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November 15th, 2021

How Sound Hurts Your Ears — Why You Need Hearing Protection

hearing protection sound noise american suppressor association ear muffs earplugs can silencer

Protect Your Hearing — Wear Protection Whenever You Shoot

hearing protection sound noise american suppressor association ear muffs earplugs can silencerNoise induced hearing loss and tinnitus are two of the most common afflictions for recreational shooters and hunters. Everyone knows that gunfire is loud, but very few people understand the repercussions that shooting can have on their hearing until it’s too late.

The better quality suppressors can reduce the noise of a gunshot by 20 to 35 decibels (dB). Good muffs or plugs will reduce sound by 23 to 33 dB. By decreasing the overall sound signature, suppressors help to preserve the hearing of recreational shooters and hunters. Even the most effective suppressors, on the smallest and quietest calibers (.22 LR) reduce the peak sound level of a gunshot to between 110 to 120 dB. To put that in perspective, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), that is as loud as a jackhammer (110 dB) or an ambulance siren (120 dB). For normal caliber handguns and rifles, suppressed sound levels routinely exceed 130 dB, just shy of OSHA’s “hearing safe” threshold of 140 dB.

hearing protection sound noise american suppressor association ear muffs earplugs can silencer

According to Dr. William W. Clark, the current Director of the Washington Univ. School of Medicine’s Audiology/Communication Sciences Program, a “serious threat to hearing comes from recreational hunting or target shooting”. This is in large part due to the fact that many people choose not to use traditional hearing protection devices like earplugs and earmuffs because they want to be able to hear their surroundings. Multiple studies have found that between 70 to 80% of hunters never wear earplugs or earmuffs, and nearly half of all target shooters don’t consistently wear traditional hearing protection. Thus, it should come as no surprise that for every five years of hunting, hunters become seven percent more likely to experience high frequency hearing loss.

This article is based on information from the American Suppressor Association (ASA). Since the ASA’s formation in 2011, three additional states have legalized suppressor ownership and 18 states have legalized suppressor hunting. For more information, visit www.AmericanSuppressorAssociation.com.

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November 14th, 2021

Suppressor Basics — How to Obtain Them and How They Work

suppressor silencer moderator facts fiction sound levels noise decibles dB
Map courtesy SilencerShop.com.

Q & A: TOP TEN Questions about Suppressors Answered HERE »

You’d like to protect your hearing, and maybe you’re a little curious about how your rifle might shoot suppressed. So you’re thinking of buying a suppressor (aka “can”, “moderator”, “silencer”). You can’t just get one off the shelf at Walmart. Acquiring a suppressor requires filling out paperwork and paying a Federal $200 Tax Stamp. Plus there is typically a pretty long wait. However, the good news is that suppressor ownership is now legal in 42 of the 50 American states — that’s 84%! For most American adults, getting a suppressor is legal, provided pass the required background checks.

States Where Suppressor Ownership is Allowed
Currently, the following 42 states allow private ownership of suppressors: AL, AK, AZ, AR, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NM, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY.

Note: Even if you live in one of the states listed, you should still verify that owning a suppressor is legal in your area. Some states may have municipal- or county-based restrictions.

States Where Suppressor Ownership is Prohibited
Unfortunately, there are still eight (8) States that forbid private ownership of suppressors. The eight No-Go States are: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island. In these eight states, private ownership of suppressors (aka “silencers”) is forbidden. Hopefully that a few of those eight hold-out states will change their laws in the months ahead.

Looking Inside a Suppressor in Action
Popular YouTube Channel Smarter Every Day recently released a cool video featuring rifle suppressors with see-through acrylic sleeves. The team filmed shots through the suppressors using ultra-high-speed (110,000 frame per second) cameras. When played back in super-slow-motion, you can see the flame propagate through the suppressor and the bullet move through each baffle before it exists the muzzle. Watch the results in the video below — it’s mesmerizing:

See Through Suppressor in Super Slow Motion (110,000 fps) — Click Arrow to Watch:

Suppressors, On Average, Reduce Noise Levels about 30 Decibels
In an article for Ammoland, gunwriter Sam Hoober says that you can expect about 30 decibels (dB) of noise reduction from the average suppressor: “Looking at a few different products, SilencerCo attests their suppressors reduce the sound pressure of a 9mm gunshot to anywhere from 125.7 dB to 131.5 dB, depending on the model. Advanced Armament Co, another popular supplier, attests a 23 dB to 33 dB reduction or down to 127 dB. Liberty Suppressors, another manufacturer, attests a reduction of 24 dB to 38 dB, depending on model and other factors. In short, we can presume something on the order of 30 dB of attenuation as an average.”

suppressor silencer moderator facts fiction sound levels noise decibles dB

Using that 30 dB number you can quickly discern that you’ll still need hearing protection — good hearing protection — when shooting any suppressed firearm (even a .22 LR). “Spikes of 130 dB and more can result in permanent hearing damage instantly”. Source: NRA Blog.

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November 4th, 2021

Wow Factor: Muzzle Brake Blast Patterns Revealed

Precision Rifle Blog Muzzle Brake Test Blast Powder

A while back, the Precision Rifle Blog conducted a fascinating study of Muzzle Brakes. PRB figured out a way to show the actual “blast pattern” of gasses ejecting from the ports of muzzle brakes. The result was a fascinating (and eye-catching) series of images revealing the distinctive gas outflows of 20+ different types of muzzle brakes. If you are considering buying and installing a muzzle brake on your rifle, you should definitely review this important PRB Muzzle Brake Test.

GO to PRB Muzzle Brake Blast Pattern TEST PAGE »

For a prone shooter, particularly on dusty, dirty or sandy ground, muzzle blast is a major bummer. Muzzle blast can be very disturbing — not just for the trigger-puller but for persons on either side of the gun as well. Some muzzle brakes send a huge shockwave back towards the shooter, and others send blast towards the ground, kicking dirt and debris into the prone shooter’s face. If there was a way to illustrate those factors — shockwave and debris — that might help shooters select one brake design over another.

Precision Rifle Blog Muzzle Brake Test Blast Powder

Cal Zant at PrecisionRifleBlog.com applied a unique blend of creativity and resourcefulness to try to answer that question for 20+ muzzle brakes. Using high-speed photography and household products, he captured the blast pattern of 20+ different brake designs for easy side-by-side comparison. Can you figure out how Cal managed to show muzzle brake blasts so clearly? His “hi-viz” solution, revealed in the article, is very clever. See the eye-opening results for 20+ brakes, with illustrative photos, by visiting the Precision Rifle Blog Muzzle Brake Ground Signature Test Page.

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November 2nd, 2021

Video Showcase: Alabama Arsenal Rifle Tests & Suppressor Info

Alabama arsenal video showcase rifle review Barrett Savage CZ 457 suppressors

With over 240 shooting-related videos, the Alabama Arsenal YouTube Channel is a remarkable resource. This video channel provides detailed field tests of tactical-type rifles, ARs, and pistols. The testers have access to some very impressive ranges, and many of the tests are far more thorough than you’ll typically find with most gun magazines and gun-centric YouTube channels. For example, Alabama Arsenal has a series of 1000+ round pistol test videos. These are well worth watching if you are considering purchase of a defensive handgun.

Today we showcase three rifle videos, two centerfires, and the CZ 457 .22 LR in two styles. After these rifle videos, you’ll find two very interesting technical videos regarding suppressors. The first tech video shows how to install suppressors, while the second video explores how suppressors can affect muzzle velocity.

