Tyler Kee is in the process of reviewing a Ruger 22/45 Lite. And while the gun is fun in and of itself, we realized something incredibly important this past weekend: adding a silencer makes the gun about 100 times more fun to shoot. Even something as relatively big and unwieldy as an AAC Ti-Rant 9mm silencer, designed to be used on centerfire handgun ammunition, works amazingly well and damn near eliminates the sound of the gun firing. To illustrate just how quiet the can makes the gun, we recorded shooting CCI Subsonic loads, Federal Suppressor Ready subsonic loads, and Winchester full velocity ammo. Shhhhhhh!

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30 Responses to VIDEO: Testing Subsonic 22lr Ammo in a Suppressed Ruger 22/45 Lite

  1. Wondering what the actual muzzle-exit velocity was on the standard Winchester ammo. Did the velocity actually exceed the speed of sound? It certainly didn’t sound like it.

      • NO, it most certainly did not. .22 LR ammo is near-universally tested/made for rifles and the velocity stats you see on the box are almost always from a 16″ barrel — the exception being some “self defense” loads that will specifically state “short barrel” or the like. So a lot of these hotter loads are rated for like ~1,280 FPS from a 16″ barrel and they are subsonic from a pistol. The sonic boom CRACK of even a .22 breaking the sound barrier is extremely obvious. You would know, without a doubt, if any of the rounds in this video had gone supersonic.

        When I shoot Winchester 333 or 555 bulk stuff, which is rated in that 1,280 fps or so range, it’s subsonic from a pistol about 95% of the time. Maybe 1 round in 20 will be loaded a little hot and it will go supersonic from a ~4.7″ barrel + the suppressor (which adds about 2% to the velocity). I saw this on a 22/45 as well as on my CZ Kadet Kit .22 lr upper. American Eagle and Blazer and CCI Standard & Mini-Mags and Remington Golden Bullet and Reminton Target loads and Aguila bulk and Winchester Super-X and a handful of others seem to be just slightly slower and are all consistently subsonic from a pistol in my experience.

        Bottom line: shoot the bulk stuff from a pistol because it’s almost definitely going to be subsonic unless you’re using hyper velocity stuff (Stingers, etc).

        Finding a load that’s subsonic from a 16″ barrel and will cycle the action of a semi-auto is more difficult. The new American Eagle Suppressor ammo works perfectly. I haven’t been able to find CCI Standard in stock since I got my can so can’t say one way or the other. I’m SURE there are other loads on the market that will work, but so far I’ve shot like 10 different brands and they’re either supersonic or won’t cycle the action. Except for Am Eag Suppressor, which works like a charm and has been fairly available recently.

        Check out the second video in the review for subsonic vs. supersonic and you can see how obvious that sonic boom is: http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/02/jeremy-s/ammo-review-american-eagle-suppressor-22-lr-9mm/

        • BTW this can depend on the local speed of sound where you’re shooting. The velocity of the ammo stays pretty darn constant but the speed of sound where you are can vary. When it’s 10 degrees F outside here in the winter, the speed of sound is ~1,062 fps and when it’s 100 degrees F outside here in the summer, the speed of sound is ~1,159 fps. There are plenty of rounds that are consistently in the middle of that range and will be supersonic in winter and subsonic in summer. No joke. Absolutely confirmed in my own shooting out near my family’s lake cabin last summer vs. over this winter (9mm and .22).

  2. for the most part, any 22LR standard velocity shoots subsonic in my 22/45 using a TBAC S-1 can. The subsonic is a little quieter and in 40 grain or larger cycles the action. I like the Norma Tac22 subsonic for close (less than 20 yards) and standard federal 36 grain HP for longer shooting, But with a can and an under rail laser, a suppressed 22/45 is a barn burner for low to no light shooting on varmints, regardless of ammo.

  3. Interesting the Ruger cycles with subsonic ammunition. My SiG/GSG 1911-22 does not cycle any subsonic ammo. Not enough recoil energy to move the mass of the slide. It goes bang and just sits there.

    • As mentioned in lots of other comments here, the vast majority of .22 lr ammo is subsonic from a pistol. Even if it’s rated for 1,300 fps on the box, it’s probably leaving your pistol at ~1,050 fps…

      • That is true but the chamber pressure is the same whether its fired from a 20″ barel or a 5″. Any standard or high velicoty ammo will cycle the slide. However, the subsonic rounds do not.

        • If you use 40 grain rounds they will cycle, the 36 grain stuff can be iffy.

          I would personally recommend CCI Standard.

        • If you use a can, subsonic 36 grain ammo should cycle. The can adds just enough back pressure to get the job done.

        • “However, the subsonic rounds do not.”

          I agree with the above comments and reiterate that the only purpose to care about whether you’re shooting subsonic ammo or not is if you have a suppressor. If you did, you would find that some of these rounds suddenly cycle reliably thanks to that extra backpressure and time under pressure.

          My guess is that the American Eagle Suppressor ammo would cycle your GSG though. It cycled every semi-auto .22 that I tried it in with or without a suppressor. That said, in my experience semi-auto .22 pistols where only a small bolt (a la Ruger Mark series or 22/45) or portion of the ‘slide’ (a la CZ Kadet or Browning Buckmark, etc) reciprocates are much more reliable than ones where the entire slide moves.

