Dakota Silencer Muzzle Madness Supressor Shootout .308
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By: Brandon L. Maddox, Sioux Falls, SD

Dakota Silencer has decided to liven up the traditionally slow sales month of July with one of the most American things possible – a huge silencer test shoot. With nine different locations including our flagship Sioux Falls location, we take pride in knowing what the customer wants, and what they want right now is to buy a .30 caliber silencer and use it on all their centerfire rifles from .30 on down. We know the government hassle of acquiring a silencer makes folks just want to buy one and be done with it. But we also want to know how much value our customers get when they shoot their .30 caliber silencer on a smaller caliber rifle.

So, we got a BUNCH of silencers together, grabbed our favorite .308 and .223 bolt guns and headed for the range…

Most of our customers are from the upper Midwest, and all the way out to Wyoming and Montana. These hunters know their guns and gear, and favor lightweight, quiet suppressors for both their big game rifle and their varmint rifles. When we started business in 2005, like many silencer dealers, we focused on the growing tactical rifle and gear market, but quickly found the hunting market was underserved and in need of a silencer that wasn’t just hearing safe, but rather whisper quiet.

While it was easy to grab a bunch of silencers and start shooting, getting a true, objective understanding of what was going on was harder. We know what a .30 silencer can do on most common .30 rifles. They are tested and built for those rounds. Rarely is a silencer tested for smaller than designed calibers.

It is a testimony to modern silencer design that a .30 silencer can work well on say a .270 or a .223 gun. But how well does it work? Back in 2009 we decided to invest in the equipment to answer that question. Sparing no expense, we invested in mil-spec (MIL-STD-1474D) sound testing equipment*.

In short order, we had an advanced silencer testing laboratory normally only found in the hands of leading manufacturers, and completely unheard of among dealers. In fact, we had to turn to a prominent European test instrument manufacturer to get sensitive enough sound meters and microphones for our test lab.

The end result though is an ability to offer scientifically accurate information about the performance of silencers in conditions manufacturers never tested them for. Or as we like to call it, real world testing that matters to real world hunters and shooters.

We have long planned to test around 25-30 silencers, but the burdens of ATF compliance have made this a difficult proposition. Now that there are nearly instant transfers on a Form 3 (wholesaler to dealer transfers), we were ready to go!

What makes this massive silencer shoot even more exciting was the chance to work with the good folks at Media by JP who created some incredible videos for us and captured the real heart of our massive silencer test session.

Now of course sitting down to decide what silencers to shoot was difficult. Using our extensive sales database, we logically started with our own best sellers from the last three years. Then we selected some locally made silencers, a couple that were brand new to the market, and one that just looked interesting.

We had planned to limit ourselves to sixteen different silencers so we could go with the easy to market “Sweet Sixteen” tagline, but heck. This is America. Why should we limit ourselves to how many silencers we were going to shoot just because it made headline writing easier? We went for a whopping 27 different thirty caliber silencers for this real-world test.

What follows is the most important information we learned. We worked with two very fine rifles, a .308 Remington Model 700, and a .223 Tikka T3. The question was not only how would these silencers work on the Remington, but how well could they work on the Tikka?

After all, if you can get away with owning one silencer for your big game rifle and your varmint rifle, your wallet (and spouse) will be happier. We care about our customers, and if they want a universal silencer, we’ll find them the best one, even if it costs us sales!

Take a good look at our results, and see for yourself. Twenty-seven silencers, one glorious range session. A scientific silencer test like this has never been done before by any dealer, and is unlikely to happen again any time soon. We hope you find this of value in your future silencer purchases.

