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Thread: Decibel Data .222 vs. .223

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    Member 300hunter's Avatar
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    Talking Decibel Data .222 vs. .223

    HI there. Anybody have any data to support the claim that the .222 is quieter than the .223? For the sake of discussion let's assume bolt action rifles of the same make, barrel length, powder charge, bullet, and velocity. I load both cartridges and they shoot a 40 gr. V-Max @ 3,400 fps with 25.1 grs of H335, yet there are those who swear that the .222 is noticeably quieter and, therefore a significantly better choice for predator and varmint control in built up areas.
    I have found that once you go to a centerfire cartridge and/or exceed 2,500 fps the neighbors really start to take notice. Maybe add .22 Hornet to the discussion and see where we end up? Thanks for any input.

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    1. Same bolt action rifles of the same make, barrel length.

    2. Same powder charge, bullet, and velocity. (40 gr. V-Max @ 3,400 fps)

    3. Same bullet diameter, nearly identical cartridges, (the 223 is a "improved/modified" 222) The 223 has a slightly longer case and about 15% more case capacity.

    I would think the noise level would be about the same. I believe given the same bullet diameter and weight plus like weapons, the determining factor would be the speed of the bullet. That being held constant and as quiet as the 222 or 223 are, I doubt given the criteria above the difference in noise could be noticed by the average person.

    If you really want to know. For your experiment I would recommend you google sound measuring devices. I just did and several decibel measuring devices are available under 100 dollars. You could measure each rifle and know for sure.

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    No data, but I was on hand and an active benchrest competitor when the 223 first came on the scene back in the Dark Ages. At that time 222's dominated the line at shoots, with a very few 222 mags there too. You could tell when a 222 mag was fired rather than a 222. And by-n-by a few 223's made their brief appearance at benchrest shoot. (They couldn't compete for accuracy and disappeared quickly.) I couldn't tell them from the 222 mags, but could tell when the shot wasn't a plain 222. BTW-Virtually everyone used 20" barrels in those days, so it wasn't a matter of varying barrel length.

    All empirical, and the difference wasn't objectionable. No one said "Geez, take that noisy thing somewhere else." But with nine 222's on the line and one 222 mag or 223, you could always tell when they shot.

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    BrownBear- Do you think the difference in noticable noise was due to a difference in powder charges and therefore bullet speeds?

    In the senario provided both handloads would be using the same bullets and charge at the same velocity in the same action and barrel length.

    Wouldn't equal velocity negate a difference in noise with all else equal?

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    Not a clue Ralph. Once you break the sound barrier, I'm not sure what difference there would be in sound due to velocity. Powders used in those days were pretty much the same between all those little rounds, but with a splash more in the 223/222 mag cases to achieve the same velocities as a 222, and even more to get more velocity. Not the riches in powder choice we have today.

    It's all academic to me. There was a bit of a difference and it stood out to folks who were used to hearing the same sounds over years of shooting. A casual listener might not even have noticed. But as I said, it wasn't objectionable. I see this more as a curiosity question than a factor in choosing a round.

    I will say that comparing my 14" 222 Contender barrel with my 14" 223 barrel, the 223 is considerably louder. But I think that's just an example of more powder "doing its thing" beyond the muzzle.

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    I've never heard anyone say the .222 is a better choice in built up areas than a .223. I think any difference in noise is pretty insignificant with regards to POing the neighbors...there may be some difference in muzzle blast but its got to be minor.

    However, I have used the .22 Hornet in built up areas and it does have the advantage of being substantially less noisy than either a .223 or .222- particularly in a 24" barrel.

    I used a Hornet for a couple of years and it was pure joy on small farms and rural areas where I lived at the time. Shots at 150 yds were routine and performance was very good.

    If I needed to do shooting in built up areas I'd look no further than a Hornet- if I needed more range or flatter trajectory I'd probably be in more open country and noise wouldn't be much concern.

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    100% Hodgeman. I might nudge it a little by going to the K Hornet for better case life, but that's hair splitting.

