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Thread: 55 Gallon Drum Silencer????

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    55 Gallon Drum Silencer????

    Some years back Rick Jamison had an article in Shooting Times about a silencer made from a couple of 55 gallon drums with the ends cut out. Set up was that the drums were a permanent fixture a the bench, the muzzle had to be in the drums and short distance for the silencer to be effective. Least as I remember. I didn't have a range of my own to shoot on back then, but I do now and it would be easy enough to make and use such a contraption, if I knew what I was making. Anyone know how to make this?

    I fired off an email to Shooting Times a couple weeks back, haven't heard a word from 'em. Guess since I don't have a subscription, my question ain't worth their time. Well, two can play that game.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Scrounger's Avatar
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    Just a guess, but I'd bet the word 'silencer' has a limited meaning here. It MIGHT tone down the noise for your neighbors (?) but you're going to get a lot of it in the shop and barrels...

  3. #3
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    John

    Yes, I read that article. He welded two 55 gal drums together end to end after cutting the tops and bottoms out of them. Then he lined them with fiberglass insulation and to keep the insulation inplace he used piece of fence with small enough squares to hole the insulation. I can't remember if he put the paper side out or in, or even if he used something else to keep the muzzle blast from tearing up the fiberglass. Anyways that's what I remember.

    Joe

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    Boolit Master

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    I think you could accomplish the same thing with car tires hung from a rack and wouldn't need the extra insulation.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master Scrounger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Denver
    I think you could accomplish the same thing with car tires hung from a rack and wouldn't need the extra insulation.
    I'd bet they would do a better job of absorbing the sound, too. Last time I was at the dump here, there was probably 50 of those "doughnut" spares, with wheels, there for the taking. Other tires, too.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master Powderpacker's Avatar
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    Some years back, I read about a guy that used several (I guess the calibers you shoot determine the number you need) semi truck tires for the center of his silencer and then progressively smaller truck, car, compact car tires on each end to create a rubber 'bottle' to contain the muzzle blast. He used steel cables to hold the thing together.

  7. #7
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    Ditch Culvert

    FWIW, A place I use to shoot at on John's Island near Charleston use to use ditch pipe w/tires on the inside. They had the pipe on the far side of the bench and when you are seated, the barrel of your rifle was in it. Just had old tires on the inside and nothing more. From what I remember it was a little difficult to see the sight on the front of the barrel when the skies were cloudy but it was very effective in cutting the sound down.

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  8. #8
    Boolit Master nvbirdman's Avatar
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    Scrounger, did those doughnut spares have wheelweights on them when you left?

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    JohnH, watch out for unburned powder collecting inside the drums or tires. One indoor
    range that I used to shoot at daily swept the areas in front of the firing line to remove all unburnt powder. The amount can be truly amazing that was cleaned up. Frank

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by no_1
    FWIW, A place I use to shoot at on John's Island near Charleston use to use ditch pipe w/tires on the inside. They had the pipe on the far side of the bench and when you are seated, the barrel of your rifle was in it. Just had old tires on the inside and nothing more. From what I remember it was a little difficult to see the sight on the front of the barrel when the skies were cloudy but it was very effective in cutting the sound down.

    Robert
    RPM was the name of that range, the initials of the owner. The land around the range was developed on three sides from farm land to housing. Within two years the range was closed by Charleston County due to noise complaints from the new home owners. SC now has a law that protects shooting ranges from this type of action but too late for RPM. A range still has to keep the bullets landing within the its property. That becomes expensive as cost of land near Charleston and close to a good road has gone out of sight.

    Bob

  11. #11
    I'm A Honcho!

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    If I was the range owner I would have run the place full of hogs, that is even harder now than a range to close down, a properly run hog farm.

    Bill
    Both ends WHAT a player

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by Willbird
    If I was the range owner I would have run the place full of hogs, that is even harder now than a range to close down, a properly run hog farm.

    Bill
    And open it at huntin' season too !!!!!!!!

  13. #13
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank46
    JohnH, watch out for unburned powder collecting inside the drums or tires. One indoor
    range that I used to shoot at daily swept the areas in front of the firing line to remove all unburnt powder. The amount can be truly amazing that was cleaned up. Frank
    People don't realise the amount of unburned powder that accumulates in front of the gun. Last year there was a flash fire on the indoor range at Glock in Conyers GA that caused the death of the test firer.
    Dan in NC Call me TD

  14. #14
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    Dan,

    Good point, thats why I think Jamison made his with the drums and fiberglass so he would change out the fiberglass. Much easier then emptying tires. Don't anyone dare try to vacuum that powder up or out either...dangerous.

    Joe

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Scrounger's Avatar
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    I would think it safe to blow it out with an air hose. Excellent fertilize.

  16. #16
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    I shot at Zia Rifle Range in Albequerque last week. They have a 100 yard tunnel made out of concrete pipe and covered with sand. On one end there is an enclosed shooting bench with a door and window fan. At the other, there is a light over the target. You can shoot all night without bothering anyone. I had good pics but my memory card went tits up. Nothing like that around here.

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  17. #17
    Boolit Master


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    Supposedly that rig works pretty good as you're mainly trying to silence the muzzle blast. The sonic crack downrange won't be silenced unless you're shooting subsonic.

    As well as I recall from that article, the contraption had to be cleaned form time to time if much shooting was done or unburned powder would accumulate and light off causing much excitement but no danger other than the fire hazard.

    But, if you have picky neighbors (and who don't when it comes to shooting), it would help that problem immensly./beagle

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnH
    Some years back Rick Jamison had an article in Shooting Times about a silencer made from a couple of 55 gallon drums with the ends cut out. Set up was that the drums were a permanent fixture a the bench, the muzzle had to be in the drums and short distance for the silencer to be effective. Least as I remember. I didn't have a range of my own to shoot on back then, but I do now and it would be easy enough to make and use such a contraption, if I knew what I was making. Anyone know how to make this?

    I fired off an email to Shooting Times a couple weeks back, haven't heard a word from 'em. Guess since I don't have a subscription, my question ain't worth their time. Well, two can play that game.
    diplomacy is being able to say, "nice doggie" until you find a big rock.....

  18. #18
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by StarMetal
    Dan,

    Good point, thats why I think Jamison made his with the drums and fiberglass so he would change out the fiberglass. Much easier then emptying tires. Don't anyone dare try to vacuum that powder up or out either...dangerous.

    Joe
    Do ya 'spose a little water in the tires would help?

  19. #19
    Boolit Master Scrounger's Avatar
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    Wouldn't hurt. Dirt might work better.

  20. #20
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    I dunno as the fiberglass on the inside is needed. Might work as well on the outside since the main function is to keep the metal tube from ringing. Dunno that you need as big a diameter as metal drums neither. I'd rather have length than diameter. Ten feet of 10"-12" pipe would be my choice.

    What you are doing is setting up internal turbulences to reduce as much of the escaping gas as possible below the speed of sound. Some baffling to get those gases swirling helps a lot.

    Seems to me it would be quite possible to build the contraption to be flushed out with water. That unburned powder is a real hazard and is what would concern me the most.
    Sometimes you gotta wonder if democracy is such a good idea.

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