Barrett MRAD .300 PRC at 2200 Yards — Extreme Long Range

Here’s a rugged tactical rifle put to the test at Extreme Long Range. This video, featuring a Barrett MRAD chambered for the .300 PRC cartridges, features accuracy testing out to 2200 yards (1.25 miles). There is some good drone footage covering the long path to the target. The shooter noted that the bullets fired from his .300 PRC “go sub-sonic somewhere between 1800 and 1900 yards”, creating additional ballistics challenges at this yardage.

Savage 110 Elite Precision for PRS Production Class


Alabama arsenal video showcase rifle review Elite Precision 110 Savage PRS NRL suppressor

In this video AA’s team reviews the Savage Elite Precision Rifle with MDT ACC Chassis. Retailing for about $1750.00, this is one of the better production class options for PRS and NRL competition. Guns America Digest did a full review of this rifle, and was quite impressed.

CZ 457 Varmint Precision Trainer and Chassis

CZ 457 test rifle video chassis

In this video, Alabama Arsenal compares two versions of the popular CZ 457 rimfire rifle, a great choice for the NRL22 tactical game. The test compares the CZ 457 in a Manners composite stock with a CZ 457 version in a Varmint Precision aluminum chassis. Right now basic CZ 457 rifles start at about $400.00, with the Varmint Precision Chassis models running $845-$900.

Informational Videos about Rifle and Pistol Suppressors

Alabama Arsenal regularly tests its firearms with suppressors. Over the course of time, the testing team has leaned much about modern sound moderators, comparing features and learning how to install and maintain quality suppressors. These two videos offer valuable information on suppressors.

Silencer School Pt. 3 — Mounting Basics

Field Testing — Do Suppressors Change Bullet Velocity

Want to see more content like this? Here are LINKS…

Alabama Arsenal has 240+ videos on its YouTube channel. In addition, you’ll find dozens of firearms photos and other shooting-related content on Alabama Arsenal’s social media pages: Facebook; Instagram; and Twitter. You can support the Arsenal’s gun testing by subscribing to the Alabama Arsenal’s PATREON Page.

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September 14th, 2021

Yes You Need to Clean Muzzle Brakes — Here’s How to Do It

barrel cleaning muzzle brake break device port carbon removal

Many hunters and precision rifle competitors use muzzle brakes because these ported devices reduce felt recoil significantly. That make s real difference getting back on target for quick follow-up shots. While many rifle owners appreciate the benefits of muzzle brakes, they may also neglect their brakes, allowing hard carbon and powder residue to build up. Not good. You should regularly clean your muzzle brake to remove fouling and carbon build-up.

barrel cleaning muzzle brake break device port carbon removal

As Mark Edgreen posted: “Carbon build up on the crown and in the brake is a recipe for poor accuracy.” And another gunsmith reported that customers complained about guns that “shot out way too early” but they only needed to have the brakes cleaned.

Gunsmith and PRS/NRL competitor Jim See recently reminded his Facebook Fans about the importance of cleaning muzzle brakes: “How many times do I have to say it? You need to maintain your rifles. Clean your muzzle brakes people!”. Jim, who runs Elite Accuracy LLC, notes that hard carbon build-up in brakes can definitely harm accuracy. Look at this example:

barrel cleaning muzzle brake break device port carbon removal

Muzzle Brake Cleaning Methods
There are various methods for cleaning a brake, we list a variety of techniques, but we would start with NON-corrosive ultrasound. You’ll want to remove the muzzle device before doing these tasks.

1. Use Ultrasonic Cleaning Machine with cleaning solution. This may be the most efficient method: “I place my brake in the ultrasonic cleaner. Shiney as new.” (Jim Moseley).

2. Spray with commercial Carb Cleaner and brush. Then apply anti-corrosion coating.

3. Soak in half hydrogen peroxide and half vinegar. Suggestion: “Let sit over night and carbon melts off. Brush remaining carbon off, rinse and put the brake back on.” Apply anti-corrosive before mounting.

4. Soak in 50/50 solution of water and white vinegar and brush. (Be sure to apply anti-corrosion coating, such as Eezox, after soaking).

5. Tumble in liquid solution with stainless pins. Comment: “Comes out slightly faded, but perfectly clean on stainless, non-painted brakes though.” Warning — do NOT do this with threaded brakes — tumbling could affect threads of screw-on brakes. Also, tumbling can harm painted or Cerakote finishes.

Gunsmithing Tip: By fitting the muzzle brake so that the barrel crown is slightly forward, it is easier to wipe carbon fouling off the end of the barrel. See photo:

barrel cleaning muzzle brake break device port carbon removal

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September 6th, 2021

Suppressors for Hunting — What You Need to Know

There is an informative article on the NRA’s American Hunter website regarding suppressor use for hunting. The article, What Hunters Need to Know About Suppressors, answers common questions about licensing, tax stamps, and suppressor types. The article explains the history of the $200 tax stamp which must be paid when acquiring a suppressor:

“Why the Tax? In 1934 … the federal government, while battling gangsters such as Al Capone, heavily restricted silencers with passage of the first National Firearms Act. Hoping to gain an advantage on criminals that often had better weapons than cops, the Feds placed a mandatory ‘sin’ tax on silencers that was so high it would effectively ban their purchase by all but the wealthiest individuals. In 1934, $200 was the equivalent of $3,500 today. The $200 tax still stands despite no evidence that a simple metal tube is capable of causing crime.” — American Hunter

The American Hunter article also discusses how well suppressors actually reduce noise. User should be aware that the sound level of a large, centerfire hunting cartridge will still exceed 130 decibels (dB) on average, even with a typical suppressor (silencer) in place. For that reason, we recommend that hunters continue to wear ear protection even when they shoot suppressed.

For example, Thunder Beast Arms says its latest Ultra 9 Suppressor will reduce the report of a .308 Win to 132-134 dB: “The ULTRA 9 will suppress a typical .308 bolt-action rifle down to approx. 132-134 dB. It also has very little or no ‘first round pop’ (FRP) in most applications.” NOTE: These dB levels are measured in accordance with MIL-STD-1474D using BK 2209 SLM offset one meter from muzzle.

How Loud Are Unsuppressed Rifles?
Firearms Are Loud — 140 dB to 175 dB. Audiology group ASHA explains: “Almost all firearms create noise that is over the 140-dB level. Exposure to noise greater than 140 dB can permanently damage hearing. A small .22-caliber rifle can produce noise around 140 dB, while big-bore rifles and pistols can produce sound over 175 dB. Firing guns in a place where sounds can reverberate, or bounce off walls and other structures, can make noises louder and increase the risk of hearing loss. Also, adding muzzle brakes or other modifications can make the firearm louder. People who do not wear hearing protection while shooting can suffer a severe hearing loss with as little as one shot[.] Audiologists see this often, especially during hunting season when hunters and bystanders may be exposed to rapid fire from big-bore rifles, shotguns, or pistols.” Source: ASHA, Recreational Firearm Noise Exposure.

suppressor fact and fiction moderator silencer

How Much Does a Good Suppressor Really Reduce Firearm Sound Levels?
That depends on the rifle, the cartridge, and the effectiveness of the suppressor. The American Hunter article explains: “Suppressors retard the speed of propellant gases from the cartridge that rapidly expand and rush out of the barrel. It’s these gases that produce the loud boom that’s heard for miles. A suppressor’s series of internal baffles slows these gases so they are not all released at once, thereby muffling the sound.” Many good commercial suppressors can achieve 30-35 dB sound suppression. However, Zak Smith of Thunder Beast Arms says: “There are a bunch of manufacturers who publish values that are not reproducible, or use an ad-hoc test instead of a mil-spec test. In many cases we’ve tested the exact same suppressors they’ve advertised with 30-40 dB reductions and found they are actually in the high 20s instead.”

