Do Slilencers Improve Accuracy

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  • Last Post 27 July 2023
John Alexander posted this 22 July 2023

I have heard shooters at the range claim that silencers improved accuracy, I never took it too seriously since I thought Dr. Mann had laid to rest the notion that muzzle blast after the bullet leaves the muzzle caused inaccuracy with a series of experiments about 120 years ago.

But then in the current issue of "Rifle Shooter" an article on the Banish 46 suppressor cited with and without tests on two rifles that showed improvements in accuracy of 40 percent for one and 35 for the other. This made me think more on the subject.

I realized, of course, suppressors might improve accuracy, just as hanging any weight on a rifle barrel might improve accuracy such as Browning’s discontinued BOSS device or another “tuner”.  It also seems that it might degrade accuracy.

Maybe hanging a small weight near the muzzle of a rifle, especially a skinny barrel, might  be a cheap and easy way to improve accuracy.  Of course, it might make it worse.

What do we know about the effect of silencers on accuracy?

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Ross Smith posted this 22 July 2023

FWIW: I have always felt that 1/2 of flinching, closing your eyes , or jerking the trigger, was caused by noise. Less noise- better gun control.

 

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45 2.1 posted this 22 July 2023

There sure has been a lot of verbiage written about muzzle tuners and silencers. Perhaps a good read would enlighten everyone about what they do.... for jacketed and for cast.

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John Alexander posted this 22 July 2023

Good point Ross. I have also wondered the same possibilities working the other way when hunters put on a an infernal muzzle brake. Does the increase in blast back in your face cancel out gains in recoil reduction?

John

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Waleone posted this 22 July 2023

I recently tried 4 different subsonic loads in my 300 BLK with the Lyman 311284 bullet. My results so far at 50 yds.; 2 shot better through the suppressor, 1 shot better without the suppressor and 1 shot the same - suppressed or unsuppressed. Unfortunately, the load that shot the best suppressed turned out to be supersonic after all, so I am still looking for the best subsonic suppressed load. I guess my results could best be summed up as "it depends"!

Wayne

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Aaron posted this 23 July 2023

    But then in the current issue of "Rifle Shooter" an article on the Banish 46 suppressor cited with and without tests on two rifles that showed improvements in accuracy of 40 percent for one and 35 for the other.

 

I must admit I am skeptical of the "40% improvement" reported in an article. For example, that's a 2" group reduced to 1.2" at whatever range they tested to. The suppressor may have reduced shooter flinch and thereby improved their marksmanship, but to decrease inherent mechanical "accuracy" by 40% is hard to believe.

 

 

 

 

With rifle in hand, I confidently go forth into the darkness.

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linoww posted this 23 July 2023

Aaron- a younger fellow(nice guy) at our range claims the 30-40% accuracy gain with suppressor.I asked him to take it off and shoot a group to compare .He then admitted to never actually shooting it un suppressed! He and his buddies have the Magnetospeeds on their barrels, shoot big boomers like 300 ultra and such.They shoot 3 shots, then it's "optimal node" , blah blah.They claim to work up a perfect load In less than 6 shots! Hell those big guns gotta have a flinch factor even if they were .25" accurate. I must be dumb, it takes me 3 or 4 trips to convince myself my pet load is repeatable.

"if it was easy we'd let women do it" don't tell my wife I said that!

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Aaron posted this 23 July 2023

To actually measure performance increase (or decrease) in a firearm, one MUST uncouple the human element. The firearm or "platform" if you like needs to be evaluated whilst shooting it in a rock solid bench shooting jig. When it is tuned to its highest potential, it can then be coupled with a precision shooter to evaluate the combination potential. At that point, the rifle accuracy potential can NEVER increase from the bench standard. The shooters potential efficacy MAY increase due to the precision equipment now in use.

In service, we were constantly evaluated to ensure our hit ratio was at a peak. A pause of a few months of range time had MEASURABLE effect on a shooters hit ratio. I was always stunned to see the actual measured decrease in performance of the shooter/equipment combination. Of course the firearm had nothing to do with the decreased performance. It was 100% the human element. Still, stunning to see it and had you told me that would happen, I would have not truly believed it to be the case. Once trained - always a skill, right? NOPE

If at the top of the game is 100%, a 3-month hiatus would bring the hit potential to 80% or 85%. It would take a few weeks to get back to 100%. The shooter MUST maintain the trigger time to keep the performance edge. When I was stateside and based, we had to shoot 500 rounds per day on the range. They used to drive a 8-foot pickup truck out there FILLED with ammo. Take your pick of firearm from the arsenal and go practice. We actually got our fill of that quickly. We either froze to death or sweated to death. The Gunny used to tell us either do the Range Time (RT) or Physical Training (PT). RT or PT Sergeant.

