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

  1. #41
    Boolit Buddy
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    well today we went for a quiet stroll up a local riverbed track...popular walking track at times but a bit out of the way,a few animals around...clearings along track were covered in good grass and any shots would be under 100 yrds....good place for a VERY early morning stroll with a quiet rifle....one of the places where the quieter the better and the animals would mostly be pests ,so an instant kill not so important...if they went 50 yards into scrub before expiring to rot away...well and good.
    so YES there is uses for subsonics.

  2. #42
    Boolit Buddy Orchard6's Avatar
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    I’ve been hunting whitetail with subsonic 300 blackout for years. Heck I’m using a Lee c309-200 bullet cast of coww at 1070 fps that by all conventional wisdom should be a very poor choice with its relatively round nose, but I’ve taken 8 or 9 deer and my kids have each taken a few with that bullet. It works with almost boring regularity. Put the bullet through the shoulders, the deer kicks, runs 40 yards and falls over. My kids have all taken their first deer with this cartridge because it’s has no recoil or loud muzzle blast. It sounds like the naysayers here haven’t actually tried hunting with subsonic rounds. No a 300 blackout isn’t a 300 Winchester magnum, but inside 100 yards it works and with a good bullet choice it works quite well.

  3. #43
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    I think the question could easily be reversed: why would anyone want a supersonic boomer where it isn't necessary?

    For me, it's moot: living in the West where the ranges are longer, and in Cali where suppressors aren't an option anyway. BUT for those folks living in those Eastern areas where they have to shoo the whitetails out of their petunia patch with a broom, a 100-yard capable subsonic meat-stick that doesn't bother the neighbors makes a fair bit of sense. If you're already dealing with an obnoxious shotgun-only regulation, it probably wouldn't be hard to get some language to legalize such a rifle, which has the rainbow trajectory the spirit of the shotgun laws were written in anyway.

    Seems to me the ideal tool for this is a Marlin lever gun in .44 Mag shooting 275-300 grain slugs at 1050. Only problem for the industry is all the Fudds who insist on their lever guns being blued, wood-stocked, non-scoped and otherwise traditional. Never mind the fact that Winchester made 1890's and Low Walls with threaded ends prior to the NFA. The Ruger 77-44 would also do the trick - since the powder charges will be light, the short magazine is not an obstacle to a workable subsonic COAL.

    And as long as you're rocking subsonic, the can on the end of the barrel is really just the cherry on the sundae. 9mm out of a 16" Ruger PC Carbine isn't much louder than .22's - a slow .44 out of something in the 20"-24" range would likely be the same.
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  4. #44
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    Interesting conversation it is. Spent a lot of my life listening to the booms and gave it little thought until after my retirement. Moved to a new place and one of the first things that happened was wild hog rooting up the yard. It led to an interesting discovery. Without a care about imagined suffering I pulled the trigger in the front yard and porky fell over dead as a stump. I was puzzled. You see, I had used my Contender Carbine with the short match barrel and loaded it with CB shorts. The result was contrary to all I'd been led to believe over the years about what was required to take big game.

    To make the story a little longer, over the next couple of years I put down another couple dozen with that rig, all one shot kills. It came to pass that a fella from the Fish and Wildlife Commission had seen me in action on one occasion and offered me a blanket permit on the adjacent 1,400 acres of state preserve land with only a single caveat. I had to use RF ammo to avoid riling the neighborhoods which bordered the preserve on two sides. The rest was bounded by a canal/river/Gulf of Mexico. Well, ALRIGHTY!

    It was about 8 years before I got any help by bringing a neighbor in on the show. By that time I had killed over 150 hogs, all save one dead from a single shot. A couple were put to rest with a 10/22, just for amusement. All of the pork went to a facility that was in the reform business with wayward punks. I dropped them off, the boys skinned and butchered. They near crapped their undies the day I dropped off 5 hogs in one load. 3 shoats of about 60# and a boar and sow of 200-250#. They were shot without taking a step. The 4th shoat finally figured out that something was wrong and ran off before I could reload.

    The undercover where this took place is very dense. Average shots were in the range of 10-20 yards. Longest shot I've taken there was a measured 36 yards, that being the one shot in my front yard. Somewhere around 40 of the hogs were full size, ranging from 200-300#.

