Tennis balls make great insert materials for a silencer. One of the first designs I saw came from John Minnery, the Canadian author and maven of the arcane arsenal from the sub-rosa world. His design was a simple yet effective affair that you can easily replicate at your kitchen table.
You need a piece of PVC pipe (3-inch inside diameter, about 12 to 14 inches long), three or four tennis balls, duct and electrician's tape, and the ubiquitous hose clamp.
Wrap the tape around the gun barrel as a bushing to mount the silencer. The barrel should fit snugly inside the pipe. Now cut a hole into one of the tennis balls so it can be slipped over the end of the barrel with a very tight fit.
Put the PVC pipe over the ball and onto the tape bushing on the barrel. Place the hose clamp on the unit to hold it in place. Tighten it. Holding the gun so that the end of the PVC pipe is pointing upward, place the other tennis balls on top of the first one, one after the other. Cross the open end of the PVC pipe with heavy duct tape in an X pattern, but do not completely cover the opening.
You don't have to cut holes or slits in the balls or the tape, contrary to what others have written. Your first shot out of the gun will accomplish that.
In a design variation suggested by Carla Rowan, a retired trickshot artist turned suburban housewife, only one tennis ball is used, augmented by bronze or aluminum screening. Here is Ms. Carla's design.
She says you'll need a piece of PVC pipe the same size as the one used for the Minnery design, an end cap for it, and a small can of PVC cement. You also need
This low-cost, simple design is also known as a three-baller — a tad British, if you will. The gunfire gases swirl inside the ^ tennis balls, cutting down the explosive noise considerably. The rubber in the balls acts as a gas seal as well. (Illustration •o courtesy of John A. Minnery, Firearm Silencers II)
This is a variant of the tennis ball silencer in which a square tube is used. Called a "tubular baffle-vortex suppression concept" by its designer, it is somewhat easier to build at home than many conventional silencer designs. (Illustration ^ courtesy of John A. Minnery) t«*
one tennis ball, a strip of aluminum or bronze screening, a 10-inch length of 1/2-inch wooden dowel, electrician's tape, and a hose clamp.
Use the tape to create the bushing on the barrel. Next, cut a small, tight hole in the tennis ball and force it onto the barrel.
Carefully drill a 1/2-inch hole in the center of the end cap. Use PVC cement to glue the end cap on one end of the pipe.
Tightly roll a 5-inch by 50-inch strip of screening around the wooden dowel. Slide the dowel and screen into the PVC pipe and remove the dowel. Put the hose clamp over the open end of the pipe.
Finally, fit this assembly over the tennis ball and slide it back until the open end of the PVC pipe is even with the back end of the tape bushing. Tighten the hose clamp. Be certain that the unit is aligned by visually checking through the breech with a borelight, or use the cleaning rod/dowel alignment method.
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