the high price of suppressors?


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tahoe2
December 8, 2012, 04:04 PM
I don't get it, pricing suppressors lately, they are priced higher than the firearms I want to suppress.

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bikemutt
December 8, 2012, 11:31 PM
...and you have to wait at least 6 months to get it, plus fork over for a tax stamp.

I feel your pain.

MachIVshooter
December 9, 2012, 03:54 AM
There are cheap ones, but you get what you pay for. One of my LGS has .22 cans for $229.

Zak Smith
December 9, 2012, 05:09 AM
Since people are basically "married to" the suppressor, they tend to want to get a really good one. In Europe, silencers are a lot cheaper, in part because replacing them is no big deal.

Ken70
December 9, 2012, 05:25 AM
What, you're upset that less than $30 in parts and labor are costing you $800? It's the market price and they can get it, unless you tool up and make your own. It's a great business to be in at the moment, limited production and almost unlimited demand.

Zak Smith
December 9, 2012, 05:31 AM
By all means if you can build a finished suppressor for $30 and sell it for $800, you should be in the silencer business. It'll only take less than a half dozen units to recoup the FFL, SOT, and ITAR fees.

Cesiumsponge
December 9, 2012, 03:00 PM
Lets see...rent on various business and government licenses just to operate, pay rent on the building, paying for compliance to various alphabet soup agency standards, paying rent on the machinery, pay for consumable tooling, pay for maintenance and upkeep services or costs for said machinery, pay various business taxes, pay various insurance policies, pay engineers for R&D, pay office staff, pay employees on the shop floor, taxes on employees, pay for raw materials from a steel mill, pay vendors for work that isn't done in-house, pay for cost of scrapped parts, pay for testing and associated consumables to test products, pay for marketing and advertising, pay sales staff to travel and establish a distributor network. Pay for promotional display and signage for dealers, and any cost eaten by your warranty.

Iron ore is currently trading at $120.35 per metric ton. For a 16oz suppressor, that's 5.3 cents in raw materials. If someone wants to take me up on it, I'll mail you a pound of iron ore and a pinch of chromium (at my expense) and pay you $100 for a suppressor. I feel a $99.95 profit is more than fair.

That's the market price. If someone can sneak in under the current going rate, feel free to do it. You're going to corner the market. You have to pay to play. No one is forcing anyone to buy anything. If everyone stops buying because the perceived value for the dollar is too little, manufacturers will find ways to cut costs to offer a product at a lower price. That isn't the case.

medalguy
December 9, 2012, 11:18 PM
He's absolutely right. The fixed overhead of a manufacturing business is stunning, to say the least. I owned and operated a manufacturing business for the better part of 30 years, and the line of people standing there with their hand out just so you can open up your shop in the morning is unbelilevable. Then you have your employees and all their expense, and now you have Obamacare to contend with, cost of materials, and on and on.

If you think you can make anything for less than someone else, go for it. If you succeed, I'll probably be at the front of the line to buy from you.

There's an old saying: If it was easy, everyone would do it.

JTW Jr.
December 10, 2012, 03:38 AM
Can you make a suppressor for $50 if you have the machinery and tooling ? yes.

The difference in machinery needed to make one vs make many that are the same is a big expense.

Factor in R&D as well as all the other stuff already mentioned... no way can you make one for the $30 in materials and labor. Unless you are paying your "machinist" $5/hr , if so , he is not a machinist. :)

helotaxi
December 10, 2012, 08:32 AM
$30 won't even cover the salary of the machinist for the time he put in. That doesn't even touch on all the other stuff. If you think that making suppressors, or any product these days, in this country with all the BS imposed by external players to a business (gov't, organized labor, etc...) is rife with profit, go for it and find out for yourself. I suggest having a failsafe plan for when you come face-to-face with reality for paying your mortgage and feeding your family.

Odd Job
December 10, 2012, 08:48 AM
Can a person in the US import a suppressor? Seems like that may be the best of both worlds. For example my ASE Utra Rimfire suppressor was £80 (and that's after purchasing from a gunsmith who got it from a distributor who got it from ASE in Finland. I could have gone much cheaper by getting a Parker Hale for around £23 (a dealer at the club showed me a box full of new suppressors and said I could take my pick, as I have authority to purchase on my firearms certificate).

I went with the ASE Utra on the recommendation of the gunsmith who threaded my R55 barrel. It is a quality suppressor, and it seems to me that even if you paid double that amount because of import duty (or whatever duties) you would still be getting it a lot cheaper than the US prices I see quoted on the boards.

hq
December 10, 2012, 09:47 AM
Ase Utra (AU for short) suppressors are very nice, the same company also makes BR reflex suppressors nowadays. For about $250-300 you can buy an all-out milspec suppressor that carries a (limited) warranty for full auto applications. I've put thousands upon thousands of rounds through a number of them and they've systematically outlasted big brand "tactical" suppressors that cost 200-400% more.

VAIME would get my recommendation for light duty, but their end-user serviceable construction isn't ideal with US legislation - you have to have (cheap) spare baffles at hand because they're designed to wear out and be replaced regularly. The suppressors themselves are extremely light and much more efficient than the likes of Parker Hale, Lynx and many other cheap suppressors.

Odd Job
December 10, 2012, 10:46 AM
Agree fully, I have used a number of suppressed rimfires at the club and the two best ones are ASE Utra. It's a quality suppressor, and I would be interested to know what obstruction there is for a guy in the US to acquire one.

jmorris
December 10, 2012, 11:08 AM
What, you're upset that less than $30 in parts and labor are costing you $800?

You don't build suppressors do you?

Even if you made them from aluminum the billet stock would cost more than that. Go with stainless, Titanium or Inconel and it gets much more expensive.

The price of tooling you use up to machine the parts also goes up too.

Unless you want to spend all day machining parts for one suppressor your going to need a CNC lathe and CNC mill for the mass produced parts, that could just cost more than your car or more than your house.

Speaking of dwellings, you will have to have a place to run the business and collect taxes for the local Government not to mention kick in to the Fed every year for the FFL/SOT and such.

A lot of the designs require welding, so you'll need a good TIG welder and rotary positioner. For all of the machines, you need operators or years of time learning how to use them.

If you think it's a goose laying a golden egg, I say give it a shot.

I have built them for free for .22's up to 458 socom myself but don't think I am getting hosed buying them when I do.

ssyoumans
December 10, 2012, 11:23 AM
I think if you can make an entire 1911 pistol with all of its machining and moving parts and assembly labor for under $500, then a silencer's costs are much less as demonstrated by our UK shooters who enjoy quality suppressor a for 70-80% less.

jmorris
December 10, 2012, 12:22 PM
I think if you can make an entire 1911 pistol with all of its machining and moving parts and assembly labor for under $500

Thoes are not made in the US.

Zak Smith
December 10, 2012, 12:36 PM
Silencers cannot be imported to the US for other than government use.

jim243
December 10, 2012, 12:53 PM
$30.00 in parts, you must be making expensive ones. $15.00 in parts is all you need.


Jim

Zak Smith
December 10, 2012, 01:07 PM
You'll be lucky to buy 9" of titanium tube for $15.

jim243
December 10, 2012, 01:23 PM
You'll be lucky to buy 9" of titanium tube for $15

Zak, try a plastic water bottle (almost free of cost). One of the reasons things cost so much is that everyone tries to over engineer everything. The real problem is attaching it to the muzzle, but you have that problem if you spend $1.50 or $900.00 on one.

Jim

Zak Smith
December 10, 2012, 01:30 PM
Zak, try a plastic water bottle (almost free of cost). One of the reasons things cost so much is that everyone tries to over engineer everything. The real problem is attaching it to the muzzle, but you have that problem if you spend $1.50 or $900.00 on one.

That's like arguing against the existence and price of 1-ton trucks (http://mrtruck.net/threebig11.jpg) because this one meets all your "needs"

http://stock-image.mediafocus.com/images/previews/boy-with-helmet-riding-plastic-trike-20034.jpg

jim243
December 10, 2012, 01:47 PM
Nice looking kid, I'm a sucker for children. Glad to see he has his helmet on.

