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Quieter range shooting - "Silencer box" idea

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Fumbler, Dec 30, 2007.

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  1. Fumbler

    Fumbler Member

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    My girlfriend's parents recently bought a house on a long 12 acre tract. Most of it is wooded.
    My first reaction to the news that they were buying a house in the country was "heck yeah, I can shoot whenever I want!"
    However, after visiting the house I've realized there are houses somewhat close. Not too close to be unsafe to shoot, but close enough for my shooting to bug people.
    There is a safe shooting direction in the rear of the house where I can angle the shots towards a very large block of timber, so it is safe. I've personally limited myself to shooting rimfires and the occasional handgun.

    My issue is this: while shooting on this land is perfectly legal and safe, I want to be a good neighbor by trying to keep the sound down. I would like to continue shooting rimfires and the occasional handgun but want to make it even quieter.

    I've thought about building a box, maybe 2x2x4 ft out of plywood and scrap 2x4s.
    Inside the box I'd put in plywood baffles ever 8 inches or so.
    Also, I'd line the inside of the box with carpet.
    The ends of the box and the baffles will have holes cut into them approximately 6x8" in the center to allow muzzle/bullet clearance. Maybe the side closest to me will have slightly larger holes so I can hold the pistols inside the box.
    Hopefully I'll have a picnic table to put it on and I'd try to keep it small enough to move it into their basement for storage while I'm not using it.

    1. Do yall think it would help reduce the sound?
    2. Has anyone tried making a similar item?
    3. What design changes would anyone recommend?

    If no one's tried it then I'd take lots of pics of the progress and post some directions as well as post about the box's performance.
    Hopefully someone's had some experience and can share their ideas. I'd hate to put some money into building something that doesn't work.
     
  2. doc2rn

    doc2rn Member

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    Some say to practice shooting with the Colibri ammo, as it is super quiet.
     
  3. Zundfolge

    Zundfolge Member

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    I've seen similar setups by lashing together 3 or 4 old used tires and filling them with fiberglass insulation and hanging them from an old swingset frame.
     
  4. Jim M

    Jim M Member

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    In the May-June 1988 issue of Handloader Magazine (No. 133), Ken Waters had an article on “Building a Range Sound Reducer.” His sound baffle was built from 2" X 3" stringers and 1/2" plywood. It was a large box, set up in his indoor shooting range. If you can find access to that issue of Handloader Magazine, I suggest taking a look at that.

    Wolfe Publishing company sells DVDs of back issues one year at a time, as I recall.

    Jim M.
     
  5. Fumbler

    Fumbler Member

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    Thanks for the info. I'll see if I can find anything,

    Does that work?
    If that works then maybe my box will be better because the holes in the baffles will be smaller.

    Good idea, but two of my 3 rimfires are semiauto and Colibri won't cycle them.
    Also, if the box works then it'd allow me to shoot my handguns :)
     
  6. rust collector

    rust collector Member

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    This begs for a suppressor on your rimfire, but it gets a bit expensive for multiple guns and could creep out the GF's parents. Other options would be lining a plastic 55 gal drum with anechoic "finger-foam" such as is used in hardcases for guns and cameras.

    In fact, if you were fairly handy, you might craft a silencer box from a couple two-gun hardcases which have such foam inside. You'd have to make some brackets which would fasten them together in the open position, but you could then take them apart to store them or even to use them for their intended purpose.

    Another possibility is a roll end of cheap carpet or astro-turf, rolled inside out with a big enough opening inside to suit your purposes.

    I would feel better about it if you had a backstop that kids could not be playing in, such as a dirt berm or dugout, but I know you will take precautions to insure safety.
     
  7. Fumbler

    Fumbler Member

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    The site my girlfriend and I shoot at is slightly elevated, shooting into a very shallow valley, so it's very safe. I guess it's a natural berm with a large block of woods behind it. You can see anyone coming from any angle.

