Noise - 18.5" 12-gauge shotgun vs. 14.5" 5.56 rifle


PDA






Skribs
June 6, 2012, 06:47 PM
Which is more likely to cause hearing damage indoors: a 12-gauge 18.5" shotgun or a 5.56mm 14.5" AR with muzzle brake? I only ask because I was thinking of getting an AR down the line, but am concerned with the reports that I've read of what a 5.56 sounds like indoors and what a muzzle brake does to the sound wave.

If you enjoyed reading about "Noise - 18.5" 12-gauge shotgun vs. 14.5" 5.56 rifle" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
gym
June 6, 2012, 07:04 PM
They will both damage your ears without ear plugs and muffs. Are you planning on shooting indoors without protection, if so even any handgun will cause damage. How much depends on your particular ears. I don't advise shooting guns indoors without protection anyware.

Owen Sparks
June 6, 2012, 07:09 PM
Both are bad but the AR will make a much sharper crack due to higher operating pressure.

I keep a pair of muffs with my bedside shotgun.

Loosedhorse
June 6, 2012, 07:25 PM
This website (http://www.freehearingtest.com/hia_gunfirenoise.shtml) lists 161.5 dB for the shotgun, and 155.5 for the .223 with 18 inch barrel. That 6-point difference translates into a little less than 8 times more energy hitting your eardrums with the shotgun, and maybe sounding 50% louder.

I note that other "sources" often list a .223 as much louder: 160-170 dB.

Permanent hearing loss comes from a combination of noise level and exposure time. It is usually said that levels above 140 dB can cause "instantaneous" permanent damage, but other sources (http://www.jefferson.edu/jmc/otolaryngology/balance_hearing/definitions.cfm) say that ear damage requires longer exposure time.

Telekinesis
June 6, 2012, 07:29 PM
Both will do damage, but I would think that the AR would be louder because of the higher pressures. If you're already getting into the NFA game with the 14" barrel, get a suppressor too (may want to take a bit more off the barrel to help with OAL though). That way both you (the shooter) and your family are protected from the sound levels.

Loosedhorse: I've seen unsuppressed pistols metering at 159-160 dB, so I would question whoever published the data that a .223 would be 155.5 dB.

Edit: Ok, I was reading quickly and didn't see you had a muzzle brake on the gun, so your right that it wouldn't be NFA. I still recommend a suppressor though.

And the 159-160dB ratings were from 9mm pistols.

Texan Scott
June 6, 2012, 07:39 PM
the point to take away is that BOTH produce a high-pressure blast and super-sonic projectile boom, and BOTH of the guns produce more than enough sonic energy to cause permanent and instantaneous hearing damage. the .223 will cause more, perhaps, but BOTH will leave some lasting legacy on your ears. I wear hearing protection religeously, but I do have some minor hearing loss and tinitus issues reaching back to military service.
Use what you have, and do what you have to, if you have to. I'd rather be stone deaf than stone dead.

Skribs
June 6, 2012, 07:40 PM
14.5" barrel with 1.5" muzzle break isn't NFA.

LH, is that just the general sound of the report, or the sound from the shooter's perspective? From what I understand, the muzzle brake directs more sound back at the shooter.

Edit:

Read the info on the site, the .223 info listed was for 18" barrel, I'd expect it to be about 4 db higher out of a shorter barrel (based on the difference between 28" and 18" shotgun barrels). It also said "...it gets worse as you add a muzzle brake..." (paraphrasing) so it seems the two would be close, but the shotgun would probably be lighter on the ears.

TurtlePhish
June 6, 2012, 08:17 PM
Shotgun would definitely be quieter... You ever stood next to a short AR? :barf:

jmr40
June 6, 2012, 08:37 PM
Shotgun would definitely be quieter... You ever stood next to a short AR?

