Thanks to AAC 2012 may be the Year of the Subsonic Rifle. Over two years ago I lamented the dearth of heavy .22LR ammunition and rifles designed to shoot it. Today, with increasing awareness of the benefits of both suppressors and high ballistic-coefficient bullets, I’m hopeful this niche will be filled. Either way I’ve resolved this year to buy if possible, build if necessary, a .22LR rifle with a 16″ 1:9-twist barrel and threaded muzzle. [Update: Had to build it!] And I’ll be shooting Aguila 60gr ammo by the case if no other manufacturer steps in with a heavy subsonic .22LR round.
Expanding subsonic rifle bullets: Right now there are no commercial .30-caliber rifle bullets that expand at subsonic velocities. AAC/Remington have promised they will introduce one this year. I hope they’re not the only one. After .22LR .30-caliber cartridges are the next stop for subsonic rifles — whether .300 BLK, 7.62 Thumper, or .308 Winchester. The problem is that rifle bullets have traditionally been designed for terminal effect at rifle velocities: Much below Mach 1.5 and they don’t expand at all. At 1000 fps they can virtually have the rifling marks polished out and be reused!
Gun powder for consistent subsonic rifle loads: Trailboss is the current go-to powder for subsonics, but it doesn’t produce consistent muzzle velocities and, at less than 5 grains per cc, is too bulky for some cartridges. The only other option in this range of burn-rates is IMR SR 4759, but its density jumps to 10gr/cc and consequently doesn’t produce very consistent muzzle velocities at reduced loadings. There is nothing on the market to bridge the gap between the two. Give us a powder with a burn rate roughly in line with SR4759 but a density around 7gr/cc.
High-speed consumer video cameras: When Casio came out with the F1 in 2008 I was hopeful that it would not be long before consumers would be able to buy sensitive video cameras capable of recording 480p at thousands of frames per second. The technology is certainly there to produce such a product in scale for under $1000. However Casio discontinued its nascent consumer HSV product line in 2009 and nobody has pursued this since. The market is now free for the taking!