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Old November 18, 2012, 09:58 PM   #1
papadork
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What's harder on the ears?

What's harder on the ears?

The pop of the fast burning powder in light weight loads or the crack of the supersonic light bullet?

Does it makes sense to carry a round that is just slightly slower than the speed of sound to prevent hearing damage? The rounds listed below are just less than the speed of sound but have some decent oomph.

Underwood 38 Special +P Golden Saber HP 125g
USA 9mm JHP 124
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Old November 18, 2012, 10:14 PM   #2
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Quote:
papadork

What's harder on the ears?

The pop of the fast burning powder in light weight loads or the crack of the supersonic light bullet?

Does it makes sense to carry a round that is just slightly slower than the speed of sound to prevent hearing damage?
All handgun rounds will damage your hearing if you lack hearing protection.
A few decible reduction does not put in safe territory.
Check the link below to get an idea of the level of sound pressure of many firearms cartridges.

http://www.freehearingtest.com/hia_gunfirenoise.shtml
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Old November 19, 2012, 02:52 AM   #3
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A supersonic round is almost twice as loud as a subsonic round. even if the difference is only 50 fps.

barrel-cylinder gaps and/or barrel porting, both amp up the sound quite a bit too.
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Old November 19, 2012, 07:33 AM   #4
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If you hear the "crack of a supersonic bullet", YOU'RE STANDING IN THE WRONG PLACE.
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Old November 19, 2012, 08:35 AM   #5
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If you hear the "crack of a supersonic bullet", YOU'RE STANDING IN THE WRONG PLACE.
So, we don't hear the crack standing behind the bullet/gun??
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Old November 19, 2012, 09:53 AM   #6
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While I know that both rounds can damage (hearing), I carry 38spl instead of 357mag in my SP101. Coming from a 2.25" barrel the 357mag is ALOT louder.
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Old November 19, 2012, 10:12 AM   #7
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If you hear the "crack of a supersonic bullet", YOU'RE STANDING IN THE WRONG PLACE.
Yup, and if you "heard" it, you probably ought to get down.

Quote:
So, we don't hear the crack standing behind the bullet/gun??
Yes and no. You will hear it, but it will be downrange awhile when you do, and not an issue to your hearing.

I have a suppressor for my AR, and can shoot it in the carport without hearing protection, something I cant do with a .22LR. Same goes for my Glock with its suppressor when super sonic ammo is used. Its the muzzle blast thats bad for your ears.
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Old November 19, 2012, 10:37 AM   #8
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My advice is to shoot the ammo that performs best in your gun and not worry about the noise level too much. If you're practicing, you should wear ear protection. If you have to use it a SD scenario, you have bigger problems than some noise. Just my .02
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Old November 19, 2012, 11:01 AM   #9
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There is a fantastic book by a WWII veteran titled, "Crack and Thump" so named because the officer learned to judge, pretty accurately, how far away the Germans were based on the time between hearing the "crack" of a supersonic bullet going past and the "thump" ... the report from the actual bullet being fired.

If you hear a "crack" you are in deep trouble already, so hit the deck.

Here's a link to the book, by the way:
http://www.armchairgeneral.com/crack...ook-review.htm
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Old November 19, 2012, 11:30 AM   #10
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Does it makes sense to carry a round that is just slightly slower than the speed of sound to prevent hearing damage?
It's up to you to decide which is more important, your hearing or your life.
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Old November 19, 2012, 12:44 PM   #11
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Does it makes sense to carry a round that is just slightly slower than the speed of sound to prevent hearing damage? The rounds listed below are just less than the speed of sound but have some decent oomph.
No it doesn't make much sense. The old addage stands and it doesn't mention noise. Choose the most powerful round that you can, with a bullet suited to the task, from a gun that you can shoot well. Fortunately there are a number of good choices and some make less noise than others. Choose wisely.

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Old November 19, 2012, 04:16 PM   #12
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All firearms firing any cartridge will damage unprotected ears unless the gun is suppressed. The difference is like getting hit by a truck traveling 70 MPH versus a truck traveling 72 MPH. One is not "safer" than the other.
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Old November 19, 2012, 04:34 PM   #13
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The supersonic crack is nowhere near as loud as the muzzle blast. Also, the amount of crack you hear varries greatly with the distance. A good example is a 22 rifle. Because of the relatively mild muzzle blast, you can hear the crack easily. Barrel length has a greater effect on muzzle blast than velocity does.
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Old November 19, 2012, 07:16 PM   #14
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Most of the sound you hear when you fire a 22 LR high-velocity round out of a rifle is the supersonic "crack" of the bullet breaking the sound barrier. It's not that loud and I don't think it is a danger to your hearing. In a 22 LR pistol, the sound of the muzzle blast is MUCH louder.