    So, in answer to the original question, why shoot subsonic? Simple response is that it works and causes a lot less commotion. Does this mean I don't shoot fast stuff? Not at all. I tickle the 3,000 fps realm with several rifles and will use them in other circumstances. That said, IF you can put the bullet where it needs to go, horsepower is irrelevant. It isn't that hard to do.
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  5. #45
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    Guess I'll put in my 2 cents worth..... I've started shooting suppressed weapons in '66 while in the Army. Guess you could say I "hunted" with them back in a land far away back then also. I started using a 30 cal suppresser a few years later for sport hunting. I used it with the .308W, 30-30, 30 Carbine, 223 Rem and 22LR. I mostly used the 311041 HP and the 311299HP in the 308W and 30-30. In the 30 Carbine the 311316HP were cast of very soft alloy, mostly 30-1 or 20-1 GC'd and lubed with Javelina. Ran at 1050 - 1100 fps they remained about as quiet as a 22 cal pellet rifle.

    I found them to be effective on deer and vermin when the ranges were kept close, usually sub 100 yards and mostly less than 50 yards. As already discussed, bullet placement was paramount. Hunting/shooting from a fixed position/stand/hide was also essential. I learned early on that "still" hunting was not a good idea because one cannot precisely place the shot on moving game, even at close range, precisely enough with the low power sub-sonic loads.

    I've also hunted deer and vermin with full powered jacketed loads with the same cartridges. Whether or not the animal shot heard the ballistic crack was a moot point. If multiple shots at multiple animals were to be had I never found the ballistic crack to actually spook them off. It is the boom of the muzzle blast that does, and that boom is eliminated with a proper suppresser. Most often it confuses the other animals as they don't understand what it is or really realize where it came from. I've marked a deer's ear only to have them run into each other at the 'crack". It is almost impossible to get a direction the shot came from when only the "crack" is heard. I've had coyote run at me confused, just stand there or run over to the shot one to see what was wrong with it. Sometimes they'll jump and trot a few steps, but they stop to look around. Shot over the back of one at 600 yards and he started a sneak on the bullet impact.

    I also learned over the years that larger caliber bullets at the same sub-sonic velocities always killed a bit quicker. Seems a large hole going in trumps the same size hole going out...... Thus, I built a 45 ACP on a M98 Mauser action using a Rhineland conversion. I run a GC'd 245 gr 230 gr 452490HP cast of 30-1 at 1050 fps out of it. It is deadly to say the least.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Larry Gibson

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  6. #46
    Boolit Buddy
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    Well put Larry and Dan..well put indeed...tis all about shot placement.

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Gibson View Post
    Guess I'll put in my 2 cents worth..... I've started shooting suppressed weapons in '66 while in the Army. Guess you could say I "hunted" with them back in a land far away back then also. I started using a 30 cal suppresser a few years later for sport hunting. I used it with the .308W, 30-30, 30 Carbine, 223 Rem and 22LR. I mostly used the 311041 HP and the 311299HP in the 308W and 30-30. In the 30 Carbine the 311316HP were cast of very soft alloy, mostly 30-1 or 20-1 GC'd and lubed with Javelina. Ran at 1050 - 1100 fps they remained about as quiet as a 22 cal pellet rifle.

    I found them to be effective on deer and vermin when the ranges were kept close, usually sub 100 yards and mostly less than 50 yards. As already discussed, bullet placement was paramount. Hunting/shooting from a fixed position/stand/hide was also essential. I learned early on that "still" hunting was not a good idea because one cannot precisely place the shot on moving game, even at close range, precisely enough with the low power sub-sonic loads.

    I've also hunted deer and vermin with full powered jacketed loads with the same cartridges. Whether or not the animal shot heard the ballistic crack was a moot point. If multiple shots at multiple animals were to be had I never found the ballistic crack to actually spook them off. It is the boom of the muzzle blast that does, and that boom is eliminated with a proper suppresser. Most often it confuses the other animals as they don't understand what it is or really realize where it came from. I've marked a deer's ear only to have them run into each other at the 'crack". It is almost impossible to get a direction the shot came from when only the "crack" is heard. I've had coyote run at me confused, just stand there or run over to the shot one to see what was wrong with it. Sometimes they'll jump and trot a few steps, but they stop to look around. Shot over the back of one at 600 yards and he started a sneak on the bullet impact.

