Originally Posted by Gene Seward
Also, what caliber would I get the best performance and longevity from?
There is no good simple answer to what is the best silencer for an AR-15. You have to decide on price, durability, effectiveness and size. Prices will vary from $500 to almost a grand. You can find a list of manufacturers here; http://www.silencertests.com/links.htm
. You can find a forum, legal info and dealer lists at http://www.subguns.com
A person new to title 2 weapons might want to choose a 22lr silencer to start with. They are less expensive and the least noisy although not quiet at all on pistols. They will be hearing safe without ear plugs though.
The only downside to the 22lr is that it is a filthy cartridge. Cleaning out a sealed silencer can be difficult and from what I have heard, impossible to clean completely. When I made my 22lr and 9mm silencers, I knew they would fill up with lead and powder residue after a while. I use cast 147 grain ammo in my 9mm. I made the silencers with screw on ends caps to allow me to clean the baffles easily although it can be a batle at times getting the baffles out after several hundred rounds have been fired without cleaning. As you do not use very aggressive methods, the baffles should not be damaged and last a long time.
Some silencer manufacturers will also clean your silencer for free or a nominal price; contact before you buy.
Other calibers that are good for suppression are 5.56, .308, 300 whisper, 9mm, 45acp, 338 whisper, 510 whisper. Bolt guns are the easiest and least noisy. The AR-15 is a good host. Browning type semi-auto pistols will need a recoil booster to allow for proper operation, the Barretta 92 pistols do not.
The ONLY cartridge and weapon combo I have ever tried that was safe to shoot without hearing protection was the 22 CB cartridge in a rifle. It was nearly as quiet as a suppressed 22lr pistol. The 22 CB round was absolutely not hearing safe in a pistol in my opinion.
Shooting suppressed weapons is really kick ass. Do not let anyone try to talk you out of it before you try. I spend much more on ammo than the $200 tax and material for each of my silencers.