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Old November 16, 2013, 09:54 AM   #1
johnwilliamson062
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Airgun suppressors, firearms, and constructive posession

Well what are the rules here? I assume at a bare minimum threads would have to be different, but would that make it ok? Maybe the pressure difference is enough that they would be useless anyways so no problem. Thinking about suppressing a 45 air rifle, but don't want any problems.
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Old November 16, 2013, 10:59 AM   #2
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I'm pretty sure an air gun suppressor has to be permanently attached to the barrel to keep it from being used on a firearm. The basic principles of the design are the same, so any air gun suppressor put on a firearm would be considered a silencer by the BATFE, even if it didn't work that well.

But that's pretty much all I know about the legalities of them compared to firearm suppressors. Because they work on the same principle, it seems like you might be in a grey area regarding constructive possession when you were making the thing.
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Old November 16, 2013, 02:50 PM   #3
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Airgun suppressors are worthless. The two noises Airguns make are: 1) crack from pellet traveling faster than speed of sound; and 2) sound of the heavy bolt on a springer slamming into the chamber. A suppressor does noting to quiet either of these sounds, nor does it need to. suppressors simply quiet the report of the explosion in gun-powder based firearms.
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Old November 16, 2013, 05:46 PM   #4
Willie Lowman
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Skans, he said he wants to suppress a 45 air rifle. I'm guessing it is one of those Quackenbush air guns or something like it. They use a great deal of compressed air all at one time rather than a powerful spring. Kinda sorta like the rapidly expanding gasses that come from burning gunpowder. Except not, because it's just a lot of compressed air.

If my guess is correct, he has a gun like one of these... http://www.quackenbushairguns.com/
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Old November 16, 2013, 10:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Airgun suppressors...
There is no such thing as an airgun suppressor as far as U.S. law is concerned.

If it will suppress an airgun (and isn't integral to the airgun in a manner that prevents its removal and use on a firearm) then it will also suppress a firearm (even if only for one shot) and therefore is a silencer in the legal sense and all NFA regulations apply.

If you want a detachable suppressor for an airgun, then you find one that will work for your airgun and go through the NFA process to acquire it.

If you want a suppressed airgun without the NFA hassle, you will need to purchase an airgun that is integrally suppressed from the manufacturer.
Quote:
Airgun suppressors are worthless.
There are 3 components to the discharge noise of an airgun.

1. Sonic "boom" if the pellet exceeds the speed of sound. This is rarely an issue because best accuracy is typically not achieved with supersonic pellets.

2. Mechanical noise--hammer falling, springs/pistons moving/vibrating, etc.

3. Muzzle blast.

Obviously a silencer has no effect on components 1 or 2, however the last item is significant.

While the muzzle blast of an airgun isn't as energetic as that of a firearm, the more powerful PCP airguns exhaust a sufficient amount of high-pressure air from the muzzle to require hearing protection. Even conventional airguns can have enough muzzle blast to be objectionable.

A powerful spring-piston airgun's discharge noise is reduced by perhaps 30% by the addition of a suppressor. It provides some benefit, but it's typically not a pronounced sound reduction.

A powerful PCP airgun's discharge noise is virtually eliminated with subsonic pellets when a quality suppressor is added. All you hear is the valve being actuated by the hammer.
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Old November 16, 2013, 11:47 PM   #6
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Yeah, JohnKSa said it well, moderators on air guns are definitely NOT worthless. My PCP rifle shoots pellets sub-sonic and if the moderator is off (yes, it can be removed), it is annoyingly loud. Not quite as loud as a .22LR but, qafter a few shots you really don't like the sound.

My moderator is held on to the barrel with two Allen screws. Perfectly legal to own without any special license.

