I had a lengthy discussion with the SilencerCo dudes at SHOT Show about what I wanted to accomplish with a rifle silencer. And yes, I said silencer instead of suppressor. I’ll say suppressor too, as both terms are technically correct. Hiram Percy Maxim’s 1903 invention, patented in 1908, was in fact called the Maxim Silencer. We all know that suppressors don’t completely silence, but flushing toilets don’t always flush either.
The first decision was whether or not to get a rifle suppressor. My initial desire was to use it with a 300 AAC Blackout rifle, and for subsonic rounds, you can actually use many pistol suppressors. Just don’t do that with higher pressure supersonic ammunition. So that decision was easy, and I decided to go big with a heavy duty can so I wouldn’t have to worry about such things.
The next decision was mounting method, and that’s the one that pointed me to the SilencerCo Specwar 762. You see, one of the neat things about the Specwar 762 is that it comes with a Trifecta muzzle brake or flash hider. When you open the box that fact is not obvious as the muzzle attachment is already inside the silencer body, so it appears, at first glance to be a thread-mounted system.
To remove the Trifecta muzzle brake (or flash hider) just rotate the locking ring clockwise as you’re staring into the back end, then unscrew the muzzle device from the suppressor body. The Trifecta devices feature a few large threads with a serrated locking ring underneath. The Specwar body screws onto the Trifecta muzzle device threads, then the locking ring grabs the serrated area so the silencer stays put. It’s fast and secure.
Since the Specwar 762 is a .308 size suppressor, I chose to try it out on several different rifles. Knowing that I would want to use this silencer on at least three different rifles, I ordered two additional Specwar Trifecta flash hiders. With a muzzle brake and two flash hiders, I equipped a Rock River Arms LAR 6.8, a Daniel Defense DDM4v5 300 Blackout and a Mossberg MVP Patrol .308 with Trifecta muzzle devices. Now, moving the silencer from one rifle to another takes seconds. The Specwar 762 is rated for full-auto, so it’s plenty durable for any of the rifles mentioned.
People get all freaked out about point of impact shifts when adding a suppressor, and there is some truth to that. You almost certainly will see a shift in the point of impact. Fortunately, most suppressors (except maybe direct thread mount models) will mount in the same orientation each time, so the point of impact likely won’t shift between sessions.
I shot some groups without the Specwar installed using both Gorilla Ammunition’s 300 Blackout SubSonic 208 grain Hornady A-Max and a supersonic hand load using 100 grain Barnes TAC-TX projectiles. I repeated the process with the Specwar installed. For both subsonic and supersonic cartridges, I noticed a shift in point of impact of about one-inch down and ¾-inches to the right at a range of 50 yards. Removing and reinstalling the Specwar showed no change in point of impact from the initial reading.
Next up was some basic accuracy testing to see if there was any noticeable change in either direction with the Specwar installed. Again using the Gorilla Ammunition 208 grain subsonic and Barnes 110 grain Tac TX hand loads, I shot a number of groups suppressed and unsuppressed. I could detect no significant change in group size using identical loads suppressed and unsuppressed.
It takes some pretty sophisticated (read expensive) sound equipment to accurately measure decibel levels of gunshots, so I wasn’t able to measure exact sound readings from the various rifles tested. I’m guessing (just guessing!) that the recent kerfuffle involving Jesse James Firearms claim of a 78dB silencer is the result of them trying to measure the sound with an iPhone app or inexpensive sound meter.
As expected, the subsonic rounds fired from the Daniel Defense rifle using the Specwar 762 were crazy quiet. The longer barrel and larger suppressor make the 300 Blackout subsonic noticeably quieter than a suppressed subsonic pistol. This was really fun.
Shooting supersonic 300 AAC Blackout and full .308 loads was amazingly pleasant. Yes, there is still a sonic crack, but the muzzle blast is greatly reduced to more of a loud “whoosh.” I’m hooked on the use of suppressors for full power rifles.
I used the Specwar quite a bit with the Rock River Arms 6.8 Remington SPC rifle as well. Even though 6.8 SPC is technically .270 caliber, I mounted a .30 caliber Trifecta flash hider on that rifle and called it good. As the Specwar 762 has a hole sized for .308 projectiles, it was slightly oversized but worked just fine. In fact, you can use a larger suppressor on smaller calibers with very little loss of sound reduction efficiency. The measured volume is slightly higher than a caliber-specific silencer, but the tone is different and the can larger, so I’m not sure the difference is detectable by the human ear.
I’ll close with a safety and equipment preservation note. Most rifles come with a muzzle device of some sort already mounted. When you remove the factory flash hider or brake, be sure also to remove the compression washer. Never mount a silencer device with a compression washer in place. Those are meant to deform and do not ensure a perfectly square mount. There’s more than a small likelihood that your suppressor will end up ever-so-slightly off center, causing a baffle strike. You do not want to risk this!
Bottom line? I’m sold on silencers. Or suppressors. Or gun mufflers.
Caliber: 5.7mm to .300 RUM
Muzzle Average dB:
119.8 (.300 BLK)
130.2 (5.56 NATO)
134.3 (.308 WIN)
Weight: 24.0 oz
Full Auto Rated
Materials: Stellite & Stainless Steel