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#1
Old 05-26-2014, 06:17 PM
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Feasibility of silencer in movie Shooter

Hello Everyone,

Last night I watched a movie starting Mark Walenberg (I think that's his name) called Shooter. I found the movie interesting and it was an enjoyable thriller. During one scene he makes a makeshift silencer for his rifle using socks and a 20oz plastic soda bottle. When he fires the weapon it completely mask the sound and the rifle made the typical movie "pfft" sound.

Unfortunately the movie always get silencers/suppressors wrong. Even the best ones don't make a firearm silent, they at best reduce the sound from loud bang to a not quite so loud bang. About the only weapon you can make nearly silent is a suppressed pistol or rifle firing .22 shorts. I have a Walter P22 pistol that sholots .22 long rifle and it comes from the factory with a threaded barrel to accept a suppressor. I have fired one with a suppressor on it and while it was considerably less loud than one without, it was by no means a quite pfft. And of course the super sonic crack was clearly audible. I think I read an article once that (and this is from memory) that an unsuppressed P22 produces 179db and the supposed version produced somewhere in the neighborhood of 140db. A big difference for sure. but certainly no pffft.

So, the question is, can a person make an improvised silencer from a plastic sofa can and socks that would be effective in reducing the report from a high offered rifle? I would think in theory it might work, but I can't see how.
#2
Old 05-26-2014, 06:29 PM
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It was a Cooey Model 600 which may, or may not, be able to chamber .22 short, .22 long and .22 long rifle.

CMC fnord!
#3
Old 05-26-2014, 07:15 PM
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A rifle round (let's say the 5.56mm NATO as minimum) produces at least 35,000 PSI (proofed to 58,000 PSI.) That's at the chamber mouth. At the muzzle, it would have dropped off but still likely to blow off anything made of light plastic and fabric. Strong baffles made of sheet steel will work, in a stainless steel tube. Compressed copper wool, semi-welded to eliminate loose strands, will also work.
#4
Old 05-26-2014, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crowmanyclouds View Post
It was a Cooey Model 600 which may, or may not, be able to chamber .22 short, .22 long and .22 long rifle.[/COLOR][/SIZE]
That's true of many tubular magzine .22s, along with tubular rifles that can shoot e.g. .357 and/or .38.

OP: yes, a bottle has been used to some effectiveness. It can only be used for a few shots. I hope that the "silencer" mentioned in OP was legally owned, as that is a PMITA prison sentence, as is going Wahlberg. I don't know how effective it is vs. regular suppressors.

See also, the Econo-Can, which instead uses an oil filter. You need to buy the adapter NFA, and must mail it back to them to replace the can. It should last a couple hundred rounds.
#5
Old 05-26-2014, 08:26 PM
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I have personally seen a 9mm Parabellum pistol with a threaded silencer which was quiet enough (with 147 gr subsonic rounds) that the sound of the slide racking could be distinctly heard over the muzzle blast. I have also seen an integrally silenced Ruger Mark II in which you could hear the firing pin striking the case as the report was no louder than a mild cough. In both cases, the suppressor was approximately the size of two Red Bull-sized cans end to end (i.e. significantly larger than most of the supposed silencers you see in film and television).

The soda bottle filled with wool or with water in the bottom and taped to the barrel is an old stock and trade, but the actual reduction in sounds is not impressive, especially since the muzzle blast will pretty much blow out the end of the bottle in the first shot. You would not want to fill it with socks for two reasons; for one, passing through a foot or more or tightly woven textile would slow and divert the bullet, so you would not get an accurate or stable shot. Generally speaking silencers degrade accuracy due to unequal forces on the bullet through the baffles and at the end wipe, although professionally designed silencers can minimize this. The other is that it would almost certainly catch fire from the unburnt powder.

In general, improvised silencers are not very effective, and frankly unnecessary (and also highly illegal without the NFA stamp even in locales where silencers can be legally owned). The main use for suppressors is not to commit crimes without being heard, but rather to reduce the sound in order to protect the hearing of the operator or conceal their location. In some European countries, silencers are used and even mandated for hunting so as to reduce the noise pollution.

