Do I need to clean my suppressor? How often?

Discussion in 'Technical Bulletins and FAQs' started by Zak Smith, May 3, 2011.

  1. Zak Smith Operations

    • Instructor
    Zak Smith
    Many people believe that suppressors need to be kept very clean to perform well. This is not true.

    Most of our silencer models are sealed and welded, and cannot be taken apart. We do this to produce the strongest, lightest, and smallest suppressor, since adding threads would compromise one of more of those factors. In addition, the full 360-degree welded baffle core featured in most of our centerfire suppressors could not be taken apart anyway. We also do this to ensure long-term accuracy and reliability of the product.

    Our centerfire rifle suppressors need minimal cleaning in most applications. The only "gunk" they accumulate is some carbon buildup, which is self-limiting since each shot will knock some loose. We recommend taking a baseline weight measurement when the suppressor is new. When the suppressor has gained approx 2-3 ounces, it's time to clean.

    This can be accomplished using CLR (a ZEP product - find at Home Depot) to dissolve the carbon. Soak the inside of the suppressor in ZEP CLR and flush it every day for several days. Alternating with an Ultrasonic cleaner can help to break up stubborn carbon. Do not use CLR in an ultrasonic cleaner - it will damage the tank.

    Do not use patches or swabs of any kind; they may become trapped inside the baffle structure of the suppressor.


    Please note that the 22 TAKE DOWN should not be cleaned using CLR because its baffles are stainl.ess

    For ULTRA series suppressors, CLR should not soak the "Direct Thread Insert" for Direct Thread ULTRA suppressors. The best way to accomplish this is to have the thread end up and fill the suppressor up to just short of the direct thread insert, or about 1.25" into the suppressor.

    The rimfire suppressors will collect some carbon/lead/wax buildup over long periods of time, but most people will never see any performance impact because of this. A moderately fouled .22 suppressor is usually quieter than a totally clean one, too. Eventually, you will see the weight of the suppressor increase slightly due to accumulated fouling. Long after this, you might be able to tell a difference in suppression due to decreased volume, but it will take a huge number of rounds to get to that point.

    Unlike suppressors made of some other materials, our all-titanium silencers can be cleaned very effectively without taking them apart, by using one of two methods: (1) drop it in an ultrasonic cleaner for a few minutes, alternating with soaking the inside with ZEP, or (2) use the widely-known "vinegar and peroxide" method. Both of these will clean anything out that's in the suppressor.

    Appropriate precautions and disposal methods must be taken with the output of these processes because it is toxic.

    We offer one free cleaning per year in our ultrasonic cleaner if the customer covers shipping.

    For what it's worth, I never clean my personal or "demo" suppressors, even when shooting matches throughout the year.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019

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