Sunday, August 11, 2013

TANDEMKROSS Game Changer Compensator for Ruger Mk III Threaded Barrels

I discovered TANDEMKROSS at the end of June while attending our local Ruger Rimfire Challenge shoot. One of the items in our swag bag was their +1 magazine base plate for Ruger Mk III 22/45 magazines. I really liked the product and reviewed it here. TANDEMKROSS is based in New Hampshire and has started production of a line of upgrades and accessories for many popular firearms. Their company mission is: "to solve firearm problems that the manufacturers can't or won't, making good guns great!". The current product line features products to improve function, reliability, and general shoot-ability. All TANDEMKROSS products are made in the USA.  They graciously provided the Game Changer compensator tested in this article.

Over the last two weeks I've been working with their Game Changer screw-on compensator for 1/2" x 28 TPI theaded barrels. The TANDEMKROSS website lists this item as suitable for Ruger Mk. III 22/45 threaded barrels.

From the website, the key features of the compensator include:
  • The high quality and specially engineered TANDEMKROSS muzzle brake was designed specifically with the 22 LR cartridge in mind.
  • Made out of high strength T6061 aluminum this brake features strategically placed vents that dramatically reduce recoil.
  • Large openings for easy cleanings.
  • Installs in seconds.
  • 1/2" x 28 TPI (treads per inch)
  • Outside diameter of 0.950"
  • Compensator comes in Black, Gold, and Silver (clear) anodized finishes.
  • I will add that the compensator weighs about 30 grams.  That's about 6 grams less than the steel thread protector Ruger provides.

I've had a compensator on a Ruger Mk. II bull barrel since the 90's, so I'm really familiar with how they work on rimfire pistols.  If you stopped me in the street and asked me to describe how compensators work in 100 words or less, I'd answer as follows:

When you ignite a 22 LR cartridge, the bullet is propelled down the barrel by the expanding gases of the burning powder.  Some of the gases escape the barrel ahead of the bullet, but most of the gases follow the bullet out of the barrel.  A compensator directs the gases upward, through a series of ports, in a manner that pushes down the muzzle.  Essentially, redirecting gases moving horizontally to a vertical travel path.

My first review point was to test just how effective the Game Changer was as compared to the standard thread protection ring that Ruger includes with the threaded barrel.  To test this, I improvised a test rig that would eliminate as many human bias points as possible.  I decided that I would track muzzle climb by using a Crimson Trace Railmaster mounted on the sight rail.  I would shoot the pistol from the test rig and allow it to free recoil.  Using my high speed camera I would track the laser dot to find the maximum muzzle rise with and without the Game Changer. 

Later on in the review, I'll include the review video that has the entire comparison test.  The picture below shows a side by side comparison of muzzle climb without Game Changer (left) and with Game Changer installed (right).  The laser dot clearly climbed less with Game Changer installed.  

Another key concern with any compensator is "How easy is it to clean?".  Compensators get nasty dirty very quickly as the carbon builds up in the gas ports.  To test this, I weighed the Game Changer when it was new and it weighed 29.85 grams.  After running 300 rounds through the compensator, I removed and reweighed it.  After 300 rounds it now weighed 30.35 grams.  I gave the compensator a very quick cleaning and the weight was reduced to 30.33 grams.  The added weight comes from the carbon deposits that accumulate in the ports.  As with all compensators, removing the carbon will require a soak to soften the carbon deposits so they can be scraped, picked, or brushed out.

Sharing a best practice here, the best way to avoid carbon build up in a compensator is to pre-treat it with something that will keep the carbon from coming in direct contact with the compensator.  This is a really good resource on the subject by competitive shooters that run thousands of rounds through their compensators.

Another review point was to see if the compensator would stay tight after a few hundred rounds.  I got the Game Changer installed where I wanted it, then applied a strip of automotive pin striping tape to the barrel and compensator.  I carefully cut the tape at the point of union between the barrel and compensator so any movement would be seen as a change in the alignment of the two pieces of tape.  This was the before shooting shot.

The photo below was taken after running about 300 rounds though the compensator.  There was a very slight movement of the compensator that took place within the first 50 rounds.  After this initial movement, the compensator did not move for the rest of the testing period.  I may have over-tightened the compensator initially, or perhaps the compensator auto adjusted to the most suitable location.  I don't see any reason to believe the compensator won't remain tight over extended shooting sessions.  I believe you can also apply a thread locker if you want a less temporary installation.

The video below provides a bit more information on installing and removing the Game Changer Compensator.  I also have some range footage showing what it's like to shoot a Ruger Mark III 22/45 with the Game Changer installed.  The video also includes the head to head muzzle rise comparison test I mentioned above.

Overall, I'm really pleased with the compensator.  The fit, finish, and machining quality appear to be very good.  High speed video analysis demonstrated that the compensator does reduce absolute muzzle rise and the muzzle returns to target faster.  For the rimfire competitor, matches are won based on speed and accuracy.  The Game Changer will definitely help with speed.  As far as accuracy goes, I present the following video.  My left hand pistol was the Mark III 22/45 with the Game Changer installed.   Having it on the pistol certainly didn't hurt my accuracy.

If you would like to try a Game Changer, I put the squeeze on TANDEMKROSS for a blog exclusive discount code that will get you 10% off their current retail price.  I just tested the code and it's live and working.  Order one or several Game Changers from the TANDEMKROSS website and use coupon code gamechange to receive your 10% off each Game Changer ordered.  The discount is available from 8/10/2013 through 9/2/2013.


  1. Bought one myself and love it!


  2. Tandemkross has never let me down! What a great company.

  3. I agree...tandemcross has the best customer service and quality products. -Bobby

  4. Love their Plus1 magazine bumpers too!

  5. I just received my compensator and bolt Charging Handle. Shot my best grouping to date...cold, right out of the box...two bullseye's... WOW. She shoots like a dream. Love your review! My Ruger threaded barrel protector weighed in at 26 gms with the spring washer, so I gained 11 grams at the front end, but figure it's a wash with the handle on the back end...perfectly balanced! I highly recommend these two upgrades...along with some Volquartsen internals :)