Airguns and noise
by B.B. Pelletier
I'm out of the office from today through next Tuesday. The postings will still go up, but I won't be here to answer questions. Will some of you oldtimers please advise the newer readers and help them if you can?
A reader called MCA asked the following question,"One subject that hasn't gotten much coverage is noise, so I have a request. I think you said you have a Talon SS, and now you have a CF-X; Please rank the following loudest to quietest: Your CF-X, your CF-X dry fired (we know its OK), your Talon SS, and your Talon with the 24" barrel (if you have it). Does the SS noise suppressor work? How about the TX200 noise suppressor? Do they work, or is it just marketing? I presume that you are expecting the Gamo CF-X to detonate when it's dry-fired, and that's why you made that distinction.
I HAVE covered airgun noise
I did a post on noise titled, Airgun powerplant noise - which guns are louder and why on Jan 2, 2006. To find topics your interested in, enter your search terms (in this case "airgun noise") in the Google search feature on the home page of this blog. It's in the right-hand column.
Most of the noise question was answered in that posting, but I'm doing this again in case you missed it. MCA asked me to rank four situations. From the Jan. 2 blog, we know that the Talon SS with the optional 24" barrel will be the loudest of all. The standard Talon SS is a good bit quieter. Both are PCPs and neither has a true silencer on it. The Gamo CF-X will be the quietest of all. Where does that put the Gamo that detonates (not diesel but detonate - remember, all spring guns diesel)? My experience puts it as loud or a little louder than the Talon SS on its highest power setting.
Does the Talon SS end cap really work, or is it just advertising hype?
The way to find out is to remove the end cap. Then, you'll hear a really loud blast! Yes, the Talon SS end cap really works. If it didn't, it wouldn't be the single most-copied PCP feature offered by third parties in the U.S. (i.e., the shrouded barrel).
What about the baffles in the barrel shroud on the TX200?
Yes, they work as advertised, but that allows me to make a point about airgun noise. I had an older TX200 Mark II that didn't have a shroud or baffles, but it was as quiet as the newer shrouded TX200 Mk III. That's because it was a tuned gun. Ken Reeves did a very good tune that removed all vibration from the gun. The TX200 doesn't have much vibration to begin with, but when it all goes away, the gun becomes super-quiet. And that's the point. A tuned spring-piston powerplant is as quiet as a silenced one. The only noise you'll hear is that which is conducted through the bones in your face when it's pressed against the stock.
Want a quiet PCP? There IS a way!
Simply adjust the power of the gun to the point that it no longer expels lots of highly compressed air. When you shoot an AirForce Talon on power setting No. 6, it's as quiet as a Talon SS on setting No. 9. It's about as powerful, too! By backing off on the power of your PCP, it'll quiet down. Not all PCPs are as adjustable as AirForce guns, so this might not work for all of them.
There's another way
Shooting from inside your house through an open window, you mute the sound of the gun outside. The sniper that terrorized Maryland 3-4 years ago did all his shooting from inside the trunk of a car. Anything that contains the sound waves to some extent will reduce the report of a gun - even a firearm. To shoot rimfires in their backyards, some people have bolted car tires together in a six-foot-long bundle. They stick the muzzle of their gun about a foot inside the stack and fire away. The baffling effect of just that simple contrivance makes the sound all but disappear to everyone but the shooter.
An experiment for you!
Take a long and fairly large (four feet long) cardboard box and cut two holes in the opposite sides of the long axis. Make them large enough to stick your hand into - one foot square should do the trick. Pad the inside of this box with thick, disposable fabric. Something the thickness of a moving pad or a heavy but pliable foam works well. Leave plenty of room for the barrel of the gun and for you to sight through. With your muzzle a foot inside, shoot through this homemade silencer with a PCP, multi-pump pneumatic or CO2 gun - the louder the better. Since this device is not attached to the gun it is not a silencer, but it will act like one.
You can't walk in the woods with a four-foot-long cardboard box, hoping to align it on an unsuspecting squirrel at an opportune moment. That's why my legal .22 rimfire silencer cost over $600 when all was said and done. It costs that much to shrink the four-foot-long, 10-lb. padded cardboard box into a six-inch aluminum cylinder that weighs only three ounces.
Airguns are pretty quiet. With some thought, they can be even quieter. But, the powerful ones are always going to be louder than the weaker ones.