30 cal silencer MSRP w/brake Weight (oz) Materials Weight Rank Avg .308 db .308 db drop Rank Avg .223 db .223 db drop Rank
1 AAC 762 SD $699 25.00 SS 20 138.00 11 134.13 10
2 AAC 762 SDN6 $895 23.80 SS 17 140.64 17 137.10 18
3 Black Aces Po Boy 30 $200 29.80 S/SS 25 147.51 27 143.10 26
4 Coastal Guns LRT 762 $550 32.20 S 27 146.15 26 139.94 20
5 Dead Air Sandman L $1,199 26.40 SS 22 138.54 13 133.75 7
6 Dead Air Sandman S $1,049 21.60 SS 13 144.97 24 139.64 19
7 Gemtech Dagger .300WSM $1,099 15.00 Ti 6 138.70 14 134.85 13
8 Griffin Armament Recce 7 $895 19.80 SS 10 141.89 18 136.06 14
9 Lane Scorpion Magnum SST $675 19.80 S/Ti 10 136.71 9 133.84 8
10 Mack Brother’s MB762L $995 23.20 Ti/SS 15 135.74 5 134.34 11
11 Mack Brother’s MB762S $950 20.20 Ti/SS 12 137.96 10 136.39 16
12 OSS IFM7 Gen 5 7.62 $2,000 30.60 SS 26 144.53 21 141.46 22
13 OSS Elite 7.62 $1,631 27.40 SS 24 145.52 25 141.93 24
14 OSS HX 7.62 $1,000 26.40 SS 22 144.72 23 140.52 21
15 Rugged Surge $1,300 25.00 SS 20 136.39 7 133.52 6
16 SRT Shadow XL TI 30 $1,245 18.80 Ti 8 138.27 12 134.84 12
17 Sig Sauer SRD 762 $680 21.60 SS 13 143.42 19 141.68 23
18 Silencerco Chimera $1,030 23.50 SS 16 136.44 8 136.34 15
19 Silencerco Hybrid $999 16.60 Ti/SS 7 136.31 6 142.08 25
20 Silencerco Omega $1,130 14.40 Ti/SS 4 139.90 15 134.07 9
21 Silencerco Saker 762 $972 24.00 SS 18 144.56 22 133.24 5
22 Surefire SOCOM762-RC2 $1,750 24.40 SS 19 143.93 20 143.59 27
23 TBAC Ultra 7 $1,095 11.60 Ti 1 140.14 16 136.49 17
24 TBAC Ultra 9 $1,195 14.00 Ti 3 135.41 4 132.00 1
25 Varminter 3.0 in 30 cal $925 14.40 Ti 4 135.17 3 132.35 2
26 Varminter 4.0 in 30 cal $979 13.20 Ti 2 135.16 2 132.59 3
27 Yankee Hill Machine Resonator $630 19.00 SS 9 134.55 1 132.78 4


* Our full sound testing set consists of a Brüel & Kjær (B&K) Impulse Precision Sound Level Meter Type 2209 (serial #670035), Condenser Microphone ¼” type 4136 (serial #513769), Pistonphone type 4220 (serial #284813), B&K ½” Pre-amplifier, Flexible extension rod, B&K barometer, and microphone adapter ½” to ¼”. One example of the right equipment and correct mil-spec standards in testing can be viewed on the Military Arms Channel on YouTube; they do an excellent job in following the mil-spec requirements and purchasing mil-spec only equipment.

** These db sound measurement readings may vary slightly from other db tests results, or from the manufacturers’ published results. As you probably aware: db sound levels are impacted by elevation, temperature, humidity, ammunition, firearm, barrel length, cleanliness of the silencer, and wind speed, among other things. Due to so many variables, it is not uncommon for silencers to meter slightly different from test to test. Also, it is important to remember that there are more factors than just the sound level reduction of a silencer measured at the muzzle. The weight, durability, modularity, materials, length, attachment method, warranty, and customer support of the manufacture all are important considerations. These sound metering measurement videos and data are offered as an example of how a silencer performs in general and we strived to make the test as accurate as possible. Remember, there are more factors to consider when choosing a silencer than just the sound level; weight is also an important consideration, as is modularity for making shorter or longer, etc.

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  1. A bit dissappointed my Sandman S didnt do better…but I felt it was the best compromise at the time. I was reluctant to get a direct thread can, and I think Dead Air has the best QD mounting method on the market today.

    • It’s my understanding that the Sandman line was designed more with the AR platform in mind. It’s very possible the rank would shift quite a bit if these were done on semi autos.

      Hopefully it’s possible to repeat these tests on some semi auto platforms.

