Silencer Blast Baffle Pictorial

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In a silencer, the blast baffle (the first baffle the bullet passes through after leaving the barrel) takes the brunt of the heat and pressure released by the deflagration of gunpowder. I use the term ‘deflagration’ because to be technically accurate, the reaction that takes place inside a cartridge (and barrel for that matter) occurs at subsonic speeds and is better suited to move an object like a projectile. Even so, the high temperatures and pressures can unleash havoc on even the strongest of materials. And the effect is greatly magnified in short barreled rifles where the powder is still burning after it leaves the muzzle.

There is a very interesting thread in the suppressor section of AR15.com where users of various cans have photographed their blast baffles after they have been subjected to fire. Currently there’s a good selection of manufacturers and models displayed alongside approximate round counts and barrel lengths of hosts.

The data presented in the thread is no where near scientific; there are too many unknown variables to draw conclusions based on the images of the baffles. Besides round counts and barrel lengths, other unknowns include rates of fire, time between shot strings, ammunition type, brake versus flash hider mounts, atmospheric conditions, cleaning regiments, metallurgy, lot numbers and moon phases can all effect the wear rate of the materials. Lunar status aside, the idea to crowdsource non-scientific suppressor testing is a neat way to see the dramatic forces at work inside the blast chambers of silencers around the country.

I went back and forth on the decision to label each silencer blast baffle pictured by manufacturer and model. First, I think it’s unfair to saddle companies with what may be perceived as a “poor” test result of some sort – remember this isn’t a scientific test. Second, although some baffles look pretty worn, there’s no real correlation between observed wear and suppressor performance. Third, it’s not my data to report. If you really want to know which company made a specific baffle, the thread is easy enough to find.

While you are there consider contributing some images of your own.

aac762sdn6_1000 aac762sdn6_2500 aac762sdn6_5500


m42000_10k m42000_1500 m42000_2000ish m42000_3000


sfsocomrc556_15k sfsocomrc556_15kb  sfsocomrc556_1000

End cap:

sfsocomrc556_15kc


kestral556_1000 kestral556_3500FA


aacsprm4_7000


omega_0

GMT556qm_2500



Pete

LE – Science – OSINT.
On a mission to make all of my guns as quiet as possible.
Pete.M@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • PeterK

    Pure art.

  • datimes

    If someone could come up with a relatively simple method cleaning the carbon out of these baffles and tube they could make a fortune.

    • Schnee

      An ultrasonic parts cleaner is good for this. Lots of the newer ones can be fully disassembled for thorough cleaning.

      • Pete M

        Unless your silencer is made out of aluminum.

        • Cymond

          Most centerfire rifle cans aren’t aluminum, and most rimfire cans disassemble for cleaning. From what I’ve read, the high pressure and heat mean that right cans stop fouling anymore at some point because the carbon gets blasted off by the concussion. Many pistol cans disassemble and/or aren’t made of aluminum.

          I guess the rule of thumb is to consider a sealed aluminum suppressor as having a very finite lifespan.

          • Pete M

            Agreed. Good call.

          • A.WChuck

            Aren’t suppressors, like barrels, considered a wear item?

        • LT Rusty

          Whoa now. Is there an issue with ultrasonic cleaning of aluminum? I’ve not heard about this one yet.

          • J Hat

            If you’re using an NaOH solution, you’ll pit or dissolve your aluminum and release hydrogen gas.

          • LT Rusty

            That’s a sodium hydroxide issue, not an ultrasonic issue. Don’t use NaOH.

    • Does running them ‘wet’ aid in this?

  • claymore

    LOL I had an early M-16 suppressor from Valmet and while it said not for automatic fire I couldn’t resist. After all what harm could come from a short burst right? Mounted on the first Frankford Arsenal 10″ barrel selectfire M-16 I let a short, maybe 5-8 round burst, off and felt a slight tug to the left.

    Upon inspection there it was a nice oblong hole out the side of the suppressor about an inch back from the end cap.

    Got home and finally got it apart and found that short burst WIPED OUT the first three baffles I mean it looked like someone took a cutting torch to them them were melted and there was cooled molten ALUMINUM dropped around inside the tube.

    Sent it off to Valmet (I was a SOT at the time) and explained what happened and explained that I would pay for the damage if they could repair it.

    About a month later it was back FREE OF CHARGE not even shipping costs. I could never tell if they just scrapped it or a new tube and baffles were used it looked that good.

