mm being a lot flatter out to 100 yards, it should be obvious that for both rounds, to hit anything out at 500 meters your hold-over is going to be measured in feet, not inches. I think it was 1911 pistolsmith Chuck Rogers who awhile ago wrote an article about his back yard range, and the fact that he can shoot out to 600 meters. And I believe he commented that the hold-over was rather extreme at that distance. Hitting anything with a first shot would be highly unlikely -- you'd have to start shooting, and "walk in" on the target (if you didn't run out of ammo before you got the range).
    Hawkmoon
    On a good day, can hit the broad side of a barn ... from the inside

  10. #10
    Join Date
    14th April 2007
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    Thanks for the comparative info 45 vs. 9mm. I was surprised at the difference in bullet drop between the two. I seem to remember the artillery Lugers had long range sights but I might be mistaken. Thanks Hawk.

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