Rifle Decibel Chart


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viking499
February 7, 2012, 10:10 AM
Is there a "chart" or something that gives a rough estimate of how loud a cartridge is?

I know that there are many variables there that could change the outcome, but I am looking for just an idea for each caliber.......

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Arp32
February 7, 2012, 11:08 AM
I actually helped with an acoustical study for a new outdoor range the state was building. No real expertise besides one class in college, but for the study I operated some equipment a half mile away to see what potential neighbors might hear if development encroached. For fun, we tested an MP-5 from a few feet away, suppressed and unsuppressed.

As I recall, there were tons of variables including direction from the barrel, ammunition, barrel length, muzzle brake, distance from shooter, and as you moved away things like wind, traffic noise and trees became a factor. We were just looking for low threshold numbers from good distances, but you could see differences in readings based on wind and passing cars on a nearby road.

Basically, .300WM with a muzzle brake won, followed by 7mm Magnum, then an old Eddystone .30-06.

The MP-5 sound levels were above the threshold for hearing loss from 4-5 feet away on the left side, even suppressed (just barely if I remember right, it's been a year or two).

There were big differences at identical distances based on the angle the reading was taken in relation to the shooter. Keep that in mind even if you do find a chart.

viking499
February 7, 2012, 12:48 PM
I am trying to figure out how a 22 compares to a HMR to a 204 to 223 to 243 etc as far as sound..........

jpwilly
February 7, 2012, 01:10 PM
22WM or 22LR? Also if sound level is of utmost importance and you don't have a "can" than a subsonic round will be very quite, obviously. What distance will you be shooting?

ATCDoktor
February 7, 2012, 01:19 PM
Although the calibers your looking to comapare may not be represented in their testing, there are a few places on the web that independently test suppressors and their firing schedules usually compare suppressed and unsuppressd fire.

You could probably get some of the info you want from thes sites:

http://www.silencerforum.com/forum/forum.php

http://nfatalk.org/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=5

(you have to join the forum to get info from NFATALK)

http://www.silencerresearch.com/

(Silencer Research has some free data but some of it you have to pay for)

http://www.silencerco.com/

(Silencerco has a youtube channel where they have videos of suppressed and unsuppressed fire with decibel readings etc)

viking499
February 7, 2012, 01:41 PM
Looking for non suppressed noise.

How loud is a 22? 243? 308? etc....................

brnmuenchow
February 7, 2012, 02:00 PM
:)This might help.

http://www.freehearingtest.com/hia_gunfirenoise.shtml)

ATCDoktor
February 7, 2012, 02:09 PM
Looking for non suppressed noise.

How loud is a 22? 243? 308? etc....................

Again, the sites that I listed all have comparative charts/videos for suppressed and unsuppressed fire all you have to do is visit, log on and get your info.

Zak Smith
February 7, 2012, 02:15 PM
I have data.

Using the mil-spec sound-level meter and testing procedure (mic 1 meter from muzzle, to the side), most centerfire rifles that do not have muzzle brakes attached are 160 - 172 dB.

A typical .22LR meters 150-155 dB.

viking499
February 7, 2012, 03:36 PM
Now we're heading in the right direction. Thanks guys.

Ranb
February 8, 2012, 05:07 PM
Keep in mind that the threshold for noise levels requiring hearing protection depends upon the duration. A meter made for measuring continuous noise is useless for measuring impulse noise from a firearm. A meter/microphone with no more than a 20 microsecond rise time is required to obtain accurate readings of firearm noise.

The arrangement of the shooting area berms as well as what is between the noise source and the observer must also be taken into account.

Take a look at this link. http://www.silencertests.com/results.htm for noise levels from suppressed and unsuppressed firearms. If at one meter you are getting less than 100 decibels for unsuppressed 22lr or less than 150 decibels for an unsuppressed center fire rifle, then your readings are probably unless.

Ranb

Mr transformer
February 8, 2012, 09:28 PM
Those figures are barely useable as rough estimates if that much. In most cases, the figures you will find are pretty much useless.

The sound level will vary greatly depending on your angle from the muzzle. The sound level at different angles will vary depending on the thing on the end of the barrel. Plain nose, muzzle brake, flash suppressor, or sound suppressor. It will vary depending on the length of the barrel. It will depend on the type of powder and weight of bullet. It will depend on the action of the gun in question.

The only thing that irritates me about all the DB ratings I have dug up is they all reference a spot one meter to the side of the muzzle.

That is fine and dandy in regard to picking appropriate hearing protection for your buddy that is watching you shoot. But it is about useless for figuring out how loud it is for the shooter, or how loud it is down range..

For a plain nosed rifle, anyone that has stood at a distance as a spectator knows that if you stand to the side, or forward of the muzzle, it will be far louder than if you even take a few steps back to stand somewhat behind the shooter.

I had situations where I was standing about 30 feet to the side of person firing a weapon. I may have been a few feet forward of his position. When he let off that first shot you could feel it in your chest, and ears. I took about 4 or 5 steps back but still about the same distance from the gun, and the next couple rounds didnít bother me at all while I was dragging out my hearing protection. With that particular gun. It was quieter when I was standing right behind the shooter than when I was 30 feet away and to the side of the muzzle.

