Choosing a suppressor for a hunting rifle can be an agonizing choice, because there are hundreds of models available, but very few people own more than one or two, so it’s hard to find good information on which one is best.
If you don’t want to read this whole blog post, I’ll give it to you straight. If I could pick any new suppressor for my hunting rifles, it would unquestionably be the new Banish Backcountry suppressor. It’s incredibly lightweight, short, and suppresses sound well. Order it with a 5/8×24 threading and it’ll be compatible with nearly all hunting rifles from magnum .308″ caliber rifles all the way down to your .22 varmint calibers.
However, because I already have a few suppressors, my pick may favor a more purpose-built suppressor for my needs. If I were buying my very first suppressor, I’d pick a suppressor that is versatile to hunting and just shooting in general–something I could swap between several guns. For that, I’d choose the Banish 30. It offers greater sound suppression than the Backcountry.
Buying a suppressor specifically for a hunting rifle is very different than most suppressors which are designed around the .223 in an AR15, or a .308 in an AR10. Be careful as you read reviews and watch videos recommending different suppressors that may be excellent for those applications, but not a good fit for a hunting rifle.
If you still have a ton of questions, you’re in luck, because I have a ton of cheap thoughts.
Why You Can Trust This Review
- I have owned, tested, reviewed, or shot many dozens of different suppressor models.
- I keep my recommendations on this page meticulously updated as new products are released.
- I’ve done fairly extensive testing of recoil, and back pressure with suppressors to know which work well with modern hunting rifles.
- I regularly talk with many suppressor companies in the industry to learn what new advances are being made.
- Backfire is a well-regarded brand in the shooting and hunting industry. With over 600,000 subscribers on Youtube and 400,000 monthly visitors on this site.
My #1 Pick: The Banish Backcountry Suppressor
The Banish Backcountry suppressor absolutely dominates the hunting market. It only weighs 7.8 ounces thanks to its titanium construction and smart design, which is about HALF the weight of most 30 cal suppressors. Plus, it’s only 5.5″ long, which is about 2″ shorter than most 30 cal suppressors. That’s a PERFECT size and weight for a hunting application.
Most suppressors simply focus on different needs than the hunter. Many cans focus on their rating for full auto or rapid firing rifles, which simply doesn’t apply to the hunter. Plus, they focus on maximum sound suppression, which actually isn’t necessary for hunting because you’ll only hear one or two shots during a hunt.
On top of the size and weight savings, it also is optimized for reducing recoil of the rifle. In my suppressor testing, I found the reduction to be about 35% less recoil. That would take a .300 Win Mag and turn it into a similar amount of recoil to a .308 Winchester.
It’s also available with a muzzle brake attachment. Personally, I’d prefer the direct mount for the weight savings and would skip the muzzle brake attachment. A brake attachment adds another point of failure and makes it a little tougher to move the can between rifles.
Another important point about this and all of the other cans mentioned on this page is that they are designed to suppress the sound of a hunting rifle, which is VERY different than the sound of a AR15 which many or most of the silencers on the market are designed around.
The Banish Backcountry isn’t the quietest suppressor on the market. It’s good and better than some competing models, but not the ultimate in suppression. What I’ve learned is that when I’m on the range shooting my rifles, I want to wear hearing protection anyway. Shooting 20+ shots, and often being on a range where others are shooting, I still feel it’s best to wear hearing protection even with a suppressor–any suppressor. However, when you go hunting, a few shots won’t be a problem at all without hearing protection.
My #2 Pick: The Banish 30
If I were buying my first suppressor, it’d be a Banish 30. It’s a generalist suppressor that would work well on a variety of different rifles and suppresses the sound down to a very impressive whisper.
It’s an all-titanium suppressor, which drops down the weight significantly, and the form-factor is excellent because it comes as a 9″ suppressor, but you can easily screw off the last 2″ of the suppressor to reveal a much lighter and smaller suppressor when you go hunting. For me, I would most often shoot it in the 7″ configuration because the sound suppression is still very impressive, and it makes the gun less unwieldy. But, when shooting at the range, I could add the 2″ section for maximum suppression. It’s a pretty nice system.
I’ve shot the Banish 30 and a couple of its variants such as the Gold, and was extremely impressed by the build quality, sound suppression, and frankly the price for a titanium suppressor.
I call this a “generalist” suppressor, and by that I don’t mean it’d be a poor fit for hunting. Actually, I think it’s a great fit for hunting because it’s relatively short at 7″, and all titanium. I just mean that there are other suppressors specifically intended for hunting that shift the balance even more to being small in size, but limiting suppression. This suppressor offers better sound suppression than those options.
If this is your first suppressor, get the Banish 30. It’ll work on just about every hunting rifle out there with its 5/8×24 threading and caliber ratings all the way from 300 Weatherby down to the tiny .17 caliber rifles.
My #3 Pick: Dead Air Nomad
The Dead Air Nomad has been the suppressor that I’ve used more than anything else over the years.
The Nomad is an extremely impressive suppressor. Having shot this suppressor on the range with several friends, they always comment that this suppressor seems to quiet the sound more than anything else. I frankly don’t know the decibel reading numbers for this or any other suppressor, but because of the tone of the sound, it makes this one seem the quietest by far compared to my other suppressors.
This suppressor may even be my #2 pick, but it’s not available on Silencer Central. It’s on Silencer Shop, which I haven’t had the greatest luck with.
It weighs 14 ounces and is 6.5″ long. The length of the suppressor doesn’t get in the way much when I’m hunting. I like any suppressor under 7″. However, the weight of the suppressor significantly impacts the point of impact when I switch it between rifles.
I do think the Nomad has quite a bit of additional back pressure compared to some other options I’ve shot, but for a bolt gun, it’s usually not a problem.
