One of the most common questions we get here at the shop is if you can use a .30 caliber suppressor on a .223 rifle. The short answer is… yes.
So, if you can, then why wouldn’t you just buy a .30 suppressor and be done with it? Why do .223 suppressors even exist? There are some advantages and disadvantages to running a .30 suppressor on a .223 rifle, and in running one suppressor on multiple rifles in general. It’s up to the user to weigh the pros and cons for themselves.
Loss of Performance
A .223 fired through a .30 suppressor of approximately the same size and design is not going to be as quiet as one fired through a dedicated .223 suppressor. How much performance is lost depends on a lot of variables: rifle, ammunition, altitude, temperature, humidity, and so on. However, the difference is generally pretty minimal. You should expect anywhere from a 1 to 4dB loss of performance. Since the threshold of human hearing is a 3dB change, it usually results in comments like “yeah, that’s a bit louder, but it’s still pretty quiet.”
The general method for attaching a suppressor to a rifle it isn’t designed for is with a thread adapter. We make a 1/2×28 to 5/8×24 adapter specifically for this reason. The problem is that adding a connection point between your suppressor and your rifle can have a negative impact on accuracy. Because of this, it’s very important to get an adapter that’s machined to exacting tolerances in order to eliminate this problem. We machine our thread adapters with the same attention to detail that our suppressors get.
Suppressors Get Hot
If you’re running the same suppressor on multiple rifles, switching hosts may cut into your shooting time. Since suppressors get hot, you generally have to wait for them to cool down before you move from rifle to rifle. If you have a suppressor for each rifle, then you can simply set the whole weapon system aside and shoot the next one.
The obvious advantage to getting a .30 suppressor and using it on several rifles is that it’s much cheaper than buying two or more suppressors. There’s nothing wrong with saving some money for ammo and practice time. If you’re debating, and money is tight, then this is what we would recommend. However, most suppressor owners generally end up buying multiple suppressors in the long run. Most will get dedicated cans for each caliber, and some even get a specific can for each rifle in the safe. Either way you go, starting off with a single suppressor is a great way to go as long as you understand the drawbacks.