I am a product of the 1940's and had a tierod changed last week, during my descussion with the shop owner we were talking about the cost of equipment for fixing cars and I still think it is stupid that you need a $20,000 peice of equipment just to change spark plugs on todays cars. By the way my truck weighs 5,000 lbs.

Jim

hq
December 10, 2012, 02:54 PM
[a plastic water bottle] The real problem is attaching it to the muzzle

Gun shops around here sell plastic thread adapters, ½"UNF to standard bottle cap thread, to those who are too cheap to spend even $40-50 on a real suppressor. They work just as well for about 100-200 shots a bottle with a rimfire.

tarosean
December 10, 2012, 02:55 PM
That's like arguing against the existence and price of 1-ton trucks because this one meets all your "needs"

Okay Zak if you can pull my Horse Trailer full of horses with that big wheel, Ill buy you a suppressor. :)

Zak Smith
December 10, 2012, 03:01 PM
Pop bottle adapters would be subject to NFA.

Okay Zak if you can pull my Horse Trailer full of horses with that big wheel
Thank you for proving my point.

mtrmn
December 10, 2012, 03:40 PM
You people must not know who Zak is........or else this is all toungue-in-cheek and I completely missed it.

Bubbles
December 10, 2012, 05:45 PM
I don't get it, pricing suppressors lately, they are priced higher than the firearms I want to suppress.
The $200 NFA tax has thrown a fairly big monkey wrench into the suppressor market here in the US.

I can build a .22LR suppressor for fifty bucks, but it'll be a low-quality disposable device like those found in the rest of the world. Would you buy it knowing that 1) the wait time to get it is six months, 2) it has a very limited life span so you'll likely need another in a year or so, and 3) it's "true" price is $50 + $200 tax = $250?

Or, would you rather purchase a decent quality unit that will last for as long as you wish to keep it for $200 + $200 tax = $400?

highorder
December 10, 2012, 06:30 PM
You people must not know who Zak is........or else this is all toungue-in-cheek and I completely missed it.

I've been thinking the same thing all afternoon.

Course, people could just click on the Thunder Beast (http://thunderbeastarms.com/) link in his sigline...

Cesiumsponge
December 11, 2012, 12:03 AM
The $200 NFA tax stamp has never been as small a financial obstacle than it stands today. Imagine paying $200 for the same tax stamp in 1934 when a suppressor was a couple bucks out of a Sears catalog, at a time when you made a couple bucks a day.

A 1934 Ford 40A Deluxe V8 2-door was $535 off the showroom floor. You could buy a small home for less then $3000

Think about the NFA bill in context. You'd be looking at something like a $10,000+ tax stamp when you filled out a Form 4 for a suppressor, if the thing compensated for inflation and wages today. In another 100 years, the NFA tax stamp will hardly be a financial burden when a hamburger is $100. $200 today for a fun tax is a pretty cheap tax. It's the waiting and the paperwork that sucks.

MachIVshooter
December 11, 2012, 02:23 AM
Can a person in the US import a suppressor?

Nope.

I envy you guys across the pond for unregulated and cheap suppressors. That said, cheap and unregulated suppressors would be a crappy trade for losing all the other gun rights we enjoy here.

hq
December 11, 2012, 09:43 AM
That said, cheap and unregulated suppressors would be a crappy trade for losing all the other gun rights we enjoy here.

I'd be thrilled to see a nationwide RKBA for law-abiding citizens implemented here, but on the other hand I like being able to buy suppressors at will and buy and build modern machine guns with relatively easy licensing procedure. Oh well, you can't have everything, I suppose. I've seriously considered moving my company and family to the US several times, but having to leave my collection behind is one of the factors that have held me back. And there's no chance I could afford to replace it at current US machine gun prices.

Ken70
December 11, 2012, 10:01 PM
You don't build suppressors do you?

Even if you made them from aluminum the billet stock would cost more than that. Go with stainless, Titanium or Inconel and it gets much more expensive.

The price of tooling you use up to machine the parts also goes up too.

Unless you want to spend all day machining parts for one suppressor your going to need a CNC lathe and CNC mill for the mass produced parts, that could just cost more than your car or more than your house.

Speaking of dwellings, you will have to have a place to run the business and collect taxes for the local Government not to mention kick in to the Fed every year for the FFL/SOT and such.

A lot of the designs require welding, so you'll need a good TIG welder and rotary positioner. For all of the machines, you need operators or years of time learning how to use them.

If you think it's a goose laying a golden egg, I say give it a shot.

I have built them for free for .22's up to 458 socom myself but don't think I am getting hosed buying them when I do.
Direct costs are about $30, a foot of DOM 4130 tubing is less than $8. And that's buying it by the foot. 20 foot length is going to be about half of that. Aluminum baffles cut by a CNC machining center, probably $10 or so. Then the labor to weld the end caps on and do the finishing. Maybe a little more than $30.

Like some of you have noted, the fixed costs are a real bugger. But if you sell 1000 cans a year and have to apportion those fixed costs over 1000 parts, that's one cost. Build 30,000 cans with the same fixed expenses, it gets a whole lot cheaper.

One thing I've noticed over the years is how manufacturers just lie like crazy about what it costs to make whatever they make. I know of a guy that was making suntan lotion. The most expensive part was the .2 of a cent that the screwtop lid with the folding spout cost. That's right, the .2 of a cent was the biggest expense; the bottle and contents cost less than that. This guy was a multi-millionaire, which he should be with the profit margin he had. Another was the guy that owns Aim Surplus, he was claiming he paid $120.00 for a spam can of ammo he was selling for $140.00. I know he can't make his costs with $20 in profits, but he lies about it. To give you a reference point, AK Saigas, brand new, where being sold for $14.00, EACH. Within the last 10 years. If the population knew how much it cost to make something and how much they were getting ripped buying it, I hope they'd sit on their wallet.

JTW Jr.
December 11, 2012, 11:07 PM
What is it that you have made ? I am guessing you haven't had much made where you outsourced stuff ? I know how much it costs to get a bunch of things waterjet a few years ago. The sheet of .100 titanium cost me $100 then , which was much cheaper than the cad workup and the water-jetting.

Aluminum baffles cut by a CNC machining center, probably $10 or so
please point me to someone who will CNC baffles for $10

Zak Smith
December 12, 2012, 12:03 AM
One thing I've noticed over the years is how manufacturers just lie like crazy about what it costs to make whatever they make.
...
If the population knew how much it cost to make something and how much they were getting ripped buying it, I hope they'd sit on their wallet.
I've been very surprised by two things in this thread.

(1) Ignorance about how modern suppressors are made, what materials go into them, and what real costs of manufacture are, and

(2) The idea that a company is somehow ripping people off by selling a product at a profit, even a healthy profit.

The former is excusable. The latter is disgraceful.

In response to the prior post by Ken70, why should a company even tell you how much it costs them to make something? That's really their own business. If you don't want to pay what the market dictates as the selling price (ie for going concerns, this is basically close to their MSRP), you can make it yourself or go without. In no way are they ripping you off. If someone figures out how to make a good one-ton truck for a cost to themselves of $10k instead of $25k+ or whatever, then more power to them. (And to the prior poster, the term "one ton" refers to a historic payload weight for class 2b and class 3 trucks -- not the weight of the vehicle itself; they typically have a payload of 2-3 tons nowadays.)

Capitalism and the free markets are great because together they provide the best goods to the most people at the best price, overall. If someone really has 99% profit, it should be easy for someone like you to step in, sell a similar product at the same quality for half the price, take "only" 98% profit, and corner the market. But then someone can sell at 1/2 of your price for 96% profit, etc. This process continues until the market stabilizes. The end result is that companies making the widget have to be very competitive and the customers get the best value.

The US market for suppressors is not totally "free" due to the NFA and the import restrictions. This has affected their historic use and the demand (as an inverse proportion to inflation). It has also affected the psychology of purchasing. Since the possibility of resale is low (one or two more Form 4's are required) and the paperwork is fairly involved, most people want to buy a high quality suppressor that will last their lifetime. This has influenced the cost and quality/performance of the suppressors sold in the US market, and that is one reason why we have a lot of more expensive ones.

