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Thread: Sub-sonic for hunting...why?

  1. #1
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Sub-sonic for hunting...why?

    I am wondering why this comes up from time to time.

    I can see it being useful for shooting varmints and hogs where a hunter may engage multiple targets. I can see it for poaching...though no one will say that is the intent. Same for SHTF and addressing two legged varmints.

    But why would someone hunting deer (or similar game) want a subsonic platform?

    Seems like a lot of companies offer subsonic .300 BO. Just checked on Ammoseek and there are three pages of listings for subsonic only. (BTW, four pages of listing for all weights of .300 Win Mag). Are these targeted to the mall ninja's or do people actually hunt with them?

    If velocity needs to be kept in the 1000 fps area, wouldn't a .45 ACP carbine be a better choice than the .300 BO?
    Don Verna


  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I don't hunt with a suppressor, but I kinda like the idea of harvesting meat with a firearm and NOT advertising it to my neighbors. I might have GREAT neighbors, but unless I'm in some way causing problems for them, it's not really any of their business. Why disturb them with the sounds of gunfire, if I don't have to?
    If a suppressed weapon used on my land helps my neighbors to "mind their own business" on theirs, I can't really dismiss the notion out of hand.

    I don't DISLIKE the idea of the .45 ACP carbine for (VERY) short range hunting. I have a load worked up for my .45 Colt caliber Rossi lever gun that launches a 260 gr. cast TC at 986 f/s and groups well out to 100 yards, though with some significant drop. It is by no means suppressed, but it IS rather quiet, especially compared to other revolver-caliber lever guns.

    I guess there's also a "cool factor" for some folks, when hunting with a suppressor. I don't get it, but it seems to be present for many. Maybe they saw too many movies where both good guys and bad guys had silencers on their pistols, or something.

    Except for the added expense and (perhaps) technical complications with the platform used, I'm hard-pressed to see much of a down-side to using suppressed weapons (for hunting).
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master MarkP's Avatar
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    Probably targeted to Mall Ninjas, same reason you can buy a pickup with 475 hp and 1,050 lb-ft. That is more hp than semis had not too long ago, and the torque is getting closer to what semis had as well.

    The original Whisper cartridge's had high BC projectiles and being sub-sonic did not shed velocity as quickly as super-sonic rounds. That was the initial appeal edging out the 45 ACP as a candidate.

  4. #4
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    The downside of subsonic is that the sound gets there before the bullet. Supersonic, the bullet hits well before the sound arrives.

    That said, it often doesn't matter that much.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Rapier's Avatar
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    The "original" 300 BO was the 300 Whisper, Bill at AAC did not like paying JD for the rights so created a slight change in the deminsions, called it the 300 BO and sold them with a marketing program that made the cartridge sound like a 300 Win Mag, which it is of course way different than.
    The 300 W and BO is a social cartridge desgned with a specific use, eliminate sentries. I have seen the 400 grain copper projectiles for using body armor as part of the projectile. People do get lost in the bullet launch and forget that the impact is louder than a 22 long rifle.
    But I do use a can and heavy weight subs to shoot wild hogs at night. I use 230s in the BO and my 358 guns with a can. Legal in FL to shoot hogs with a thermal and a suppressor at night, outside a preserve or state park, not legal to hunt game animals in that manner.
    Last edited by Rapier; 11-29-2022 at 02:07 PM.
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  6. #6
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    I will say that a lot of the subsonic ammunition is not designed to expand at 1000fps and should not be used for hunting. It can pencil through and not be immediately fatal. If it does tumble, there will be a devastating permanent wound cavity with a minor or no temporary wound cavity.

    There are specialty bullet and ammo designed to be used for hunting: Lehigh defense, Maker bullets, Hornady Sub-x, and some others. These will expand at the 900-1000 fps velocities, and leave good wound cavities.

    The run if the mill subsonic 220 OTM or 220 HPBT or 208 AMAX are bullets designed for supersonic velocities stuffed into the 300 blk case.

    I have no problems with hunting with subsonic 300 BLK amd have done it myself with soft, cast hollowpointed bullets and with specialty bullets.

    Just be aware that hunting with off the shelf subsonic ammunition, you may and probably are not using ammunition designed to expand.

    The same principal here as many wildlife hunting regulations restrict FMJ bullets for hunting game.

    The 220 OTM, HPBT and 208 AMAX behave like and are essentially full jacketed projectiles at subsonic velocities.

