SILENCER SATURDAY #317: Sub MOA With The Quietest 556 AR-15 Suppressor In the Universe

Good afternoon everyone and welcome back to TFB’s Silencer Saturday brought to you by Yankee Hill Machine, manufacturers of the brand new YHM 338 Bad Larry Suppressor. Last week we got our hands on the new GLOCK 19X MOS, an exclusive from Davidsons. This week we get behind one of my favorite rifle/suppressor combinations and attempt to shoot five-shot sub MOA groups. Can the quietest 556 AR-15 setup also deliver small, repeatable groups? Let’s take a look.

More Allen Engineering @ TFB:

SILENCER SATURDAY #317: Sub MOA With The Quietest 556 AR-15 Suppressor In the Universe

SILENCER SATURDAY #317: Sub MOA With The Quietest 556 AR-15 Suppressor In the Universe

SILENCER SATURDAY #317: Sub MOA With The Quietest 556 AR-15 Suppressor In the Universe

Truth be told, I have no idea how quiet the 556 rifles of Proxima Centari b can get with the current technology. But click bait headlines aside, the Allen Engineering AEM5 is still the quietest 5.56mm suppressor I have personally used. And while I still wear hearing protection, the MK12/AEM5 combination sounds more like a .22LR plinker than it does a battlefield DMR.

Obviously, the title of “quietest suppressor” comes with a few asterisks. First, the MK12’s long barrel helps with eliminating any unburned power that just creates more flash and noise. The AEM5 is also quite long itself, with plenty of volume and baffles to make it all work. And the mounting system is fairly unique, requiring a specific barrel profile, a collar, and a threaded muzzle brake. But in my opinion, it’s all worth it.

A few years ago when Ron Allen himself lent me a sound meter and all of the Allen Engineering suppressors for testing, we talked on the phone about how gas guns, and the AR-15 specifically, were no match for bolt action rifles in the precision shooting department. Of course I was determined to prove that I could shoot the Mk12 just as accurately as a bolt gun and spent the next few weeks and a few hundred dollars with of ammo trying to shoot sub MOA groups. In a subsequent follow-up call with Ron, I admitted defeat.

SILENCER SATURDAY #317: Sub MOA With The Quietest 556 AR-15 Suppressor In the Universe

SILENCER SATURDAY #317: Sub MOA With The Quietest 556 AR-15 Suppressor In the Universe

Before we get into today’s shooting, let’s talk about some of the variables at play with suppressed precision rifles that you should be aware of when planning your next build.

Muzzle Devices:

It should be obvious, but always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when installing brakes and flash hider mounts. Torque settings, thread locking compounds, shims, and timing orientation can all play a role in how your silencer interacts with your barrel.

Mounting Systems:

Almost every suppressor manufacturer uses their own proprietary mounting system and it is important to learn how to operate them correctly. Some systems are known for their repeatability (they can keep the same point of aim (POA), point of impact (POI) even if the suppressor is removed and reinstalled) while other manufacturers focus on direct thread options for their precision guns.

Suppressors:

When installed properly, most modern suppressors are designed to be host neutral and not affect the accuracy of the rifle. Asymmetrical baffle systems may shift the POA/POI from unsuppressed to suppressed shots. Other manufacturers specifically design their silencers for precision rifles and specifically test for even small accuracy deviations.

If you are building a rifle for sub MOA precision shooting, my suggestion would be to buy a suppressor known for no accuracy degradation and have a competent gunsmith install any muzzle device systems.

SILENCER SATURDAY #317: Sub MOA With The Quietest 556 AR-15 Suppressor In the Universe

SILENCER SATURDAY #317: Sub MOA With The Quietest 556 AR-15 Suppressor In the Universe

Back to the MK12, the AEM5, and precision shooting. I never forgot the fact that I failed to deliver Sub MOA groups when Silencer Saturday was barely a year old. And every few months the MK12 comes down off the rack and out on the range for more practice. Today was one of those days.

Gear used in today’s testing:

As you can see below, I still have a lot of work to do. Out of 80 rounds of five shot groups, only one group measured under MOA.

SILENCER SATURDAY #317: Sub MOA With The Quietest 556 AR-15 Suppressor In the Universe

SILENCER SATURDAY #317: Sub MOA With The Quietest 556 AR-15 Suppressor In the Universe

I could make excuses about the wind or the temperatures, but the truth is I just need to shoot more. I have experimented with different loads, most of them on the heavier side, but I haven’t made the jump into reloading custom ammunition.

SILENCER SATURDAY #317: Sub MOA With The Quietest 556 AR-15 Suppressor In the Universe

SILENCER SATURDAY #317: Sub MOA With The Quietest 556 AR-15 Suppressor In the Universe

There is something extremely satisfying about shooting a fighting rifle both accurately and quietly. I still have plenty of room for improvement, and I’m sure that there are solid shooters that can consistently produce sub MOA groups, but I’m not sure if an AR-15 will ever be an equal match to a similarly equipped bolt action rifle.

SILENCER SATURDAY #317: Sub MOA With The Quietest 556 AR-15 Suppressor In the Universe

SILENCER SATURDAY #317: Sub MOA With The Quietest 556 AR-15 Suppressor In the Universe

Thanks for reading, be safe, have fun, and we’ll see you back here next week for another Silencer Saturday.



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