It’s significantly shorter than my Silencerco Omega, and yet it feels quieter. When I say it “feels quieter” I readily admit that I have no idea which does better on a decibel test, but the tone of the sound drastically changes how loud a gun SEEMS. The Nomad makes every gun I use pleasant to shoot with.
The Gunwerks 6ix
At just 6.18″ long and 12.4oz in weight, the Gunwerks 6ix is among the shortest and lightest suppressors available for a hunting rifle. It’s just 0.6″ and 4.5oz heavier than the Banish Backcountry. However, Gunwerks also has a titanium version of the 6ix that puts it right on par with the Banish Backcountry, but that’ll cost you another $350.
On paper, it looked to me like the Gunwerks 6ix would be a perfect fit for me. I wanted something smaller and lighter for my hunting rifles; however, I found that it just didn’t suppress the sound enough to really even be worth it. My wife often accompanies me to the range to film for my Youtube channel, and after taking the first shot with this can, she said, “Is something wrong? That didn’t sound like it was suppressed at all!” It definitely does suppress the sound, but it’s also one of the loudest suppressors I’ve heard.
Everything is a balance. I’m certain Gunwerks could have created an extremely quiet can, but it would be bigger and heavier. So if you’re looking for a minimalist suppressor and you value size and weight the most, then this may be a good fit for you.
Personally, I would love to take this suppressor hunting because it would allow me to take one or two shots at an animal and not have to lug around a big can; however, I also spend many hours at the range before the hunt, and for that, I’d love something with more sound suppression. Perhaps I really should have purchased the Gunwerks 8ight.
Gunwerks is known as a brand for long range hunters, so the can has been optimized for accuracy and a minimal point of impact shift when attaching/removing the suppressor. That being said, I don’t know that you’ll see any increase in accuracy using this can compared to the Backcountry. I’d be interested in testing that more, though.
Other Suppressors (A couple mini-reviews)
Silencerco Harvester – The Harvester is very long at almost 9″. In fact, I’ve found it to be simply too long for my liking on a hunting rifle. Despite the length, though, it’s somehow very lightweight at just 9.7 ounces. It was specifically designed for long range shooting and hunting from a suppression, accuracy, and recoil perspective, but oddly the designers didn’t value length into the equation for a hunter’s needs. I used this suppressor on this Youtube video so you can see how quiet it can be if you’re shooting subsonic ammo.
Silencerco Omega-30 – The Omega is a good can. When it was first released, it created quite a stir. It weighs 14.8 ounces and is 7.08″ long. It’s a good can for sure, but having listened to it compared to the Dead Air Nomad many times, the Nomad sounds quieter to me. Having said that, I own an Omega and have really enjoyed it. Check out the Silencerco Omega here.
What to Look for in a Hunting Suppressor
I’ve found over time that the suppressors I most often choose to keep on my best hunting rifles are:
- Designed for 7.62mm (.308 caliber) bullets. This is the most versatile because it’ll also work for smaller calibers (7mm, 6.5mm, .243, 22 cal, etc). Surprisingly, there’s little difference in sound signature on the smaller calibers even if you’re using a can designed for .308″. I’d only recommend a .45 or .338 suppressor if you actually NEED it for a specific gun.
- Lightweight (preferably made of titanium)
- Short (I much prefer silencers under 7″)
- Qualitatively SOUNDS quieter, even if it doesn’t measure as well on a decibel scale
- Has direct threading for 5/8×24, which is how nearly all hunting rifles are threaded. While quick detach systems can be handy on AR rifles and pistols, they add weight and risk coming loose on a hunting rifle.
Here are a few things NOT to look for in a hunting suppressor, which the marketing companies will try to push you on.
- Modularity. It’s fine on ARs and pistols, but every time you change the configuration of a suppressor on a hunting rifle, it will change your zero. Most hunters attach a suppressor to the barrel of their gun and simply don’t remove it except for a yearly cleaning.
- Fancy mounting solutions. Again, taking a suppressor on and off your barrel will change your zero, so you probably won’t remove it much. That’s unnecessary weight, parts, and points of failure.
- Decibel specs. When I bought my first suppressor, I desperately wanted to see exact decibel readings. After shooting dozens of them, I’ve learned that TONE matters a lot more than the decibel reading. Also, I haven’t found dramatic differences in sound suppression between brands.
How to Know the Muzzle Thread Pitch on Your Hunting Rifle
It’s probably 5/8×24. Nearly all hunting rifles are threaded 5/8×24. In fact, even if it’s NOT threaded 5/8×24, you probably still want your suppressor threaded 5/8×24 so it’s more compatible with the most rifles you’ll put it on, and then you can use an adapter if you need to put it on something else.
However, there are a few rifle makers who make things complicated for us. The worst offenders are Browning and Sako.
Browning’s X-Bolt line of rifles are usually threaded M13 x 1.25, which is a metric designation. Fortunately, a few companies offer adapters like this one. However, not all Browning X-Bolt rifles utilize this frustratingly metric thread pitch. Browning has an “SR” line of rifles which mostly use the 5/8×24 standard. The “SR” rifles from Browning are the only ones I recommend due to this issue. Most hunters want the ability to use a non-Browning muzzle device, so this is extremely frustrating.
Sako and Tikka also thread many of their muzzles using a metric thread pitch of M13x1. However, most of the Tikka rifles sold in the USA are threaded with the more standard 5/8×24.
If you want to know the thread pitch of your rifle’s muzzle, you can usually Google it and find out what your model is threaded. A second option is to go to your local gunsmith. They have specialized gauges and will probably check it for free. However, I renew my recommendation that you just order 5/8×24 with a direct thread and call it a day.