  7. #7
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    I have been a recurve bow hunter for lots of years. Never have needed ear protection. No need to insert an ear plug. I hear whats moving about.
    Deer 20 feet away are never ''spooked" due to a loud noise.
    Plus it is called Freedom.
    So if my neighbor wants to use a "quiet firearm" to not scare the other game and save his hearing I am all for it.
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  8. #8
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    I'm sure plenty of people hunt with them. I think it's just a natural progression. People get a suppressor, and then find out subsonic is that much quieter, and naturally you want to try it for hunting. My opinion is it doesn't make a ton of sense for big game hunting, being as a suppressed full power rifle round isn't that bad for your ears when you consider you might only take a handful of shots a year.

    I can't find a downside to suppressors for hunting, other than cost of course. Subsonic bullets, I'm not as sure. With subsonic ammo I can't think of a reason why you would want it for varmints. Coyotes you want the range of a fast bullet. Things like prarie dogs, gophers, rabbits, etc. most just wear ear muffs. Maybe if you lived on the edge of town and could shoot in a safe direction, but didn't want any noise. I think deer hunting makes the most sense for subsonic ammo.

    300 BO vs 45 ACP I don't think really matters. The 300 BO with long bullets is going to buck wind much better, but subsonic hunting is such a short range game, I don't think it really matters. 45 ACP isn't capable of any more than 300 BO. Something like 45-70 would make a lot of sense, shooting 400+ grain bullets, and already has a twist rate that will shoot them really well.

    Where I'd love to see the most gain is in shotguns where you do take many, many shots in a day. Duck hunting for example can have shots right near you in the same boat, and a lot of them. You can't really wear hearing protection while duck hunting without issues. That's where we need suppressors and subsonic ammo. One day I hope...
    Last edited by megasupermagnum; 11-29-2022 at 03:45 PM.

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    I'm another one that doesn't really understand the need or perhaps more correctly, want, for subsonic ammo for hunting.

    I can understand people that got sucked into the hype of the .300 Blackout wanting to justify it by hunting with it. As was pointed out it is a very slight redesign of the .300 Whisper: a round designed for eliminating sentries/ guard dogs.

    Look back about a hundred years to the advent of high velocity .22 Long Rifle ammo. Within a generation it had killed off a plethora of subsonic rimfire small game cartridges.

    Robert

  10. #10
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    I have a 458 SOCOM that I plan on getting a suppressor for. I have molds up 530 grains that will get plenty of penetration at 1,050 FPS and a .460" hole will bleed out fine. I like the idea of hunting quiet and not spooking animals. I can have a buddy hunting close by a good spot without ruining his hunt when I shoot. It's just nice getting in and out of the woods and being low impact.
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  11. #11
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    I have both supersonic and subsonic loads with me when I hunt. If i have a coyote or pig come in while in the deer stand, I shoot with the subsonic load, and save the supers for deer. I have shot a sub and had deer walking in just a coupke minutes later. And also shot while deer were present with sub and they didn't spook badly.

  12. #12
    Boolit Grand Master popper's Avatar
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    Agree Don, supressor on supers would be nice, I have no need for subs. Many have lost game to subs also.
    Whatever!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by RugerFan View Post
    I have a 458 SOCOM that I plan on getting a suppressor for. I have molds up 530 grains that will get plenty of penetration at 1,050 FPS and a .460" hole will bleed out fine. I like the idea of hunting quiet and not spooking animals. I can have a buddy hunting close by a good spot without ruining his hunt when I shoot. It's just nice getting in and out of the woods and being low impact.
    I am in the process of doing the same with a 458 SOCOM.

    I am also going to suppress one of my prairie/coyote dog rifles. These will only be used with supersonic loads. With PD's the louder the report the further they spook into the holes. With coyotes it increases the odds for additional follow-up shots. I have had 6 coyotes come in at once one time and two are three at a time is common.

    I am sure at some point in time I will end up with a 300 BO in a trade or super good deal, but I really have zero interest in the 300 BO as a cartridge.
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  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    A few hog hunters that I know tried subsonic and they have all gone back to regular strength. I used a suppressed 6.5 Grendel with regular ammo to take a nocturnal hog- it was quiet enough to not alarm the neighbors 500 yards away.
    As someone who has killed crows with Colibris in the city- I do understand the need for quiet hunting.

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  15. #15
    Boolit Master

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    I can attest to the fact that you will not be able to kill more than a couple hogs with suppressed subsonic shots before they spook and leave the area.

    On at least two occasions, I have shot one hog and at the sound of the impact the other hogs in the group startled and moved 5 to 10 yards, then stopped momentarily for a second shot/second hog down. After that, they bolted back to the thick cover.

