Silencer. Why Not?


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DaveP (UK)
January 17, 2013, 04:02 PM
There are times when a chap has no option but to go public with his ignorance. This is one of those times...
I have both read and been told that silencers cannot be used with revolvers. I'm quite happy to believe it. But no one has ever told me why.
Could someone spell it out for me?

Perhaps I ought to add that I have no desire to fit a silencer to any gun - I enjoy a good BANG! as well as the next man. I'm just naturally curious :)

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Fryerpower
January 17, 2013, 04:06 PM
Someone who knows please come along and explain. I cannot think of a reason why it would not work.

Jim

rcmodel
January 17, 2013, 04:07 PM
Because there is a gap between the cylinder and the back of the barrel necessary to let the cylinder turn freely.

A tremendous amount of gas loss / flash / noise comes out of that gap before the bullet has made it to the muzzle where a silencer would be located.

http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTtIHRUzt-pvdiJW_V6C6wQBNMZH8Z0iDy_DmJwOrzXfLk7Kg3Icg

The Russians had a silenced Nagant revolver at one time.

But is uses a unique design with a long case and sliding cylinder that seals the gap before the round goes off.

rc

MrBorland
January 17, 2013, 04:07 PM
The gap between the front of the cylinder and the back of the barrel provides a 2nd avenue for hot gas to escape. In other platforms, there's only 1 route out (the muzzle), so all escaping gas can be routed through a silencer.

The Nagant revolver seals the cylinder gap when it fires, btw, so it can be silenced.

ATLDave
January 17, 2013, 04:08 PM
The gap, small as it it, between the front of the cylinder and the barrel (or, more precisely, the forcing cone) allows quite a bit of superheated, supersonic gas to escape. Silencers work by slowing gas escaping from the end of the barrel, but if a bunch of gas comes out the side of the gun, the silencer doesn't make the gun quiet. Make sense?

DaveP (UK)
January 17, 2013, 04:19 PM
Yes. That does make sense.
So its just because it wouldnt actually work properly?
I had wondered if there might be dangers associated with excessive gas escape between cylinder and forcing cone. I'm not sure why that might come about, as revolvers have been made with very long barrels... Well you see why questions have to be asked sometimes!
Thankyou!

brnmw
January 17, 2013, 04:24 PM
The Russians had a silenced Nagant revolver at one time.

But is uses a unique design with a long case and sliding cylinder that seals the gap before the round goes off.

rc


^^^^^^^^ Right there.
I believe in very small numbers they were issued to Soviet assassins along with some in Vietnam (Viet Cong) from what I have heard > but don't know if that is true.
Cool revolver I love mine, I don't have one "Silenced" though.

adelbridge
January 17, 2013, 04:34 PM
aside from b/c gap
most revolver barrels dont lend themselves to threading due to front sights, underlugs etc

HoosierQ
January 17, 2013, 04:50 PM
You could actually put a silencer on a revolver but it would cut down on little or no noise because of the aforementioned cylinder gap. Most suppressed firearms are semi-auto or even full-auto. However with those, you do get the sound of the cycling action. Imagine cycling the action on your M1 or your AR or your 1911 pistol manually. "KER CHUNK!!!". It is not deafening but it is certainly audible. For near-to-silent operation, I think some special forces type units have special firearms that are locked breach on demand...a semi-auto with a lock...or are bolt action. Then the only mechanical sound would be the hammer striking the firing pin.

So silencers on any gun aren't silent. Thus they're called sound suppressors which more acurately describes their function to attenuate the blast from the muzzle.

Dnaltrop
January 17, 2013, 04:50 PM
I think the piston-cartridges that contain the pressure within weren't unique to the Nagant.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PSS_Silent_Pistol

The Nagant can be suppressed by virtue of the sealing cylinder design, and threading the barrel appropriately as this fellow has done. Only revolver I can think of that eliminates the gap.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvF4yurWSc0

rcmodel
January 17, 2013, 04:59 PM
The Nagant doesn't use a piston cartridge.

It uses a long case and a sliding cylinder to seal the gap.

But it fires a conventional bullet that is enclosed inside the case until firing.

The PSS works on an entirely different principal.
The piston in the cartridge seals the cartridge after ejecting the bullet so there is no gas escape from the muzzle.

rc

BaltimoreBoy
January 17, 2013, 07:03 PM
Yes. That does make sense.
I had wondered if there might be dangers associated with excessive gas escape between cylinder and forcing cone.


Actually DaveP, there is a danger associated with even the regular gas escape between cylinder and forcing cone. I have seen one fool hold his hand near that gap when firing (don't ask me why, I have no idea) and get a pretty severe cut from the expanding gases.

Magnumite
January 17, 2013, 07:32 PM
Many competitive shooters using revolvers and a hold which places the support hand next to the barrel/cylinder gap wear a glove on that hand to prevent injury. And that is on tuned, tight revolvers. You only need to be stung once to appreciate it.

