Captain’s Journal: Quiet Small Game Hunting

“Shhh, I’m hunting wabbits.” – Mr. E. Fudd

The Captain’s Journal has a brief article on Quiet Small Game Hunting. Actually it says “Quite Small Game Hunting,” but I’m assuming that is a typographical error. I’ve hunted rabbits myself with both .17 and .22 air rifles. Both are effective, though the .17 requires better shot placement. On the subsonic .22LR front, I had a friend back in the ’90s in another state who would slither into the heavily wooded city park near his home and hunt squirrels with subsonic .22LR. He took quite a few with a nary a complaint from anyone.

I live in a relatively rural area, but the county still has a law against discharging a firearm with a couple of hundred yards of a residence. Even if you have 5-10 acres of your own, with good backstops for firing, that can mean that you can’t use a firearm to hunt on your property. In that case, air guns are a fine option for hunting your vicious rabbit and squirrel pests.

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.