      • Maybe so, Ive used mine on standard 223 ar15’s, a 300blk “pistol”, and a savage model 10 in 223, but since I always hear hearing protection anyway its kinda hard to tell the difference.

      • This is true. The Sandman series tend to have higher dB readings at the muzzle but generally have lower readings at the shooter’s ear since less of that gas is pushing back through the ejection port. Also less gas to the face and better tone overall. Not everything about a suppressor can be told by a dB reading.

    • Yeah, the Sandman-S was designed for automatic actions. It’s also essentially a 7.62 mini can and was designed for lower back-pressure for the shooter on automatic actions, so, what you see coming out the muzzle isn’t coming out the ejection port in your face.

      Many of the high performers in this test will be absolutely horrible on an auto loader like the AR-15. They’re so good at the muzzle because they hold the pressure so well. Baffles act like check valves and dump it back into the chamber when it opens.


    YHM wins again. I always go with the guys with no-commercial in them. The grey man who just steps up to do the job, and you’re supprised at where they place at the finish line.

    YHM cans are “heavier” is the worst complaint you’ll hear about them, But you’ll hear less out of your weapon when shooting them. And the bullsh_t hype you get out of the rah-rah crowd just blows away in the wind.


    • The YHM still ended up 9th in weight out of the group. I’m not sure I’d consider that “heavier”. I’d take that trade off any day.

    • Nahhh the worst complaint you’ll get about YHM from people that shoot a lot is the horrible backpressure on an AR. If you’re shooting bolt action then it’s all cool.

    • I’m running a 10 yo YHM 5.56 Phantom QD. I have adapters on both of my 5.56 guns and all four of my 5.45 guns. The back pressure required some changes. KNS adjustable gas piston on the AK platform, stiffer recoil spring on the Tavor SAR, hydraulic buffer weight on the AR. I still have to avoid mil-spec loads in the Tavor.

  3. I love the idea of a $200 can (once upon a time you could buy a Maxim Silencer at the local hardware store for under $10), but in making the Po Boy cheap, they ended up with top three placing in the categories of “heavy” and “loud”.

    I guess you get what you pay for.

    I’d never heard of Yankee Hill, but their Resonator is fairly light for a sub-$700 can and the quietness is way up there.

    • I just watched the videos, since I didn’t see any mention of ammunition choice in the text, but didn’t find it there either.

      Are we to assume you guys used full power loads in typical weights for the caliber, like 55gr and 147gr?

  4. Wow. Yankee hill beat them all. Awesome. (Sorry I bought what I bought)
    I’d love to see the same test with .22 silencers.

  5. This is awesome. Been waiting for someone to do a test like this to get me off my butt and fire up a form 4. Thanks.

  6. I wonder if the Hybrid would do better with .223 if you had changed to the .223 end cap? I would also really love to see a .22 LR test! great article btw

  7. It would have been nice to see averages over multiple shots to see the effect of first round pop and the can heating up. I guess since the aim of this was not to look at suppressors for the tactical market, but focus on hunting applications then one and done makes a little more sense. That said, thanks for doing this, comparisons that control for as many variables as possible are hard to come by.

  8. How was the testing done? Did I miss that in the article? Shooters ear, beside the muzzle, forward of the muzzle?
    Really important to know this because the old methods of testing are not valid for hearing protection.


      • I applaud the amount of effort that went into this, and I understand the standard is the mil-spec, but the standard doesn’t show all the facts. The mil-spec is not correct for the shooter. That’s a fact.
        If you want to show which suppressor is the loudest standing beside the barrel, you did.
        If your goal was show which silencer is the best for the shooter, you didn’t.

        • I would agree, anytime you are doing a scientific study, more data is usually better.
          There are two problems with “at the ear” data in this study. 1) The host weapons were bolt action rifles, 100% of the noise comes out the front. Mil-spec requires 1 m to left of muzzle, the results at mil-spec are averaged and reported. All results would decrease the same with at the ear meter in this test, so current rankings would be the same, but with lower averages. At ear testing only changes results IF you are using an AR host weapon. 2) There is no standard for “at ear” testing, most agree 6” from ear, but what if the shooter is 4’ tall or 8’, what if the rifle is 16” or 22”? At ear is definitely worth testing when AR platforms are being tested.

