Good morning everyone and thank you for joining us for another installment of TFB’s Silencer Saturday brought to you by Yankee Hill Machine, makers of the YHM Turbo K 5.56 silencer. Last week we discussed first silencers for the beginner. Today we’ll reach for the proverbial stars and attempt to define the quietest suppressor, host and ammunition combination available on the consumer market. While we can dream of firearms developed for internally silenced ammunition, today’s discussion will revolve around off-the-shelf guns, silencers and ammo that result in the least amount of noise.
SILENCER SATURDAY #94: Quietest Suppressor Setup
There is no free lunch – one of my favorite semi-scientific sayings. Simply put, to gain advantages in one area of a design, you must be willing to give up attributes or characteristics in other areas. In the case of achieving the quietest report possible, we relent to the following attributes:
- Manual Repeater/Single Shot firearms – Semiautomatic guns will vent too much gas and noise.
- Longer barrel lengths – Full powder burn inside the barrel, not the silencer or environment.
- Low projectile velocities – Supersonic ammo is off the table
- Full-sized silencers – K cans don’t have the volume
- Target loads – not necessarily defensive-use suitable
- Lower muzzle velocity and heavier projectiles means bullet drop over distance is an important factor
Firearm – Quietest Suppressor Setup
With semiautomatic firearms largely out of consideration and barrel length requirements on the longer side, we are left with only a couple choices. Single shot, lever action and bolt action guns rise to the top of the list.
Aside from break action guns, the majority of single shot setups are just bolt actions without magazine compatibility. If I were to pick a single shot firearm for the quietest suppressor setup, I’d lean towards either the Chipmunk Pistol or a Thompson Center Contender. Both will need to be sent to a gunsmith since they don’t include factory threaded barrels (for shame).
Besides the limited pistol options, I don’t see an advantage of using a true single shot over a manual repeater.
If I were to opt for a lever action rimfire rifle, I’d lean towards the Henry Repeating Arms Frontier Model. The long 24” barrel will definitely take care of any unburned powder issues, but I’d be careful when running the super heavy loads like the Aguila Colibri. You may find yourself stacking lead inside the barrel starting at the 20” inch mark.
For a centerfire levergun, I’ve really been enjoying the Marlin 1894 CST with .38 Special loads. The only caveat is that my favorite super quiet rounds are wadcutters, and don’t reliably feed in the Marlin 1894 CST.
When all is said and done, my wheel of fortune for the quietest host/silencer combination landed on three bolt action rifles, two chambered in .22LR and one in .38/.357 Magnum.
1. CZ-USA line of CZ 457 rimfire rifles
2. Ruger Precision Rimfire
3. Ruger 77/357
Unfortunately, the Ruger 77/357 isn’t ready to be suppressed right out of the box. Missing from the rifle are the all important barrel threads for silencer attachment. I wish the 77/357 and 77/44 would could come standard with threading past the front sight or an optics only variant.
And my favorite quiet ammunition, the Remington wadcutters as I mentioned in the levergun section, also don’t feed reliably through the magazine.
Reloaders will be able to maximize suppression while preserving reliable feeding and accuracy.
Ammunition- Quietest Suppressor Setup
We could dedicate a post or a series of posts detailing the quietest ammunition for various hosts (and probably should). But for today, I’ll stick with my one overall .22LR round for the quietest suppression. I’ve shot and tested dozens of different types of rimfire ammo, all of which had important attributes like hyper accuracy, cleanliness, hollow points for small game, wax coatings for reliable feeding and of course, differing price tiers. When looking for the quietest rimfire round, while still preserving accuracy and reliability, my choice is the CCI Quiet-22.
When we discuss subsonic ammunition, we tend to focus on the ~1040-1070 fps benchmark. However, non-scientific testing has left me a believer in lower velocities being superior for suppression levels, not just coming in under the supersonic barrier. Whether lower powder volumes create less noise or near transonic speeds have create different pressure waves, I’m not exactly sure. But 700-800fps is my quiet sweet spot.
- CALIBER: 22 LR
- BULLET WEIGHT: 40GR
- BULLET TYPE: ROUND NOSE
- BOX COUNT: 50
- MUZZLE: 710
- 50 YARDS: 674
- 75 YARDS: 656
- 100 YARDS:640
- MUZZLE: 45
- 50 YARDS: 40
- 75 YARDS: 38
- 100 YARDS: 36
Trajectory if sighted at 50 yards
- 25 YARDS: 1.5
- 50 YARDS: 0
- 75 YARDS: -6.4
- 100 YARDS: -17.8
- Ultra-quiet plinking round in 22-caliber LR rifles
- 75% reduction in perceived noise of standard velocity .22 LR
- Standard CCI .22 LR case
- Excellent accuracy and low velocity (710 feet per second)
- Better performance than an air rifle with similar noise levels
- No hearing protection required
- Great for backyard plinking and introducing youth to the shooting sports
- Ideal for legal shooting areas where noise may be a concern
Silencer – Quietest Suppressor Setup
I’m not going to dwell on this section since we’ve talked about the top/best cans on the market several times in the past. The biggest difference comes in a rimfire silencer since everyone chases those decibels. Besides, I want to remind everyone that picking a silencer is only part of the overall formula to produce the quietest silencer combination.
Rimfire Silencers – Maximum Suppression
Bonus – Ablative Media
The process of shooting a suppressor “wet” refers to adding a small amount of liquid, gel, grease or foam to the blast baffle area of your suppressor to tame oxygen detonation along with unburned powders and cool rapidly expanding gasses. While the process can be messy and tedious, lasting only 10-20 rounds depending on the silencer and cartridge, it does produce impressive results.
My preferred ablative materials:
There are additional advances being made, however. As one commenter pointed out a few weeks ago, our friends at Discreet Ballistics have been refining the design of their CO2 Pop Stop devices. The system uses CO2 cartridges to displace oxygen in the blast baffle are of the silencer.
If you manage your expectations for ballistic characteristics and overall usefulness as well as focus on the true goals of giggle-worthy Hollywood style quiet shooting, picking a combination of host, ammunition and silencer that produces the least amount of noise can be a fun journey. What are your quietest suppressor setups?
Thanks for reading TFB’s Silencer Saturday. Be safe, have fun and we’ll see you back here next week.
Silencer Saturday is Sponsored by Yankee Hill Machine:
Buy YHM silencers and accessories at:
DEALERS: If you want your link to buy YHM suppressors included in future Silencer Saturday posts, email: [email protected]