Longer Ranges With A Handgun?
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Thread: Longer Ranges With A Handgun?

  1. #1

    Longer Ranges With A Handgun?

    I was at the gun range today, the local police were practicing, so I joined in.
    They decided to throw some rounds down range out to about 100 Yards.

    BOY DO I SUCK!
    Took more than twenty rounds for me to get on target, and I had no pattern at all!
    9mm, 40 cal, didn't matter, I just could not get a pattern out that far at all.

    I don't feel too bad, I did about as well as the police there, but it's TOUGH shooting a big, heavy, slow moving bullet that far and hitting anything!
    Short barrels/sight radius don't do any favors either!


    This seemed a LOT easier when we were in the military when we practiced more often, but I can't hit SQUAT now!
    Do any of you practice with longer ranges with your handguns?
    Any tricks to it I'm missing?

  2.   
  3. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    1,429

    Get a spotter

    A spotter always helps.

    This is classified as a handgun, but serves me as a rifle.
    t/c contender .223 14" with 2.5 t/c scope at yards with cheap Russian ammo.

  4. #3
    theicemanmpls is right. A spotter is the way to go, but I think that 100 yards with a handgun is a bit much for most. That's why God invented Carbines.

  5. Yup. I shoot out to 100 yards all the time with practically all the pistols I own.
    The only exceptions are a Beretta Tomcat in .32ACP (it will reach 50 yards on man sized targets, though) and my little .32ACP derringer. The club range I used to use a lot had a 24 inch gong out at the 100 yard line on the rifle range. Even my 2 inch Dan Wesson or the DAO, fixed sight, 3 inch Rossi .44 Special 5 shooter (essentially the Rossi version of a Charter Arms Bulldog but DAO and with a full underlug) would give me 4 or 5 hits out of a cylinder full if I did my part. The smallest gun I've ever shot out that far that hit with any consistency- other than a .22- was my sister's comped 2 inch Taurus .32 Mag. With the 98 gr Federal magnums, you could ring that gong at will once you figgered out the hold. My Detective Special is scary accurate at that range but my best shooting wheelgun at 100 yards is a 4 inch (NOT 4 3/4 inch) Uberti SAA clone. Shooting my 230gr reloads or factory (not cowboy) 250's, you can hit it every shot as long as you do your part.

    Shooting that far with a hand gun means you have to really pay attention to your mechanics (grip, sight alignment and trigger control). As far as sighting was concerned, I usually held at the top edge and let the shot 'drop' onto the plate. It will also show you any flinch you may have. Nothing screams "FLINCH!" like a shot hitting 20 yards short of the target.

    You do NOT have to get a 'handgun' chambered in a rifle caliber to shoot that far. Any magnum will do it all day. While in college, my shooting buddy and I used to shoot at clay pigeons stuck on the 100 yard berm with our carry guns first thing when we showed up. One morning, he hit one first shot with his .41Mag Mountain Gun and then packed up. He figured if he could nail a clay at 100 yards with 1 shot, he didn't need any pistol practice that morning. The best I ever did with the first cylinder was I busted one on the 3rd shot with my 4 inch Dan Wesson and, once, with the 2nd shot from a Para P-13.

  6. #5
    Local cops do it for bragging rights, free drinks and they 'Say' that you never know when you might have to shoot that far and only have a handgun...

    In the military, it seemed MUCH easier for some reason, maybe 30 year younger eyes and hands!?

    Anyway, just wondered if any of you guys fired longer rangers with 'Side Arm' type handguns, and how you did with it?

    I've proven I need a carbine or a LOT more practice/longer barrel/faster, lighter round, ect.

    I don't carry very often, and I don't generally have use for handguns other than home security,
    But practice is ALWAYS a good idea, and evidently I'm LACKING in my practice!

    Is this a reason to spend more time at the range? :)

  7. Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by AR Hammer View Post
    Local cops do it for bragging rights, free drinks and they 'Say' that you never know when you might have to shoot that far and only have a handgun...

    In the military, it seemed MUCH easier for some reason, maybe 30 year younger eyes and hands!?

    Anyway, just wondered if any of you guys fired longer rangers with 'Side Arm' type handguns, and how you did with it?

    I've proven I need a carbine or a LOT more practice/longer barrel/faster, lighter round, ect.

    I don't carry very often, and I don't generally have use for handguns other than home security,
    But practice is ALWAYS a good idea, and evidently I'm LACKING in my practice!

    Is this a reason to spend more time at the range? :)
    At 100 yards, sometimes the front sight is wider than the target, so I don't bother measuring groups. I prefer to use a target about the size of a human chest/ torso and just track hits. That being said, I have used milk jugs, soft drink bottles, (20 ounce or 2 liter), clay pigeons, ... for targets out at 100 yards or farther. They tend to be more frustrating until you get used to shooting that far.

