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Old 01-02-2020, 08:16 PM
flangster

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Dead Air Mask .22 LR first impressions (long-ish)



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Dead Air Mask .22 LR first impressions -- Or the alternative thread title: "Flangster, won't you please shut up already about your new suppressor?"

After almost a year of waiting around, my tax stamp finally showed up. Today's weather and temps were finally fair enough to spend the afternoon seeing what it could do. I took it out with a Vudoo Ravage, Tikka T1X, Kidd 10/22, a Volquartsen Mk III almost-Scorpion (the bolt and firing pin assembly are still Ruger Mk III OEM), a Volquartsen Mk III LLV (early style chromed LLV upper on a nylon 22/45 frame), and a Springfield TRO wearing a Nelson Conversion .22 upper.

Ammunition was SK Standard Plus and CCI “Suppressor” (45 grain HP). The distance for the rifles was 50 yards and 15 yards for the pistol. Rifles were shot off a Bald Eagle front rest with a too-wide 3 inch front bag and a leather/nylon Protecktor rear bag with bunny ears. Pistols were shot off-hand. Temps were in the mid-to high 30's and wind was not a factor. I wound up shooting about 300 rounds, split between the two brands of ammunition.

My primary purpose was to see what the noise suppression actually was like, and to see what the changes to POI were with the Dead Air Mask installed on the various firearms. I had pre-treated Dead Air Mask baffles by painting them with DOT 5 (silicone) brake fluid after heating the baffles with a heat gun usually reserved for thawing frozen pipes around here.

I purchased the Dead Air Mask after some Internet research and it seemed like a good combination of durable materials, easy take-down and cleaning, and decent ratings for noise reduction (115 db, which I think is pretty spot on, more on that below). The results were surprising to a newbie on all fronts, mainly I think because of what suppressors sound like on YouTube reviews vs. real life. But more on that in a minute too. I also brought a range rod out that I usually use on my revolvers, to confirm the alignment of the suppressor to the barrel.

First: sound suppression. I could definitely use the Dead Air Mask without hearing protection. The “smack” of the rounds on my cardboard backed paper targets was about as loud as my perception of the suppressed sound of ignition. But I wouldn't call the shots “quiet.” From a rifle, both the not- too-fast SK Standard Plus and the definitely subsonic CCI Suppressor (970 fps printed on the box) were about as loud as my springer air rifle, or maybe a little quieter. No chrono on this trip. I have downloaded a db meter app onto my phone and will post some comparison numbers next time the weather clears for a range day. But I would say the ignition is a smart “snap,” rather than “Hollywood Quiet.” I do think that the attenuation would be good for the neighbors of my club, because it was definitely more quiet than shooting the same ammo unsuppressed. The sound from the pistols seemed a bit quieter, which I am not sure I understand yet. (Related to MV of the round leaving the can??)

The big surprise was the shift in POI from firearm to firearm. The Kidd was the champ here, laying the rounds into a slightly larger group than I am used to, and at the initial point of aim more or less. I may have had to come down two clicks on my elevation. Can-on/can-off, the Kidd's bullets were flying to the same place. The Tikka, inexplicably, shot everything six inches to the left with the Dead Air Mask on the rifle. Not the end of the world, of course, and well within the scope's ability to compensate. Same amount of Tikka horizontal shift with both the SK and the CCI. The SK grouped at three quarters of an inch for 10 shots; the CCI grouped a little worse, which is consistent with how the Tikka usually shoots those brands. Both are larger groups than I am used to, but might be because I wasn't really using the right front bag for the Tikka's ProVarmint stock.

The huge surprise was the Vudoo Ravage, which shot terribly with the Dead Air Mask. I have made this rifle shoot .3's and .2's with Center-X, and .4's and .5's with this case of SK Standard. And SK has a reputation for not doing too well in the cold (although I was keeping the ammo boxes in my pants pockets, for what it was worth). The Vudoo would not keep a group inside 8 inches at 50 yards with the Dead Air Mask attached. At first, I thought maybe that I was getting internal baffle strikes, or that the Dead Air Mask was not screwed on tightly. But the .22 range rod showed that the suppressor and the bore were perfectly aligned, and a visual inspection of the baffles showed no internal strikes. (Incidentally, while I had the can apart, I wiped one of the baffles with a wet-wipe and the residue came off the silicone treated baffles like nothing. . . . I am sticking with the DOT 5 treatments until someone tells me I shouldn't). No, something about attaching that light (I thought) suppressor to the Vudoo's 20-inch “kurkri” barrel totally messes with the rifle's set up. When I took the suppressor off the Vudoo, it immediately went back to its good-shooting ways. Tomorrow I will a) call the folks at Vudoo and get their take on this, b) consider an inner tube pressure pad under the barrel, and c) check the baffles again.