Short shotgun, short AR, both are loud and my ears cannot tell the difference. Longer barrels with either are better. My shotguns are 20" minimum, AR's 16"-20". I would have actually prefereed the 16" guns at 18", but that is not exactly a common length.

rcmodel
June 6, 2012, 08:39 PM
The .223 is louder bucause it burns more powder and the pressure is about 4 times greater.

But it doesn't matter.

Either one will ring your chimes indoors.

The lesser of two evils is still Evil!

rc

Stevie-Ray
June 6, 2012, 08:53 PM
E-muffs! Keep them at your HD gun's place. If there's time, don them! Keep you hearing what you want to, and block out much of that blast if you have to.

Zoogster
June 6, 2012, 08:59 PM
Telekinesis said: I've seen unsuppressed pistols metering at 159-160 dB, so I would question whoever published the data that a .223 would be 155.5 dB.


Several pistols are in fact louder in terms of decibels than intermediate caliber rifles and longer shotguns.

This is because of the much shorter barrel. Even just a few inches can drastically change decibel levels at certain points in a pressure curve.



However what the db reading does not tell you is how long the sound impulse is. Rather the db reading is the greatest db level reached.
The greater volume of gas from a rifle still is often more damaging because there is more of it, and the length of the sound from each shot is longer.
A longer impulse at high db levels can be more damaging to hearing than a shorter one even if it goes a little higher.
Even though we may perceive gunshots as being of the same length, they are not, and the size of the pressure wave and the duration of its effect on the ear is greater in some than others.

But there is yet another concern. Higher frequency reports tend to cause damage faster than lower ones even at similar decibel levels.
So even a similar decibel rifle will typically be more damaging to the hearing than a shotgun because it is creating a higher pitch noise.
The same can be said for handguns. Some produce a deeper boom, and some are more high pitched report.


Finally what is indoors makes a difference as well.
Hard surfaces reflect sound the best. Your typical indoor range with dividing stalls is probably one of the worst for sound for example because of all the hard surfaces bouncing sound around at near peak levels.
Hard surfaces are easy to clean, and why they are used where you need to clean, mop, disinfect, deal with liquids or spills, clean up lead etc, but they also reflect sound. If you can hear a hollow sound or echo in a room it clearly reflects sound really well.
The difference between an unfurnished home and a furnished home is also quite obvious if you make a little noise, fewer things to absorb sound in an unfurnished home, and more flat surfaces to reflect it back at an intact wave.
In a home someone is living in many rooms are often carpeted, and have soft items and upholstery that reflects sound back at greatly reduced levels, while others reflect it back at greater levels.
Rooms with linoleum and tile would be bad, and wood floors a little better but worse than carpet.
A tile bathroom of typical dimensions with small space, typically few objects that would absorb sound, and hard surfaces all around, would be the worst.
A kitchen only a little better.
A carpeted and furnished living room likely the least damaging.
So the level of damage would also depend on the room. If you are in the tub (one of the safest locations from bullets in many homes) you will probably have the most hearing damage from discharging a firearm.
The same acoustic qualities are also why some people enjoy singing in the shower, they will sound much better to themselves.

toivo
June 6, 2012, 09:17 PM
I have a Saiga in .223 with a 16" barrel, and that sucker is LOUD. Much louder than my Remington 870 with 18.5" barrel. I have no idea of the dB readings -- just subjectively.

Old judge creek
June 6, 2012, 09:38 PM
Which is "louder" is 100% subjective, akin to telling your wife which dress makes her rear end "look fatter".

Sound measurement is a science and what's measured is the pressure of the wave generated. The wave depresses the cilia in the ear (little hairs - think of them as "trees") being pushed over by a strong wind. The longer, harder, more forcefully, and more frequently they are buffeted, the less they will stand back up and retain their sensitivity once the storm passes. That sensitivity is hearing loss, and the cilia do NOT heal themselves (like a tree re-generating branches) over time. Once its gone, its gone.

