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Old September 30, 2014, 03:10 AM   #1
Arizona_Mike
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Is "potato gun" really slang for an illegal silencer?

Now that Homeland Security and the Coast Guard have settled with reporter Audrey Hudson and the Washington Times, I am curious about the original warrant targeting Hudson's husband used as the pretext for seizing her notes from her investigation on the Federal Air Marshal program. Does the government claim that "potato gun" is code for an illegal silencer hold any water at all? Has anyone heard of a silencer legal or otherwise being referred to as a potato gun?

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If it involves guns or paracord it does not count as macramé.
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Old September 30, 2014, 08:06 AM   #2
pjeski
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A quick run with the Google shows that, while there were references to using potatoes as silencers, the vast majority of hits were for actual potato guns. The ones made of PLC that shoot potatoes. I did not find "potato gun" referring to an illegal silencer for a regular gun at all.

Then there's this:
http://www.advancedspuds.com/silencer.htm
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Old September 30, 2014, 09:15 AM   #3
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Yeah, I have never heard of a potato gun as referring to a silencer, illegal or otherwise. We have fabricated potato guns for potatoes, however.
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Old September 30, 2014, 09:37 AM   #4
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Let's just start using potato gun as slang for something else. For instance the LEO's in this story seem to be real potato guns.
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Old September 30, 2014, 09:40 AM   #5
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I guess slang can be whatever we want it to be. "Phat" is good. "Bad" is good.

We have made potato guns for years. PVC and potatoes.
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Old September 30, 2014, 10:10 AM   #6
25cschaefer
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This is from the ATF FAQ section:

Q: How do I obtain a classification from ATF for my “potato gun?”
Any person desiring a classification of a “potato gun,” “spud gun” or similar device must submit a written request (not e-mail) to the Director and include a complete and accurate description of the device, the name and address of the manufacturer or importer, the purpose for which it is intended, and such photographs, diagrams, or drawings as may be necessary to make a classification. A final determination may require physical examination of the device. Such requests for classification should be submitted to: Bureau of ATF, Firearms Technology Branch.

Here is a link to an actual "approval" letter, it appears that it depends on the ammo; potato-good fun, flaming tennis ball-destructive device (you terrorist!):

http://ultimatespudgun.com/images/ATF%20letter.pdf

Potato guns are not illegal in most places.
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Old September 30, 2014, 10:29 AM   #7
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As I know it, potato gun refers to a PVC contraption that shoots spuds using hairspray.
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Old September 30, 2014, 12:19 PM   #8
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There was a movie called South Central. Where the lead actor used a potato on the end of a revolver to shoot someone. Im sure the were a few people who saw this and thought it was a good idea to place an obstruction on their gun. I know this is the movies but it may be where the term in regards to silencers orginated.
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Old September 30, 2014, 02:01 PM   #9
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I've only heard it in reference to the PVC contraptions that shoot potatoes using hair spray.

They can be pretty impressive.
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Old September 30, 2014, 02:28 PM   #10
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Maybe we can call it a "Two liter bottle gun". Plenty of things can "silence" a weapon.
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Old September 30, 2014, 02:43 PM   #11
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There are also shoots that involve anvils and pumpkins.

It'd be iteresting just how THE Government would define those contraptions.

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Old September 30, 2014, 10:44 PM   #12
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If you got hit in the head with a pumpkin you might consider it a destructive device. Just saying.....
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Old October 1, 2014, 12:54 AM   #13
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But was the pumkin 'designed' to be destructive?
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Old October 1, 2014, 08:42 AM   #14
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Quote:
There are also shoots that involve anvils and pumpkins.

It'd be iteresting just how THE Government would define those contraptions.
My bowling ball cannon is pneumatic.

This is 44 lbs worth of them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9sPuZkwiJY
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Old October 1, 2014, 08:57 AM   #15
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I am completely confused. Completely.

We used to duct tape soda cans together, poke a hole at the closed end, and launch tennis balls with some lighter fluid. Is this a gun? is this a device?

Or is it just some 12 year old kids killing a summer afternoon. I mean... geez, gimme a break. We adults sure can ruin a perfectly fine thing (ever watch some kids play baseball in a park or vs. little league).

