Does Rain muffle the sound of a gun or rifle shot?


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glockman19
November 2, 2008, 06:02 PM
Does Rain muffle the sound of a gun or rifle shot?

Regardless of caliber, with a falling rain, does the sound of a gun/rifle shot get muffled? Not at the point of fire but in the distance with falling rain.

Would you hear a .22LR @ 100 yards the same as you would if it weren't raining? Is the sound muffled by the sound of the rain or the raindrop?

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The Bushmaster
November 2, 2008, 06:19 PM
Sound carries in damp air much better then in dry air. If you have ever heard a lonesome whistle of a train loco you will understand. On dry days you won't hear it...

robsc
November 2, 2008, 06:20 PM
I don`t know.

longdayjake
November 2, 2008, 06:23 PM
I voted yes just because I wanted to be the first person on a thread to post about something he had no knowledge whatsoever about. Don't worry you will probably get more.

Zoogster
November 2, 2008, 06:34 PM
I was taught that sound travels farther in water than in air because of density. Speed of sound is the same in either air/water.
No. Sound travel much faster underwater. Over 4x faster.
Yes it is because of the density or closer molecules.
Depth changes the speed of sound.
The temperature also plays a large role in the speed of sound.


Sound does also tend to travel better in moist or damp air. You can hear someone talking in fog more clearly and further away than in dry air.

If it was heavily raining, the large number of raindrops will cause enough sound to be deflected in various directions that it would be dampened from further away.
So how far away also plays a role, because the further from the source of the sound the more raindrops are in the way deflecting the soundwave and dampening it.
The moist air though would increase the transmission of sound, so it would probably have to be further away than 100 yards compared to a dry day. It would depend on what you are comparing it to. A humid day, or a dry day.


As for snow. I have found snow greatly dampens sound while it is snowing. The powdery falling snow and layer of powder on the ground muffles a lot. It seems much quieter when it is snowing because the snow does absorb the energy of many sound waves (while it is powdery, once it turns to ice and is not falling the ice will actualy reflect the sound waves even better, making it louder).

Comanche180
November 2, 2008, 06:52 PM
The speed of sound is directly related to the density of the medium in which it is traveling, so in water it would be faster than plain air. I would think the rain drops would interfere and diffuse the sound. It is interesting to note that humid air is less dense than dry air and so on a humid day, sound will travel more slowly. You can expect a rainy day to also be humid and so the sound will travel more slowly and be diffused by the rain. My opinion.

I'm not sure that sound will travel further in water than air. That is another subject.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
November 2, 2008, 07:09 PM
Absolutely yes, it does. Forget about the scientific jazz - more density or not, the SOUND of the rain hitting all around the "hear-ee" muffles the sound (which is the question), and makes it not heard at as long of a distance. This factor of just the general ambient noise easily trumps any additional distance carried due to the density of the air/water combination, by many times. Not complicated - experience bears this out.

unisonic12
November 2, 2008, 07:13 PM
No. Sound travel much faster underwater. Over 4x faster.
Yes it is because of the density or closer molecules.
Depth changes the speed of sound.
The temperature also plays a large role in the speed of sound.

Don't forget salinity. Sounds like somebody knows about underwater acoustics, the sound velocity profile and, possibly, sonic layer depths. Don't think we'll see convergence zones in rain filled air, though, because that's related to depth excess. So, do you have submarine experience or anti-submarine experience, such as being in LAMPS?

And, PremiumSauces is right. The ambient "pitter patter" noise from the falling rain drops will somewhat mitigate the sound of the shot, but not by much. For those claiming the "water aspect" of enhancing the sound? Think about it... The raindrops are WAAAY too dispersed to have a direct effect on one another. I liken this to when Mythbusters tried to see if the myth was true that your could chargrill your johnson by peeing from a subway platform down onto the electrified rail. Never got any measurable current because the urine drops (high salinity so it would be an even BETTER conductor) were spaced too far apart. They needed to be in actual contact with each other, as in a constant stream, to conduct electricity, which is energy, same as sound. Rain doesn't come down in contiguous solid sheets and the drops would be spaced at least as far apart as the urine drops, which actually LOOKS like a solid stream, but it isn't...

