Featured RECOIL Rated: 10 Rimfire Cans Rob Curtis May 25, 2017 0 COMMENT Break out the plinkers, boys. 22LR is back on the menu! Some of you will grumble “There’s no 22LR at my Walmart,” but national stocks seem to be replenishing and it’s reportedly even on the shelves in the deepest corners of liberal New England and Southern California. Sure, it’s not nearly as cheap as it once was, but it’s still cheaper than 9mm. What’s better than shooting an easy handling, light-recoiling 22? Shooting a quiet one. If you don’t have a can on your plinker, you’re missing out. We compared an array of rimfire cans you might be interested in as you put your favorite deuce-deuce back into rotation. The Core Suppressors work by disrupting and slowing down the flow of exhaust gases following the bullet out of the muzzle. There are two overarching categories of suppressor design — those that use stacked individual baffles and those that use a monolithic core, commonly called a monocore. Monocores are generally made from aluminum, instead of steel or titanium, because it’s easier (read: cheaper) to machine and it’s lighter. Monocores are also pretty easy to remove, clean, and reassemble since the guts are just one big piece of metal. The aluminum isn’t as durable as steel, though, so yanking a really baked-in core from its tube can be exciting. Some aluminum cores are anodized, increasing the monocore’s durability, though scratching or gouging the finish during cleaning will lead to accelerated wear. Stacked baffles are generally made from steel, though there are aluminum-baffled cans out there. Suppressor cores made from stacked baffles generally enjoy improved sound reduction performance compared to monocores because individual baffles can be machined more intricately, and therefore tuned more effectively for a given purpose. They’re also tougher and will withstand more aggressive cleaning methods. Baffle designs are the secret sauce in any can. K-baffles, M-baffles, cone baffles, slant baffles, pig-nose baffles … these all describe designs attempting to disrupt the flow of gases surrounding a projectile as it leaves the muzzle of the rifled barrel without affecting the bullet’s flight path. In some cans, the first and last baffle in a stack, otherwise called the blast and normalization chamber, are dimensionally different than the middle baffles. In these designs, manufacturers have begun numbering the baffles to make reassembly faster and foolproof. Some baffle designs require each primary baffle (the middle baffles) in the stack be timed to prevent lopsided cross-jetting that affects accuracy. These have tabs and slots that mate up for foolproof reassembly. Baseline Performance The cans we tested were all quiet. Some were quieter than others, but unless shooting them back-to-back-to-back, it’s hard to tell them apart based on absolute noise level alone. That’s to say, rimfire can design has gotten to the point that we’d have to work to find an objectionably loud one. A caveat to this observation comes with First Round Pop. Oxygen in the can fuels a louder pop on the first round. Subsequent rounds are quieter as oxygen is displaced by inflammable gases produced by cartridge ignition. Some cans have startling FRP, some have none. FRP will vary with ammo selection, weather, and proximity to campaigning politicians. We included the FRP measurement in our readings as a percentage increase over the average sound of the can. Accuracy, handling, FRP, and features such as quick attach, easy disassembly for cleaning, and cartridge versatility are what set competitors apart. We’ll take a can that’s 1 dB louder than the next one if its more accurate, runs longer between cleanings, and we can break down without hunting for a proprietary disassembly tool. Since we aren’t mob hitmen, pressing muzzle to temple in a back alley, accuracy outweighs stealth for us. So, when we chose our favorites, we weighted accuracy measurements a little more heavily than the other considerations. Central Considerations Sound: There’s no one quietest can no matter what the advertising copy says. The quietest can on a rifle might be a poor performer on a pistol. And when looking at sound pressure testing numbers, consider them perishable. Is the manufacturer’s dB specification taken at sea level or in the mountains? It matters. Data is only good for comparison when taken on the same day with the same ammo shot from the same gun. Comparing these 10 cans with our data works. Combining or comparing our data with a manufacturer’s spec sheet or