When you think of firearm suppressors and subsonic ammunition, I’m guessing that a 12 Gauge scattergun is the furthest thing from your mind. Reducing the report of a shotgun to acceptable levels is fraught with challenges. A gigantic bore diameter, wadding and shot cups, suppressor availability, barrel length considerations and limited ammo availability all weigh on the practicality of muffling the report of a shotgun. Luckily, companies like Detroit Ammunition have been coming up with options for shooters who want to take their 12ga blasters in a different direction.
For testing I used a SilencerCo Salvo in both the six inch length and 12 inch length configurations on a Remington 870 Short Barreled Shotgun (SBS). A longer barrel would probably make for a quieter plaform based on the muzzle blast being that much farther from the shooters face, so I’ll work on getting a choke mount for my Browning BPS for a follow up test. In my limited research, complete powder burn in shotguns takes place somewhere between eight to ten inches. This means that we shouldn’t have to worry about unburnt powder creating added flash and blast.
In most cases, having a pump or break-action shotgun will give you the best performance with subsonic shotgun shells. Cycling of a semiautomatic shotguns can be a challenge with any reduced power ammunition and the obvious elimination of blast back through the action and towards the shooter is always welcome benefit.
Detroit Ammunition sent me two flavors of subsonic shotgun shells: 2-1/2” slugs and some 2-3/4” 00 buckshot. All of the shells passed a visual inspection for proper crimping and possible defects. I really like the fact that the Detroit shells are in translucent hulls for a quick identification of slug versus buck shot and the ability to inspect for a proper powder charge and projectile position.
- Manufacturer: Triple R Munitions, Inc
- Condition: New
- Shell Length: 2-1/2″
- Slug Weight: 1-1/8 oz
- Slug Type: Lead
- Quantity: 5 ROUNDS
- Gauge/Bore: 12
- Velocity: 950 Ft/s
- MSRP: $9.99/5
At that velocity, the 492.2-gr. slug packs 800 ft.-lbs. of energy, which is about double the energy produced by the 10 mm and more than most 240-gr. .44 Mag loads.
- Manufacturer: Polywad, Inc.
- Shell Length: 2-3/4″
- Weight: 12 Pellets
- Type: Lead 00 Buck
- Gauge/Bore: 12
- Velocity: 1000 Ft/s
- MSRP: $9.99/5 – $45.99/25
These suppressor safe, low recoil, low pressure shells provides the softest feel to your shoulder.
Shooting the Detroit Ammunition Subsonic 12 Gauge Shells
Since I don’t have a decibel meter (yet), you are going to have to rely on my highly tuned ears to report the sound of a suppressed shotgun with subsonic loads.
As expected, the 12” configured Salvo was the quietest setup tested that day, being somewhat comfortable for about five shots. Don’t expect a subsonic suppressed rimfire report, but it was silly quiet for a shotgun. I could easily hear the ring of the steel over the blast from 25 yards away.
The six inch Salvo was just over the edge of being painful. Hunters who take just one shot might be able to escape with a small amount of pain, but a secondary form of hearing protection is definitely recommended.
Honestly, I couldn’t tell much difference between the sound of the buck and the sound of the slug through either the long form or short form Salvo. I have saved some of the shells for further testing when the dB meter arrives,
These are not your typical reduced charge or reduced recoil shotgun shells – even suppressed, Detroit’s 12ga subsonic slugs packs a bit of a punch to the shoulder. Nothing to be overly concerned with, I just didn’t want you guys to walk in having unrealistic expectations of flat-shooting heaven.
Accuracy was fine from the 25 yard line on the small silhouette from CTS Targets. The Salvo has been known to effect shot patterns from time to time, so I did shoot a few rounds unsuppressed through an open choke. No noticeable differences between the two setups could be found.
If you own a 12ga Shotgun suppressor, the subsonic slug and buckshot options from Detroit are fun on the range and should pack enough punch to be a capable defensive weapon if you choose. There really is nothing like suppressing a 12 Gauge shotgun with subsonic ammunition. I highly recommend giving it a shot (bad pun added for emphasis).
Detroit Ammo also carries a full line of other calibers of subsonic rounds. Check them out here.
“If you’re looking to save time, costs, or just wanting to shoot quality, accurate, subsonic ammo. This site is for you. So, come on in and look around, drop us an e-mail if you have any questions and make your purchases with confidence. Happy Reloading!“