One other issue complicating this discussion is that there is very wide variety of suppressors on the market, varying significantly in suppression, durability, accuracy, longevity, features, etc. What is "a suppressor"? I made an example of the cost of Ti tube and the retort was about a plastic pop bottle (presumably with the $200 adapter). Both may be "a suppressor" but one might be good for a few shots of .22LR while the other has a lifetime of a bazillion rounds of whatever centerfire rifle cartridge you want, as long as the bullet fits through the hole.

Anyway, at one end of the spectrum, there are .22LR suppressors that suppress OK and are basically just a tube and some very simple washers/spacers made of aluminum. At the other end of the spectrum might be a .338LM suppressor that weighs not even a pound and a half, aids accuracy, and makes the rifle almost hearing safe, and will last as long as any part on the host rifle. In the middle we might have the "$800" one in this quote,
What, you're upset that less than $30 in parts and labor are costing you $800?
That $800 suppressor is not any .22LR suppressor, and I don't know any centerfire suppressors that can be made for $30.

I know intimately how much it costs to manufacture silencers. For the following, let me assume we are not talking about a "threaded tube with washers" but a contemporary well-performing suppressor: The idea of "$30 for parts and labor" or $10 for finished baffles or whatever is absurd. It has no relation to reality. I am not saying this to be mean or to defend any business, but just as a reality check.

$30?

The bar stock and tube alone used for any centerfire suppressor cost at least 2x-3x that, much more for larger caliber suppressors.

You can't outsource silencer parts to anyone that does not have a class 2 SOT. But even if you could, you'd be looking at a shop rate of $40-60/hour for machine time. If you do it in house, divide the cost of one machine-month (machine cost amortized per month, or just how much you pay for a lease) by 171 (if you're lucky enough to keep it busy 8 hours a day). A machine operator is about $15-20/hr. A trained welder costs more than that. The machine-hour costs is somewhere in that same range. (How fast do you think you can run a boring bar into 316 SS, 718 Inconel, or Ti? Hint: it's way slower than aluminum.)

Is it possible to build a suppressor for $30? Only if you use a small amount of cheap materials (which limits application), discount all cost of machinery and consumable tooling, and don't pay anyone for their labor. By that logic, nothing should be sold for more than the scrap rate of the raw materials contained therein.

This is not to say there aren't some suppressors on the market that are priced beyond their level of performance, but that's true for any product in any market.

And the above analysis completely ignores all overhead, including licensing and compliance overhead.

jmorris
December 12, 2012, 12:18 AM
Direct costs are about $30, a foot of DOM 4130 tubing is less than $8. And that's buying it by the foot. 20 foot length is going to be about half of that. Aluminum baffles cut by a CNC machining center, probably $10 or so. Then the labor to weld the end caps on and do the finishing. Maybe a little more than $30.

Like some of you have noted, the fixed costs are a real bugger. But if you sell 1000 cans a year and have to apportion those fixed costs over 1000 parts, that's one cost. Build 30,000 cans with the same fixed expenses, it gets a whole lot cheaper. The problem is selling the kind of volume it takes to get to the cost your talking about. If you could sell them like flashlights they would be much cheaper but hpw many stores sell flashlights and how many sell suppressors? I have several factory cans that are serial numbered well under 5 digit serial numbers, big difference.

What all are you counting in "direct costs", your cost is unrealistic to someone who owns a shop.

Cesiumsponge
December 12, 2012, 01:52 PM
One can't claim it'll cost $10 to make something as it has absolutely no context. Here's how it typically works for production work in an aerospace environment. We have tons (literally) of titanium, stainless steels, inconels, and superalloys at the saw at any given time. OEM customer comes to us for a quote. We purchase material from a supplier, which the supplier sells to us at a profit. We mark up the cost of the material a percentage and figure per-part cost. If the material is no good or flawed, we eat the cost and redo the job at a loss since we don't charge additional labor. At least for aerospace work and some commercial work, we buy material that has been chemically certified by a lab to ensure compliance. Any shop that is ISO or AS certified will have additional cost in the form of extensive paper trails for tracebility.

We calculate labor costs-per-part based off a fixed rate. Aerospace shops here typically charge $80-100 per hour. This factors in average worker wages plus averaged tooling costs. With larger customers with various contracts, we actually do many jobs at a loss and others with a sizeable profit; it averages out being in the black. The shop rate will be multiplied with total time for planning, programming, setup, sawing the material, each unique operation, inspection time, cleaning, assembly, and packaging. Any outsourcing we do to vendors such as heat treat, coating, grinding, or things not handled in-house are done by a network of vendors who charge us a profitable fee for the work. We mark up the cost of this by a percentage as any screw-ups by vendors, we eat the cost and do the job over again at a loss for the customer to keep their business.

When we have it all factored in, we calculate the per-part cost at various quantities and the customer decides how many they want to order. Once the OEM customer receives the parts, they inspect and verify them. They repackage them for retail. They mark up 30-50% typically (depending on the industry) of what we charged to cover their operational costs such as employee salaries, marketing, etc. Everything is marked up by everyone everywhere along the way, from the steel mills to end mills and cardboard boxes we use to package product. No company is purchasing products of similar complexity and size of a suppressor from a machine shop for $30.

hq
December 12, 2012, 02:13 PM
Pricing and quality are very relative things. For example, $200 (€138 + tax) or so buys one of these: http://guns.connect.fi/rs/index.html
They're pretty much indestructible, many people including myself have put several thousands of full power rifle rounds through them without any sign of wear and they really have a fantastic reputation. They also designed the official suppressor for finnish M92S/RK95 assault rifle.

With lower sales volume and all the paperwork and licensing required to manufacture and sell similar suppressors in the US, the price would probably triple or quadruple. Around here they're just reasonably priced, good cans.

Ken70
December 12, 2012, 02:42 PM
Like some of the foreign posters mentioned, they can buy a suppressor for a lot less than what is charged in the US. It's one of those boutique products that the cost of production and retail price don't have a lot to do with each other.

I realize all you guys with machine shops don't want your customers to have any idea what it costs for you to make something. I know a couple of guys with machine shops, they've been at it so long they can spend 5 minutes or so looking at a blueprint and tell what number they need to make a very healthy profit. They won't even bid on anything small, without a really good "nut" for them. It's really enlightening to listen to them describe the thought process as to how they're going to make the part and how much each step is going to cost. They rarely get fooled. They don't build big things, like a wing spar for a 747, mainly things you could pick up with one hand.

Cesiumsponge
December 12, 2012, 02:58 PM
I just laid out how profit margins were typically calculated in detail. There isn't some big shadowy conspiracy. What a shop charges, what the customer sells for, what the market will bear...all can be reasoned out. The worst is when people complain about the expense of things they won't own. Petition the US government to take suppressors off the NFA and see how quickly prices drop with European competition.

Odd Job
December 12, 2012, 03:42 PM
Petition the US government to take suppressors off the NFA and see how quickly prices drop with European competition.

That's probably the rub of the matter...

Zak Smith
December 12, 2012, 03:52 PM
. It's one of those boutique products that the cost of production and retail price don't have a lot to do with each other.

I realize all you guys with machine shops don't want your customers to have any idea what it costs for you to make something.
I know exactly how much it costs and the numbers you've posted bear no relation to reality. Does that mean the global conspiracy of manufacturing has been successful in duping you or you just don't know how much it actually costs to manufacture suppressors?

Ironman
December 12, 2012, 04:10 PM
You can buy a top of the line SWR octane9HD2 9mm suppressor for around $500 from a reputable dealer. How is that a bad deal?

Let's see. Silencerco/SWR costs...licensing, building rent, CNC machining, mills, laser machine for serials, raw materials, employee salaries, marketing, website fees, shipping, warranty work, finishes/coatings, R&D, sound metering equipment, maintenance on the machines and shop, etc.

Yup, $500 from me sounds fine for a super quiet lifetime useable 9mm suppressor that's user serviceable and makes cans from Europe look like disposable loud garbage.:D

tyeo098
December 12, 2012, 04:33 PM
You can buy a top of the line SWR octane9HD2 9mm suppressor for around $500 from a reputable dealer. How is that a bad deal?
Because the 'actual' cost is $700 when you account for the fun tax.

rdhood
December 12, 2012, 04:34 PM
nevermind

mtrmn
December 12, 2012, 05:28 PM
Yes-they cost a lot. It's the country we live in-get over it. Buy one while you still can if you want one, and you'll probably be like me wishing you'd done it years ago.

