Q: Can a pistol bullet knock down a 50 pound steel ram at 500 meters?
A: Sure can, but you have to hit it first.
While sorting thru some old photos the other day, I found a bunch taken at a shooting match in Anchorage in 1979. Here's the story. My IHMSA club, the Anchor Rams, was challenged to a match by the local NRA rifle silhouette club, shooting to be done on their range, at their distances: 200 meter chickens, 300 meter javelinas, 385 meter turkeys and 500 meter rams. (By comparison, IHMSA distances are 50, 100, 150 & 200 meters).
It was a basic 40 round match, 10 shots at each distance. No class divisions, all shooters competed equally, since it was only for fun and bragging rights. As per NRA & IHMSA rules, targets had to be knocked down to score. No alibis.
The riflemen followed NRA rules: off-hand, unsupported, scopes & spotters allowed. IHMSA rules for the pistoleros: freestyle, no artificial support (Creedmore position mostly), open sights, spotters allowed.
My photos show that all the pistol shooters, save one, used our Unlimited guns, predominantly Remington XP100s and T-C Contenders. There was one die-hard wheelgunner with a Ruger SBH .44 Mag. I shot my Contender Super 14 in .357 Herrett. I don't recall the specifics of my load, except it used a 170 grain Sierra FMJ bullet.
The match was great fun! The high scorer was a rifle shooter, which was not unexpected, but the handgunners posted some respectable scores, too. I managed to score some hits at all distances, including two rams, both knocked down. 500 meter rams look downright tiny over iron sights!
About 35 or 40 shooters shot the match.