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SIG SRD22: a rimfire can for the masses: sure, it's impressive to see a .338 Lapua suppressed, but you'll get a lot more use out of a .22 rimfire can like this new one.

OK, when it comes to the sexiness of suppressors, the 5.56, the .308 and ("Oh, I'm feeling a bit verklempt") .338 Lapua get all the ink. Guess what model suppressor makers make the most of? If you guessed rimfire, you'd be right.

SIG knows this, and they set out to make a bomb-proof rimfire suppressor. Which SIG insists on calling a silencer, so we'll do that for this installment, and use the earlier term. Because, you see, a rimfire silencer can be a lot harder to make than a centerfire one.

This is due mostly to just how incredibly dirty, grubby, even distastefully besmirched a rimfire can becomes, because of the ammo. And also because we are all lazy, and we fail to clean our firearms, and silencers, often enough. On a centerfire rifle silencer, that isn't a problem, as centerfire cartridges run a lot cleaner, and centerfire cans run hotter, and thus self-clean.

Rimfire ammo is grubby, and if you do not disassemble and clean your silencer on a regular basis, you will end up having carbon-welded it together.

So SIG went the extra step, and made a rimfire silencer that is both aluminum and stainless steel. Let's work our way from the center out, instead of the usual direction of analysis.

The baffles of the SRD22 are made of stainless steel. Most rimfire silencers use all-aluminum in their construction, both for weight and for cost. But, when it comes time to clean the lead and powder residue off the baffles, you have to exercise a certain amount of caution on aluminum baffles. Get too vigorous, and you can damage them.

I'm not saying you can go whole-hog on the SRD22 baffles, but they will be a lot more forgiving of cleaning than aluminum would be.

The seven baffles are identical, interchangeable, and as long as you get them installed in the correct orientation (big cone open towards the muzzle) you can install them in any order.

Now, the durability of stainless won't do you much good if you can't wrestle the baffles out of the tube, and especially if you have been so lazy as to gunk the can up with carbon. You can not only damage the aluminum baffles, but the aluminum tube, as well.

So SIG takes another step; they have a stainless inner sleeve. The sleeve takes the brunt of the carbon and gunk, and allows you to do some serious shooting before breaking things down for cleaning. And being stainless, they can be scrubbed vigorously with a bronze brush, to get the slime off, and not suffer as a result.

This does not mean, however, that you can go and use steel-bristle brushes, or power tools. You should never be using those on your silencer, regardless of caliber, brand or material.

The external sleeve is the actual, serial-numbered silencer, and it is made of aluminum. (Hey, it's a rimfire silencer, you have to save weight someplace, or else people will complain that you are making it "too heavy.") the front and rear caps are stainless steel.

The SRD22 comes with an assembly wrench, so you can take off the front and rear caps for cleaning. The front cap is simple; there is but one. But the rear cap, SIG makes in two different thread pitches. The standard American pitch of 1/2-28, for all those rimfire pistols and rifles that you care to suppress, and the metric thread of M9X.75. Now, fair warning; the rimfire thread pitch is also the thread pitch of the muzzle of your AR-15. It will screw on. It will not, however, long survive the experience. So, don't do it.

What calibers, then, is the SIG SRD22 made for? The obvious one is .22 Long Rifle, and of course all the shorter ones based on the LR case. OK, not many people shoot .22 Long or .22 Short any more, but if you have them, the SRD22 won't care.

Also up for a party are the .17 HMR, the .17 Mach II, and the .22 Mag. This pretty much covers all the likely candidates.

In the course of testing I screwed the SRD22 onto my faithful suppressor-ready test mule pistol, the Ruger 22/45, and spent a pleasant afternoon plinking away. I made sure to test with some subsonic ammo, from Federal and Gemtech, as well as target ammo from CCI and Ely, just to make sure they would cycle the Ruger with the SRD22 installed: I need not have worried, as things went swimmingly.

For those of you worried about style, the SIG approach; a stainless rear cap with a stand-off nut built-in, does not blend smoothly with the Ruger barrel profile. Such is life. I have to point out that the design provides clearance for the SIG-provided wrench to reach in and tighten or loosen the rear cap, on the barrel.