SharpsDressedMan
January 17, 2013, 07:41 PM
Not only all that has been mentioned above, but also a suppressor often retards a lot of gas pressure (in semi auto blowback weapons, this gas increases blowback at the ejection area, increasing blast and noise there) and would also increase pressure and gas at the cylinder gap, creating increased danger of burn, blast, or even possible structure damage to the revolver in that area (flame cutting, etc).

strange246
January 17, 2013, 07:54 PM
Has anyone here tried it? Gotta wonder if its hearsay saying it wont work? Love to see a video of someone trying it...

MrBorland
January 17, 2013, 08:00 PM
Many competitive shooters using revolvers and a hold which places the support hand next to the barrel/cylinder gap wear a glove on that hand to prevent injury. And that is on tuned, tight revolvers.

The thumbs forward pistol grip is popular among competitive wheelgunners, but I've personally never seen a glove used. Really, hot gas can become an issue with magnums, but it's no biggie with standard pressure ammo such as .38spl (or even +P) and .45acp. As you can see below, the gases don't really get that close to where the thumb rests.

http://i415.photobucket.com/albums/pp239/becke016/GunsTargets/TomIDPA2012Worlds.jpg

http://i415.photobucket.com/albums/pp239/becke016/GunsTargets/IDPAindoorNats2012-4.jpg

Dave T
January 17, 2013, 09:33 PM
I shoot 38/44s loaded with 2400 (in 38 Special cases) with that thumb forward grip. The end of my left hand thumb has gotten dirty but I've never felt a single instance of pain or discomfort in over a thousand rounds of this load. The claim that the gases escaping from the barrel/cylinder gap will cause injury are greatly exaggerated in my experience.

Now if the revolver's timing is off and it "spits", i.e. particles of bullet shaved off by mis-alignment with the forcing cone, then you could indeed get a nasty wound. But the solution isn't changing your grip...get the gun fixed!

Dave

Jaymo
January 17, 2013, 09:59 PM
I saw a silenced Smith and Wesson revolver, in a magazine, years ago. The silencer came back, over the frame, and encapsulated the cylinder.

Sheepdog1968
January 17, 2013, 10:33 PM
Mythbusters did an episode demonstrating just this. Comment in relation to hot gases from fat could your finger if held Wong.

rondog
January 17, 2013, 10:51 PM
Has anyone here tried it? Gotta wonder if its hearsay saying it wont work? Love to see a video of someone trying it...

See the YouTube video in post #10? Suppressed Nagant revolver. Actually pretty quiet, but not exactly a powerhouse to begin with.

And FWIW, there were some VERY gory photos on the 'net a few years ago about a guy that fired some big revolver like a .460 or .500, and had his left thumb in the "blast zone" near the front of the cylinder. It was a horrible injury, not much left of his thumb. You gotta respect the front of any revolver cylinder.

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/guns/gun%20injuries/revolverblast.png

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/guns/gun%20injuries/Thumb6.jpg

silicosys4
January 18, 2013, 01:22 AM
This was one of the closest thing to a totally silenced firearm. You could distinctly hear the firing pin hit the primer, it was inaudible past 50 yards, and was used with a velvet lined shell catcher.

blahpony
January 18, 2013, 08:01 AM
Once again Hickok45 comes to the rescue. He explains and demonstrates the gas pressure coming out of the cylinder.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFBAcz16GvU

brnmw
January 18, 2013, 08:34 AM
Reed Knight successfully suppressed a Smith revolver, but I don't know how he did it?

Because he is "Superman!" :D

U-235
January 18, 2013, 08:39 AM
Here is a link to an article about a fully suppressed S&W revolver built for German SWAT teams. It includes a device that surrounds the cylinder to help silence the gases released from the cylinder gap.

http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2009/03/03/sw-625-fully-suppressed-revolver/

MrBorland
January 18, 2013, 09:06 AM
Once again Hickok45 comes to the rescue. He explains and demonstrates the gas pressure coming out of the cylinder.

Well, gee, thank The Lord that Hickok45 cleared all this up, and once again saved us from ourselves! :rolleyes:

Look, folks, as I wrote - yes, the pressure can do damage with magnum-power rounds (anyone notice Hickok45 chose a .44mag for his demo?), but as I, DaveT, and many others find it's not a problem with standard-power ammo. My thumb doesn't even get dark from residue, let alone damaged.

I suppose there's nothing wrong with adopting a universal thumbs-down grip, but internet hysteria and/or ignorance is misguided, IMO, when it suggests that a thumbs-forward revo grip is always and categorically wrong because your thumb will get blown off. One is better off getting the whole story, then deciding for themselves which grip to adopt given their situation.

