...And Now for Another Dumb Idea


October 16, 2006, 06:40 PM
What are the legalities/restrictions on suppressing a black powder firearm? :confused:

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October 16, 2006, 06:47 PM
Basically here is your problem. If you can make a supressor that CANNOT be used in ANYWAY to supress a firearm you would probably be legally ok. The rub is just about anything you create to attach could be used to suppress a firearm. Airguns have this problem in the U.S. Now if you were to create a permenantly attached suppressed barrel you should be in the clear since black powder does not fall under current firearm regulation (IANAL so obviously write the BATFE tech branch etc.)

Now all that aside most BP release quite a bit of sound from both the front and the back, do they not? Revolvers are out of the question. A rifle might work.


October 16, 2006, 06:57 PM
According to the GCA '68, most black powder firearms and their replicas are considered "non-firearms". The critical element seems to be related to the ability or lack thereof to fire "fixed" ammunition.

The critical element would be if the suppressor statutes and ALL related case law related to suppressors defined firearms the same way. \

Example: In the Texas Penal Code, a handgun is defined as a "firearm made or adapted to be fired with one hand." However, the definition of "firearm" excludes "antique" firearms and more or less copies the GCA '68 language.

Personally, I think the fouling attendant to black powder combustion would make a suppressor clog up pretty quick and render it ineffective. In addition, I would not want to spend a few weeks in jail while the Feds (aka BATmen) decided whether or not I broke the law. I would not want to bet my future on their kind understanding ways.

Loyalist Dave
October 16, 2006, 07:10 PM
In theory it's possible, but going to be a hassle. You'd have to remove the supressor to load the muzzleloader for every shot. You'd also have to be right on top of the game to get a good hit as you'll need to be subsonic, and you're going to need a scope or some sort of wierd sight arrangement, as a "can" on the end of a BP rifle will be huge due to high volume of smoke. The cap or the primer or what have you would still make a popping noise.

You might be able to put one on a Sharps caplock breech loader, or a Smith caplock carbine to avoid removal of the "can", and still not run afoul of the GCA '68, as both are "antiques" even if they are modern repros of BP breech loaders. BUT again the cap will pop when firing, and you'll need elevated sights.

Might be an cool "odd" toy.

Might be the solution for hunters thinning out deer in areas usually restricted against any hunting, like a suburban park area. You'd avoid the cost of the modern, suppressed rifle at least. In Maryland they higher "sharpshooters" with silenced rifles and shoot at night with NV scopes to avoid scaring the "soccer moms". The cap or primer noise may negate the advantage of the "can" and scare the deer, eh?


October 16, 2006, 08:13 PM
Problem is that the BATFE says that if it could possibly be used on a firearm, it's a suppressor. Airgun silencers, for the most part, are illegal here for this reason.

October 16, 2006, 10:32 PM
In order to prevent becoming Bubba's 'stress ball' for the next 10 years and forking over up to 250,000 in fines, it's best to do a Form 1, pay the $200 tax get ATF approval and then, only after you get approval, begin construction. The ATF has long ruled that airgun silencers, even those that should theoretically not function with a firearm are in fact suppressors and require an NFA tax stamp. In fact, tyo my knowledge, they have never once approved an airgun silencer design as not requiring a tax stamp.

On a practical level, I think this would be a costly, and relatively not well thought out endeavor. A muzzle loader would leave a lot of corrosive substances in the suppressor. Unless it was very easily detail stripable (read, entirely disassembled), the thing would probably be ruined in no time, since you would be leaving corrosive residue in the baffles, which would be not helpful.

Maybe the project would be better suited for one of those smokless savage ML"s or something...

October 16, 2006, 10:34 PM
You could put it on a Fergusion Rifle. Breech loading flintlock, no worries about the feds calling it a cartridge arm!

Livin in Texas

Dave Markowitz
October 16, 2006, 10:39 PM
The legalities have been covered here well.

Anecdotal evidence of why trying to suppress a BP arm isn't practical:

Years ago I heard from a couple of old timers who shot some black powder .22s through an old Maxim Silencer. They said it quieted the rifle but cleanup was a bear. The silencer had to be completely dissassmbled, cleaned, and reassembled.

October 17, 2006, 06:10 PM
Just curious - and maybe making a wrong assumption about why you want to surpress your BP firearm but -

Why "surpress" a firearm that advertises its' presence and use with notable clouds of smoke and ... er... "aroma" ??

Personally, I think Congress needs more surpression than legal firearms do anyway. :what: Local opinions may vary, of course.

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