    Silencers would be very nice, but that's a $200 tax, cost of threading barrels, cost of the silencer, would only work on my 22s, and would really creep her parents out.:uhoh:
     
  8. spencerhut

    spencerhut Member

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    I've done this and while it does work, sort of, it's a pain in the ass. Once you set it up it's only good for sighting in rifles and chronograph use on all weapons.
    My box is 2x2x4 3/4 plywood with baffles every 6 - 8 inches filled with foam. It turns the initial hard crack into a low, loud rumbling boom. You still get the crack from the round breaking the sound barrier, if it's going that fast. Use glue and screws or any large cal rifle use will blow it apart.
     
  9. AirplaneDoc

    AirplaneDoc Member

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    If there are lots of trees, you might want to do a test first to see how loud the gunfire is at close by houses. Have someone head over there and someone take a single shot. In college I lived a couple of blocks from a railroad track, in the winter you could hear it pretty well outdoors, but in the summer, when leaves were out train was not at all noticable.

    You might be surprised what a few trees will do to deaden sound.

    Did you consider shooting back in the wooded area? Not as convient as shooting off the back porch, but it might be a lot better in Summer as you would be in a shaded area.
     
  10. ClarkEMyers

    ClarkEMyers Member

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    Gun Digest had at least one article on the same idea. Notice that shooting over carpeting will eventually give a serious fire hazard as unburned powder accumulates. Make it easy to clean and keep clean or as you see fit.
     
  11. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Member

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    I haven't built a "Silencer Box", so I can't help you with that but this is a concern.

    What is a large block of timber?
    You are totally responsible to make sure that no bullet leaves your property.
    I have ten acres of woods and I wouldn't think of trusting that all bullets would be stopped by the trees.
    Even if it were safe, the neighbors wouldn't think too much hearing bullets zinging through the woods.
    Build some kind of backstop that will positively stop anything you might shoot.

    I've had my range since 1967, so my neighbors moved in later.
    To my knowledge no one has ever said a thing about my shooting.

    I would suggest, if possible, that you talk to the close neighbors and head off any trouble before it starts.
    You might approach them with the idea that you don't want to disturb them unnecessarily with your shooting.
    You might say something like, if they sleep late you wouldn't shoot too early, etc.

    Chances are there may be people around there that are shooting.
    Around here I hear 4 or 5 people shooting.
     
  12. RKBABob

    RKBABob Member

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    WHOA! That sounds like a lot of work!

    How about this: Get your hands on an old garbage can. Cut out the bottom, and build a stand for it at the appropriate height. Next, get some fiberglass wool insulation (fire-resistant, you know) and glue it into the inside of the can. Viola!

    No, I haven't tried this... but I'd imagine it would work... and it would be much lighter to carry, and easier to make. Fiberglass is still cheap enough to throw out if unburned powder accumlates in it. (Wear your safety glasses, fiberglass may go flying!)

    Also, you might want to take your head out of it every couple of shots and look around your range to be safe.
     
  13. Slugless

    Slugless Member

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    It's surprising how sound travels according to weather, terrain, foliage, etc.

    I've talked to a couple neighbors about my shooting and have been surprised at what they've been annoyed at. Terrain esp. can channel & reflect sound quite dramatically.

    Arroyos can channel and seems to concentrate sound as the sound travels up them.

    A berm or valley sides can reflect sound back towards your neighbors living uphill.

    As part of my good neighbor policy I've been playing around with subsonics (not all semi's like 'em, though) and for longer sessions just drive out a couple miles in the BLM.

    The subsonic ammo was a great excuse to buy a Remington 572. :evil:

    Good on you for being a good neighbor.
     
  14. Fumbler

    Fumbler Member

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    Cool.
    How's it sound with rimfires?
    How big are the holes in your baffles?

    Standing at the front of the property gives us a good idea of the sound. It's not loud with rimfires, but I imagine it could be annoying to some people.

    The spot we shoot at actually is wooded.
    However, most of the trees for the surrounding 4 or so acres are hardwoods. They'll probably dampen noise real well when the leaves are out.