another outlet’s review won’t. Further, sound reduction performance on one platform doesn’t equate to the same performance on another. For example, cans made for and used on rifles are generally quieter than pistol cans in this application, because their design accounts for exhaust gases that have already been slowed and cooled by the longer barrel. The same can on a pistol may sound like a cannon. Ammo also plays a role in sound output. Comparing first round pop numbers only tells part of the FRP story, too. Cans with straight or simple baffle channels refill with oxygen quicker than others, bringing FRP back at the beginning of every string. Check out our numbers, and you’ll see you can get a can that works with the particular firearm you’re likely to use, or you can choose one with the best average performance across platforms and ammo types. But you’ll be hard pressed to find one can that rules them all. Our thumbs compel us to tell you about a couple of loaders we used. Stuffing 10/22 mags with a Butler Creek 50 Round Hot Lips Loader 10/22 ($25 to $30 on the street) was much better than thumbing them into those BX25 mags. Rarely, a round got stuck in the works, but clearing it was a matter of pulling the mag and shaking the thing. (We also tried a Champion Target 10/22 loader, above left, but it was a pain in the ass all the way around.) COMPARATIVE RATINGS We rated each feature and performance characteristic using a quintile scale based on observations and performance measurements we took on this group of cans. It’s important to note these ratings only apply to the cans we tested here. Because we rate a can a 5 in any one area, sound, for example, that doesn’t mean it’s the quietest can on the market. It means it’s performance, or observable characteristic, rates in the top 20% compared to the other products in our test field. Weight: Hanging a can on the end of a barrel, essentially a lever, magnifies its weight. Every ounce contributes to shooter fatigue and can impact accuracy. Size: Along with weight, the size of a can affects the handling of the host firearm. Accuracy: Porting between baffles and the bore size of a can determines how much turbulence a bullet passes through on its way through and out of the suppressor. If turbulence is managed effectively, accuracy is unaffected, and in some cases it can be improved. We want a can that maintains the same point of impact when the can is taken off and put back on the gun. While POI shift ranged from 1 to 2.8 MOA among the contestants, we found repeatability on all the cans was excellent. The Griffin Checkmate QD had some issues here; we’ll address those in the notes below. When tabulating the scores to determine our editors pick and the best value, we double-weighted the scores for accuracy with the assumption that it doesn’t matter how quiet a can is if you can’t hit what you’re aiming at. Ease of Maintenance: Nobody likes pulling out the manual when you can’t remember how something’s supposed to be oriented or tearing the tool bench apart looking for a special endcap wrench you now remember you left at the range. We gave the highest ratings to the least complicated, most forgiving cans. We also like cans with captured tubes that turn the muzzle mount instead of twisting off in your hand when removing the silencers from the host. Versatility: We gave high marks to the cans with the widest latitude of ammunition types and configurations. A full-auto fire rating says the manufacturer built its can tough enough to deal with full-auto 22LR. That means it’ll withstand the harshest 22LR firing schedule you and your 12-year-old can come up with on a lazy Sunday in the backyard. Price: We rated each can’s price based on the prices of its competitors. But, we think value is a more important measure, and that’s reflected in our editor’s recommendations. To load the Mark III mags, we used a McFadden Ultimate Ruger MK Clip Loader ($18 on street). As long as we were careful to keep the rounds level as they fed, it worked flawlessly. Testing We tested the cans on a pair of ubiquitous 22LR platforms: the Ruger 22/45 Mark III pistol and the Ruger 10/22 Tactical rifle (model 1261). We logged sound readings with a Larson Davis sound meter from both platforms and performed accuracy testing with the 10/22 at 50 yards. For a baseline, this 10/22 shot 1.99 MOA with a bare muzzle. All the sound metering was done over the course of a couple hours. (Environmentals: 50 degrees F, 29.26 inches barometric pressure, 144 feet above sea level, 40 degrees F dew point, and 