Friday, September 05, 2003

Cat Sneeze Loads

I’ve been told that I should post here more often and in greater detail. I’d like to, but I do have interests other than shooting. Yes, it is a bit sacrilegious, but true. In any case I do have several shooting projects in the works and am constantly playing about and trying new things.

One of those shooting projects is the so-called cat sneeze or silent loads.

Well, what is a “silent load” or “cat sneeze” load

What are these loads good for? Well, for me, the utility of such loads is as a companion to my deer caliber guns that I can use for small game hunting, or pest removal, when a full-power load would be inappropriate.

What are the parameters of such loads? First, of course, seems to be the necessity of silence or as near to that as is possible. This is often the over-riding concern of those interested in such loads. Often, silence or quietness has preference over terminal performance.

Second, bullet weight could be lighter than normal for the cartridge to heavier than normal for the cartridge. Using the .30-30 Winchester (aka .30 Winchester Center Fire or WCF) as an example, 100 grain bullets on the light side and 180 grain bullets on the heavy side. Both extremes are acceptable but serve different purposes. That is the lighter bullets being used for small game and the heaviest possible bullets being used to maximize terminal performance at the low velocities attained in these loads.

That brings us to the third primary characteristic of these “silent loads” (also called cat sneeze loads) and that is small charges of relatively fast powders for velocities in the 500-1000 fps range. I’d like to point out that the smaller the charge, the lower the gas volume resulting in lower sound levels (and velocity) at the shot.

So now, the question no doubt is, “What guns have you developed loads for?” and, “Hobie, what are your loads?”

Let me try to answer that. I am currently primarily interested in such loads for my Contender carbine barrels. It is here that they will have the greatest possible use. Those cartridges include: .25-35 Winchester, 7mm TCU, 7-30 Waters, .30 Herrett, .30-30 Winchester, .357 Maximum, .35 Remington, .41 Remington Magnum, .44 Remington Magnum, and .45-70. These are the cartridges for which I have chambered barrels at this time. Yes, I do carry these deer hunting and yes, I do want to be able to take squirrel, turkey, rabbit, and certain feral animals if the opportunity presents itself.

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