          BTW you can create subsonic ammo without changing chamber pressure. For instance, Aguila SSS is a .22 LR round with a 60 grain bullet. By increasing the mass of the bullet you slow it down while still providing full power. Various powder types can create vastly different chamber pressures while making the same velocity with the same bullet. Everything else being equal, your generalization about chamber pressure is true. But everything else is not equal. Subsonic does not necessarily mean lower chamber pressure.

    • True.

      Also match ammo or so-called “standard velocity” ammo is subsonic by nature. My personal favorite is CCI Standard Velocity, perfect blend between price, accuracy and reliability (and it is cheaper than federal bulk pack if you buy a case of 5000 rounds).

  4. I don’t have much experience/knowledge with silencers. So I could buy one silencer (paying for the stamp) for a 9mm and be able to use it fine with a smaller caliber round? Does that work upwards? Could I buy a silencer for a .40 or .45 and use it on a 9mm weapon as well? Considering having to pay for the stupid stamp, it would be nice to only have to buy one to use on multiple platforms.

    • Yes. There are other variables though like mounts. To use it on various calibers like that you would need a different booster for the .40 and .45 considering the thread sizes are probably different and a different one for 9mm. Then you’d need a fixed mount for .22 lr since the barrels are fixed and you can have baffle strikes trying to run a can with a booster on a fixed barrel. And .45 ACP is a lower pressure round so there’s a solid chance that many .45-specific cans would NOT be rated to handle the pressure of a .40 S&W round. 9mm probably okay. .22 for sure. But again, not all cans even have swappable mounts/boosters so that would put the brakes on the whole idea right away.

      I went with a Liberty Mystic. It’s a 9mm can but it has swappable mounts and is overbuilt. It can handle almost anything that’s 9mm or smaller in diameter, including .223/5.56 and .300 BLK. Some bigger rifle rounds as well as long as it’s a subsonic load (subsonic .308, for instance, or .30-30 or whatever). 7.62×39 and such is fine as long as your gun has concentric threads. Any pistol round smaller in diameter than 9mm. Any rimfire round. It’s also one of the quietest 9mm cans on the market and it’s freakin’ silent on .22 lr (but it’s huge compared to a .22-specific can). As quiet as anything else on 5.56. You get a lot of bang for your buck!!! http://libertycans.net/mystic/

    • It needs to be smaller in diameter, (barring .308 vs .311 and such), lower pressure, and match the threads. The closer the bullet diameter is to the exit diameter, the more effective (so as to minimize pressure blow-by) And yes, the stamp is absolutely moronic.

      • I would go for the Mystic, mainly due to the appeal of using it on the main rifles (7.62×39 or 5.56) and the pistols + it is “take-apart” which makes it good for .22 LR.

        I personally don’t have that problem (suppressors aren’t controlled where I live) but for you guys something like the Mystic is perfect (is there a “bigger version which can be used on .308 and the like?). I mean it is better to pay one stamp for almost all of your gats than it is to pay a bunch of stamps (though I would recommend getting a integrally suppressed .22 pistol sooner or later).

  5. Sure, it sounds awesome, but where the hell do I buy it? I just got the barrel on my M&P-15 22 cut and a can pinned on the end, but I can’t find any subsonic ammo to shoot through it.

  6. Not really advisable to shoot 22LR through a Ti-Rant silencer, even though it does work. The baffles are aluminum except for the first blast baffle. The rate of lead buildup inside a silencer from 22LR is pretty fast. And cleaning lead completely off aluminum baffles without damaging them is near impossible. Instead, use a silencer with an all stainless steel baffle stack.

    • Yep, its definitely better to buy a dedicated rimfire suppressor, and then try to find a good “do all” can(there really isn’t one 🙂 )

      • There are quite a few .22 LR rounds with fully plated or jacketed bullets, which takes care of leading.

        Lots of 9mm and other cans can be end-user disassembled and have stainless steel and/or titanium parts, which means you can scrub or chisel lead deposits off and/or put the parts in an ultrasonic tank.

        The Liberty Mystic is probably as close as anyone has come to a “do all” can. The range of calibers it can handle is HUGE, and it’s one of the very quietest 9mm, .22 lr, .300 blk, .223/5.56, etc cans on the market. And it comes apart for cleaning and can go in an ultrasonic tank. It’s very stout as you would expect (handles rifle rounds and full auto in many calibers).

    • If you look at the AAC ammunition guidelines brochure, it states in bold red font:
      “DO NOT fire .22LR ammunition through a Ti-RANT or EVOLUTION series suppressor. ” It does not distinguish between lead or copper plated, it simply states NO .22LR.

  7. Do the rest of you think that videos like these give antis more reason to fight hard for suppressor bans?

  8. Cool video…stuff like this pushes me closer and closer to setting up a trust and getting some NFA goodies on the way.

    Nick,
    The bolt on Ruger Mark III’s and 22/45’s should be dropped by “slingshotting” the bolt, not by the slide release. You’ll eventually (15000 rounds or so) wear it out, and the bolt will not lock open after the last round. Go ahead, ask me how I know. I’ve got a new slide release on the way from Ruger to fix the issue on my Mark III Hunter. You’ll have to put a LOT of rounds through it before you actually wear it out, but it will happen.

    • That’s a common suggestion for basically any semi-automatic pistol. Some people even cringe at referring to that part as a slide release rather than a slide lock. Some pistols care (and wear) more than others.

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