silencers on revolvers

I've read here that silencers are not compatible with revolvers. The question of why that might be so has bugged me since I read it.
Why is that so? Does it have something to do with clearance between cylinder (chamber) and barrel?
How about rifles that are not gas-actuated semiautos, i.e. bolt, lever or pump actions? Perhaps it's not feasible to effectively suppress the report of a rifle with supersonic muzzle velocity, which (I think) includes most modern centerfire rifles.
I certainly have no need or desire for a silencer, but I'm curious.
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Yup, that's exactly what it has to do with. Remember that all sound is simply pressure waves in an environmental medium (like air). The purpose of a supressor (the correct term for a "silencer") is to take the high-pressure, high-velocity gases at the muzzle (that are created by the buring cartridge propellant), and simultaneiously reduce their pressure and speed in a controlled manner to minimize the creation of sound pressure waves in the air. It cannot do that if the burning gases are escaping to the atmosphere at the cylinder gap.

Any firearm with a completely enclosed chamber and barrel are good candidates for suppressing with regards to minimizing the report from the burning/expanding gases. Any manually actuated firearm will be inherently quieter than an automatic or semi-automatic for two reasons: you minimize the escaping of propellant gases; and you minimize the cycling sound from the action. For example, there are suppressed Ruger 10/22 rifles where the sound of the cycling semi-automatic action is louder than the muzzle report. So, if the action was not semi-automatic, then that rifle would be even quieter.
Yes, one does have to consider the sonic "crack" from supersonic velocity bullets. But even if you fire supersonic rounds, the suppressor has value. While won't be shooting silently, the benefits are:
1. The supersonic "crack" alone does not sound quite like a normal gun shot, so that might be confusing to some. 2. The supersonic crack is less localized, so it's more difficult to determine the location of the shooter. 3. Sound volume decreases over distance in accordance with the inverse-square law. So any reduction of sound is beneficial when the listener is not nearby.
Regards, Michael
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wrote:

Thanks, Michael. All of what you said makes sense to me. I might quibble that inverse square law doesn't hold if there is significant near-ground temperature gradient resulting in acoustic refraction -- but that's a nit in this context. You certainly answered my question!
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D> >> I've read here that silencers are not compatible with revolvers. >> The question of why that might be so has bugged me since I read it. >> Why is that so? Does it have something to do with clearance between >> cylinder (chamber) and barrel?
D> Yup, that's exactly what it has to do with. Remember that all sound is D> simply pressure waves in an environmental medium (like air). The purpose of D> a supressor (the correct term for a "silencer") is to take the D> high-pressure, high-velocity gases at the muzzle (that are created by the D> buring cartridge propellant), and simultaneiously reduce their pressure and D> speed in a controlled manner to minimize the creation of sound pressure D> waves in the air. It cannot do that if the burning gases are escaping to the D> atmosphere at the cylinder gap.
Yes. One exception (there may be more) is the Nagant, which actually moves the cylinder forward before firing to close this gap, and has been fitted with silencers.
--
C++: The power, elegance and simplicity of a hand grenade.

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DeepDiver wrote:

Could you enclose the cylinder inside some type of shell the forced the gases to go out the barrel? (a custom built gun and not a modification) Would this cause the remaining rounds to cook off if the gases travelled all around the cylinder? Ken (who knows next to nothing about guns)
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It'd be a lot easier to just not use a design that is inherently difficult to silence.

No problem, and actually the Russian Nagant revolver does somewhat what you describe, only by using the cartridge case itself to make the seal.
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http://www.buymilsurp.com/pictorials/m1895pictorial.html
http://guns.connect.fi/rs/linx.html
http://users.skynet.be/HL-Editions/index.html
"Pax Americana is a philosophy. Hardly an empire. Making sure other people play nice and dont kill each other (and us) off in job lots is hardly empire building, particularly when you give them self determination under "play nice" rules.
Think of it as having your older brother knock the shit out of you for torturing the cat." Gunner
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wrote:

That was probably me.

Yup, the gap right there lets out a hella-big blast of gas, so even if you muffle the muzzle blast, you've still got an un-silenced blast to hear. Fire a revolver in a dark range and you can see how dramatic it is. Some, of course, are looser and worse than others, but there has to be a several to many thousandths gap or the thing won't turn...especially once it gets a bit dirty...

No other path for the expanding gas to leave but the muzzle, so no problem. Semi-autos don't open until the bullet has already left, so generally speaking there is very little pressure in the case when the mechanism opens to eject it, so that's also not a problem.

You can mute the muzzle blast, but the sonic boom is still there. Subsonic loads would be needed, and getting an accurate one that's subsonic is something I've never experimented with (not wanting to shell out 2 bills for a license to buy a silencer).