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Old October 1, 2014, 10:02 AM   #16
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I shudder at the thought of getting hit by a potato!
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Old October 1, 2014, 10:04 AM   #17
25cschaefer
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frgood, by the ATFs definition, if they were on fire, that would be a destructive device. Same category as grenade launchers and pipe bombs.
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Old October 1, 2014, 03:30 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkansas Paul View Post
I've only heard it in reference to the PVC contraptions that shoot potatoes using hair spray.

They can be pretty impressive.
Same here. If someone started talking to me about "potato guns" and he was actually referring to a suppressor of some sort, it would take me quite a while to catch on. And when I did, I'd think he was a moron.
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Old October 1, 2014, 03:35 PM   #19
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I guess no one has seen the Pneumatic Antenna Launcher? I wonder if it would shoot Potatoes?

http://www.antennalaunchers.com/antlaunching.html

"Are these Launchers Regulated? Aren't they Illegal??
Here in the US the Federal BATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) has ruled that pneumatic launchers are NOT firearms. Some Municipalities have regulations that may affect the use or ownership of Launchers. Such rules are not common, and the ones that do exist usually focus on combustion type launchers rather than pneumatics."


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Old October 1, 2014, 07:10 PM   #20
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Briefly, under federal law, a firearm is any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive.

So a potato gun (or tin can gun or anything like that) that uses compressed air to propel a projectile is not a firearm, but one that uses a powder or gas (hairspray?) that is an explosive would be.

If the projectile itself is explosive, and is propelled by compressed air, the gun would not be a firearm, but the projectile would be a destructive device if it employs more than 1/4 ounce of explosive.

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Old October 1, 2014, 09:29 PM   #21
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Jim K - propane & spark & spud isn't "fixed ammunition"

So, no, a spud launcher is not a "firearm" as defined by NFA34

I've made some nice home-made cannons myself. Propane and a coleman lantern lighter, plus an ability to clear out all the gasses from the last shot and get fresh air in for a proper stoichiometric mix are key.

And potatoes are for suckers, freeze water in some scraps of leftover barrel, wad with old dryer sheets or similar. Or use barrel material to make any number of properly-sized consistent projectiles that will shoot to a similar point of aim.

(yes, the ones I made were reasonably accurate, not just blind blasters)
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Old October 2, 2014, 01:31 AM   #22
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The potato guns I used to play with were minute of lawn chair at 50 yards, and would blow them to shreds.
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Old October 2, 2014, 07:40 AM   #23
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"I've made some nice home-made cannons myself. Propane and a coleman lantern lighter plus an ability to clear out all the gasses from the last shot and get fresh air in for a proper stoichiometric mix are key."


Absolutely... noting that the young test pilots here, being the geeks that they are, as well as being firearms nuts, built up a tennis ball cannon with one each of the disposable oxygen cylinders and disposable mapp gas cylinders used for the cheap two-gas welding kit strapped to the bottom of the barrel, with a homebuild PIC microprocesser controller opening and closing miniature solenoid valves to get the correct purge and fill cycle for the fuel/oxygen mix. They rammed the projectile, then hit the "arm" button. That opened a vent solenoid to atmosphere and then opened the oxygen solenoid for a purge and fill with 02, then the oxygen and vent solenoids closed and the propellent gas solenoid opened for a short period, then a red light came on marked "ready to fire". It was a remarkable accurate thing.

Anything worth doing is worth doing well.. ;-)

I probobly ought to note that this was an ajunct to their electric RC airplane "combat rules" air to air combat hobby, and formed the anti-aircraft ground defense network for the noonday sport of full contact air to air RC airplane clombat flying.


Nice tip on using ice as the projectile though. Low coefficient of friction, cheap, and repeatable. Well done! I'll pass it on.


Willie

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Old October 2, 2014, 09:13 AM   #24
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Quote:
And potatoes are for suckers, freeze water in some scraps of leftover barrel, wad with old dryer sheets or similar.
Oxy/act will fire a range (solid) golf ball more than a 1/4 mile. DO NOT try it with a PVC launcher, actually just don't try it at all.
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Old October 2, 2014, 04:47 PM   #25
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Those tennis ball launchers look like a lot of good clean fun.

Mike
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If it involves guns or paracord it does not count as macramé.
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