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.
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.