Skip to comments.Suppressed Revolver
Posted on 07/24/2020 8:58:10 AM PDT by w1n1
Was the Preferred Weapon for the U.S. "Tunnel Rats" while Hunting the Việt Cộng
Since World War II, America's elite forces have used quiet firearms for missions where it pays to be silent. Sound suppressorscommonly referred known as silencersremain in service today. What many don't know is that U.S. commandos once carried revolvers with special cartridges designed to muffle gunshots.
According to a 1968 Army report on silencers, "Throughout the history of firearms, gun noise has been of considerable concern to the military." "To the enemy, gun noise reveals presence and, often, the location of the shooter, thus resulting in a counter attack."
With all the speculation, in the end, a special revolver was used in the tunnels during the Vietnam war to hunt for the Việt Cộngs. The Việt Cộng dug elaborate subterranean networks to hide guerrilla fighters and supplies from American firepower.
Soldiers who volunteered to scour these amazingly complex tunnels couldn't carry full-size M-16 rifles with them through the narrow entry points. M-1911 pistols were their only means of defense.
However, the tight passages amplified the sound of gunshots. These U.S. "tunnel rats" could quickly go deaf from firing their pistols at enemy fighters.
To try and save the soldiers ears, Army commanders scrounged up silenced .22-caliber handguns. The Limited War Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland also sent suppressed .38 caliber revolversbut without any special piston rounds. This gave the AAI Corporation a chance to to build a dedicated "tunnel weapon." Read the rest of suppressed revolver here.
A silencer would not be effective on most stock revolvers because of the forcing cone gap.
Is that Elvis..
I remember seeing a photo of a Tunnel Rat at that time in a major magazine. It mentioned the silenced revolver designed to protect his ears.
I always thought that a S&W Russian pistol would be better due to the cylinder moving forward to seal the gap.
I just went to the web site. THAT first photo is the photo I saw back in the 1960s.
No, it’s Mel Tillis......................
That’s the Mosin Nagant revolver. The S&W Russian was a .44 break top.
When I was in the Army in the early 80’s, my platoon sergent was a tunnel rat for about 6 months. He said that the “rats” would often have special requests that would be granted due to their unusual roles. My sergeant preferred the .45 suppressed as the ammo was already subsonic and carried more impact. He was also able to get a special should / upper arm harness made that carried extra batteries for his flash light and extra magazines for the .45
Ultimately stopped being a “rat” when a 500 lbs bomb that was accidentally dropped too close and caused the tunnel to collapse behind him. Took him several hours of alone and in the dark to find another exit.
The only revolver that I was aware of that was made in large numbers that could be effectively silenced was the M1895 Nagant. It uses a special cartridge where the projectile is recessed within the brass and a mechanism where the cylinder is moved forward when firing which forms a “gas seal”. Other revolvers allow a significant amount of gasses and noise to escape from the firing chamber.
The Vietnamese modified significant numbers of these for use in underground bunkers and the KGB used them for political assassinations. I have several of them but of course no silencers. The original Nagant brass is a little hard to find so I usually use Starline 32/20 brass using special dies to form it to fit the Nagant revolver. It forms no gas seal but works great.
First video shows how effective a silencer is on the Nagant revolver. Second video shows reloading process using Starline 32-20 brass.
.45 suppressed makes sense.
This has more to do with flash signature mitigation than sound mitigation. Same today.
The rest of the story:
...First video shows how effective a silencer is on the Nagant revolver....
Damn, I dont know if was some trick they did with the audio, but that sound suppression was the best Ive ever heard. Admittedly, I only have personal experience with a handful of suppressed weapons... mostly ARs and one 1911 45.
I keep one at my bedside.
Absolutely! For a while there was a glut of those pistols from Russia and their ammo. Many ground off the front sights and threaded them for suppressors. Check them out on Youtube. About the best vehicle for suppression. If I were a hitman...
There are other videos which demonstrate the same thing, so I don't think they used any tricks. That is why it was one of the prefered assasination tools of the KGB for decades. It uses a projectile sized down to .306” that weighs only 93 grains traveling at subsonic speeds. The factory ammo currently made for it clocks out at only about 750 fps which is considerably less than the original specs. So this makes it even quieter.
I would mention that the girl in the video is having a hard pulling back the hammer and is not using the double action trigger because the typical surplus example has very stiff springs and the gas seal mechanism adds some resistance if not properly lubed and tweaked a bit. This can be easily modified. My 100 pound wife can fire any of ours easily without cocking the hammer. Of course she has a fairly well developed trigger finger. Lol! It is a fairly heavy revolver weighing in at 29 ounces empty. I load my cartridges with enough powder to get 900 fps using a 93 grain projectile that I cast 6 at a time.
If you use the gas seal brass you typically get about 50 fps more velocity. It is actually a pretty fun gun for plinking at the range and costs only about 2 cents a round for us to reload using homemade cast bullets. The Starline brass is pretty stout and can be used for many reloads without having problems.
The training area for “Tunnel Rats” was in Garden Canyon, Ft Huachuca, AZ. The final FTX for intel students back in the 70’s was a mock prisoner facility built on top of the tunnels for the tunnel rat course.
Very strange times and very strange places.
The Nagant M1895 moved the cylinder forward when the gun was cocked, to close the gap between the cylinder and the barrel, providing a boost to the muzzle velocity of the fired projectile and allowing the weapon to be suppressed (an unusual ability for a revolver).
“Thats the Mosin Nagant revolver. The S&W Russian was a .44 break top.”
I saw one at Cabelas last week. I leaned over and thought WTF? Are they that low on inventory?
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