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Old November 18, 2013, 12:10 AM   #7
tgreening
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JohnKSa pretty much hit it. For the record though, "integral to the airgun in a manner that prevents its removal and use on a firearm" probably doesn't really exist. If you can remove it in ANY way, even hack saw or cutting torch, and attach it to a real firearm in ANY way, even duct tape or super glue, you can be dinged on it. The BATF gets to decide what constitutes "removable". Been there, done that
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Old November 18, 2013, 08:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
A powerful PCP airgun's discharge noise is virtually eliminated with subsonic pellets when a quality suppressor is added. All you hear is the valve being actuated by the hammer.
It's not the pellet that is subsonic, it's the FPS. Basically, a PCP shooting at a subsonic level without a silencer would simply sound like your average CO2 gun. Even a cheap springer that shoots under 800 fps is pretty quiet. My Beeman P1 is a springer pistol that fires at 600 fps - is it possible to make it quieter? A little, possibly. Is it necessary? No.
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Old November 18, 2013, 10:35 AM   #9
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Skans, help with this please. Did you get your wording off?

Quote:
It's not the pellet that is subsonic, it's the FPS.
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Old November 18, 2013, 11:23 AM   #10
Skans
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Quote:
It's not the pellet that is subsonic, it's the FPS.
There is no such thing as a subsonic pellet, like there is with subsonic ammunition. How fast the pellet travels is simply a factor of the air pressure the airgun can generate - and I meant to use (wrongly used) FPS as a general guide to how fast a particular rifle can push a standard 177 or 22 pellet. For example, my Chinese copy of an RWS 48 (B21/22) can push a .22 pellet 800-900 fps.

Last edited by Skans; November 18, 2013 at 12:02 PM.
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Old November 18, 2013, 03:21 PM   #11
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OK, I understand what you are getting at now. I was confused for a bit
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Old November 18, 2013, 05:20 PM   #12
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You guys are lucky. The police in at least one of the states here recently ruled that the barrel shrouds on air rifles are considered suppressors and hence ordered them all to be turned in.
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Old November 19, 2013, 12:02 AM   #13
JohnKSa
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Quote:
There is no such thing as a subsonic pellet, like there is with subsonic ammunition.
Fair enough, my comment was worded poorly. I'll rephrase.

A powerful PCP airgun's discharge noise is virtually eliminated when a quality suppressor is added, if the muzzle velocity is subsonic . All you hear is the valve being actuated by the hammer.
Quote:
It's not the pellet that is subsonic, it's the FPS.
FPS stands for feet per second and refers to the velocity of the pellet. The pellet, if traveling below the speed of sound (approximately 1086fps) will be traveling at a subsonic velocity. It is common, though perhaps not completely accurate, to refer to a pellet traveling at subsonic velocity as being subsonic. Obviously it isn't the pellet itself that causes the velocity to be subsonic but rather the energy imparted to it by the airgun.
Quote:
My Beeman P1 is a springer pistol that fires at 600 fps - is it possible to make it quieter? A little, possibly.
Springers don't generally benefit much from suppressors because only about 30% of the discharge noise is due to the blast of air out of the muzzle.

PCP airguns, especially the more powerful ones, can generate a very sharp muzzle blast and can benefit tremendously from being suppressed. That's because nearly all of the discharge noise of a PCP is muzzle blast. There is very little mechanical noise in a PCP discharge as compared to a springer.
Quote:
The BATF gets to decide what constitutes "removable". Been there, done that
SO FAR, the BATF has decided not to pursue the issue of integral airgun suppressors, but that could change. If it does, it won't be pretty because they will pretty much get to make the rules up as they go along.
Quote:
Perfectly legal to own without any special license.
If it can be attached to a firearm then it's a silencer as far as the BATF is concerned and all NFA regulations apply.
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Old November 19, 2013, 01:17 PM   #14
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Quote:
Quote:
Quote:
Perfectly legal to own without any special license.
If it can be attached to a firearm then it's a silencer as far as the BATF is concerned and all NFA regulations apply.
Interesting. I have never known of anyone EVER having to do anything special to own a PCP air rifle with a moderator on it. Must be that, unlike my state, the BATFE does not consider an air rifle to be a firearm?

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Old November 19, 2013, 04:27 PM   #15
lcpiper
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Under Federal Law in general terms, an air rifle is not a firearm as it uses compressed air as a propellent and not an explosive. There are exceptions, and they leave plenty enough room for individual States to see things differently.