    I also learned over the years that larger caliber bullets at the same sub-sonic velocities always killed a bit quicker. Seems a large hole going in trumps the same size hole going out...... Thus, I built a 45 ACP on a M98 Mauser action using a Rhineland conversion. I run a GC'd 245 gr 230 gr 452490HP cast of 30-1 at 1050 fps out of it. It is deadly to say the least.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Thank you Mr. Gibson, I always learn something from your posts. Many excellent points!

  8. #48
    Boolit Master Moleman-'s Avatar
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    My experience mirrors that of Mr Gibson in respect to shooting game with supersonic ammo and a suppressor. Often the deer will look around and try to pinpoint where the shot came from right up until they drop. I did have one shot with a 450BM take off running, but it ran straight towards me and dropped about 20 yards away from my stand. I believe it was trying to make it into a thick brushy patch next to my stand. The one this year was with a .40 wildcat running a 195 barnes at about 2650fps. 90yd heart shot, buck jumped and kicked and trotted 20' to the next group of trees and looked around. Turned around walked back to the tree it was shot near, looked around again. Started walking again and dropped. Whole thing took just a few seconds.

  9. #49
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    I was just speaking to a rancher friend of mine about his new rifle/night scope/suppressor. Last year he lost 58 calves to coyotes during calving time. Normally he loses 15 to 20 out of about 600. During calving time he brings them into calving pens by the house. For this year he has a suppressed AR match rifle with night vision. He will be shooting 40 grain V-Max's so ricochets shouldn't be an issue. Hopefully I can make it up to help with the night watch. Hopefully the suppressor will be quiet enough to not spook the cattle. The pens are about 300 yards square.

    Not subsonic but should be effective.
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  10. #50
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    Dan did you use the CB 29gr bullet? Head shots?

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by badwolf View Post
    Dan did you use the CB 29gr bullet? Head shots?
    Yes. CCI CB Shorts. Two styles of shots taken. 1) Hogs less than about 125# shot thru the neck broadside to clip the vertebrae. 2) bigger hogs, or if the opportunity arises, between the eyes. It may surprise, but the CB will fully penetrate neck and spine on the first option.

    https://i.imgur.com/45NsJo9.jpg

    https://i.imgur.com/S4s0u8c.jpg

    https://i.imgur.com/lw7duvS.jpg
    I have danced with the Devil. She had excellent attorneys.

  12. #52
    Boolit Grand Master popper's Avatar
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    suppressor will be quiet enough to not spook the cattle
    Interesting. several yrs ago we were shooting in a pasture, other pasture had cattle at the other side. After many shots, the cattle were at the fence divider, watching what was going on. Then they moseyed back to the other side.
    Whatever!

  13. #53
    Boolit Master Jim22's Avatar
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    A suppressor on a supersonic rifle doesn't help much. In most cases even with suppressor the report still exceeds 100 dB by a margin. Subsonic is another thing. The report is naturally less loud. It's why I kep handloads for my rolling block .32 S&W Long to 1,000 fps. With ear protection I can tell the difference betweek subsonic and supersonic loads during testing. It's significant. With my tinnitus I would rather not make it worse.

    Jim

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim22 View Post
    A suppressor on a supersonic rifle doesn't help much. In most cases even with suppressor the report still exceeds 100 dB by a margin. Subsonic is another thing. The report is naturally less loud. It's why I kep handloads for my rolling block .32 S&W Long to 1,000 fps. With ear protection I can tell the difference betweek subsonic and supersonic loads during testing. It's significant. With my tinnitus I would rather not make it worse.

    Jim
    Most supersonic suppressed dB levels are 120-130 dB, which is just under the reported OSHA safe hearing threshold of 140 dB.

    8hr hearing safe thresholds start around 85 dB. Exposure dB levels are based upon duration of exposure.

    I disagree. A suppressor on a rifle reduces the intensity of the blast/report by many many times. unsuppressed 308 runs about 168 dB, suppressed 133 dB. As the dB scale is logarithmic, consider that the intensity doubles approximately every 3dB. so the intensity is reduced much much more that the numbers indicate at first glance.

  15. #55
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    Absolutely. A suppressed 308 with full power ammo is way better. It is still damaging your hearing, but it is so much better than unsuppressed. You can take a shot or two and it doesn't even ring your ears.

