Is a shotgun louder than a rifle or pistol?


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Dfence
July 22, 2011, 05:30 PM
At the range, I've fired my shotgun and 9mm pistol side by side once to see how they sounded (without earmuffs). I thought the 9mm produced a sharper and more painful blast. The shotgun didn't seem too bad at all. But when I heard someone shoot an AR15 in .223--THAT was loud!

Also, I have a decibel chart from about 15 years ago showing the decibel ratings of different guns. The 12ga. is around 156db and a 9mm was about 160db.

Well, I just went on google and typed in a question about it and was directed to yahoo answers where most people said the shotgun is definately louder. I always thought that using my 12ga in the house for HD would have an advantage of being easier on my ears (among other advantages). I wouldn't have dreamed of using a .223.

So my question is: What produces more hearing damage? Is it something with a higher decibel rating, or is there something else involved?

Here's a link to yahoo answers: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090415201257AANmlaL

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The-Reaver
July 22, 2011, 05:55 PM
I have one 100 bucks off of that.. lol

My redneck buddy thought that a 3" magnum out of his mossberg would be louder than my
Socom 16 hhahaahahaahahhhah I had to take that money from him... he was begging for me to after a statement like that. lol

SARDiver
July 22, 2011, 05:57 PM
"What produces more hearing damage? Is it something with a higher decibel rating, or is there something else involved?"



Depends. Are you firing it in a vacuum?

Dfence
July 22, 2011, 06:05 PM
Uh, no. It was at the range. But my biggest concern would be firing inside of an enclosed room, such as in a house.

243winxb
July 22, 2011, 06:06 PM
Higher decibel rating = more hearing damage. When a projectile is above the speed of sound, you get a sonic boom. This adds to the noise as the bullet goes down range.

Dfence
July 22, 2011, 06:09 PM
Is it also true that the more past the speed of sound it travels, the louder the sonic boom will be? That would explain the rifle being louder since rifles put out a higher velocity.

azmjs
July 22, 2011, 06:09 PM
In my experience at indoor ranges, a shotgun is without a doubt louder sounding than a pistol when shot in a nearby bay.

Zoogster
July 22, 2011, 06:12 PM
I would direct you to this recent thread:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=603342

Where others and myself comment on the noise produced by various firearms.


Basically a 28" barrel 12 gauge shotgun is quieter than most pistols. An 18" 12 gauge is louder than most pistols.
Those 10" of barrel result in almost cutting the noise volume in half.
12 Gauge
28" barrel 151.50dB.
26" barrel 156.10dB.
18" barrel 161.50dB.

About a decibel an inch between 18" and 28". Funny when you consider the ATF definition of a silencer.

Balrog
July 22, 2011, 06:14 PM
From the perspective of the shooter, the shotgun is not as loud as most pistols. Some or all of this may be related to the fact that the muzzle of a pistol is closer to your ear. I know if I shoot a pistol without hearing protection, my ears ring. But a 12 gauge shotgun does not make them ring.

esheato
July 22, 2011, 06:18 PM
Regarding shooting in a HD scenario in your house, see this article (http://www.atlanticsignal.com/mh3/pages/tpoae.html)on auditory exclusion. Just like when you're deer hunting and you "never hear the shot."

harmonic
July 22, 2011, 06:21 PM
12 gauge shotgun 165 dB.22 caliber rifle 130dB
.223, 55GR. Commercial load 18" barrel 155.5dB
.243 in 22" barrel 155.9dB
.30-30 in 20" barrel 156.0dB.
7mm Magnum in 20" barrel 157.5dB.
.308 in 24" barrel 156.2dB.
.30-06 in 24" barrel 158.5dB. In 18" barrel 163.2dB.
.375 18" barrel with muzzle brake 170 dB.
.410 Bore 28" barrel 150dB. 26" barrel 150.25dB. 18" barrel 156.30dB.
20 Gauge 28" barrel 152.50dB. 22" barrel 154.75dB.
12 Gauge 28" barrel 151.50dB. 26" barrel 156.10dB. 18" barrel 161.50dB.
.25 ACP 155.0 dB.
.32 LONG 152.4 dB.
.32 ACP 153.5 dB.
.380 157.7 dB.
9mm 159.8 dB.
.38 S&W 153.5 dB.
.38 Spl 156.3 dB.
.357 Magnum 164.3 dB.
.41 Magnum 163.2 dB.
.44 Spl 155.9 dB.
.45 ACP 157.0 dB.
.45 COLT 154.7 dB.