    I said it was safe. Trust me.
    Just to shoot horizontally you'd have to aim 15° higher and then you're still looking at the side of a valley whos ridge is about 20' higher in elevation than your line of sight.
    The line of sight goes almost through the middle of a 300 acre block of overstocked 20-25 year old loblolly pines. Past the other side of the woods, about a mile over ag fields, is a low traffic highway.

    Generally the area is gun friendly. There are no transplanted city folk. Actually last time I went duck hunting we heard shotguns from 3 different locations, probably all within half a mile.

    I only shoot there when my girlfriend is with me.
     
  15. Big Boomer

    Big Boomer Member

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    best sound deadening devices are that of the "egg carton" foam they make some that is about 5" thick, cover that with some washable cloth and you should have a pretty sound proof box.
     
  16. sig226

    sig226 Member

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    This exact same question was asked and answered on either FreeRepublic.com or TedNugent.com a while back. Here's the same answer: If you build a device that is intended to silence the report of a firearm and you do not register it as a silencer, you have made an illegal silencer and you have violated the National Firearms Act.

    When you get caught, you be charged with a federal crime and everything you own will be lost in effecting your guilty plea. It will suck. Don't do it.
     
  17. gunmn74

    gunmn74 Member

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    I have seen a pic on sixgunner (currently down so no link) where a guy
    has his whole basement dedicated to reloading and has a hole out of his
    basement to his range. He built a false wall in the basement and had the
    space between the wall and the outside filled with egg carton foam.
    The muzzel passed the first wall but did not protrude outside the house
    so the muzzel blast was eaten up by the insulation.
    I would say that is the type of box you are thinking about.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2007
  18. Fumbler

    Fumbler Member

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    You're wrong.
    It falls under the NFA only if it is attached to the gun.

    If you shoot a gun inside a barn out the door then is the BATF going to come sieze your barn and throw you in jail?:rolleyes:
     
  19. Boomerang

    Boomerang Member

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    Get a 22 rifle silencer.
    I think your girlfriend's parents would probably be more skeeved out by the silencer-box-junk on their new property.
     
  20. bogie

    bogie Member

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    Sig, you're sounding like a gun store commando... Following that set of rules, earmuffs and earplugs would be illegal to own... much less the doors and weatherstripping on indoor ranges. Please don't scare the other shooters.

    A suppressor only becomes an NFA item if it is physically affixed to the firearm. For instance, if you thread a piece of pipe to screw on to your barrel, and that piece of pipe is screwed into the box o' deadening, then you've got an NFA item. If all you are doing is sticking the business end inside the box o' deadening before yanking on that trigger thingy, you're good to go.

    www.partsexpress.com sells the good "sound studio" foam.
     
  21. Fumbler

    Fumbler Member

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    That's why I'm trying to keep it portable;)
    Hopefully I could move it with a hand truck.
     
  22. Shootist1

    Shootist1 Member

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    Fumbler...
    A couple of the suggestions would work, as Spencerhut's design indicates--with .22s and handguns, you shouldn't have any real problem. As he says, it's tough (read: nigh impossible!) to kill the sound of a large caliber rifle.

    I write a column on shooting sports for four magazines, and have an affinity for shooting high-powered rifles. I live in a semi-rural area well outside city limits that like all suburban areas is becoming too "citified." My family settled on 60+ acres of land out here over 40 years ago, and we have all built on the place. I now have a subdivision about 2000 feet away through woods and fields.

    I love to shoot my guns, but was worried about the offensive "crack" of the large rifles. There is still quite a bit of small game hunting around here, and everyone hears shotguns fairly regularly. No one is offended by this noise as far as I can tell, although locals frequently mention they heard me shooting when what they heard was someone hunting squirrels with shotguns, or a neighbor shooting clay pigeons.

    Realizing that what offends and scares people is the noise, I searched for a way to cut it down so I would be a good neighbor, and still be able to shoot my big rifles when I wanted. Incidentally, I am shooting in a safe direction into a large dirt berm in front of thick second-growth brush and woods--and no habitation in that direction for miles.