Again, for this reason, we recommend that hunters use ear protection, such as electronic muffs, even when shooting suppressed.

Choosing a Suppressor for Hunting Use
The American Hunter article explains that there are many types of suppressors on the market. Bigger suppressors are heavier, but they normally are more effective. You also have a choice in muzzle attachments:

“For most hunting applications, direct thread is the best choice. If you intend to buy only one suppressor yet you have multiple guns, it’s advantageous to buy a model sized and rated for the largest caliber you intend to use. While a suppressor made specifically for a .223 Rem. will reduce the sound of that round slightly better than a model made for .30 caliber, for example, you can use a .30-caliber can for smaller calibers — but not vice-versa. In general, the bigger the can, the more it reduces sound. Smaller suppressors, however, are easier to carry in the woods.” — American Hunter


Chart from American Suppressor Association.

States Where Suppressor Ownership is Allowed
Currently, the following 42 states allow private ownership of suppressors: AL, AK, AZ, AR, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NM, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY. NOTE: Suppressors are legal in Connecticut and Vermont, but hunting with silencers is not allowed in those states.

How to Apply for a Suppressor
To acquire a quality suppressor, you’ll first need to shop around, comparing verified performance. Unfortunately some manufacturer’s dB claims are exaggerated. Give due consideration to size, weight, and durability. When you’ve selected a brand and model, find a Class 3 dealer authorized by the ATF to sell suppressors. You must fill out ATF Form 4, get fingerprinted, and pass a background check. Along with two completed copies of Form 4, submit your fingerprint card, passport photo and a check for $200 to the ATF. Then you wait for the ATF to process your application. American Hunter says the average ATF suppressor processing wait time is now nine months.

BENEFITS OF SILENCERS

NOISE REDUCTION
According to OSHA, the threshold for a hearing safe impulse noise is 140 dB. Without hearing protection, exposure to any impulse noise over 140 dB causes varying degrees of permanent noise-induced hearing loss, which can also lead to tinnitus. Most well-engineered silencers take the dB level of their host firearm well below 140 dB, making those silencers effective primary hearing safety devices. You should always still wear hearing protection (muffs or plugs) when using suppressors.

RECOIL REDUCTION
By containing the explosion at the muzzle, suppressors significantly reduce perceived recoil energy, reduce the rifle’s rearward movement on recoil, and reduce rifle torquing and muzzle flip. The reduction of recoil (and rifle torquing/hopping) lessens shooter fatigue and helps the shooter get his sight picture back on target rapidly after firing. With smaller calibers, a suppressor may enable the shooter to maintain a nearly-continuous sight picture, following the shot into the target. In addition, by reducing felt recoil (and muzzle blast), a suppressor can help inexperienced shooters avoid flinching.

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August 20th, 2021

“Can Do” — How Modern Suppressors Are Made — Step by Step

Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle
Image from SilencerShop.com Octane 45 HD suppressor review. SWR is now a part of SilencerCo.

Here is a cool video that shows the entire production process for a SilencerCo Octane pistol suppressor start to finish. Beginning with the raw materials, this video shows a wide variety of cutting, milling, drilling, burnishing, fitting, metal bathing, surface finishing, and laser etching processes.

If you have any interest in production methods you’ll want to watch this video all the way through, and maybe a second time.

SilencerCo states: “From cutting metal to chemical baths, to extensive quality control every step of the way, our streamlined process is more than just a few steps.” We think you may be surprised by how many steps are involved in producing this silencer (aka “suppressor”).

The Octane is a user-maintainable, multi-caliber centerfire pistol silencer featuring a modular mounting system for use across a wide range of hosts. High strength, stainless steel CTA™ (Click Together Assembly) baffles are easily disassembled for cleaning. This design makes the Octane one of the most durable small-caliber suppressors on the market.

In its Octane 45 review, SilencerShop notes: “When it comes to ease of maintenance, the Octane 45 is probably the simplest .45 suppressor on the market. It uses the new click-together baffle system from Silencerco/SWR – which allows the suppressor to come apart like a monocore suppressor, while providing performance that is closer to a K-Baffle design.””

Metal Rods Being Cut
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Heat Treating Components in Furnace
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Hand-Finishing Internal Components
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Parts Getting Ready for Metal Treatment
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Computer-Controlled Milling
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Liquid Chemical Bath
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Laser Text Etching on Outer Tube
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Final Assembly of Baffles in Tube
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

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July 12th, 2021

Barrel End Threading — Bigger Diameter is Better

Barrel Threading AR15 ARX Robert Whitley bartlein

Our friend Robert Whitley of ARX Enterprises LLC has learned, through careful measurement and testing, that some barrels threaded 5/8″ x 24 TPI at the muzzle may not deliver optimal accuracy. The reason is that the end of the barrel can bell out slightly, like a trombone, because too much steel has been removed. This is particularly true with .30-caliber barrels, but it can also be a problem with smaller caliber barrels (even 6mm). Robert demonstrates this phenomenon in the video below. All gunsmiths, and anyone considering threading a barrel, should watch the video. At 1:00 – 1:30 Robert gauges a 5/8″ x 24-threaded .30-Caliber barrel. You can see the belling effect clear as day.

Barrel Threading AR15 ARX Robert Whitley bartlein

“When setting up a commercial barrel in the lathe, we noticed that the maximum-sized bushing that would fit in the bore at the chamber end was almost .0015” smaller [than what would fit] at the muzzle. That precipitated my pin-gauging of a number of different commercial barrels that were threaded for 5/8” x 24 tpi. What I found is what’s shown on the video.” – R. Whitley

Solve Problem with a Larger Thread Diameter
If 5/8″ x 24 threading is potentially harmful to accuracy, is there a solution? Yes, you simply need to leave a little more steel on the barrel. (See Video starting at 02:40.) Frank Green of Bartlein barrels states: “We get these questions all the time. I say run the largest thread diameter that is possible.” Robert Whitley has found that a 3/4″ x 28 TPI threading does not cause the “belling effect”. Accordingly Robert recommends 3/4″ x 28 if you need to thread your barrel for a muzzle brake or suppressor. Robert explains: “We only make 3/4” x 28 TPI muzzle brakes and that’s what we recommend to customers.”

Barrel Threading AR15 ARX Robert Whitley bartlein

“See how much meatier the 3/4″ threading is vs. the 5/8″. The 3/4″ threading offers a lot more metal around the bore. There’s a lot less opportunity for the bore to become bell-mouthed…” – Robert Whitley

Barrel Threading Diameter — What’s Important to Know

By Robert Whitley
In truth, the 5/8” x 24 TPI threading never came out of any accuracy-based think tank or set-up, it’s a military .30-Cal threading for barrels that someone has to carry around (they needed to keep the barrel weight down so it was smaller in diameter and the threading had to work with that situation). People have somehow assumed because the military uses that threading for certain things that it must mean that it’s also fine for a highly accurate rifle too, but that’s not really correct.

I don’t think there is any better and realistic option than the 3/4″ muzzle threading, and we also do it so there is no relief cut behind the threads on the barrel (i.e. put the relief cut on the brake or jam nut, don’t chop down on the muzzle of the barrel). For some reason many have a hard time grasping that the metal at the muzzle end of a rifle is “sacred” and you should not cut it down any more than absolutely necessary. A little threaded pencil diameter nub on the end of a barrel is not ideal for accuracy especially if it’s threaded and you need to torque on it. I cringe when I see a barrel with something like an MTU or Heavy Varmint contour, only to have an itty-bitty pencil thin threaded nub right at the muzzle so someone can “screw on a can” or a muzzle brake.

