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Is a shotgun louder than a rifle or pistol?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Dfence, Jul 22, 2011.

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  1. Dfence

    Dfence Member

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    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
     
  2. The-Reaver

    The-Reaver Member

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    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
     
  3. SARDiver

    SARDiver Member

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    "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?
     
  4. Dfence

    Dfence Member

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    Uh, no. It was at the range. But my biggest concern would be firing inside of an enclosed room, such as in a house.
     
  5. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    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.
     
  6. Dfence

    Dfence Member

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    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.
     
  7. azmjs

    azmjs member

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    In my experience at indoor ranges, a shotgun is without a doubt louder sounding than a pistol when shot in a nearby bay.
     
  8. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011
  9. Balrog

    Balrog Member

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    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.
     
  10. esheato

    esheato Member

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    Regarding shooting in a HD scenario in your house, see this article on auditory exclusion. Just like when you're deer hunting and you "never hear the shot."
     
  11. harmonic

    harmonic member

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    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.
     
  12. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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  13. Balrog

    Balrog Member

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

    bottom shelf Member

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    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. ;)
     
  15. SARDiver

    SARDiver Member

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    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.
     
  16. Frozen North

    Frozen North Member

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    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.
     
  17. marsh maniac

    marsh maniac Member

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    my guess is that this guy knows a bit about sound waves
     
  18. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

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    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.
     
  19. 303tom

    303tom member

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    Depends !
     
  20. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    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.
     
  21. Got_Lead?

    Got_Lead? Member

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    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.
     
  22. natman

    natman Member

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    Auditory exclusion means that your mind doesn't notice the sound. It doesn't mean that your ears magically avoid damage.
     
  23. mortablunt

    mortablunt Member

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    Shotguns are definitely the flat out loudest, unless some guy with a carbine rifle is using a big hot load.
     
  24. The Wiry Irishman

    The Wiry Irishman Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2011
  25. MarkDozier

    MarkDozier Member.

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    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
     
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