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What makes an airgun quiet?

by B.B. Pelletier

The REAL question is “What makes an airgun noisy?” because quiet is just the absence of noise. People who shoot airguns like them to be quiet. With the race for power, they often stumble back into the noisy realm, again. This is not a post about silencers, but about passive ways to quiet an airgun.

Air is the culprit!
High-pressure air is the real noise culprit. And, CO2 under pressure acts the same as air, so you might as well toss it into the same pot. Spring-piston guns are the quietest because they use the smallest amount of high-pressure air. By the time the pellet gets to the muzzle, the air in a springer is under a lot less pressure than the muzzle blast from a PCP or other pneumatic.

Even among pneumatics, there are quiet guns. Consider Daisy’s Avanti 747. It’s a single-stroke pneumatic target pistol, yet it has a relatively quiet report. A similar single-stroke match pistol, the IZH 46M, is much louder. Of course, the IZH is more powerful, which means the air that leaves the muzzle is under more pressure, which is why it makes more of a pop.

On some guns, YOU control the volume!
With a multi-pump rifle like Daisy’s 22SG, the number of pumps you put in determines the power and the noise the gun will make. If you value quiet, learn to make do with fewer pumps for a quieter gun.

The AirForce Talon is another gun you can shoot quietly. Because it has adjustable power, you can dial the power down to the point the rifle makes very little noise. You’ll still get plenty of power – just not the maximum the rifle has to offer. This is how many owners of the super-powerful Condor shoot their rifles most of the time.

Another feature that only the AirForce rifles have is that the owner can change the barrel in a few minutes. That means you can also change the caliber. A .177-caliber AirForce barrel will shoot quieter than their .22 because less air escapes with each shot.

Springers are the kings of quiet
For the quietest shooting of all, spring guns are the way to go. A well broken-in Beeman R9 can be one of the quietest airguns you never heard, as can a TX 200.

Where you shoot affects sound, too
By picking your shooting spot, you can control how much sound will escape the area. Some shooters have constructed cardboard box “tunnels” lined with soft fabric through which they shoot. As long as the muzzle is inside the box tunnel, very little muzzle report will escape. This works best for shooting off a bench indoors so you don’t disturb the other residents of the house.

Using your house as a silencer
An entire house can be used quite effectively as a sort of silencer. Simply shoot through an open window with the muzzle several feet inside the house and very little noise will escape. Of course, it’s going to be louder for the shooter inside the confines of the house, so before doing this make certain that everyone approves. This is how some homeowners take care of garden and flowerbed pests without disturbing their neighbors.

Even a powerful airgun can be made quieter without resorting to the expense and legal entanglements of buying a silencer. Think about these things and see what you can do to make your airgun quiet.

11 thoughts on “What makes an airgun quiet?”

  1. Hi PP-
    I live in an apartment and want to a quality rifle I can shoot indoors without disturbing my neigbors. Any suggestions on a truly silent air rifle that will shoot tiny groups. I saw gamo has a springer that has a quieting feature any word on its effectivness. Or, I was thinking a PCP turned way down. What do think? It would mainly be for target shooting but the option to take it hunting when the opportunity arises would be a plus.

  2. Hi,

    been reading your excellent forum for sometime.

    quietest gun I’ve had so far, is a FWB 601 ten meter single stroke pneumatic rifle.

    for springers, R7 has turned into my most shot air rifle. It’s very quiet and smooth. dispatches starlings effectively out to 35-40 yds.

    a recently tuned by beeman shop, R1 .22 has turned into a quiet, smooth and accurate shooting beauty.

    recently purchased a Skan Pro1 chrono which measured R1 at only 12.3fpe and R7 at 4.8fpe.

    the R7 I expected to be low, but was surprised at R1’s low numbers, as R1 hits hard! Both guns are not hold sensitive and shoots like a dream.

    got another R1 .177 untuned that measured 18.8fpe with Skan chrono. needless to say the tuned 12pfe R1 is much quieter and a joy to shoot.


  3. Quiet rifle,

    For starters, the IZH 61 will shoot smaller groups than you can hold. It look radical, but if you get past that, It’s a quality airgun. And very quiet.

    Daisy’s 853 is another good one. A little louder, but just as accurate and more conventional in appearance. It’s one drawback is a poor trigger.

    The Beeman R7 suggected by CY is another fine gun. It won’t group as well as the first two, but at close range (30 feet?) you won’t notice.

    The Gamos you mentioned are not guns I would recommend for your needs. They have triggers that are a little on the heavy side and are better-suited to sport shooting.

    The quieting feature really isn’t needed for these guns (except perhaps the Daisy), but it does work. However these guns are already so quiet that it doesn’t make a big difference. The IZH 61 will be even quieter than the Whisper.


  4. Thanks BB-

    IZH sounds like a winner(pun intended). My only concern is for the price are they still a quality gun that will hold up. I saw your profile of the rifle but was concerned by comments that the new models were lower quality. Any truth to this?

  5. Thanks B.B.

    One more quick question. I just called to order a 61 and pyramid says its mount is too small to take a scope. I read one comment from a 61 shooter that had some some luck with medium rings. I was hoping to mount a bugbuster 6x to maximize its potential. What do you think?

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