      • BMaddox, you need to do some more research. Testing at the ear has been in military standards for years.

        It is very unfortunate that at a time when many of us are pushing for more measurements at the ear to demonstrate the presence or lack of back pressure, you would only test at the muzzle and then not explain that many of these are designed to be higher at the muzzle so they’re lower at the ear.

        Yes, a portion of the market may only care about performance on a bolt gun. But to not do this same testing on an AR platform including measurements at the ear does a great disservice to many people reading and watching and erroneous conclusions will be made.

        Please update the article to explain that these results are not to be extrapolated to performance on semi-auto platforms. Obviously on a bolt gun there isn’t much concern about levels at the ear but once you go to semi-auto that’s the only level that matters for most shooters. Many still aren’t aware that when a suppressor generates impressive numbers at the muzzle that probably means it is way over hearing safe at the ear. It’s an inverse relationship and if a manufacturer is trying to do the right thing and balance those concerns then tests like this hurt them without adequate explanation.

        • Aaaaannnnddd Mike nails it. I couldn’t agree more.

          BMaddox–Thanks for the effort in doing so much sound testing and pulling this together. It would be good for people to digest it in context.

        • Yes, if I forgot to say it, I’m still happy to see testing done by 3rd parties even if it’s not perfect. I understand the reluctance of manufacturers to compare their products to competitors publicly, so we need stuff like this or the consumer suffers.

          And thanks to you Todd for being willing to go beyond the easy option and do what’s right for the consumer, even if the transition away from the traditional model might be a little rocky. I was very happy to see Kevin at Q speak out so emphatically on this issue in his recent podcast–he made it clear that he agrees that the emphasis should be on the ear levels for the civilian market. Perhaps you guys could get the ASA in gear to provide some leadership on these matters…? 🙂

        • Appreciate all the feedback and recommendations. We are only aware of one officially approved mil-spec government standard (MIL-STD-1474), which we used as noted above. Please send links to others so we can review.

          There was a question about 10 shot average of baseline before adding the silencer.
          Baseline .308 Average – 168.53
          Baseline .223 Average – 165.42

          There was a question about calibration, we calibrated the meter every 90 minutes. The calibrator [ B&K pistonphone type 4220 (serial #284813)] adjusted for changes in weather conditions, we saw very little to no change in need to calibrate at 90 min intervals.

          There was a question about semi-auto extrapolation (our tests were bolt only, our customers are hunters, bolt is King in the upper Midwest)– all results will be louder with an AR platform.

        • BMaddox,

          I’m not an engineer but I decided to go dig into it for myself to see what I could find. Quick findings:

          In 1474D from 1997, it says in the middle of where the shooter’s head would be or 15 cm from the right ear toward the breech if the shooter is present (page 40 5.4.5 ).


          In 1474E from 2015, it talks about 6″ straight out from the ear (page 18 Page 39-40 seems to be discussing a measurement at points around in a circle instead of just specific points.


          I haven’t been able to find the official document from the CSASS trials, but according to Tim at Military Arms Channel they used the 6″ directly out from the right ear position.

  9. I wish the shooter would have been consistent on the rifle rest. Shooting with the barrel on the rest versus the stock probably doesn’t effect noise, but it sure does on accuracy!

    • The point on the rifle where it rested on the stand was determined by length of silencer. The muzzle exit had to be same as sound testing meter.

  10. I am a gun owner of 30 guns . I only hunt pheasants and deer. A hunter does not need a silencer.A silencer is designed for only military special force units or police.

      • I own a mansion, yacht, 100,000 acres of oil land in Texas, two Formula I race cars, a Bentley, a tricked out 4-wheel drive truck and… one billiony trilliony rifles chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor!
        Yeah, that’s what I own, yeah, that’s the ticket!
        (Nod to SNL)

    • A suppressor is not just for military and police. A suppressor is for anyone that wants to protect their hearing and also be respectful of others.