Lessons Learned Over the Years
A number of years ago I did a 30BR rifle project with Craig Kostyshyn who was big in the 30BR game and he made some of the best 30BR rifle barrels for benchrest competition. When I did the project I wanted a medium-heavy Palma type contour barrel I could use and also have a muzzle turndown for a front sight band. When he found out I was going to have the muzzle turned down he said “whoa, I need to provide for that when I make the barrel because if you turn the front down later you’ll be shooting a trombone” (i.e. the muzzle bore dimension would open up).

What he did was rough contour the barrel with the turndown (about .010” oversize) before he lapped the barrel, then when he lapped the barrel he took it easy in the muzzle area and worked the back of the barrel more. I thought he was a little bit excessive in his concerns but the barrel shot great and I wasn’t going to argue with him, after all he was shooting groups in the ones. I kind of just filed that away and never thought about it until recently when I went to have Fred from Sabreco do some chamber re-work on a commercial .30-caliber barrel I had. When setting up the barrel in the lathe and indicating things Fred noticed that the maximum-sized bushing that would fit in the bore at the chamber end was almost .0015” smaller [than what would fit] at the muzzle and he mentioned it to me. That precipitated my pin-gauging of a number of different commercial barrels I had that were threaded for 5/8” x 24 TPI. What I found is what’s shown on the video.

NOTE: This is a copyrighted article. Do not reproduce or re-link more than 75 words without written permission from AccurateShooter.com.

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June 15th, 2021

The Modern Linear Compensator — Design and Function

Brownells Linear compensator video

In this interesting video, Brownells Gun Tech Caleb Savant covers the topic of linear compensators, aka “blast diffusers” or “linear blast devices”. These are quite different in function from a typical muzzle brake and they are NOT a sound suppressor. Unlike a traditional muzzle brake, a linear compensator directs the muzzle blast forward, AWAY from the shooter. This is not only good for the shooter but also for folks next to the shooter, either at the range or in a CQB law enforcement or military situation.

A “Linear Compensator”, also known as “blast diffuser”, my look similar to a muzzle brake. But it works differently. A typical muzzle brake shoots blast out the side, and can be pretty annoying for someone positioned next to the shooter. By contract, the Linear Compensator direct blast force more forward. This helps reduce perceived recoil, and importantly doesn’t send hot gasses left and ring to nearby shooters or observes. Muzzle brake output can be very annoying. This Editor once was shooting next to a .338 Lapua Magnum with a brake, just a couple feet away. With each .338 LM shot I could feel heat on arms/hands and actually feel the bones in my forearm vibrate.

Attachment Methods — Direct Thread Mounting vs. Quick-Attach Mounting
Linear compensators have become much more popular in recent years as AR-15 pistols and SBRs have proliferated. Some linear comps, such as popular models from Midwest Industries and the Troy Claymore, attach directly to the muzzle, just like a traditional flash hider or muzzle brake.

Other Linear Compensators are slip-on, quick-attach components that mount OVER another muzzle device. For example, the VG6 Precision CAGE Device (Concussion Altering Gas Expansion) attaches directly over one of their standard muzzle devices. Almost every company that makes a sound suppressor also offers a linear compensator, which typically attaches to the muzzle the same way as the silencer.

Video find by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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February 14th, 2021

Cantastic Video — How a Suppressor is Constructed

SilencerCo suppressor manufacturing production video Assembly

Watch this video to see how a sound suppressor (aka “silencer”, “moderator”, or “can”) is constructed, start to finish. It’s more complicated than you might expect — there are quite a few stages in the process. The video below shows the fabrication of a SilencerCo Octane 45 suppressor:

SilencerCo writes: “What, exactly, goes into making a silencer? It may be more than you’d expect. From cutting metal to chemical baths, to extensive quality control every step of the way, our streamlined process is more than just a few steps. Watch our newest video, HOW IT’S MADE: Octane 45, to catch a glimpse behind SilencerCo’s doors.”

SilencerCo suppressor
Photo courtesy UltimateReloader.com.

suppressor fact and fiction moderator silencer

How Loud Are Unsuppressed Rifles?
Firearms Are Loud — 140 dB to 175 dB. ASHA explains: “Almost all firearms create noise that is over the 140-dB level. Exposure to noise greater than 140 dB can permanently damage hearing. A small .22-caliber rifle can produce noise around 140 dB, while big-bore rifles and pistols can produce sound over 175 dB. Firing guns in a place where sounds can reverberate, or bounce off walls and other structures, can make noises louder and increase the risk of hearing loss. Also, adding muzzle brakes or other modifications can make the firearm louder. People who do not wear hearing protection while shooting can suffer a severe hearing loss with as little as one shot[.]” Source: ASHA, Recreational Firearm Noise Exposure.

How Much Does a Good Suppressor Really Reduce Firearm Sound Levels?
That depends on the rifle, the cartridge, and the effectiveness of the suppressor. American Hunter explains: “Suppressors retard the speed of propellant gases from the cartridge that rapidly expand and rush out of the barrel. It’s these gases that produce the loud boom that’s heard for miles. A suppressor’s series of internal baffles slows these gases so they are not all released at once, thereby muffling the sound.” Many good commercial suppressors can achieve 30-35 dB sound suppression. However, Zak Smith of Thunder Beast Arms says: “There are a bunch of manufacturers who publish values that are not reproducible, or use an ad-hoc test instead of a mil-spec test. In many cases we’ve tested the exact same suppressors they’ve advertised with 30-40 dB reductions and found they are actually in the high 20s instead.”

Again, for this reason, we recommend that hunters use ear protection, such as electronic muffs, even when shooting suppressed.

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October 16th, 2020

Supreme Court, Silencers, Contests and More on GunTalk Radio

Joe Biden Beto O'Rourke gun control AR15 AR-15 second amendment Tom Gresham Gun Talk coronavirus

There’s a good episode of Gun Talk Radio this Sunday, 10/18/2020. This week’s broadcast will cover a variety of topics. First the broadcast will focus on the importance of confirming Judge Amy Barrett as the new U.S. Supreme Court Justice. In addition, the show will explain the best way to purchase and register a silencer in compliance with all Federal laws and regulations.

This week, Tom Gresham talks with the Second Amendment Foundation’s Alan Gottlieb. They discuss what’s at stake when filling Justice Ginsburg’s seat, and what major gun rights cases SCOTUS might decide in 2021. Plus Brandon Maddox of Silencer Central discusses how his company makes it easy to get a suppressor — Silencer Central will prepare AND file the ATF paperwork for you. Call 866-TALK-GUN with your comments and questions.

This broadcast airs Sunday October 18, 2020 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM Eastern time on 270+ radio stations nationwide. Listen on a radio station near you or via LIVE Streaming.

Big Prizes for “Enter… If You Dare” Contest
In addition GunTalk Radio is running a great “Enter… If You Dare” contest right now. The giveaway Grand Prize winner receives a Springfield Armory XD-M Elite Optics Ready 9mm pistol, a SilencerCo compact Omega 36M modular suppressor, a Crimson Trace red dot reflex sight, AND a $400 gift certificate from Galco. Four First Prize winners will take home a $150 Galco gift certificate, plus one of four triggers from Timney Triggers. Enter now through Friday, October 30th at GunTalk.com/WIN.

Joe Biden Beto O'Rourke gun control AR15 AR-15 second amendment Tom Gresham Gun Talk coronavirus

Gun Talk Radio — Podcast Archive

If you miss the live show broadcast or Live Streaming, past broadcasts can be heard online via the GUNTALK PODCAST Site and Apple iTunes. The Gun Talk Podcast Archive has hundreds of past shows you can access via the internet. Here’s an informative podcast focusing on firearms selection for self-defense.

