The ball spins about its long axis instead of end over end (as the drop punt does), making the flight of the ball more aerodynamic, but more difficult to mark. The pointier ends make the ball easier to catch in American Football. With extra distance, this type of kick is also more difficult to accurately judge depth. If kicked correctly, an Australian Football can travel up to 80 metres, while a drop punt will travel slightly less far. It depends much more on the kicking ability of the kicker, as opposed to the type of punt used, as to determine how far a ball will travel.
The skill was once frequently applied as clearing kicks by players in the backline and for long distance goal kicking. Its use in the rugby codes in similarly related almost entirely to clearing and distance kicks from a team's own territory. From the 1980s, more prevalent use of the drop punt for accurate field kicking led to Australian Football League coaches discouraging the use of the torpedo in general field play as a comparatively low percentage kick. It is now seldom used, with the exception of occasional shots for goal after the siren and to avert the tactic of flooding, and sometimes set kicks from full-back.