Digital Magazine

Subsonic centefires, experiences?!

I received an email from a reader looking for advice on subsonic centefires.

I haven’t had much to do with them at all to be honest so it would be great to hear anyone else’s experience with suitable rifles and loads etc.

1 Like

I have loaded subsonic loads for my 6.5 creedmoor before using 162g hornady round nose projectiles and trailboss powder. I can’t remember exactly how many grains of tailboss I used but there’s usually info online. Start higher and work down (the opposite to finding a max load) until your test loads dont break the sound barrier, usually around 1450fps. Be careful you dont go too light and get a projectile stuck in your barrel. Trailboss is a light fluffy powder so does a good job of using up the case capacity. Best suited to short action rounds but I have seen loads done for 7mm rem mag. Choose a soft lead tip projectile


Thanks mate, I’ll pass this info on!

i have build suppressors for a few of my centerfires, currently working on subsonic loads for the 8x57 and the .303. my dad has been doing subsonic loads for my mates 308 which he snots wallaby with out to at least 50m. the 308 is around 8grs of trail boss will have a plink soon on the 8mm and .303 will update you when they are done on what grain load and weight of pill etc. im in te puna and happy to chat about it. i buy my cast projectiles from Robert in Tokoroa i have cell number if your reader wants.

1 Like

Thanks Mike, appreciate the feedback!

8grs of powder be cheap to run!

1 Like

HI I have had a Ruger 77/357 fitted with a DPT suppressor it is great with factory .38 special ammo being sub sonic and the 357 mag ammo doing over 2200 fps, I have a die for swaging 38 special hollow base wad cutters into hollow points for sub sonic loads, these are awesome on anything from possums to goats and the sub sonic loads sound like a slug gun . If you are looking for a handy and quiet rifle for anything at under 150 m this could be well worth a look

1 Like

Subs in centrefires are no different to a subsonic 22 in trajectory so if you shoot sub 22 then you have a head start on everyone else. For hunting they work best in my experience with the heaviest bullet your rifle can stableise and a flat meplat(nose ). A half mil dot scope or ballistic turrets are a must as well as a rangefinder. I don’t bother with a supressor on the 3030 or 308 I use subs in as it seems quiet enough and doesnt seem to upset animals at all. However i suspect you could although ihave heard some supressor manufacturers or sellers have said it’s a bad idea.
I can’t see why unless they believe there is a possibility of lead particles causing corrosion especially in alloy suppressors but copper jacket shards would cause the same issue as both metals are below aluminum and steel on the electrochemical series. The bullets I use for subs are cast are pure lead and they mash up quite nicely especially if they hit bone.
In summary using subs is a special subset of shooting disciplines and if you master it you will become a much better all round shot.

1 Like

Trail boss only comes in about half the weigh containers so you don’t save much. Its not very dense and 8 grains will fill the case or very close to it.

1 Like

I loaded up a number of subs that I used while running my little 308 bergara. It requires specific projectiles either pistol projectiles like hornady XTPs etc made to expand at low velocity or hornady Sub X. That or soft lead cast bullets. I loaded alot of 200 Grain hollow point soft lead cast bullets of trademe. They works well enough however after using them on goats I developed a load with the Lehigh Projectiles as they seemed to expand and potentially would do much more damage. These are very nice but it cost me well over $50 to develop a load in just projectiles. They did however shot just sub moa which for a sub rifle is very good as the cast leads would only do 1.5 to 2 moa. The other thing is the drop is significant and having to use a second zero for subs at 50 was a pain. I think they are somewhat a solution looking for a problem in my case but they did have the perks of meaning I could shoot hares in the highcountry. All in all they are a fun project but definitely not a game changer in terms of hunting that have a few benefits but many pretty serious drawbacks that must be considered. They don’t do anything up close a bow wouldn’t do better.

1 Like

Yeah I just got some and noticed the weight of the container… felt like paying for extra air in the pack haha

Hi, please note, all subsonic cals will have a rainbow trajectory and good for around 120m max. I have a .44Mag lever action, 18inch barrel, slightly shortened mag and threaded for suppressor. 300 jacketed or 310 lead, 9 gns AP 70 for 1040fps. Like bowling pumpkins, but very low noise signature, just a whack on firing and a much bigger whack when that pumpkin connects. Devistating, for recipient, right thru knockdown power. Good over dogs, no hearing damage. I see no point in smaller cal subsonic, as they give no great gain in range, and give away impact energy. sub hits about as hard as full noise .3030. Ghost ring sight, 4inches high at 50m and groups inside 2inches at 50m with iron sights. Sweet machine and relatively easy to set up. If you bush hunt or pig hunt there is no better, I believe. 240 gns lead 4.5gns AP70 1040 really good youth gun, cheep to run if you make your own projectiles. Use ADI pistol data.

I started this project when I got sick of seeing stoats hunting in daylight, Good to clean them up as well as rabbits for pot, using 240 load, I even use my .457 round balls thru .44 sizer leaving slight flats on side, and these with light load are good outside vermin loads, when you wish you had a .22

1 Like

Some great info there mate, thanks for posting.

Do you have a photo of the 44?!

yip Roberts 151 hoho hollow points are the ducks nuts.
I played with subsonics quite a bit with the 7.62x39mm,shot enough animals to form a rather strong opinion on using subsonic loads.
IF you hit brain or spine,instant lights out…if you near miss…not so flash,peeved off lightly wounded animal…for chest shooting they will work ok BUT you get no shock power and animal will have to bleed out…as said above,think bow and arrow with target points…
my main useage was shooting MY sheep for house muttons…range was 25-50 yards…I cocked it up often enough to see down side of subsonics…
did shoot 2 goats in river bed at VERY close range,shot nanny,reloaded and shot yearling leaning over top of her to see why she stopped…
for rabbits,hares,possums and just plain fun plinking they are awesome…for new shooters or mate with a flinch.AWESOME…for finishing wounded animal eg close range headshot…much more user friendly.
if you realise the limitations go for it…if you think you will shoulder shoot big red stags and see them fall over…forget it.

1 Like

No mention of the .300 Blackout?!

Hornady make a factory subsonic round, anyone tried it?!

Hi Nik
I have been playing with a 300 black out and have tried the Hornady factory subs. They went supersonic so have brewed up a couple of my own loads so far the results on goats have been encouraging
Have been working on sub loads in my 308 and 44 mag
These things are lots of fun
Will update you with my results when I’m finished

Hey mate, thanks for dropping buy!

Sounds good, be interested to more about the 300.