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rifle sub sonic, suppressor question

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Unread 11-30-2011, 11:03 AM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Central AZ
Posts: 1,150
Re: rifle sub sonic, suppressor question

I have a custom 300/221 Fireball (same as a 300 Whisper, but I can't call it that because that moniker has been copyrighted/owned by JD Jones). There is a whole line of these cartridges that were developed as dual purpose rounds. They perform well in subsonic mode for CQB, but can also be used in hunting situations (usually supersonic). To get a better look at these cartridges go to:

300 Whisper | SSK Industries

Another great site for info on the 300 Whisper, or subsonic rounds, suppressors, and other related info is:

300 Whisper Page

The big problem with subsonic rounds and hunting has already been touched upon by eddybo: bullet expansion. Most of the subsonic rounds based on the Whisper case utilize rifle bullets. These bullets usually need at least 1,700 to 1,800 fps in order to expand. This is way above the speed for breaking the sound barrier. At slower speeds (including subsonic), the usual rifle bullets simply will not expand - they just pencil through. That is why these cartridges tend to use heavy-for-caliber bullets. They begin to destabilize and tumble once they hit the target. I use the 240 gr. SMK in my 300. It takes a 1-in-8 twist to stabilize them and they do upset and tumble easily much below 950 fps.

Lately, some custom bullet-makers have developed specialized bullets for the Whispers that open up and have great terminal performance at subsonic velocities. Here are a couple:

Home - Outlaw State Bullets LLC

Display Products

They ain't cheap, but boy do they work.

Corbin Mfg. has now legitimized the 300 Blackout (essentially the 300 Whisper). Here is a link showing subsonic performance of a bullet made by the Bullet Depot:

Subsonic Bullet Design

The 450 Beowolf and the 458 SOCOM tend to have better bullet performance at subsonic speeds because they utilize pistol bullets which are designed to open up at lower velocities. Their Achilles heel is that they have a low BC, so the drop beyond 50 yds. is very dramatic. Additionally, I believe they must utilize the AR-10 platform in a semi-auto platform (but I could be mistaken).

Something else to keep in mind is that the speed at which the sound barrier is broken varies by elevation, and sometimes other weather conditions. A bullet that is subsonic at sea level may be supersonic at the 7000 ft level. Generally, subsonic speeds occur somewhere between 1,040 and 1,080 fps. But again, this depends on you elevation.

To answer the other question about noise and the sound barrier: no - it is no more quiet whether the bullet is traveling 50 fps or 500 fps over the sound barrier. It is the same "crack" of a sonic boom. But what is interesting, is when the bullet is "trans-sonic". Most of us think of breaking the sound barrier as being over a specific speed. The fact is that it is a narrow range of fps. In this "trans-sonic" window we hear something more than the usual silenced round, but it is not a super-sonic "crack" either.

You can go to youtube and watch videos of jets breaking the sound barrier. Just watch for the "bloom" of the sonic shock wave as it begins to develop behind the tail of the aircraft. This trans-sonic window is also evident in longrange shooting. We have drop tables for our bullets. But once velocity of our bullet drops into the "trans-sonic" window, it is hard to get reliable drop info on a repeatable basis. Too much is happening, plus the bullet itself is probably beginning to destabilize.

Probably too much info here, but welcome to the world of subsonic shooting.
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Unread 11-09-2014, 08:10 PM
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: North East Missouri
Posts: 167
Re: rifle sub sonic, suppressor question

I enjoy reading about subsonic information do you or anyone else know anything about subsonic rifle/pistol cartridges or subsonic rifle/pistol load data for extended range 50-600 yards or extreme range 600+ yards.
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Unread 11-09-2014, 08:37 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Riggins Idaho
Posts: 1,195
Re: rifle sub sonic, suppressor question

I use the 300 blackout and have killed one deer at 217 and one at 253. I'm using factory Remington 220gr. Sub's. I have a 2.5-10x32 nxs with a npr2 reticle. Realistically looking back it was probably unwise to use it at this range with the factory ammo because I have had lots of fliers with this lot of ammo and will be switching to hand loaded stuff. If I can get better groups and less fliers with handloads then I feel if you have the skills and equipment then it could probably be used to 350yrds as long as you don't have a lot of wind. They do drop like a rock so you have to be on top of your drops. I run my drops on my br2 and if I could get rid of my fliers the drops are very close out to 350 I was pretty surprised.
I dont know who ever came up with the imaganary word of "Over Gunned"
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Unread 11-09-2014, 08:46 PM
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Join Date: May 2013
Location: Elkhorn Idaho
Posts: 542
Re: rifle sub sonic, suppressor question

Sectional density is a huge factor that people overlook. I am not sure of the sectional density of the bullets that I use but they penetrate deeper than any other type that I have used. The 245gr Montana bullet has a flat nose that tears through the tissue and does quite well.

The Outlaw I wanted to try but refuse to pay the price that they want for them. If they were a normal price I definitely would go for them. I doubt they would perform any different than the 245 Montana. Dead is dead, RIGHT?

Lehigh Makes one that is really intriguing. It is way lighter but it works on the same basis as the Barnes. It cuts it way through. I have not tried them yet.

As far as quiet I use a 300 Blackout in a Rem Model 7 with a SWR SPEC WAR can. With a load of Trail Boss and the Montana Bullet you can barely hear the gun go off.

Semi Autos are quite a bit louder due to the louder powders due to the burn rate to operate the actions and the action itself operating.
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Unread 11-09-2014, 10:14 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: South of I-10 in Texas
Posts: 112
Re: rifle sub sonic, suppressor question

This hog was taken with a 9" 300 whisper.
I took another one like it several months later after my suppressor stamp arrived and I hand loaded some 300 blk subsonics.
I've also taken a white tail doe with the subs and suppressor from the 9" barrel.
My set up works well and is pretty quiet too. I keep a zero magnification EoTech XPS-3 on the gun so as to deter me from taking shots hundreds of yards away. In fact I wouldn't even shoot at anything 100 yards or more. All three animals I mentioned were shot at less than 50 yards.
Originally Posted by dig
The 338-378 Weatherby is a Great cartridge, go ahead improve your Lapuas, create your Edge +P, should have just started with the Weby.
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Unread 11-10-2014, 07:09 PM
Gold Member
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 727
Re: rifle sub sonic, suppressor question

As stated the subs are like lobbing artillery at your target. The Lehigh bullets really expand well on soft targets like deer but I think they won't make it thru a shoulder or a pig. Shot selection will be different as well as ranging will be more like archery. When shooting supressed they don't know where the shot comes from and often run towards you.


about 7:15 in the video is where the action is.

Last edited by Wedgy; 11-10-2014 at 09:54 PM.
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Unread 11-11-2014, 02:52 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,249
Re: rifle sub sonic, suppressor question

I am geting close to talking myself into taking the suppressor plunge. Hell, if I could buy over the counter with no waiting period it would have already been a done deal!!

My plan is to buy a Thunder Beast Arms 338 can/break ($$$) and use it on a bunch of different tubes from my Edge down to my 6-6.5-47L. One of the bbls I would chamber up is a 338 BR and try and figure out a subsonic load with the 300 gr Berger. It would be mainly for plinking and "pest" control, but thought that I might experament with cutting 1/8 inch off of the tip to help with bullet expansion and try it on deer.

Anyone ever try a 338 br?
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