I have a 26-inch barreled 22 LR bolt-action. The long barrel pretty much eliminates the sound of the muzzle blast. When shooting high-velocity 22 LR rounds, all you hear is the "crack". When shooting sub-sonic 22 LR rounds, the "crack" sound is totally GONE, and the rifle is as quiet or quieter than some of my pellet guns.

So... you definitely DO hear the "crack" sound of the bullet breaking the sound barrier when you are behind the gun, at least when shooting a 22 rimfire RIFLE. With a pistol or with louder cartridges, the sound of the muzzle blast is so much louder that it drowns out the less-loud sound of the bullet breaking the sound barrier, unless you are far enough away from the louder sound of the muzzle blast (like downrange).
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Old November 19, 2012, 09:32 PM   #15
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When shooting for practice, it is imperative that hearing protection is worn, but who wears hearing protection in a self-defense situation? In that scenario, your hearing should be your last concern. Just my opinion.
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Old November 19, 2012, 09:58 PM   #16
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The thing is you'll never know until it hits you that you've lost (or are losing) your hearing.

It's like cancer. It could be one cigarette it could be ten years of smoking everyday.

Are you willing to take the risk?
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Old November 19, 2012, 10:41 PM   #17
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Every time you expose yourself to noise above 85 to 90 DBA you damage your hearing. All pistols and rifles generate sound pressures above the safe range.

There is only one way to preserve your hearing and that is to wear quality hearing protection each and every time you shoot.

Having said that, it is obvious that in a self defense situation one does not have time to stop and insert a a pair of EAR plugs. Instead you defend your life and accept the hearing loss.
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Old November 19, 2012, 10:54 PM   #18
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My father-in-law is a Korean War vet, and he was exposed to gunfire and artillery, sustained and repeated for hours at a time. He finally needed a hearing aid at age 62, 40 years after the war. His hearing loss is no worse than many men his age.

I have an uncle who fought in Vietnam, including extensive time manning an M-60 machine gun. He is now approaching 70 years, and no hearing aid yet.

Hearing loss due to gunfire is real. Tinnitus is real. We all should protect our hearing while training and hunting, all the time, no exception. But exposure to gunfire does not automatically lead to hearing loss. It may in some circumstances, but it often does not. Many people have been exposed to a single very loud concussion (indoor gunfire, explosion, etc), and have suffered only a temporary hearing loss, with no permanent damage.
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Old November 19, 2012, 11:03 PM   #19
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My dad was in Vietnam and participated in many live fire exercises and he STILL doesn't have a hearing aid.

When he is watching TV we wish he did and ditto when he speaks on the phone.

No way to get around that ringing you hear is the end of that frequency.
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Old November 20, 2012, 10:27 AM   #20
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Veterans a tip on tinnitus.

Tinnitus is a compensable disability with a rating of 10%. If you have a constant ringing in your ears, and were exposed to high frequency noise. Typically turbine engines, generators and compressors then you should apply for the rating.

Typically, the VA will tell you that hearing loss is not compensable. You must insist on the evaluation. The condition is not treatable with a hearing aid.

In my case my loss was caused by a 45KW 400cycle S&S generator. I can hear but not understand voices which fall within the harmonics of 400 cycles.
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Old November 22, 2012, 11:44 PM   #21
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I have had afew people at the gun range tell me that my Walters P22 is pretty darn loud ..
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Old November 23, 2012, 08:11 PM   #22
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What?
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Old November 25, 2012, 09:21 PM   #23
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How about a .22LR revolver...

when placed against a tree trunk for support, when squirrel hunting. Your ears will RIIIING!

IMO, seems that high velocities are worse. Target loads don't seem to bother .
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Old November 25, 2012, 10:47 PM   #24
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Old November 28, 2012, 07:44 PM   #25
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So... you definitely DO hear the "crack" sound of the bullet breaking the sound barrier when you are behind the gun, at least when shooting a 22 rimfire RIFLE. With a pistol or with louder cartridges, the sound of the muzzle blast is so much louder that it drowns out the less-loud sound of the bullet breaking the sound barrier, unless you are far enough away from the louder sound of the muzzle blast (like downrange).
Not quite. While working up loads for my 10mm, many years ago, I discovered the supersonic loads were FAR louder than the subsonic. Differences of only 50 fps during transonic testing were substantially louder.
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