Gun Talk Podcast from 5/31/2020 — Security, Riots, and Gun Choices:

All Gun Talk shows are also archived as podcasts for download or online listening. Gun Talk is also available on YouTube, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and GunTalk.com.

Permalink Handguns, News No Comments »
October 13th, 2020

How Suppressors Are Made — Great SilencerCo Production Video

Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle
Image from SilencerShop.com Octane 45 HD suppressor review. SWR is now a part of SilencerCo.

Here is a cool video that shows the entire production process for a SilencerCo Octane pistol suppressor start to finish. Beginning with the raw materials, this video shows a wide variety of cutting, milling, drilling, burnishing, fitting, metal bathing, surface finishing, and laser etching processes.

If you have any interest in production methods you’ll want to watch this video all the way through, and maybe a second time.

SilencerCo states: “From cutting metal to chemical baths, to extensive quality control every step of the way, our streamlined process is more than just a few steps.” We think you may be surprised by how many steps are involved in producing this silencer (aka “suppressor”).

The Octane is a user-maintainable, multi-caliber centerfire pistol silencer featuring a modular mounting system for use across a wide range of hosts. High strength, stainless steel CTA™ (Click Together Assembly) baffles are easily disassembled for cleaning. This design makes the Octane one of the most durable small-caliber suppressors on the market.

In its Octane 45 review, SilencerShop notes: “When it comes to ease of maintenance, the Octane 45 is probably the simplest .45 suppressor on the market. It uses the new click-together baffle system from Silencerco/SWR – which allows the suppressor to come apart like a monocore suppressor, while providing performance that is closer to a K-Baffle design.””

Metal Rods Being Cut
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Heat Treating Components in Furnace
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Hand-Finishing Internal Components
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Parts Getting Ready for Metal Treatment
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Computer-Controlled Milling
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Liquid Chemical Bath
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Laser Text Etching on Outer Tube
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Final Assembly of Baffles in Tube
Silencerco suppressor factory video production metal fabrication can silencer baffle

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Handguns, Tech Tip No Comments »
April 17th, 2020

Big Area 419 Sale — Save 10% to 50% on Great Products

area 419 day 4/19 sale discount 20% 10%

Area 419 is a top-tier manufacturer of reloading tools, shooting accessories, rails, suppressors, mag kits, and tactical/PRS rifle packages. To celebrate the 4/19 date which matches its company name, Area 419 is running a very compelling SPECIAL SALE. Right now you can save 10% on CZ tactical rifle builds, save 10% on suppressors, save 15% on select actions, save 20% on TriggerTech triggers, and save 50% on apparel.

In addition, during this special sale, pretty much everything else Area 419 sells is at least 10% Off. To take advantage of these big discounts, visit Area419.com and use CODE 4192020 during check-out. (NOTE: Some items, such as the TriggerTech triggers, are already discounted, so no check-out code is required). This sale runs through 11:59 pm ET on 4/20/20.

area 419 day 4/19 sale discount 20% 10%

area 419 day 4/19 sale discount 20% 10%

area 419 day 4/19 sale discount 20% 10%

area 419 day 4/19 sale discount 20% 10%

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Hot Deals 1 Comment »
December 4th, 2019

Suppressor Facts Revealed — How They Work

Suppressor silencer NSSF infographic decibel noise reduction moderator fact sheet

Curious about suppressors (aka “silencers”, “moderators”, or “cans”)? Below you’ll find an informative NSSF Infographic that covers the history, legal status, design, and operation of modern-day suppressors.

Here’s a cool video showing how suppressors work. This video features see-through rifle suppressors filmed with ultra-high-speed (110,000 frame per second) cameras. When played back in super-slow-motion, you can see the flame propagate through the suppressor and the bullet move through each baffle before it exists the muzzle. Check it out!

See Through Suppressor in Super Slow Motion (110,000 fps) — Click Arrow to Watch:

Suppressor Facts — What You Need to Know

In this infographic, the NSSF provides the history, specifications, benefits and uses of firearm suppressors. Don’t suppress your knowledge!

Suppressors reduce gunfire sound levels by using baffles that contain expanding gasses exiting a firearm’s muzzle when ammo is discharged. Suppressors are similar to car mufflers that were, in fact, developed in parallel by the same inventor in the early 1900s. Well-designed suppressors typically reduce the gun sound levels by 30-35 decibels (dB). Suppressors are becoming more popular even though it still takes many months to get approved. In fact, the number of suppressors registered with the ATF grew by over 1 million from 2011 to 2017. That’s a 355% increase.

Suppressor silencer NSSF infographic decibel noise reduction moderator fact sheet

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting, Tactical, Tech Tip No Comments »
November 23rd, 2019

Suppressor Basics — How to Get One and How They Work

suppressor silencer moderator facts fiction sound levels noise decibles dB
Map courtesy SilencerShop.com.

Q & A: TOP TEN Questions about Suppressors Answered HERE »

You’d like to protect your hearing, and maybe you’re a little curious about how your rifle might shoot suppressed. So you’re thinking of buying a suppressor (aka “can”, “moderator”, “silencer”). You can’t just get one off the shelf at Walmart. Acquiring a suppressor requires filling out paperwork and paying a Federal $200 Tax Stamp. Plus there is typically a pretty long wait. However, the good news is that suppressor ownership is now legal in 42 of the 50 American states — that’s 84%! For most American adults, getting a suppressor is legal, provided pass the required background checks.

States Where Suppressor Ownership is Allowed
Currently, the following 42 states allow private ownership of suppressors: AL, AK, AZ, AR, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NM, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY.

Note: Even if you live in one of the states listed, you should still verify that owning a suppressor is legal in your area. Some states may have municipal- or county-based restrictions.

States Where Suppressor Ownership is Prohibited
Unfortunately, there are still eight (8) States that forbid private ownership of suppressors. The eight No-Go States are: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island. In these eight states, private ownership of suppressors (aka “silencers”) is forbidden. Hopefully that a few of those eight hold-out states will change their laws in the months ahead.

Looking Inside a Suppressor in Action
Popular YouTube Channel Smarter Every Day recently released a cool video featuring rifle suppressors with see-through acrylic sleeves. The team filmed shots through the suppressors using ultra-high-speed (110,000 frame per second) cameras. When played back in super-slow-motion, you can see the flame propagate through the suppressor and the bullet move through each baffle before it exists the muzzle. Watch the results in the video below — it’s mesmerizing:

See Through Suppressor in Super Slow Motion (110,000 fps) — Click Arrow to Watch:

Suppressors, On Average, Reduce Noise Levels about 30 Decibels
In an article for Ammoland, gunwriter Sam Hoober says that you can expect about 30 decibels (dB) of noise reduction from the average suppressor: “Looking at a few different products, SilencerCo attests their suppressors reduce the sound pressure of a 9mm gunshot to anywhere from 125.7 dB to 131.5 dB, depending on the model. Advanced Armament Co, another popular supplier, attests a 23 dB to 33 dB reduction or down to 127 dB. Liberty Suppressors, another manufacturer, attests a reduction of 24 dB to 38 dB, depending on model and other factors. In short, we can presume something on the order of 30 dB of attenuation as an average.”

suppressor silencer moderator facts fiction sound levels noise decibles dB

Using that 30 dB number you can quickly discern that you’ll still need hearing protection — good hearing protection — when shooting any suppressed firearm (even a .22 LR). “Spikes of 130 dB and more can result in permanent hearing damage instantly”. Source: NRA Blog.