The only way water amplifies anything with sound is when it is the sole homogeneous medium in which the sound source is submerged. If an air/water boundary were to amplify the sound, then why is it much harder to hear someone talking at the side of the pool when you're under water? Or the other way around...trying to hear someone yelling under water.

unisonic12
November 2, 2008, 07:23 PM
I'm not sure that sound will travel further in water than air.

It most definitely will. In under water acoustics, there are these things called convergence zones and ducting where the sound energy is concentrated. Sounds can be heard, depending on the environmentals (such as sonic layer depth for ducting and depth excess for convergence zones) at regular intervals, such as 30 miles, 60 miles and 90 miles (nautical miles). I've heard underwater audio from over 100 miles away during my Navy anti-submarine helicopter days. Think whale songs. They communicate with each other over VAST distances. This is how submarines can use passive sonar (not the "ping type") and hear all sorts of faint mechanical noises, crew running around, etc from another submarine at hundreds and, in some cases, thousands of YARDS away.

I remember as a kid playing with an alarm on a digital watch. Leave it on the diving board and I could just barely hear it outside the pool standing by the shallow end. But, drop it in the deep end and go under water in the shallow end? Could hear it plain as day and I recall it being even louder than listening to it on my arm out of the pool.

The reason sound travels faster in "solid" water is because of one thing which hasn't been brought up here. Water is an incompressible fluid, unlike air which can most definitely be compressed. Pretty much all liquids are incompressible and that's how we can use a hand jack to lift a multi-thousand pound vehicle. Water would work just as well, but some type of machine oil is used in the jack for two reasons. It won't cause rust and it won't freeze.

LKB3rd
November 2, 2008, 09:00 PM
The sound will travel further in the damp air, but the sound of the raindrops falling near the listener will mask the sound somewhat, so you'd have to figure out the weighting of each of those factors to answer.
In light rain, you'd hear it louder, and in a heavy downpour, you'd probably hear it less or the same as a dry day.

RaisedByWolves
November 2, 2008, 09:19 PM
What good is a poll on a topic like this?


.

glockman19
November 2, 2008, 09:26 PM
What good is a poll on a topic like this?
Have you ever hunted in the rain?

misANTHrope
November 2, 2008, 09:31 PM
Heavy rainfall should mask the sound of the shot. You can see this principle in action ever time NASA launches a shuttle. All that water that gets sprayed below the launch pad just before the engines light off is there to dampen the sound of the engines. NASA started doing this back in the Apollo days, after the first Saturn V launch heavily buffeted buildings four miles from the launch pad, including dropping ceiling tiles on Walter Cronkite's head.

Now, it's worth nothing that the amount of water pumped by that sound suppression system is undoubtedly far more than even the heaviest rainfalls, so it's possible that some nonintuitive things might occur with lesser amounts of rainfall. But my guess is that the raindrops would scatter and dampen the sound.y

ranger335v
November 2, 2008, 09:31 PM
"What good is a poll on a topic like this?"

None at all. But it is kinda fun to not be so serious for a moment.

I can assure all that sound moves quite well AND quite fast underwater. In fact, contary to some movies and books I've read, underwater sound moves so fast that SCUBA divers have no idea of the source direction of any sound. When we hear a boat's motor sound getting louder we just have to stay safely submerged until it starts getting softer before surfacing because we don't know what direction to watch for it coming or how close it may be.

Mike J
November 2, 2008, 09:34 PM
I voted louder. If you were in a downpour I do believe the sound of the rain falling would cover the sound of the shot some so to speak, but I think in light rain it would be louder. I grew up under the flight pattern for planes landing at Hartsfield Airport. On cloudy days the planes always sounded louder. The density of the clouds-atmosphere I believe kind of contains the sound-keeps it from being able to disperse as much.