    I built a "shooting tube" out of a 12' corrugated plastic drainage culvert and two 55 gallon plastic drums. They have an outside diameter of 23". The inside diameter of the plastic culvert is 24". The drums, with 1-foot diameter holes cut in the ends, fit inside the culvert like they were machined to fit.

    I lined the inside of it with batt insulation, placing "chicken" wire inside which was rolled into tube shape. The wire springs out and holds the insulation in place. And I drape old carpet over the whole thing.

    To all the "I haven't tried it, but it should work" suggestions, I can tell you it is doggone hard to kill the sound of a high-powered rifle--when I shoot through my "shooting tube" as my fellow shooters call it, it's still loud--very loud. But the sonic "crack" is gone, and it sounds more like a very loud shotgun (re: Spencerhut's comments.)

    I applaud your attempts to be a good neighbor--as long as we all continue to consider the sensibilities of our neighbors and non-shooters, we will be able to enjoy our sport with a minimum of harassment.

    And incidentally, pictures of the tube accompanied the column I wrote on this very subject in Louisiana Sportsman magazine--with a readership of over 100,000 outdoorsmen. And I never heard a single comment about an illegal "silencer."

    Here's the link to the article and photo.
    http://www.louisianasportsman.com/details.php?id=181

    Good Luck.

    Gordon Hutchinson
    Author (with Todd Masson) of "The Great New Orleans Gun Grab" and "The Quest and the Quarry."

    P.S. My next experiment will be to purchase a 40' shipping container. I will place it so it runs lengthwise with my range. I intend to store my shooting stuff in it, and cut holes in each end I can seal off. I will set up my shooting bench at one end and fire lengthwise at the berm through it. I'm fairly sure an 8' X 8' X 40' steel shipping container will contain the noise adequately. I know this is more pricey than most folks would consider, and no, I'm not indepently wealthy, but Hey!--I like to shoot on my own land, and don't want to lose that safe, entertaining hobby because some neighbor a half-mail away complains about the noise.

    P.P.S. Incidentally--I had a friend whose dad tried the same trick with old tires, and he said it really cut down the noise. I tried it, hanging them in a row, compressing them together and stuffing insulation in the cracks and openings. I set it up on my 200 yard range--the results were less than spectacular. The "shooting tube" is much more effective--and like I said, it still is noisy. However, you can barely hear a .22 fired through it.
     
  23. Selfdfenz

    Selfdfenz Member

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    Shootist1

    Outstanding! This is almost identical to what I had considered this past summer but when I priced the culvert it was way over $100, more like $200. And that's just the 24' pipe. Did or do you have a special idea where to get the pipe cheap?

    I'm only interest in being able to shoot 22LR HV @ 50 yards in the back yard but my neighors are very "next door" so I need a highly efficient system. How long would I need to get the 24" pipe to cover a supersonic 22 LR assuming I had the blue barrels at each end and the internal insulation you describe.

    Much obliged in advance and a HNY to you sir.

    S-
     
  24. Shootist1

    Shootist1 Member

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    Selfdfenz (Boy! I had to look at that several times to spell it right.)

    I managed to finagle the tube from a couple of spares left over from a construction site. They were putting in a neighborhood next to a friend's property. He got friendly with the foreman, mentioned he had a friend looking for a culvert, and the foreman rolled it into his yard. I was lucky. Had I known how well it was going to work I probably would have bought one. I think it will really kill your rimfire sounds. And I think with a rimfire, you could probably get by with an 8' culvert. I have actually considered getting another 12' tube and connecting it via the 55 gallon drum, to extend it and kill the sound even more. I will tell you this, it's been fun playing with it.
     
  25. Fumbler

    Fumbler Member

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    Thank you for the input shootist :)

    Maybe within the next month I'll have this project drawn out and ready to build.
    I'll keep yall updated.
     
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