How Far Can a Bullet from a Rifle Travel?

Posted by Jessica Koenes on Mar 4th 2022

How far can a bullet from a rifle travel? This is the science behind firing and how projectile size can affect power, distance, or effective range.

Do you know that old saying about how far a bullet can travel? The maximum effective range of any rifle is very different from the total distance bullets will ultimately cover. It requires math and science to solve this equation!

The Gun that Goes with Bullet

Generally, guns are classified according to size, use and trajectories. The main distinction noted with firearms are small arms and artillery. Guns below a 20 millimeter bore are generally classified under the small arms umbrella. Small arms are also often referred to as firearms or hand guns. They come with a smaller caliber and are most associated with concealed carry. Calibers in the range of 5.45, 5.56, 7.62, 12.7, and 14.5 mm are in connection with machine guns. If you want to see something with even more power, look no further than a grenade launcher. This 40 mm lethal weapon holds an explosive punch! Combine the size of a grenade launcher with the power of 2200 meters, and you find yourself with an automatic grenade launcher.

How far can a bullet from a rifle travel?

Bullets, by stuffwithkids licensed under Pixabay

There are a range of firearms in existence today. Each serves their own purpose and each with unique properties.

  • Pistol : This hand operated gun has a chamber that is often fixed in alignment with the bore.
  • Revolver - A revolving cylinder that contains chambers for each individual cartridge sets the revolver apart from other firearms.
  • Rifle - Ah, the classic. These shoulder firearms discharge a bullet through a barrel that is at least 16 inches long. The spiral parallel grooves within the bore create a spin in the projectile. This all leads to stability and extended range.

What is so Special about a Rifle?

“Rifle” literally means a weapon designed and redesigned, made and made yet again. This special weapon is specially designed to be fired from the shoulder. It has unique qualities that allow energy from the explosion in a fixed metallic cartridge to fire through a rifled bore for each pull of the trigger.

What is so Special about a Rifle?

Rifle, by 8089514 licensed under Pixabay

This long barreled firearm is specially designed for accuracy. The groves that go in a helical pattern, cut into the bore wall. This weapon is typically designed to be held with both hands and braced against the shoulder of the shooter. The buttstock provides stability for the shooter as it is positioned in a stance with little movement.

Rifles have a long history with many different uses. Traditionally used extensively in warfare, you will find a wide variety of rifles used throughout history. Rifles also have a long history in self defense, law enforcement, hunting and shooting sports. Within the 20th century, the weapon had become so common that the term rifle now has a different meaning. We often now refer to any long shaped handheld ranged weapon designed for accuracy as a rifle.

Rifle Calibers Maximum Range

Whether you are out shooting for the job, hunting, target shooting or just getting in some extra practice, be aware of your maximum gun range and how far you could potentially shoot. Gun safety is imperative, and knowing your range is part of being responsible. The maximum range is the greatest potential distance your bullet can travel. There is usually about a 30 degree optimal range from the horizontal projectile. The maximum range is much larger than the effective range.

Rifle Calibers Maximum Range

Shooting, by WikiImages licensed under Pixabay

Please remember that this table with state is an estimated maximum range. There are always variables that can be in play and that can impact the outcome. Please remember to always be safe when shooting and be aware of not only your maximum shooting range, but also of your surroundings.

Rifle Calibers
Caliber Muzzle Velocity (fps) Bullet Weight Maximum Range (yrds)
.17 HMR 2,550 17 2,500
.22 LR Standard 1,145 40 1,588
.223 Rem. 3,240 55 3,843
.245 Win. 2,960 100 4,000
.270 Win. 3,050 130 4,795
7 mm-08 Rem. 2,875 140 4,400
.30-30 Win 2,390 150 3.010
.308 Win 2,620 180 4,655
.45-70 Gov’t 1,315 405 3,500
.450 Marlin 2,225 325 7,000


Knowing the range of how far your rifle can shoot is of extreme importance. Your maximum range is part of firearm safety. Always be aware of what your target is and know what lies beyond your target. Knowing the potential of the range you may shoot as well as knowing what is beyond your target can let you know whether it is safe to shoot or not. If there is any potential to shoot something dangerous or vulnerable beyond your target, do not take the shot. It is far better to be safe than sorry.