That being said, don't get lost, the definition of a suppressor is the only part of the issue that matters.
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Old November 19, 2013, 06:58 PM   #16
Garycw
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Airgun suppressors, firearms, and constructive posession

I have a suppressed .22 cal air rifle from the factory and I can't hear much difference in one that doesn't.
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Old November 19, 2013, 10:13 PM   #17
Willie Lowman
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100% relevant

http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/nati...un-suppressers

Quote:
Q: Are Paintball and/or Airgun Sound Suppressers NFA firearms?
The terms “firearm silencer” and “firearm muffler” mean any device for silencing, muffling, or diminishing the report of a portable firearm, including any combination of parts, designed or redesigned, and intended for use in assembling or fabricating a firearm silencer or firearm muffler, and any part intended only for use in such assembly or fabrication.
Numerous paintball and airgun silencers tested by ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch have been determined to be, by nature of their design and function, firearm silencers. Because silencers are NFA weapons, an individual wishing to manufacture or transfer such a silencer must receive prior approval from ATF and pay the required tax. See also “What are the required transfer procedures for an individual who is not qualified as a manufacturer, importer, or dealer of NFA firearms?” and “How does an individual obtain authorization to make an NFA firearm?” for application details.
If you have any further questions as to the classification of a paintball or airgun silencer, please send a written request to ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch.
[18 U.S.C. 921(a)(24), 26 U.S.C. 5845(a), 27 CFR 479.11]
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Old November 19, 2013, 10:17 PM   #18
JohnKSa
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Quote:
Must be that, unlike my state, the BATFE does not consider an air rifle to be a firearm?
A silencer is a regulated device regardless of what it is attached to--even if it is attached to nothing at all.

If the device can be attached to a firearm and would reasonably be expected to reduced the sound of the discharge of the firearm--even for only one shot--then it fits the definition of a silencer and is subject to NFA regulations.
Quote:
I have a suppressed .22 cal air rifle from the factory and I can't hear much difference in one that doesn't.
There are a variety of different airguns with different powerplants. Spring-piston or gas-piston airguns usually don't exhibit much reduction in discharge noise when a silencer is attached while PCP airguns can be almost totally silenced by the addition of a quality suppressor.
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Old November 20, 2013, 12:07 AM   #19
tgreening
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The key here, with air rifles and their factory installed "moderators" or whatever they choose to call them, is don't poke the sleeping bear. In this case the BATF. If they aren't paying any attention to air rifles, then don't give them any reason to. That's how paintball got in trouble over it.

In their case it was called a Concealer, and it was not a stand alone device. It was a tube of pvc approximately 2" in diameter, 2 delrin spacers with O-rings on the OD, and a small sheet of furnace filter type foam. It's purpose was to "conceal" the cloud of co2 vapor that was a popular power source at the time.

The delrin spacers had an ID of approximately 7/8" and were press fit onto a special made barrel for the various paintball guns of the day. The barrel itself was punched full of holes in the area that would be covered by the pvc tube, which slip fit over the o-rings on the delrin spacers.

If you removed all this from the barrel you had nothing by any reasonable account. A tube, some spacers, and some foam, that's it. It was of no use at all unless installed on a barrel specifically designed to accept it.

The problem was some nimrod sent the entire thing, barrel and all, to the BATF and demanded a ruling. Guess how that turned out.

The moral is, don't force them to make a ruling on something that's not on their radar. If you sent them an entire air rifle that had one of these moderators and asked, you'd might get a negative. Send them just the barrel with the moderator on it and demand to know if it constitutes a silencer you might get an answer you don't like.

In the paintball case the agents involved flat out said they would never have gotten involved at ALL, even though they knew of it's existence, except the afore mentioned nimrod sent one in and made them take an official stance.

They demanded an immediate cease and desist on the manufacturing end of things, with fines and jail time for non-compliance, and that's where it ended. No one went to jail and people that owned one were not tracked down and invaded.

The funny thing is, the paintball barrel full of holes was actually quieter without the concealer attached, and those kinds of barrels are still sold today.
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