Using firearm suppressors (silencers) for hunting has become very popular over the last decade. This is probably partly due to the immense popularity of the 300 Blackout rifle cartridge, which was really the first commercially available centerfire rifle cartridge ideally suited for suppressed fire. It’s also partly due to the realization of the benefits a suppressor offers to the average shooter. They substantially reduce noise, reduce recoil, reduce muzzle flash, and in many cases increase the precision of the firearm. As popular as they have become, many shooters do not understand how they work. In addition, questions linger about the legality of their ownership, and the process required to obtain one. Read on and we’ll address them all.
Suppressors are becoming more and more popular for hunting rifles. Should you make the leap? Read on and decide if a suppressor is right for you.
How Firearm Suppressors Work
When you shoot a gun there is a tremendous amount of pressure—sometimes as high as 60,000 psi—and a lot of gas that pushes the bullet down the barrel. When the bullet exits the barrel this pressure and gas follow it, and noise is made. This noise comes from the bullet achieving supersonic flight and gas blasting from the muzzle of your gun. The more pressure and gas that’s generated, the louder the sound that’s created. The tube that is a suppressor is segmented inside with baffles. The gas exiting the muzzle is detained inside the suppressor and must negotiate these baffles before exiting. The longer the gas is contained inside the suppressor, the cooler it gets, and the slower it moves. This means that when it ultimately does escape, there’s less noise.
Suppressors contain baffles, which is what reduces the noise. They will need to be cleaned after use; the construction of some suppressors (such as the Banish shown here) makes this easy.
A supersonic 22 LR cartridge generates about 140 decibels when fired from a rifle. A 223 Remington will be about 15 percent louder. Most conventional suppressors will reduce the noise of a gunshot by around 35 decibels. Interestingly, most commercial earplugs and earmuffs only reduce the sound of a gunshot by between about 15 and 33 decibels. Subsonic ammunition, which has a velocity of less than 1130 fps, is about 20 decibels—depending on barrel length—quieter than supersonic ammunition. When you combine a suppressor with subsonic ammo you get a tremendous noise reduction.
Various firearms will have different muzzle thread patterns, so an adapter may be necessary to fit your suppressor.
Clear Advantages Of Firearm Suppressors
Aside from the recoil reduction and the sometimes-increased precision of the firearm, the advantages of shooting with a suppressor should be clear. Suppressors drastically reduce noise pollution that may cause neighbors to complain, and they offer substantial hearing protection. If you’re a new shooter, you may not be able to appreciate this. I on the other hand can. Over half a century I’ve shot way too much without proper hearing protection and have substantial hearing loss. Due to tinnitus, which can be caused by loud noises, I have a persistent ringing in my ears. It is untreatable and unpleasant.
For hunters a suppressor will reduce recoil and noise. This can help you make better shots and spook less game.
Hunting With Firearm Suppressors
One aspect of suppressor use that is not often considered is the benefit they offer hunters. Hunters rarely wear hearing protection because hearing, just like sight, is one of the senses that’s critical to hunting. A suppressor provides hunters with hearing protection without limiting their ability to hear. But that’s not the only advantage suppressors offer hunters. Suppressors also help to prevent game animals from being spooked when a shot is taken. This can be very important if you miss your first shot or if you’re shooting at multiple animals at the same time, much like you might when calling predators or hunting feral hogs.
As of now, suppressors are legal to own in 42 states and legal to be used for hunting in 40 states. Obviously, check your state and local laws regarding suppressor ownership and use for hunting because laws change. If you do choose to hunt with a suppressor it will very likely alter your point of impact; you’ll need to re-zero your rifle with the suppressor attached.
A protective sleeve is an important suppressor accessory because after firing a few rounds the suppressor becomes very hot.
Purchasing Firearm Suppressors
The Firearms Act of 1934 stipulated the registration of suppressors and instituted a $200 tax be levied when purchasing one. Suppressor ownership is not illegal, it is just controlled. To purchase one, you must fill out the BATF forms 4 and 533.20. Registering as an individual requires fingerprinting and a photograph, and paying the $200 tax. After approval you can then pick up your suppressor and you’re issued a tax stamp for it. You can use that suppressor on any gun you want but can only allow others to use it if they are in your presence. Some shooters opt to form a trust or a corporation for suppressor ownership. If this is done it makes sharing the suppressor—with trustees or employees—easier.
A nice feature of the Banish 30 suppressor is that it can easily be configured to a shorter length by the end user.
