Lovin’ the Quiet

Side Note: It’s now been nearly two weeks since my hip replacement surgery, and I have not felt this good in almost two years. Virtually no pain; all I need to do now is regain some strength and stamina. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers!

Silencers…suppressors…whatever…are one of the fastest growing aspects of the shooting industry. I’ll not rehash their history and why they are an NFA device. Suffice it to say, they are here to stay, and our collective hearing applauds that.

I bought another silencer last fall to fit my Ruger Mark III Hunter pistol. This superb rimfire autoloader has been with me for about 12 years. Its 5-inch fluted bull barrel is very accurate, and topped with an Aimpoint red dot sight, I have taken chislers out to 140 yards by laser rangefinder. It is an almost constant companion to me in the spring and early summer.

It may look more James Bond than cowboy, but this Ruger Mark III Hunter pistol equipped with an Aimpoint sight and a KDM silencer is a varmint shooting racehorse!

It may look more James Bond than cowboy, but this Ruger Mark III Hunter pistol equipped with an Aimpoint sight and a KDM silencer is a varmint shooting racehorse!

So last year when I became acquainted with John Killebrew of Killebrew Design and Manufacturing (KDM) and saw how he was putting together a really nice shop in his hometown of Rutledge, Alabama, I decided to see what he had to offer. His suppressors are made by hand, and at least the stainless steel rimfire can is capable of being disassembled for cleaning and maintenance. I sent him my Ruger to have the barrel threaded and a thread protector fabricated and installed. Meanwhile I began the process of buying and taking possession of the can.

John wanted to shorten my barrel in order to guarantee subsonic performance and a quiet pistol, but I refused telling him this was a hunting pistol, and I needed all the velocity I could get. I understood that it would still have a supersonic bullet signature, but this is inconsequential. My purpose as to have a varmint pistol I did not need to use ear pro to shoot.

I finally picked up the silencer in December and played with it a bit. My hip situation prevented me from really wringing it out, but I can say that with the KDM can ear pro is not needed at all, even with the Winchester high-speed Power-Points that are my preferred hunting ammo.

Killebrew’s workmanship is flawless. I’m not sure of his background, but it would not surprise me to learn that he is either a tool-and-die maker or a prototype machinist by training. The thread protector on my Ruger is so perfect in terms of fit and finish that one really needs to look carefully to see any joint line. Fine-threaded fittings can be a bit fragile so I lubricate all of these with an anti-seizing compound.

Some of my buddies have been blowing the raspberries at me for touting a pistol more suited to James Bond than some dumb ol’ cowboy from Cowbleep, Wyoming, but I’m bettin’ that if they come shooting chislers or prairie dogs with me they’ll be trying to talk me out of it. Nope—not tradin’ or sellin’.

I bought this can and the threading job outright from KDM. This isn’t some industry sweetheart deal. If you are interested, contact Killebrew Design and Manufacturing, www.kdmcans.com, (334) 797-6810 or e-mail: John@KDMcans.com. John is a great guy to work with and I am absolutely sure you will be treated well.

Dave Campbell
Dave Campbell began his hunting career with a spear off the southern California coast in the late 1960s. It did not take long for him to graduate to the gun on land. Campbell is the founding editor in chief of the NRA’s tremendously successful Shooting Illustrated magazine. In 2006 he also edited the iconic book of terminal ballistics, Rifle Bullets for the Hunter—A Definitive Study. He returned to his beloved Wyoming in 2007 as a freelance writer, though he usually refers to himself now as a “recovering editor.”
  1. Brad Reply

    So happy to see you finally had the much needed hip replacement! I agree on the can deal, shooting suppressed is best, I just returned from a quick afternoon session with my 338 Lapua adorned with a Thunderbeast 338BA. My Ruger pistol also sports a can, actually I just did the count ATF has $1200 of our hard earned cash to sign paperwork affix stamps for what they themselves classify a “firearm”

    As you have already mentioned, that issue is another time!

    Thanks for another fine article, Dave,

  2. Phillip Jones Reply

    Connie Weinzapfel

    Connie Weinzapfel spent his life as a Tucson railroad train engineer, transitioning from steam engines to diesel. He was my father-in-law during my first marriage, and I would question him about historical events. Before he retired, he was one of the few train engineers who could drive a stream engine, so he made movies, mainly Westerns like “How the West was Won”, with actors like Robert Mitchem. In several movies he was made up to appear to be a Mexican train engineer.
    Connie held several jobs before he finally landed his dream job, an engineer for the SP, the Southern Pacific Railroad, like his father before him. As a young man, he delivered ice blocks door to door, essential everywhere in those days but in Tucson during the summer, he was a vital service. He was tall and handsome, looking like a young Kurt Waldheim and must have been very welcome distraction to the housewives as he came in their kitchens.
    For me, the most interesting job he ever held was running guns to the revolutionaries in Mexico during the Cristero War from 1926-1929. Connie was working for a Tucson hardware store while in high school. The Mexican Revolution lasted from 1910-1920 and many US cities along the Mexican border profited from gun and ammunition sales to revolutionaries. Winchester Model 94s in 30-30 and ammunition were the favored rifle, along with many bolt actions in 30-06. The 30-30 was so beloved that a corrido, a song was sung about it, Cancion de la Trienta y Trienta, or Carabina Trienta y Trienta.
    The Cristero Rebellion continued violence in Mexico and hardware stores along the border ordered and sold enormous amounts of guns and ammunition. Tucson is about 60 miles north of Nogales on the Mexican border. Connie, a high school student, would help load a truck with crates of rifles and ammunition, then ride with the driver to the border. After crossing the border into Nogales, Sonora, the driver and Connie would park the truck inside a warehouse, walk to a Chinese restaurant, have lunch with a beer, then return to find an unloaded truck. The quiet ride back to Tucson would allow them to digest their lunch and earn their bonus. Gun smuggling was endemic along the border from 1910-1930. Respectable businessmen, including mayors of the border cities engaged in this very lucrative enterprise.
    (Since your grandfather lived in Nogales, thought this might interest you.

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