Sub-sonic hunting: hand-cycle or auto-cycle the action?

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Sub-sonic hunting: hand-cycle or auto-cycle the action?

Post by thepalmhq » Thu Sep 22, 2022 4:49 pm

Hey folks,

It's been a while since I've posted. Since the last time I did I got a can, so I've been doing some load development with the Hornady 175 gr Sub-Xs (probably would have gone with the Maker Rex 200s, but they've been out of stock on the non-expanding load-dev bullets and I got impatient. Plus, I have a threaded-for-suppressor .308 Win bolt gun with 1:10 twist and these will work in that as well.)

I have worked up two promising loads in a 10.5" upper with a right-side charging handle (more on that in a bit.) The first is 9.9 gr of IMR4227 and the second is 5.7 gr of IMR Red. Both give reasonable sub-sonic velocities and both are accurate in my upper. The former cycles the action just fine, but on that account is quite a lot louder (while still being hearing safe.) With the latter I turn off the gas and it is pellet gun quiet, which I love.

So, the question is, which to use during this year's deer hunt? I gravitate toward using the quieter load -- there's the sense that I'll be better equipped for a follow-up shot if the first one is quieter. But then of course I'm in a position of having to hand cycle the action, which is not so bad logistically with the side charging handle, but may sort of defeat the purpose.

As I think back, ironically on all four hunts during which I bagged game with 300 Blackout -- whether deer or hog -- I either took or could have taken follow-up shots. In one of those hunts I got a triple! So even shooting supers, maybe even supers through the can, does not automatically take way that possibility of follow-ups. Maybe shooting supers through the can is what I should be doing (third option)?

I'd value your individual and collective advice.

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Re: Sub-sonic hunting: hand-cycle or auto-cycle the action?

Post by 30plinker » Thu Sep 22, 2022 6:04 pm

You aren't infiltrating a hog base and taking out sentries.... and you owe it to the animals to have as ethical kill as possible. If your can with supers is like the 762x39 bolt gun and a can I've shot then it won't be much louder than a CCI Stinger or similar hyper-vel 22lr round (not the earsplitting boom/crack of 22wmr), so I'd say go super and cycle the action via gas

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Joined:Thu Mar 13, 2014 8:54 pm
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Re: Sub-sonic hunting: hand-cycle or auto-cycle the action?

Post by dpete » Fri Sep 23, 2022 12:28 pm

What ranges are you looking at? Deer hunting with subs is like bow hunting with a rifle. Practically the same effective range. Attempting a shot over 50 yards you better have figured out your bullet drops/yardage. My 220 SMK loads sighted in at 50 yards are 6" low at 100, and my 200 gr Maker expanding hunting bullets are right there too.
A 110 Barnes supersonic through a can is about as loud as a 22 Mag. You'll get better range, more punch, and a possible follow up shot using supers, but a sub that functions in an AR is still plenty quiet and effective.
I've taken 3 deer with the subs and NONE have left a blood trail. Two were bang and stagger for 30 yards and flop, the 3rd was bang, jump at side to side chest pass through and run for 100 yards. There isn't any hydrostatic shock with subs so no massive internal damage. You don't track a sub shot deer, you look for a dead deer.

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Joined:Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:30 am

Re: Sub-sonic hunting: hand-cycle or auto-cycle the action?

Post by BJK » Sat Sep 24, 2022 4:33 pm

Regarding Maker bullets being out of stock... I've ordered out of stock bullets from them 2x and each time they were shipped within 24 hours. The first time they shipped hours later the same day. So if you were looking at the "out of stock" by the chosen bullet... well, maybe yes, and maybe no.

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