Story idea by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink - Articles, Tactical, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
June 10th, 2019

Rimfire Shooting at 1000 Yards — 9-Year-Old Hits Target!

Paul Phillips Addison 9 year old girl ELR 1000 yards rimfire .22 LR Center-X Lapua Vudoo Lake City MI

Here’s a feel-good story. ELR ace Paul Phillips took his 9-year-old daughter Addison to the range this past weekend, to try shooting at 1000 yards. Guess what, Addison got hits at 1000! That’s impressive enough, but get this, Addison made those shots with a .22 LR rimfire rifle! Yes a .22 LR will fly that far — but it took a whopping 342 MOA of elevation and five seconds of flight time.

Paul Phillips Addison 9 year old girl ELR 1000 yards rimfire .22 LR Center-X Lapua Vudoo Lake City MI

Paul says: “So proud of my 9-year-old making impact at 1000 yards with her .22 rimfire. My 82-year-old dad also got hits at 1000. Amazing!” Paul adds: “My daughter is very excited to get into shooting sports. The .22 ELR game is very fun for her especially shooting suppressed subsonic. It helps her to learn the fundamentals without flinching.” After her success at 1000 yards, the little lady then made multiple hits on a silhouette at 322 yards (see below).

Paul Phillips Addison 9 year old girl ELR 1000 yards rimfire .22 LR Center-X Lapua Vudoo Lake City MI

After Addison checked the ELR box at 1000 yards, she tried a 322-yard steel silhouette target. No problem — after many hits in the center, she put three into the top without any misses. This little girl can shoot!

Paul Phillips Addison 9 year old girl ELR 1000 yards rimfire .22 LR Center-X Lapua Vudoo Lake City MI

The rifle features a Vudoo Gun Works rimfire action bedded in McMillan A6 stock by Alex Sitman. The barrel is a 20″ Bartlein, fitted with a GSL Technologies suppressor (see second photo above). On top is a Nightforce ATACR 7-35x56mm F2 scope fitted with a TACOM Charlie TARAC prism system that provides +800 MOA beyond the scope’s internal elevation. The rifle rested on a Phoenix Precision bipod. The ammo was Lapua Center-X subsonic, running 1090 FPS at the muzzle. Paul notes: “The 22 GSL silencer had no noticeable point of impact shift. It actually shot better groups with it on.”

Paul Phillips Addison 9 year old girl ELR 1000 yards rimfire .22 LR Center-X Lapua Vudoo Lake City MI

Addison’s impressive shooting was done at the Marksmanship Training Center in Lake City, Michigan. This veteran-owned shooting facility is a very scenic venue as you can see:

Paul Phillips Addison 9 year old girl ELR 1000 yards rimfire .22 LR Center-X Lapua Vudoo Lake City MI

Ballistics Prediction Was Nearly Perfect
The Applied Ballistics solution was within one MOA at 1000 yards. 1000 yards required 342 MOA up from the 100-yard zero. Flight time was over 5 seconds! MV was 1090 FPS. The target was a 6′ x 6′ F-Class frame, covered with white paper. That’s roughly 7 MOA, equivalent to about 3.5″ at 50 yards.

Comments from Facebook Fans (and Bryan Litz)

It’s in her genes — Brian R.

Like father like daughter! — Daryll B.

Dang! And I thought my son hitting at 400 was good! — George W.

Most people I know including myself did not believe that the .22 LR genuinely flew that far (despite the warning labels). — Robert S.

Applied Ballistics was within 1 MOA on a 342 MOA solution. We’ll have to tighten that up. — Bryan Litz

All in the Family — Three Generations
Along with Addison, father Paul Phillips and grandfather Rusty Phillips (right) all took shots at 1000 yards, and all three generations of Phillips got hits. The threesome took a total of 145 shots at 1000 yards and impacted 13 times. Paul observed: “We hit almost 1 in 10 shots [with] lots of close misses. Believe it or not, most were due to elevation not wind. There were 3-5 mph winds from 3-9 o’clock. To help see hits, John Droelle was spotting for us in the 1000-yard pits.”

Paul Phillips Addison 9 year old girl ELR 1000 yards rimfire .22 LR Center-X Lapua Vudoo Lake City MI

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Shooting Skills, Tactical 10 Comments »
March 7th, 2019

Hands On with SilencerCo Suppressors — Range Time in WA

SilencerCo Suppressor Hybrid 300 Omega Osprey moderator sound

Our friend Gavin Gear of UlimateReloader.com recently visited a SilencerCo dealer in the state of Washington, The Range LLC in Yakima, WA. Gavin was able to test a number of suppressors (aka “moderators” or “silencers”) for both rifle and pistols. Gavin recently released a lengthy article covering his experiences. If you are in the market for a suppressor, we highly recommend you read Gavin’s SilencerCo Products Overview on UltimateReloader.com.

Gavin was able to test three SilencerCo suppressors: the Omega 300, the Hybrid, and the Osprey 45. In addition Gavin was able to handle the Maxim 9, an integrally suppressed 9mm handgun.

SilencerCo Suppressor Hybrid 300 Omega Osprey moderator sound

Gavin reports the Omega 300, which is rated up to .300 Winchester Magnum, is a very popular “can”. According to Gavin, the Omega 300 has become the best-selling rifle suppressor in history for important reasons. First, it has an integral muzzle brake. Second, it can work for multiple calibers, from .223 up to .308. Third, “It is very tough — .300 Win Mag rated, and full-auto rated”.

SilencerCo Suppressor Hybrid 300 Omega Osprey moderator sound
SilencerCo lineup, from left: Omega 300, Hybrid, Osprey 45

Gavin says the Hybrid Suppressor is an interesting concept: “One suppressor that you can configure for multiple calibers, both rifle and pistol. This includes the ability to change out the threaded mount on the muzzle end, and you can also swap out end caps that will optimize sound suppression for different calibers. The Hybrid… is full-auto rated, and can handle rifle cartridges up to and including .338 Lapua Magnum! But this suppressor can also be used for pistol applications…from 9mm up to 44 ACP.”

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January 26th, 2019

Suppressors — Why You Still Need Hearing Protection

suppressor silencer moderator facts fiction sound levels noise decibles dB
Silencer-equipped AR photo courtesy The Silencer Shop.

OK, you’ve paid the tax stamp and acquired your new suppressor (aka “silencer” or “moderator”). Do you still need to wear earplugs or muffs? Absolutely. Even with that expensive new “can”, your rifle could be generating over 140 decibels (dB) of noise — about the same as as an unmuffled 9mm pistol shot. That’s loud enough to create permanent hearing loss with repeated exposure.

Firearms Are Loud: 140 dB to 175 dB

Audiology group ASHA explains: “Exposure to noise greater than 140 dB can permanently damage hearing. Almost all firearms create noise that is over the 140-dB level. A small .22-caliber rifle can produce noise around 140 dB, while big-bore rifles and pistols can produce sound over 175 dB. Firing guns in a place where sounds can reverberate, or bounce off walls and other structures, can make noises louder and increase the risk of hearing loss. Also, adding muzzle brakes or other modifications can make the firearm louder. People who do not wear hearing protection while shooting can suffer a severe hearing loss with as little as one shot[.] Audiologists see this often, especially during hunting season when hunters and bystanders may be exposed to rapid fire from big-bore rifles, shotguns, or pistols.” Source: ASHA, Recreational Firearm Noise Exposure.

suppressor silencer moderator facts fiction sound levels noise decibles dB

Suppressors, On Average, Reduce Noise Levels about 30 Decibels
In an article for Ammoland, gunwriter Sam Hoober says that you can expect about 30 decibels (dB) of noise reduction from the average suppressor: “Looking at a few different products, SilencerCo attests their suppressors reduce the sound pressure of a 9mm gunshot to anywhere from 125.7 dB to 131.5 dB, depending on the model. Advanced Armament Co, another popular supplier, attests a 23 dB to 33 dB reduction or down to 127 dB. Liberty Suppressors, another manufacturer, attests a reduction of 24 dB to 38 dB, depending on model and other factors. In short, we can presume something on the order of 30 dB of attenuation as an average.”

