About suppressors and cleaning them too;
At Arizona Ammunition, LLC.® we have been using and testing rifle and pistol suppressors for a little over 15 years. We collaborate with quality suppressor manufacturers like GG&G, Elite Iron, and AWC. The uniqueness of the suppressor is it contains ALL of the gas expelled from the barrel which contains the noise from the barrel. Thus it also collects the carbon, bullet debri, powder debri, and unspent powder. We know from experience that the more a quality suppressor is used (fired) the quieter it gets.
We also know from experience that from time to time a quality suppressor needs to be cleaned. Different calibers have different stages of required cleaning. Those calibers, hand loads, and cartridges that expel non-burned gun powder need to be cleaned more often to insure the safe use of the suppressor. What happens is that the non-burned gunpowder accumulates in the suppressor and can detonate damaging the suppressor and possibly injuring the shooter or nearby observers. We are aware of this issue happening more than once.
Users of quality suppressors should be cautious of all subsonic rounds that might not burn all the gunpowder each time it is fired. Often a “sizzle” can be heard upon firing as the gunpowder ignites when the firearm is fired. Listen carefully. There were recent (2012-13) problems with 17 caliber factory loaded ammunition causing suppressors to detonate. Documented injuries have occurred. We have direct experience with sunsonic 45-70 loaded rounds causing damaging to the suppressor and burning non-burnt powder on each shot.
When non burnt powder ignites in the suppressor it causes accelerated wear and actual damage to the inside of the suppressor along with possible injury to the user or nearby observers. We have seen where the entire internal parts of the suppressor have be burned away by this problem. The user of a suppressor MUST be careful at all times.
Quality suppressors that do not have non-burnt powder issues do not need regular cleaning in general. Infact cleaning too often reduces the effectiveness. The goal of cleaning a suppressor is to remove excess carbon and dangerous non burned powder. Additionally there is generally a carbon buildup in the firearms crown and at the first baffle that should be cleared away.
Most quality suppressors manufacturers recommend using soap and water to clean a quality suppressors. This will remove the non burnt powder and other loose debris inside the suppressor. Our experience confirms that works and we encourage the person cleaning the suppressor to be very aggressive with the soap and water and giving it a good water flushing. A garden hose can be used too. Suppressor manufacturer AWC made a fixture that goes on the end of a garden hose for that very use. It works.
For a more in depth cleaning we use an ultrasonic industrial cleaner and a strong non-damaging carbon removing solvent. The industrial ultrasonic cleaner also heats the solvent. In some cases this heated solvent can remove the finish off the suppressor depending on the quality of the finish. The deep cleaning can take as long as one week depending on how often the suppressor has been cleaned. The carbon is removed by using compressed air and shaking it. Loose carbon will accumulate in the tank of the ultrasonic cleaner too.
It is important to completely dry the inside of the suppressor BEFORE using. Depending on the humidity in your area the open air process can be fairly quick (24 hours) and the higher the humidity or lower the temperature it can take much longer. We use a small oven/toaster to accelerate drying if necessary.
Elite Iron offers some suppressors with a removable interior so that it can be cleaned while disassembled. See thier website for more information on this unique suppressor feature. See them www.eliteiron.com.
ARIZONA AMMUNITION, LLC.® SUPPRESSOR CLEANING SERVICE- Please remember that a used suppressor is generally quieter than a brand new or totally clean suppressor. We totally recommend that you follow the suppressors manufacturers cleaning recommendations over anything we have said here. We do this as a service if you do not want to try it yourself or do not have the equipment to properly clean your quality suppressor. We inspect with our video bore scope and will supply you with a copy of the inspection that can be viewed on your computer and kept for your records. Good luck.
PRESENTLY WE ONLY RECOMMEND THE FOLLOWING SUPPESSOR COMPANIES based on over 15 years of field use. Jim, as a USDA federal hunter, used suppressors in the feild every day for 10 years firing hundreds of rifle rounds through them.
1. AWC- www.awcsystech.com They make a good quality 50 BMG suppressor too.
2. ELITE IRON- WWW.ELITEIRON.COM They make a good quality 50 BMG suppressor too.
3.GG&G- www.gggaz.com (we now understand GG&G may not be making suppressors any more and we encourage you to call them to verify that
We have worked on other suppressor makes and models and find that these are the quietest and most durable. There maybe others offered that are just as good and we have just not tested the yet. We are watching and testing all the time. Here are those we are still testing and other helpful information-
1. GEMTECH- we have not found that the GEMTECH unit is as quite as the units listed above. They seem to be fairly durable but just not as quite. They have avery favoriable price though. Generally users of a quality suppressor want it to be as quite as possible. We will continue to test though.
2. Titanium housing units– We have clearly found that any suppressor that uses a titanium housing on it is NOT as quite as all steel units. Generally a unit advertised as being made of titanium has only the housing made of that light weight metal (there maybe exceptions) Those that know titanium know that it breaks down in heat much faster than quality steel. Again the reason to have a suppressor is to be as quite as possible. The user wants it to last as long as possible too. We are still testing too.
3. Life time warranties- Our research has shown that those companies offering “life time warranties” on quality suppressors mean well but generally over charge playing the averages. Generally the damage that occurs to a quality suppressor is a bullet strike on a miss aligned suppressor or bad ammunition. The internal steel baffles will wear out over time but that is after thousands and thousands or rounds fired through it OR non burnt powder issues discussed above. We recommend that you read the warranty very closely and ask lots of questions. It may be a very good thing for you-or not.
4. Quick disconnect/reconnect- This is another feature offered by some companies. We find that the idea of “quick disconnect or reconnect” is interesting but those that use quality suppressors in the field find little if any value in the feature. That feature generally cost much more too. Before you purchase this feature ask aroiund to other suppressor users on the value of the feature.
5. Point of Impact changes- The removal or instlation of a quality suppressor nearly 100% of the time will change the point of impact on your bullet. There are very few, if any, exceptions to that. You will have to test your firearm to determine what differences it makes on your individual point of impact.
6. Accuray- Our experience has shown that a quality suppressor will IMPROVE your firearms accuracy by at least 50 to 100%. Generally a 1/2 inch rifle will shoot 1/4 inch with the addition of a quality suppressor. We have verified this over and over again. If you do not get this result then look at the suppressor first.
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Look at these beauties offered by Elite Iron!