Stranger
#6
Old 05-26-2014, 09:39 PM
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Wahlberg's character in the film is a murder suspect killing off rogue FBI agents who framed him, so he's probably not all that concerned with NFA compliance.
#7
Old 05-26-2014, 10:01 PM
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https://youtube.com/watch?v=haiqFcIXTqs

That video has silencers made out of oil filters. They seem pretty quiet. If you used something like that with subsonic ammo it would probably be fairly quiet. I would guess, if those videos are accurate, that that sound is around 90dB.

However a rifle with supersonic ammo would not be nearly that quiet though.

Last edited by Wesley Clark; 05-26-2014 at 10:02 PM.
#8
Old 05-27-2014, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thelurkinghorror View Post
That's true of many tubular magzine .22s, along with tubular rifles that can shoot e.g. .357 and/or .38.

OP: yes, a bottle has been used to some effectiveness. It can only be used for a few shots. I hope that the "silencer" mentioned in OP was legally owned, as that is a PMITA prison sentence, as is going Wahlberg. I don't know how effective it is vs. regular suppressors.

See also, the Econo-Can, which instead uses an oil filter. You need to buy the adapter NFA, and must mail it back to them to replace the can. It should last a couple hundred rounds.
Yes, the silencer is legal. Its not mine, but my buddy has the proper license and had paid the $200 fee to have one. Owning a suppressor isn't really difficult. Pass the background check and pay the associated fees and anyone can own one. If you shoot a lot its a very nice accessory to own. A lot more convenient than hearing protection.
#9
Old 05-27-2014, 10:13 AM
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Slight hijack, but if you liked the movie, read the book: Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter. MUCH better than the movie.
#10
Old 05-27-2014, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obbn View Post
Yes, the silencer is legal. Its not mine, but my buddy has the proper license and had paid the $200 fee to have one. Owning a suppressor isn't really difficult. Pass the background check and pay the associated fees and anyone can own one. If you shoot a lot its a very nice accessory to own. A lot more convenient than hearing protection.
This is correct, but state or local laws may present additional obstacles. Some states prohibit their possession while others impose additional restrictions such as having a FFL.
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Last edited by GaryM; 05-27-2014 at 10:21 AM.
#11
Old 05-27-2014, 09:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesley Clark View Post
if those videos are accurate, that that sound is around 90dB.
Don't I wish! I have the quietest .22 suppressor there is, the AAC Element.
On a pistol, it registers 114 to 115 db with subsonic .22LR or .22 CB or shorts.
Here's Jr. playing around... Notice the bullet impact is louder than the gun.

The quietest rifle I have is a 300 Blackout with a Leonidas integral suppressor. It registers 118db, while the sound of the action alone is 121db.

Nothing comes close to a purpose-engineered suppressor. I've seen videos of idiots and their homemade projects; virtually no suppression, and PMITA prison is guaranteed if you get caught. AND a 250K fine.


No thank you.
#12
Old 05-28-2014, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mind's Eye, Watering View Post
Slight hijack, but if you liked the movie, read the book: Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter. MUCH better than the movie.
I agree. I read the book before the movie and the book was much better. That's true at least 90 percent of the time, of course.
#13
Old 05-28-2014, 04:29 PM
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People got the wrong idea about "silencers" from watching The Man From UNCLE with "silencers" the size of champagne corks on the end of short barreled Walther P-38s.
#14
Old 05-29-2014, 12:19 PM
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Hijack, kinda, it's about those silent, Soviet-era, pistols they made.

25M range or so, but, very stealthy. I think one was powered by compressed springs and is only effective and near point-blank?
#15
Old 05-29-2014, 06:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electronbee View Post
Hijack, kinda, it's about those silent, Soviet-era, pistols they made.

