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-   -   Potato as a silencer...? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=835319)

JoseB 09-03-2017 08:33 AM

Potato as a silencer...?
 
I was reading a piece of news about a sordid affair (a mother lured and killed a man who apparently had raped her 6-year old daughter) and one particular aspect of the whole thing caught my attention. Copy-pasting the relevant section of the article:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Miami Herald
Joined by her brother John Vargas, 29, who was intellectually disabled Serbu left her house to pick up Sierra with two guns, two stun guns, a potato to use as a silencer, an ice pick, plastic gloves and paper towels.

(The article can be read here)

So... My question is... How on Earth can a potato be used as a silencer? O.o Is this some kind of bizarre urban legend I am not aware of? If not, again... How?

Color me baffled...

running coach 09-03-2017 08:45 AM

Youtube video on the very subject.

I would also imagine a hollowpoint would expand and not be good for more than a minor laceration.

TokyoBayer 09-03-2017 08:52 AM

In a related video, the guy says he tried onions as well.

JoseB 09-03-2017 08:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by running coach (Post 20456128)
Youtube video on the very subject.

I would also imagine a hollowpoint would expand and not be good for more than a minor laceration.

Interesting... in the video, though, it doesn't sound as if it made any meaningful difference. Some comments in the video say that you are supposed to firmly tape the potato to the muzzle.

I am really surprised because I had never heard of this particular technique to silence a gun...! Well, every day you learn something new...

kayaker 09-03-2017 09:28 AM

Pillows and potatoes have both been used as silencers. Actually, anything that starts with the letter "p" can be used to silence gunfire.

/munitions talk

burpo the wonder mutt 09-03-2017 09:30 AM

Pennsylvanian?

:D

kayaker 09-03-2017 09:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by burpo the wonder mutt (Post 20456183)
Pennsylvanian?

:D

'round these parts, we prefer using a Parisian.

running coach 09-03-2017 09:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by burpo the wonder mutt (Post 20456183)
Pennsylvanian?

:D

Quote:

Originally Posted by kayaker (Post 20456196)
'round these parts, we prefer using a Parisian.

You have t obe careful what part you use. Screaming will negate any silencing effect.

burpo the wonder mutt 09-03-2017 10:08 AM

Didn't Mythbusters use an empty Pop Bottle?

running coach 09-03-2017 10:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by burpo the wonder mutt (Post 20456237)
Didn't Mythbusters use an empty Pop Bottle?

The only episode I remember them doing with suppressors was debunking the Hollywood "thwip".
It's on now if you get The science Channel.

ETA: The did do "shooting through a carton of milk" but that involved the muzzle flash and a room full of methane.

burpo the wonder mutt 09-03-2017 10:40 AM

Sometimes, there's a very fine line between Mythbusters and those Jackass movies. ;)

running coach 09-03-2017 10:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by burpo the wonder mutt (Post 20456291)
Sometimes, there's a very fine line between Mythbusters and those Jackass movies. ;)

To quote Adam:"The difference between science and screwing around *displays clipboard* is writing it down."

Scumpup 09-03-2017 10:46 AM

Tried it. Makes a frightful mess because the potato gets blown to smithereens by high pressure gases. Does nothing to reduce noise. Taping the potato reduces the mess slightly but there is still no noise reduction.

Lucas Jackson 09-03-2017 11:57 AM

Wouldn't taping the potato firmly to the barrel greatly increase the chance of the barrel exploding?

Duckster 09-03-2017 12:01 PM

You want fries with that?

running coach 09-03-2017 12:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Duckster (Post 20456425)
You want fries with that?

Based on the video, more like hash browns. For mashed potatoes, bring a rifle.

kaylasdad99 09-03-2017 03:05 PM

Back in the olden days, I once watched an episode of the TV crime drama Shaft. I recall virtually nothing of the episode, except that at one point, Richard Roundtree opened his apartment window, aimed a high-powered rifle out, and shot out the tire on the car of some baddies. He had first "silenced" the rifle by jamming its muzzle a couple of inches deep into the end of a large potato.

Worked a treat.

thirdname 09-03-2017 03:36 PM

As far is improvised silencers go, apparently the ones that actually work are oil filters. There's actually a company that makes an adapter to screw an oil filter onto a gun barrel.

Here's a video on it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7t_pcWPdSDs

Note, however, that such an adapter, or an oil filter used thusly, is legally regulated the same as an actual silencer, years in federal prison if you don't get the right paperwork. It's the same principle that causes a shoelace to be legally considered a machine gun if it's used to make a gun fire automatically.

ZonexandScout 09-03-2017 03:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scumpup (Post 20456302)
Tried it. Makes a frightful mess because the potato gets blown to smithereens by high pressure gases. Does nothing to reduce noise. Taping the potato reduces the mess slightly but there is still no noise reduction.

Several years ago, I tried using a small watermelon as a silencer. The result was predictably messy. I did not try the tape. It is pretty amazing what sort of blast you get from the muzzle of a handgun. You might as well stick an M-80 in the melon (or potato).

smithsb 09-03-2017 04:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ZonexandScout (Post 20456762)
Several years ago, I tried using a small watermelon as a silencer. The result was predictably messy. I did not try the tape. It is pretty amazing what sort of blast you get from the muzzle of a handgun. You might as well stick an M-80 in the melon (or potato).

Can confirm, M-80 + melon = fragments like Gallagher with a hammer.

http://tinyurl.com/ybsc7g5w

Projammer 09-03-2017 06:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lucas Jackson (Post 20456420)
Wouldn't taping the potato firmly to the barrel greatly increase the chance of the barrel exploding?

Only if a substantial amount of potato were stuffed into the barrel. The burst strength of the barrel is so much greater than the potato that the potato will always splash.

SOJA 09-04-2017 03:11 AM

Silencers mainly trap the expansion of gas exiting outside the barrel end. A silencer cut in half has a lot of small baffles to divert gas away from the main exit stream. You could make a silencer with a water bottle stuffed with wet tissues.

Annoying Buzz 09-04-2017 04:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by smithsb (Post 20456797)
Can confirm, M-80 + melon = fragments like Gallagher with a hammer.

Except funny.

Mr. Duality 09-04-2017 05:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scumpup (Post 20456302)
Tried it. Makes a frightful mess because the potato gets blown to smithereens by high pressure gases. Does nothing to reduce noise. Taping the potato reduces the mess slightly but there is still no noise reduction.

Preparing the potato by making a hole all the way through it might forestall fragmentation of said potato.

Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor 09-04-2017 06:23 AM

How about that stupid old rumor, from Dick Tracey's Crimestoppers, that a rubber baby bottle nipple can be used as a silencer?
T/F?

Scumpup 09-04-2017 07:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr. Duality (Post 20457647)
Preparing the potato by making a hole all the way through it might forestall fragmentation of said potato.

No, it won't. The powder gases alone will shred the potato. Even if you used a blank the results would be the same. Suppressors work by slowing the expansion of said gases and cooling them. They work exactly the same way as an automotive muffler. A potato does not do that.


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