Ken70
December 12, 2012, 05:32 PM
I know exactly how much it costs and the numbers you've posted bear no relation to reality. Does that mean the global conspiracy of manufacturing has been successful in duping you or you just don't know how much it actually costs to manufacture suppressors?
Don't mention who it is, but I'd like to see the numbers. Can you do that?

greyling22
December 12, 2012, 05:45 PM
Lets be fair and spread high profit margins all around. You don't think it actually costs glock $500 for a make a g17 do you? You don't think costs pfizer $10 a pill for viagra? or HP $45 to make an ink cartridge? Everybody makes profits, often high profits. (well, not detroit or the post office the last couple decades. rimshot!).

I'm quite sure you could take the blueprints to zak's cans to a large factory in china and say "make 800,000 of these, we're going to sell them in walmart, and if you don't hit our low price demand we'll go to the factory next door and they'll make it" and they could make them for I don't know, 100 bucks a pop. But that's not how can's are made. They come from small shops with lots of hoops to jump through, made by people who want to turn out a high quality product that they have to warranty forever and may well be misused by idiots. And there's not a whole lot of competition.

Cesiumsponge
December 12, 2012, 06:13 PM
I don't think Ken realizes Zak and his relationship to Thunder Beast Arms Corp suppressors yet. In any case, there is no ethical obligation to tell you what the profit margin is. Nor can anyone expect you to tell us what your wages or salary might be.

You're going to have to sell a lot of cans with a $30 markup to stay afloat. Consider all the cans I own have serial numbers in the xxx to 2xxx range. No one company is selling millions of these. Not even tens of thousands. Maybe a few thousand...over the entire production life of the product.

tarosean
December 12, 2012, 06:22 PM
Build 30,000 cans with the same fixed expenses, it gets a whole lot cheaper.

I would fathom to guess that number is larger than the entire US civilian market rather an individual company's. Its not like these are flying off the shelves at your local wally world. We are talking a very select market where every company may only sell a relatively small number.

Ken70
December 12, 2012, 06:28 PM
You're right, I didn't know whom Zak works for. So I guess we don't get to know the real numbers. I wish he would have kept his mouth shut about that... I was really hoping to find out.

Grayling 22 makes an interesting point about the boutique nature of NFA parts. That's what I've been spouting off about, normal supply and demand doesn't apply with NFA. ATF is keeping the market limited by taking 6 months to process an application. Plus the $200 stamp.

It's not a $30 markup, it's $30 in direct costs. Or somewhere around there. Definitely not $300 to make it, I was hoping for some actual numbers. No luck...

Cesiumsponge
December 12, 2012, 07:05 PM
If you have machine shop friends as mentioned above, you can get a fair idea from them what it costs from beginning to end since you mentioned their expertise on quoting jobs. Considering most of these small suppressor companies only sell a couple hundred to maybe a thousand a year because of an artificially bottlenecked market, the markup has to be higher or the company simply won't exist on profits from a few hundred $500-1000 cans. There are ways to lower overhead. One can use kanban, where the customer contracts to purchase 100 units a month for two years. We'll buy enough materials for the entire 2400pc order and run it all in one shot, and sell it to the customer in monthly increments and store the rest of the inventory in our warehouse. Sucks for us to invest in all the labor and materials up front. We don't see a profit until all inventory is sold. It's a positive for the customer because they aren't paying a a high per-unit cost for us to refill and run 100pcs each month. They're paying a per-unit cost on a quote for 2400 pieces but they only buy the scheduled monthly quantity of parts. They don't pay for all 2400 parts up front.


It's worth mentioning its still way more than $30 in direct cost. You're saying the entire suppressor, adding in any outsourced processes and raw material cost, spends a cumulative 15 minutes on the shop floor from the time raw material is taken off the supplier's flatbed truck to the time UPS picks up complete and packaged parts.

Ken70
December 12, 2012, 08:03 PM
If you have machine shop friends as mentioned above, you can get a fair idea from them what it costs from beginning to end since you mentioned their expertise on quoting jobs. Considering most of these small suppressor companies only sell a couple hundred to maybe a thousand a year because of an artificially bottlenecked market, the markup has to be higher or the company simply won't exist on profits from a few hundred $500-1000 cans. There are ways to lower overhead. One can use kanban, where the customer contracts to purchase 100 units a month for two years. We'll buy enough materials for the entire 2400pc order and run it all in one shot, and sell it to the customer in monthly increments and store the rest of the inventory in our warehouse. Sucks for us to invest in all the labor and materials up front. We don't see a profit until all inventory is sold. It's a positive for the customer because they aren't paying a a high per-unit cost for us to refill and run 100pcs each month. They're paying a per-unit cost on a quote for 2400 pieces but they only buy the scheduled monthly quantity of parts. They don't pay for all 2400 parts up front.


It's worth mentioning its still way more than $30 in direct cost. You're saying the entire suppressor, adding in any outsourced processes and raw material cost, spends a cumulative 15 minutes on the shop floor from the time raw material is taken off the supplier's flatbed truck to the time UPS picks up complete and packaged parts.
No, it's obvious from this thread that the normal rules of supply and demand don't apply with NFA items. If the government wasn't limiting the supply, then the market would rule.

All of this because Game Wardens, of all people, had sound suppressors dumped into the NFA. Why Game Wardens? They were convinced poachers would clean out all the deer during the Depression. Not Al Capone's people whacking a rival, like I thought from reading the Main Stream Media....I still think I could undercut the rest of the market if the ATF wasn't limiting the market.

jmorris
December 12, 2012, 08:19 PM
I would fathom to guess that number is larger than the entire US civilian market rather an individual company's. Its not like these are flying off the shelves at your local wally world. We are talking a very select market where every company may only sell a relatively small number.

That is kind of my point. Buy an entire auto from any maker, then try to build one from onesies and twosies out of the parts house and compare the price. You can build millions of something and make it cheaper than a few.

Kahr33556
December 12, 2012, 08:41 PM
:) :) :) :)

Ken70
December 12, 2012, 08:53 PM
30 dollar silencer anyone can make

watch when he installs the silencer after he chambers a round STUPID

http://search.yahoo.com/search;_ylt=AhgYqin1uQe35VIRoA4YsxabvZx4?p=how+to+make+a+silencer&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8&fr=yfp-t-521
You underestimate the peeps with a South Bend and a Bridgeport. We have lots of time, can make things that the ATF just can't handle. If the first version doesn't work, make a couple more until it does. You don't have any machining skills, do you?

hq
December 12, 2012, 09:52 PM
Yup, $500 from me sounds fine for a super quiet lifetime useable 9mm suppressor that's user serviceable and makes cans from Europe look like disposable loud garbage.:D

Do you have any idea how many "top of the line" cans with all kinds of superlative marketing spiels I've fried and and sometimes even melted with full auto? ;)

In all seriousness, if cans were regulated or hard to obtain I'd probably treat them, as the saying goes, like sore body parts. But they aren't and I don't, which has resulted in some kind of personal insight in which ones are quiet, which can take horrific abuse, shot regularly so hot they glow red and still work as intended for years, even decades.

Competition in suppressor market is pretty fierce around here, there hasn't been much room for anything loud or of poor quality in quite a while. There are a few patented, proprietary designs that have more or less dominated the market for several years, for a very good reason.

Kahr33556
December 12, 2012, 09:53 PM
Ken70 you probley would have been right on about 99 percent of the people here but WRONG been machining for 25 years thats how I make a living.I make parts a lot more complicated than that.
The one thing I don't have experience with is welding,thats my downfall.
I posted for the 99 percent of people that don't know how to use a mill or Lathe.
But the real reason is to watch the kid put that silencer on after he chambered a round.Not safe.

Zak Smith
December 12, 2012, 11:36 PM
Don't mention who it is, but I'd like to see the numbers. Can you do that?
I know exactly how much it costs because my company is a silencer manufacturer.

I'm quite sure you could take the blueprints to zak's cans to a large factory in china and say "make 800,000 of these, we're going to sell them in walmart, and if you don't hit our low price demand we'll go to the factory next door and they'll make it" and they could make them for I don't know, 100 bucks a pop.
I'm sure they could be made for a lot cheaper because a manufacturing job gets paid 10 to 20 times less per hour there than in Cheyenne WY.

