A few years ago I conducted an interview on long-distance shooting with a gentleman who is well known in the airgunning community. He offered the opinion that no one would want a silencer on an airgun unless they wanted to do poaching.
I’ve had a few years to think about that statement, and my conclusion is that it is hogwash. Sure, I imagine that there might be some airgunners out there who are poachers and who would want silenced air rifles for that purpose, but among all the airgunners that I have spoken with or met not once has the subject of poaching even been whispered.
On the other hand, I have talked with and met many airgunners who particularly enjoy the special freedom that airguns offer – that is, the ability to shoot legally in many locations where the discharging of firearms is strictly forbidden. Many of them desire air pistols and air rifles with a reduced report to help maintain good relationships with their neighbors.
For myself, accuracy is the thing that attracts me to airguns, and in addition to accuracy I simply enjoy shooting an air rifle that makes as little noise as possible. In general, most spring-piston are much quieter than, say, a .22 long rifle, and most pre-charged pneumatics and multi-stroke pneumatics, if they are not fitted with some sort of sound-attenuation device, tend to be considerably noisier than springers.
Some time ago, I read that Dr. Robert Beeman, former owner of Beeman airguns, had done an experiment in which he had a colleague position himself so that he couldn’t see Beeman shooting. Beeman then fired a springer with and without a sound attenuating device, asking the hidden listener which as louder. The listener apparently found no discernable difference. From this, if I remember correctly, Beeman concluded that sound attenuation devices really didn’t have an impact on springers.
Recently, however, I had the opportunity to shoot a Walther LGV .177 caliber, high-power version, that had been fitted with the FX Modular Moderator. It’s easy to do a with-and-without comparison because all you have to do is remove the screw-on sections that attach to the base piece that is permanently bonded to the barrel.
Now, from the factory, the LGV is the smoothest shooting spring-piston powerplant on which I have had the pleasure to squeeze the trigger. If you want the easiest cock, quietest version, go for the .22 caliber 12-foot-pound version. It is simply amazing. But if you want the flattest shooting model, go for the .177 high power. It launches 7.9 grain Crosman Premier Lights (CPLs) at around 930 fps and produces a report at the muzzle that is very similar to the Weihrauch HW80 – a bit of a snap as the pellet exits. Fitted with the FX Modular Moderator, the noise at the muzzle of the LGV .177 high power seems to just disappear. The shooter hears and feels the action of the powerplant as the shot discharges, and that’s it. I like it. It makes an already excellent air rifle even better, and, as an added bonus, the modular moderator extends the length of the barrel assembly beyond the muzzle. I found myself grabbing the modular moderator as a cocking assist handle that, because of the additional length and leverage, reduces the cocking effort.
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott