The allure of pellet guns lies in their versatility, making them a popular choice for target practice and small-game hunting. However, a pellet gun’s distinctive pop and crack can attract unwanted attention, potentially causing disturbances or even raising concerns among neighbors. In such cases, the need to silence your pellet gun becomes paramount.
Whether you’re an avid shooter looking for a quieter experience or simply want to be a considerate neighbor, learning how to silence a pellet gun can be valuable. While it’s essential to note that modifying firearms or air guns in any way can have legal and safety implications, there are legal and safe methods to reduce the noise produced by your pellet gun without compromising performance or safety.
Pellet Gun Sound Suppression Technology
In general, air guns are thought to be significantly quieter than firearms. However, as their power has grown over time, so too has the volume of the shooting noise they can make. The urge to keep air rifles as silent as possible has increased along with the loudness.
Manufacturers have adopted different measures to reduce any noise customers may hear from the air guns they sell. Some of them include:
As previously mentioned, the AirForce quickly embraced using internal baffles to enhance the sound reduction of their airguns. They introduced multiple air chambers within the shroud to achieve even quieter performance. Each chamber collaborates with the preceding one to progressively remove more air, decreasing the noise emitted from the shroud’s end.
One of the earliest “mainstream” PCP air rifles to adopt this design was the Benjamin Marauder. At that time, it established the benchmark for “quiet” airguns and is still highly regarded for this accomplishment. Benjamin achieved this by incorporating several cone-shaped baffles, transforming the typically loud “pop” into a subdued “puff.” Marauder Sound Test: 68 decibels (Contrasted with 113 decibels for the AirForce Texan)
Today, many manufacturers employ barrel shrouds combined with multiple baffles to reduce the sound produced by their firearms significantly. This combination proves highly effective, almost on par with our next option: a precisely engineered Airgun moderator.
Air Rifle Suppressors
An air gun suppressor, often called a silencer, serves the sole purpose of reducing the noise produced by an airgun. This is because most airguns operate at relatively low velocities and do not exceed the speed of sound. In contrast, firearms break the sound barrier when fired, requiring much more robust sound-suppressing devices known as firearm silencers. It’s essential to understand that air gun suppressors and firearm silencers differ.
Furthermore, air guns are not classified as firearms, so they are not subject to regulation by the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives). Consequently, an airgun suppressor is also not regulated by the ATF. However, it’s important to note that the threads used to attach an airgun suppressor are distinct from those used on firearms, making them incompatible.
For large-caliber air rifles that lack shrouds or utilize large high-pressure air tanks, such as the Texan, an air rifle silencer or suppressor can reduce the noise level to the extent that it eliminates the need for hearing protection. However, it should be understood that even with a suppressor, the report from these big-bore air rifles will not be fully silenced; it will only be subdued to a certain extent.
For dedicated airgun moderators, especially for calibers up to .30, the standard thread size is typically 1/2 UNF. This thread specification is distinct from the threaded barrels commonly found on firearms. Given the strict regulations surrounding firearm suppressors, this distinction is crucial to maintaining a clear separation between airgun equipment and firearm equipment. Possessing a firearm suppressor without the required legal paperwork constitutes a felony offense, so upholding these differences is essential.
Manufacturers like FX Airguns and others adopt various sound suppression techniques within the design of their airguns. Additionally, they incorporate 1/2 UNF threads at the end of the shroud to allow shooters to attach an aftermarket airgun moderator of their choice. These devices are essentially airgun-specific “suppressors” designed exclusively for airguns and not intended for use with firearms. When attached to a shrouded airgun, they can reduce the noise output to “mouse fart” quiet. This is the most effective method for achieving the lowest possible sound levels with an airgun.
Why Silence an Air Rifle?
There are several reasons why someone might want to silence or reduce the noise generated by an air rifle:
- Noise Pollution: Air rifles can still produce a significant amount of noise, especially if they are used in urban or suburban areas. Reducing the noise can help prevent disturbance to neighbors or wildlife.
- Hunting: Many hunters use air rifles for small game hunting, pest control, or vermin control. A quieter air rifle can be less likely to spook game or alert pests, allowing for more accurate shots and more effective hunting.
- Privacy: Some airgun enthusiasts shoot for recreation or target practice in their backyard or property. Quieter air rifles help maintain privacy and avoid attracting unwanted attention.
- Legal Requirements: In some areas, there may be legal restrictions on the noise levels produced by firearms or air rifles. Using a suppressor or moderator can help ensure compliance with local noise regulations.
- Reduced Recoil: Air rifles are known for their low recoil, but the noise of the shot can still be startling or uncomfortable for some shooters. Quieter air rifles can provide a more enjoyable shooting experience.
- Hearing Protection: While air rifles are generally quieter than firearms, repeated exposure to the noise can still damage hearing over time. Suppressors or moderators can help protect the shooter’s hearing.
- Discretion: Some shooters prefer to keep their shooting activities private, and a quieter air rifle allows them to do so without drawing attention.
Consideration When Silencing an Air Rifle
While numerous YouTube videos and online guides offer instructions on creating your own firearm silencer, we strongly recommend opting for commercially available accessories. The primary reason for this recommendation is to minimize any potential risks associated with crafting a homemade suppressor, which could result in injury to yourself or damage to your rifle.
When using a silencer, it’s crucial to ensure that it fits perfectly over the muzzle of your gun, as any misalignment can lead to significant performance issues. Additionally, it’s important to be aware that a silencer will increase your rifle’s length and weight, which can affect its balance and how you carry it. It may require adjustment and adaptation before you become comfortable with the altered firearm.
Moreover, a silencer can also change the impact point of the pellet, necessitating the readjustment of your sights to compensate for this shift. Therefore, relying on professionally manufactured suppressors is advisable to avoid these potential complications and ensure safe and effective firearm use.
In conclusion, learning to silence a pellet gun is a valuable skill for many shooters and airgun enthusiasts. Whether you’re looking to reduce noise pollution, improve your hunting success, or simply enjoy a quieter shooting experience, several effective methods and accessories are available.
Silencing a pellet gun can enhance your shooting experience, provide hunting and pest control benefits, and contribute to a more considerate and responsible approach to shooting in various environments. By following the right methods and prioritizing safety and legality, you can enjoy the advantages of a quieter airgun while ensuring a positive and safe shooting experience for yourself and others.
Meet Mike O’Connor, (a DIY enthusiast), living in Cincinnati, a city ranked as the noisiest in the USA.
As a work from home dad, I have a first hand experience of how noise can truly affect your well being.
Soundproofing isn’t something that should be taken as a hobby, it should be a skill that every homeowner should be equipped with.
Most of the work documented on this blog comes from purely first hand experience, and the products recommended work as indicated.