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American Handgunner Jul/Aug 2011 Digital Edition - Page 24

PISTOLSMITHING Alex Hamilton THE INSIDE SCOOP ON PISTOLSMITHING TECHNIQUES Silencer Stuff T he proper term is “suppressor” and the slang is “can,” but the old original word I grew up with was “silencer.” It makes no difference what you call them, they are built to silence the sharp muzzle crack of a pistol or rifle. In the past, the .22 LR was about the only caliber which could be effectively suppressed, but today, with our superior technology, we can muffle the sound of just about any caliber — especially when loaded to subsonic velocity. Cleaning is no longer a major problem, so most silencers on today’s market are sealed. There seems to be a genuine trend cranking up, as I’m being asked to thread more and more barrels for silencers. The two most common threads are 1/2" X 28 for pistols and 5/8" X 24 for rifles. Installing a silencer on a pistol requires you obtain a barrel at least 1/2" longer than the muzzle of the slide so there will be ample length to cut the threads. Of course this will make it necessary to order a longer barrel from the manufacturer, if it’s available. If your pistol is of a common variety you can usually order a barrel already threaded, since our government is ordering thousands of silenced pistols direct from the manufacturers. The calibers most commonly suppressed for pistols are .22 LR and 9mm. The most commonly silenced calibers for rifles seems to be .223 and .308. This 9mm SIG with an AAC Ti Rant 9 supressor is something a military unit or police SWAT team might put to use — not to mention the fact they are just plain fun to shoot! A Goose Down Pillows This Walther P22 with a SWR Spector .22 can is fun, easy on the ears, and would make a perfect varmint control gun for a farmer. S uppressors have always been a popular curiosity since the late 1800s, and are in wide use today by military and police. Hollywood has used everything, including covering the muzzle with a downpillow, to real, baffled suppressors made to the highest standards of the time. Can you imagine attempting to suppress the crack of a pistol with a goose-down pillow? You would be picking the feathers out of your mouth and hair for days, not to mention the fact there would have been no reduction in noise. It would have taken the police about three minutes to pick you out of the crowd and put the cuffs on your powder-burned paws. One big drawback to having a “can” hanging out on the end of a pistol is it blocks your sight picture, forcing you to point-shoot. There are silencers made, such as the Osprey, that have the bullet hole offset so the “can” sits lower on the barrel and the sights are in view over the top. In the photos you can see how the center hole “cans” block the sights. Another disadvantage of having a heavy “can” hanging out on the end of a pistol barrel is the weight. In the past the muzzle weight would make it difficult for the rear of the barrel to unlock, and caused the pistol to malfunction. Today, with advanced technology and lightweight suppressors, this is no longer a problem. s you know, owning a suppressor without government permission is a big no-no and will ruin your life forever if caught — and you will get caught. The proper procedure is to fill out ATF Form 4, complete with a couple of passport photos and finger print card and submit it to the US Department Of Justice BATFE/ NFA division and wait about six months for approval. You can order and pay for the suppressor from the manufacturer, at which time he will give you the serial number and other information. You then fill out the Form 4 and send it in with a $200 cashier’s check. When ATF approval comes through, you notify the manufacturer with the registration number and a copy of the approved Form 4 and he will ship your new toy. It’s a time consuming process, but more and more shooters are opting to go through with it. From the moment you receive your approval, the letter or copy must accompany the suppressor wherever it goes. Another way to buy suppressors and Class 3 stuff, especially if your local chief law enforcement officer will not sign off on the approval form, is to establish a “Family Firearms Trust.” This is the subject for another column, but in short, the trust is a tool to protect your guns when you die. Those of you who have heard of the Family Trust alternative and would like to know more about it you might contact Sean Cody, a Houston, Texas lawyer specializing in family firearms trusts. His website is www. texasnfatrust.com. A family firearms trust will cost you about $450. The Red Tape * 24 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • JULY/AUGUST2011

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