OSHA says the damage WILL occur to most people exposed to 85 decibels over an eight hour day. So 85 dB is the "action level". How many gunshots of any caliber done you see listed on that website that are under 85dB?

So, it doesn't matter "which caliber", all of them will cause damage. And no matter what you say, I'm living proof that the damage can be mitigated. Sixty five years of shooting and my hearing tests as if I were in my forties.

If you're going to shoot, you need to learn about hearing protection from a professional who knows the subject (NOT the guy making cast earplugs at the Gun Show). And tinnitus is a curse you don't want to experience.

Inebriated
June 6, 2012, 09:46 PM
This is hardly scientific, but I've shot my 18.5" 870 with 3" magnum slugs, and have no irritation at all. It's lower pressure, but a big boom... not good for the ears, but as far as how it sounds, it's much more pleasant.

I've never shot a 14.5" without ear pro, and I'm glad. It's high pressure, and has a sharp crack to it. Again, both are bad for the ears, but I'd rather shoot the 18.5" shotgun without ear pro than the 14.5" AR...

kcshooter
June 6, 2012, 10:41 PM
Which hurts more, hitting my hand with a claw hammer or a tack hammer?

Sucks either way.

Owen Sparks
June 6, 2012, 11:03 PM
I once shot in a tactical shotgun match with about 25 competitors (I won too). Two of the shooters were law enforcement and used their issued Remington 870 with a 14 inch barrel. There was NO QUESTION when they took a turn as the noise was that much louder than all the 18"+ barrels we commoners were using. I really would not want to shoot a short barreled shotgun in a confines space without ear protection, even if I were a member of the privileged government class.

beatledog7
June 7, 2012, 12:30 AM
Which will blind me faster, a sharp stick in my eye or a knife in my eye?

Moot question, just like the OP's. No offense intended here, just invoking common sense.

Skribs
June 7, 2012, 12:37 AM
The question wasn't from the perspective of "what can I shoot at the range every day without hearing protection", but rather, should I need to use my gun in home defense, which one is going to hurt less in the long run. Considering that I *may* have to use it (and that's a low chance), it probably wouldn't matter too much.

beatledog7
June 7, 2012, 12:50 AM
A shotgun is more likely to be the better HD weapon for most homes. If you miss with that AR, where will the bullet end up? With a shotgun, over-penetration is still possible with some loads, but less so than with the AR.

Hurting your hearing over time in HD situations? You're right about it not mattering since such use will be rare or not at all. If that's not the case, maybe you should move.

Telekinesis
June 7, 2012, 01:05 AM
The question wasn't from the perspective of "what can I shoot at the range every day without hearing protection"

He was giving you a quick primer on acoustic design. Hard/flat surfaces reflect sound, and soft/angled surfaces to an extent absorb sound (or deflect it away from its source). Basically what it boils down to is that shooting a gun in a narrow hallway with hardwood floors and drywall will sound louder than shooting the same gun in a very large room with thick carpet on the walls, even when it is the same impulse causing the sound.

Another example (if you'll allow the discussion of an example that doesn't directly relate to your specific use) is that in a concert hall, a band will sound louder in a empty hall than it will in a hall filled with people (unless of course you have a good tech running the board who will adjust for the changes - which is not always the case). The people provide objects and angles for the sound to bounce off of and that "deadens" the room. You will see the same effect with furniture and other objects in your home.

If you miss with that AR, where will the bullet end up? With a shotgun, over-penetration is still possible with some loads, but less so than with the AR.

The velocity of a .223 actually makes the round penetrate less than a pistol or buckshot round.

And I guess to address comments from my last post: I was reading quickly and didn't see that you had a permanent muzzle brake on the gun making it title 1, sorry; and those 160dB figures were from 9mm pistols.

Dr.Rob
June 7, 2012, 01:27 AM
Either one will clear your sinuses and ring your ears if not temporarily deafen you.