      Any sound over 85dB can damage your hearing if heard enough times. The louder the sound, the less exposure it takes to damage your hearing.

      An unsuppressed 308 is right around 165dB and ear plugs can reduce that somewhere between 25dB and 30dB for a noise level of 140db to 135dB. That’s still loud enough to cause hearing damage in a very short time. With a suppressor, that can be reduced another 30dB, for a sound level of about 105dB. That’s low enough that hearing damage is a LOT less likely.

      Not only are you protecting your hearing, but also the hearing of any hunters that might be near you.

      Take it from someone with severe hearing damage due to military service, it’s not something you want to mess with.

      Finally, a suppressor reduces overall noise for people living in the area. They don’t have to hear loud gunshots coming from gun ranges or from hunters. That makes them more receptive of our chosen sport.

    • I see the ‘indoctrination model’ has worked well on Nova. Stop taking your queue from TV/Movies?media and see where suppressors are being used in hunting applications, both in the US and overseas.

    • I guess you never took any of those 30 guns over to New Zealand to hunt red stag. The PHs over there will tell you to put a can on before you go hunting. I will let them know they are doing it wrong.

      If I were you I would sell 29 of those guns and buy a car that didn’t max out with a 307 and three on the tree. At least buy a new front end so it looks like a 72 nova. Otherwise people aren’t sure if it is a nova or a Yugoslavian sedan. Brahahahahaha

      • No No he No he isn’t. Liberal troll farms have strict no gun rules. His arsenal of nerf guns are all tagged registered and securely locked up in his parents upper level living quarters (aka the non basement levels of their house.)

  11. Not another suppressor article.
    Between IEDs and firing 155mm without ear pro. I really don’t need one lol. I would have liked to see how mag lights and oil filters would do against real suppressors.

    • I’m guesseing… nobody wants to just blow money or commmit a federal felony to justify a single article.

    • These test have already been done. In short, they perform very poorly compared to purpose built suppressors, and they fall in the exact same legal category. The second you attach either to a gun, it becomes a felony without ATF approval.

      • Is there a link to these test? I’m really curious, seen a few videos with pop bottles etc. I’d like to see a scientific comparison. Not jackasses on you tube lol.

  12. I live in n.c. (in the county) but can’t shoot my guns anymore for all the people moving In the developments. I have enough land and back stops. Can’t even shoot sheet for the law coming to see me. Bad thing I have cows on my property. Not going to shoot those . ( I’M RETIRED LAW ENFORCEMENT FROM THIS COUNTY IN WHICH I LIVE).. And that pisses me off.!!!!!
    A suppressor may be what I need. Need to make one in a 20 ga, 12ga, 16 ga. Not to mention all cal of pistol

    • SilencerCo makes the Salvo 12 for shotguns. Beast of a suppressor, but it works.

      On the flip side, even with a suppressor if you are running supers in your centerfires you’re still going to get a pretty loud sonic crack. Quieter yes, but neighbors are definitely still going to hear it.

  13. Hirem Maxim invented “silencers”. He also invented “mufflers” for cars. They are the same thing but for size. I think we would all be better off if we just called them ” mufflers” as they don’t silence.

      • The misuse of the English language by Maxim does not require me to follow his example. Until there is nothing but silence heard when the gun is fired, I’ll use the term that describes what it actually does–suppress the noise levels. 🙂

  14. Just a few observations.

    – No mention of temperature or humidity
    – The rifle doesn’t appear to be 1.6m above ground.
    – MAC doesn’t follow MILSTD 1474e, equipment or protocols.
    – MILSTD 1474e does specify an at ear location.
    – How much time passed between each silencer tested? Things get louder as it warms up.

  15. Please make a spreadsheet for easier sorting and reading. Also missing are the silencer dimensions and the added length after install.

