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At what point does a well made barrel become a regulated suppressor?

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms and Accessories' started by parsimonious_instead, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. parsimonious_instead

    parsimonious_instead Well-Known Member

    I've seen some beautifully made heavy barrels added onto pistols like the Ruger MarkII, Mark III, etc.
    Perhaps it's my imagination, but it seems like thicker and longer barrels can cut down on noise.
    At what point would the ATF consider a replacement barrel a suppressor?
    If it has baffling of some sort, or does it go purely by decibel reduction?
  2. TurtlePhish

    TurtlePhish Well-Known Member

    If it has anything built-in to reduce sound. Long barrel =/= suppressor; I've never heard of anyone getting in trouble for having a long barrel. Some target .22 rifles even have "sight tube" extensions that extend the sight radius several inches past the muzzle via a hollow tube and they're not NFA items.

    The length of the barrel can, but the thickness has nothing to do with sound reduction. Also, to get the sound reduction of a suppressor, the barrel would have to be ridiculously long to get that kind of internal volume.
  3. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Well-Known Member

    The ATF defines a silencer as a muffler or a device designed and intended to suppress the sound of the gun being fired. Longer barrel, extension tube for target guns, etc will reduce muzzle blast, but the design intent is not muffling or suppressing the sound, so it does not fit the NFA (Title II) definition of a silencer.

    If the barrel has expansion chamber with baffles, wipes, wire mesh, or insulation (or even empty) intended to slow release of gas into the atmosphere for the purpose of reducing sound, then it becomes a suppressor subject to regulation as a NFA "firearm".
  4. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    FWIW, a barrel with holes of gradually increasing size drilled into the bottom and venting into a steel-wool filled hollow foreend has been ruled a silencer. It reportedly worked very well and was invisible from the outside.

  5. MasterSergeantA

    MasterSergeantA Well-Known Member

    I've had people ask about my heavy barreled Rugers from time to time. They do appear to be suppressed to some casual observers. But the definition of silencer is pretty strict. Colt had to designate the old 'moderators' on the XM177s as 'silencers' because they did such a good job of cutting down on the sound from the short barrel. And the folks importing GSG-5 rifles had to recall a bunch of them because ATF got worried that the hollow tube of the fake silncer that slipped over the barrel could be too easily converted to a real suppressor. So it is less the appearance and more the design that gets the ATF's attention.
  6. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Well-Known Member

    It is hard to tell the difference between a photo of a Ruger bull-barrel target pistol and a photo of a Ruger pistol with an integral silencer. You can tell the difference when they are shot!
  7. MasterSergeantA

    MasterSergeantA Well-Known Member

    Yup. Certainly can. :)
  8. kozak6

    kozak6 Well-Known Member

    Longer barrels can cut down on noise. Barrel thickness has no bearing on noise.

    If it's just a barrel, I don't think it can be classified a suppressor.

    One example is the Metro barrel extension for shotguns. It's a 32 inch barrel extension that threads into the choke tube threads at the end of a shotgun barrel, and is intended for the sole purpose of lowering the report.
  9. MasterSergeantA

    MasterSergeantA Well-Known Member

    Tactical Solutions also makes a 10/22 barrel the last several inches of which are a permanently installed, perforated tube. It brings the measureable length to the barrel to 16" while allowing a suppressor to be fitted inside the extension rather than adding to the length. Ingenious...and NOT a suppressor in and of itself.
  10. AussieMike

    AussieMike Member

    As a matter of interest, a 32ACP fired in a 26" barrel is very quiet and has a muzzle velocity of around 1,000fps. Years ago a gun writer (could have been John Taffin or Skeeter Skelton) wrote an article on very quiet loads for centrefires based around small case capacity, heavy for calibre cast bullets and longish barrels (24-28"). I tried a few different cast bullet loads in 9.3x74R and 303 British and they really were quiet.

    Someone used to make extension shotgun barrels which also greatly reduced noise; they totaled about 5 feet, if I remember correctly.

    If you have a 24" or longer 308Win, 30-06 or 303 rifle you should buy a couple of 32ACP adapters and give it a try. If you want a quiet rifle for pests in the back yard this will usually do the job at a very low cost.


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