Ash
November 2, 2008, 09:40 PM
What good is a poll on a topic like this?

What about writing? Were I to be writing about a shooting in rain, regardless of what kind of shooting, I would want to know who might hear it, how long away it might be heard, or if it were muffled by the rain.

Ash

Packman
November 2, 2008, 09:44 PM
underwater sound moves so fast that SCUBA divers have no idea of the source direction of any sound. When we hear a boat's motor sound getting louder we just have to stay safely submerged until it starts getting softer before surfacing because we don't know what direction to watch for it coming or how close it may be.

Very true.

Personally, I think that it won't muffle it very noticeably in a light rain, but with a heavy rain, the ambient noise is loud enough to make a difference.

DeathByCactus
November 2, 2008, 10:04 PM
If a tree falls deep in the forest and no one is around does it make a sound?


Voted yes.

RaisedByWolves
November 2, 2008, 10:10 PM
"If a tree falls deep in the forest and no one is around does it make a sound?"


Depends, is it raining at the time?

Floppy_D
November 2, 2008, 10:24 PM
Of course, which is why you need to file a Form 4 and send in the $200 everytime you shoot in the rain.

loneviking
November 2, 2008, 11:43 PM
You ever hunted in the rain? Yes, in a steady rain the sound is muffled somewhat but what I've noticed is that it's harder to get a fix on where the sound is coming from. I'm not so sure that it's the rain as it is the low pressure and the change in the atmosphere.

FlyinBryan
November 2, 2008, 11:55 PM
the sound of a rifle that is so far away that you barely hear it in complete silence will not be heard in a hard rainstorm.

if your under a tin roof in a hard hail storm with hailstones the size of golfballs you might not hear a garand 100yds away.

moooose102
November 3, 2008, 12:35 AM
i dont know if sound travels better in MOIST air or not, i do know it travels better in cold air. but all those rain drops will break up the sound waves so they dispurse into many, smaller, broken up incomplete sound waves. if you were talking a continuous body of air or water, the sound waves would behave predictably, but when you mix in droplets to the equasion, the sound can not travel properly in either one (air or water) because it is not a continuous element to flow in. it is broken up by the rain droplets as it travels through the air, and when it tries to travel through the water molecules, it can not connect to another droplet of water because it is seperated by air.

Telumehtar
November 3, 2008, 03:22 PM
Actually the medium in this case is almost irrelevant. Any sound in a pouring rain is going to seem muted due to a couple of factors.

First, the sound we are trying to identify is not the only sound being generated. Each rain drop as it hits the ground, leaves, roofs, cars, etc generate noise. Just like trying to listen to a conversation on a plane or with the TV set to static, our ears are going to have a harder time distinguishing the sound we are trying to specify(the gun shot in this case), from all the other noise.

Partially deaf people(especially with hearing aids) experience this issue all the time(and with greater severity) when trying to have a conversation in a crowded room, or a sports bar. The specific sound essentially drowns into the white noise.

Another proof for this concept is the way some modern architecture is working in regards to Cubicle farms. In an effort to have larger working spaces divied up only by cubicle walls, designers had to come up with a way to counter noise in larger rooms. The method that is employed at my office and several other offices I've visited is the generation of a low audible backround white noise. Essentially what happens over time is our brains learn to assimilate this white noise so we don't take notice of it during our normal day. But conversations held just 20 yards from me are barely audible due to this background noise(which if I think about it, I can hear). Rain acts in much the same way generating all those pitter pattering of drops.

[edit] bah hit submit to quickly

Secondly, sounds travel in a wave, and rain drops dispersed through the air will actually be disruptive as a medium for sound to travel through. Waves have their peaks and troughs directly impacted by the medium they are travelling through. In an ideal medium the the waves of a sound (or if we were talking about light the same applies) the consistancy and denseness of the medium would be consistant. Each time the medium changes, the wave itself will lose energy, and more importantly the shape of the wave will distort as it's forced to travel. But ultimately this is unimportant in a rain storm due to the fact that even in a downpour the amount of space occupied by water is significanly less than the amount of space taken up by air. The sound (for practical purposes) is not traveling via raindrops. As for moistness of the air changing the density of the air... the amount of difference that would actually have is more than lost due to the White Noise background factors I pointed earlier.

