Silencerco salvo: can you really suppress a shotgun?
The SilencerCo Salvo utilizes a nine-rail system, visible here, to guide the wad column through the body of the suppressor.
Big Brother: The Salvo's form factor is similar to SilencerCo's rifle and pistol suppressors, but the internal approach to its engineering is quite different.
The Salvo's baffles ride below the line of the bore, facilitating a normal swing without the need to raise the sights on most barrels.
Despite some initial frustrations, Jonathon Shuits, Harrison Holden and the SilencerCo team couldn't let the idea of a suppressed shotgun slip by. SilencerCo commands a significant share of the U.S. rifle and pistol suppressor market, but the shotgun concept was a stretch even for them. Engineers struggled with several nagging problems, the ant being how to control the sound and pressure of such a large muzzle (relative to the bore of modern pistols and rifles). Threading the thin, outside wall of a shotgun barrel was not something most owners would likely be interested in doing, but barrels with internal, factory-spec choke tubes provided SilencerCo with an idea. The second and perhaps more technical challenge was how to keep the wad column functioning properly as it passed through the suppressor. Last, the suppressor had to be large enough to materially reduce the shotgun's signature but not so large that it impaired the shooter's ability to swing the gun naturally with a moving target. Solutions would be no minor chore, and forward steps would be small, but Shults and his team found a way. To test their work, Guns & Ammo took the Silencer-Co Salvo for a spin at Utah's Miller Motorsports Park last August. How It Works The Savlo's unique design hinges on two major elements: a nine-rod internal rail system to guide the wad column and a modular baffle stack that can be adjusted from 6 to 12 inches in length.
Though SilencerCo's design team had a head start on building suppressors, the internal ballistics of a shotgun barrel and the wad column-guided projectiles were a different story. Their early designs, modeled from rifle and pistol suppressors, behaved like a cheese grater on the soft-plastic shotgun wads. The idea arose to use a circular, longitudinal rail array to guide and control the wad as it passed through the suppressor to prevent the baffles from tearing it to pieces. After a few versions, the concept worked and became the framework for the adjustable-length system. Additionally, to give customers maximum flexibility on length, the guide rods are made from standard 3/32-threaded rods cut to the desired length. The rods are inexpensive and available at any hardware store, and they are therefore not a "silencer" part, as per the BATFE. This allows the consumer to configure multiple rail sets for various lengths of the same suppressor.
The Salvo's exoskeleton is constructed of a squared, multipart baffle and spacer system made from 17-4 stainless steel and 7075 aluminum. Originally conceived to facilitate testing audible suppression at different lengths, the modular system became a key element in the Salvo's final design. With stacked baffles that can be removed or added in 2-inch increments, the Salvo can be adjusted by stacking baffles and trimming the rods to the user's personal sweet spot of length, weight and decibel control. You can compare length and decibel levels in the chart above.
How It Attaches The Salvo adheres to the barrel by way of an adapter that connects to the internal threads cut for choke tubes. If your shotgun isn't threaded for interchangeable chokes, you're out of luck. However, SilencerCo produces mounting adapters to attach the Salvo to Benelli, Beretta, Browning, Mossberg, Remington and Weatherby shotguns. They can be pump action, gas operated semiautomatic and inertia-driven semiautomatic; it doesn't matter. The system is compatible with 23/4- or 3-inch wadded shot shells and rifled slugs. The Salvo adapter screws into the muzzle, and the suppressor screws into the adapter. Attaching it feels a bit like repairing a garden hose. Should you ever decide to go back to full-volume shotgunning, simply replace the Salvo adapter with the compatible choke tube of your choice.
The Salvo comes in four chokes from Improved/Cylinder to Full. Shults notes, "The Salvo typically opens the choke one step, but the better the wad design, the better the pattern." He also added that most "flight control" wads perform more consistently through the Salvo than not.
Configured and attached, the Salvo is rectangular in shape and rides below the line of the bore, which keeps the suppressor out of the line of sight. For military and law enforcement customers, SilencerCo offers a muzzle extension for breaching duties.
How It Feels At the full 12-inch configuration, the Salvo weighs 341/2 ounces, or just over 2 pounds. Mounted to the shoulder, it's not overly noticeable. In fact, some shooters may benefit from a more nose-heavy swing and reduction of muzzle rise in addition to the reduced recoil. As previously mentioned, the Salvo can be shortened by as much as half to better adjust to shooters who prefer reduced weight over a reduction in audible volume, in its 6-inch configuration, the Salvo weighs only 21 ounces, but it still delivers a suppressed volume of 1401/2 dB to the ear. The suppressive effect is increased further by the direction and distance of discharge away from its user.
Standing behind a crowd of people firing away from several stations with shotguns suppressed by the Salvo was a bit like watching a NASCAR race run entirely with hybrids. The action was the same--clays broke, empty shells flew and actions cycled--except there was little more of an audible report than would occur if a kid slammed a plastic toy on a table at a restaurant. It takes a few minutes of observation and firing several rounds to get your head wrapped around the change from a lifetime of sensory conditioning to a shotgun's typical sound, but the Salvo quickly becomes part of the shotgun. It truly was a pleasure to shoot with less noise, less recoil and minimal impact on downrange performance.
The applications for the Salvo are numerous, particularly for the hunter who needs to maintain his awareness until just before the shotgun fires. This is in addition to considerable recoil suppression that will undoubtedly ease a full day with magnum shells. More than a few bird dogs' ears will surely benefit as well.
The Salvo will begin shipping to dealers mid-September 2014 at an estimated price of $1,400.
Top: Though it appears to extend far beyond the muzzle, the actual impact to the feel of the shotgun swing is minimal.
Far left: Designed around a system of 2-inch sections and threaded rods, the Salvo's length can be adjusted to the shooter's preference for balance and sound suppression.
Near left: The adapter in the Salvo is machined to match each manufacturer's factory thread patterns. Users will have to specify the make and model of the shotgun they intend to use in order to obtain the best fit.
SPECIFICATIONS SALVO LENGTH WEIGHT WIDTH HEIGHT CONFIGURATION (IN.) (OZ.) (IN.) (IN.) 12 in. w/choke 12.19 34.5 2.21 2.96 10 in. w/choke 10.28 30 2.21 2.96 8 in. w/choke 8.36 25.5 2.21 2.96 6 in. w/choke 6.42 21 2.21 2.96 SOUND MEASUREMENTS SUPPRESSOR MODEL MUZZLE (dB) EAR (dB) Not suppressed 159.8 155.9 Salvo 12, 6 in. 149.2 140.6 Salvo 12, 8 in. 145.1 137 Salvo 12, 10 in. 141.1 134.1 Savlo 12, 12 in. 137.9 132 Host firearm: 18-inch Remington 870 12-gauge shotgun, 2 3/4-inch shell, 1,200 fps, 7 1/2 shot (10-round average)