My various screeds here and on my weekly podcast should erase any doubt on where I stand on the Hearing Protection Act. Specifically, what its passage will do to the current stock of available silencers (decimate it), and what the surge in demand will do to prices (lower them, slightly). Ever the contrarian bunch, our assembled commenters have reminded me of the following:
- Silencers are just tubes with baffles
- Any competent machinist can make one
- There’s less than $100 of materials in a silencer
All of these facts lead our readers and commenters to believe that silencers cost WAY too much. Nevermind that street prices on durable .30 caliber cans are now down below $600 in the current marketplace. Luckily, my local dealer, Capitol Armory, has a steady supply of silencers on hand from various manufacturers eager to have their wares displayed in Capitol’s online marketplace. One such silencer is the least expensive offering on the market right now – the Rebel Silencers SOS – Hunter.
The SOS – Hunter boasts the lowest MSRP out there at $250 (before tax stamp). It’s made of 7075 aluminum and in the full baffle stack configuration adds 10 inches of length to your rifle of choice. With four baffles, a removable end cap, and a direct thread mount that is capable of accepting 5/8″-24 and 1/2″-28, it’s designed for, and appeals to, the extremely budget conscious buyer. Rebel also guarantees that the SOS – Hunter is rated for .300 Win Mag.
Initial inspection showed a roughly finished product with very visible machining marks. The threading for the baffles was on the order of what I’d expect from a high school machine shop – gritty the entire way.
Rebel says that this silencer is finished with Cerakote, but it should be apparent from the photos that they finish the silencer as a complete unit, so there’s obvious overspray and drip lines inside the baffles. The finish is even enough, but the lack of surface prep means that the Cerakote looks a little odd in places.
But hey, if it looks rough, but it works, it isn’t so bad, is it? Given the experience that Jeremy had testing an aluminum muzzle brake, I feared for my safety and elected to test the first few shots remotely. My plan was to first see if it would blow up, then do a standard test for point of impact shift. Assuming that went well, I then planned to meter it.
As you can see, it didn’t blow up. Three shots through that rest and the can was still intact so I elected to don my best safety gear, and fire it into a berm.
I finished off a magazine with seven more shots, loaded up another nine and recorded this for future use. Total round count downrange – nineteen.
After nearly twenty rounds of .308 WIN, the SOS – Hunter was still intact. On the one hand, I was sad because wanton destruction is fun and I’ve never had a can blow up on me. On the other hand, I was filled with doubt.
Maybe I’d been wrong. Perhaps I’d been in my lofty perch for too long. Perhaps the Dead Airs and SilencerCos and Thunder Beasts of the world have been overcharging for their products all this time. Then I broke the SOS-Hunter open.
On the left is the “blast baffle” which is the first baffle nearest the muzzle. There’s no defined blast baffle in the SOS Hunter so whichever one you have near the business end is the one taking superheated gasses, unburnt powder, and tiny pieces of copper jacket.
As you can see from the photo above, the “blast baffle” has already started to suffer from severe erosion and pitting after only nineteen rounds. I ended my test here because further erosion will only make for better pictures and a higher ammo bill for Farago.
Going over the rest of the baffles, they looked pretty good, and it occurred to me that the truly thrifty owner might just swap the baffle position in much the same way I rotate the tires on my truck. After some period of time — call it 200 rounds — the can could go back to Rebel where I’m sure they’d happily replace the damaged bits. Oh, what’s that? Rebel doesn’t offer a warranty. In fact, here’s their position on replacement parts.
We sell replacement baffles, end caps, and thread inserts inexpensively. Most will never need a replacement part, and unless it’s the serialized back piece (very unlikely) that you need to replace, you’ll send us the bad, and we’ll mail you out a fresh baffle or front cap.
So again, like the tires on my truck, I should be able to keep rotating them until they wear out, and then buy four new ones. But what about the front cap?
Oh look, a baffle strike. Somewhere in my limited testing, I managed to just nick the end cap. Given that I tightened the whole thing down to the muzzle tightly enough that it took a wrench to break loose — and I trust Ruger knows how to cut threads — I’m going to let this one sit in Rebel’s lap. Either the aperture on the end cap isn’t large enough or the threads aren’t cut correctly. Neither one is good.
At this point, I suspended my testing. Low round count baffle erosion and an end cap strike are enough of a reason for me to stay far far away from this silencer and encourage you to do the same. There’s no point in checking for point of impact shift with a damaged end cap, and the erosion issue is a ticking time bomb.
Specifications: Rebel Silencers SOS Hunter
Length: 10 inches
Diameter: 1.5 inches
Weight: 10.8 ounces
Mounting: 5/8 x 24 or 1/2 x 28 with threaded insert
Caliber: .30 Caliber
Material: 100% premium grade 7075 aluminum
Finish: Matte Black Cerakote
Firing Capability: single shot, semi auto, light bump fire
Ratings (out of five stars):
Fit, Finish, Build Quality: *
The SOS – Hunter has a high school shop class level of finish with obvious tool marks and threads that are roughly finished. The Cerakote isn’t applied to the baffles individually so there’s obvious overspray and drip lines. The whole thing feels cheap because it is.
Sound Attenuation: * *
It quiets the sound enough that the ATF considers it a silencer, but firing it from from 30 feet away, it was still fairly loud. I never tried firing without hearing protection and I never got to the point of putting it on a meter.
Durability: Dumpster Fire
The Rebel is so unreliable that it makes a vintage Jaguar look like a Honda Accord. Twenty rounds of mild pressure .308 WIN from a sixteen-inch barrel and the baffles had already started to erode. And I had an end cap strike.
Overall Rating *
It meets the legal definition of a silencer. But it’s made of a substandard material that doesn’t hold up to any degree of volume shooting and it’s so poorly constructed that putting it on the end of a rifle and firing it damaged the end cap. It’s loud, cheap, and built like something a teenager would turn out in fifth period. I can think of no situation where I would encourage someone to buy this over a slightly more expensive silencer.