Quite Small Game Hunting

BY PGF
2 weeks, 4 days ago

In a recent conversation, the discussion of rabbit hunting came up. The rabbits are thick this year in our area. The intent is “backyard” hunting for food on several acres. Why not eat the rabbits while teaching your children to forage and harvest what God makes readily available in addition to regular hunting, fishing, chickens, and a large garden?

 

Hunting in most areas here is legal, but the 22LR is too loud for the desired purpose. A lower profile with the neighbors is a better choice. Early in the investigation of options, any info or background readers might have would be very helpful. The readership here is much more intelligent than a web search.

 

Below is some preliminary info on “quiet 22,” subsonic, and .22 air rifles. Also, the option of suppression comes to mind, which brings up questions about the law.

CCI’s Quiet .22 load is designed to deliver about 68 decibels (Db) at the shooter’s ear. This is about half the noise generated by high-velocity .22 LR ammunition and only slightly more than normal conversation. Sounds can be painful at around 95 Db and sustained exposure to noise in the 125 Db range, or even one time exposure to levels of 140 Db or higher, can cause permanent damage to hearing. When I was growing up hearing protection was rarely used when shooting and the incessant ringing in my ears is a constant reminder of that mistake.

 

While subsonic .22 LR ammunition—ammo with a muzzle velocity of less than about 1,100 fps—has been available for a long time, it generally comes in the form of expensive match-grade ammo or target rounds that are only slightly below the speed of sound. This means you either pay more for each shot or the noise reduction is minimal so as not to sacrifice velocity.

The Best Quietest Air Rifles mentions not scaring prey away and avoiding alerting the neighbors.

Looking to hunt vermin, rodents, or squirrels in your backyard? Well, after spending dozens of hours on research, I found and shortlisted some of the quietest air rifles in the market right now. Let’s dive straight into it!

An air rifle in .22 could be a good fit.

/


Comments

  1. On July 25, 2022 at 9:18 pm, Ned said:

    FWIW, I’ve used Aguila 22 Colibri rounds in a revolver to dispatch skunks. Always with head shots so I’m not sure if they are more effective than my old Sheridan 5mm pump air rifle. I’ve shot a number of rabbits and prairie dogs with the Sheridan, including one jack rabbit. All single shot kills. I’ve also used CB longs and CB shorts, and they’re quiet and effective at reasonable range. The Sheridan is much louder than the Colibri rounds and even louder than the CB longs in a rifle.

    Those CCI Quiet 22 rounds look like a CB that’s 10 grains heavier. Ought to work just fine and not upset the neighbors.

  2. On July 25, 2022 at 9:31 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    I’d like to look into air rifles for plinking and small game. Ned, let me get this straight. You’re saying that your air rifle is louder than the .22?

    I’d think the opposite.

    Anyway, there’s .17 HMR to consider, and also crossbows. The shooter could use a bolt with a practice head rather than broadhead.

    Of course, any shooter will have to be aware of his backstop, especially with a crossbow.

  3. On July 25, 2022 at 10:47 pm, BRVTVS said:

    The longer the barrel, the quieter the rifle. A 24″ or longer barrel with subsonic rounds will be quiet.

  4. On July 26, 2022 at 7:32 am, Hedge said:

    I run the Aguila colibri rounds in one of these https://www.savagearms.com/content?p=firearms&a=product_summary&s=25700 . The heavy barrel makes them quiet enough to use in the city. They will kill small game that is smaller than large house cats at 25 yards but don’t expect knockdown power. You will be tracking that rabbit if you don’t head shot it. I would imagine the pellet rifles to be the same.

    My preference for this situation would be .22 shorts in that same heavy barrel. Louder yes but they have some juice behind them whereas the colibri is limited. The .22 short won’t be affected by slight winds either and is noticeably quieter than a regular .22 LR.

    In short… get ya a heavy barrel that is 22 inches long at least and use some .22 shorts or colibri’s if you can find them. It will be like a pellet rifle in sound or quieter.

  5. On July 26, 2022 at 7:44 am, Paul J said:

    CCI CB longs are remarkably quiet. Also have the advantage of working well from a magazine.

  6. On July 26, 2022 at 8:15 am, Nosmo said:

    Another advertisement for the de-BATFEication of suppressors, especially for smallbore.

  7. On July 26, 2022 at 9:31 am, Dan said:

    For small game back yard hunting an air rifle is the way to go. Very quiet. A quality gun is very accurate out to 50 or even more yards and the risk of harming a neighbor or property is much less. Plus the ammo is much much cheaper. Here in the great basin desert we can hunt all the jack rabbits we want. No license needed. Air rifles are a great choice. Even .177 caliber can do the job.

  8. On July 26, 2022 at 10:32 am, Thomas said:

    I have a savage fvsr in .22lr. With a can on it, I have had people in the next bay ask why I brought a pellet gun to a gun range. I also have a cmmg 22lr conversion kit for the AR15, which is very quiet with Aguila Super Subsonics. Unfortunately, the can manufacture tells me I can’t use the .22lr can on it.

