Review: Mack Brothers Echo
After more than 125 years on the market, .22 Long Rifle still isn’t likely to fall out of fashion any time soon. The venerable old rimfire cartridge has been serving in roles ranging from training round to pest control for a long time. The traditional reason for the round’s popularity stems in large part from its tame recoil and cheap price per round. While the little .22 is as tame as ever, it has recently been in relatively short supply.
Despite the drought experienced in the ammo market over the past eighteen months, .22LR ammunition is still available, especially for buyers willing to plan ahead. Folks who want to avoid camping out at Walmart waiting for new inventory to come out in the sporting goods department can use aggregator sites like gunbot.net to find sellers with ammunition in stock and at the best price per round.
The round is pleasant to shoot, with an all-day range trip leaving nary a mark on the shooter’s shoulder. This is especially important for children and for new shooters who might be spooked by a big boom and a heavy recoil impulse. Silencers make the round even more user-friendly, with effective cans further taming the already modest muzzle blast. With subsonic ammunition and a hearing safety device threaded onto the muzzle, .22 LR is no louder than a pellet gun.
While the National Firearms Act tax man still demands the same $200 for the transfer of rimfire suppressors as is required for bigger bore cans, the purchase price is so cheap that almost anyone can afford to dip a toe into the rimfire end of the NFA pool. The Echo by Mack Brothers of Sturgis, South Dakota goes for a suggested retail price of $345.
The Echo is very light, and adds almost no noticeable weight to the end of a rifle. Only the blast baffle and mounting threads in the rear of the can are steel. The remaining baffles, outer tube, and end cap are all aluminum. The whole package weighs in at a sporty four ounces.
So long as the user’s intended application for a rimfire silencer does not involve magazine dump after magazine dump, the Echo should hold up just fine. With that said, I put over a hundred rounds through the can every time I took it to the range and it still functioned quite well. With heavier usage between cleanings, though, the baffles didn’t slide out of the tube quite as freely.
For extended shooting sessions or hotter .22 cartridges like the .22 Magnum, all-steel designs like the Lima—also from Mack Brothers—or the popular SilencerCo Sparrow are a better fit. You pay for the extra toughness though, both in terms of weight (around seven ounces for both the Lima and the Sparrow) and price (both the Lima and Sparrow will cost about $500 retail).
The Echo, like virtually all rimfire suppressors, is a direct thread design and utilizes the common 1/2×28 threading that is standard on the AR-15 and on most .22 rifles with threaded muzzles. Important for any rimfire can, the silencer easily breaks down for cleaning. The user simply removes the end cap with a Torx 45 driver or a similarly sized hex key and then dumps the stacked baffles out for cleaning. Reassembly is just as simple, though the user should take care to replace the steel blast baffle first when putting the device back together.
For this review, I primarily tested the can on a Ruger 10/22 Takedown, figuring that I would be hard-pressed to find a more capable backpacking rifle setup. Eley subsonic loads and a variety of supersonic .22LR were digested without even a hiccup. The Echo certainly takes the edge off of the muzzle noise generated by supersonic rounds, but with the Eley subsonic cartridges the rifle was astonishingly quiet. At the distances tested (up to 50 feet), there was no noticeable change in the point of impact with and without the can. I also tested the silencer on an AR-15 fitted with a CMMG .22 conversion bolt, and like the Ruger, the suppressed rimfire AR also cycled with boring reliability.
While not quite as inexpensive as the similarly constructed Huntertown Arms Guardian .22, the Mack Brothers Echo is an affordable option for getting into a field-ready rimfire silencer. Silencers such as the Echo are excellent options when the shooting will be relatively light and your loadout is already getting heavy. The Echo is not particularly innovative, it is not particularly flashy, and the Mack Brothers name does not sell hats and t-shirts like SilencerCo, Surefire, or the other big players in the industry. But if no-nonsense, reliable performance is the chief concern, you could do a lot worse than a Mack Brothers Echo.