Can I Hunt Deer with Suppressors?
By: John Geiger and Paul Rackley
With the right caliber, in the right places, the short answer is "Yes, you can hunt deer with suppressors," but …
Deer hunters should see suppressors as a blessing. You can save your hearing and kill deer ethically. Yet you are changing your hunting tool when you attach or screw on a suppressor. And regulations are changing as well, so double-check your state regs before marching out into the field suppressed.
Point of Aim vs. Point of Impact
While suppressors can increase firearm accuracy in general, partially because of the reduction of recoil and sound flinch, most firearms have some degree of point-of-impact shift when adding a suppressor. In most cases, this is a minor inconvenience of 1 or 2 M.O.A. (about 1 or 2 inches at 100 yards), which can easily be fixed by re-zeroing the rifle. Any firearm/suppressor combination with more than a small shift at 100 yards needs to be examined by a gunsmith to ensure the threads are concentric with the bore.
A gunsmith is also needed if point of impact shifts from shot to shot, as this may indicate a major issue that could result in a baffle hit. Typically, though, shot-to-shot changes are a symptom of quick-detach mounting systems. The technology of quick-detach systems has improved greatly, but those looking for true accuracy should stick to direct-thread suppressors.
Regardless, when adding a suppressor to a hunting rifle, shooters should always spend significant time firing at the range before heading to the woods.
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