    Inside the box was a note from the line crew….. “Please no more automatic fire the same thing will happen again”

    • they didn’t have to write down that they would charge you next time.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      Weird, I have a select fire Frankford Arsenal 10″ and the exact same thing happened to me about ten years ago. Nice big hole right out the side of the can on full auto.

      • That was a baffle strike. You may not have had the screwed on enough or the ten inch barrel length was to short to stabilize the round and caused a baffle strike. .

        • TheNotoriousIUD

          Yeah, it sucked.
          Quite shocking to look at your can and see a smoking hole out the side.

    • iksnilol

      Yeah, I think the combo of a sandblaster barrel with full auto was a bad one.

    • carlcasino

      Full Auto- A lot of fun and a great way to spend 10X the money to achieve the semi-auto result. Hey! When the GOVERNMENT is paying for the ammo who cares? Anyone see the irony in the Govt. Money remark or is everybody Socialist now?

      • claymore

        So you object to how SOMEBODY ELSE spends THEIR OWN MONEY? Talk about being a socialist.

        • carlcasino

          Reading comprehension not your strong suit I see. The Governments money is Taxpayer money. You can piss off your own money any way you please.

  • Big Kat

    Just looking at this raised my blood lead level.

  • Martin Grønsdal

    I am baffled by the beauty….

  • Cymond

    You don’t even have to find the discussion thread, the image files are named stuff like ‘kestrel556’ and ‘aacsprm4’ and ‘omega’.

    • Pete M

      Thanks for cracking my code. I was wondering how long that would take.

  • john huscio

    Suppressor colonoscopy.

    • Mark

      Hilarious and very apt analogy!

      The original thread is interesting to me for a few reasons:
      (1) the number of people using .30 cal cans on 5.56 NATO
      (2) the number of “off brand” cans
      (3) raises the question whether or not the built up deposits offer any protection to further erosion of the baffles themselves.

      ar15 DOT com/forums/t_6_20/447860_Blast_baffle_pics_with_approximate_round_count.html

      • Bacon Chaser

        Using 30-cal cans on 5.56x45mm is very common. My first can was a 762-SDN-6, and I intend to use it on my 5.56x45mm ARs until I get a M4-2000.

  • Mojopin

    This is the reason I got suppressors that I could disassemble and rotate the baffels for cleaning and repair.

  • ostiariusalpha

    This is a nice article, thanks for the pics and link. By the way, the term “explosion” covers a wide variety of energetic release phenomena, such as deflagration, detonation, and physical explosions (e.g. steam explosions).

    • Pete M

      Thanks for the clarification. I should clarify with subsonic explosion versus supersonic explosion.

    • Schnee

      I love that this is a site smart enough to talk about these distinctions. I always bristle just a bit when people talk about a detonation of gunpowder or talk about gunpowder or gasoline as an explosive. In my mind (and your definition is great) gasoline and gunpowder are propellants that oxidize quickly. C4 and friends detonate. But I don’t like split infinitives and I rearrange the ordering of my Octane 45 baffles so that they all stay about the same color.

  • UCSPanther

    Looks like the inside of a muffler.

    • Pete M

      Exactly

  • noob

    how does a car engine manage to do so many ignitions per minute for years without looking like that inside?

    How big a firearm (autocannon size?) would it need to be to run more like a toyota hilux?

  • Geoffry K

    In the little over a year that I’ve been using my Form 1 suppressor made from a SS threaded tube, aluminum end caps and steel freeze plugs, I never thought about examining the blast baffle. Maglite style suppressor, 5.56. Maybe a thousand rounds, sub and super through it, I don’t really count them.
    So here it is. Yes, more than a single hole, but hey, it works. 10 baffles, all similar. Dead quiet with subsonic ammo. Only supersonic crack with regular ammo.

  • uisconfruzed

    TBAC Ultra 30 cal
    It has less back pressure I’m not getting gas in my face now), lighter, stronger and is quieter than their previous versions.

  • whamprod

    I have two “I wonders”……

    1. I wonder if shooting .300 blackout subsonics, with their small charges of pistol powders from a 10.5” barrel would be as destructive to the blast baffle on my 762-SDN-6 as some of these pictures show.

    2. I wonder how well the “challenge coin” and first baffle in my home-built can made from SD Tactical Arms parts with freeze plugs for baffles will hold up to .308 from a 16″ barrel.

    Only time will tell. At least the home-built can is totally and CHEAPLY user serviceable.

  • Lyle

    Regiment and regimen are two different words with different meanings.