Bruce Potts puts five sound moderators for full-bore or centrefire rifles through their paces, looking at handling, performance and noise reduction
Once quite uncommon, the sound moderator is now as standard a piece of equipment as is a scope when you buy a rifle. But every shooter’s needs will be different. For a stalker who only goes out on a few shoots a year a lightweight moderator may be best, while for those who shoot a lot and need maximum noise reduction a larger heavy moderator may be the order of the day. Then there are those who want stainless steel and those that do not want to spend time cleaning it. Whatever your individual needs, the selection tested below should help.
ASE UTRA JET-Z COMPACT
SUPPLIER: Jackson Rifles
TEL: 01644 470223
CALIBRE SIZES: It is available in a comprehensive array of thread sizes to fit any rifle with calibre’s up to 6mm or up to .30-calibre sizes. For smaller calibres, such as .22 Hornet, .222 Rem or .223 Rem, the smaller CQB version is suitable.
EASE OF FITMENT: 4/5 This is a muzzle-mounted moderator and has no rear bush, so is easy to fit to the muzzle’s thread. It is available in all the popular thread sizes.
DESIGN AND HANDLING: 4/5 This unit measures 185mm in length and 40mm in diameter and weighs 490g. It used to weigh 560g and this reduction in weight is one of the Jet-Z Compact moderator’s strong points. It is steel so you will have rust internally if it is not cleaned occasionally. Though muzzle-mounted, it only adds 155mm to the rifle’s length and is a sealed unit with all welded joints, an effective design.
NOISE REDUCTION: 4/5 It deadens internal sound and removes that “ring” that other makers’ aluminium models have. The internals are designed around the characteristic “Z”-shape baffle arrangement, from which the name is derived. This makes use of all available space within the moderator to reduce noise by slowing down the expanding gases.
VERDICT: Good compact design that gives excellent decibel reduction for its size and good value for money.
TOTAL SCORE 12/15
SUPPLIER: Edgar Brothers
TEL: 01625 613177
COST: from £269
CALIBRE SIZES: You name it, the MaccTecc has a calibre for it.
EASE OF FITMENT: 4/5 An aluminium moderator that was designed wide to keep the overall length down when muzzle-mounted on a rifle. It is a sealed unit so needs little maintenance.
DESIGN AND HANDLING: 3.5/5 The size, regardless of calibre, will be uniform with dimensions of 113mm long, 44mm in diameter and a weight of typically 215g. This weight is achieved because it is made of aluminium but has all the crucial internal vulnerable areas thicker to resist flame erosion. The MaccTecc is available in either all black or black outer with silver/grey ends to suit a stainless-steel rifle. The rear section has been designed with a taper to deflect reflected light away from the scope so is suitable for lamping. The internal baffl e system is complex, made from one machined CNC baffle stack from a series of cut rectangular vents in twin sets that progress up the moderator in four layers, with the vents orientated to form a stepped or opposing stack.
NOISE REDUCTION: 2.5/5 Good noise reduction for size but lightweight, leaves a ring to the report signature.
VERDICT: Will not increase the overall length of the rifle, with enough noise reduction in most calibres.
TOTAL SCORE 10/15
SCHULTZ & LARSEN MC44 SUPERDOME
SUPPLIER: Alan Rhone
TEL: 01978 660001
COST: £245 WEIGHT: 280g
CALIBRE SIZES: Available in 6mm, 7mm and 8mm bore options as well as fitment to barrels up to a maximum diameter of 20mm.
EASE OF FITMENT: 4/5 The simple muzzle-mounted design can be changed into an over-barrel design by the conversion kit.
DESIGN AND HANDLING: 4/5 A muzzle-mounted moderator that gives a superb blend of small size, light weight and effective noise reduction. It weighs 280g and is 136mm long but adds just 120mm to the overall length and is 44mm in diameter. Its design allows the whole unit to be stripped or parts exchanged with a special “C” clamp. Its incorporates an aluminium construction for lightness and weather resistances. To avoid the dreaded flame erosion from the hot expansion gases on firing, Schultz & Larsen has inserted clever stainless-steel acoustic cones, “Hardcore”, to the centre of the baffles to extend their life, allowing them to survive repeated firings. Additional baffl es can be added at the front to tailor-make a sound moderator that works for a preferred load or calibre.
NOISE REDUCTION: 3.5/5 Effective for both supersonic and subsonic capability. I was impressed by how efficient and quiet the SuperDome was for an aluminium design.
VERDICT: Perfect for the weight-conscious shooter who wants a blend of good noise reduction and light weight, and the versatility to upgrade in the future.
TOTAL SCORE 11.5/15
MAE T42 STS
SUPPLIER: JMS Arms
TEL: 07771 962121
COST: £425 (stainless finish or black painted)
CALIBRE SIZES: Available up to .243 calibre and then up to .30 calibre.
EASE OF FITMENT: 3/5 The T42 has a rear bush that needs to be profiled to match your barrel, though a new bushless version is in the pipeline.
DESIGN AND HANDLING: 5/5 It is an over-the-barrel design and is 265mm long with a 42mm diameter; only 128mm extends in front of the muzzle. This model is designed for larger-diameter barrels and can accommodate up to 25.5mm. The outer tube is 304L stainless steel, and the inner baffles and blast baffle are 100 per cent 304 stainless steel, making them very long-lasting. This is also a sealed unit for minimal maintenance and is the largest-diameter MAE moderator.
NOISE REDUCTION: 5/5 This is achieved by the clever MAE inner baffle system and the overall weight of 675g that really deadens the noise from firing to a suppressed low resonance with no rolling echo.
VERDICT: If you want excellent noise reduction coupled with maximum longevity, the T42 fits the bill. It balances extremely well and is designed to last with its stainless-steel build. It’s certainly worth the money.
TOTAL SCORE 13/15
TEL: 01489 579999
CALIBRE SIZES: The Stalon design is calibre-specific but with the ability to separate and exchange thread or baffle sizes to match your rifle’s cartridge.
EASE OF FITMENT: 4/5 It is an over-the-barrel design moderator that only extends 100mm past the muzzle. This gives an already light rifle very little extra overall length and balances the rifle very well.
DESIGN AND HANDLING: 3.5/5 The Stalon range is aluminium-based. The W110 is 240mm long and 50mm wide but weighs only 380g. The rear section houses the threaded section to attach to the muzzle and behind this is an expansion chamber that envelopes the barrel when fitted. The front baffle stack section has a primary thick baffle that deflects the majority of the gases away from the bore axis and rearward, then through the vented forward baffles. This gives the gases time to flow through every part of the moderator and lose energy, and thus noise, by the time they exit the moderator.
NOISE REDUCTION: 3.5/5 Its large size makes the Stalon an effective noise-reducing moderator, especially on a Tikka T3X in .22-250 tested recently.
VERDICT: Overall very good noise reduction and balances well, with little weight addition for its size, and well priced.
TOTAL SCORE 11/15