When you are a peace officer you have enough to worry about without the citizens complaining about the noise from gunfire. Touch off a round from your pistol, shotgun, or patrol rifle some quiet evening and the dispatcher’s phone lines will be burning up.
If you’ve been on the job more than six months you’ve likely encountered some kind of pest, varmint, or rabid animal that posed both a nuisance and danger to the community. Sure we have Animal Control officers, but in most of the areas I’ve worked Animal Control is stretched thin and works 9-5 officer hours. (I’m not bashing AC, save your letters)
When you receive that call about a rabid raccoon hissing at the neighborhood children you can’t simply put in an Animal Control report and continue about your business. You have to take care of the problem. Popping a rabid coon with your service pistol, or God forbid, your shotgun or AR will surely flood the Chief’s inbox with complaints. As attractive as that idea might sound, there is a better way.
CCI, one of very few go to manufacturers for .22 Rimfire ammunition, just released what they have dubbed the “Quiet-22” load. This round is essentially a .22 Long Rifle cartridge loaded down to just over 700 feet per second. The projectile is a 40 grain round nosed lead bullet. Yes, there have been slow, quiet rimfire cartridges before. The .22 Short and CB caps come to mind, both are difficult to find and a bear to handle and load if you don’t have small hands.
I was introduced to the Quiet-22 during the Media Range Day at the 2012 SHOT Show. It was tough to appreciate the sub-sonic quality of the load as we were surrounded by centerfire rifles and pistols. It wasn’t until I returned home and received a care package from CCI that I was able to thoroughly evaluate the load.
First of all, as you expect, the Quiet-22 will not reliably cycle semi-automatic rifles. It’s not supposed to, but I thought I should mention it. It did cycle my Ruger MkII pistol, but that’s another story altogether.
For my money, the best candidate for the Quiet-22 load is a bolt-action rifle. During this review I took the opportunity to use a rifle handed down to me by my paternal grandfather; the Western Field Model 804A ECH. This single-shot, bolt-action .22 rimfire rifle was preserved in excellent condition.
Benching the rifle and firing from a rest I was able to put five rounds of the new CCI ammunition onto a group smaller than a half-inch at ten yards. If it wasn’t for a shooter induced flyer, all of the rounds would have gone into on single, ragged hole. The ammo will shoot.
Yes, it really is quiet. I live out in the county and can shoot .22’s in my back yard. While conducting the testing my wife as sitting at the kitchen table sipping coffee. When I walked back into the house she had no idea I’d been outside, fifty feet away firing the gun.
Shooting paper targets from the bench is a good way to check your sights but it’s far from practical. Going back to our scenario of dealing with four-legged varmints and nuisance animals, if called upon to dispose of one you’ll likely be standing and somewhere from five to ten yards away. This isn’t some kind of sniper mission.
For a practical exercise I grabbed one of the dog’s un-chewed tennis balls and tossed it out somewhere in the five to six yard range. Loading the rifle I practiced swiftly shouldering the gun and pressing a shot. The tennis ball is a good facsimile of a varmint’s cranium. After all, if you are going to put down a nuisance animal with a .22 the noggin is going to be your preferred target.