Sunday afternoon we were shooting CDFA wax bullets in the back yard, and I determined to estimate a maximum range for that load. It shoots a little 17 grain, .45 caliber wax bullet, propelled by a #209 shotgun primer. It's fairly low powered as handgun ammo goes, but we wonder about such things, especially if we're shooting in a suburban neighborhood. The neighbor downrange is easily 200 yards away.
So, the boys and I walked out to the pond to shoot across the glassy surface of the water, to see if we could identify a splash, and try to estimate the maximum range, in case a bullet gets past my backstop.
I don't have chronograph data, but the CFDA estimates that a common 209 load will travel about 650 fps. When we got ready to take the shot, I was standing about five (5) feet above the water, holding the revolver five (5) feet above ground level, and holding it more or less level. I had three good pair of eyes watching for the bullet splash and was aiming at a small island about 100 yards from my shooting position.
At the shot, we strained our eyes, looking for the splash, and my son said "Hell, Dad, there it is right there."
I was peering across the water. "Where?"
"About 40 yards." He pointed less than halfway to the island. "You can see the wax bullet floating in the water."
I looked down, and sure enough, that little orange bullet was floating less than 40 yards away.
So now we know. The standard CFDA #209 load will travel about 40 yards more or less. Certainly further study is in order, but I don't have to worry about neighbors finding wax bullets in their yard and wondering what the hell I'm doing.