    My 'technique' (for lack of a better term) is purely shoot and adjust with a lot of guessimates, swags and 'Kentucky Windage' thrown in. I start with a center hold and then adjust my subsequent hold from the fall of that shot. One handy trick is to put part of the front sight blade ABOVE the top edge of the rear sight blade instead of it being flush. That will elevate your point of impact without losing your sight picture on the target.

  8. #7
    I shoot 10" steel plates regularly with most of my pistols, particularly with my carry guns. I generally hold on the top edge of the plate. With a little practice and good basics (sights, trigger control, grip and breathing) hits on the 100-yard line are easy and frequent. I find that longer range shooting (50 to 100 yrds) helps to improve my close range shooting as the basics are drilled in and reinforced.

    IMHO the current combat shooting craze, for the most part is not making most shooters better shots. You see it every day on the range, couple of guys pull up, set targets at 20 feet and start blazing away and convince themselves that they are ready. Out to 25 yards they could not hit a 5-gallon bucket but rapid fire misses at15 feet are entirely acceptable.

    My favorite 100-yard pistol...1911.

    Steve

  9. Quote Originally Posted by .45acp View Post
    I shoot 10" steel plates regularly with most of my pistols, particularly with my carry guns. I generally hold on the top edge of the plate. With a little practice and good basics (sights, trigger control, grip and breathing) hits on the 100-yard line are easy and frequent. I find that longer range shooting (50 to 100 yrds) helps to improve my close range shooting as the basics are drilled in and reinforced. ...


    Steve
    I agree completely, Steve. ALL my longer range shooting is done standing 'on my hind legs' as one old shooting buddy used to call it for just that reason. If you can see the target out to about 150 yards, you can hit it if you do your part. The only question is do you know where the gun in question shoots with the load that's in it.

    About 15 years ago, I was shooting with one of my childhood friends that had gotten into ISPC and all the run and gun stuff in a big way. He was working up a custom load for his uncle's Winchester '94 and needed a second opinion and shooter to help him figger out some issues he was having. After we were done with a range session, I pulled out a Smith and Wesson Performance Center 625-4 that I'd just picked up and started tossing shots at the 100 yard target with it using a 200gr LSWC target load that was only doing about 750fps at the muzzle. He'd never seen long range pistol work before and thought I was just wasting powder until we checked the target and found 7 holes out of 12 shots in the black. He wanted to try it and I was able to tell him what the sight picture was that I'd been using. In his first cylinder full, he found the paper on about he 4th shot and then put 12 out of the next 24 shots on paper.


    I thought I also should explain something that I mentioned earlier. Normally pistol sights are lined up with the tops of both the front and rear sights being flush or even across the top like so:

    _ _ _

    That works great if your pistol is zeroed some place close to the range that you are shooting, BUT if you are shooting a gun zeroed for 10, 15 or even 25 yards at 75, 100 yards or more, you are may run out of target (ie, aiming at the top of the target rather than the middle) before you have adjusted for the drop by aiming high. To keep the target in your sight picture, line up the front sight on the target as usual but try holding the front sight a little higher than flush with the rear sight like so:

    _ -_

    If you know that with the gun and load at hand, you need to hold a quarter or a third of the front sight blade, it is repeatable to such an extent that several of the old timers like Elmer Keith would have gold wire inserted in the Partridge front sight of their guns to mark the hold over for known ranges. (I've seen guns with 2 or 3 lines of gold wire added to the front sight to mark the drop for known ranges.) That way, they could line up the rear sight flush with the thin line of gold wire while holding a 'normal' hold on the target with the top of the front sight. (Model paint and a very fine paint brush can do the same thing and is removable and doesn't cost nearly as much as having a inlay of gold wire done.)

  10. Alright guys I just signed on here, so hello everyone! I just bought a Ruger Super Blackhawk in .44 mag with a 7.5" barrel. My buddy had one and its not a problem to group at 100yds with a scope. Anyone had any hunting experience with one of these? I used to have a Marlin lever action 1895 in .44 mag and I killed plenty of deer with it, so I know the cartridge. Fps will be lower than in the rifle just due to length of barrel, but its still plenty to get the job done. How quick is target acquisition with a 2x long eye relief scope? I'm going pig hunting in December and looking to use this as a backup initially and the primary later.

  11. #10
    BigBang,

    I have never hunted with .44 mag Ruger. But, I have hunted a fair bit with a Blackhawk in .41 mag and 2x EER scope. Took several deer and feral pigs in Tex, not to mention the everyday fair of jackrabbits and coyotes. With practice the 2x scope is quick on target and you'll be able to get into the 6” group size offhand with practice and good basics. Working up some good reloads that work in your gun will also help in the group dept. I would find a good hard cast Keith style SWC for the pistol and push’em as fast as you can (safely).

    Have fun.


    Steve

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