Some Necessary Hurdles
Though the process is easier now than it used to be, there are still some hurdles that must be jumped. These hurdles often discourage many shooters from getting a suppressor. That’s where Silencer Central comes in. Silencer Central is an on-line suppressor dealer but in truth they’re much more. They make the registration and approval process much easier by handling all the paperwork for you. Silencer Central even provides you with the required fingerprint cards and instructions for completing them. They can also help you set up a trust and arrange the transfer of a suppressor to that trust or to a corporation. The best thing about Silencer Central is that they will do all of this for you at no charge, if you purchase a suppressor from them.
After use, the internals of a suppressor become very dirty. The Banish 30 suppressor offers easy disassembly, cleaning, and reassembly in a matter of minutes.
Silencer Central also lets you make payments. Let’s say you purchase a $900 suppressor from Silencer Central and pay the $200 for the tax stamp. You will have to wait from between three to six months for paperwork processing and approval. Silencer Central will let you make payments during that time. This, combined with the application assistance they offer, substantially reduces the complication and financial burden of acquiring a suppressor. And, with Silencer Central, after approval they can be shipping they can be shipping your suppressor directly to your doorstep. With more than 16 years of experience, Silencer Central has become the foremost authority when it comes to suppressor sales. It does not get any easier than this.
A Wealth Of Info
In addition to being a dealer for suppressors—one that can make the purchasing and registration process painless—the Silencer Central website and staff are a treasure trove of information about silencers. On their website you can learn all about the purchasing process, and about suppressor laws and ownership. In addition, you can learn about the barrel threading that is necessary for using a suppressor on any firearm. If the website is not enough, you can give them a call for one-on-one guidance. Regarding barrel threading, many new firearms come with threaded barrels. However, if you want to use a suppressor on a gun with an unthreaded barrel, Silencer Central can thread your barrel for only $99.99. Silencer Central threads more than 3,000 barrels for customers every year.
This Banish 30 suppressor can work with all these cartridges; any cartridge of .30-caliber or smaller. (Left to right: 22 LR, 300 HAMR, 6.5 Creedmoor, 308 Winchester)
In addition to offering suppressors from a variety of manufacturers, Silencer Central also manufactures their own suppressors. Their Banish line of suppressors offer direct-thread attachment and are available for everything from the 22 LR up to the 45-70. Banish suppressors are also completely user serviceable; they offer easy disassembly, and keying and indexing for easy reassembly. Prices range from around $500 for the Banish 22 LR suppressor, to as much as $1,700 for the Banish 30 Gold Package, which comes with a full complement of accessories. Silencer Central is very confident in their Banish line of suppressors. If your Banish suppressor doesn’t significantly reduce the report and recoil of your firearm they’ll buy it back within 30 days, no questions asked.
With the services provided by Silencer Central, the complicated application process is no longer an excuse not to own a suppressor.
Losing Size And Weight
I have a Banish 30 suppressor and it will work with any caliber rifle up to .308. It is nine inches long and weighs 13 ounces. However, the Banish Suppressor is unique in that it is user-adjustable to a seven-inch configuration. When shortened, the Banish loses 30 percent of its weight. This shorter length is especially handy if you’re working in confined spaces. Good examples are in a tactical environment or maybe hunting from a compact blind or shoot house. And the lighter weight is helpful if you’re going deep into the backcountry. Or you might want to eliminate the added muzzle weight suppressors add to a fast-handling or lightweight rifle.
A .30-caliber suppressor like this Banish 30 will also work with a 22 LR and still significantly reduce the noise.
I mostly use the Banish 30 suppressor on my custom Model Seven Scout Rifle. However, because it is a multi-caliber suppressor, I also frequently use it on a Springfield-Armory Waypoint chambered for the 6.5 Creedmoor. I also use it on my Wilson Combat Protector Carbine chambered for the 300 HAMR, and on a Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22 in 22 LR. With the smaller calibers the amount of noise reduction is not as much. However, it is still substantial and enough to reduce the concerns of hearing damage and limit noise signature while hunting.
With the services provided by Silencer Central, the complicated application process is no longer an excuse not to own a suppressor. Yes, suppressors are somewhat expensive, in some cases they can cost more than the gun
you might put them on. However, if you’re smart when you buy, you can get a suppressor that will be compatible with more than one firearm. Given all that, and the fact that Silencer Central allows you to make payments, there are not many valid excuses left.
The author is a firm believer in suppressors for a variety of reasons that include effective hearing protection.
Of course, I’m not saying a suppressor is right for everyone. You might like to wear double ear protection, and you might like pissing your neighbors off when you shoot. Also, you might not like how the added weight of a suppressor changes the balance and handling characteristics of your firearm. That’s fine and I understand all of that. I don’t always use a suppressor; a lot of the shooting I do is without one. However, if you wait until you need a suppressor to start the buying process, you’re going to have that three- to six-month wait. Better off to make the investment now so that you will have it when you really need it. And be able to protect your ears while hunting and avoid the demon called tinnitus.