Caliber - .22LR
Length - 5.2 inches
Diameter - 1 inch
Weight - 2.5 oz.
Threading - 1/2x28
Suppression - 33dB+
I was first turned on to the Outback after shooting Todd Dunn's at the Playland Party in the spring of 2003. Talk of a Glock List "group buy" on Outbacks continued the wheels turning. I contacted a local Class III dealer to discuss handling the transfer, and he offered to match the proposed group buy pricing if I bought direct from him. I agreed, and although the group buy ended up falling through, my individual purchase was underway!
Despite being my first-ever Title II purchase, the paperwork on the Outback went through in a reasonable amount of time, given the current state of affairs with the BATF(E). Horror stories abound of transfers taking a year or more, but mine went through in 89 days from the time it was entered into the BATF's computer system (known as "going pending"). 90 days is generally considered average processing time for a Form 4.
Fit & Finish
Just looking at it, the Outback doesn't seem very impressive - a 5" aluminum tube with a big threaded hole in one end and a .22-caliber hole in the other. Finish is a smooth, nonreflective matte black anodize, with serial number and manufacturer's information laser-engraved in white on the side of the tube. The Outback is a "sealed" suppressor, meaning the user cannot remove the end caps to access the internal baffle stack. This is a mixed blessing; it prevents ham-handed operators from screwing up reassembly (which if done improperly can result in loss of accuracy, baffle strikes, and/or a reduction in suppression level), but also makes it impossible to detail strip the suppressor for a thorough cleaning. Instead, the owner's manual recommends cleaning the Outback every 500 rounds or so by soaking the entire unit in WD-40 overnight and allowing to drip-dry.
Since I don't have access to a decibel meter, I have no way of gauging whether or not the Outback lives up to its claimed 33dB+ sound reduction. Using a more subjective instrument (the human ear), I would say the Outback reduces the .22LR's sound signature to approximately that of a pneumatic staple gun. Sound level is way below the need for hearing protection; it is possible to carry on a conversation at normal volume while shooting the suppressed 22/45. Firing at a target mounted to a wooden backboard, the sound of the round smacking the wood is the loudest thing you hear. When firing into snow, all you hear is the gun's action cycling! The Ruger's 4.5" barrel is short enough that most high-velocity .22LR loads stay at subsonic speed (and are thus quieter), but the muzzle report and blast are slightly higher than with the lighter-loaded subsonic ammo. High-velocity rounds will also cause the suppressor to heat up quickly; a couple 10-round magazines in rapid fire will get the Outback too hot to handle comfortably. Subsonic loads will take about 4 magazines to achieve the same temperature level. Getting the Outback hot doesn't seem to negatively affect performance, but you'll want to let the can cool down before you grab it with your bare hands to unscrew it!
Since each Title II purchase requires payment of a $200 tax stamp, I am all about getting the most bang for my buck. The Outback is a very versatile item, able to be used with a variety of .22LR pistols, bolt-action rifles and semi-auto rifles (eventually I plan to have one of each). A suppressed .22 pistol is more than just fun to shoot. It excels as a training tool (two of my Glock List friends have used one to teach their small children how to shoot; the can eliminates intimidating muzzle blast and noise, and allows the student to hear spoken commands) and is also suitable for discreet pest control, especially in suburban areas. Small, light and with a good level of performance, yet relatively inexpensive ($299 retail), the Outback is an ideal starting point for someone interested in suppressors or in Title II weapons in general.