Suppressor Testing Begins!

While I await the BATF approval to take delivery of my very own .22 LR suppressor, I was able to get one – of a different brand – for some testing. This serves to let me know NOW what my Ruger Standard semi-auto sounds like suppressed, plus evaluate some brands of sub sonic .22 LR ammo and establish a sort of baseline for later comparison testing of different brands of .22 suppressors. Thanks to Jeremy Mallette and the guys at The Silencer Shop in Austin for making this possible!

The Thunderbeast .22 LR Suppressor is just under 6" long, and takes apart for cleaning

The Thunderbeast .22 LR Suppressor is just under 6″ long, and takes apart for cleaning

The Thunder Beast Corp .22 Take-Down is 5.6″ in overall length, and has removable end caps for disassembly and cleaning – which is necessary for .22 suppressors, because of the “dirty” ammo and soft lead bullets in common use. While nearly as long as the pistol’s stainless steel Mark II target barrel, it is light, and does not affect the pistol’s handling as much as one might expect. Because it is very near the same diameter as the barrel, the original open target sights would have worked, but I mounted a well-proven C More Railway red dot sight that once guided the shots from my .460 Rowland 1911. I like the “controls” on the C More, and also like the “solid” look of it on this pistol.

The suppressor was mounted on the threaded Mark II target barrel of my Ruger Standard  pistol, and various ammunition tested for "Loud"..

The suppressor was mounted on the threaded Mark II target barrel of my Ruger Standard pistol, and various ammunition tested for “Loud”..

For my initial “shoot” I used CCI mini-mag high velocity .22 LR ammo, and then several makes of sub-sonic .22 LR loads. There is, really, no more “fun” gun to shoot than a suppressed .22 semi-auto pistol! Even with the high velocity ammo, it was very pleasant to shoot without hearing protection, and the sounds of the sub sonic loads may have been “quieter” than my .177 caliber pellet pistol! The “pop-pop-pop!” while punching holes in the paper target was pretty amazing, and I am anxious to try it on a marauding coon or armadillo! I have not yet checked the published velocities of the various loads against my own chronograph, but I don’t expect to see much difference except that to be expected when comparing ‘real world” performance against that of special test firearms used by the factories.

I started with “regular” CCI Mini-Mag ammo, with a 40gr “solid” plated bullet at 1235 fps, which is super sonic. This ammo is common and popular for both target shooting and small game/varmint hunting. At this velocity, you can expect a sharp muzzle blast, but the suppressor “dropped” this to a pleasant “pop”. Accuracy appeared good, although I was shooting for sound and function, primarily.

Next up was CCI’s “Segmented Hollow Point Subsonic” ammo – also 40 grs and plated, at 1050 fps. Being plated is important in helping at least a little to keep the suppressor cleaner. These rounds were MUCH quieter than the super sonic loads, for sure pellet gun level – or less!

The American Eagle “Suppressor” labeled ammo is also plated, and uses a 45 gr plated bullet at a mere 970 fps of mv. These were probably the winner in the low sound signature competition!

Finally, I tried several rounds of the RWS Subsonic HP, which is not plated, and NOT a hollow point. It fires a 40 gr bullet, but does not list a MV. These were very quiet also, and would probably be a good choice for pest control or small game or varmint hunting.

Since one way a suppressor works to reduce the sound of a shot is to remove heat, the Thunder Beast suppressor, even though coated with a OD green polymer of some type, got pretty hot to the tough after 3 magazines of ammo were fired. Not dangerously hot, just uncomfortably warm. You would not want to shove it in a pants pocket after a firing session!

I did have two rounds of one of the plated sub sonics that did not fire on the first “go-round”, and did not show the mark if the firing pin. May have been a problem with my pistol, because they fired as expected when I loaded them again in the next magazine full.

Although a suppressed .22 LR semi-auto pistol, or rifle, either, is very enjoyable to just SHOOT, some wonder why there is a need for such a gun, since .22’s are not all that loud to begin with? Since I got my first .22 as a teenager, I have used them as much for hunting small game such as rabbits and squirrel, varmints like coons and possums, pests like rats and poisonous snakes, and even for killing feral hogs as for target shooting. I had a neighbor to my woods property who liked to shoot – a lot – on Sunday evenings during deer season. From the sound, some of this was with an AR or other high capacity semi-auto, some was with a semi-auto .22. I would have much preferred he used a suppressor! On the other hand, when I take a shot at a raiding coon around the cabin at night, the close neighbors will I’m sure be less “bothered” by the non-sound of a suppressed .22. For squirrel hunting, a suppressed .22 is as quiet as a good pellet gun, and has more power. I would certainly have enjoyed using a suppressed .22 on my trapline in high school, also!

A suppressed .22 will NOT completely replace a pellet gun as a pest control tool inside city limits, because of the need to be careful of where a shot might go after missing, or even hitting, a “garbage can possum”.

When Sheriff Wagner was signing my first suppressor application, we had a discussion about suppressor uses, and he told me his Swat team had suppressed .22’s they used for things like shooting out a porch light before entry into a suspected hostile environment. Add legitimate uses like this by law enforcement to the proven function of hearing protection, and suppressors make way too much sense to be overly regulated as they are now in our country.

Hoping to add a .22 LR suppressor to my armament at some time, I purchased a holster for the Ruger .22 LR pistol from Classic Old West (reviewed in the Product Evaluation category of this website) that accepts the suppressor, as well as a spare magazine and optics.

This Classic Old West Holster works with the suppressor, the big red dot sight, and even has a holder for a spare magazine!

This Classic Old West Holster works with the suppressor, the big red dot sight, and even has a holder for a spare magazine!

I also have a Ti-Rant-M .45 auto suppressor by Advanced Armament Corp on loan from The Silencer Shop that I hope to be evaluating very soon, as the threaded bull barrel for my Para Expert 1911 shipped today from Barsto Precision! The .45 auto is said to be a “natural” for suppressor use, as in all but the “hottest” loading it is naturally sub sonic, and the heavy bullets are fired at low pressure for a centerfire pistol round. I am very much looking forward to reporting on the sound the .45 makes with the Ti-Rant-M!

At 8.9" OAL, The .45 auto suppressor is both longer and larger in diameter than the .22 suppressor.

At 8.9″ OAL, The .45 auto suppressor is both longer and larger in diameter than the .22 suppressor.

About MikeH

Texas hunter and fisherman for 50 years, published outdoor writer since 1979, licensed charter boat operator from 1982 to 2013. Past Member, Board of Directors, National Association of Charterboat Operators, current member Environmental Advisory Committee to the DOE and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Married to Dorothy since 2000, one son, Michael who is recently married and living in Nederland, Texas. My wife and I live in Oyster Creek, Texas, near Freeport, and have a hunting property outside of Brazoria, Texas.
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2 Responses to Suppressor Testing Begins!

  1. Mike Iversen says:

    Thanks for the start of this project. I am looking forward to your results on some of the larger center fire calipers.

    Mike I

  2. MikeH says:

    Thanks, Mike – so am I! Thanks for your help with it. Unfortunately, the Glock barrel threads don’t fit the .45 auto suppressor I have available,. Working with Glock and the Bowers Group – who make suppressors – to get an adaptor. Otherwise, I’d already have initial results! It appears that pretty much all 180 gr factory ammo for .40 S&W is sub sonic, just as is 9 mm, so I have high hopes for the .40 to be very useful suppressed.

    Mike

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