Using that 30 dB number you can quickly discern that you’ll still need hearing protection — good hearing protection — when shooting any suppressed firearm (even a .22 LR). “Spikes of 130 dB and more can result in permanent hearing damage instantly”. Source: NRA Blog.

The Myth of the “Quiet” .22 LR
The NRA Blog notes that “many rimfire shooters, particularly those using the beloved .22 Long Rifle cartridge, argue that the small .22 LR caliber doesn’t produce enough sound to damage your hearing”. So, is that really true. or is it a myth?

In fact, a .22 LR can be much louder than you think — a .22 LR pistol can produce sound levels of 134 dB. That’s well above the normal human pain threshhold.

Sound Levels for Common Noises:

9mm Luger pistol: 160 dB

Jet aircraft engine (near): 140 dB

.22 LR pistol: 134 dB

Normal human pain threshold: 120 dB

Noisy Nightclub: 110 db

Riding Motorcycle at 65 mph: 103 db

Power Lawnmower: 95 dB

Hearing damage possible: 85 dB (sustained for 8+ hours)

Ringing Telephone: 80 dB

Normal conversation: 60 dB


The Risk of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be progressive and irreversible. If you are a shooter, this is serious business. As the NRA Blog cautions: “You may not even realize you’re harming your hearing. Hearing loss occurs gradually, and can go effectively unnoticed until symptoms become severe. By then, the damage is done.”

Nobody wants to go deaf. But we often see shooters without effective hearing protection when they are walking around a few yards behind the firing line. That’s bad — even if you are away from the firing line, gunshot noises can damage your hearing. You MUST use effective hearing protection every time you go to the range. Good foam earplugs costs mere pennies but they can prevent deafness in your later years. Many folks also wear muffs over plugs.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
April 27th, 2018

Suppressors for Hunters — What You Need to Know

There is an informative article on the NRA’s American Hunter website regarding suppressor use for hunting. The article, What Hunters Need to Know About Suppressors, answers common questions about licensing, tax stamps, and suppressor types. The article explains the history of the $200 tax stamp which must be paid when acquiring a suppressor:

“Why the Tax? In 1934 … the federal government, while battling gangsters such as Al Capone, heavily restricted silencers with passage of the first National Firearms Act. Hoping to gain an advantage on criminals that often had better weapons than cops, the Feds placed a mandatory ‘sin’ tax on silencers that was so high it would effectively ban their purchase by all but the wealthiest individuals. In 1934, $200 was the equivalent of $3,500 today. The $200 tax still stands despite no evidence that a simple metal tube is capable of causing crime.” — American Hunter

The American Hunter article also discusses how well suppressors actually reduce noise. User should be aware that the sound level of a large, centerfire hunting cartridge will still exceed 130 decibels (dB) on average, even with a typical suppressor (silencer) in place. For that reason, we recommend that hunters continue to wear ear protection even when they shoot suppressed.

For example, Thunder Beast Arms says its latest Ultra 9 Suppressor will reduce the report of a .308 Win to 132-134 dB: “The ULTRA 9 will suppress a typical .308 bolt-action rifle down to approx. 132-134 dB. It also has very little or no ‘first round pop’ (FRP) in most applications.” NOTE: These dB levels are measured in accordance with MIL-STD-1474D using BK 2209 SLM offset one meter from muzzle.

How Loud Are Unsuppressed Rifles?
Firearms Are Loud — 140 dB to 175 dB. Audiology group ASHA explains: “Almost all firearms create noise that is over the 140-dB level. Exposure to noise greater than 140 dB can permanently damage hearing. A small .22-caliber rifle can produce noise around 140 dB, while big-bore rifles and pistols can produce sound over 175 dB. Firing guns in a place where sounds can reverberate, or bounce off walls and other structures, can make noises louder and increase the risk of hearing loss. Also, adding muzzle brakes or other modifications can make the firearm louder. People who do not wear hearing protection while shooting can suffer a severe hearing loss with as little as one shot[.] Audiologists see this often, especially during hunting season when hunters and bystanders may be exposed to rapid fire from big-bore rifles, shotguns, or pistols.” Source: ASHA, Recreational Firearm Noise Exposure.

suppressor fact and fiction moderator silencer

How Much Does a Good Suppressor Really Reduce Firearm Sound Levels?
That depends on the rifle, the cartridge, and the effectiveness of the suppressor. The American Hunter article explains: “Suppressors retard the speed of propellant gases from the cartridge that rapidly expand and rush out of the barrel. It’s these gases that produce the loud boom that’s heard for miles. A suppressor’s series of internal baffles slows these gases so they are not all released at once, thereby muffling the sound.” Many good commercial suppressors can achieve 30-35 dB sound suppression. However, Zak Smith of Thunder Beast Arms says: “There are a bunch of manufacturers who publish values that are not reproducible, or use an ad-hoc test instead of a mil-spec test. In many cases we’ve tested the exact same suppressors they’ve advertised with 30-40 dB reductions and found they are actually in the high 20s instead.”

Again, for this reason, we recommend that hunters use ear protection, such as electronic muffs, even when shooting suppressed.

Choosing a Suppressor for Hunting Use
The American Hunter article explains that there are many types of suppressors on the market. Bigger suppressors are heavier, but they normally are more effective. You also have a choice in muzzle attachments:

“For most hunting applications, direct thread is the best choice. If you intend to buy only one suppressor yet you have multiple guns, it’s advantageous to buy a model sized and rated for the largest caliber you intend to use. While a suppressor made specifically for a .223 Rem. will reduce the sound of that round slightly better than a model made for .30 caliber, for example, you can use a .30-caliber can for smaller calibers — but not vice-versa. In general, the bigger the can, the more it reduces sound. Smaller suppressors, however, are easier to carry in the woods.” — American Hunter


Chart from American Suppressor Association.

How to Apply for a Suppressor
To acquire a quality suppressor, you’ll first need to shop around, comparing verified performance. Unfortunately some manufacturer’s dB claims are exaggerated. Give due consideration to size, weight, and durability. When you’ve selected a brand and model, find a Class 3 dealer authorized by the ATF to sell suppressors. You must fill out ATF Form 4, get fingerprinted, and pass a background check. Along with two completed copies of Form 4, submit your fingerprint card, passport photo and a check for $200 to the ATF. Then you wait for the ATF to process your application. American Hunter says the average ATF suppressor processing wait time is now nine months.

BENEFITS OF SILENCERS

NOISE REDUCTION
According to OSHA, the threshold for a hearing safe impulse noise is 140 dB. Without hearing protection, exposure to any impulse noise over 140dB causes varying degrees of permanent noise-induced hearing loss, which can also lead to tinnitus. Most well-engineered silencers take the dB level of their host firearm well below 140 dB, making those silencers effective primary hearing safety devices. You should always still wear hearing protection (muffs or plugs) when using suppressors.

RECOIL REDUCTION
By containing the explosion at the muzzle, suppressors significantly reduce perceived recoil energy, reduce the rifle’s rearward movement on recoil, and reduce rifle torquing and muzzle flip. The reduction of recoil (and rifle torquing/hopping) lessens shooter fatigue and helps the shooter get his sight picture back on target rapidly after firing. With smaller calibers, a suppressor may enable the shooter to maintain a nearly-continuous sight picture, following the shot into the target. In addition, by reducing felt recoil (and muzzle blast), a suppressor can help inexperienced shooters avoid flinching.