  16. i’m really confused.
    suppressors with large blast chambers have a large first round pop. their subsequent rounds are quieter on average. so averaging the first 5 shots would be a really terrible idea. suppressors with shorter blast chambers have less frp and louder subsequent shots.
    were the averages excluding the first shot? 5 rounds is really terrible for an average anyway, depending on the variance. speaking of which, what Was the variance? i’d expect n=20 as kind of a basic minimum. but that really depends on what the frp signature was.
    speaking of frp, what was the timing of the shots? were they consistent? did you take a break and let the suppressor cool down on any of them? many times, there is a 2nd round half pop – were those kept or discarded? or was this an average without understanding suppressors? a black suppressor, left out in the sun, might not have any frp – was the last suppressor the quietest?
    i mean, i get that it’s just an estimate for fun. but this is why i would trust a manufacturer more than these tests. what is the ranking supposed to indicate? the size of the blast chamber? averages with frp with a hidden function for how long they’ve been warmed in the sun?

    • I have never seen manufacturer data that I trusted. My guess is they take the quietest shot they ever measured in the lab and use that as the “up to” Xdb reduction.
      I think what Brandon did was a great way to start a NEW testing method. No manufacturer is going to round up 26 competitor products and show the results.

    • Correct. FRP shouldn’t be averaged in with subsequent shots because it’s a technically a different population. By the second shot your in a steady state and it’s more consistent at that point.

      Five shots can give you a reasonable average (within about 2-3 dB range). For that reason, you can’t really say one is quieter or louder unless it’s more than that. There are always dB chasers out there that will fret over the difference of 137.0 dB results and 138.0 dB. This is an average of a small shotgun blast pattern. They fully overlap and statistically there’s no difference.

  17. All this work and it doesn’t answer your stated fundamental question. “It is a testimony to modern silencer design that a .30 silencer can work well on say a .270 or a .223 gun. But how well does it work?”

    We don’t know because you didn’t collect enough data to answer the question. Does a .30 cal can used on a 5.56/.223 achieve an equivalent SPL reduction as a can designed for 5.56/.223? That would be the measure of how well it works. You didn’t test any 5.56/.223 cans on the same .223 Tika T3 so we don’t know. All we have is a ranking of 27 .30 cal suppressors on a .30 cal gun and a .223 cal gun.

    It’s interesting data, but it doesn’t answer the stated question. No one looking at this write-up and data will have any idea if a .30 cal suppressor works as well on a .223 as a .223 cal suppressor.

    Also, where’s the control data? How loud was each rifle without a suppressor fitted to them?

  18. I enjoyed the article and looking at all of the testing results. It was nice to see so many companies represented too! I’d like to see some of the Q stuff done just because of all the crap they talk. And don’t get me wrong I like them and even own their stuff and it’s king of the subsonic I think, but a supers test I’d like to see. Thanks for doing this guys! As some others have said, doing the same thing with 22 cans would be kind of fun too. At the ear measurements would be nice also!

  19. When I test stacks for development I use an Ultra 9 as a control can. I’ve seen as much as a 3.5 dB swing from 0730 to 1330. The top 4 are ll within a 1dB. That can be ammo easily. We only do serous testing with match ammo. It meters much more consistent than non match ammo. Either way it was a very good effort to meter all these cans. I’d like to see a test of just FRP of each one. 5 -10 FRP shots from each can. Shoot one shot change can shoot one shot change can. The list would change dramatically. My clients really care about the first shot.

  20. I’ve went to each manufacturer’s website and obtain the weight from their specs with what is recorded on this test and they are off. Some are pretty much the same, but some are off by 5 oz.

  21. Totally agree by some weight specs, seems to me there is some companies picking and choosing what specs to use and what info to present to tge public.

  22. Good Stuff. I would have loved to have seen the Griffin RSTA (over the barrel) or others in a similar design compared to end attachments.

  23. looks lik a great article but since there needs to be so much advertising on the screen i cant read half the chart. but the import thing is the advertising. i really enjoy starring at a 2 inch margin of a guys face on 1 side and 4 inches of something ill never buy on the right side. which at this point leaves an entire 6 inches of screen left dedicated to what brought me to the site to begin. i feel this is just unacceptable . id really love to read the data and i think its just what i’ve been looking for since i’m in the market for a new 30 cal suppressor but at least give the option to move or X out of all the extras on the screen. sorry to be trollish just had to vent


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