Hello suppressor fans and welcome to the Independence Day weekend edition of TFB’s Silencer Saturday brought to you by Yankee Hill Machine, manufacturers of the awesome YHM Turbo and Turbo K 5.56mm rifle suppressors. Last week we compared the SilencerCo Octane 45HD and the newer Octane 45 pistol caliber suppressors. This holiday weekend I set out to right a wrong – finally a dedicated review of one of the best rimfire suppressors ever made – the Dead Air Mask. If rimfire is life, then the Mask is the fountain of youth, delivering years of enjoyable super-quiet shooting. Let’s take a look.
But first, I want to wish all of you a safe and happy Fourth of July weekend. In spite of my cheeky headline, I am very grateful that the pandemic is disappearing in our collective rear view mirrors and that masks are quickly becoming historical items. True expression of independence and freedom is a lost art, with many of us reliant upon rules and regulations to keep us safe rather than individual strength, determination and intelligence. Here’s to better days ahead.
That’s as preachy as I get.
Dead Air Mask @ TFB
SILENCER SATURDAY #183: Put On Your Dead Air Mask!
It is hard to believe that the Dead Air Mask has been available for over five years. Released during one of the busiest periods in suppressor manufacturing history (see ATF 41P and 41F) the Mask was billed as the rimfire silencer to end all rimfire silencers. And the Dead Air team wasn’t lying – if you were to assemble the best designs and materials, take all the requests from rimfire suppressor shooters, and blend them together, you would have a silencer that performs like the Mask. Is it perfect? No, but it is close.
Above all else, a full-size rimfire suppressor has to be jaw-droppingly quiet. There is no other mass-adopted platform or cartridge in existence that can reduce it’s sound signature enough to be referred to as silent. We can talk about weight, maintenance, materials and other characteristics until we are blue in the face, but none of that matters unless a rimfire suppressor delivers award-winning performance. And that’s exactly what the Mask achieves.
There’s a cost to achieve greatness – literally and figuratively. First, the Mask can run $50-$100 more expensive than other manufacturer’s options. And, if you want quiet as well as a full-auto rating and easy disassembly and cleaning, there is a weight penalty. However, neither of these two attributes should dissuade anyone from purchasing the Mask. For the cost of a dinner out and a few ounces, you end up with an amazing suppressor.
Let’s take a look at the numbers.
I’m usually leery of posting decibel ratings as tested by manufacturers, but Dead Air has both the knowledge and the equipment to collect accurate readings. As a layperson, you can look at the table below and just realize that one person clapping will be louder than subsonic rimfire suppressed with the Mask. These numbers are about as good as it gets (I’ve actually seen ~112 dB on a bolt action rifle host).
The Dead Air Mask 22 HD is a 6.6-ounce, 5.1-inch user-serviceable rimfire suppressor with impeccable performance. Constructed of a strong combination of titanium (tube) and stainless steel (baffles and endcap), the Mask is a dependable direct-thread option in the rimfire category. Rated from .17HMR to .22Mag, Dead Air’s .22 silencer is built to perform.
As always, my advice is to read the user manual before heading out to the field or the range. Make sure that the baffles are assembled and aligned properly, the end caps are full tightened and the threads are clean and free of debris.
Regularly soaking your baffles in a quality firearm lubricant will help with cleaning when the time comes. Dead Air suggests a 2000 round maintenance interval, but to make everything super easy, I’d suggest pulling the baffle stack and wiping down each baffle with lube every 500 rounds. The whole process will take you less than five minutes.
Since the baffles are shielded from the outer tube, disassembly is a piece of cake. In addition, each baffle is notched/tabbed for simple realignment after cleaning.
The blast baffle is unique in that the leading surface of the “K” design is slotted to create additional disruption of the gas flow. The result is a low/non-existent first round pop (FRP) and very minimal blowback on semiautomatic hosts.
Other baffles in the stack have a solid leading “K” surface to maximize suppression. It’s a very quiet can when paired with quality subsonic ammunition.
The Mask’s end cap unthreads easily to reveal the stack.
I probably don’t even have to say it at this point, but the Mask is a a joy to shoot on any host. Obviously, maximum performance can be achieved with a closed-action firearm with a barrel length of at least 12 inches and using subsonic ammunition. However, the Beretta 21A, with its super short barrel, still suppresses superbly behind the Mask.
Suppressed rimfire shooting is one of life’s real pleasures. The Dead Air Mask gives a consistently impressive performance on a variety of different hosts and is constructed with solid materials and designs that make maintenance simple. I bought mine about two years ago and it leaves the safe more than any other rimfire silencer in the inventory.
Thanks for reading, everyone. See you next weekend.
Silencer Saturday is Sponsored by Yankee Hill Machine