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|
|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|
|21||Silencerco Saker 762||$972||24.00||SS||18||144.56||22||133.24||5|
|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.