84 percent humidity.) The firing schedule for each can consisted of an initial burst of 50 pistol rounds to seal the cans up before taking sound measurements. Once we got sound data, we plugged the cans back into the pistol for 200 rounds, each. Then we moved the cans to the 10/22 and shot groups. With accuracy data logged, we switched back to the pistol and filled the cans with 250 more rounds of rapid fire to get them dirty and see how much of a fight they’d put up at cleaning time. (Meanwhile, we’re hoping the embattled EPA doesn’t have the resources to declare a tree stump in our backyard a micro Superfund site after we pumped 5,000 rounds into it.) For ammo, we used a mix of Gemtech 42-grain Silencer Subsonic and Federal bulk pack 40-grain Target Grade Performance. The upside to the monotonous 5,000-round celebration of lead and carbon was the opportunity to note the reliability of the ammo. The guns choked on about three per 1,000 of the Gemtech rounds, while the Federal bulk pack averaged 20 clicks per 1,000. The first 250 rounds through each can were Federal, the second 250 were Gemtech. We metered the Federal on both rifle and pistol, but only metered the Gemtech subs on the rifle cans, because who shoots subs from a pistol? Dead Air Armament Mask-HD MSRP: $449 URL: www.deadairsilencers.com Calibers: .22LR, .22WMR, .17HMR, 5.7x28mm Construction: Compressed K Baffles Tube Material: Titanium Core/Baffle Material: Stainless Steel Length (inches): 5.1 Weight (ounces): 6.56 Tools: Proprietary COMPARATIVE RATINGS (On a scale of 1-5) Sound Reduction: 5 Weight: 1 Accuracy: 2 Ease of Maintenance: 4 Versatility: 4 Size: 3 DESIGN: Skirted K-baffle with dedicated expansion and normalization chambers. Skirted baffles prevent lead and carbon from migrating between the stack and tube, allowing the stack to slip out easily for cleaning. Index tangs on each baffle ensure ports are aligned for best performance. Cerakoted tube, cap, and mount are nitrided steel. Solid construction and materials. Will last forever. PERFORMANCE: Pistol; light FRP; tone is a “tick, tick.” Weight is noticeable. Rifle; very quiet, but noticeable POI shift and middle-of-the-pack accuracy. CLEANING: Damned proprietary wrench for endcap. Baffles come loose with a push when dirty. Uncaptured tube can twist off mount. Baffle arrangement is pretty obvious, but engraved numbers would be welcome. Gemtech GM-22 MSRP: $395 URL: www.gem-tech.com Calibers: .22LR, .22WMR, .17HMR, .17HM2 Construction: Monocore Tube Material: 7075 Aluminum Core/Baffle Material: Aluminum with Titanium Threads Length (inches): 5 Weight (ounces): 2.47 Tools: 1/4-inch socket driver COMPARATIVE RATINGS (On a scale of 1-5) Sound Reduction: 2 Weight: 4 Accuracy: 1 Ease of Maintenance: 4 Versatility: 2 Size: 4 DESIGN: Aluminum monocore. Simple. Only two pieces: the core and the tube. Tube screws onto the core at the muzzle-end. Titanium muzzle threads are embedded in the core. Uncaptured tube can unscrew from core. Gemtech can upgrade an old Gemtech Outback can to the user serviceable GM-22 core for $150. PERFORMANCE: Heavy FRP on pistol. Deep, bassy report. Handles well. CLEANING: Threads tend to foul with carbon and lead since they’re at the muzzle end. Takes significant force to break the core free after 500 rounds. We love that a ¼-inch socket head is the only tool needed to remove the core. Gemtech MIST-22 MSRP: $550 URL: www.gem-tech.com Calibers: .22LR Construction: Integral Monocore Tube Material: Aluminum Core/Baffle Material: Aluminum Length (inches): 16.1 Weight (ounces): 18.6 (7.3 lighter than stock 10/22 barrel) Tools: None COMPARATIVE RATINGS (On a scale of 1-5) Sound Reduction: 2 Weight: 5 Accuracy: 5 Ease of Maintenance: 4 Versatility: 1 Size: 5 DESIGN: Aluminum monocore suppressor is permanently attached to a 9-inch steel 10/22 v-block rifle barrel and covered with an aluminum tube. Versatility score suffers since it only works with 10/22s. Outer tube diameter is same as a heavy barrel (0.920 inch); works in any heavy barrel 10/22 stock. PERFORMANCE: “Tick-Tick” report. Combination of decent sound reduction, weight reduction and improved accuracy compared to stock barrel makes this one of our favorites. Bulk ammo will go supersonic, though. With subsonic ammo, it’s night-before-Christmas quiet. Older version was ported to make normal velocity ammo subsonic. If your silencer needs to extend beyond a 10/22, it’s hard beat the combined convenience, handling, and performance of the MIST-22. It’s out top pick for guys running the ubiquitous 10/22 