If you want to go about your pest control discreetly, Bruce Potts sounds out the options for you
Sound moderators are now part of the British shooting fabric and an almost must-have item for rifle shooters. For shotgunners, however, shotgun moderators are still a specialised item. You have a choice of fully suppressed shotguns with in-built silencing – the original Hushpower moderated shotguns from the Saddlery and Gunroom (SG) or more recently, the Stealth which used to come from York Guns (YG).
However, for those who just want to add a moderator to their existing shotgun, then the muzzle-mounted versions will be of interest. These comprise slip-on types or those that attach via the multichoke attachment. SG offers both types while the new A-Tec A12 choke-mounted system has become very popular too. SG also made a 20-bore fully suppressed double-barrelled gun but it is only available second hand at present.
SG (Hushpower) and YG (Stealth) offer both these types and they are similar. Available in .410, 20- and 12-bore, these integral systems are popular for vermin control as well as pigeon shooting. They are usually fitted to pump-action shotguns such as the Mossberg Model 500, as their inexpensive cost makes sense to use when the extra cost of the moderator is added.
The original barrel is utilised and then a sound moderator sleeve measuring 2in diameter and 17in long is machined from one piece of high-grade aluminium and fitted over the barrel. It extends downwards by 10½in from the muzzle and 6½in in front of the muzzle. Noise reduction starts from eight ports drilled through the barrel walls, four on either side in a row. These bleed off the expanding gases from the firing process and thus vent, rearward cooling as they go to reduce the overall noise levels when they vent through the front end of the moderator.
The front end has a one-piece billet of aluminium machined with four lozenge-shaped apertures to each side (eight in total) that form additional baffles.
Subsonic ammunition is recommended for maximum sound reduction, but you can safely shoot full-power loads with plastic and fibre wads; the supersonic crack will be heard but no muzzle blast.
The Hushpower .410 and 12-bore detachable moderators retail for £120 and £180 respectively and both can be fitted to any shotgun that has a single barrel with the sights removed.
The .410 Hushpower comprises the main tube, end cap, barrel thread adapter, O-ring and three barrel collets (sleeves). The main components are made from aluminium tube (9¾in long x 1½in diameter) with steel baffles, weighing 335g.
Basically, the end cap slides over the barrel with the 16mm tightener that screws into the top with the sprung split collet fitted. Screw these together so it starts to grip the barrel tightly, add the gas seal O-ring over the barrel and tighten up against the 16mm tightener and place the main body of the moderator over the barrel and screw on to the end cap.
You can use the Hushpower with any .410 and in any choke and also with standard-velocity rounds, but the best sound reduction is with subsonic rounds. There is negligible recoil and very good muted noise reduction.
The 12-bore version has a different method of securing to the barrel, namely by using the existing gun’s choke-tube system as the anchor point. An extended choke is permanently attached to the Hushpower end cap that replaces the original choke (additional £30 for supply and fit of your chosen choke). In this way the Hushpower is easily attached and reattached to the barrel, making the system very handy indeed. You can therefore choose what dimension of choke is best for you – quarter, half or full – but be sure it is steel shot compatible if you use that type of shot.
Dimensionally, it has a 2in diameter and is 10in long, and the choke sticks out another 1¾in. It weighs 580g and has a series of eight concentric dished-profile baffles that are separated by about ½in to form an air space. It does obscure the sight, but with both eyes open it’s no problem. The noise reduction is such that ear protectors need not be worn; there is no rolling echo around the surrounding fields with standard 28g loads and only a muted ‘throng’ with subsonics.
Next, the Norwegian A-Tec A12 is another multichoke-mounted moderator, priced at £361, including one choke; extra chokes are £64 each. It’s all aluminium and, at 560g, light. It is designed as a drop-down design below the sight line and barrel so you can still use the gun’s bead. It also attaches by substituting the existing choke in your gun, six options, with an extended choke that the A12 attaches to.
You can therefore attach or detach at your leisure, and the unit is strippable for cleaning. It is essentially a large oblong aluminium can, measuring 300mm long by 70mm deep and 56mm wide but weighing only 560g. Inside, a 310mm tubular portion that the shot column passes down is vented by nine rows of 11 holes. These bleed off the expanding gases behind the shot column down into two large vertical plates that act as large baffles, thus reducing the noise at the muzzle end.
Adapters for Mobil chokes will fit a Beretta, Benelli or Franchi; Crio Plus for Benelli only; Invector for older Winchesters, Mossbergs and Weatherbys; Invector Plus for newer Browning and Winchester; Optima HP for Beretta; and Remington for 870 and 1100 models.
You are restricted to plastic- or fibre-wadded 12-bore cartridges with a maximum 42g shot weight and US No 2 size. Strictly no slugs or buckshot. The report was very quiet with standard-velocity shells and a hollow/empty throng with subsonics.
I like the integral fully suppressed shotguns. You can shoot pretty much anything through them and they are quiet and easily cleaned; the .410 version is very versatile too. The slip-on .410 Hushpower is also extremely easy to use as and when you want to, and the same goes for the 12-bore screw-choke version. These are good-value systems too.
The more expensive A-Tec A12 is remarkable, and I marvel at its quietness. It is a sure winner in noise-sensitive areas and where discreet vermin control is required.