Tuesday, 1 April 2014

MAE Phantom CZ .22lr Fully Suppressed Rifle

Without doubt the humble .22 rimfire is the best selling vermin rifle in Britain with many makes and models available. Nearly all of these used for vermin control will be fitted with sound moderators of some sort. If the barrel is not reduced in length then you have that age old problem of increasing the overall length of the rifle with the moderator fitted that makes for a poor handling weapon.

Incredibly quiet with a short stature, the MAE Phantom is an ideal go anywhere vermin rifle.

Tech Spec

Type:                                Fully Suppressed 22 Rimfire
Manufacturer:                   MAE (formally PES)
Calibre:                            .22lr
Overall Length:                 34 inches
Weight:                             6lbs
Barrel length:                    12 inches
Moderator length:             14 inches
Moderator Diameter:        0.90 inch
Stock:                              Walnut Sporter
Trigger:                             Single stage
Safety:                              Locks trigger and bolt
Price:                                £POA


Without doubt the humble .22 rimfire is the best selling vermin rifle in Britain with many makes and models available. Nearly all of these used for vermin control will be fitted with sound moderators of some sort. If the barrel is not reduced in length then you have that age old problem of increasing the overall length of the rifle with the moderator fitted that makes for a poor handling weapon. Shortening a .22 lr is no problems and actually beneficial as we discovered in the barrel reductions test I conducted last year but there is another option to achieve a handy and low noise rimfire rifle. That means going the fully suppressed rifle route.
Full suppression is usually defined as the whole barrel being covered by an external shroud with internal baffles and incorporating some form of barrel porting to reduce the muzzle velocity and achieve maximum noise level reductions.
I use an original Sako SSR rimfire that has just a system and it is superbly quiet, well, MAE from New Zealand (the new name for PES moderators) has being producing a similar rifle for years but usually based around the Ruger 10/22 semi automatic rimfire popular with our Kiwi friends. JMS Arms sent me a new bolt action version called the Phantom that will certainly prove popular here in Britain especially as it’s the quietest and shortest .22 I have ever shot!

Barrel and Sound moderator

Wisely MAE have chosen to use a CZ rimfire as the basis for the Phantom as the CZ has a reputation not only for good accuracy but this mini Mauser action has a proven track record for reliable performance. Factor into to this the cost of the donor rifle and the conversion work and £595 seems a realistic price for the Phantom. The stock is left as is with only the barrel channel being opened up to accommodate the suppressor shroud. The action too is left untouched but is refinished in matt black to complement the suppressor finish. I have reviewed the CZ 22 rifles before so I will concentrate on the moderator which is where the work is.
The barrel is shortened to just over 12 inches with a new crown and recessed muzzle to form a step which locates the first of a series of seven baffles. Each baffle is made from stainless steel and forms a simple yet effective chamber within the barrel shroud. This shroud is threaded at both ends and has a 0.90 inch diameter that slips over the barrel that has also been reprofiled and threaded at the receiver end to secure the shroud. There is series of ports towards the receiver end of the barrel that vent the expanding combustion gases directly into the enclosed rear chamber of the shroud whilst the remaining gases vent from the muzzle and then through the seven baffles extending 4.25 inches in front of the muzzle before exiting the end cap. At this stage there is little energy left and the resulting meager report is nearly nonexistent. It is an incredibly efficient design which allows maximum noise reduction with minimal overall length of only 34 inches all in. 

Field Tests

Cartridge Make
Velocity fps
Accuracy at 30 yards (inches)
Eley Subsonic
861, 870, 858, 902, 837