Arp32
June 7, 2012, 01:54 AM
I agree with those who say with ear muffs, the AR is louder. My 16" AR (with AK-style flash hider) is much louder than my 18.5" 870. The AR gives an added concussive "thump" I don't perceive with the shotgun.


If its louder with muffs, seems like it would be louder without muffs. I wouldn't consider using the rifle indoors without hearing protection, personally.

BJ Orange
June 7, 2012, 02:39 AM
E-muffs! Keep them at your HD gun's place. If there's time, don them! Keep you hearing what you want to, and block out much of that blast if you have to.

If I hear something in the middle of the night, the last thing I'm going to do is to put hearing protection on. I would rather risk some hearing damage than not be able to hear the small scrapes and bumps that could give away someone's position and help save my life. Also, it's my personal opinion that a shooter is not as likely to sustain any real damage to their ears as some people here think. Perhaps your ears will ring for a few days, but that's it.

Loosedhorse
June 7, 2012, 08:25 AM
LH, is that just the general sound of the report, or the sound from the shooter's perspective?Good question. The dB level will change with the distance from the noise source, so a good chart will list the distance (typically, 1 foot or meter away), but "good" charts are hard to find.

I haven't seen one that specifies directionality; I assume that in front of the muzzle is louder than behind it. And I share your observation that the muzzle-break makes things louder from the shooter's position.Which is "louder" is 100% subjectiveTrue, and not true.

True in that "loudness" involves hearing, and so is subjective. Not true in that the more energy a sound puts out (at the same frequencies), the louder it will seem to any individual (unless he is quite deaf, or the sound frequency is out of the detectable range). In the same way that if you shine a higher-energy-output light at someone (without changing the color), it will seem brighter (unless he is blind, or the light is not in the visible range).

The general rule is that when energy increases by 10 times (10 bB higher), the noise will sound "twice as loud." Subjective, but consistent.

Pertinent: I keep long guns ready for HD, and I keep electronic muffs on top of the nearest one.

RatDrall
June 7, 2012, 08:53 AM
If you want an AR for home defense, why would you get one with the shortest, blastiest legal barrel? A 14.5" barrel with a muzzlebrake is going to be noticably worse than a 16" barrel with a flash hider. A 20" AR is even more pleasant to shoot, getting whatever blast there is that much farther from your ears.

A 20" AR15 with a regular flash hider and a fixed A2 stock is as about long as an 18" barreled shotgun with a stock. Neither are that ungainly inside a house. Maybe a 20" barreled AR with a flash hider, and a collapsable stock would make more sense for a home defense rifle?

If I hear something in the middle of the night, the last thing I'm going to do is to put hearing protection on. I would rather risk some hearing damage than not be able to hear the small scrapes and bumps that could give away someone's position and help save my life.

Couldn't agree more. I have trouble believing that someone would actually deafen themselves before a fight, and possibly be killed because of what they didn't hear, out of fear of harming their hearing later on, after the fight is won.

kcshooter
June 7, 2012, 09:56 AM
With a shotgun, over-penetration is still possible with some loads, but less so than with the AR. Myth. Not true.

LeonCarr
June 7, 2012, 10:13 AM
IMO if you have to use one of these inside a house to stop a threat, noise will be the least of your worries.

I would wear both plugs and muffs if shooting these for practice on an indoor range.

Anything that will reliably stop a threat will go through sheetrock. For the complete 411 on what penetrates sheetrock, go to www.theboxotruth.com.

Just my .02,
LeonCarr

Loosedhorse
June 7, 2012, 10:24 AM
"Over-penetration" usually refers not to defeating barriers (like sheetrock) but to passing through an attacker to pose a threat downrange.

Neither 12 gauge nor .223 has an advantage in avoiding over-penetration, as it is controllable by what load you choose.

Skribs
June 7, 2012, 12:09 PM
With any gun designed to stop an attacker at an odd angle, overpenetration is almost inevitable in most cases. With that said, the AR vs. shotgun debate is never ending (I'm still going through it in my head). This thread is specifically regarding sound.