25M range or so, but, very stealthy. I think one was powered by compressed springs and is only effective and near point-blank?
Article on the PSS, with evaluation of the unique SP-4 ammunition. They didn't mention any that were spring powered, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear that some existed. Anyway, per the article, each SP-4 cartridge is considered by BATFE to be a silencer/suppressor, and would presumably require its own tax stamp. Article summary:
Quote:
Its suppressed sound pressure level of 124.d dB is in the vicinity of a suppressed .22 rimfire pistol and would definitely qualify as “Hollywood Quiet.” With a muzzle velocity of 621 feet/second and a 155-grain projectile, the kinetic energy of 133 foot-pounds is definitely lethal.
You find much higher db readings in modern testing of older weapons such as the PSS, Welrod, and De Lisle Carbine,, than the figures cited in their wikipedia articles, due to the testing protocols being changed. I would have thought the PSS would be quieter, but it's still very impressive for a pistol that small and with that kind of KE.

The Welrod was tested according to modern firearms sound measurement protocols, and a model in good, refurbished condition yielded an average sound level of 122.8 db. This was a sound reduction of 34.2 db from that of an unsuppressed, comparable 7.65 mm pistol. A comparable pistol was used as there were no unsuppressed Welrods made.

Finally, the other firearm I'd think of when thinking of quiet classical firearms, the De Lisle Carbine, had a modern reproduction tested, (.Pdf) with an average sound reading of 119 db. In all of the cited articles, the authors all commented on how quiet each of these firearms were when fired.

All of these firearms shoot a subsonic bullet. Sound levels for rifles firing supersonic bullets are much louder. ~140db, according to this review of the AAC M4-2000. Still way quieter than an unsuppressed 5.56 AR-15.

Last edited by Gray Ghost; 05-29-2014 at 06:48 PM.
#16
Old 05-29-2014, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Orwell View Post
I agree. I read the book before the movie and the book was much better. That's true at least 90 percent of the time, of course.
Another rec for the book, though the Bob Lee Swagger series got pretty outrageous before switching to his kids. I think the books specifically mention how ineffective most silencers are, as they're pretty fetishistic about guns.
#17
Old 05-31-2014, 09:45 PM
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Stephen Hunter, author of the Bob Lee books, is often a commentator on gun shows. He should be able to write well about guns and such.
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#18
Old 06-01-2014, 09:26 PM
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FWIW, I remember reading an article many years ago about the army (or somebody) having developed a weapon that was completely silent with no flash. It was a system that kept balls spinning in some kind of roundabout mechanism, going very fast, and when you fire, it releases the balls out of a sluice so they could go out and hit the target. It would fire in volleys of a few ball bearings. Apparently the challenge was dealing with the timing of the opening of the sluice. And obviously after firing new balls are loaded and spin up.

and so with firing the gun made almost no noise and no flash. There would be a sound the whole time, though, of course, since it's always spinning, but just a reasonable machine noise, nothing people would identify as a gun. And apparently the balls would go very fast; obviously not as fast as bullets, but I remember reading the numbers and being impressed and thinking that with a bunch of balls, you're ultimately imparting a shitload more momentum into the target than a normal bullet

Haven't been able to find a link to the article, though
#19
Old 06-02-2014, 09:03 AM
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I have an old BB gun that is a machine pistol. Back in the day, you'd get a can of Freon for 79 cents, attach the adapter, and presto, full-auto BBs!

It also came with an adapter for an air hose. Hooking it up to my compressor and giving it about 70psi will chew up cars, windshields, metal buckets, you name it.

It's just a toy, but I could see machining a proper weapon, run a couple hundred psi in it, and use larger ammo. With a large compressor and a supply of bearings, one could conceivably keep heads down out to 100 yards all day long! Minigun performance that sounds like an air leak!
#20
Old 06-02-2014, 09:27 AM
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It also worked for self-defense. I remember reading a story about some woman who grabbed her son's Freon-powered BB gun to hose down a guy breaking in her house. The miscreant saved his sight by throwing his arms in front of his eyes, but it took the doctors in the ER hours to remove all the BBs from his mangy carcass. Not a "one-shot" stop, but it worked.
#21
Old 06-02-2014, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by silenus View Post
it took the doctors in the ER hours to remove all the BBs from his mangy carcass.
How about just strapping him into an MRI machine? 1/2 a second, and we're done!
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