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Suppressor question

26 Aug 2022
@ 09:24 am (GMT)

Scott Struif

What are the benefits of a suppressor?

My experience has been that game cannot determine the direction of a loud boom, whether in the woods or in open country. Wouldn’t a suppressor make it easier for game to locate the source of the noise?

Can you shoot a suppressed rifle without ear protection?

Is recoil a big deal with cartridges <= a 30-06?

Is it worth sacrificing muzzle velocity to accommodate a suppressor?


26 Aug 2022
@ 05:20 pm (GMT)

Jon Short

Re: Suppressor question
A few comments based on my old 6.5x55... that's now a 30-06... ;-) Yes!

I used to shoot the 6.5 suppressed for a while to placate a bow hunting mate for obvious reasons...

My load for non suppressed versus suppressed was initially the same. Velocity was higher with the suppressor not lower as it increases pressure. Think adding an inch or two to your barrel.

Recoil? 30% less suppressed approx... I'd say 06 included. Nathan would confirm?

Accuracy - improved a little IF your technique ain't perfect. Whose is when hunting & shooting in awkward positions? But again, depends how practiced you are & distances etc.

Extra weight & length? Yes. I'd rather shoot unsuppressed & have the weight in the barrel/rig.

Barrel & throat carbon & wear difference: Yes, a big increase in carbon with a suppressor. The suppressor as you no doubt know, seems to make the rifle suck alot of carbon down to the throat area. Carbon to me is a bigger enemy than copper in many ways. Get it out as quick as you possibly can after shooting is my motto.

To me the carbon & damage it can cause is the biggest issue with suppressors. Its ok if you know how to manage that, & have a borescope as I do, so you can see what happens after shooting & then after cleaning .. to see if you have all the carbon out or not.

I have seen alot of damage (by borescope) in otherwise nice rifles that haven't done alot of work because of suppressor induced carbon damage. It sets like rock & pits your rifling if you do not get it all out smartly let alone the old tightening of the neck area & pressure issue.

The carbon issue is a good one for another post I reckon. No doubt it has been covered before.

If you have nice rifle, why risk buggering it over time with carbon from suppressor use?

Noise; I am an ex bow hunter myself so appreciate the noise issue. I do not hunt with ear protesction becasue I can't haunt well without hearing. Fine to stick ear plugs in if you can take a controlled shot with or without supressor but how poften dfoes that happen (in NZ). unkless out long?

Sometimes a shot fired by another hunter quite nearby isn't heard even when not suppressed because of muzzle & wind direction, & topography.

In saying that though, I have seen when shooting fallow deer (perhaps the easiest of all deer in NZ to hunt because of their grazing tendencies), situations where deer don't pick up where the shot has come from & are confused as a result ... but then again I have seen the same occur occur with non suppressed rifles too.

Conclusion: I don't shoot one any more. I prefer to refine shooting technique & look after my rifle.

Hope that answers a few questions to as degree?

Cheer Scott.

26 Aug 2022
@ 05:27 pm (GMT)

Magnus Hansson

Re: Suppressor question
I only use protection when shooting in practice ..not when hunting might disagree!

You don’t loose any velocity unless you are shortening the barrel.
26 Aug 2022
@ 07:21 pm (GMT)


Re: Suppressor question
Hi Scott,

I can only answer anecdotally from personal experience and the main benefit for me is not worrying about hearing protection. While I don't shoot deer over a dog this becomes even more important if you do.

There was an article in an NZ Hunting magazine a year or two ago that tested the common suppressors available here with commercial sound testing equipment, apparently many of the utube experiments are done with gear that misses the initial concussion because it is too quick for them to react too and measure. The results showed that they all reduced the noise of a 308 below damaging levels although some were much better than others. Whether this would still be the case with a Weatherby Magnum or a Nosler cartridge I don't know, the 308 was used because it is the most common big game cartridge here.

In terms of game reacting to the noise it's a bit of a mixed bag response, I have had animals at close range in the bush run into me both with and without the suppressor on after firing a shot, the suppressor certainly reduces the distance the noise carries if you are going to continue hunting afterwards though. Also when hunting in the same general area with friends it is much easier to determine where a shot is fired from if they are not using a suppressor (I'm talking distance of 1-2kms). As an example my cousin recently shot his first sika deer after 3 years of trying within 300 yards of where we were camped. I was heading in the opposite direction and was probably 700-800 yards from him when he fired but thought the shot came from much further away in a different direction, as a result he learned to field dress without assistance! In open country my experience has been more with the lighter calibres, 17HMR, .222 and .223 on rabbits hares and wallabies. The advantage here is much more obvious, assuming you haven't been seen a suppressor generally gets you a second, and often a third shot, unsuppressed you mostly only get one. The animals are certainly aware that something is wrong but don't seem to know where the danger is and often hesitate because they don't know which way is safe to run.

In terms of recoil management, this isn't a reason for me to use a suppressor, my main deer rifle is a 7mm08 which has minimal recoil anyway, but even if this wasn't the case you can manage recoil with practice and good technique as I'm sure you know! Understanding what suppressors do, and that they have benefits and drawbacks is the key here, I'm happy to take advantage of the reduced recoil but everything comes at a price.