866 fps

67 ft/lbs

524, 533, 561, 521, 540

536 fps

18.5 ft/lbs

Lapua Hollow Point
1028,1047, 1065,1018, 1024

1036 fps

95 ft/lbs

Winchester Subsonic
883, 862, 899, 889 884

883 fps

69 ft/lbs

CCI Subsonic
919, 900, 906, 865, 905

899 fps

72 ft/lbs

Lapua Subsonic
885, 811, 849, 863, 832

848 fps

64 ft/lbs

CCI Stinger
1383,1306, 1344,1371, 1328

1346 fps

129 ft/lbs


All testing for velocity and accuracy were conducted where the average temperature was a scant 2 degrees above freezing and as the speed of sound goes down as the temperature decreases one of the Lapua Hollow Point readings (1065 fps) was just supersonic in these conditions. For comparison I shot five Eley subsonics from a 22 inch Sako Quad barrel and the average figure was 1037 fps. This indicates a drop in velocity with the Eley ammunition and the MAE fully suppressed system of 171 fps from 1037fps to 866fps, achieved by the porting arrangement. As can be seen all the standard subsonic ammunition dropped in velocity from above 1000 fps to 883, 889 and 848 fps for the Winchester, CCI and Lapua respectively. At these velocities the muzzle report is so suppressed as to be insignificant and is quieter then any conventional muzzle suppressed rimfire. This is the essence of the design. However with this comes a foible whereas if the velocity drop is too much you will find that at around 850 fps or less the heavier 40 grain bullets becomes less stable and velocities can have a larger variation. This was seen particularly in the test targets where five shot groups from the Eley, Winchester, CCI and Lapua subsonics showed a small vertical stringing. It is of no real consequence as the accuracy was superb from all four subsonics tested with the Eley consistently producing groups of only 0.4 inch at 30 yards i.e. one enlarged elongated hole. But this leads to the reason why I tested some Lapua Hollow Point ammunition as this has a higher initial velocity than the subsonic brand at 1250fps and so when shot in the Phantom its velocity is reduced by 214 fps to 1036 fps. This achieves some advantages over standard subsonic loads. One, you are still subsonic but the rifle is producing velocities that normal subsonic ammunition achieves without the ported barrel, thus you have more energy on tap. You still achieve spectacularly quiet suppressed muzzle report and better still because the ammunition is shooting back up to just below the subsonic/supersonic threshold, velocity spread is diminished and thus accuracy improves.
The Lapua Hollow Point shot consistent and unbelievable 0.25 inch groups time and time again with all shots touching in a concentric circle. This is my choice of ammunition for the MAE, as it is for my own Sako SSR suppressed rifle. Just for interest to show the velocity change from the system I shot some CCI CB longs, themselves low velocity ammunition that now shot an average 536 fps velocity from a 29 grain bullet to achieve  18.5 ft/lbs energy, that’s FAC rated airgun performance and perfect for very short range vermin control. Noise levels with the CB’s was non existent just a hiss, really.
Julian from JMS has a test range so sceptics can try before they buy, you will not be disappointed. As a reference I shot some hyper velocity Stingers that usually shoot 1500 fps plus from standard barrels but averaged 1346 fps from the Phantom. Accuracy was average and I can not see a need to shoot this style of ammunition any way.


The advantages of a fully suppressed system are obvious, not only from a noise level point but also from the overall length of the rifle. The MAE Phantom is the quietest rimfire you will ever shoot, being a bolt action it is totally reliable and having a CZ action, spare magazines are cheap and available in five and ten shots. It is hard to find fault with it at all, the only proviso is to clean it regularly to remove any crud and moisture from the barrel shroud but that’s just standard practice anyway. For pest controllers, farmers, game keepers, forestry contractors or sportspersons the MAE Phantom can be packed away conveniently and when bought into use it is short enough not to be a problem if lamping form a vehicle or out in the woods. When you consider a CZ .22 Lr American is priced at approximately £450 approx and the Phantom costs just £850 approx with all the barrel, moderator, stock work and proofed it has to rank as excellent value for money.

Pros:            Quietest rimfire ever
                     Superbly accurate
                     Very short overall length
Cons:            Clean regularly












MAE 22LR Shorty target results

CZ Synthetic with IMS

Remington synthetic with IMS

Fully suppressed system uses porting to the rear of the barrel and baffles encased in a shroud to achieve maximum noise suppression.

 Short, trim, quiet and accurate what more do you want from a .22 rimfire?

 Short, trim, quiet and accurate what more do you want from a .22 rimfire?

 Accuracy was very good with Eley subsonics and superb with Lapua Hollow Points, rabbits beware! 

 The stock is reprofiled to accommodate the suppressor shroud and this shows how little it protrudes from the forend.

Tried and trusted CZ 22 rimfire is a good choice for the MAE conversion. 

Synthetics IMS 

 Image of IMS removed

 label here

Vented barrel

Target results

Contact:          JMS Arms 07771 962121, 01444 400126
Go to:             www.maemoderators.co.uk
Email:              jmsarmsuk@gmail.com subject: mae shorty
Article and images by Bruce Potts

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