I was going with the thinking of Mr. Orange, that I don't want to miss sounds before I have to fire. Typically, someone breaking in at night is going to try to be quiet, and I want the advantage.

Rat, the reason I would go with a 14.5" barrel is because for HD I want the smallest long gun I can legally get. At point-blank range the 14.5" barrel still gives the .223 enough velocity to reliably fragment, and is easier to store or use in the hall.

RatDrall
June 7, 2012, 12:19 PM
Rat, the reason I would go with a 14.5" barrel is because for HD I want the smallest long gun I can legally get. At point-blank range the 14.5" barrel still gives the .223 enough velocity to reliably fragment, and is easier to store or use in the hall.

I understand, but is 1.5", or even 5.5", that much of a difference in use?

I've gone through "hallways" at a 3D range with both 20" (M16A4) and a 14.5" (SBR) and didn't notice that much difference in maneuverability, but did notice a hell of a difference in blast and flash.

Good luck with whatever you decide :)

Skribs
June 7, 2012, 12:26 PM
Well, for now it's shotgun. I don't like any of the rifle ranges nearby (I'm very picky about where I go to shoot) and a shotgun is cheaper than a rifle, so it fits my needs better. What I'm trying to figure is when I can afford it, do I want to make the switch or stay with my shotguns.

It's not so much about the difference between 1.5" or 5.5", it's the difference between "will I hit the wall when I turn around half-asleep or not?" And yes, 1.5" can make the difference there. Tested with $40 airsoft AR by collapsing the stock a bit.

Owen Sparks
June 7, 2012, 12:41 PM
After you fire one shot without hearing protection you will not be able to hear small sounds at all for a while. What if there is more than one bad guy lurking around? My plan is to take cover while the wife dials 911. I am not going to get up and search the house but stay put and blast anything that comes through my bedroom door, and no, there are no children in the house.

Skribs
June 7, 2012, 12:55 PM
Sparks, the problem is that with hearing prot on, I wouldn't hear them to begin with, regardless of if there is one or more BGs.

JustinJ
June 7, 2012, 01:25 PM
I have a .45 acp rifle with a 16" barrel (HK USC to UMP conversion) and was amazed how quiet it was first time shot. If i weren't able to own a silencer or didn't live in a state that made me feel safe legally using one for home defense i'd probably go with a my USC as the go-to house gun.

Inebriated
June 7, 2012, 01:26 PM
The people talking about ear pro are most likely talking about electronic.... which enhance everything EXCEPT the shot... so it may not actually be a terrible idea.

Neverwinter
June 7, 2012, 03:24 PM
The people talking about ear pro are most likely talking about electronic.... which enhance everything EXCEPT the shot... so it may not actually be a terrible idea.
There's no reason to avoid electronic, since only the sound amplification stops working without charged batteries.

Sent using Tapatalk 2

Owen Sparks
June 7, 2012, 03:43 PM
If some bad guy(s) make it past my seven barking dogs and break down my heavy double locked cypress door or crash through a window, I no longer need to hear them, I will be working on visual cues. The plan is to take cover and blast whatever comes through the bedroom door. I would prefer not to have my hearing damaged in the process.

Certaindeaf
June 7, 2012, 04:23 PM
If anyone says "eighteen inch .243" I say what?

Stevie-Ray
June 7, 2012, 04:51 PM
If I hear something in the middle of the night, the last thing I'm going to do is to put hearing protection on. I would rather risk some hearing damage than not be able to hear the small scrapes and bumps that could give away someone's position and help save my life.

Couldn't agree more. I have trouble believing that someone would actually deafen themselves before a fight, and possibly be killed because of what they didn't hear, out of fear of harming their hearing later on, after the fight is won. Um....do you guys even know what E-muffs are? They are electronic muffs that actually enhance your hearing, so you'll hear better what you want, like small movements and such, and shut off for blasts like gunfire. They work as advertised. There are many on the market and not all are expensive.:rolleyes:

Certaindeaf
June 7, 2012, 04:57 PM
^
yea, those things cops wear on their headbones all day long? Life isn't a range.