  16. #56
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    A good suppressor with supersonic ammunition will suppress the muzzle blast almost entirely. What is heard by the shooter is the crack of the bullet as it exits the suppressor. That crack sound is moving away from you. The intensity of the "crack" is dependent upon the velocity, the caliber of the bullet and the shape of the bullet. The intensity of the "crack is also dependent on the physical conditions when shooting. If in the field shooting across open terrain the sound intensity is much less than when shooting in a built up area. Shooting from a bench at the range with berms and, in particular, with overhead coover can really intensify the "crack". It is that "crack" that sound meters measure and as BK7saum mentions with a reduction of approximately 3 db's the sound level is cut in half. The 30 - 35 db reduction most good suppressers offer is the suppression of the muzzle blast.

    With my .223 suppressor on my AR with full bore jacketed loads I actually here the recoil spring going "twang" and the action functioning. The "crack" is not that loud at all, less than unsuppressed sub-sonic 22LR. On my 22LR semi's with sub-sonic ammo all I hear is the action functioning. With supersonic jacketed loads in my suppressed .308W there is no muzzle blast, the crack is loader but, again, that sound is moving away fast. It is very satisfying to hear the "thwack" of the bullet hitting steel at 300 out to 1000+ yards. With sub-sonic ammo my 22 cal pellet rifle is louder.

    Then there is the 45 ACP M98 w/suppressor pictured in previous post. With any subsonic load the sound I hear is the same as when dry firing the M98....just the striker falling.
    Last edited by Larry Gibson; 12-07-2022 at 08:24 PM.
    Larry Gibson

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  17. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Dan View Post
    Yes. CCI CB Shorts. Two styles of shots taken. 1) Hogs less than about 125# shot thru the neck broadside to clip the vertebrae. 2) bigger hogs, or if the opportunity arises, between the eyes. It may surprise, but the CB will fully penetrate neck and spine on the first option.

    https://i.imgur.com/45NsJo9.jpg

    https://i.imgur.com/S4s0u8c.jpg

    https://i.imgur.com/lw7duvS.jpg
    I can confirm the efficiency of the CB caps and 22's from shorts to Magnums. I have killed hundreds of hogs using them while hunting with dogs and/or stalking them. Shots were generally measured in feet, and I don't remember losing ANY of them. Bang, flop!
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  18. #58
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    For the deer or two I harvest a year, a full power .308 load with jacketed bullets is cheap and effective. I can make a less than perfect shot and reach out to 400 yards if I need to. Sub-sonic means keeping ranges too short for where and how I hunt. My shortest shot on deer over the last 10 years has been 125 yards.
    Don Verna


  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by dverna View Post
    For the deer or two I harvest a year, a full power .308 load with jacketed bullets is cheap and effective. I can make a less than perfect shot and reach out to 400 yards if I need to. Sub-sonic means keeping ranges too short for where and how I hunt. My shortest shot on deer over the last 10 years has been 125 yards.
    I think that is where you aren't understanding. You are only thinking about this in your shoes. Not everyone only hunts a couple deer a year off their back porch. In your case you could just as easily put on ear muffs before the shot. There's a lot of hunting out there that will damage your hearing quickly. In my case it is duck hunting. Someone else might be a hog hunter. In both instances ear muffs or other style hearing protection isn't practical at all. Good quality hearing aids for hunting like Tetra are getting better, but they still aren't fantastic, and they are around $1300. That same $1300 can buy a suppressor, and nothing beats your real ears for hearing.

  20. #60
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    To me we are talking of two very different, but at the same time similar options in this thread.

    On the one hand we have sub sonic velocities for hunting. Be it with a handgun or downloaded rifle.

    On the other hand, we are talking of suppressors, either sub sonic or full power.

    Like it or not, there is big difference in killing power between a <1100 fps projectile and one that is launched at two to three times that speed.

    While I firmly believe that a .45-70 with almost any lead bullet at subsonic velocities will be enough gun for anything on the North American continent, I am not so sure of say a .300 Blackout.

    I thought about getting a rifle .300 Blackout for a while. Until I did some comparisons in loading manuals. My conclusions were that the Blackout closely resembles that .32-40, a round that most people think is too small for general deer hunting today.

    Robert

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