I would fathom to guess that number is larger than the entire US civilian market rather an individual company's.
The http://americansilencerassociation.com/ reports approx 27,000 suppressors are purchased yearly.

Cesiumsponge
December 13, 2012, 12:01 AM
No, it's obvious from this thread that the normal rules of supply and demand don't apply with NFA items. If the government wasn't limiting the supply, then the market would rule

What? The government isn't limiting supply. There is no manufacturing cap on suppressors. You can make as many or as little as you want. Supply and demand has created a fierce suppressor market despite regulation. It's bottle-necked by restrictions but it's found equilibrium already. The market has established a price range where the manufacturer makes a profit for a product at a price consumers are willing to pay. If prices were lower, manufacturers would go out of business because they can't pay their bills. If prices were higher, manufacturers would go out of business because no one wants to pay the asking price. That's supply and demand in action. When was the last time you filled out a Form 4? I'm still waiting for one from June and the average waiting time has crept close to 7 months now. The demand is there. And the supply is here to feed the demand.

Government restrictions simply drive up costs of bringing this particular type of item to market and reduces the potential demand due to end-user costs incurred for ownership but $200 and waiting for months isn't a huge deterrent for many people given it's not a particularly large sum of money. It's the same economic game with any other regulated commodity like most consumer products or pharmaceuticals. The government has restrictions on almost everything available to purchase. Suppressors are nothing special. Are we complaining about cars? Their cost is much, much higher than one in an unregulated market because government intervention has forced automobiles to steadily increase curb weight due to increasing crash standards which require more safety equipment being installed in every vehicle. Compare the curb weights of today's cars with those of the 1980's. Meanwhile the same government has forced automobile manufacturers to increase gas mileage. Manufacturers are stuck with the double-whammy of trying to squeeze out increased gas mileage at a rate that exceeds the weight gains from safety regulations.

You underestimate the peeps with a South Bend and a Bridgeport. We have lots of time, can make things that the ATF just can't handle. If the first version doesn't work, make a couple more until it does. You don't have any machining skills, do you?

That's actually not an argument at all for your "$30 direct cost" of a manufactured product that some other company invested in to sell to a consumer as a ready-to-use product. If I gave you two tons of raw iron ore, roughly trading at $120 per metric ton currently, and a few hundred pounds of various alloying metal elements, a big sack of silica, and some rubber tree seeds, you could build an automobile given enough time and effort. That doesn't mean automobiles are a ripoff because there's only $300 worth of raw materials.

Ken70
December 13, 2012, 10:41 PM
What? The government isn't limiting supply. There is no manufacturing cap on suppressors. You can make as many or as little as you want. Supply and demand has created a fierce suppressor market despite regulation. It's bottle-necked by restrictions but it's found equilibrium already. The market has established a price range where the manufacturer makes a profit for a product at a price consumers are willing to pay. If prices were lower, manufacturers would go out of business because they can't pay their bills. If prices were higher, manufacturers would go out of business because no one wants to pay the asking price. That's supply and demand in action. When was the last time you filled out a Form 4? I'm still waiting for one from June and the average waiting time has crept close to 7 months now. The demand is there. And the supply is here to feed the demand.

Government restrictions simply drive up costs of bringing this particular type of item to market and reduces the potential demand due to end-user costs incurred for ownership but $200 and waiting for months isn't a huge deterrent for many people given it's not a particularly large sum of money. It's the same economic game with any other regulated commodity like most consumer products or pharmaceuticals. The government has restrictions on almost everything available to purchase. Suppressors are nothing special. Are we complaining about cars? Their cost is much, much higher than one in an unregulated market because government intervention has forced automobiles to steadily increase curb weight due to increasing crash standards which require more safety equipment being installed in every vehicle. Compare the curb weights of today's cars with those of the 1980's. Meanwhile the same government has forced automobile manufacturers to increase gas mileage. Manufacturers are stuck with the double-whammy of trying to squeeze out increased gas mileage at a rate that exceeds the weight gains from safety regulations.



That's actually not an argument at all for your "$30 direct cost" of a manufactured product that some other company invested in to sell to a consumer as a ready-to-use product. If I gave you two tons of raw iron ore, roughly trading at $120 per metric ton currently, and a few hundred pounds of various alloying metal elements, a big sack of silica, and some rubber tree seeds, you could build an automobile given enough time and effort. That doesn't mean automobiles are a ripoff because there's only $300 worth of raw materials.
The longer this thread has gone on, the surer I am about direct costs of $30 or so, per suppressor. I'm not going to refine a couple of tons of iron ore, I just buy the finished product. In this case, a DOM 4130 foot of tubing. Division of labor has been the way it is for the last 1000 years. Buy from somebody that is set up to make it efficiently. And so on.

I have the South Bend and Bridgeport combo, I look at what a commercial supplier makes and copy it. I don't have the overhead, regulations, that a commercial supplier has. So I can make a $30 or less copy of what I see. Government doesn't jump on me, you can make a copy for personal use. If that is accurate, 27,000 sold in a year, then I can see why they cost so much.....Not enough volume. Being from Detroit, I know about volume.

jmorris
December 13, 2012, 11:28 PM
The http://americansilencerassociation.com/ reports approx 27,000 suppressors are purchased yearly.

It would be interesting to know how many makers that includes and also what the total number is with form 1's included.

3DHUSKER
December 14, 2012, 12:17 AM
WOW

I always though all the stupid people lived here in SW Missouri with me... Boy was I dead wrong.

I own one of Zaks Titanium suppressors and it is worth every cent I paid for it.

I will own at least one of every suppressor he makes as soon as I can.

LOL, I have 2 posts in 11 months.

Zak Smith
December 14, 2012, 12:24 AM
Government doesn't jump on me, you can make a copy for personal use.
As a side note, there is no "personal use" exemption for patent infringement.

I'm not going to refine a couple of tons of iron ore, I just buy the finished product. In this case, a DOM 4130 foot of tubing. Division of labor has been the way it is for the last 1000 years. Buy from somebody that is set up to make it efficiently. And so on.
...
So I can make a $30 or less copy of what I see.

So you're saying that if you don't consider your equipment costs or labor costs, you can build some suppressor* for $30 worth of finished materials, therefor suppressors are overpriced.

If we ignore all facts related to actual suppressor costs and just focus on the argument's logic, this actually proves Cesiumsponge's point and goes against your own thesis because by the same logic, you could make that DOM 4130 for a few pennies from raw material instead of $8 if you didn't count machine and labor costs. Therefor 4130 is grossly overpriced.

QED.


* "Some" suppressor because it will be a not be a high performing .22 suppressor, nor a halfway decent centerfire one.

Zoogster
December 14, 2012, 01:48 AM
Ken70 said:
No, it's obvious from this thread that the normal rules of supply and demand don't apply with NFA items. If the government wasn't limiting the supply, then the market would rule.

That is the real reason.
But it is not unique to NFA items, just more obvious and harder to work around.



Normal rules of supply and demand do not apply to a lot of firearm things.
Many of the most popular Concealed Carry pocket pistols would be illegal to import. The ATF has two lists for pistols and revolvers to score points that apply to imports but not to domestic manufactuers, and they include a minimum size and minimum caliber, along with some features that can increase costs over a rival that does not need to add something the market may not demand. Something like an LCP or P3AT would be illegal to import. This means domestic manufacturers do not have to compete with foreign manufacturers for a large segment of the market.
Many of the most popular long guns have 922r restrictions that prevent import in the configurations the market wants, and as a result have additional costs to turn a foreign made thing into what the market desires. This increases the cost and makes it easier for domestic manufactuers to compete because of that advantage.


China is also forbidden from exporting firearms to the United States, so while the vast majority of products the typical person buys come from China, firearm manufactuers do not have to compete with China (just ask our Canadians about all the quality Norinco designs they have access to and enjoy.)


All of these things increase the cost of firearms, but they also make producing various firearms something that can still be profitable in the United States. US based firearm production does not have to compete on an equal level with foreign producers like most other industries do.
As a result the firearm industry is one of the most protected industries in the USA.