 

 

With rifle in hand, I confidently go forth into the darkness.

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Larry Gibson posted this 23 July 2023

I've been shooting suppressed firearms since the mid to late '60s, my own since '81.  While I've not specifically tested for increased accuracy, I have made several observations.  Bottom line is with sonic rifle cartridges in thinner (sporter) weight barrels an accuracy increase is likely to the extent of 30 - 40% as mentioned.  With heavier target/varmint weight barrels the increase in accuracy, if any, is generally less.  If both are zeroed at say 200 yards w/o the suppressor the heavier barreled rifle will require less elevation adjustment to bring it back to zero when the suppressors are added.  I believe this is simply because the weight of the suppressor does bend the barrel down a bit, the weight dampens the barrel harmonics and the added weight along with the suppressor design can reduce recoil. Of course, this refers to free floated barrels.  Additionally, if you have a super accurate rifle that shoots well under moa then adding a suppressor will probably not improve accuracy or at least not to a noticeable or consistently provable amount. 

As an example, I recently rebuilt my 30 cal suppressor [I am the manufacturer as I built it in '81] and have put it on my 308W pressure test rifle.  The rifle has a 24" sporter weight barrel.  It's had many test rounds through it and currently, w/o the suppressor, shoots 1 1/2 moa with 5 shot groups at 200 yards with a hunting load using the Hornady 165 SPBT over IMR4895 at 2700 fps and  moa with the same load under a 168 MK.  With the suppressor added it now shoots moa with the 165 gr load and sub moa with the 168 MK load.  

Bedded barrels or rifle actions not conducive to much bedding improvements will generally not show any accuracy improvement.  My standard ARs w/o floated barrels are an example, However, on Match M14s the addition of the Sionics Suppressor almost always improved accuracy.  Match ARs with floated barrels also usually give better accuracy suppressed.  Again, these examples are with sonic full power ammunition of 7.62 or 5.56 flavor.  

With subsonic munitions and/or smaller pistol cartridges used in handguns or atypical rifles for those cartridges an increase in accuracy is not to be expected.  My 22LRs, 22 Hornet, 223 Contender, M1 30 Carbine and M98 Mauser 45 ACP are examples.  Of course, any suppressed subgun is still just a subgun and any accuracy improvement would be difficult to demonstrate.  

LMG

Concealment is not cover.........

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John Alexander posted this 25 July 2023

Where there's smoke there may be fire.  It seems like there is a fair amount of informal evidence that a suppressor might improve your scores.  Why have I never seen one at a match. Some shooters go through extreme nit picking in their loading procedures in the vain hope that more uniformity will improve groups -- there is practically no proof that these have any effect. Maybe trying a suppressor would be a better bet.

At least it would be easier on the ears and the ears of those on nearby benches.

John

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RicinYakima posted this 25 July 2023

Sorry, can't do that as they are now contraband in my state. 

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Waleone posted this 25 July 2023

John, there seems to be a hesitancy among the suppressor crowd to shoot lead bullets due to some well founded concerns;

  • A baffle strike due to the gas check coming off the bullet after the bullet leaves the bore, but before the bullet leaves the suppressor.
  • Lead build up in the suppressor.

Some have expressed their belief that it just is not worth taking a chance of the above happening. I make check that I am getting a good crimp when seating and sizing gas checks on bullets from each casting session to ensure the checks stay on. If I was really worried about gas checks coming off, I guess I could use a spot of superglue to bond them when seating. As far as lead build up, purchasing a serviceable suppressor and periodic inspection and cleaning takes care of that concern for me.

I am far from an expert on the subject as I have only recently taken this path in the world of shooting, just my observations so far.

Ric, I truly do not understand how the fear of suppressors has lasted since the era of the 1934 National Firearms Act. To me, it would be like banning mufflers on motor vehicles. The news media, politicians and Hollywood have the general public so snowballed about them, just like many other firearms related subjects.  

Wayne

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Larry Gibson posted this 25 July 2023

Ric

Are you sure?  I was just up there and had two of them.  Was told they are still legal to own and use there?  A googlle search shows they still are?