Sacrificing muzzle velocity comes down to what you hunt, how you hunt and what the ranges are, it's a question I recently had to ask myself and resulted in selling a rifle and purchasing a new one. Firstly you don't need to shorten a rifle to fit a suppressor so do you really need to shorten it? If you don't then there is no need to give up any muzzle velocity. In NZ it is common practice to convert a rifle into what is called a "bush pig". This generally involves fluting the barrel and bolt as well as shortening the barrel to 16-18 inches and adding a suppressor to reduce the length and weight of the rifle. The concept behind this is similar to why the 30/30 lever action carbine was so successful, as a woods close range rifle they are hard to beat and ideal for much of the terrain in NZ, particularly the North Island. I had a Ruger American S/S in 7mm08 that I shortened to 16 inches as above and it was a wonderful sub 150 yard rifle. The issue is that the way I hunt with this rifle means primarily sub 50 yard shots but very occasionally out to 400 yards, well within a 7mm08's capabilities but not so great with a 16 inch barrel. Shooting at 300 yards on a range one day I saw the drop and subsequently checked the load through a chrono, ouch it wasn't good. I could have rebarreled the Ruger but was never a fan of the stock so I traded it in on a Tikka with a roughtech stock with a medium weight 20 inch barrel. Like everything this choice is a compromise but I am finding the length (24 inches with a suppressor) manageable in tight bush, the velocity even at close ranges is having a noticeable effect and the confidence if a longer range shot is on the cards is there.

I guess basically there is no right or wrong answer, the question is what compromises do you have to make and are they worth it for your purpose?


26 Aug 2022
@ 09:01 pm (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: Suppressor question
well for me it was easy decision to make,my hearing was getting bad.Ive lost the definition of some letters in hearing so really have to concentrate..mike n mark are same over RT... and I LIKE hearing when the good lady whispers sweet nothings to me.
recoil reduction is a huge thing IF you have had issues in past with the dreaded flinch.....yip good technique and sucking it up are tops...but not getting booted helps too...and the reduction in noise helps with same thing...add ear protection and its a very mild experience.
I used to hate shooting yeah not so bad and will recheck my zero more often because of it being suppressed.
keep barrel can always shorten it more later if really think you need to...I had really short rifle and loved it in the tight bush...but started using my full length one and decided it was just as good,so sold off the shorty.
young people who dont shoot much are another good reason on the plus side....
you can set them up to shoot and know it wont put them off.
the 22-250 was an antisocial beast..3 shots and my ears rang for days..suppressed it is a pleasure to shoot and yes animals definately struggle to pick direction where shots come from when using one.
27 Aug 2022
@ 08:23 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Suppressor question
Some good feedback here so I won't add too much more. Everyone has covered the salient points.

Wouldn’t a suppressor make it easier for game to locate the source of the noise?

In my experience, it depends on where you are hunting. If hunting ridge to ridge, I have noticed animals may look toward the direction of fire. In other instances, again depending on terrain / animal location, the suppressor blocks sound from reaching game.

Can you shoot a suppressed rifle without ear protection?

It depends on the suppressor design. Those wanting a unit boasting minimum size / length may have to put up with a higher level of noise. As others have mentioned, one may choose to use ear plugs at the range, then hunt without hearing protection.

Is recoil a big deal with cartridges <= a 30-06?

Again, it depends upon the design. A good suppressor produces noticeable recoil reduction. But as I have stated over and over again, this should not be an excuse to adopt poor shooting methods. A bit like modern cars. Better cars and roads can simply lead to more absent minded drivers.

Is it worth sacrificing muzzle velocity to accommodate a suppressor?

Again it depends, how far you cut down the barrel, the type of cartridge used (cartridge efficiency) etc. You don't have to cut down the barrel of your rifle if you don't want to. The bush pig is an attempt to reduce both weight and bulk. A light weight rifle can be useful, but some people do take this too far. A point is reached where it can become difficult to shoot the rifle offhand, regardless of recoil reduction, should one radically alter the dimensions. As an aside and for perspective, my daughter Riley has been wanting to gain some workshop experience. She is currently 16 years old and weighs a bit over 60kg. I have started her on surface finishing as she has taken an interest in this. I have her set up with a light weight straight grinder, weighing a mere 4kg (8.8lb). It runs at 4800rpm which again may be considered mild. She started with 2 hour runs, now into 4 hour runs (still has a lot of school work to get through before the year is out). In a few months from now, she will probably think that a 6lb rifle is some form of piss take.
28 Aug 2022
@ 06:41 am (GMT)

Scott Struif

Re: Suppressor question
Thanks for all the great info. Vince posted photos several months ago of a hunt he and his friends were on. Some of the photos showed suppressors. I wondered if the idea was to avoid scaring game out of the area. Here in the US, you don’t see suppressors used much on hunting rigs - mostly just on tactical rigs. We have to pay a $200 federal tax to buy a suppressor, which may be why you don’t see them much.


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