Gordon
January 18, 2013, 10:43 AM
Actually S&W made a few of M-29 snub revolvers that were silent for use in Viet Nam tunnel complexes. I have seen one and the telescopic cartridge that made it possible. The gases were completely contained in a aluminum (I think) multifolded case which retracted after pushing the bullet , somehow and letting the gases out slowly. I guess that M-29 had some unique throat! :confused:
The "word" was it didn't work well and had less power than a .45 .:rolleyes:
http://www.barthworks.com/military/guns/guns&wtunnelgun.htm

rondog
January 18, 2013, 03:25 PM
and was used with a velvet lined shell catcher.

Where did you hear that? It's a bolt-action combat weapon, used mainly at night for taking out sentries. Presumably in areas with vegetation for concealment. A .45 casing hitting the grass isn't likely to make a noise. What on earth would you need a velvet-lined shell catcher for with a Delisle? Maybe a piece of velvet to cover the action to deaden the noise of operating the bolt......if you just couldn't figure out how to do that quietly......

rondog
January 18, 2013, 03:40 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by blahpony
Once again Hickok45 comes to the rescue. He explains and demonstrates the gas pressure coming out of the cylinder.

Well, gee, thank The Lord that Hickok45 cleared all this up, and once again saved us from ourselves!

Look, folks, as I wrote - yes, the pressure can do damage with magnum-power rounds (anyone notice Hickok45 chose a .44mag for his demo?), but as I, DaveT, and many others find it's not a problem with standard-power ammo. My thumb doesn't even get dark from residue, let alone damaged.

I suppose there's nothing wrong with adopting a universal thumbs-down grip, but internet hysteria and/or ignorance is misguided, IMO, when it suggests that a thumbs-forward revo grip is always and categorically wrong because your thumb will get blown off. One is better off getting the whole story, then deciding for themselves which grip to adopt given their situation.

Nothing wrong with a thumb-forward grip, it's quite natural. Just gotta be mindful of the danger zone up near the top of the cylinder where the firing chamber and forcing cone are, and respect that area. Just keep your thumb away from there, and All is good.

But PLEASE warn new shooters about it! They're the people we really need to be concerned with. You may have fired revolvers for years and know this as second nature, but how would you feel if you let a friend shoot your .44 magnum that DIDN'T know about this danger, and got seriously hurt because you didn't tell him to "hey, keep your thumb away from this area here". Not everybody just knows things like this.

Same with a left-hand shooter firing an M1 Garand or M1 Carbine for the first time. If they get their thumb in the way of that oprod when it slams back, it's gonna hurt. Look at this photo of my grandson shooting my M1. I didn't notice his thumb until I made this still image from the video, and it scared me to death. That oprod would have destroyed his little thumb if it hit it.

http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b150/rinselman/guns/misc%20shooting/200810051650002.jpg

Yes, we're drifting away from the original topic of suppressing a revolver....but gun safety is ALWAYS an appropriate topic. Sue me.

MrBorland
January 18, 2013, 04:13 PM
But PLEASE warn new shooters about it! They're the people we really need to be concerned with. You may have fired revolvers for years and know this as second nature, but how would you feel if you let a friend shoot your .44 magnum that DIDN'T know about this danger, and got seriously hurt because you didn't tell him to "hey, keep your thumb away from this area here".

By my count, this'll be the third time in this thread I've agreed that pressure can do damage. But "can" doesn't mean "will" or "always", and certainly doesn't mean I've been cavalier and put someone I've taken shooting in danger. As I stressed above, getting the whole story helps people make informed decisions.

FWIW, when working with a new shooter, I don't even mention the thumbs-forward grip, and specifically show them a thumbs-down grip, no matter the caliber involved. I do tell them about the gases, and if shooting magnums, I make it a point to emphasize it. I, myself, use a thumbs-down grip when shooting snubbies or magnum-powered ammo.

Nasty
January 18, 2013, 04:30 PM
Saw some of those...they had a sort of (Think of the old Jiffy Pop popcorn expandable foil top) envelope that was collapsed inside the cartridge but attached that when the propellant ignited, it expanded rapidly but stayed attached and stayed shorter than the cylinder. The envelope would expand rapidly, pushing the projectile in front of it. The projectile would continue through the barrel without the expanding gasses behind it, thus losing velocity on it's trip thru the barrel and then of course more when it actually traveled to the target.

It wasn't a suppressed weapon so much as actually suppressed ammunition.

splithoof
January 18, 2013, 11:20 PM
We saw an interesting case where a disgruntled ex-boyfriend cut a hole in a pumpkin large enough to put his fist through while holding a Ruger SP101 and tried some contact-range firing into his former lover's new car (he was also drunk); the neighbors did not hear much noise, but caught him when he tried to use the sunroof of the same vehicle as a bathroom.

Auto426
January 18, 2013, 11:39 PM
Back to the original topic, as the other's have said the cylinder gap puts a stop to suppressing a normal revolver. There have been some very cleaver attempts to engineer around this though. The guys at Knight's Armament once created a silenced carbine using a Ruger Super Redhawk revolver:

http://i.imgur.com/oo067.jpg

If I recall they used some sort of special ammunition that would seal the cylinder gap when fired.

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