Ballistic Signature with Silencer?

Ballistic Signature with Silencer?

This is a discussion on Ballistic Signature with Silencer? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Here's one for ya. Do sound suppressors (silencers) leave a ballistic signature? As in - would a round fired from same gun without a sliencer ...

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  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array ArmyCop's Avatar
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    Ballistic Signature with Silencer?

    Here's one for ya.
    Do sound suppressors (silencers) leave a ballistic signature?
    As in - would a round fired from same gun without a sliencer be any different than a round fired from same gun USING a sliencer?
    CSI kinda question here....
    Just curious - maybe I watch too much TV.
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  2. #2
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    Are you talking about the sound of bullet flight ?

    I have stood by as a suppressor was shot and noticed the whizzzzzz of the bullet.

    The same bullet without the suppressor is dragging so much sound with it that you dont hear the bullet much.

    On the other hand, spending some time in the Mideast many moons ago I had several bullets whiz by me that seemed quite loud...but the shot was far enough away that we couldnt really determine where it was from.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    Is the question is whether the actual markings on the bullet would be different from one that is fired with a silencer or one that is fired from the same gun without a silencer?

    I would think that common sense would say that if the silencer came in contact with the bullet when fired, then yes it would leave a mark, changing the markings on the bullet, but if the bullet simply passed through the silencer without coming in contact with it, then no, it would not leave any additional marking on the bullet.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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  4. #4
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    Ahhh...I gotcha now...

    The older designs used "wipes" that did tend to smear the markings...but hardly any of those are in use now.

    The newer designs do not contact the bullet. As an example, the .30 suppressor that I built on a Form 1 uses .323 holes in the baffles. Since the bullet is .308 in diameter that leaves .015 of clearance...or .0075 to the side.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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  5. #5
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    The aspect here is sound .... an efficient modern suppressor properly fitted should not cause any bullet contact - just a slowing down of gas velocity giving attenuation.

    I believe the signature as shown on a waveform display would be well different .. not only a much lower dB reading but the peaks will be reduced in amplitude and, chances are small and subtle resonances will ''color'' the pattern. Only my own 2c of course!
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    I think it depends on the type of silencer used. IIRC some silencers bleed gas off the barrel (MP5SD comes to mind) which reduces the velocity somewhat. The AR15 type suppressors don't do this - but still may have some effect on velocity. I think the only difference might be a slight velocity change in either case - which theoretically could be factored in (CSI style) and analyzed, but in real life it would be almost impossible to tell the difference.
    One thing that CSI types would be able to tell is the gunpowder residue - using a silencer would change that a lot.

    Austin

  7. #7
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    Silences in fact do increase the speed of the bullet on occasion and its pretty well documented.

    Its the holes in the barrel in an integrally suppressed rifle that "bleed" the velocity from supersonic to subsonic to decrease the sonic crack from a supersonic bullet. With subsonic speeds you dont have the crack to deal with and the bullet is much quieter.

    A close in shot using a suppressor would likley leave less residue on the target than an unsupressed bullet, because thats what suppressors do...they catch all that stuff.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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  8. #8
    Distinguished Member Array ArmyCop's Avatar
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    What farronwolf said; Does it change the markings? Say you recover two bullets fired from the same gun - one WITH the suppressor and the other WITHOUT - would the markings look the same on each bullet or different?
    BTW - Good comments on this one so far....
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    If no contact then they would be the same.
    Don't hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit soft!

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  10. #10
    VIP Member Array aus71383's Avatar
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    If you mean the grooves cut into the bullet by the rifling, then no, a silencer/suppressor wouldn't effect that.

    Austin

  11. #11
    Distinguished Member Array ArmyCop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aus71383 View Post
    If you mean the grooves cut into the bullet by the rifling, then no, a silencer/suppressor wouldn't effect that.

    Austin
    That answered my question. I just not smort enuf to have ax'ed it rite in the first place.

    Thanks everyone - interesting comments made on this one.
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  12. #12
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    I blame it on the Army. Just kidding!

    Austin

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    I'd have to estimate that anything you do to a weapon (including firing it) will change the markings. A suppressor will change the markings, but I doubt to such an extent that the firearm couldn't be identified without it.
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    Ex Member Array Travis Morgan's Avatar
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    With a silencer, you use subsonic ammunition. When the bullet goes through the baffles in the silencer, it WILL further slow the bullet, since it is releasing the propellant gases. Check out www.silencertalk.com . They're mostly a childish bunch of geeks and mall ninjas, but some of them really know their stuff.

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    I had the opportunity to pull a few rounds of .22lr and .22 short out of some wetpack after being fired from a pair of integral suppressors. One a 10-22 the other a MKI Ruger pistol. All had distinct rub marks on the bullets from some contact inside the suppressor. FWIW, both were extrememly dirty cans and both are pretty old. Probably '70s or early '80s designs with about 14 or 15 baffles and an expansion chamber, 1" O.D. tube. CSI wise, yes, you could tell, at least from these particular guns.

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