Permalink News 1 Comment »
April 20th, 2018

Don’t Go Deaf — Understand Risks of Concussive Hearing Loss

Mark Kuczka Accurate Ordnance hearing protection dB noise muzzle brake PRS muffs earplugs concussion concussive hearing loss

Did you know you can damage your hearing even if you are wearing the best hearing protection available? Well, have you ever heard of concussion (or concussive) hearing loss? There is no amount of anything you can put in or over your ears to protect you from concussion loss. My audiologist explained to me the concussion comes through the facial bone structure and damages the ear’s tiny bones.

Editor’s NOTE: This may be the most important tech article we’ve run all year. It explains how you can suffer inner ear damage and hearing loss even if you use earplugs or muffs. Read that again — hearing loss even with typical hearing protection. This kind of concussive hearing loss can result from shooting with muzzle brakes in confined spaces. Using a suppressor (aka sound moderator) can reduce the risk of concussive hearing loss. You may not have the ability to use a suppressor, but this article explains how you should be more mindful of your hearing.

Why I Use a Suppressor (Preventing Concussive Hearing Loss)

Report by Mark Kuczka, Accurate Ordnance

It must have been the road noise. I thought I was having a hard time hearing my five year old daughter speaking to me on my cell phone because of the road noise. That old SUV was kind of loud inside. Until I switched the phone to my left ear and suddenly I could hear her just fine. Wait, what just happened? I moved the phone back to the right ear and there was that muffled voice again. That’s when I knew I had a problem.

“What?” Lots of us in the shooting community have lost some hearing along the way due to our time on the range or in the field. Those of us who hunt have certainly discharged a firearm or three without ear protection and without concern for our hearing. After all, it’s just one shot, right? How much can it hurt?

Actually, that one shot DOES hurt your hearing. Any sound over 140 dB is immediate hearing loss. It just happens to be killing a small amount of our hearing so most of us continued the practice without a care. Living with hearing loss now makes me wish I could go back 20 years and better protect my hearing. I can’t change what I did in the past, but going forward I can certainly do the most to protect the hearing I still have.

I decided to shoot about a year’s worth of matches with just braked rifles. That year is when I lost significant hearing in my right ear and some in the left. I’ve gone back to shooting only suppressed rifles whenever possible.

Mark Kuczka Accurate Ordnance hearing protection dB noise muzzle brake PRS muffs earplugs concussion concussive hearing loss

I shot my first suppressed firearm, a .22 LR pistol, in 2003. After a few rounds I wondered why everyone (who can do so legally) didn’t shoot suppressed? No one drives without a muffler. Why would you? Point is I immediately appreciated the hearing protection benefits of suppressors. That passion got me into the business of selling suppressors and it wasn’t long before I was one of the biggest retailers for companies like AAC, SWR, SilencerCo, Ops Inc. and others. [Editor: The author’s business, Accurate Ordnance, no longer sells suppressors. So this article is NOT a sales pitch. Mark just wanted to share his experience so others might protect their hearing.]

Mark Kuczka Accurate Ordnance hearing protection dB noise muzzle brake PRS muffs earplugs concussion concussive hearing loss

Did you know you can damage your hearing even if you are wearing the best hearing protection available? You’ve heard guys say, “I’ll wear plugs and muffs, so I’ll be just fine shooting that .50 BMG!” Well, ever heard of concussion (or concussive) hearing loss? Yeah, I hadn’t either. I’ll sum it up the way the last audiologist I spoke with about my hearing loss did – there is no amount of anything you can put in or over your ears to protect you from concussion loss.

A hand grenade went off right next to a buddy of mine. He lost some hearing as a result of the blast. No one is really surprised by that. I mean it is an EXPLOSION. It’s loud. Duh. But I had no idea the blast from a muzzle brake could basically hurt my hearing the same way. The doctor explained to me the concussion comes through the facial bone structure and damages the ear’s tiny bones. Same thing as what can happen through any TBI (traumatic brain injury).

Hearing loss diagram inner ear

I’ve owned quite a few different suppressors over the years and have shot just about everything out there. I’m still as big a fan as ever. However, I wanted to see if using a suppressor in PRS (Precision Rifle Series) and similar matches was actually a hindrance. Some people feel the added length and weight of a suppressor can make getting into some shooting positions slower or problematic. So I decided to shoot about a year with a muzzle brake instead of a suppressor. I sure regret that decision…

Getting Headaches at PRS Matches Was Warning Sign
It is fairly common in PRS matches to shoot through pipes, vehicles, inside “shoot houses” and around other obstacles that echo a rifle’s blast. I noticed I was starting to get headaches about halfway through a day of PRS match shooting. I knew the issue wasn’t hydration. I mean look, if you are peeing every other stage down at the amazing CORE range facility in mid-summer you are NOT dehydrated. So, what was causing the headaches? It wasn’t until I went back to shooting suppressed in those same environments that it became clear the little mini concussions from that muzzle brake was causing my headaches. And of course the doctors confirmed that.

Let me stop here and say I am NOT anti-brake. Muzzle brakes are useful tools and for some situations are the best tools. An aggressive brake can be more effective at reducing recoil than a good suppressor. A suppressor does add some recoil reduction, just not as much as most quality brakes. Don’t forget to factor other variables, such as caliber and rifle weight, into the equation though. For example, a 15-lb 6mm Creedmoor rifle doesn’t need much recoil reduction in the first place.

Mark Kuczka Accurate Ordnance hearing protection dB noise muzzle brake PRS muffs earplugs concussion concussive hearing loss

So, I started shooting matches long before the PRS even existed and always shot suppressed in those days. The suppressors made communication with a partner or RO easier and it was just a more pleasant shooting experience. On the recommendations of a few people I decided to shoot about a year’s worth of matches with just braked rifles. That year is when I lost significant hearing in my right ear and some in the left. I’ve gone back to shooting only suppressed rifles whenever possible and especially at matches. I’ve only once or twice found the extra length of the suppressor made it a little more inconvenient to run a stage, but not by much. Trust me, the points I missed were not because I took two extra seconds getting the muzzle in a port or window.

My hearing is something I value and will do everything to protect from this point forward. You’ll never again see me on a match field with an un-suppressed rifle. To me the minimal gains of running a braked rifle aren’t worth losing more hearing.

Choosing a Suppressor — What to Consider

Okay, so I have hearing loss that I can’t get back and realize I need to go back to shooting matches with a suppressor. But which one? I’ll still be shooting matches with custom fit plugs so I just need something to add a little recoil reduction and kill that concussion.

At our shop, Accurate Ordnance, we generally recommend direct-thread suppressor solutions to our customers. The main reason for that is all the problems we’ve seen with other fast-attach muzzle devices. It doesn’t take much tolerance stacking to result in accuracy issues. There are a few exceptions for us and the Rugged Suppressors products top the list. Since the Razor 762 uses a muzzle brake adapter on the rifle to attach the suppressor, I can use the same suppressor on my .223 Rem training rifle. My primary match rifles are chambered in 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor and the muzzle threads on those is a standard 5/8×24. My .223 Rem training rifle has .5×28 threads on the muzzle, which is standard for that caliber. Thus, the muzzle adapter interface lets me share the suppressors between all the rifles. And on that .223 Rem training rifle I have the option of switching the end cap on any of the Rugged products to a .223 aperture size, which makes the suppressors slightly more sound efficient (meaning quieter).

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