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Silencer Buyer’s Guide for Hunting

SHOOTING FOR SILENCE, FIVE LIGHTWEIGHT SILENCERS IDEAL FOR HUNTING
Photos by RECOIL Staff

Forty-two of the 50 states in the USA allow you to legally hunt game with a silencer. There are a mere two states where suppressors are legal for general use sans hunting: Vermont and Connecticut. There’s a weird exception in the state of Maine … because a special, separate permit must be issued to use a silencer for hunting — but that’s it.

In fact, we expect the holdout states who allow silencers for everything except hunting to perhaps sway our way in the coming months. Some actual common sense? Mayhap. In a few minor ways, we’re finally reaching the rest of the developed world in the realm of suppressor use.

Frankly, there are a ton of damn good reasons to use a silencer for hunting. First and most obvious is the reduction of your sound signature — and this works both ways. Not only are you far less likely to have ringing ears post-shot, but nearby animals are less likely to have a reaction to the auditory explosion your trigger pull created.

Individual ownership of silencers has been steadily increasing for more than a decade now, and people usually aren’t satisfied with just one (that’s what she said?). The market has reacted to this, increasing the availability of silencers specifically designed for game-getting.

While any old suppressor should do something to reduce the noise from your muzzle, today we look at hunting-specific silencers.

The same aspects that make some suppressors balls-out amazing for hanging off the end of a 7.62N belt-fed FN 240 Golf machinegun make it f*cking stupid for a hunting rifle. For hunting we don’t need one that withstands automatic high-pressure shots with steadfast durability; we need a silencer with less weight, decreased size, and good-enough capability.

Think about it: Dedicated hunting rifles prioritize weight-savings over almost anything else. They aren’t made for a 250-round course of competitive fire at a PRS match, nor for being deployed as a sniper rifle overseas. The hunting gear you see advertised purports the perfect balance between weight and capability.

We wish there were a silencer that was both featherweight and über-durable, but that simply isn’t the case. Today, we look at silencers mostly designed with hunting in mind, discussing some of their idiosyncrasies. This is a selection of .30 caliber and above silencers, weighing no more than 16 ounces, most all of which are meant to live 24×7 on the end of a rifle. You’ll also note that we don’t list decibel reductions with any of these silencers. All of them are intended to be multi-caliber, and therefore will have varying results depending on the rifle, barrel length, and caliber used.

There are some standouts on the list, which we’ll point out along the way. Take note that all specifications are based on our own measurements, as some silencer companies have been prone to list weights in a non-shootable configuration, such as without required thread mounts or muzzle devices.

Blue: Legal for general use Gray: Not legal Dot: Legal for hunting

Blue: Legal for general use
Gray: Not legal
Dot: Legal for hunting

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Gemtech Tracker
Caliber: .300 Win Mag & calibers below
Length: 8 inches
Weight: 11.1 ounces
Materials: Aluminum
MSRP: $599
URL: gemtech.com

Note that the Gemtech Tracker is the only silencer we looked at for this buyer’s guide that was actually lighter than the manufacturer-specified weight. Maybe it’s because it only comes with a 5/8×24 direct-thread mount so there’s little wiggle room, but it still seemed significant enough to mention.

The Gemtech Tracker was initially developed for a specific foreign special-forces sniper cadre and then only later adopted as an American hunting silencer. Primarily constructed out of aluminum, the Tracker definitely won’t withstand continuous rounds — you’ll need a 24-inch barrel or longer with .300 Win Mag or at least 16 inches with 6.5 Creedmoor or .308.

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Griffin Armament Sportsman Ultra Light 338
Caliber: .338 Lapua & calibers below
Length: 8.75 inches
Weight: 14.5 ounces
Materials: Aluminum / stainless steel
MSRP: $995
URL: griffinarmament.com

Griffin Armament previously released a similar silencer, but it was only rated for .300 Win Mag. And though it was a mere 11.3 ounces, we couldn’t possibly pass up a model just 3 ounces heavier that now chomps up 338 Lapua, provided the barrel is 24 inches or longer. Griffin tells us their new patented hybrid HEDP baffles deliver the durability of titanium baffles, but with the additional weight savings of aluminum.

While Griffin Armament sells a direct thread adapter, the Sportsman Ultra Light 338 will also fit on standard Griffin mounts.

To read the rest of this article, click here to purchase a copy of CARNIVORE 2

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