Out of curiosity and because readers want to know, I also took along my Alexander Arms AR-15 in .17 HMR for testing. Now, the big thing for the .17 HMR is speed, and that means no subsonic ammo, but just how much of the edge can a rimfire silencer take of the muzzle report of a screamingly-fast. 17 HMR?

As it turns out, quite a lot: I won't call it ear-safe by any means, but if you are using the SRD22 on a .17 HMR, observers who can hear but not see you would be fooled into thinking you were using something a whole lot less robust, in your efforts to eradicate the local rodent population. If it makes those nearby less uncomfortable about guns going off, then it has done its job.

And lest you be confused, the SRD22, with .22 Long Rifle ammo, is ear-safe. And even more so when you feed it with subsonic ammo, where you can get the greatly-desired "Hollywood" sound of a silencer; pfft, pfft, pfft. And the sounds of the empties clinking on the ground.

Accuracy? I did not notice any shift in point of impact, nor accuracy, when switching from un-suppressed to suppressed and back again. The Hornady .17 HMR ammo was, as usual, brilliantly accurate (I'm lucky, my range is pretty well protected from errant winds, so I don't have to deal with them a lot) and there was no apparent shift in zero, or group size, at 100 yards, switching back and forth several times from suppressed to un-suppressed ... My test rig of a Leupold V6, clamped in an American Defense QD mount, did its usual fabulous job.

Now for the best part--you can have all this silencer goodness, the stainless, the two different caps, and the disassembly wrench, for less than four hundred dollars. A latte less than four Benjamins, to be exact.

And that brings us to the last pair of reasons silencer makers make so many more rimfire cans than they do centerfire. The silencer itself costs a lot less, and you can actually afford to shoot all day long with a rimfire firearm, compared to your centerfire ones.

ALEXANDER ARMS .17 HMR

Bill Alexander is different. The rest of us wander from our hotel rooms at the SHOT show to the show floor, and see the blinking lights on the displays of the slot machines and go "Them's bright and noisy." He wonders "What polymer do they use, to make the ten-foot display rigid and light, and not fade in the 24/7 glare of the casino lighting?" An afternoon spent talking engineering with him should be counted as a semester's worth of credit at college.

While the rest of us were happy that we could make a .22 Long Rifle upper for our ARs, and actually have it work, he was busy re-engineering the whole thing to make it work with a .17 HMR.

He changed the usual bolt material to a high-alloy steel, to withstand the pressure and the cyclic forces. He designed it to run perfectly on a box-stock lower (with mag adapter). If you want to run a match, lightened hammer or hammer spring, he designed a buffer with a greater weight to account for that.

He came up with an adapter plate to fit into the mag well, so he could use properly-engineered magazines. And then he made the magazines out of a very hard polymer, one that can be molded to precise dimensions. And, it is inexpensive enough so that if you do shoot it enough to wear the mag lips, you can simply buy a replacement magazine.

And what do you get for all this? You mean, besides a brilliantly accurate, utterly reliable self-loading .17 HMR? A rifle accurate enough to be useful to the effective range of the cartridge, 200 yards? A rifle that works just like every other AR you own, so there is no fumbling with the controls? What more do you want?

How about this; a rifle that performs like the would-be PDW that your buddy has. You know, the one with a caliber that starts out "5.7" but like so many government programs, it has over-promised and underdelivered?

The .17 HMR has a book spec of a 20-grain bullet at 2375 fps. The 5.7 is supposed to be a 23-grain bullet at much the same velocity, but I've never seen it do that. You can find, and afford, .17 HMR, where 5.7 is pricey when found.

And then, you can take the flash hider off of the Alexander Arms .17 HMR, install a suppressor (might I suggest a SIG SRD22?) and really have some fun.

SPECIFICATIONS

SIG SRD22

Overall length: 6.25 inches

Net length added to firearm: 5.75 inches

Diameter: 1.25 inches

Material: Aluminum and stainless steel

Weight: 7.7 ounces

Finish: Anodized aluminum outer tube

Calibers available: .22 Long Rifle, .17 HMR, .17 Mach II, .22 Mag.

Full-auto rated: N/A

Mount system available: Direct-thread

MSRP: $395
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Author:Sweeney, Patrick
Publication:Shotgun News
Date:Aug 1, 2015
Words:1655
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