Welcome back everyone and thanks again for joining us here for TFB’s Silencer Saturday, where we hope to one day be the silent majority. Today we we we touch on the regulatory, legal and yes political (gasp) challenges of shooting quietly. And ultimately what options there are for those of us around the world who are unable to own and use silencers. Unfortunately, there is an overwhelming majority of our readers worldwide that currently have no legal means of suppressor ownership.
SILENCER SATURDAY #46: When Suppressor Ownership Is BANNED
As much as I love my small collection of baffles and tubes, the reality is not lost on me that many of Silencer Saturday’s readers are barred from quiet shooting. And unfortunately, that fact is no more apparent than after this week’s election in the United States. Maintaining our Firearms Not Politics stance, all I really have to say is that after all the progress we have made in the last decade of increasing the legal ownership of silencers by changing laws at the state level, we are starting to see signs of reversal. More than one governor-elect has mentioned supporting legislation banning civilian ownership of silencers. And for some reason, that fact really hit me hard – having a right stripped from you by those that know for a fact that being a victim of a silenced gun crime is so infinitesimally small that, by comparison, the odds of winning the lottery start to look good – is an ugly thought.
Organizations like the National Rifle Association and the American Suppressor Association have done a fantastic job at educating everyone from law makers to end users about the huge benefits to shooting suppressed and purging the stigma of Hollywood assassins that somehow make silenced weapons more deadly.
There are seven states in the U.S. where silencer ownership is not allowed for ordinary Americans. With the hopes and dreams of the Hearing Protection Act seemingly dashed, changing the remaining states laws to allow suppressors for shooters is a fantasy within a dream. And unfortunately some states now face silencer ownership reversals.
But, we are forced to leave partisan politics behind for today’s discussion.
So, for those of you who have no way to own a silencer, what other options are available? Longtime TFB reader Tassiebush offers up an option that I am excited to test with actual scientific instruments in the future. The basic premise is to have a firearm and cartridge combination that allows for the full burn of all the gunpowder in the barrel before the bullet exits the muzzle. And assuming you are using subsonic ammunition, shooters can eliminate the majority of the report without the use of a silencer.
Tassiebush’s setup is elegant – he took a 726mm (28.5 inch) barrel meant for a CZ Jaguar and upgraded a more standard length CZ455.
The new CZ 455 Jaguar brings to the 455 family a cold forged 726 mm/28.5 in. long barrel (featuring a 16 in. twist rate with six grooves), which previously appeared only in the CZ 452 Ultra Lux. This parameter may seem a bit extreme to some people, but Česká zbrojovka know very well why they are returning it back onto the scene. Some less experienced users may be rather surprised but the reason is not the higher accuracy. With good ammunition, under favourable conditions and in the hands of a good shooter, most CZ 455 rifles perform equally well at ordinary distances. For example, you can shoot through the proverbial same hole at 50 metres/54 yd., especially with heavy barrel models and with the use of scopes – and you cannot beat this. What is more, those couple of inches of extra length contribute to somewhat higher bullet energy and to its better stability when shooting over longer distances.
Yes, the resulting package is long, but the results are fascinating. Comparing the Jaguar to a shorter suppressed setup resulted in strikingly similar results.
The technique is not new. In fact Tassiebush referenced Ed’s Essays in his research.
The most effective “Silent Without Silencer” rifle I have is an old English “Rook Rifle” which was originally chambered for the .360 No.5. Most of these rifles will fire .38 Long Colt ammunition without alteration, but I have found it much better to rechamber them to use .38 Special. Standard velocity 148-gr. hollow-based wadcutter target ammunition is very quiet and accurate, and gives about 870 fps in a 25″ barrel. The Marlin 1984 “Cowboy” lever action rifles with 24″ barrels are accurate and fairly quiet with ordinary standard velocity 158-gr. lead bullet factory loads which provide about 950 fps. For minimum noise, I handload the factory Remington 158-grain swaged lead SWC bullets with 4 grains of W-W 231 or 3.5 grains of Bullseye for about 850 f.p.s. Below this velocity accuracy suffers due to inadequate bullet stability.
Others’s have also experimented with the long barrel vs suppressor comparison as well. Check out this video that Tassiebush sent my way.
As an alternative, shooters have built stationary suppressors that are not attached to the host weapon that seem to be effective for benchrest type shooting. As a reminder, U.S. federal law doesn’t regulate devices that are immobile that are intended to suppressor the report of a firearm, but state laws may vary. So please do your research before you start construction.
The idea, of course, is to contain the resulting blast inside a large, stationary vessel.
American Suppressor Association- Membership drive and raffle:
TFB’s Silencer Saturday is brought to you by Sig Sauer