August 27, 2022
SilencerCo is a large suppressor manufacturer that has been at it since 2008. They’ve made hundreds of thousands of suppressors and invested a lot of their returns into advancing suppressor manufacturing. It shows in the products they make. They also listen to their customers and work hard to give them what they want. SilencerCo’s new 46M is a prime example of why SilencerCo remains on the cutting edge of suppressors today.
Introduced on October 12, 2021, the Hybrid 46M is SilencerCo’s solution for anyone who has a big-bore firearm. When there is a need to suppress a .45-caliber pistol, or a rifle with a bore diameter larger than .338 caliber, the Hybrid 46M is a frontrunner among suppressors currently available.
The 46M is an evolution of SilencerCo’s Hybrid 46, a non-modular suppressor designed to work on everything from a 9mm pistol to a .45-70 rifle. The only problem was that it’s a huge suppressor to hang on a pistol, and it would never qualify as a compact suppressor for a rifle. Some modularity and re-design would allow a suppressor like the Hybrid 46 to become more useful, and the 46M is just that, a single suppressor that can be configured to fit a wide variety of firearms.
The Hybrid 46 features a conventional baffle stack within an external tube with a threaded front cap and a threaded rear to accommodate various mounting solutions. The 46M is a substantial improvement versus the Hybrid 46.
The first thing that changed was the threaded mounting system. The 46M uses a newer mounting pattern that SilencerCo refers to as “Charlie” instead of the Hybrid 46’s “Bravo.” The Charlie mount places the muzzle-device interface inside the suppressor and then uses a large nut to thread over the internal mount to wedge it against an internal taper. This places tremendous force on the internal mount component and guarantees that it stays inside the suppressor instead of attaching to the firearm’s muzzle device — no matter how much carbon connects the two pieces. The Charlie mounting system allows the owner of the 46M to configure it for use on a variety of threaded muzzle pitches, a muzzlebrake, a flash hider or with a handgun piston system.
Another change was making the 46M modular, which means that it can be disassembled into two pieces to allow for a short or long configuration. Whenever I see modular suppressors that can be used short or long, I worry about runout, i.e., the ability to keep the two components perfectly aligned. SilencerCo handles this problem by, first, completely assembling the baffle stack. One of the baffles is the threaded part that connects the two pieces of the suppressor; it’s integral before they start cutting for the mount or the bore. The next step is to put the suppressor in a fixture that holds both the front and rear while machining the Charlie mount system at the can’s rear. The final step is to use an Electrical Discharge Machine (EDM) to simultaneously cut the bore through all of the baffles. This manufacturing process ensures that the suppressor’s bore is perfectly concentric to the rifle’s bore.
The suppressor’s forward section with the exposed baffles features a threaded joint that allows for removal of the last four baffles and the endcap. The short configuration is for use on pistols, or when the shooter desires maximum portability. The long format is for maximum sound suppression. When switching from long to short configuration, just remove the front section, remove the front cap from the front section, and thread the front cap into the short section.
Tubes & Baffles
Another significant change visible on the 46M is the transition to a partially tubeless design. Anytime a suppressor looks like a smooth section of pipe on the outside, that means the baffle stack sits inside the tube. Suppressors have been made this way for a long time. The primary advantages of placing a tube around the baffle stack are the manufacturing convenience and the increase in “hoop” strength. Hoop strength is the suppressor’s resistance to swelling due to sudden increases in pressure, such as when the bullet enters the suppressor’s bore.
The 46M has the baffle stack with a tube that covers a little more than half of it. The tube is made from titanium to keep weight down and it’s only as long as it needs to be to further reduce weight and expense. The external tube doesn’t thread on like older SilencerCo models, rather it is held in place by locking tabs. This ensures the tube never separates from the baffle stack.
SilencerCo’s 46M baffle stack is a marvel in technology. If you cross-section any suppressor, it will likely reveal a bunch of thin pieces of metal stacked on end with gaps between each piece. Those thin pieces of metal are baffles. A very crude suppressor wouldn’t look much different than a tube full of metal washers and spacers, with about a half-inch gap between each washer. The internal shape of the baffle, its thickness and composition require science.