    If you have never heard an impact into flesh from a subsonic projectile, it is defintely not quiet. Contrary to the myth, you cannot shoot an animal out of a group without the others hearing the impact and becoming startled.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by megasupermagnum View Post

    Where I'd love to see the most gain is in shotguns where you do take many, many shots in a day. Duck hunting for example can have shots right near you in the same boat, and a lot of them. You can't really wear hearing protection while duck hunting without issues. That's where we need suppressors and subsonic ammo. One day I hope...
    the suppressed shotguns are out there,they have been for years.... subsonic ammunition has been around too,but it sucks in killing power.

    Ive tootooed with subsonic loads in both the .308w and the x39 lots of fun,great for plinking,great for small game AWESOME for the finishing off shot at close range,no ringing ears of blood/brain splatter.
    I would shoot small/medium game at close range in open country with chest shots where animal can be watched and recovered. its like poking an arrow through them...similar hole and same little amount of shock transpher.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by BK7saum View Post
    If you have never heard an impact into flesh from a subsonic projectile, it is defintely not quiet. Contrary to the myth, you cannot shoot an animal out of a group without the others hearing the impact and becoming startled.
    Arrow impacts are surprising loud and hearing the bullet impact game with standard high velocity rifles is normal once the distance gets out there a bit. Same for shooting prairie dogs. If you are away from your shooting partner, you can clearly tell a hit from a miss based on the bullet impact noise.
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    Screw you on the poaching comment. Sorry as most times you are right. this time no. Poaching is bad but being quite is not poaching. My friend is the Police Chief calls on shooting in our rural town is a pain to him. Town of 1350 residents

    Sound is the reason for complaints. Quiter means less complaints Get it now.

    Subsonic keeps noise down Most complaints are someone's shooting. In my town they hear a gun go off the bitch even when it is a mile or more away.

    Quite is better. Folks like you make the fear of quite?????????????

    All is moot if you are just trolling
    Last edited by Geezer in NH; 11-30-2022 at 03:42 AM.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master Daekar's Avatar
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    I think a lot of folks bought 300BO rifles with the idea that they would be able to buy subsonic ammo that expands, which does exist now. They seem to forget that they are now using a cartridge with pistol - level energy, and the marketing doesn't help. I'm sure there are folks who can take advantage of the BC benefits of the 0.308 bullets, but I would say they are few. My buddy has a 300BO, and his son took his first deer with it this year... with a 110gr super.

    I would rather have a 45 caliber subsonic rifle if I needed something punchier than my 357 subs.
    I'm a big fan of data-driven decisions. You want to make me smile, show me a spreadsheet! Extra points for graphs and best-fit predictive equations.

  20. #20
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geezer in NH View Post
    Screw you on the poaching comment. Sorry as most times you are right. this time no. Poaching is bad but being quite is not poaching. My friend is the Police Chief calls on shooting in our rural town is a pain to him. Town of 1350 residents

    Sound is the reason for complaints. Quiter means less complaints Get it now.

    Subsonic keeps noise down Most complaints are someone's shooting. In my town they hear a gun go off the bitch even when it is a mile or more away.

    Quite is better. Folks like you make the fear of quite?????????????

    All is moot if you are just trolling
    Cool down Geezer.

    I know quite a few people who poach. Poaching may not happen where you live, but it is not a rare event where I live. And if someone is inclined to poach, a subsonic round makes a lot of sense.

    Poaching occurs in remote areas. Even if a shot is heard, it does not get reported. If it was reported, response time would be over 30 minutes.

    Until I moved here 10 years ago, I was not "educated" on rural ways...at least the ways of this rural area.

    Everyone I know who poaches has a family history of doing it. BTW, it is called "window shopping"; and the road to my place goes by a prime area called "The Market Field".

    Back in the old days it was how poor folks put meat on the table year round. That is how it became a tradition with some families. I was told a story that happened decades ago. A DNR officer caught a guy poaching a deer. The officer knew the guy and knew he was trying to feed his family. The officer let the guy go.

    BTW, not trolling. Just trying to understand why anyone would waste money to take game with an underpowered platform. I am not buying the "do not disturb the neighbor" rationale. If someone is taking game legally, there is a limited time to rifle shoot deer where I live. Everyone knows when deer season starts. Police and DNR would not respond to "shots" if some fool called them complaining about their neighbor shooting game. And if I had a neighbor that stupid, I would care about their "feelings".
    Don Verna


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