    It's not much different than a 222 noise-wise, but the most fun I've ever had with varmints was using an old (even in the early 70's) rifle put together by Griffin and Howe on a Winchester low wall. It was in a wildcat most folks have never heard of, the R-2 Lovell. Once my supply of brass was pretty well worn out, I parted with that little sweety. Dang the day anyway, because in subsequent years a source of 25-20 single shot brass reappeared.

    Speaking of small game in urban areas rather than varmints, I'd take a real hard look at the 25-20 Winchester if you can find one in a contemporary Marlin 1894. Mine is a tack driver, whether with low velocity loads for edible game or at higher velocity for "varminting." I haven't tried it past 100 yards, but inside that range small targets are no problem.

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    If you want quiter, go with the 221 fireball in a rifle.

    More powder in a given bore equates to more muzzle blast, the crack of the supersonic bullet is the same, but more powder equals more muzzleblast equals more noise.

    The are a couple options for quieting things down, you can load the 223 with blue dot which drops it's performance down to hornet levels, and muzzle blast drops way off. Accuracy is steller. You'll have to do your own searching for the data, and be forwarned about fast powder in rifle cases, but it does work.

    The other option is a suppressor. A supressed 223 will be no louder than a 22 rf.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    If you want quiter, go with the 221 fireball in a rifle.

    More powder in a given bore equates to more muzzle blast, the crack of the supersonic bullet is the same, but more powder equals more muzzleblast equals more noise.

    The are a couple options for quieting things down, you can load the 223 with blue dot which drops it's performance down to hornet levels, and muzzle blast drops way off. Accuracy is steller. You'll have to do your own searching for the data, and be forwarned about fast powder in rifle cases, but it does work.

    The other option is a suppressor. A supressed 223 will be no louder than a 22 rf.

    Exactly! And the powder gases accelerating after the bullet leaves the bore is the only difference in the OP's scenario... It takes longer for more gas to leave.

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    I started this thread with the suspicion that these guys I've heard about shooting deer on golf courses in CA are splitting hairs going with the .222 rather than the .223 to keep noise down. I already own a .222 in a Savage 24V Series C .222 Rem over 20 ga. and I love the cartridge. I am thinking about getting a bolt action CZ in .222 to make efficient use of dies, etc. and I have also thought about the .22 K-Hornet as a lower noise nuissance remover to use in the neighborhood. Thanks for all of the replies. Keep shooting!

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    Sound is pressure and in matched guns the one with the most pressure at bullet exit will be louder every time. It's not going to be enough to matter to your neighbors at any rate, loud is still loud.
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    If the neighbors complain I might just break out the .300 to show them what loud really is!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ADfields View Post
    Sound is pressure and in matched guns the one with the most pressure at bullet exit will be louder every time. It's not going to be enough to matter to your neighbors at any rate, loud is still loud.
    Almost exactly right... After the bullet exits the gases hyperaccelerate to well over the bullets velocity. Their speed is where the noise is and the longer it takes to vent the gases the louder it will be.
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    Hi folks. I have seen a list of noise factors in dB for most calibers but don't recall any specific numbers. I have done some work in labs with this instrumentation and will give my opinion on this question.

    Noise is the result of the exit pressure, velocity and volume of gases and of course the bullet velocity. Bore size and powder burn rates also affect the intensity of this noise. The 222 and 223 are very close in case volume and would use the same burn rate of powder, bore size etc. The difference is the slightly greater velocity and gas volume of the 223 and it may only be a couple dBs but you should notice it being slightly louder. I would expect to hear a slight difference just as BrownBear described. I have shot both calibers extensively over the years and the 222 mag as well. I recall the 222 being quieter than either of the other two. It is quite noticeable under a metal roof outdoors.

