How Far Can a Bullet Travel?

How Far Can a Bullet Travel?

February 28, 2023 By Posted in Blogs

How far can a bullet travel? How you answer that question depends on the bullet in question. For example, a .22 caliber bullet can travel around 1 mile to 1 1/2 miles. Some bullets, such as a 9 mm may travel up to three miles. Shot travels a shorter distance between 200 and 600 yards.

The maximum distance that a bullet can travel is dependent upon many factors.

Factors That Affect Bullet Range

Factors That Affect Bullet Range

There are so many types of bullets, and the shape of the bullet is a major factor in how effective the bullet is and how far, fast, and hard it travels. Bullet shape ranges from round muzzleloader balls to conical rounds of modern weapons to the shot fired from a shotgun.

Air resistance and environmental conditions are other factors that impact bullet range. If the humidity is high, there is more drag on the bullet. If the wind is blowing towards you or you fire into a crosswind, bullet performance is impacted.

Barrel length also impacts initial velocity, muzzle velocity, and impacts when a bullet reaches terminal velocity – the point where the air resistance balances with the accelerating force caused by gravity.

Bullet design and weight or grain – Heavier bullets vs. lightweight bullets. The shape of the bullet is also important with modern ammunition. Options include round-nosed, pointed, hollow point, modified hollow point, flat-nosed and other options. The shape of the bullet – tapered, boattail, etc. all impact how far a bullet will travel. These refer to the ballistic coefficient – the ability of a bullet to overcome air resistance.

Round compilation – total grain, type of powder, casing length, etc. also impact the velocity and energy that a bullet has, which impacts how far the bullet will travel.

Even the type of rounds – rimfire bullet vs. centerfire bullet can impact bullet performance and how far a bullet can travel.

Bullet weight is another issue with bullets – the grain weight of a bullet and the total grain weight of the round will both impact how the bullet performs and whether it will reach its intended target.

One of the most important factors that impacts how well or how far a bullet travels is “shooter technique”. We talk about this a lot. If you are a shooter with bad shooting habits, then bullet performance will drop. If you are a shooter with excellent shooting techniques, then you eliminate many of the shooter-related issues that drop bullet performance.

As we said, there is a lot that goes into how a bullet performs. They are all important considerations whether you are looking for the perfect self-defense bullet or one that will be a champion on the range. How you choose your rounds and bullets are critical to how well the bullet matches your needs.

What is the Difference Between Maximum Range and Effective Range?

What is the Difference Between Maximum Range and Effective Range?

Maximum range is the total distance a bullet can travel. Effective range or maximum effective range is the farthest distance that you expect to hit your target with a bullet. While some bullets may travel upwards of two miles, can you expect to pick off a six-point buck from two miles away? You might have that expectation, but you are more likely to fail. Even if you managed to hit the buck two miles away, how much damage would the bullet do? It is probably not traveling very fast and has lost most of its energy. Plink!

When we think about the effective maximum range, we must also consider the effect the bullet will or can have at that range. Whether you are talking about a close quarter, self-defense situation where a longer barrel length is not possible or a hunting opportunity where the game animals are distant, or a qualifying shot at a competition the outcome of the shot matters. It is also why all the factors that impact how far a bullet will travel become so important.

As you begin to understand the environment where you will shoot and the natural forces – wind, humidity, rain, etc., – you may experience you can begin to reach for ammo that helps to counter those forces, and doing so begins to improve the maximum range and the effective range of each shot.

How Far Can a Centerfire Bullet Travel?

9mm – 2-3 miles, but the effective range drops off around 150 yards or 450 feet for a rifle and around 50 yards for a pistol.
380 – significantly shorter than a 9 mm bullet. The .380 bullet is considered a low-powered, low muzzle velocity handgun round with an effective range of 50 feet and a more accurate range of around 25 feet. Its effective range varies based on barrel length, but you can expect a spread of 7-10 yards for its effective range.
5.56/.223 – .85 miles – not quite a full mile – The effective range is 400-500 yards or 1,500 feet.

308 – around 3.5 miles maybe longer under more favorable conditions. The effective range for a .308 bullet is around 800 meters (according to the US Army) which equates to about 2,624 feet.

How Far Can a .22 Bullet Travel?

How Far Can a .22 Bullet Travel?

A .22 caliber bullet can travel 1.13 miles or about 2,000 yards. It has an effective range, though, of only 300 yards. The result will depend on the factors that we’ve discussed. The weather has a big impact on a .22 bullet. The size of the bullet makes it light, and lighter objects are more greatly impacted by wind. They also have less mass making other natural forces such as humidity or rain a problem. What you fire the bullet from is another issue. A .22 rifle will have a greater effective range than a .22 pistol. the shape of the bullet, type of powder, length of casing, and other manufacturing criteria will also impact the performance of the bullet.

An important lesson here though is shooting safety. A .22 bullet can travel 1.3 miles under ideal conditions. That means a missed shot has a lot of potential for doing unintended damage. Even with a lower muzzle velocity a missed shot can be dangerous. Celebratory gunfire is an example of a shooting activity that can have unexpected consequences. For that reason, it is important to make sure that targets are backed by proper material and that a missed shot is not going to do damage to the wrong target.

The Berry’s Bullets Difference

Berry’s Manufacturing has been an honest producer of quality bullets since 1961. As a family-owned business, Berry’s remains small enough to keep honesty and exacting standards at the core of every bullet they manufacture.

With that much history of manufacturing and selling bullets, Berry’s has a deep understanding of the needs and requirements of shooters, regardless of their target. In addition, Berry’s remains committed to home manufacturing so that access to rounds is never dependent upon supply chains and logistics.

Berry’s stocks a wide range of products that are designed to fit into the lifestyle of anyone who wants to load their own rounds. Quality, superior bullets are just the tip of the iceberg. With the wide array of components available at Berry’s, you can create the type of rounds that meet your shooting needs. From the bullet that flies the farthest to the bullet that has a flat trajectory and amazing impact, there is a perfect round for your needs.

Our Differentiators and Offerings

Knowledge is perhaps the greatest asset of working with Berry’s. It is the knowledge of shooting and bullet design that allows Berry’s to manufacture bullets that meet the exacting specification of world organizations and the demands of people who love shooting.

Knowledge is a differentiator, and it means quality parts and components for those who like to build their own ammo. We discussed early the options of being able to select a round that meets the needs or goals of a shooter. That knowledge not only extends to the products that Berry’s manufactures, but also to each of the products that we stock on our shelves.

Every day, the professionals at we are faced with questions about bullet performance, accuracy, and reloading. People want to know how to make faster bullets, bullets with higher velocity, bullets that travel at a longer distance, and questions about the ratio of bullet travel and impact.

Our customers are shooters, those who love target practice as a hobby and a sport, hunters, law enforcement, and those who are concerned about self-defense.

Berry’s offers a wide selection of bullets and reloading supplies. We also offer knowledge.