  9. On July 26, 2022 at 1:32 pm, MTHead said:

    Right on Thomas. Unfortunately 22lr is dirty as it gets, and cakes inside suppressors very badly. You might check out some of the liquid/bath cleaning?
    CMMG conversions in AR’s are serious tools. Especially with sub-sonics. There also great for teaching children as one can shorten the stock for a positive cheek weld.
    But my all time favorite is my 300 blackout single-shot.
    One can load anything 30cal. anyway you want to spit out the end of the barrel. Find an old box of 180 gr. round nose at some garage sale for $3? Small load of powder. One small rifle primer. And a whole lot of fun.
    One of the best game-getters I’ve found. From deer to rabbits. And when you can’t get 22lr? You can cast my own bullets.
    I was even thinking of making sabot rounds for it. As the 1/7 twist will shoot any .224 bullet, even the 90gr.’ers.
    Maybe even paper patching some .277 or .284’s. It’s a whole lot of very useful fun!

  10. On July 26, 2022 at 2:53 pm, Andrew said:

    Thomas, those Super Subsonics are quiet, but are also meant for a different twist rate than 22LR. They aren’t recommended for “can use” because they don’t always stabilize, you’ll get the occasional “keyhole”…that’d be a bad thing inside a suppressor.
    I’ve fired them out of self loaders and they do normally cycle.
    They work out of an LCR-22, and most pistols that I’ve tried.
    Ruger 10-22 they cycle.

    Someone made a special barrel for that caliber for the Ruger 10-22 but I don’t remember who, it had a tighter twist.

  11. On July 26, 2022 at 3:37 pm, PGF said:

    Was wondering if somebody would mention twist rate. That was in the back of my mind when thinking of quiet and subsonic rounds. More research is required on this.

    Oops, just noticed the spelling in the post title. Heh.

  12. On July 26, 2022 at 3:55 pm, MTHead said:

    Andrew, Thats the best reason for running them through AR’s with the CMMG conversion kit.
    The 60gr. sniper sub-sonic work perfect. And the 1/2×28 threads match up for a 22 suppressor.
    Like I said. It’s one of the best tools for teaching kids to shoot we ever found.
    That being said, I have fired a lot of them through my suppressed Walther P-22 without a hitch. Results may vary, as twist rate can be a problem.

  13. On July 26, 2022 at 4:49 pm, Ozark Redneck said:

    @MTHead & Thomas, I use a Dead Air 22 suppressor on my Ruger 10/22 with the CCI suppressor loads and with the S&W 22 Compact semi-auto pistol. I shoot often, some weeks every day after work, as it is my de-stressor. They say to clean the suppressor every 500-1000 rounds, which I usually do every 1,000 or so, if you wait too long, it is harder to get apart. I just wipe each piece down, remove any carbon buildup and put back together. Not that big of a deal. I don’t have a decent air gun, but have used those CCI quiet 22lr rounds, I believe 710fps, but they are only good for revolver or bolt action, single shot, as they won’t cycle in my semi-autos.

  14. On July 26, 2022 at 5:45 pm, Brian T said:

    CCI CB Caps if you can find them are very quiet and a capable close-range squirrel and rabbit load

  15. On July 26, 2022 at 6:09 pm, Chappyman66 said:

    I did backyard rabbit hunting for years with the old Daisy 917 (multipump rifled barrel, .177 pellets only, about 800fps). Works fine out to 15-20 yards. I never had to hunt them down….but they did sometimes squeal a bit and flop around if I didn’t get a clean headshot.

    And yes….a PCP (pre-charged pneumatic) rifle can be as loud or louder than a powder firearm. The multi-pump versions are quite quiet.

  16. On July 27, 2022 at 5:57 am, Mountain Rat said:

    I have removed countless skunks from my yard using the Gamo Whisper Fusion Mach 1 in .22. Great airgun, not silent but has never attracted the neighbors attention and the sight/sound lines are short.

  17. On July 27, 2022 at 11:57 am, Thomas said:

    The 1:9 twist, or 1:7 is what you need to stabilize the supe subsonic from Aguila. Which is exactly what most ARs have. They shoot great!

  18. On July 27, 2022 at 1:54 pm, xtphreak said:

    @Herschel

    An RWS Model 48 is loud, maybe not as loud as a .22, but definitely a different sound impulse.
    Not as sharp maybe?

    Still, 1000 fps with a .177 pellet.

    A tin of RWS match grade pellets costs about what a brick of .22’s USED to cost ($12-14). Although I still have some Winchester Wildcat .22LR with price labels (remember those?) @ $9.90 for a brick of 10 boxes of 50.

    It’ll definitely drop a squirrel with a head shot, and plenty accurate enough to do it.

  19. On July 27, 2022 at 7:03 pm, Furminator said:

    We had a permit to kill non-game species in town using an air rifle for years until the new controller police chief came in and feared PETA would disapprove. No pidgeon, Eurasian Collared Dove, prairie dog, or ground squirrel was safe anywhere we could get a shot out the truck window in 5-10 seconds. Our gun of choice was the Airforce Talon SS precharged pneumatic in .22 with a 10-power scope. The gun has a pretty short barrel with and integrated “suppressor” and adjustable velocity. It’s about the size of an AR pistol. We kept ours around 800 fps and they were nearly silent. With practice you can make head shots on bunnies at 50-75 yards all day long. Had to run JSB 16 grain match pellets or accuracy suffers. Getting set up will cost over a grand but it totally outclasses a pump or break barrel.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Ammunition,Animals and was published July 25th, 2022 by PGF.

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