Some guns are far louder at the shooters ears than other because of gas blowback systems and the like. Bolt, pump, lever, and break action guns are generally the quietest for the shooter.

It also seems like the ratio of sound projected downrange verses the amount that comes back to the shooter depends on the particular ammo you use. I have ammo that I donít mind using in a bolt action without hearing protection when the need arises. With other ammo in the same gun, it would be less painful if you just let the wild animal eat you, if you had to shoot it without hearing protection.

Now for my personal opinion on gun sound, which I know will go against the grain to a lot of people on this board, but itís my opinion none the less.

ÖÖ. Start rantÖÖ.
Carbines can be real obnoxious depending on the ammo you feed them. That is why I donít like AR style guns with 16 inch barrels, or any gun with a short barrel for that mater. To me, they are basically are unusable without hearing protection with almost any ammo I have found. What the heck is the point of having something if you canít use it if you canít find the dang ear plugs when you need to use it at a momentís notice? That is why I donít have much use for handguns. They are all loud in comparison to the knock down power. They have their niche but I will avoid that niche as much as possible. Donít even talk about a mosin carbine. Do not even dare to fire one without hearing protection. Evidently the ruskies though hearing was an unneeded capability for their troops.

Muzzle brakes are always obnoxious as for as sound level at the shooterís ear goes. I would rather have a broken shoulder bone than have to put up with one of those things any day.


One thing that has always puzzled me with people practicing using their weapons for self defense, and never firing the thing without hearing protection while practicing. The worst time to be intimidated by the weapon you are using to fend off a wild animal or bad guy is when your life depends on it. If the blast from the weapon is so loud that when you hear it without protection the first time, that it makes you hesitate firing the follow up shots, then it is almost worse than no weapon at all.

You have to be fully aware of what you will experience when you are forced to use that weapon without the luxury of hearing protection when that life or death situation arises.

If the weapon you want to use will make you death from one shot without hearing protection, then throw the damn thing away, and get something that is more danger to your attacker than you.

ÖÖ end of rantÖÖ.

buckhorn_cortez
February 10, 2012, 10:32 AM
If the weapon you want to use will make you death from one shot without hearing protection, then throw the damn thing away, and get something that is more danger to your attacker than you.

Make you "death" from one shot? If the gun is pointed at your head that's a distinct possibility. If it's going to make you death, then you've got the gun pointed in the wrong direction, and at that point hearing protection is the least of your problems.

So, what you're really saying is put a supressor on everything you want to shoot? Because, without a supressor, I don't know of any guns that are quiet enough to be fired without hearing damage - and that includes .22's.

dmazur
February 10, 2012, 04:31 PM
If the weapon you want to use will make you death from one shot without hearing protection,...

I did fire a .45 ACP a couple of times without effective hearing protection, when I was younger. Once was during Navy training. (They didn't provide protection, so most of us wadded up toilet paper to get some kind of dampening, but others did not.) The second time was an impromptu shooting session along a deserted road. Yes, I had ringing in my ears. Fortunately, it went away in a few days.

I wouldn't recommend shooting any gun without hearing protection, even to "familiarize" yourself with how loud it is. There is no reason to suffer a lifetime of hearing loss, for a possible improvement in performance when your life is in danger.

I'd say practice, practice, practice. Make the use of the gun second nature. Then, if it is necessary in an emergency, drawing and firing will be automatic. If you are still alive at that point, you can worry about hearing loss...

skippy1729
February 11, 2012, 01:42 PM
I fired a 45 ACP at a charging feral pig with no ear protection. I heard him grunting and his hooves hitting the ground but I didn't hear the 45. I think that the brain re-arranges its priorities in an emergency. Anyone else have a similar experience?

Skippy

Zak Smith
February 11, 2012, 02:03 PM
Auditory exclusion is a well documented effect of stress. It does not, however, prevent the physical damage to the ears.

LongTimeGone
February 11, 2012, 03:40 PM
No help for the dB charts but I did as dmazur while qualifying in the Navy and going to the woods with a python and blowing stuff up with no protection.
That was after 5 or 6 years of bird hunting with no protection.
I don't hear very well now.

BBDartCA
February 11, 2012, 05:28 PM
I fired a 45 ACP at a charging feral pig with no ear protection. I heard him grunting and his hooves hitting the ground but I didn't hear the 45. I think that the brain re-arranges its priorities in an emergency. Anyone else have a similar experience?

Skippy
Definitely. Almost never notice the the noise when shooting when it counts.

dmazur
February 11, 2012, 05:37 PM
Almost never notice the the noise when shooting when it counts.

While indiviudals differ, I've read enough accounts of this to believe the fears of being "startled" by the gun may not be valid.

Difficult to test, without actually attacking a few armed volunteers randomly. Somehow, I don't see that test being easy to perform...

It is important enough to repeat, IMO: Just because you don't notice the noise in a stressful situation doesn't mean it does not damage your hearing.

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