Handgun Trajectory Table

By Chuck Hawks


In order to hit a distant target a handgun must be correctly sighted-in, and to accomplish that the shooter must have some working knowledge of the bullet's trajectory. Sighting-in a pistol to hit a certain number of inches high at 25, 50, or 100 yards (or meters) maximizes the point blank range of the gun and cartridge and is superior to zeroing at a fixed distance. This system maximizes the distance in which no "hold over" is necessary. Of course, the actual distance the bullet should hit above the point of aim at, say, 25 yards varies with the individual caliber and load.

The table below is designed to serve as a starting point from which a shooter can work. Used as such it can save a lot of trial and error experimentation. Of course, no trajectory table can possibly cover all loads for all calibers in all handguns. So after sighting-in, always check your gun at various ranges to see how close its trajectory comes to the published data. This trajectory table can also serve as a comparative tool, allowing the reader to compare the trajectories of different cartridges or loads.

In ballistics catalogs the point of maximum bullet rise is often called the mid-range trajectory (MRT), or sometimes the maximum ordinate. A maximum rise of 3 inches is appropriate for hunting the smaller species of big game, and also for self defense purposes. The Maximum Point Blank Range (MPBR), which is shown in the last column of the table below, is the distance at which the bullet falls 3 inches below the line of sight.

Most of the loads below are similar to popular factory loads for the selected cartridges. All trajectories were calculated for a handgun using iron sights 0.8 inches above the bore axis of the barrel. If your sights are not 0.8 inches over the bore your trajectory will vary from those given below. However, 0.8 inches is a reasonable average for iron sights. All trajectory figures are rounded off to one decimal place. While environmental factors such as altitude and ambient air temperature affect trajectory, their effect is relatively minor. For the record, this table was calculated for an air temperature of 60 degrees F and an altitude of 1000 feet. The following data was taken from various sources including reloading manuals and the online Ballistics Calculator provided by BigGameInfo.

To save space, the following abbreviations are used in the table below: Wb = Weight of bullet (in grains); MV = Muzzle Velocity (in feet per second); BC = Ballistic Coefficient; yards = yds.; inches = "; MPBR = Maximum Point blank Range.



Cartridge (Wb@MV) Bullet BC 25 yds. 50 yds. 100 yds. MPBR (yds.)
.221 Fireball (50 at 2600) .238 +0.7" +1.8" +2.9 237
.25 ACP (50 at 760) .116 +2.9" +2.8" -10.5" 80
.30 Carbine (105 at 1600) .150 +1.4" +2.7" +1.8" 139
.32 ACP (71 at 905) .118 +2.5" +2.9" -5.4" 90
.32 S&W Long (100 at 705) .167 +3.1" +2.6" -13.4" 75
.32 H&R Mag. (85 at 1100) .145 +2.1" +3.0" -1.7" 106
.32-20 Win. (100 at 1000) .170 +2.2" +2.9" -2.8" 98
.380 ACP (90 at 1000) .099 +2.3" +2.9" -3.5" 96
9mm Makarov (95 at 975) .100 +2.3" +2.9" -3.8" 95
9mm Luger (115 at 1135) .140 +1.9" +2.9" -1.7" 107
9mm Luger (124 at 1100) .145 +2.1" +3.0" -1.7" 106
9mm Luger (147 at 990) .212 +2.1" +2.7" -3.2" 98
.38 Super (125 at 1240) .145 +1.9" +3.0" -0.3" 115
.357 SIG (125 at 1350) .145 +1.7" +2.9" +0.4" 122
.38 Spec. (125 at 850) .151 +2.4" +2.6" -7.1" 85
.38 Spec. (140 at 800) .169 +2.6" +2.8" +-8.3" 82
.38 Spec. (158 at 760) .139 +3.1" +2.7" -10.1" 79
.38 Spec. +P (110 at 1000) .131 +2.2" +3.0" -3.4" 98
.38 Spec. +P (125 at 950) .151 +2.3" +2.9" -4.0" 95
.38 Spec. +P (158 at 890) .139 +2.6" +3.0" -5.5" 90
.357 Mag. (110 at 1300) .131 +1.8" +2.9" 0.0" 117
.357 Mag. (125 at 1235) .151 +1.9" +3.0" -0.3" 115
.357 Mag. (125 at 1450) .151 +1.6" +2.8" +1.1" 129
.357 Mag. (140 at 1000) .169 +2.2" +2.9" -3.1" 99
.357 Mag. (140 at 1400) .169 +1.6" +2.8" +0.9" 127
.357 Mag. (158 at 1250) .206 +1.8" +3.0" +0.1" 119
.357 Mag. (180 at 1180) .230 +1.9" +2.9" -0.4" 115
.40 S&W (135 at 1190) .093 +2.0" +2.9" -1.7" 106
.40 S&W (155 at 1180) .137 +2.0" +3.0" -0.8" 111
.40 S&W (180 at 950) .164 +2.3" +2.9" -4.2" 95
10mm Auto (155 at 1300) .137 +1.8" +2.9" 0.0" 119
10mm Auto (180 at 1150) .164 +2.0" +3.0" -1.1" 110
.41 Rem. Mag. (210 at 1300) .182 +1.7" +2.8" +0.2" 120
.44 Spec. (240 at 750) .182 +3.1" +2.6" -9.3" 78
.44 Rem. Mag. (200 at 1000) .122 +2.3" +2.9" -3.3" 98
.44 Rem. Mag. (200 at 1295) .122 +1.4" +2.8" +0.3" 121
.44 Rem. Mag. (225 at 1450) .146 +1.6" +2.8" +1.1" 129
.44 Rem. Mag. (240 at 1144) .205 +1.7" +3.1" +/- 0" 118
.44 Rem. Mag. (240 at 1172) .205 +1.6" +3.0" +0.1" 120
.44 Rem. Mag. (240 at 1200) .205 +1.6" +3.0" +0.5" 122
.44 Rem. Mag. (265 at 1300) .189 +1.8" +2.9" +0.5" 123
.44 Rem. Mag. (300 at 1150) .245 +2.0" +2.9" -0.7" 112
.45 ACP (185 at 1000) .109 +2.2" +2.8" -3.7" 96
.45 ACP (200 at 975) .138 +2.3" +3.0" -3.8" 97
.45 ACP (230 at 850) .195 +2.6" +2.5" -6.9" 88
.45 Colt (200 at 1000) .138 +2.2" +2.9" -3.5" 98
.45 Colt (225 at 960) .158 +2.2" +2.9" -3.9" 95
.45 Colt (250 at 860) .138 +2.5" +2.8" -6.9" 86
.45 Win. Mag. (260 at 1200) .183 +1.8" +2.9" -0.6" 113
.454 Casull (260 at 1300) .183 +1.7" +2.8" +0.2" 120
.454 Casull (260 at 1800) .183 +1.2" +2.5" +2.5" 159
.454 Casull (300 at 1625) .199 +1.4" +2.7" +2.1" 148
.475 Linebaugh (400 at 1300) .182 +1.7" +2.8" +0.2" 120
.480 Ruger (325 at 1350) .150 +1.7" +2.9" +0.6" 123
.50 AE (325 at 1400) .149 +1.6" +2.8" +0.8" 126
.50 S&W Mag. (325 at 1600) .149 +1.4" +2.7" +1.8" 139


Note: An expanded version of this table can be found on the Tables, Charts and Lists Page




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