Dirty suppressor impact on rifle precision/accuracy.

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    I've been noticing a continual accuracy/precision drop off on my main 40X repeater recently. Most noticeably was the first shot through the rifle when it had not been shot for a bit, would hit high. Two to three tenths of a mil high at 50yds. I had a good idea what the cause was, but I decided to take it through one step at a time... for science. Yesterday I decided to work it out. I started off by cleaning the bore, bolt, and crown. Got the bolt regreased, and started shooting. There was an improvement, but almost immeasurable. Still more flyers than I was used to. I spent about 6 boxes of ammo of various types just making sure there wasn't an odd bore condition causing issues. It still just wasn't shooting well with anything. Instead of the 1/4" groups at 50yds I was used to, most were .4-.5" instead, with the increasingly frequent flyers opening some up to .7" or so.

    Next I set out to clean the Thunderbeast 22 Takedown that lives on the end of this rifle. I have somewhere around 1500-2000rnds through this can since it was put on. The suppressor had also developed a first-round-pop, so I was also looking forward to the cleaning getting rid of this. The plastic disassembly tool they send with this thing does not inspire confidence, but I got the can apart. The main baffle stack slid out without issue. A little bit of gunk had leaked in between the outside of the baffles and the tube. It was wet. I had just finished shooting a lot, so no doubt condensation was the cause of the moisture.



    The individual baffles came apart alright. A few stubborn ones, but for most they clicked right apart. Plenty of crud in there. Here's what was scraped out of a single baffle.

    The process took me about an hour or a bit more. I started with kroil, but found that butch's bore shine was much better at it. I would scrape the baffles with a dental pick to get the majority of the buildup off. Then I would use butch's bore shine and q-tips to get the rest. I got 3/4 of the baffles sparkling, but quickly tired of the process and took the others to 95% clean and called it good.


    Re-assembly and re-installation of the suppressor found my cold bore impact to be dead on, and my group sizes were back down to the .2's and .3's that I am accustomed to. When the can was sparkling clean, the first few shots through it were somewhat erratic. Apparently it needed some shots to settle in. Once I got about 20 shots through the can, things tightened right up. Shooting flies at 30-40yds isn't really difficult for me with this rifle usually, but it was getting increasingly difficult the more it was shot. I've seen dirty suppressors cause this before, but was never in a position to definitively prove it before. The host rifles I was using always had their own accuracy/precision problems which could not be attributed to the suppressor alone. This rifle, however, has proven itself to be an extremely stable and precise shooter across over 10,000 rounds. It has wore the same optic, rings, base, mags, bottom metal, and has been bedded into that stock for a long time. I finally had an opportunity to prove this once and for all with a stable platform that I have thousands of rounds of experience with. This kind of performance degradation is like having your eyesight go bad. It doesn't happen all at once, sudden like. It sneaks up on you, throwing flyers here and there, eroding your confidence slowly. This puts the issue to bed for me.

    Dirty suppressors can cause accuracy and precision problems on 22lr.

  • @orkan
    I take mine apart about every 500 rounds to clean in my sonic cleaner. What I have also noticed is that changing brands of ammunition causes random fliers for about 50 rounds then settles in.

  • @jibnast said:

    What I have also noticed is that changing brands of ammunition causes random fliers for about 50 rounds then settles in.

    Yes, in modern factory bores, that tends to be the case. This was something I learned over 10 years ago when I got into precision rimfire heavily. Despite me only learning that a decade ago, it was widely known for a very very long time. In nice barrels in quality rifles, it typically only takes 10-25 rounds to season the bore. This was a different issue all together.

    The suppressor being dirty causing issues, however, that was something I was finally able to prove just recently.

  • This is the exact reason I ordered the takedown from you.

    I didn't see a reason for the takedown until I started shooting .22 every day. I now have a 22L that has probably 5000 rounds through it and it is absolutely useless for precision. I keep meaning to send it back to TB to be cleaned...but just haven't done it. I also have a 22S that is currently on my 40x. It has to be cleaned about every 300 rounds to keep my cold bore right and I suspect will eventually be "uncleanable" via the dip as my L is right now. I just have to make due till the form 4 clears and these two will be dedicated to pistols. If the HPA passes I'll be ordering another takedown and selling off the sealed cans.

  • After starting to see some unexplained fliers...and being reminded why by this post I let my 22S soak for a couple of days. This is the results. First five shots on the left...obviously settling in the and fouling the clean suppressor. Second five shots on the right. One of my tightest groups yet.

    I shot a "rimfire challenge" and did ok. I think I psych myself out. I shot the last four in the mag after the "rimfire challenge" and got another group that was 0.102".

    I think soaking the suppressor is going to become a regular thing until the takedown is out of ATF purgatory.


  • Do you have an ultrasonic cleaner?

  • @rhyno

    Nope. I am making hazardous waste....lol.

    Vinegar and Hydrogen peroxide in a 50-50 solution. I don't know how to get rid of the left over solution...so for now I am keeping it in mason jars. Once I have the takedown I will clean with a less toxic method and just reserve these two sealed cans for pistols and non-precision setups. I can have them cleaned by thunderbeast once a year for free...but it is a headache to send them back and forth.

  • I wonder if you could pump your cleaning solution through it and get a better clean?

    Hook a hose up to one end and let it run out into a bucket or something to be pumped back through it.

  • @ragnarnar

    It probably would come out cleaner if done that way...but I don't want to be around the toxic stuff any more than necessary. It makes lead acetate when vinegar, peroxide, and lead fouling are mixed together. It actually bubbles until the bulk is eaten away. I do it outside because I am afraid of the fumes...then I let it sit and evaporate and keep the remaining stuff in a mason jar. It is some nasty stuff that comes out of the suppressor.

  • @dddoo7 I have used automotive top end cleaner. It needs to be done outside but does a pretty good job. I have also used the 50/50 mix and it works. Luckily we have an auto part shop as part of our business. I use our industrial disposal containers for waste.

  • Next time around I'm going to toss my baffles in the stainless tumbler and see how that works. I'm a little afraid that it will beat up the baffles, but they seem to be really really hard. I couldn't scratch them with a metal dental pick.

  • @orkan

    I'm glad you are trying that. If it works then that is the means I will use to clean them...but I'm not real keen on the idea of finding out the hard way that it will damage the baffles. As little as it does to brass I can't imagine it hurting stainless...but that is just my thoughts...no evidence.

  • Just read through this article. Some interesting information.

  • Well I just called thunderbeast and they said no-go on putting them in stainless tumblers. They had no first hand experience with it, but it didn't sound like they'd warranty it if there was damage. They advocated ultrasonic or slip2000 carbon killer. (that green goo bottle)


  • http://americangg.net/absolutely-need-clean-suppressor/

    Well someone should get kicked in the balls for this

  • OMG. MP5SD's... full. Wow.