and aren’t looking for a one-and-done can for their rimfire quiver. CLEANING: Tube screws right off after 500 rounds. Threads would get fouled in the older, ported version leading to seized-on tube. No issues with new, non-ported version as long as a reasonable cleaning interval is observed. But that port means you’ve gotta run subsonic ammo to get the lowest noise. Griffin Armament Checkmate QD MSRP: $449 URL: www.griffinarmament.com Calibers: .22LR, .22WMR, .17HMR Construction: Hybrid Monocore Tube Material: 6061 Aluminum Core/Baffle Material: Aluminum Length (inches): 5.8 Weight (ounces): 5.57 Tools: Proprietary COMPARATIVE RATINGS (On a scale of 1-5) Sound Reduction: 2 Weight: 2 Accuracy: 4 (after repairs) Ease of Maintenance: 4 Versatility: 3 Size: 2 DESIGN: Aluminum monocore with three-lug QD muzzle device. Hybrid design has baffle-like blast face and chamber for reduced FRP. QD seems good for swapping between pistol and rifle. Added complexity and cost of QD isn’t worth the trouble on rimfire, especially when extra adapters are $30 each. PERFORMANCE: Our initial groups with the Checkmate-QD strung out like Robert Downey Jr. in the ’90s. We saw 2- to 3-foot POI shift depending on which of the three positions of the three-lug muzzle device the can was engaged in. After a talk with Griffin, we determined a defective QD muzzle mount was to blame. Griffin swapped the faulty muzzle device, and the can worked as it should on the next range session. We found it unnerving that the can locked in three positions on the tri-lobed muzzle device, though the POI was consistent when used in the same position. Good accuracy and good sound reduction on rifle; but, it was the loudest can on the pistol. The Checkmate was extremely effective at cancelling first round pop. We heard none on either host. CLEANING: Proprietary tool needed to remove basecap. Endcap unscrews by hand. The included pusher tool was required to remove core after 500 rounds. Q LLC El Camino MSRP: $399 URL: www.liveqordie.com Calibers: .22LR, .22WMR, .17HMR, 5.7×28 FN Construction: M Baffles Tube Material: PVD- Coated Titanium Core/Baffle Material: Stainless Steel Length (inches): 5.9 Weight (ounces): 4.48 Tools: ½-inch socket COMPARATIVE RATINGS (On a scale of 1-5) Sound Reduction: 3 Weight: 3 Accuracy: 3 Ease of Maintenance: 5 Versatility: 4 Size: 2 DESIGN: All seven M-baffles are identical. Baffles form a tube-within-the-tube to keep crud from welding baffles to the tube. Steel muzzle threads are permanently installed in tube; no unintentional unthreading. Slim, long shape is barely bigger than .22/.45 barrel. Short thread section; includes spacer for barrels with longer muzzle threads. Average performance with excellent features and top-shelf materials at a below average price make this one of our favorites. Design bears a striking resemblance to the SIG SRD22X. PERFORMANCE: Very light; handles great on pistol and rifle. Report is “hiss-tk.” FRP returns quickly between mag changes. Sound levels and accuracy are middle of the pack. CLEANING: Front cap flourish looks decorative, but accepts a common ½-inch socket for removal. No proprietary tools needed. Baffle stack fell out with 500 rounds of buildup. Suspect it could go well over 1,000 rounds between cleanings. No aluminum means the whole thing can go in an ultrasonic cleaner. Ruger Silent-SR MSRP: $449 URL: www.ruger-firearms.com Calibers: .22LR, .22WMR, .17HMR Construction: Push Cone / Slant Baffles Tube Material: Titanium Core/Baffle Material: Stainless Steel Length (inches): 5.3 Weight (ounces): 6.28 Tools: Proprietary COMPARATIVE RATINGS (On a scale of 1-5) Sound Reduction: 2 Weight: 1 Accuracy: 3 Ease of Maintenance: 4 Versatility: 4 Size: 3 DESIGN: Uses Ruger-developed slant-nose, push-cone baffle system. Seals the interior and prevents crud from filling the space between baffle stack and tube. Extremely fine machining demonstrated in snap-together baffles. Muzzle mount locks in splines on the tube to prevent the tube from turning off the mount. One of the shortest, but on the heavier end of our test group. PERFORMANCE: Almost no FRP, Hollywood “tick-sssss” tone. Good accuracy. CLEANING: Proprietary tool for disassembly. Costs $20 to replace. Mount end has to be removed to pull core; threads get fouled and stick a bit, but baffle stack slips right out after wrestling cap off. Simple shapes of steel baffles easy to clean. We confused the blast baffle with a primary baffle at first. Almost used a hammer to mate them up before we noticed the difference. SIG SAUER SRD22X MSRP: $445 URL: www.sigsauer.com Calibers: .22LR, .22WMR, .17HMR/.17 Mach II Construction: M Baffles, Steel Mount and Endcap Tube Material: Titanium Core/Baffle Material: Stainless Steel Length (inches): 5.8 Weight (ounces): 5.15 Tools: Proprietary COMPARATIVE RATINGS (On a scale of 1-5) Sound Reduction: 5 Weight: 2 Accuracy: 3 Ease of Maintenance: 4 Versatility: 4 Size: 2 DESIGN: Steel M-baffles and Titanium tube with steel muzzle threads. Muzzle threads are captured in the tube; twisting off the can won’t leave the mount/endcap on the muzzle. Comes with 1/2-28 and M9x.75 rear mount to fit SIG Mosquitos. Design bears a striking resemblance to the Q El Camino. PERFORMANCE: Excellent sound reduction, especially on a pistol with regular velocity ammo. Heavy FRP, though. Holds decent groups and cools down quickly between strings. Light; little effect on pistol handling. CLEANING: Proprietary endcap tool. M-baffle setup works well and keeps crud from sticking to the tube walls. SilencerCo Osprey Micro MSRP: $599 URL: www.silencerco.com Calibers: .22LR, .22WMR, .17HMR, .17 WSM Construction: Tubeless Square Baffles Tube Material: N/A Core/Baffle Material: Stainless Steel Length (inches): 4.6 Weight (ounces): 6.77 Tools: 5/32-inch allen COMPARATIVE RATINGS (On a scale of 1-5) Sound Reduction: 4 Weight: 1 Accuracy: 3 Ease of Maintenance: 4 Versatility: 5 Size: 4 DESIGN: Tubeless, square baffles stack together for two lengths (4.6 and 3.1 inches). Changing length is easy. Offset design doesn’t block pistol sights, but none of the round tube cans did, either. Steel baffles are tough; survived a baffle strike without a scratch after accidentally cross-threading on QD adapter. QD setup works well, but initial install is a PIA as the QD adapter needs to be timed with shims for each gun. PERFORMANCE: All sound data gathered in long configuration. Bassy report. Some FRP on pistol. Feels heavy in full-length configuration on pistol. Short configuration is loud, but still hearing safe. CLEANING: Once the QD mount is installed, disassembly and length swaps only require an Allen wrench. No tube to deal with. Stack falls apart once head screw is removed no matter how many rounds through it. Big, open baffles are super easy to clean. Only goes back together one way. We’d like it more without the QD setup. SureFire Ryder 22-S MSRP: $469 URL: www.surefire.com Calibers: .22LR, .22WMR, .17HMR Construction: Pignose Baffles Tube Material: Aluminum Core/Baffle Material: Stainless Steel Length (inches): 5.4 Weight (ounces): 5.08 Tools: Proprietary COMPARATIVE RATINGS (On a scale of 1-5) Sound Reduction: 3 Weight: 2 Accuracy: 2 Ease of Maintenance: 4 Versatility: 4 Size: 3 DESIGN: Novel, steel pig-nose baffles nest together to keep lead/carbon particles from caking on the tube. Patented muzzle section is splined to index with tube; no twisting the tube off instead of the whole can. Comes with a spacer for longer threaded muzzles and an insert to help push the stack out. PERFORMANCE: “Thwap” tone. Noticeable FRP. Quieter on rifle versus pistol. CLEANING: Proprietary spanner needed for disassembly. Baffle stack doesn’t fall free after 500 rounds. Took a little pushing. Steel baffles are GTG in an ultrasonic cleaner; intricate shape is tedious to clean by hand. Numbered and rotation indexed baffles are easy to restack. Thunder Beast Arms 22 Take Down MSRP: $395 URL: thunderbeastarms.com Calibers: .22LR, .22WMR, .17HMR, 5.7x28mm Construction: Conical Baffles Tube Material: Titanium Core/Baffle Material: Stainless Steel Length (inches): 5.6 Weight (ounces): 5.71 Tools: 15/16-inch socket (included) COMPARATIVE RATINGS (On a scale of 1-5) Sound Reduction: 5 Weight: 2 Accuracy: 4 Ease of Maintenance: 3 Versatility: 4 Size: 2 DESIGN: Snap-together, rotation indexed conical baffles provide above average sound reduction and accuracy. Lack of anti-rotation tube is a drag. But once the muzzle end gets crap in the threads, it actually helps the endcap from unscrewing from the tube. Overall sound, accuracy, features, and ease of maintenance make this our top choice regardless of price. PERFORMANCE: Quiet “thwap” tone. Longer and heavier than average, but overall, the quietest when averaging rifle and pistol sound measurements. Above average accuracy. CLEANING: Comes apart with included 9/16-inch wrench. Adjustable wrench works in a pinch. Stack slides out with a push after 500 rounds. All steel and Ti; chuck it all in the ultrasonic cleaner. Baffle stack easily assembled and timed with tabs and index marks on baffles, then slipped back in tube.