    Also, as we shorten the barrel the exit pressure and velocity of the gases increases giving a louder report, even though the bullet velocity is less. The 220 Swift and 22-250 are both noticeably louder yet and the 22 Hornet and 218 Bee much quieter. There is very little difference between the 222 and 223 in noise or field performance. The AI'd 223 is the equivalent of the 222 mag.
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    Wow, Murph... That was the most lucid and scientific essay of direct comparative, well that I've ever read.
    I've One-Single client whom seeks .222rem ammo. It sounds like a pretty sweet chamber- Quieter, tamer, more perfect for Bolt-Operation than .223rem, I'll get to my point:
    Many ask me which One??! To which I can now conclude... Start with the .223 Remington.
    It's actually reverse-logic for me (being a Pistol-guy) to start with .22lr-INTO-.30-06, REASON: the .223 is more punishing.
    If I repolarize Pistol-Sense, it's better to operate from Wild-To-Tame when considering a true Varmint, for which the .223 is NOT designed. (Hence the Euro-Ban).

    Given a Choice, start with .223 and CATCH YOUR BRASS.
    Then, get the proper Sizing Dies and Presses, Scales and Tumblers.
    Enjoy The Sport of Shooting. -jr

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    The other option is a suppressor. A supressed 223 will be no louder than a 22 rf.
    Not exactly, you still have the supersonic crack from the bullet to contend with. I played with subsonic .223 rounds using a 75 gr bullet for about 6 months and as long as you stay subsonic then the suppressor does make a BIG difference in the .223 but as soon as you go trans-sonic you get the crack. I get the same results with the 300 Black Out/Whisper. The subsonic 225 gr SMK are good to 100 yds or so then they drop like a brick. They are very effective on deer and certainly on anything within reason at short range and are very quiet. I also have a .44 Mag NEF rifle with 300 gr subsonic that is almost movie quiet and it really thumps deer under 100 yds.

    Only my opinion but with the same weight load and barrel length the .222 and .223 should be pretty much indistinguishable. The .22 K Hornet is a fine round!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Murphy View Post

    Noise is the result of the exit pressure, velocity and volume of gases and of course the bullet velocity.
    Also, as we shorten the barrel the exit pressure and velocity of the gases increases giving a louder report, even though the bullet velocity is less.
    Bingo!

    You can look at this from the real world too. Take a plain old firecracker. It makes a bang. Now take a .44 mag loaded with an empty cartridge case but with a mag primer. Fire it and you'll know the difference in volume and intensity. The volume of gasses is less with the primer, but there will be no question as to which one is "more powerful".

    With explosives, the quicker the detonation, the shorter or more perfectly defined the wavefront of the shockwave; it will sound much "cleaner". Those who have worked with explosives know the difference between ANFO and dynamite (both PETN based and nitroglycerin based).

    With a firearm the bore is being uncorked by the bullet. The higher the pressure behind the bullet (shorter barrel or more intense round), will yield a more defined wavefront so it will sound sharper, which may be perceived as louder. More gas leaving the muzzle may extend the time the gas is supersonic so the sound is longer in duration, again being perceived as louder. Another consideration is the bore size; large bore versus small bore (pitch) and intensity. A .264 Winnie is much more intense than my .375 Weatherby. But that is my perception. Yours may vary.
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    I have the 223rem and 221rem and was oridginaly wanting a 222rem for my needs. The 223 worked out great because I am loading stricly for accuracy ans I am getting 3260-3300 fps with a 52gr bullet which would be tops for the 222.

    As for the 221FB. I am working on loads ussing Lilgun and AA1680 for the 45gr Spire point and 40gr berger HPV. The same charge 17.5grs of AA1680 gives different reports using these two bullets. The 40gr is louder and I expect its exiting with more vecity 3290fps and muzzle blast (24" barrel). The 45gr is at 3050fps and seems quiter. These are both loaded at a OCL of 1.830" and will have to check the Length measure st the lands because there seems to be more case expantion indicated by chamber markings with the 40gr as well. In any case there is little boom with the 221 but its crack gets louder with top loads. I think I will reserve Ligun to tipped bullets because the deeper seating helps with the lower dencity loadings of 14-15grs of powder.

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