Gemtech TPR-S .30 cal Rifle Suppressor

10 April 1999
By Cory Trapp
TPR-S mounted on Savage 110

Anyone looking for a highly effective sound suppressor for a .30 caliber rifle need look no farther than the TPR-S from Gemtech. The unit is small, light and VERY quiet. I had the privilege of testing the original prototype, then receiving one of the first production units from Dr. Philip Dater, one of the principal designers at Gemtech. This review covers the production system.

The TPR-S is a quick detachable suppressor, using the patented Bi-Lock muzzle break for mounting. 5/8 x 24 threads are used to install the mount, thereafter the suppressor mounts by a simple press and 1/4 twist. Extra mounts may be ordered to allow it's use on several different rifles.

The lugged muzzle break and rear mount of the suppressor

As part of a project for a local agency, I began with a Savage 110 Tactical rifle. Gemtech cut the barrel to 20" and installed the special muzzle break. The flimsy factory stock was exchanged for the Choate sniper stock. The trigger was replaced with the excellent replacement from Sharp Shooters Supply (Read Sniper Country's review). Baer sloped bases with a Leupold 4.5x14 Tactical with mil-dots gave a pretty complete package. We chose the Savage over a Remington for the 1 in 10" twist barrel, as we intended to shoot subsonic loads with 200 to 240 grain bullets, which will not stabilize in any lesser twist. Since this was to be an LE package, the price to rebarrel a factory Remington to 1 in 8" would be prohibitive.

Sound test data from a Larson-Davis 800B was conducted per MIL-STD-1474C, using Federal 168gr Match. A 5 round average unsuppressed recorded 164.8 db, the suppressed average was 138.7 db. This shows a remarkable 26db reduction, the suppressor is only 1.5" in diameter and 9.25" in length! For the uninitiated, a .22 LR from a rifle will produce 140 to 142 db. Field testing was conducted with observers attempting to locate the shooter after firing two shots. The estimated location was never closer than 90 degrees off, more often 120 to 180, and the range was never guessed within 100 yards. Since the supersonic flight noise of the projectile is reflected off any hard surface, and completely masks the muzzle blast of the suppressed shot, it is very difficult to locate the origin of the shots. Muzzle flash is completely contained, even when using night vision equipment. The small size, combined with the quick detach mount make this a wonderful tactical tool.

Accuracy of the Savage system was tested with factory match ammo from Federal and Black Hills. Subsonic loads from Lapua, Black Hills and Engle Ballistic Research were also tested. Unsuppressed groups averaged .9 MOA with Federal and .7 MOA with Black Hills. The suppressor improved groups, with both rounds averaging .6 MOA. Impact shift when mounting the can was very consistent due the mount. One simply dialed 4 clicks up and 2 right and you were always dead on for the cold shot. Mirage does become a significant problem after 4 quick rounds. One can wait for a few minutes or pour a little cool water on the can to contain the heat waves. This should not be a real liability in LE shooting, since I can't recall an incident that took more than 3 rounds to complete. In a military op, one might need to get the can off in a hurry to solve this, so the quick mount system could come in very handy indeed. Bear in mind gloves would be required, unless you wanted to semi-permanently attach the suppressor to your hand!

Subsonic loads can provide a number of advantages for the police sniper. All the 500 to 600 ft/lbs of energy is dumped in the first 7 or so inches of tissue. The bullet, which is only marginally stable, tumbles radically in 2 to 3 inches. This produces excellent terminal effect and minimizes overpenetration problems. Virtually no recoil lets you maintain the sight picture and confirm the hit, as well as leaving you on target for a second shot. With the suppressor, the loudest sound when firing is the bullet impact, a slight thump. I know of at least one incident where an MP5SD was used in attempt to disable outside security and its dismal ballistics failed to get the job done. Blown op, dead hostages, bad show all around.

Lapua loads proved to be very poor performers, much to our surprise, given Laupa's reputation for quality. The stepped 200 grain boattail would not stabilize in the Savage. Keyholes in the 50 yard targets and groups of 6 to 12 inches caused us to quickly abandon this load. Be advised, always test a subsonic load for stability BEFORE you use the suppressor. Bullets striking the baffles can destroy the suppressor, not to mention what they would do the point of impact. Black Hills 180gr softpoint loads worked quite well, grouping .6 MOA and dropping 11.75 inches off the 100 yard zero. Engle Labs rounds did even better, .4 MOA with an 12 inch drop. From ten yards away you cannot discern a shot has been fired. Coupled with a simple LASER rangefinder, and the ability to use both factory full power match or subsonic loads, you have a very flexible system.

The TPR-S is 100% stainless steel. The only required maintenance is occasional flushing with solvent. It can be used with most any .30 cal rifle, from .308 to .300 Win Mag. In the magnum caliber, it will reduce the recoil to little more than .223 levels. With a weight of only 28 oz, it has a minimal effect on handling. The agency price is $725. Interested parties can contact Gemtech on the Web.


Specifications
O.A. Length :
9.25 inches
Diameter :
1.5 inches
Weight :
28oz
Material :
304 Stainless Steel
Finish :
Matte Black Oxide
Mount :
Gemtech Bi-Lock
Suppression :
26db (Dry)

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