by B.B. Pelletier

Update on Tom/B.B.: Tom is improving quite nicely. His belly is as flat as a pancake. He’s still getting antibiotics and has been busy doing blogs for this week.

Today’s blog was written by B.B.

Since the 1970s, airgun retailers in the U.S. have stated the maximum distance pellet rifles and pistols will fire. No doubt, this was brought on by the need for safety specifications.

How far will a pellet travel?
The truth is…nobody knows. I have read references to pellets traveling a max of 400 to 500 yards. The newer references have the further distance. Dr. Robert Beeman wrote in his catalogs in the 1980s that “Most airguns have a maximum range of about 400 yards (366m) and are generally not capable of serious damage over 150 yards (137m).” Without question, 400-500 yards would be with the muzzle firing at an angle of 30 degrees to the horizon, which would give the greatest possible travel. Today’s guns show pretty much the same thing despite vastly improved pellets and power.

A true story
I’ve told this one before, but please allow me some redundancy. Back in the early 1990s, several forensic scientists argued how far black powder bullets from various cartridges could possibly travel. It was the Billy Dixon shot that killed an American Indian at seven-eighths of a mile that started this discussion. Dixon shot a 50/90 Sharpes with a 675-grain bullet and at a muzzle velocity of 1216 fps. The scientists believed it was, therefore, impossible for that bullet to reach out to seven-eighths of a mile. So, they conducted a test.

Using microwave missile-tracking radar, they were shocked to find that the 50/90 cartridge threw its bullet 3600 yards. And the 45/70 that everyone dismisses as obsolete was throwing its 405-grain lead bullets out beyond 2400 yards!

So, we really don’t know how far pellets travel, and that’s my assignment to you. Come up with a pragmatic and accurate way of testing the maximum range of a pellet rifle. Forget the microwave radar; you’re not gonna get it. I’m not interested in what you THINK; I only want to know what you can PROVE.

Give us a simple test we can really use to answer this question.