300 AAC Blackout is really starting to take off. Almost every manufacturer offers it as an option for their guns, and the ammo is now widely available in big box stores like Academy. It seems like 300 BLK is at the tipping point where, at the very least, it will be self-sustaining and hang around much like other “boutique” calibers like .243 Win and .357 SIG. Part of that appeal comes from the easily suppressed nature of the round, offering subsonic capabilities alongside supersonic capabilities without changing anything. With an eye especially on the 300 BLK market, Liberty Suppressors released their Chaotic 30 caliber suppressor . . .
As a preface, I want to point out that this is not a typical TTAG review. We usually reserve judgment until we’ve put at least a couple hundred rounds through something and tried it out in different conditions. Unfortunately the BATFE here in the U.S. prevents us from getting our hands on silencers for protracted testing unless we go through months of waiting, spend $200 per transfer, and live in certain states. It’s annoying, impractical and cumbersome.
Luckily, though, I recently had a chance to visit the folks at Liberty Suppressors and test all of their cans under their supervision. While the tests may not be as extensive as we would conduct in a standard review, I feel that they were sufficient to allow me to form an educated opinion on the product.
The concept behind the Chaotic was to create the best 300 Blackout suppressor that could possibly be made, and their execution is pretty much spot-on.
When it comes to making silencers, the key is volume. Not sound volume, but physical capacity volume. The bigger your silencer, the more effective it will be. Most silencer companies design their 30 caliber cans with an eye towards keeping the outer diameter (OD) small enough to fit inside the majority of rifle handguards on the market, a cool concept but one that requires a longer overall tube to get sufficient suppression.
With the Chaotic, Liberty decided to make their OD match that of the rails instead of trying to fit inside. That wider diameter (2 inches compared to AAC’s 762-SDN-6’s 1.5 inches) means the silencer can be shorter (6 inches compared to 7.66 inches for the 762-SDN-6) and therefore feel lighter. The farther out on a rifle you place something the more impact that added weight has, so keeping everything compact makes the can feel lighter — even when it’s not (21 ounces compared to 20 ounces with the 762-SDN-6). As a long time owner of the 762-SDN-6, I can definitively state that the Chaotic felt lighter on the rifle.
Another benefit of that extra diameter is increased surface area. As Kevin Brittingham (of AAC and SIG SAUER fame) likes to remind me every time I see him the two things that kill silencers are heat and pressure. The Chaotic manages pressure by having a larger interior volume, and the heat dissipation is aided by having a larger diameter. While the 762-SDN-6 is over an inch and a half longer, the Chaotic has 14% more surface area (100.5 square inches compared to 86.33) which means it dissipates heat faster.
There are, as always, some issues as well.
The Chaotic uses a sealed monocore design for the baffle stack. Monocore designs are excellent for take-apart silencers, but with sealed cans you have the ability to permanently weld together your baffles and make a more complex interior design. SIG SAUER is using that exact design concept for their first entry into the world of silencers, and until 3D metal printing comes of age welded K baffles are still probably the best choice for a quiet rifle can. There’s much more detail that you can put into a welded can’s interior designs than you can with a straight milled monocore design, and that detail is evident in the first round pop you hear with monocore designs that is absent from welded K baffle designs.
issue #2 is the adapter. I’m coming around to the idea that direct thread is the way to go with silencer designs, but there’s still something very appealing about a quick attach system where you can use the same silencer on a number of different rifles with different thread pitches for their threads. The SilencerCo Harvester series expertly bridges that gap by having replaceable end caps with different thread pitches for your different guns, and that same feature is also one of the things I liked best about the Mystic-X. The Chaotic has one thread pitch (5/8×24), and that’s it. If you have something else you’ll need an adapter to make it work.
Issues aside, the real test is how it does on the range. It works. On the range, the silencer feels light and works well. Suppression is excellent, and even supersonic 300 BLK is hearing safe.
Compared to the rest of the competition, it stacks up pretty well. It’s priced on par with the SilencerCo Harvester and the AAC Cyclone, both direct thread .30 caliber silencers in the same field, but the Harvester is rated for larger calibers than either the Cyclone or the Chaotic. As for Gemtech, the only comparable product is the Sandstorm and that is about 50% more money for the same suppression and calibers. Where the Chaotic falls down is the ability to move from one host to another. As long as the thread pitch is the same you’re good to go, but if you’re moving from 5/8×24 to 1/2×28 then you won’t be a happy camper.
Specifications – Liberty Chaotic
Ratings (out of five stars):
Sound Suppression: * * * *
The first round pop is still a problem, but it’s not a deal breaker. It’s perfect for 300 BLK, but it works for .308 Winchester and smaller as well.
Build Quality: * * * * *
I’ve got no complaints about the quality of their product. The tube feels solid, and everything looks great.
Ease of Use: * * * *
Screw on, screw off. Sealed tube means no cleaning, though. One star off for only one thread pitch.
Overall Rating: * * *
Compared to anything AAC has to offer, this blows them out of the water on every spec. But the SilencerCo Harvester has them beat on ease of use, caliber compatibility, and suppression for the same price. It’s a good silencer, but compared to the competition it looks to be the very definition of a “middle of the road” choice.