The pistols were less surprising, although they still served up a bit of the unexpected. With both VQ pistols, I have shot half inch groups at 15 yards off a rest . . . in fact their unsurpressed performance is almost identical despite the LLV being chromed and heavy and the “almost Scorpion” having a lighter aluminum shroud over the barrel. Both pistols have integral rails with v.1 Ultradots on them, both have VQ triggers and sears. Sound suppression was identical with both guns, which isn't so surprising. But the “almost Scorpion” shot to its unsuppressed point of aim with both SK Std and the CCI Suppressor. The heavy LLV shot four inches low and three inches right and in a “group” that was four to six inches across. Just remarkable. I would never have predicted such different results, nor that the heavier pistol would have the more profound point-of-impact change. Maybe I'll add a d) to my to-do list and ask the folks at VQ about this. The Nelson conversion shot to point of aim . . . nothing too exciting to report there. That thing just shoots. Any ammo. Any distance. And apparently suppressed or unsuppressed. Impressive.

So if you've read this far without nodding off, you're probably asking yourself, “what, no pictures of targets?” Or, alternatively, “Get to the point already.” Well the Day 1 point is this: When you dangle a suppressor off the barrel of your .22 LR firearm, it would be prudent to expect some change in how your firearm performs. I certainly expected the high-dollar Vudoo to perform like a champ, and the lower-dollar Tikka with its thinner barrel to suck some wind. But the exact opposite turned out to be the case. I also would have expected the brothers-from-another-mother VQ's to respond similarly to the added mass. And they didn't. And I would have expected the Dead Air Mask to sound like the YouTube videos I saw when I was doing my pre-purchase research. But web-cam microphones and your ears just respond differently to this level of sound impulse. Quiter. With the emphasis on “ER.” This may result in happier neighbors, but it ain't no Mossad-level sneakiness, if you know what I mean.

Was it worth it? Heck yes. The wait, the expense. All of it. My original rationale for the purchase was to go plinking in my neighbors' hay field where I have some three-inch, and larger, gongs set up. I think it is perfect for that. It is several hundred yards to the nearest house (at right angles to my line of fire) and I think the Dead Air Mask will do wonders for neighbor relations. Shooting prone in the snow or in the new hay, I think my Tikka will be plenty quiet. I will also try out a Lithgow 101 and am thinking about getting a couple of CZ 455 barrels threaded. Now if I can just get that suppressed Vudoo figured out . . . .

For once, too, the number of firearms I wanted to shoot and the amount of ammo I brought, fit nicely into the time I wanted to carve out for this today. That in itself was a minor miracle, quite apart from the mechanical performance of the new gear.
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Last edited by flangster; 01-02-2020 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 01-02-2020, 09:40 PM
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Really surprising, although I stopped shooting with a suppressor quite a while back. Shoot me a PM and I'll give you my cell number to talk through this.

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Old 01-04-2020, 09:10 AM
flangster

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I am developing a theory about my first range results.

Here's what I know:

1) suppressor works fine on Kidd (semi-auto 10/22 clone), Tikka Tx1 (bolt action), Volquartsen LLV (semi-auto pistol).
2) suppressor does not group at all with the Vudoo. I should say here that the can was snugged up hand-tight on the barrel. I tested the Dead Air Mask first with the Vudoo, and then with all the other brands.
3) used a range rod to check suppressor/bore alignment. The rod is made by Brownells and has a nominal width of .215 (Stauer dial gauge). Normally used to check the timing of a pistol barrel and its cylinder, but similar principle here. The rod would insert through the Dead Air Mask and into the Ravage barrel. From this I take that the muzzle/barrel diameter on Ravage #1313 is slightly larger than 0.215 inches. The range rod would not insert in the Kidd or the Tikka muzle -- so slightly smaller than the Vudoo.
4) I have had the Dead Air Mask apart now. There is no obvious damage internally to indicate that there had been a baffle strike or an end cap strike. And there were no lead bits rattling around in there, which is what I would (without any expertise on the subject) expect to see if the suppressor was shaving lead off bullets passing through it. However, the performance of the ammo on target was consistent with what I have seen on the InterWeb for a baffle strike, or cap strike situation.