The most used baffle material is probably 17-4 stainless steel. It’s tough, inexpensive and easy to manufacture. It also has the added advantage of not moving around too much when it gets hot. Many suppressors feature 17-4 as the baffle material because there is plenty of knowledge out there about how to manufacture with it. Making thin baffles of 17-4 is a great way to have a durable suppressor that is also lightweight. The disadvantage of 17-4 is that there are more durable materials out there.
Inconel is an exotic alloy that sees common use in the aerospace industry. Some of us are old enough to remember the cone-shaped exhaust pipes on the Space Shuttle; those were made from Inconel. Inconel is durable and almost impervious to heat and pressure. Its wear-resistance is legendary, too. It’s also expensive and a nightmare to use in manufacturing because it is difficult to cut and shape.
SilencerCo made a huge investment in tooling to work with Inconel, which is what makes the 46M possible. Unique among suppressor manufacturers, SilencerCo stamps its Inconel baffles. It’s unusual to work with a material like Inconel in this manner, but this allows for consistent and thin baffles as a result. The customer gets the best of both worlds. For the first time, we now have Inconel baffles as thin as those made from 17-4 stainless steel, but the Inconel adds a significant measure of wear resistance and durability. These are the lightest and toughest baffles found anywhere.
Even the Most Dangerous Game
What makes the 46M so special is that it works as well with SilencerCo’s piston mount in the short format on a 9mm pistol as it does in the long configuration when attached to an AR-15 chambered in 5.56mm. Not to be overlooked, the 46M also works beautifully on a dangerous game rifle.
I do a fair bit of hunting and one of my top priorities is putting suppressors on all of my hunting rifles. I hate having to wear earplugs on a hunt, or worrying about whether or not I’ll have enough time to put them in when the opportunity to shoot arises. After hunting big game for several years, I’ve come to prefer bigger-caliber bullets for large animals. I shot an Alaskan Grizzly with a .338 Winchester Magnum, which worked just fine. However, when I hunt the big bear again, I’ll probably take a .375 Ruger next time.
The 46M is the only modular suppressor (of which I’m aware) that can handle duty on the dangerous game cartridges. One of the first questions I asked when visiting SilencerCo to research the 46M was whether or not I could use one on my .375 Ruger. Also, would it work on a .416 Remington Magnum? The engineer I interviewed said, “Let me check.” The suppressor rating stopped at .338 Lapua Magnum. Not long afterward, he confirmed that it would work with the .375 Ruger and .416 Remington, adding, “You can use the 46M on anything with the powder capacity of the .338 Lapua or less, as long as the bullet fits down the bore.”
This exchange prompted SilencerCo to do additional testing. They’ve since amended the cartridges for which the 46M will work. The maximum powder capacity used to stop at .338 Lapua Magnum, but it now goes all the way up to the .460 Weatherby Magnum. A stiff load in a .338 Lapua Magnum contains about 95 grains of powder, but a hot load in a .460 Weatherby ignites about 120 grains of powder! That’s a significant increase. I’m glad SilencerCo checked because this puts them at the top of the food chain when it comes to dangerous game cartridges. For those interested in the big bores, there’s no need to go deaf shooting these cartridges. The short-configured 46M on a .375 Ruger would make mighty fine Grizzly bear medicine.
SilencerCo continues to advance the science behind suppressors and pushes the envelope in manufacturing. This is what made the 46M possible. It’s durable, configurable, and would be at home on just about any firearm.
Silencerco Hybrid 46M Specifications
- Caliber: All centerfire rifle and pistol cartridges with a maximum bore diameter of .46-inch to include .460 Weatherby Magnum
- Diameter: 1.57 in.
- Thread Pattern: Charlie; Direct Thread
- Overall Length: 5.78 in. (short config.); 7.72 in. (long config.)
- Weight: 12.2 oz. (short config.); 14.9 oz. (long config.)
- Finish: Cerakote
- MSRP: $1,117
- Manufacturer: SilencerCo, 801-417-5384, silencerco.com
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