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Old November 13, 2012, 04:33 PM   #1
breakingcontact
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How much quieter can I expect a 4" pistol to be compared to 5" and above?

I understand there are different "sounds" involved, I'm interested in the absolute sound, from a distance.
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Old November 13, 2012, 04:47 PM   #2
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I'm certainly no authority, but my guess is that there would be no noticeable difference.
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Old November 13, 2012, 04:48 PM   #3
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There isn't going to be any discernible difference to someone listening from a distance. To the shooter one inch wouldn't matter either. Somewhere there is a chart that shows the decibel difference between rifles, shotguns and handguns with different chamberings and barrel lengths.
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Old November 13, 2012, 04:55 PM   #4
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Once you pass the threshold where you are going to damage your ears it doesn't make a bit of difference., you won't notice anything but the ringing in your ears.
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Old November 13, 2012, 05:05 PM   #5
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Are you asking supressed? Standard pistol,calibers,or super high velosity ?
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Old November 13, 2012, 05:06 PM   #6
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I don't have evidence to back this up, but intuitively it seems to me that you might have a noticeable noise increase when going to a 4" barrel from a 5" barrel based on the powder in your cartridges.

A full load of a slow burning powder like H-110 may very well be still expanding violently when it exits a 4" muzzle. The extra length of a 5" barrel may (or may not) make an audible difference in such a case.

On the other hand, a load of a quick burner like Unique may have already reached peak pressure much earlier in either barrel and the noise difference would be negligible.

Just a couple of random thoughts with no empirical evidence to support them.
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Old November 13, 2012, 05:24 PM   #7
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Unsuppressed. Regular velocity.
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Old November 13, 2012, 06:14 PM   #8
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I'd be surprised if anyone at a distance could tell the difference between various barrel lengths, unless you're taking about something extreme like a 2" barrel versus a 10" barrel. And even then it wouldn't be a huge difference. And I have to admit, I'm curious to know why you're asking this question.
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Old November 13, 2012, 06:31 PM   #9
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Just looking for the most quiet regular 22 pistol. Know you can get next to silent with the suppressed guns but I'm not looking at that.

Looks like based on the responses I shouldn't be too concerned about barrel length. Trying to avoid the supersonic crack if I can is the goal.
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Old November 13, 2012, 06:35 PM   #10
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Subsonic ammo is what you want then.
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Old November 13, 2012, 06:55 PM   #11
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I'd think the longer barrel might be a little quieter in .22lr.
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Old November 13, 2012, 07:03 PM   #12
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Longer is quieter. I have a bolt action .22 rifle with a 24 inch barrel and it isn't nearly as loud as my buckmark pistol with a 5" barrel using the same loads. Shooting subsonic loads out of the rifle really isn't even obnoxious without hearing protection (wouldn't recommend a steady habit of it), while its still very loud with the pistol.
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Old November 13, 2012, 09:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Just looking for the most quiet regular 22 pistol.
Does it have to be a "pistol", as in semi-auto, or is a revolver an option?

I ask because...
Quote:
Subsonic ammo is what you want then.
+1, but low-powered ammo sometimes won't cycle the action of a semi--auto. A revolver doesn't care, hence the question. CCI Quiet-22, CB caps, Aquila Colibris, .22 shorts- they'll all work flawlessly in a revolver.
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Longer is quieter. I have a bolt action .22 rifle with a 24 inch barrel and it isn't nearly as loud as my buckmark pistol with a 5" barrel using the same loads.
Not necessarily. It's not quite that simple.

High-velocity and hyper-velocity ammo is usually loaded with slower-burning powder that creates more muzzle blast when fired out of a short pistol barrel. However, a longer barrel will allow the bullet to go supersonic, which will cause a telltale "crack" even if the firearm is suppressed. For example, only the hottest hyper-velocity loads will actually go supersonic from my 4" S&W M18, but high- and hyper-velocity loads have noticeably more muzzle blast than a standard-velocity or subsonic load due to the type of powder.

I've read that most .22LR loads achieve maximum velocity somewhere between 14" and 18" of barrel length, and that longer barrels actually reduce muzzle velocity due to friction- this is probably the reason for the perception that the 24" barrel is quieter. FWIW older .22 rifles often had longer barrels because (a) this enhances sight radius, making the gun easier to shoot accurately over iron sights; (b) many buyers believed that a longer barrel would render the gun more powerful; and (c) let's face it, they look good.
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Old November 13, 2012, 09:27 PM   #14
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I've considered the revolvers. Probably will go with a semi-auto now and get a revolver down the road.
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Old November 13, 2012, 09:40 PM   #15
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I agree that subsonic ammo in a 22lr semiauto might be a problem in terms of cycling.
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Old November 14, 2012, 07:42 PM   #16
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Not necessarily. It's not quite that simple.

High-velocity and hyper-velocity ammo is usually loaded with slower-burning powder that creates more muzzle blast when fired out of a short pistol barrel. However, a longer barrel will allow the bullet to go supersonic, which will cause a telltale "crack" even if the firearm is suppressed. For example, only the hottest hyper-velocity loads will actually go supersonic from my 4" S&W M18, but high- and hyper-velocity loads have noticeably more muzzle blast than a standard-velocity or subsonic load due to the type of powder.
Actually it is that simple. Whether you have a fast powder or a slow powder, the longer barrel gives it more time to burn and makes for less muzzle blast. If the powder was optimized for a 5" barrel the pressure would have dropped considerably by the time the bullet leaves a 24" barrel. If the powder is optimized for a 16" barrel , it will only be half burnt in a 5 inch barrel while it is still is below peak pressure exiting the 24 inch barrel. In either case, the 24" barrel has less muzzle blast.


I have shot everything from subsonic target loads to hypervelocity loads out of both guns, and the longer barrel always has less muzzle blast. There is a very distinct difference between remington subsonics and CCI stingers out of the rifle, but the same could be said for the pistol. There might even be a case where one load is louder in the rifle than a different load is in the pistol, but as long as you compare apples to apples the longer barrel is quieter.

I'm not saying that a 5" barrel will be noticebly quieter than a 4" barrel, I'm just saying that the rule of thumb is that longer barrels are quieter. If you want to set yourself up with the quietest .22 possible, you need to pick the right load and a long barrel.
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Old November 16, 2012, 09:55 PM   #17
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Like my 60 year old Mossberg 144 with a 28" barrel. Target or sub-sonic loads near the level of a pellet rifle. Using shorts the neighbor doesn't even know I'm shooting.
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Old November 17, 2012, 08:07 AM   #18
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Don't forget the shorts and CBs.
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