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- Last updated: 16/12/2016
Sound Moderators are now considered mandatory amongst British shooters but the choice is truly mind blowing; it’s a far cry from the days when a Vaime from Finland was the only sound moderator available. It’s not just about noise reduction either, as sound moderators are beneficial in reducing muzzle blast and recoil that can cause flinching when firing.
A new moderator is on the market, being offered by Open Seasons Ltd (the UK distributors of Blaser and Mauser rifles) and is an attempt to offer a fully modular system of the lightest weight but greatest noise reduction as well as a built-in muzzle brake system.
This is a new moderator designed and made solely in the UK by Open Seasons Ltd and is a modular system where each part can be replaced or added on according to your requirements.
It is made for calibres from .222 to 300 Win Mag, although you can use .17 or .20 calibres very effectively also. I had a .308 version on test.
These moderators are available in differing sizes; Trident 2 Baffle (£291), Trident 3 baffle (£340) and Trident 4 Baffle (£389) - all of which are aluminium constructed muzzle mounted cans which I prefer these days. All Trident moderators are made on the latest CNC machinery and CAD programs in line with Open Seasons ISO 9001 accreditation which ensures the highest standards of manufacture.
Being modular you can add more or less baffles for customised sound suppression but typically .223 versions come with the main body and two baffles with an overall length of 135mm with barrel over hang of 105mm and weighs 255 grams.
A typical .243 or .308 comes with three baffles with an overall length of 160mm and barrel overhang of 130mm and weighs only 300 grams.
The magnum version for up to 300 Win Mag comes with four baffles as standard with an overall length of 185mm and barrel overhang of 155mm and a total weight of 345 grams. You can also have a five baffle version weighing 400 grams if you wish.
Each individual baffle weighs 50grams and so additional baffles can be added if you wish up to an 8 baffle maximum.
The Test Model
For the .308 Win version on test I asked for four baffles and diameter is 45mm stepped down to 40mm at only 345 grams because of its aluminium construction. It also has stainless steel inserts at key areas to reduce flame erosion from the combustion gases. It is hard anodised in black although other colour options will be available soon.
The main body also allows you to change the thread size for differing rifles which saves you buying a dedicated moderator for each rifle. Because the baffles are interchangeable you can also change the calibre sizes to suit differing rifles with the same thread sizes - very versatile.
At the rear muzzle brake section is removable, so the outer body and baffles can be removed just leaving the muzzle brake on if you so wish.
One unusual but highly practical feature is the use of little orange rubber inserts to fit into the moderators end cap that stops debris or water entering the moderator when out stalking, these are blown out with the pressure before the bullet enters the moderator. Sounds odd but works remarkably well.
Whenever possible I will test a sound moderator using a professional sound meter when I have access to one, in that way we get a proper dB reading or noise reduction not a false reading from non-suitable sound meters.
It is very important to conduct the tests to conform to internationally recognised test procedures; for sound moderators it is Mil STD 1474C. In this way you have an industry standard to compare each moderator too. I now have used both the Larsen Davis Laboratories and the Bruel and Kjaer Type 2209 equipped with the correct microphone attachments and correctly calibrated.
I used my vintage Tikka LSA 55 with .308 Winchester 150 grain soft point ammunition with a muzzle velocity on average at 2702 fps with 5-7 % humidity at 1012-1015hPa on two large grass fields with suitable backdrop.
According to Mil STD 1474C the .308 rifle was supported exactly 1.6metres (5ft) off the ground with the B&K or Larsen Davies sound meters placed exactly 1.6m high and 1.0 metres left from the sound moderators end cap. A sample unsuppressed noise levels was recorded as a control group and gave a decibel reading of 168 dB so when the Trident was tested it could be compared to the standard result to get a net dB result.
The dB level recorded on the four baffle .308 Trident was an average 143.5 dB giving a very good 24.5 dB net reduction for a short and lightweight moderator.
First up, for such a lightweight moderator the Trident works very well and its light weight is welcome on a sporting rifle and will not be noticed on a heavier varmint version. The inclusion of the stainless steel inserts certainly are a good idea and will stop aluminium erosion that other alloy sound moderators can suffer from. There is a good degree of interchange ability which can be relied on as the CNC manufacture is held to very close quality tolerances, so no misalignments.
The muzzle brake is a bit superfluous in my view as a sound moderator reduces muzzle flip any way and in fact the brake can actually contribute to a harsh crack on firing. The dB readings are good but your ear can hear that crack which makes the Trident sound nosier than it is. That’s why the pure dB or actual dB readings sometimes do not correlate to what the human ear always hears - everyone’s hearing is different.
The Trident have their threads stepped into the base of the moderator so the overall length on a rifle is actually shorter than the moderator`s length. They are quite pricy but none the less a well made and efficient moderator considering the size and lightweight construction
Trident Sound Moderators are available from Open Seasons direct, or phone 01865 891773 for the location of your nearest stockist. GM
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