As for NFA items specifically, the very real costs of business operating to produce items on a small scale or custom is expensive.
There is labor, rent, tooling, etc along with unforseen expenses like legal expenses, and still a strong profit margin necessary to make it all worthwhile.

Mass production is where things can be less expensive, but mass production of NFA items is not practical because of the laws and limited market.
Mass production costs even more in initial investment, and if the market changes or suddenly starts being sold on some selling point of a new design you may eat a lot of the cost.

For example I have seen many unrelated non firearm products sell better simply by having more features to list and tout, even products that had more problems, were less reliable, and of overall lower quality, than a product meant to do the same thing with fewer traits to list and use as selling points. So even making a quality product is not a guarantee, the market often has shifted towards desiring worse quality products that seem fancier or have more marketable features. If you invested in mass production of something that sells slowly and suddenly some new bell or whistle becomes a prime selling point, you can be in trouble if you already have tons of inventory without that bell or whistle that the market suddenly thinks is needed. If all that inventory becomes less desirable you may be going bankrupt. While if you stuck with low volume production you just adjust to the new market desire in a market that does not move a lot of product annually anyways.

The level of quality the market often wants can also be higher than would be the case if they were not bound to that item via an NFA registry. For example a sealed can that you throw out when it gets too gunked up may work elsewhere, but in the USA I would certainly want something that I can open and clean and maintain every component. I would also want a design that has reduced wear over many popular designs elsewhere because dealing with things like a new baffle can be a real annoyance with the NFA in place. So I may pay more for both a design and materials that would otherwise be excessive for what the can needs to do.
There can be unique market requirements because of the artificially created hassle of such a regulated item. Doubling or tripling the cost to create something that lasts much longer and is of a design that is much more convenient to maintain may be reasonable when that item is tied to you via a registry requiring a tax stamp with a several month wait.

Cesiumsponge
December 14, 2012, 03:52 AM
The longer this thread has gone on, the surer I am about direct costs of $30 or so, per suppressor. I'm not going to refine a couple of tons of iron ore, I just buy the finished product. In this case, a DOM 4130 foot of tubing. Division of labor has been the way it is for the last 1000 years. Buy from somebody that is set up to make it efficiently. And so on.

I have the South Bend and Bridgeport combo, I look at what a commercial supplier makes and copy it. I don't have the overhead, regulations, that a commercial supplier has. So I can make a $30 or less copy of what I see. Government doesn't jump on me, you can make a copy for personal use. If that is accurate, 27,000 sold in a year, then I can see why they cost so much.....Not enough volume. Being from Detroit, I know about volume.

The longer this discussion has gone on, the longer you've contradicted your own arguments.

Why won't you take the time to refine a couple tons of iron ore? Oh that's right! Your time is worth money and you're not going to spend 20,000 hours turning iron ore into an inferior car to save $19,700 when you can buy a superior finished product for $20,000. Turning $300 in raw ore into a car means it'll cost you pennies per hour of labor to create an inferior car.

If you claim your direct cost is $30 to make a suppressor, your time must be equally worthless as because after raw material costs, you're going to spend countless hours on manual milling, turning, and welding machines trying to reverse engineer and develop a functional suppressor that won't even meet the standards of commercial products. Dividing the labor costs after raw materials, and being generous in assuming you have a fully functional product after a full week of trial and error, you've put in 40 hours of work minimum. For $10 worth of inferior raw materials and another $10 to grind up some remedial lathe tools for your baffles, you're working for less than a 25 cents an hour.

Also, you're not "copying" any suppressor by buying DOM tubing and using aluminum baffles. The fact you'd specifically select steel tubing that was drawn-over-mandrel as a material that will be turned on all surfaces on the lathe shows that you have no idea what's going on with materials or material properties. The entire point of DOM is uniformity for certain applications in fabrication. Likewise, 4130 has very little use in a high heat application like a suppressor. Have fun with the can rusting away. You might as well get precision honed and OD ground tube stock and machine away all the surfaces. The selection of aluminum shows the same forethought as baffle materials. I suggest you talk to those machine shop owners you claim to know.

jmorris
December 14, 2012, 07:49 PM
While I have built a number of cans from 4130, 4140 and aluminum, for centerfire rounds including full auto, using "drop" materials that were "free", the "$30 direct cost" statement is not something that anyone who has the ability to create an end product would say and is very short sighted.

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/can/DSC01676.jpg

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/can/m10/DSC01884.jpg

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/can/m10/maccan1.jpg


http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/can/458socom/layout.jpg

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/can/DSC02435.jpg

greyling22
December 14, 2012, 10:30 PM
holy canoli jmorris. that last can is huge. yours is way bigger than everybody else's :)

jmorris
December 14, 2012, 10:38 PM
holy canoli jmorris. that last can is huge. yours is way bigger than everybody else's


Makes less noise too. It is for a 458 socom and most of it telescopes over the barrel. Didn't want a two stamp rifle and didn't want it as long as a pool stick.

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/can/458socom/ecusxsxs.jpg

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/can/458socom/excmon.jpg

jmorris
December 14, 2012, 10:41 PM
Come to think of it on the $30 level, you can't get the FF tube for that.

As Zak spoke about, if you don't already have the skills and equipment, the cost is much higher.

Even my crude welding set up would cost $1000's if you didn't already have it for other jobs.

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/can/458socom/weld1.jpg

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/can/458socom/weld.jpg

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/can/458socom/endcap1.jpg

http://i121.photobucket.com/albums/o213/jmorrismetal/can/458socom/excham.jpg

crazy-mp
December 14, 2012, 11:10 PM
The longer this thread has gone on, the surer I am about direct costs of $30 or so, per suppressor.

So you can't read, the materials BEFORE being machined cost more than that

I have the South Bend and Bridgeport combo, I look at what a commercial supplier makes and copy it.

Patent infringement in some cases, and unless you have several thousand dollars in those machines you will not get quality work, the Harbor Freight tabletop model will not build a precision can.

I don't have the overhead, regulations, that a commercial supplier has. So I can make a $30 or less copy of what I see. Government doesn't jump on me, you can make a copy for personal use.

Still have to apply and receive your tax stamp on a Form 1 cost is 200.00 and you pay before you build it. So you still will not have a 30.00 dollar suppressor.


If that is accurate, 27,000 sold in a year, then I can see why they cost so much.....Not enough volume. Being from Detroit, I know about volume.

What do you know about volume? How much we import? How many jobs the UAW have lost in the past 4 decades?


Zak is laying out the truth and everybody on here just wants to argue how this works, or you have no understanding of how a business which manufacturers a raw product into a sell able item works.

Can you go to the local hardware store and get a bolt and drill a hole init and screw a oil filter on it and make a suppressor for what 10.00? You bet! Will you look like a fool at the gun range with your WIX oil filter screwed onto the end of your gun (assuming you did the proper paperwork and its legal), you bet!

Suppressors are not like guns you don't order one from buds gun shop and have it in your hands 3 days later and decide you don't like it and sell it to your buddy 2 days later, and most people don't have 50 or more, well there might be a couple but I know several gun collectors that have over 100 guns. Suppressors are a niche market. Its not for everybody.

jmorris
December 14, 2012, 11:18 PM
So you can't read, the materials BEFORE being machined cost more than that

+1 and I'll stop at that. We can talk about lumber costs in your house but it has little factor in what it is worth or costs, again short sighted.

It will only get worse once we have a VAT tax.

Cesiumsponge
December 15, 2012, 02:12 PM
And so we have it. A guy that works in the manufacturing field. A guy that owns a suppressor company. A guy that has built his own suppressors.

Patent infringement in some cases, and unless you have several thousand dollars in those machines you will not get quality work, the Harbor Freight tabletop model will not build a precision can.

crazy-mp, a South Bend and Bridgeport are American-made manual milling and turning machines. A Bridgeport is the gold standard kneemill that everything else is compared to.

The smallest, new South Bend toolroom lathe is about $20k with basic tooling. A basic Bridgeport with DRO runs the same. We've got a couple of fantastic Hardinge toolroom lathes. They were over $50,000 new. For a manual lathe with cranky handle things.