Waleone

Over 42 years I've shot a lot of cast bullets through several different suppressors.  That included cast bullets with GCs.  I've never found the GCs to come off inside a suppressor.  However, that was with Hornady crimp GCs and well fitting Lyman slip on GCs at subsonic up through 2000+ fps velocities.  Thus, your first concern has never proven to be a problem.  Not sure I would use thinner homemade GCs from aluminum of soda/beer cans though.  

With naked, lubed cast bullets the problem of lead and lube deposits is a real concern.  PB'd GCs seemingly leave greater deposits than GC'd bullets.  Type of lube, amount of lube, velocity and barrel twist rate also play a part in the amount of deposit in the suppressor.  Thus, in my own sealed suppressors I only shoot subsonic GC'd bullets lubed with a light coat of LLA.  In self serviceable [take apart] suppressors regular maintenance should be done.  As an example, I will disassemble and clean my 45 ACP suppressor after 150 - 200 (max) rounds of PB'd cast bullets lubed with BAC, 2500+ or any other similar lube.  

In my opinion, suppressors would not really be suitable for CBA competition because of the fore mentioned and the problems associated with heat retention.  The suppressor captures a large percentage of the heat created by the powder burn and retains that heat within the system [bore and suppressor].  Even when a small pump is used between shots to evac the bore and suppressor a large amount of heat is still retained.  Mirage, even with a barrel diffuser, becomes a real problem after just a few rounds.  In timed relays shooting 10 or 20 shots this becomes a real problem.  

LMG

Concealment is not cover.........

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linoww posted this 25 July 2023

Larry- They are legal to own but barrels with threads on the end are now illegal.you can keep the ones you have but can't pass it on to your family. And get this if you take your threaded barrel out hunting in another state, you can't bring it back in....

"if it was easy we'd let women do it" don't tell my wife I said that!

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RicinYakima posted this 25 July 2023

"Thankfully the new law, which is undeniably unconstitutional, does not outright ban suppressors. However, it does ban threaded barrels and suppressors on the majority of semi-automatic rifles and pistols."

So if you already own a lever action, bolt action or single shot with a threated barrel, you can buy a suppressor. IF YOU DO NOT ALREADY OWN one, no you can not. You can not buy, sell, give away, bequest or "transfer" those barrels to another resident of the state. However, it appears that you could take it to an FFL dealer and sell it to/thru another FFL to a resident of a state where it would be legal to own. 

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Larry Gibson posted this 25 July 2023

Must be another reason I moved to Arizona 12 years ago......

LMG

Concealment is not cover.........

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Shuz posted this 25 July 2023

If I was not in my 80's, I 'd move to north Idaho. Same weather as Spokane, but not the liberal politics that enacted such stoopid laws!

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John Alexander posted this 26 July 2023

OK, it sounds like there are some reasons to avoid suppressors with cast bullets.

Assuming the 30-40 % accuracy gains are sometimes seen and that that effect in because of the weight on the end of the barrel,  why aren't some of us trying weights with mass similar to a suppressor to see if we can get similar results.  Cheap and easy to check it out.  Maybe even worth trying a tunner especially on skinny barrels. I don't know if  the rimfire benchrest folks claimed 30% but weren't most of those on short stiff barrels?

John

 

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MarkinEllensburg posted this 26 July 2023

OK, it sounds like there are some reasons to avoid suppressors with cast bullets.

Assuming the 30-40 % accuracy gains are sometimes seen and that that effect in because of the weight on the end of the barrel,  why aren't some of us trying weights with mass similar to a suppressor to see if we can get similar results.  Cheap and easy to check it out.  Maybe even worth trying a tunner especially on skinny barrels. I don't know if  the rimfire benchrest folks claimed 30% but weren't most of those on short stiff barrels?

John

 Perhaps many find the exercise pointless since adding weight to a barrel, especially a thin one would preclude being allowed in CBA competition. Why go through the work involved to see? Heavy and unlimited are the only classes where an added suppressor would fit and those classes seem to not need accuracy enhancements. Adding weight to a heavy rifle might also not be possible and remain within weight limits just to see if the adding of muzzle weight enhances accuracy. I wonder though if any have tried profiling a heavy barrel with weight forward. Many AR barrels are contoured with a larger diameter forward. 

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RicinYakima posted this 27 July 2023

22LR shooters went thru this in the 1990’s for BR 50 matches. You could tune for one lot # of ammo but it never carried over to anything else.

There we were chasing.1 MOA groups at 50 yards.

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