October 11, 2023
Rimfire suppressors are the gateway drug of the suppressor industry. I have plied my own wife and children with suppressed rimfire shooting to great success, to the point that I am hit with continual requests to go shooting (mostly from my children). Kids are the best litmus test to tell how fun something might be. If it sucks, they’ll tell you.
Suppressed rimfire shooting doesn’t suck. The absence of recoil and noise that comes with suppressed rimfire shooting is what makes it so much fun. You get to watch tin cans and pine cones dance with no adverse feedback. It is also an inexpensive way to spend hours with family or friends doing something that everyone enjoys.
However, all rimfire suppressors are not created equal. Many rimfire suppressors are made from aluminum, which is lightweight but difficult to clean. Others are made from stainless steel, which is tough but heavy. Many of the most effective suppressor cleaning solutions don’t play well with aluminum or stainless steel and will damage the material if applied.
One of the best rimfire suppressors I’ve had the chance to test is the PWS BDE 22. This is a 3-D printed titanium suppressor that tips the scales at a svelte 4.2 ounces and has a monocore design. There are four components to the BDE 22: threaded front and rear caps, the monocore, and an external tube. The ends of the exterior tube and the threaded caps have matching tapers to keep everything centered and carbon-free when tightened together. Of note, the rear cap threaded ½-28 to match the muzzle has the serial number. Any mishaps like a baffle strike or an obstructed bore that damages the tube won’t require a year-long delay waiting for a new tax stamp and a new suppressor. All that PWS has to do to replace a damaged suppressor is attach the small threaded rear cap to a new monocore, tube, and front cap. No rimfire suppressor that I’ve seen is more accident-proof than the BDE 22.
Spend some time with rimfire suppressors and you’ll learn that they need frequent cleaning. Cleaning is necessary because rimfire ammunition is filthy. It blows a ton of unburned powder, wax, and lead out of the muzzle that quickly accumulates in any suppressor. Being able to disassemble that suppressor to clean out the residue is vital. Not all suppressors make this process easy. Some have baffle stacks that need to be pushed out one end of the tube, but the accumulated debris causes it to bind. The BDE 22 allows the owner to leave the suppressor attached to the muzzle (or use a wrench on the muzzle end), remove the front cap, and then twist the outer tube to use the monocore to scrape the debris away from the inside of the tube. Slide the outer tube off and there is unfettered access to the monocore.
Making the monocore out of 3-D-printed titanium was a brilliant move. Once the lead, carbon, and wax chunks are cleared away, the monocore can be dropped in Calcium Lime and Rust (CLR) solution to dissolve the rest. CLR is tough on stainless steel and Inconel, but it cleans titanium quickly and without damage. The BDE 22 is an easy rimfire suppressor to maintain.
The other advantage of a titanium monocore is its ability to handle a steady diet of 5.7x28mm ammunition while still only weighing 4.2 ounces. Titanium does an excellent job of handling heat and pressure, especially when the suppressor temperature is kept below 800 degrees Fahrenheit. I don’t think it’s possible to get a rimfire suppressor that hot, so titanium is a great material for the BDE 22. Its use also means the higher exit pressure associated with 5.7x28mm ammunition still falls within its operating parameters. I only have a couple rimfire suppressors that are rated for 5.7x28mm ammunition and both have seen a workout in the past year since the cartridge has seen increased production, many new firearms, and reduced ammunition prices. It was originally developed as a Personal Defensive Weapon (PDW) cartridge and is still a great choice for anyone looking for a good self-defense round without any recoil and minimal muzzle blast. The BDE 22 would be an ideal choice to pair with a 5.7x28mm carbine or pistol for home defense.
Shooting the BDE 22 also revealed that PWS figured out a way to build a monocore suppressor without having to tolerate its historical weakness: first-round pop. The BDE 22 had no discernable difference in sound signature between the first shot and all the others. I attribute this to the K-baffle-like geometry of the inner core. Yes, it is a monocore, but it looks a lot like a bunch of traditional K-baffles stuck together.
If light, tough, and competitively-priced rimfire suppressors interest you, the BDE 22 should be at or near the top of the list. Once you get a few thousand rounds through it, the easy maintenance will make you love it even more.
PWS BDE 22
- Caliber: .22 LR, .17 WSM, .17 HMR, .22 WMR, 5.7x28mm
- Diameter: 1 inch
- Thread Pattern: ½-28
- Overall Length: 5.6 in.
- Weight: 4.2 ounces
- Finish: DLC
- MSRP: $449.95
- Manufacturer: PWS, 208-344-5217, primaryweapons.com
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