230RN
November 3, 2008, 04:38 PM
Offhand, with zero references or 'speriments or anythng, I'd say that sound traveling through a non-homogenous medium... like raindrop-filled air, would be muffled quite a bit. As the sound wave strikes each drop, I would guess, it would have to transfer some of its energy, and any time you try to transfer energy from one thing to another, some of it turns to heat.

I would guess.

But I would bet $5.00 on it, too.

Off-topic, but I'd be more curious as to how much rain or drizzle affects the trajectory, since drop-filled air must offer some additional resistance to a moving bullet as it strikes each drop.

Fun topic. One of the rare instances where I post without knowing what the heck I'm talking about.

But I would still bet $5.00 on the rain muffling the sound.

Terry, 230RN

pbearperry
November 3, 2008, 04:43 PM
Once hunting in thick fog,a friend of mine got a shot off.It sounded way off,but it was fairly close.

230RN
November 3, 2008, 04:51 PM
^
Once hunting in thick fog, a friend of mine got a shot off. It sounded way off, but it was fairly close.

OK, make my bet ten bucks now.

Trouble is, I've never heard any but my own shots in the rain/fog, so I was too close to make a judgement.

Terry, 230RN

KINGMAX
November 3, 2008, 05:00 PM
don't know

JKimball
November 4, 2008, 05:15 AM
I remember as a kid playing with an alarm on a digital watch. Leave it on the diving board and I could just barely hear it outside the pool standing by the shallow end. But, drop it in the deep end and go under water in the shallow end? Could hear it plain as day and I recall it being even louder than listening to it on my arm out of the pool.

I remember doing that as a kid too. But did you ever try listening for the alarm while it was sitting on the diving board, and you were underwater in the shallow end?

I've never noticed that going underwater amplifies the soundwaves in the air.

I voted yes. Companies that do soundproofing rely on the mass of the barrier material to dampen the sound, and isolating the materials from each other so the vibrations can't travel through them as easily. They will even wrap rooms in lead sheets. So I'm thinking the raindrops act like so many isolated curtains of mass to dampen the sound.

stevemis
November 4, 2008, 05:29 AM
I try not to shoot in the rain and always wear ear protection, so I have neither the scientific answer nor the experience.

I can say that the airplanes which pass by at 4,000 to 5,000 feet (we are about 20 miles from an airport) are MUCH louder on heavily cloudy days. I can only attribute this to the clouds forming a blanket between the ground and the airplane.

It would not be a far stretch to assume that if it's raining, it is also cloudy and that the clouds might also reflect that shot noise back to the ground.

rfurtkamp
November 4, 2008, 09:42 AM
What if I use one of my cans and subsonic ammo?

Is it quieter in the rain then? :)

22-rimfire
November 4, 2008, 10:00 AM
Sounds seems to appear to be more muffled when we are in a low pressure condition which would normally include rain and snow.

Just my guess based on listening to shots fired during deer season in public hunting land.

hiker44
November 4, 2008, 11:46 AM
Moisture aside, depending on how hard it's raining, the water falling on surrounding material -- roof, vehicle, leaves, etc. -- may tend to slightly mask the sound of a gunshot, but it's all relative. Have to get out in the rain and try it. Anyone wanna come along?

bearmgc
November 4, 2008, 11:49 AM
Shot my antelope this year in rain, and the muzzle blast seemed much louder and had a "crack!" to it.

Creature
November 4, 2008, 12:05 PM
Heavy rain, snow and even thick fog can partially mask higher frequency sound waves better than low frequency waves and, as a result, the distance that certain sound waves are able to travel is reduced.

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