243winxb
July 22, 2011, 06:45 PM
Is it also true that the more past the speed of sound it travels, the louder the sonic boom will be? Good question, i don't know. I would guess it remains the same as long as the bullet is above the speed of sound. Interesting reading > http://firearmsid.com/Feature%20Articles/soundofbullets/soundofbullets2.htm

Balrog
July 22, 2011, 06:59 PM
12 gauge shotgun 165 dB.22 caliber rifle 130dB
.223, 55GR. Commercial load 18" barrel 155.5dB
.243 in 22" barrel 155.9dB
.30-30 in 20" barrel 156.0dB.
7mm Magnum in 20" barrel 157.5dB.
.308 in 24" barrel 156.2dB.
.30-06 in 24" barrel 158.5dB. In 18" barrel 163.2dB.
.375 18" barrel with muzzle brake 170 dB.
.410 Bore 28" barrel 150dB. 26" barrel 150.25dB. 18" barrel 156.30dB.
20 Gauge 28" barrel 152.50dB. 22" barrel 154.75dB.
12 Gauge 28" barrel 151.50dB. 26" barrel 156.10dB. 18" barrel 161.50dB.
.25 ACP 155.0 dB.
.32 LONG 152.4 dB.
.32 ACP 153.5 dB.
.380 157.7 dB.
9mm 159.8 dB.
.38 S&W 153.5 dB.
.38 Spl 156.3 dB.
.357 Magnum 164.3 dB.
.41 Magnum 163.2 dB.
.44 Spl 155.9 dB.
.45 ACP 157.0 dB.
.45 COLT 154.7 dB.

None of this takes into account that you are 24+ inches further away from the muzzle of the shot gun.

bottom shelf
July 22, 2011, 08:47 PM
Good question, i don't know. I would guess it remains the same as long as the bullet is above the speed of sound.

I don't think there's a sonic boom at all unless the bullet passes through the sound barrier in flight. My understanding is that the sonic boom is created by the leading edge of the sound waves being additive when an object is moving at the speed of sound. Think of it this way: When an object emits a sound "wave", it moves away from it's point of origin in a spherical pattern. If the object moves, and is positioned right on the "wave" at some point in the waves sphere, and emits another sound wave, it adds its own energy to the original wave. The wave front continues to move in a straight line, but in this case so does the source, constantly emitting waves on top of the existing wave front, adding up to a sonic boom (which is actually in the shape of a cone).

Or I might be all full of it. ;)

SARDiver
July 22, 2011, 09:04 PM
Uh, no. It was at the range. But my biggest concern would be firing inside of an enclosed room, such as in a house.

Uh, it was a joking reference to the "bullet fired in a vacuum" thread. Fell flat, I guess (and at the same speed as if it weren't in a vacuum).


Carry on.



Oh, and as to the actual subject: My advice is to get the SD weapon you think will be best in a fight. The sound will be affected by proximity to walls, the height of the ceilings, the materials they're made of, etc. Sound would be way down on my list of things to look for.

Frozen North
July 22, 2011, 09:12 PM
I don't know decibel levels, but the loudest thing in my safe is an M-44 Mosin Nagant. I had a .270 with an 18 inch barrel that would make my brain bleed.

Shorter barreled rifles seem to be by far the loudest in my experience.

marsh maniac
July 22, 2011, 10:29 PM
my guess is that this guy knows a bit about sound waves

Owen Sparks
July 23, 2011, 12:18 AM
It is not the amount of powder burned but the amount of pressure that creates the sharper noise. This is another good reason to choose a shotgun over a pistol for HD.

303tom
July 23, 2011, 12:21 AM
Depends !

benEzra
July 23, 2011, 01:30 AM
Is it also true that the more past the speed of sound it travels, the louder the sonic boom will be?
No, not really. The "crack" of a passing bullet, the "crack" of a bullwhip, and the "boom" of a supersonic plane passing by are all analogous to the big wave a passing boat makes. Changing the speed changes the shape of the wave, and has some effect on amplitude, but the size of the boat/ship matters more than the speed does.

As far as self-defense use, the "crack" of the rifle bullet travels downrange away from the shooter, and is not a major contributor to the loudness experienced by the shooter.

AFAIK, loudness is determined mostly by pressure at the point the gases vent to the atmosphere (NOT chamber pressure) and by the gas volume. Vent pressure is in turn determined by barrel length and the in-barrel pressure curve, and gas volume is determined by the amount of powder used. In practice, longer barrels make a gun less loud, and larger bores tend to be louder at equivalent pressure than smaller bores. Revolvers are louder than comparable pistols due to the very high pressure venting at the barrel-cylinder gap. Compensated/braked guns are louder than unbraked guns.

If you look at peak loudness in dBA, defensive guns are surprisingly similar in loudness. A .223 carbine (with bare muzzle or a flash suppressor, not a brake), a .30-30, a 12-gauge, a 9mm pistol, a .45 pistol, and a .38 revolver all lie in a fairly narrow range if dBA. None are as loud as a .357 revolver.

