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Silencer vs Suppressor

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Traders, Dec 28, 2012.

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  1. Traders

    Traders Well-Known Member

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    Can anyone tell be the difference between a silencer and a suppressor and are they legal in some or all States?

    Thanks
     
  2. mooster1223

    mooster1223 Member

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    Same thing. They are also called "cans" and "mufflers".

    Go here http://major-malfunction.com/ and read where they are and are not legal.
     
  3. Rich219

    Rich219 Active Member

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    Like mentioned they are the same thing. I think they are legal in 40 states now?
     
  4. quartering

    quartering Active Member

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  5. smsnyder

    smsnyder Well-Known Member

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    Silencer or suppressors are used to quiet the muzzle blast of a gun. My 22 caliber suppressor makes a 223 caliber sound like a 22 caliber. Very pleasant to use. Some countries in europe think its rude to shoot a gun without one.
     
  6. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Suppressor is the perferred term.

    Silencer is a bit misleading, though it is the original term. There is no truly silent suppressor. The quietest I've heard still sounds like a pellet rifle or a Daisy BB gun.

    Few centerfire suppressors are truly quiet. Especially if the bullet is traveling at supersonic velocity. When a bullet travels at supersonic speeds it makes a miniature sonic boom, which sounds like a crack. This crack is about as loud as a .22 LR at the muzzle of an unsuppressed rife. This is why you simply cannot make a supersonic centerfire quieter than a .22 LR. In addition, while the below .308 can reduced the report of this .223 rifle to that of a .22 LR, it only made a .308 less loud.

    [​IMG]

    Going further...

    [​IMG]

    This 10-22T with suppressor is about as quiet as a BB gun when used with subsonic ammunition. When used with standard velocity ammo and especially Mini-Mags, the bullet crack is as loud as the muzzle report would have been. This means the whole purpose of the suppressor is defeated.

    The main purpose of a suppressor today is hearing protect and less noise to annoy neighbors. A lot of hunters have found them useful for hunting as well, and more states are allowing them for hunting.
     
  7. Jollytrapshooter

    Jollytrapshooter Member

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    Okay, I'm a little confused...What's the point of having the suppressor if it makes no difference with standard velocity ammo? If I was going to be paying $300+ along with the $200 tax, I'd expect it to make my .22 sound like a BB gun with standard velocity rounds...That is if I could even own one here in Iowa.

    Josh
     
  8. kiv-c

    kiv-c Member

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    The term "silencer" is a Hollwood invention. From a technical standpoint there is no such thing."Suppressor" is the correct terminlogy.
     
  9. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    Josh,

    While 'sub-sonic' ammo certainly will be quieter in a moderated firearm even super-sonic ammo will sound very different.

    The 'sound' one hears with a moderator and hyper-sonic ammo comes from the sonic 'boom' as the bullet travels through the air (the 'bang' associated with the burning of the powder is essentially reduced to nil).

    To this end, in real world shooting with a moderator the 'boom' is typically heard down range from the muzzle and in the direction of the flight path of the bullet. Outside that cone the sound is greatly reduced.

    Ammo manufacturers are going to great lengths to make ammo that will still perform well, yet still does NOT break the sound barrier. Think big, heavy bullets moving JUST beneath the sound barrier.
     
  10. Don Steele

    Don Steele Well-Known Member

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    Use of the term "Silencer" when discussing any device designed and built to SUPPRESS the report of a firearm merely identifies the speaker as someone who is ignorant...in the purest sense of the word. That is: someone who simply doesn't know better.
    Kinda like referring to an M1 Garand as a "GUN".
     
  11. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    This is my rifle, this is my gun.

    This if for fighting, this is for fun.

    ;-)
     
  12. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    josh, quote: <i>"Okay, I'm a little confused...What's the point of having the suppressor if it makes no difference with standard velocity ammo? If I was going to be paying $300+ along with the $200 tax, I'd expect it to make my .22 sound like a BB gun with standard velocity rounds...That is if I could even own one here in Iowa."</i>

    Legitimate question....

    From the standpoint of a .22 rimfire, it makes no sense to use a suppressor if the bullet goes supersonic. There are two ways to keep the bullet from going supersonic. Either use subsonic ammunition in a longer barrel, or use a barrel short enough to prevent the bullet from ever breaking the sound barrier. A six inch barrel will keep all but Mini-Mags from going supersonic. A four inch barrel will keep everything from going supersonic. Any barrel longer than six inches will probably require subsonic ammo. A lot of target ammo is also subsonic.