BJ Orange
June 7, 2012, 05:08 PM
I am not going to get up and search the house but stay put and blast anything that comes through my bedroom door

Some of us here have children to worry about. If I think someone is in the house, I'm not going to bunker down in my bedroom until everyone is in there with me. Because I need to worry about carrying small children, I also prefer a handgun to a long gun.

Neverwinter
June 7, 2012, 05:16 PM
^
yea, those things cops wear on their headbones all day long? Life isn't a range.
Lots of cops have guns with magazine disconnects as well. Your point?

Sent using Tapatalk 2

Zoogster
June 7, 2012, 05:53 PM
There are many on the market and not all are expensive.

Many of the less expensive ones, and even some of the expensive ones, destroy directional hearing.
You may hear things, but you won't be able to pinpoint where it is coming from like you can with your normal ears.
Some of the expensive ones are a little better, and some are just as bad for pinpointing location.

With bare ears you can pinpoint the location of a movement in the dark if you have good hearing. Your brain instantly interprets the difference in the amount of time it took the sound to get to your ears, as well as the intensity, and you know right where the noise came from.
With electronic muffs you just hear the noise, and may be able to tell if it was louder on the right or left muff, but on many won't have much sense of direction beyond that.

Certaindeaf
June 7, 2012, 08:28 PM
Lots of cops have guns with magazine disconnects as well. Your point?

Sent using Tapatalk 2
Are you E-muffin me?

kb58
June 7, 2012, 08:48 PM
You can always wear the electronic muffs; they can actually make your hearing more sensitive but still cut out the noise peaks.

Certaindeaf
June 7, 2012, 09:14 PM
^
I know I can do most anything. Why on earth would I want to do that though?

Stevie-Ray
June 7, 2012, 09:21 PM
I know I can do most anything. Why on earth would I want to do that though?Yeah, with your handle I guess it would be pointless.:rolleyes:

But for some of us, we'll try our best to keep what hearing we have.

Certaindeaf
June 7, 2012, 09:23 PM
^
Muffy say what?

Stevie-Ray
June 7, 2012, 09:33 PM
^Guys this isn't tough, my own E-muffs are Caldwells, one of the cheaper ones and I find them to be excellent. Amplified sounds come from the exact direction you would hear without protection, don't you think we would have tried them out rather extensively? Do what you want, I don't really care, I'm just making a suggestion. If you really want to simply poke fun and not be serious, tell you what, I'll loan you my magnaported .45-70 Contender to shoot in the house and it'll help you on your way to your silent world. Done.

GunnerShotz
June 7, 2012, 10:01 PM
Which is more likely to cause hearing damage indoors: a 12-gauge 18.5" shotgun or a 5.56mm 14.5" AR with muzzle brake? I only ask because I was thinking of getting an AR down the line, but am concerned with the reports that I've read of what a 5.56 sounds like indoors and what a muzzle brake does to the sound wave.

Either one could easily cause hearing damage. I have tinnitus and Always hear ringing in my left ear. There have been times I'd Almost wish to just be deaf in my left ear. Given the choice, I'd take the tinnitus over being dead in a heartbeat; but I'll also choose to Always use plugs and muffs in a non-defensive scenario. In a home defense scenario, I'll have the emuffs handy and I'll put them on if there's time enough to.

kcshooter
June 7, 2012, 10:07 PM
I can't listen to this anymore.

Loosedhorse
June 8, 2012, 12:05 AM
I know I can do most anything. Why on earth would I want to do that though?Louis Armstrong: "If you gots to ask, you ain't never gonna know."

If you enjoyed reading about "Noise - 18.5" 12-gauge shotgun vs. 14.5" 5.56 rifle" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!