Got_Lead?
July 23, 2011, 02:07 AM
Muzzle brakes and flash suppressors deflect the sound rearward, so even though the decibel level is the same, more of the blast and noise comes back at the shooter. What's even worse, is the guy next to you on the range is shooting a large calibre rifle with a muzzle brake, that really blasts the people on the sides.

For HD, I haven't really thought about the noise, I would just grab whatever's handy. I hope it will never happen.

Oh, and for shooting I wear earplugs and muffs, it really helps when shooting weapons that have a bark to them.

natman
July 23, 2011, 03:16 AM
Regarding shooting in a HD scenario in your house, see this article (http://www.atlanticsignal.com/mh3/pages/tpoae.html)on auditory exclusion. Just like when you're deer hunting and you "never hear the shot."
Auditory exclusion means that your mind doesn't notice the sound. It doesn't mean that your ears magically avoid damage.

The Wiry Irishman
July 23, 2011, 03:49 AM
Its a pressure thing. In a general sense, the more pressure you have exiting the barrel, the louder the sound will be. Shotguns run at pretty low pressure, (relative to other firearms, anyway) and the farther down the barrel you get, the more the pressure dissipates, as pressure peaks shortly after ignition when the volume containing the reaction is smallest. Shorter barrels and higher pressures will increase the sound of the report. Most pistol cartridges run in the area of 20k-36k PSI, most bottleneck rifle cartridges in the 50k-60k range, and shotguns (I'm not much of a shotgun guy, so you might want to verify this figure elsewhere) in the 15k-25k range. Also entering into the muzzle pressure equation is the type of powder being used. Pistols and shotguns use fast-burning powder, which means the pressure will dissipate faster as the projectile moves down the barrel, while rifles use a slower burning powder that won't dissipate as quickly.

To summarize, a shotgun, running at low pressure with a fairly long barrel will be on par or quieter than most pistols, but not anywhere near a rifle of equivalent barrel length.

MarkDozier
July 23, 2011, 05:33 AM
Excellent information. However the one thing not pointed out was the frequency of the sound wave. If you listen to a 357, while the DB level is loud the sound wave will have a wider wave form and not be precieved as loud as for example a 223 round with a shorter wave form.
Think of the ocean= a nice smooth rolling waves = 357
Think of the ocean = sharp white tips waves coming in very fast = 223

hso
July 23, 2011, 08:12 AM
None of this takes into account that you are 24+ inches further away from the muzzle of the shot gun.


Sound pressure levels for firearms are typically taken at the shooter's position for these charts so this isn't the case. Remember that a firearm sound suppressor reduces the SPL by allowing the gasses to expand and loose energy before exiting the firearm/suppressor system. A longer barrel provides some of the same benefit.

The frequency measured is centered on the human hearing range since that is all we're interested in.

Note that SPLs are logarithmic and that you can consider the pressure as doubling for each 5 dB increase.

NEVER shoot without hearing protection and double up with muffs and at least NRR 30 plugs.

lizziedog1
July 23, 2011, 08:33 AM
Many years ago I was at a rifle range. It was the outdoor type. A guy was shooting a 50 caliber Desert Eagle. He asked if I would like to try it. Of course I did.

My wife stood a few feet behind me when I shot it. She swore to me that she could feel some sort of shock wave hit her everytime I touched a round off. She said it felt different then other guns.

Balrog
July 23, 2011, 03:39 PM
Why do my ears ring when I shoot a 45 or 9mm, but don't ring when I am quail hunting with a 12 or 20 gauge?

GLOOB
July 23, 2011, 03:47 PM
So what's louder, to the shooter. A .223 with a flash hider (not muzzle brake)? Or a ported 12 gauge with 28" barrel?

How bout to the other guys on the line?

hermannr
July 23, 2011, 04:02 PM
Being old and very hard of hearing..never shoot anything (except maybe a suppressed .22) without hearing protection...ever...if at all possible!

Anything over 1100fps will give you a supersonic crack. Compaired to the actual weapon firing, this really is not the main source of the sound. The main source is the expanding gasses from the burning powder the "pressure wave" these gasses create.

Two things with your hearing, and damage. The peak pressure, and the duration of that pressure. The longer the pressure wave is over 85db (or 115db in other views) damage will occure, whether you think so or not.

In an SD situation in a house I would much rather hear a .38 or a 45 with a big slow bullet, then say my 7.62X25...while the supersonic "crack" isn't the main source of the sound pressure wave, it does add to it.

I light load in a shotgun would do the same. I would not want to fire a full 3" load inside a building.

