How To

How Far Can Bullets Travel?

Bullets, despite their small size, possess significant energy and can travel considerable distances. Even if they don’t strike a target, they can still cover substantial ground. Confirmed reports have documented kills at distances as far as 3,540 meters or 3,871 yards.

Determining how far a bullet can travel involves considering various factors, including the bullet’s caliber, type, barrel length, rifle specifications, and environmental conditions that may influence its trajectory.

In the following discussion, we will delve into these factors in greater detail, addressing common inquiries about ranges and providing comparisons of the maximum range among popular rifle and handgun calibers.

What factors affect the range of a bullet?

The maximum range can achieve is influenced by various mechanical and environmental factors, making it difficult to provide an exact answer. However, we can approximate the average range by considering different calibers and scenarios.

Factors such as the load and type can significantly affect its range, even among bullets of the same caliber. The weight, shape, and composition of the projectile, as well as the explosive materials used in the casing, all play a role in determining its distance.

The firearm used to propel this also plays a part. Longer barrels generally result in increased range, while the rifling of the barrel and the firing angle can introduce variations in bullet distance.

Furthermore, environmental conditions, including altitude, humidity, wind, and other weather elements, can subtly influence the range.

Considering these factors, it is important to understand that the maximum range of a bullet is not a fixed value but can vary depending on the specific circumstances and variables involved.

How far does a bullet travel in water?

While it is possible to fire a gun underwater, its effectiveness is greatly reduced compared to firing in the open air. The density and pressure of water have a significant impact on the bullet’s maximum range.

Contrary to popular belief, faster bullets do not travel further underwater. In fact, they have a shorter distance of travel. Additionally, the ones with pointed tips have even shorter ranges underwater.

For example, a 5.56 round fired underwater will travel a shorter distance compared to a .45 ACP or a 7.62 AK round. A pointed one, depending on the caliber and rifle, may travel between half a meter to 4.5 meters (about 5 yards). On the other hand, a bullet with a rounded tip may have a slightly longer effective range, reaching up to 2.75 meters (about 3 yards).

Maximum range versus effective range

Understanding the distinction between the maximum range and effective range of a bullet is crucial. The maximum range refers to the farthest distance a bullet can travel before it impacts the ground. On the other hand, the effective range is the distance at which it retains enough energy to effectively incapacitate or kill a target.

In summary, the maximum range indicates the bullet’s overall travel distance, while the effective range denotes the range within which the bullet remains lethal and capable of fulfilling its intended purpose.

How far will a 9mm round travel?

If you’re curious about the distance a 9mm bullet can travel, it has a maximum range of approximately 2195 meters (1.3 miles) or around 2400 yards. However, its effective range, even when fired from a carbine with a 16-inch barrel, is only about 90 meters or 100 yards.

How far will a 556 round travel?

When considering the range of a 5.56mm bullet, it can potentially travel up to 4000 meters (about 2.5 miles) or approximately 4375 yards. This applies to a standard Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) 5.56 round. However, in terms of effective range, which refers to the distance at which the bullet remains lethal, it is typically around 800 yards under ideal conditions.

How far will a .308 Winchester round travel?

The .308 Winchester or 7.62x51mm NATO round is widely recognized as a versatile and popular caliber for hunting and marksmanship. When considering its maximum range, the .308 can reach distances ranging from approximately 5675 to 7225 meters (3.5 to 4.5 miles) or about 7920 yards under optimal conditions, assuming the bullet is fired at a 45-degree angle. However, in terms of effective range, which refers to the distance at which the bullet retains sufficient energy to be effective, the .308 has an effective range of around 915 meters or approximately 1000 yards.


Maintaining firearm safety is of utmost importance when dealing with bullets and guns, as many factors can influence the maximum and effective range of a bullet. It is crucial to consistently adhere to these fundamental gun safety rules:

  1. Always keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
  2. Avoid placing your finger on the trigger unless you are prepared to shoot.
  3. Use the correct ammunition for your firearm.
  4. Ensure that your firearm is properly maintained and in a safe operating condition.
  5. Refrain from consuming drugs or alcohol before or while handling a firearm.
  6. Engage in regular training to enhance your proficiency and knowledge.
  7. Familiarize yourself with the ammunition laws specific to your state.

For comprehensive information and guidance on ammunition, concealed carry, and defensive living, consider enrolling in our concealed carry certification classes. These classes are available online and conducted in training locations across the United States. Begin the certification process now to enhance your understanding and skills in firearm safety.