Same here. It's one of those toys that seems like more trouble and cost than it's worth, but being a scientific type person I can't help but want to learn about.
Dave Hinz
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Dave Hinz wrote:

Dave, Should you ever decide to indulge your curiosity start with a CAR-15. You can build a good suppressor cheaply and subsonic rounds are easy to load or just purchase and even if you don't the thing will be very quiet. The sound is also difficult to recognize if you haven't heard it before but it will really get your attention if you have.
--
John R. Carroll
Machining Solution Software, Inc.
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On Wed, 21 Sep 2005 14:50:40 GMT, John R. Carroll

(thinks)... Oddly, enough, I don't have one of those. I wonder how that happened? Pretty sure it's because I like a nice walnut stock, and for reasons I don't understand, I haven't seen anyone sell those for the AR. Maybe that's a market?

I'd have to check with the people in the ATF and my local SO before I'd consider rolling my own silencer. They're not complex, but I'd need to make sure everything is cool before I did anything resembling that.
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Dave Hinz wrote:

LOL
I think you would find the process a little onerous but I could be wrong. I just don't know your tolerance level for whatever bureaucratic falderal is involved to make any pronouncement. I am sure you would have to jump through hoops. I can tell you that in California that you would likely do a stretch if you were caught fooling around like this, especially since 9/11. Even a first offense as an interested hobbiest. I can't remember the law exactly but I think it's ten years at the state level and the Feds would no doubt pile on. Nothing I have any interest in as a civilian and the days when I would fool around with this stuff under arms are long over. YMMV.
--
John R. Carroll
Machining Solution Software, Inc.
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Dave Hinz wrote:

I have a customer in the NE that makes gun stocks. I'll see if they make anything. If not, and you want to aquire a custom, we might be able to make that happen. I am looking at the Linux thing BTW. Weber is already their but I haven't looked over their product and besides them there isn't much else. I will keeo you posted. A couple of very interesting stories to tell already. This is getting more consideration than I would have thought.

This once I'll let you speak for me Dave :>) You are exactly right.

I made a titanium frame and carbon fiber slide with inserts for my DE 50. Colt would be proud. The 50 cal is nice but heavy. I cut the weight and changed the balance nicely. Even built in a brake that works. You wouldn't believe the shit I had to go through to do it. Good thing I have a couple of Mfgrs as customers. I would not have done it otherwise. The paper was as much work as the machining. I'd guess it's a ten thousand dollar piece at this point.
--
John R. Carroll
Machining Solution Software, Inc.
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Thu, 22 Sep 2005 07:10:58 GMT in rec.crafts.metalworking :

    The caveat is that you may do this as long as your construction is not going to interfere with Interstate Commerce. Specifically, the guy was barred from the legal purchase of a machine gun, so he was not "interfering with interstate trade" by making one.     Of course, California had a few problems with the whole issue, but that was a different case.

--
pyotr filipivich.
as an explaination for the decline in the US's tech edge, James
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wrote:

Bob Swinney
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For the record, Bob wrote those last two lines, not me. Bob, please take care with your attributions. I have no interest in being associated with comments that could be construed as advocating building unlicensed, controlled devices. Thank you.
Dave Hinz
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google ".30 whisper"
"Pax Americana is a philosophy. Hardly an empire. Making sure other people play nice and dont kill each other (and us) off in job lots is hardly empire building, particularly when you give them self determination under "play nice" rules.
Think of it as having your older brother knock the shit out of you for torturing the cat." Gunner
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Dave Hinz wrote:

I used to have a match grade heavy barrel Remington .22, forget the exact model. I found this thing was almost silent shooting .22 standard velocity shorts. CB caps were even quiter.
I have some BB caps (.22 cal ball and primer, no powder) and these are quieter in my Winchester rifle than my .177 caliber pellet rifle.
You can shoot quietly at low cost. Finding low velocity shorts, CB and BB caps can be difficult though. The BB caps I have are Flobert-Patronen, made in Germany by Dynamil Nobel.
Jon
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On Wed, 21 Sep 2005 19:07:48 -0700, Jon Anderson

Cheaper Than Dirt has CB shorts, as well as primer only .22 shells that are very quiet. The box says pistol ammunition but I run these through my old .22 rifles. And Cabela's has .22 CB shorts on sale right now. I think. Anyway, I'm gonna order some from Cabela's because they have the best price I've ever seen on CB shorts. ERS
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Eric R Snow wrote:

I bought some of the Aquila CB caps, $1.99/bx at CTD. They snap like a cap gun. Shooting a railroad tie, the bullet stops flush with the surface.
I have tried them in 2 .22 automatic pistols, and an auto rifle (Marlin 60). They would not cycle the action in any of them. So I bought a cheap Heritage Arms revolver, and that looks like the ticket for cheap backyard taget shooting.
Rex B
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Eric R Snow wrote:

Thanks for that info Eric! I've always bought ammo locally, and stuff like this is hard to find around here.
Jon
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