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Old November 30, 2012, 06:52 PM   #76
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Considering the cylinder gap on my .357 magnum revolver, would a suppressor on the muzzle still be effective ?
Suppressors can only drop decibels so much, and with a high pressure/high velocity round like 357, even suppressed it'd probably damage your hearing (but may not rupture your ear drums )

you still lose some direction-determining capability.
I suppose you can rationalize your way out of hearing protection if you really want to, but it's kinda like shooting through your weak hand to block the baddy from grabbing your weapon--it may make all the difference in a fight, but at what cost if it doesn't?

BTW, the guy who's shot two rounds of 357 unprotected w/ no protection but "didn't damage" his hearing is flat wrong. I'll stand by that statement until I see before/after clinical test results, because it's impossible to escape those energy levels unscathed (unless you have a ton of wax in your ears at any given time ). Just because you've no tinnitus (yet) doesn't mean you hear all the same frequencies you used to. Your brain is quite adept at compensating for gradual hearing damage so it isn't apparent until embarrassingly bad.

I wouldn't recommend we let ourselves get shot for lack of shooting due to no hearing protection, but it's every bit as important as any other safety rule. Besides, even if you go with a "safe" low pressure/subsonic (which will still damage your ears) there is no guarantee an opponent will follow this advice. I've heard numerous tales of bad guys dropping their weapons reacting to the concussion when they pull the trigger; don't be that guy

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Old November 30, 2012, 06:58 PM   #77
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A local idiot fired off a 44 magnum Ruger Super Blackhawk before 3 of us standing close by had time to put on our ear muffs. We were talking and this fellow raises the gun and fires without any warning. This was 30 years ago and I lost 40% of my hearing in the ear closest to the pistol. I was standing 2 feet from the barrel and right at the side of the muzzle. One shot was all it took and to this day I still have resentment towards this guy.
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Old November 30, 2012, 11:39 PM   #78
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About twenty five years back, a buddy and I were hunting rabbits with handguns. We would shoot 357's, 44's or 45acp's, normally matching up the same caliber for the day. We both reloaded our own ammo, shooting light loads as opposed to magnums, in the revolvers. For some reason that day my friend decided to shoot full house magnum 125's. Normally it wouldn't have been that big a problem because we didn't shoot next to each other. But that day we were walking and talking down a wide trail and my buddy saw a rabbit kick up in front of us. He said "RABBIT", stop and raised his 586 and fired. Meanwhile I didn't realize what had expired and had taken another step forward, putting my unprotected left ear just 2-3' beside the business end of his gun. It felt like someone hit me with a cricket bat, I actually stumbled sideways a couple of feet. He felt bad about it and I don't harbor any hard feelings toward him. But every day since that day I have been plagued with a incessant ringing in that ear, and a very significant loss of hearing.
IMO, 357's are one of the loudest handguns I shoot, along with the 7.62X25.
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Old December 2, 2012, 05:39 PM   #79
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you still lose some direction-determining capability.
I've fully tested mine and this is not true of them, though they're rather inexpensive. Maybe it's true of the horrendously expensive ones?
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Old December 4, 2012, 12:53 AM   #80
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I've got mild tinnitus from standing on a rooftop when an M-1 Abrams put a 120mm round through the front door of a house while it was parked right below us. Still thankful that it did, but thinking back to that day I did have ear pro, and it was in my pocket. The pros outweigh the cons, I am alive and I can live with ringing in my ears. I apply the same thinking to what I carry, I really don't care what kind of noise it produces as long as it is reliable and accurate. I can live with tinnitus, I'd rather not live with GSW's.
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Old December 5, 2012, 07:10 PM   #81
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I'm no expert on which caliber is the worst but from my own experiences, I'd have to say any caliber. I'm 60 and have shot for 50 years. When we were young, we didn't wear any hearing protection. I also worked around machinery and didn't give it a whole lot of thought. As a result, I've lost about 80% in my left ear - part of that by shooting muskets in team competitions with earplugs that weren't the best. I also shot full size Civil War artillery but was at least smart enough to wear ear plugs and ear muffs while doing that. I recently got back in to shooting 22s - pistol and rifle. I wear ear muff protection all the time now as even the smaller 22 LR seems to bother me as much as 38 spl, 9mm, etc.

In a SD situation though, in an enclosed room in the middle of the night, anything is going to be loud . . and has the potential for ear damage . . . but I doubt that any of us, if faced with a SD situation such as that, are going to bother to take the time to put on hearing protection. We'll be lucky if we're able to even think clearly to react as needed.
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Old December 6, 2012, 07:35 PM   #82
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I actually think the 45acp is even quieter compared to a 9mm, but you get the idea.
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Old December 7, 2012, 11:47 AM   #83
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Looking at a neuroscience text on sensory process (use it at work), it has a diagram showing that that the high risk threshold for damage is about 120 db and the pain threshold is about 140 db across the human speech range of frequencies.
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Old December 7, 2012, 01:17 PM   #84
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I have permanent tennitus.i have shot many calibers and firearms. My left ear has hearing damage after shooting AR rifles. The worst is my 50 BMG though. I wear electronic muffs and plugs and still ring my ears. Please be careful and take all precautions when shooting. I wish I had taken better care of my hearing.
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Old December 8, 2012, 01:23 PM   #85
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Creek Henry thank you for the chart. Not trying to be a kill joy, but I have a question(s).

Did you happen to see were the measurements were taken? The sound pressure will be louder forward of the muzzle than from the shooters head.

Could you provide me with the source so I can do some research?

For those of you who are interested, you can now determine what your exposure is by subtracting the NRR of your plugs/muffs from the Creek Henry chart. Refer to post 70 for a more detailed explanation.

Once again thank you for the chart.
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