Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

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

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Skribs, Jun 6, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Skribs

    Skribs Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    Messages:
    5,807
    Location:
    Lakewood, Washington
    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.
     
  2. gym

    gym member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2007
    Messages:
    5,903
    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.
     
  3. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2007
    Messages:
    4,524
    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.
     
  4. Loosedhorse

    Loosedhorse member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Messages:
    3,454
    Location:
    eastern Massachusetts
    This website 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 say that ear damage requires longer exposure time.
     
  5. Telekinesis

    Telekinesis Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,446
    Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
    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.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012
  6. SunnySlopes

    SunnySlopes Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Messages:
    745
    Which gun causes how much damage is immaterial.

    I have permanent tinnitus from bird and squirrel hunting. We never even had hearing protection back then.

    It's all bad.

    Protect your ears regardless the caliber/guage.
     
  7. Texan Scott

    Texan Scott Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2012
    Messages:
    3,184
    Location:
    The Texas Hill Country
    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.
     
  8. Skribs

    Skribs Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    Messages:
    5,807
    Location:
    Lakewood, Washington
    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.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012
  9. TurtlePhish

    TurtlePhish Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2011
    Messages:
    2,099
    Location:
    The (Un)Constitution(al) State
    Shotgun would definitely be quieter... You ever stood next to a short AR? :barf:
     
  10. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Messages:
    10,166
    Location:
    Georgia
    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.
     
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    Messages:
    59,082
    Location:
    Eastern KS
    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
     
  12. Stevie-Ray

    Stevie-Ray Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2003
    Messages:
    4,084
    Location:
    Mitchi-gun, the Sunrise Side
    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.
     
  13. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    Messages:
    5,094
    Telekinesis said:

    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.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012
  14. toivo

    toivo Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2005
    Messages:
    2,477
    Location:
    New York State
    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.
     
  15. Old judge creek

    Old judge creek Member

    Joined:
    May 19, 2012
    Messages:
    160
    Location:
    1881 Ranch, Nevada & California
    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.
     
  16. Inebriated

    Inebriated Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2011
    Messages:
    3,683
    Location:
    NC
    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...
     
  17. kcshooter

    kcshooter Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Messages:
    1,274
    Location:
    Kansas City, MO
    Which hurts more, hitting my hand with a claw hammer or a tack hammer?

    Sucks either way.
     
  18. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2007
    Messages:
    4,524
    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.
     
  19. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    5,093
    Location:
    Tidewater
    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.
     
  20. Skribs

    Skribs Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    Messages:
    5,807
    Location:
    Lakewood, Washington
    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.
     
  21. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2011
    Messages:
    5,093
    Location:
    Tidewater
    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.
     
  22. Telekinesis

    Telekinesis Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,446
    Location:
    Birmingham, Alabama
    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.

    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.
     
  23. Dr.Rob

    Dr.Rob Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    14,711
    Location:
    Centennial, CO
    Either one will clear your sinuses and ring your ears if not temporarily deafen you.
     
  24. Arp32

    Arp32 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2010
    Messages:
    454
    Location:
    Arizona
    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.
     
  25. BJ Orange

    BJ Orange Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    Messages:
    34
    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.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page