Justin
July 23, 2011, 04:03 PM
When judging the amount of noise generated by any of these guns, refer to a dB measurement chart.

Also, keep in mind that Decibel measurements are logarithmic, and when looking at measurements, an increase of 3 dB correlates to a doubling of the sound pressure.

brickeyee
July 23, 2011, 07:26 PM
Most of theh SPLs for guns are at best approximate.

The impulsive nature of the sound makes it very difficult to measure values reliably.

The equipment rarely has enough bandwidth (and adequate response speed) to deal with the Mach wave produced.

hso
July 23, 2011, 08:12 PM
Why do my ears ring when I shoot a 45 or 9mm, but don't ring when I am quail hunting with a 12 or 20 gauge?


When you're hunting do you fire 50+ rounds? I bet that when you're shooting 9mm that you're shooting a box or two.

benEzra
July 23, 2011, 11:40 PM
Muzzle brakes and flash suppressors deflect the sound rearward, so even though the decibel level is the same, more of the blast and noise comes back at the shooter. What's even worse, is the guy next to you on the range is shooting a large calibre rifle with a muzzle brake, that really blasts the people on the sides.
That is true of brakes, but is not generally true of flash suppressors. Good flash suppressors tend to direct the blast downrange away from the shooter, resulting in less blast from the shooter's perspective, not more.

It's certainly subjective, but IMO a 16" .223 with a Vortex FS is more pleasant to shoot than a 16" .223 with a bare target muzzle.

Excellent information. However the one thing not pointed out was the frequency of the sound wave. If you listen to a 357, while the DB level is loud the sound wave will have a wider wave form and not be precieved as loud as for example a 223 round with a shorter wave form.
Think of the ocean= a nice smooth rolling waves = 357
Think of the ocean = sharp white tips waves coming in very fast = 223
The dBA scale corrects for the frequency response of the human ear, and a .357 revolver is considerably louder in dBA than a 16" to 18" unbraked .223.

A 16" .223 at the muzzle is probably venting at 3,000 psi or less; a .357 at the barrel-cylinder gap is venting at more than 30,000 psi, and may actually be higher pressure at the muzzle as well (depending on barrel length).

a shotgun, running at low pressure with a fairly long barrel will be on par or quieter than most pistols, but not anywhere near a rifle of equivalent barrel length.
Measured dBA put defensive-length shotguns (18" to 22") very close to 9mm/.40/.45 pistols and .223/7.62x39mm/.30-30 rifles, though adding longer barrels to any of the above will reduce their peak loudness some.

You are right that a shotgun runs at a lower chamber pressure than a rifle, but remember that a .729" 12-gauge bore has more than ten times the cross-sectional area of a .224" AR-15 bore; in terms of sound production, that big increase in gas volume more than makes up for the reduced pressure at muzzle vent. The result is that sound levels are pretty comparable among most defensive shotguns, carbines, and pistols.

The Wiry Irishman
July 24, 2011, 02:16 AM
You are right that a shotgun runs at a lower chamber pressure than a rifle, but remember that a .729" 12-gauge bore has more than ten times the cross-sectional area of a .224" AR-15 bore; in terms of sound production, that big increase in gas volume more than makes up for the reduced pressure at muzzle vent. The result is that sound levels are pretty comparable among most defensive shotguns, carbines, and pistols.

The gas volume question was something I've been thinking about since I posted, especially after I re-read the thread and saw your earlier post about it. After all, sound is a form of force, force is mass times acceleration, pressure level governs acceleration, and by distilling it down to just pressure like I did you lose the entire mass part of the equation.

Something else I've been wondering about is, powder volume aside, the effect bore diameter would have on sound, both in volume and tone. Volume-wise, would a larger bore be quieter than a smaller one, since the gas would be expanding from a larger area? Or would the magnitude of the pressures involved compared to the relatively small differences in area make it more or less a moot point? Also, am I correct that a larger bore diameter would result in a longer wave form and therefore a lower (tone-wise) sounding report? I'd love to hear someone with more than my basic mechanical physics background expound on this.

Overall, though, this discussion is completely academic, because and unsupressed firearm will be many, many decibels into the permanent hearing damage range. How loud your gun is shouldn't be even a secondary factor in how you choose a defensive firearm.

Sunray
July 24, 2011, 02:47 AM
Any sound over 85 decibels is enough to cause permanent hearing loss. And it's accumlative. Every gun shot, even a .22 LR, is enough. So what cartridge is the loudest is irrelevant.

Oddbod
July 24, 2011, 07:47 PM
I fired around a dozen shots at pigeons with the 12ga this evening with no hearing protection but I wouldn't want to fire the same number of shots from the .270 without hearing protection.
Maybe it's personal perception but the .270 seems a LOT louder.

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