    There are pluses and minuses to this. One big plus is increased accuracy, especially at longer ranges. From a typical .22 LR rifle barrel, groups suddenly open up at approximately 75 yards. This is because the supersonic bullet is transitioning to subsonic speed at about that distance. This is why you often get a 1/2" group at 50 yards but a 2" or even 3" group at 100 yards, instead of a mathematical increase to 1". By keeping the bullet subsonic, it does not get transonic buffeting. Also, the suppressor strips off some of the gases that can buffet the bullet at the muzzle. Simply adding a suppressor and using subsonic ammo greatly increased the accuracy of my 10-22T.

    Minuses are subsonic ammo is not flat shooting. You have to practice enough to know its drop or have a scope with a custom reticle or adjustment knobs. Subsonic and target ammo isn't cheap. And it just does not hit as hard. It sometimes takes a follow up shot to dispatch a ground squirrel. (On the other hand, you're not spooking every varmint for a couple hundred yards around you, either.)

    From a handgun, much of that does not matter. Depending on barrel length, almost any .22 ammo can be used. Report is louder than with a rifle, but it's still pretty quiet.

    Because of the lack of killing power for hunting, Aguila makes a special load they call the SSS Sniper Subsonic Ammo. This is a .22 rimfire that fits in a .22 LR chamber. It uses a 60 grain bullet, not a 40 grain. It puts a lot of whack on target. The bullet is so long it has to use a .22 Short case. And the increased bullet length requires a faster twist, like 1:9" instead of 1:16", otherwise they keyhole badly. And it's pointless to use them without a suppressor. Ammo is quite expensive. A brick is about $60.

    For centerfire, it's nice to be able to shoot a .223 or .308 without damaging your ears. I have bad tinnitus, which is one of the main reasons I like suppressors. Even though the .308 is still loud from a suppressed gun, it won't make your ears ring. The same suppressor on a .223 reduces the muzzle report to that of a .22 rimfire. That's a significant reduction for hunting in semi-urban areas or where you do not want to disturb critters. It also confuses coyotes. Generally they hear a muzzle report and they take off in the opposite direction. A suppressed .223 confuses them. The supersonic bullet, if it misses them, makes a crack loud enough to hide the muzzle report. They sometimes will hesitate trying to figure out what's going on, because they cannot pinpoint the direction. This is often all the time someone needs to get off a second shot. Especially with a semi-auto, since it has already cycled. A bolt action would make some noise after the fact.

    There are also subsonic centerfires. Aside from pistol ammo like 45 ACP or 147 gr 9mm, both of which have accuracy issues at range, there are some rifle cartridges that merit looking into.

    The current ones are the almost identical .30 cal twins called the .300 Whisper and .300 Blackout. You can actually chamber and fire them interchangeably. These are a shortened .223 case necked up to .308 caliber. When loaded with a 220 grain bullet, the velocity is subsonic. But it has enough power to hunt deer at moderate range. It's a surprisingly quiet cartridge when suppressed, and it will function in an AR15.

    Also, the old 45-70 is making a small comeback. There are .45 and .50 cal suppressors that will work nicely with a 45-70 rifle with subsonic ammunition. A 500 grain bullet at 1050 fps is nothing to be sneezed at for hunting. Trust me, it's quite effective on deer. Adding a suppressor brings a whole new dimension to the 45-70. Most people are either using a cheap break action NEF rifle or for a repeater a Marlin 1895 as the host, though the latter is limited to 405 grain bullets because of short receiver length.
     
  13. Dave P

    Dave P TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    At what point does firearm ammo break the sound barrier?
     
  14. HSLDS

    HSLDS Well-Known Member

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    Depends on air pressure and humidity, but it is around 1,100 fps.

    Mooster is right (see below) - temperature too...
     
  15. mooster1223

    mooster1223 Member

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    It's dependent on temperature. Roughly 1130 fps at 70°F.

    http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator-speedsound.htm
     
  16. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    This is why long range blackpowder cartridge shooters (ie Sharps, etc.) keep their bullets to a velocity of around 1050 fps. They want to ensure that the bullet stays subsonic at any elevation under any air density. This ensures the bullet will not cross the transonic barrier, so no buffeting occurs to spoil accuracy.

    There is nothing wrong with supersonic bullets for accuracy, provided they stay supersonic up to the point where they hit the target. It's only when a bullet crosses the transonic barrier does it start having a problem with buffeting that opens groups up.
     
  17. mooster1223

    mooster1223 Member

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    Some bullets transition the barrier fine, while others, do not. If you are planning to shoot distances where you're intended target is far enough that the bullet goes through the transonic barrier, you need to do testing specifically for that. But, that's another discussion away from suppressors.
     
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