I have a call into Dead Air to ask what I should expect to see if there were a baffle strike. No response yet.

Here's my current theory: Tolerance stacking. The Vudoo's slightly larger bore is allowing bullets to expand slightly too much after ignition for the DAM's baffle and/or cap holes causing baffle or cap strikes in the can after the bullet leaves the Vudoo's muzzle. Hence the shotgun pattern on target. The soft lead bullet isn't beating the can up too much because the bullet is only one or two thousandths too wide for the can. I am going to slug the Tikka and Vudoo today and mike the lead bullets after I push them through the bores. That will give me some data at least.

I need that first cup of coffee now,please.

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Last edited by flangster; 01-04-2020 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 01-05-2020, 11:39 AM
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POI change

I have a Ruger MIV 22/45, MIV Tactical, S&W Victory, 2 S&W model 41s, 1 10/22, Ruger RAR, and 4 dedicated AR22s. To quiet them a Ruger SR22, a Yankee Hill Stinger, and a super cheap Wise 22 Whisper. No combination changes POI for me. Only removing the silencer all together changes it noticeably. They all group better with the can.
Hope you get yours figured out.
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Old 01-06-2020, 01:15 PM
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I have measured the diameter of one of the Dead Air Mask baffles and its end cap with a digital caliper. Both measure 0.260 inches, so several thousandths bigger than the .222 SAMMI spec for a .22 LR bore.

And so the search goes on.
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Old 01-07-2020, 12:29 PM
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I spoke to the folks at Dead Air Mask and they suggest that my results are consistent with a baffle strike. They also said that a soft lead .22 LR bullet was unlikely to mar the baffles (RC hardness 65 or somesuch), so you wouldn't necessarily be able to tell whether there was a baffle strike on this can just by inspecting the baffles. At least this means that some additional testing is unlikely to hurt the Dead Air Mask. I also spoke to the good folks at Vudoo, who have offered to shoot the rifle and assess. So data continues to trickle in.

I also have a second Vudoo rifle with a Shilen barrel coming/shipped yesterday. This will give a useful control point (or at least another data point).

When I next shoot the Vudoo, I will shoot over a chronograph, which should give some useful data. If the bullets are hitting something on their way out of the can, I would expect there to be a change in MV. I will also save the target (duh). If the bullets are keyholing on target, it will be another useful data point. FYI, there is no indication of a problem with keyholing on the Tikka and Kidd targets from last week.
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Old 01-07-2020, 12:47 PM
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Is it possible the threading on the barrel of the vudoo might be not quite concentric?
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Old 01-07-2020, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lonestardiver View Post
Is it possible the threading on the barrel of the vudoo might be not quite concentric?
It sure is possible. I have confidence that if that the folks at Vudoo see evidence of this that they will make things right.
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Old 01-07-2020, 02:19 PM
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Suppressor newbie here also. Got my Surefire Ryder out of jail almost a year ago and have used it on 6 rifles and 1 pistol. No baffle strike issues, but have noticed subtle changes in POI. I expected that and regulated my scopes accordingly since I plan to always shoot suppressed. It’s interesting, but groups actually tightened on 2 of my rifles.

As for noise reduction, not as quiet as a YouTube video, but still significant and worthwhile. Even on my .22 mag and .17 HMR makes a big difference, hearing safe. In an open area, it sounds quieter than in the woods or indoors. Sound reflection - echo effect, I suppose.

On my pistol (GSG 1911) nothing to compare it to, but the suppressor makes a big difference. I have been shooting bulk HV since it is cheap, subsonic out of the 5” barrel and I generally just plink with this pistol. Suppressed it is louder than the rifles suppressed, but handguns are always louder regardless. Again, suppressed not Hollywood quiet, but hearing safe and way quieter. Bigger difference than on rifles.

In summary, if you are into rimfires and suppressors are legal where you are, I highly recommend buying one. Wish I had done it years earlier. Currently using it on 7 firearms, 2 more waiting to be threaded.
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