These aren't $500 Harbor Freight brands. A Hardinge HLV toolroom lathe doesn't leave the factory unless it has spindle TIR under 0.000025" (25 millionths of an inch). I'm afraid you jumped on Ken prematurely.

crazy-mp
December 16, 2012, 12:30 AM
Cesiumsponge - If the guy has a 20K Bridgeport or any other brand end-mill/lathe in his garage he surely knows the cost of materials. Or he got a used one and either works in a machine shop and takes scrap pieces home or has a buddy who gets him scrap pieces.

I will admit I am partially used to machine shop jargon, when somebody says Bridgeport I automatically think end-mill. Like when somebody says crescent wrench you typically don't think of the brand rather the "adjustable wrench," that it's name has become synonymous with.

And yes I most likely did jump on Ken, but when the nations leading precision suppressors is laying out why they are not selling suppressors for under 50 dollars and your saying he is lying, your wrong that's a pretty black and white issue there.

hentown
December 17, 2012, 10:01 AM
Even considering overhead, the margins for suppressors have to be pretty substantial. They don't require the same precision and labor intensity that manufacturing a nice firearm, but cost as much or more than many nice firearms.

I'm going to try out the Huntertown Guardian for my G17. If it doesn't work well, then I won't have spent $1000 to find out. ;)

Prince Yamato
December 17, 2012, 10:10 AM
I had the same complaint a couple of years ago while looking for a 9mm can, then AAC came out with their ECO-9. Thompson Machine also has their Isis 2 can. Both are in the $400 range. Once can price hovers around there, I consider it affordable. I think the next big leap will be sub-$300 centerfire cans. I think we'll see them in the next couple years as the manufacturers try and outdo one another.

Ranb
December 17, 2012, 03:06 PM
So what kind of precision do you guys think is required to make a good silencer? I settle for 0.001" when making my baffles, end caps and spacers. Considering the conditions of some of the barrels I thread my cans on, the .001" margin is more than enough especially when I have a baffle bore of .040" to .080" greater than bullet diameter.

.001" is within the capability of some hobby lathes including the 12"x34" I bought from Grizzly ten years ago.

Ranb

Cesiumsponge
December 18, 2012, 12:35 PM
0.001" is reasonable. Many times, factory barrels don't even hold this type of thread concentricity or perpendicularity at the shoulder and need to be remachined to a better class 3 thread and bearing surfaces mating to a screw-on suppressor are more precisely fitted. A 0.001" deviation on 1/2" thread at the muzzle (an angular deviation of 8 arcminutes) can result in 0.020" or more at the muzzle end depending on deviation from nominal dimensions. Zak can elaborate further on the differences between an general suppressor and his products, which are specific for precision rifles and impart minimum point of impact changes.

Zak Smith
December 18, 2012, 02:00 PM
Like most things, it depends on where.

rdhood
December 18, 2012, 02:37 PM
Even considering overhead, the margins for suppressors have to be pretty substantial. They don't require the same precision and labor intensity that manufacturing a nice firearm, but cost as much or more than many nice firearms.

Exactly. We have all seen a torn down suppressor. This is crude work compared to a BCG ($120), or an electric drill ($80), or even a Blu Ray Player ($50). I could name 100 things off the top of my head that are more complex and cost a fraction of the amount. If suppressors were legal, I suspect that someone would post a design on the internet inside of 6 months that could be built from a handful of parts from home depot with no more tools than the average joe has in his basement.

I fully understand the reason suppressors are so expensive, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the complexity or process of their construction.

jmorris
December 18, 2012, 04:14 PM
They would be super cheap if one were included with every blue ray player sold.

Cesiumsponge
December 18, 2012, 11:57 PM
I fully understand the reason suppressors are so expensive, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the complexity or process of their construction.

That's assuming all suppressors, from the cheapest to most expensive are the same in complexity, materials, processes, certifications, and all other aspects.

As a side trek, what makes the following two products (a block of steel 1"x2"x3" in size) vary so much in price compared to one another? Why are both items so incredibly expensive for less than $1 worth of tool steel? Surely they're even simpler to manufacture and have less complexity than even suppressors. The more expensive one doesn't even have holes. Surely there is a distinctive lack of high-speed, low-drag sex appeal in metrology and manufacturing.

Taft-Pierce precision 1-2-3 block, model #9151-2.
Price: $414.
http://www.subtool.com/tp/imgs/9151-1%20Precision%20Tri-Block.jpg
http://www.subtool.com/tp/9151_taft-peirce_precision_tri-blocks.html



Brown & Sharpe US-made 1-2-3 blocks
Price: $83.99
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41N%2BfH9mlKL._SL500_AA300_.jpg
http://www.amazon.com/Brown-Sharpe-599-750-10-1-2-3-Blocks/dp/B0006J3C3C

Ken70
December 19, 2012, 02:24 AM
Csponge, you obviously have a really big"dog" in this. Care to disclose it? I don't. I don't make a suppressor. You probably do....

hq
December 19, 2012, 07:20 AM
I understand that manufacturing a suppressor of a particular design can require a lot of precision machining. Not being able to use some of the most effective and durable stamped steel designs because of patent issues and relatively low sales volume is definitely a factor. The only really critical part is the muzzle end cap and seating surface to the threads/muzzle; a production tolerance of .010" in baffles doesn't make much difference.

I've been wondering if optimizing the design and production methods could help bringing down the prices. By far the best cans I have are quite simple, stamped steel designs that have constantly outperformed precision-machined high-$ cans both in noise reduction and durability. Tight tolerances and precision manufacturing of non-critical parts do little else than drive up the cost, unless there's some additional value in bragging rights. Change of POI has a lot more to do with changed barrel harmonics due to added mass than even the loosest tolerances in baffle manufacturing. I've shot **so many ½-¼MOA groups with genuinely crappy cans that even the idea of precision baffles having any meaningful effect on accuracy sounds far-fetched.

Remember AK philosophy. It's a simple, crude design that just plain works.

Zak Smith
December 19, 2012, 01:41 PM
I've shot **so many ½-¼MOA groups with genuinely crappy cans that even the idea of precision baffles having any meaningful effect on accuracy sounds far-fetched.
I understand where you're coming from, but on the other hand, why are there so many suppressors on the market that actively harm accuracy or repeatability? If you go over to SnipersHide, it's easy to find reports of problems, be it because of baffle design, overall structure (I would say artifacts from manufacturing method), or mount. I've seen and experienced many of those myself. If there had been a bunch of light weight and absolutely accurate and repeatable suppressors on the market in 2007, we would have never even thought to start a suppressor company.


Tight tolerances and precision manufacturing of non-critical parts
Agreed, but the rub is agreeing on what the critical parts and aspects are for accuracy. The proof comes from shooting and evidently many do not really understand that answer.

hq
December 19, 2012, 04:00 PM
I understand where you're coming from, but on the other hand, why are there so many suppressors on the market that actively harm accuracy or repeatability? If you go over to SnipersHide, it's easy to find reports of problems, be it because of baffle design, overall structure (I would say artifacts from manufacturing method), or mount. I've seen and experienced many of those myself. If there had been a bunch of light weight and absolutely accurate and repeatable suppressors on the market in 2007, we would have never even thought to start a suppressor company.

If a can is dimensionally totally out of whack, accuracy can suffer because of bullets grazing the baffles or gas diversion issues caused by bad design, damaged baffles / end cap or severe misalignment. Much like damaged barrel crown in principle. I can't say I've seen anything that bad in a while, the worst examples have still been serviceable but loud, fragile, poorly finished or all of the above.

Unfortunately "on the market" from the US standpoint excludes suppressors made overseas. Around here market is a bit different, there's no shortage of very high quality cans in $200-300 price point. Most of them are made of steel and they can be heavy; some alu+composite suppressors are light and very quiet but not particularly durable. It's often a compromise.

...speaking of which, how much paperwork is involved in exporting a suppressor from the US? I mean, I'd love to buy one of yours for testing and I've been looking for another lightweight can for one of my SBR-sized hunting AR:s anyway.

Zak Smith
December 19, 2012, 05:00 PM
https://www.google.com/search?q=export+of+nfa+items

The first link should a PDF at atf.gov that touches on some of the export issues.

hq
December 19, 2012, 05:14 PM
Ouch. Exporting non-NFA items is a maze of red tape and months of waiting, this sounds much worse. So much for that idea.

Cesiumsponge
December 19, 2012, 09:22 PM
Csponge, you obviously have a really big"dog" in this. Care to disclose it? I don't. I don't make a suppressor. You probably do....

You sure are keen on making assumptions. The nature of manufacturing contracts on my end have nothing to do with suppressors or anything firearms-related. It's based around applications in aerospace and government projects, such as commercial passenger airliner components, F-22 Raptor components, satellite components, and projects like NIF's 500 terawatt fusion laser facility.

What appears simple (a 1x2x3" steel block) can cost a lot more than what someone assumes it should be worth.

HQ, do they allow full auto in Finland? The reason I ask is many of the people who dabble in suppressors also live in states that allow other NFA items. Suppressors that are used in sustained full-auto fire must be designed out of materials that retain strength at elevated temperatures and resist erosion. Some people severely beat their cans and guns. Running a lesser can would result in even shorter lifespans.

http://i245.photobucket.com/albums/gg76/gi57/M4-2000/P4171843.jpg
http://i245.photobucket.com/albums/gg76/gi57/M4-2000/PA152023.jpg

Zak Smith
December 20, 2012, 02:51 AM
Csponge, you obviously have a really big"dog" in this. Care to disclose it? I don't. I don't make a suppressor. You probably do....
Good example of the logical fallacy: begging the question.

hq
December 20, 2012, 01:52 PM
HQ, do they allow full auto in Finland? The reason I ask is many of the people who dabble in suppressors also live in states that allow other NFA items. Suppressors that are used in sustained full-auto fire must be designed out of materials that retain strength at elevated temperatures and resist erosion. Some people severely beat their cans and guns. Running a lesser can would result in even shorter lifespans.

Full auto is allowed for registered collectors, approximately 1% of all civilian-owned guns in Finland are full auto. My personal "acid test" for suppressors is as many belts with a MG42 (or cmags with an M16/M4) as possible without frying the barrel. The can usually glows bright red; some cans are ok afterwards, some aren't and some even have been able to take that kind of abuse on biweekly-monthly basis for 15+ years.

The most common use for suppressors is hunting; in last weekend's deer hunt eight out of ten guys had suppressors, which isn't uncommon. Hunting rifles don't get shot much, but cans take a beating when entering/exiting trucks, climbing to treestands and so on. By far the only situation where suppressors aren't very common is practical rifle competitions because they're not loud enough to trigger the timers. On some ranges there has been talk about making suppressors mandatory, to keep noise levels down.

At the moment the best selling suppressors are Ase-Utra, BR Tuote (reflex suppressors), Vaime and Brügger & Thomet. Ase-Utra is the current military standard suppressor for Sako assault rifles, LMG:s and sniper rifles as well as having a distribution contract with Beretta. $200 a pop, available over the counter everywhere like car mufflers.

Ken70
December 20, 2012, 04:20 PM
Csponge and Zap Smith, now I have enough information to know where you're coming from. You probably don't remember the $400 claw hammer and the $640 toilet seat.

That was in the mid 80's; Congress had discovered the military was paying $400 for a $3 claw hammer, or $640 for a $5 toilet seat. If you read the articles, they could justify those ridiculous prices, how the paperwork and bidding process produced those prices. It's a mindset you develop when you sell to the government or the government is regulating the market; like NFA items.

If you were buying into that market, instead of selling into it, you'd have a different view. But you have the yuppie "Nuremberg" excuse; I have to pay the mortgage:).

Zak Smith
December 20, 2012, 05:08 PM
Kip70,

That analogy is completely broken. And yes, I do remember the 80's.

Just about everything you've posted to this thread does not track with reality. I obviously cannot post company private financial data, but I've been in that business for about five years. Before that, I was just a suppressor customer. I've been a member on THR throughout the whole time period and I have no reason to mislead people. If I could produce the same suppressors that we make now for costs remotely similar to what you post, I'd already be retired. Your data does not compute.

Cesiumsponge
December 20, 2012, 06:12 PM
Zak's products don't have a NSN. There are no magic government overhead costs on his product.

I own an Ops Inc Model 12 suppressor which are used on Mk12 SPRs built by Crane for the Navy SEALs. It didn't cost more or less than current civilian suppressors. My AAC supressor cost more than the gubment product.

The government regulates every market. Every car, toy, gun, suppressor, or steak you buy is heavily regulated by some alphabet agency. The true cost of steak isn't 5 cents a pound and cars don't cost $500 to make.

HQ, I wish reflex suppressors were more popular in the US. Ops Inc's design requires a special barrel profile and AAC's only reflex model has been discontinued. There isn't an available reflex option for my 20" Sako TRG-22.

hq
December 20, 2012, 07:08 PM
HQ, I wish reflex suppressors were more popular in the US. Ops Inc's design requires a special barrel profile and AAC's only reflex model has been discontinued. There isn't an available reflex option for my 20" Sako TRG-22.

I feel your pain. A BR T8, for example, would solve that problem easily.

jmorris
December 21, 2012, 10:19 PM
You probably don't remember the $400 claw hammer

That analogy is completely broken

Comparing a Beryllium copper hammer that is needed in an explosive environment to something you can get from Harbor Freight for $5, is a lot like compairing a Coke bottle adapter to a suppressor that uses Inconel for baffles.

looks like they have gone up a bit since the '80's.
http://www.amazon.com/Ampco-German-Sledge-Hammer-23-79/dp/B0007WZ5GK

hentown
December 22, 2012, 08:29 PM
Exactly. We have all seen a torn down suppressor. This is crude work compared to a BCG ($120), or an electric drill ($80), or even a Blu Ray Player ($50). I could name 100 things off the top of my head that are more complex and cost a fraction of the amount. If suppressors were legal, I suspect that someone would post a design on the internet inside of 6 months that could be built from a handful of parts from home depot with no more tools than the average joe has in his basement.

I fully understand the reason suppressors are so expensive, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the complexity or process of their construction.


Suppressors are legal. The $200 transfer tax has nothing to do with the manufacturers' prices.

jmorris
December 23, 2012, 02:22 AM
I will will end this with why $.30 of plastic costs $80.

Swampman
December 31, 2012, 04:36 PM
Originally posted by jim243
"Zak, try a plastic water bottle (almost free of cost). One of the reasons things cost so much is that everyone tries to over engineer everything. The real problem is attaching it to the muzzle, but you have that problem if you spend $1.50 or $900.00 on one"

You're free to make a Form 1 suppressor from a water bottle. Just pay the $200 tax and wait for your stamp to arrive. Who needs that expensive, over engineered junk! I'm sure a water bottle will work great on your .338 Winchester Magnum or .50 BMG!

This is really the crux of the matter.

Who's going to pay a $200 dollar tax on a cheap, short lived piece of junk?
What manufacturer is going to set up a huge, highly efficient assembly line to make an item that, due to government regulation and taxation, he'll probably only sell a couple thousand of?

Any time you decrease the scale of manufacture on an item, you increase the per unit cost.
Any time you increase regulation, recordkeeping, associated paperwork and legal fees, production costs, and therefore prices, will go up.

Don't blame manufacturers for the high price of cans, blame the nonsensical Federal regulations.

Eureka40
December 31, 2012, 09:08 PM
After reading this entire thread, it is very clear to me that some folks just don't realize the costs involved in modern manufacturing and machining.

From issuing purchase orders for raw material to meeting payroll the dynamics are huge. As was stated above, the tooling costs for stainless and titanium are through the roof. Even the simplest things like tool coolants are just not cheap!!

Zak is absolutely correct on how a price point is arrived at. There are sooo many costs involved that nobody even thinks of unless they do it for a living.

Swampman
January 1, 2013, 02:35 AM
There's nothing to stop anyone thats posted in this thread from starting their own company and taking over the industry by selling a better product at a lower price.

DO IT, and I'll definitely be a customer. :)

Otherwise, don't show your ignorance of how a (more or less) free market system works, it's :barf: !

crazy-mp
January 1, 2013, 03:13 AM
Zak is absolutely correct on how a price point is arrived at. There are sooo many costs involved that nobody even thinks of unless they do it for a living.

WHAT!?!?! The guy who does this for a living knows what he is talking about? Must be a conspiracy ;)

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