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Posted: 10/17/2002 12:42:18 AM EDT
I was wondering just how exactly does a flash suppressor like a Vortex, Phantom, A2, etc work? I understand that the flash signature is less, just how do they eliminate/minimize it from a Physics standpoint. Does it allow better burning of the powder?, Does it disperse the flash? And how would the different designs affect Individual performances, ie the Vortex can be had with tines straight or twisted. Thanks.
Link Posted: 10/17/2002 10:17:05 AM EDT
I'm not sure about this explanation. I've always wondered the same thing. My theory is as folows:
1) All the powder does not burn in the barrel for various reasons
2) However, when the powder leaves the barrel, with the additional oxygen available, it is now able to burn; this causes the flash
3)The flash hider allows the additional oxygen in (via slots) but hides the majority of the flash (where there are no slots).

Not sure if this is correct. Hope somebody else has the scientific explanation!
Link Posted: 10/17/2002 9:15:45 PM EDT
The above answer is incorrect. The correct answer is "magic".
Link Posted: 10/17/2002 9:33:44 PM EDT
I have always thought that the slots made it so the flammable gasses escape before being ignited...someone please correct me in I'm wrong.
Link Posted: 10/17/2002 9:38:02 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/17/2002 9:42:07 PM EDT by DevilsAdvocate]
The correct answer is as follows...

Unrestrained muzzle flash (at night) produces a large "balloon" of burning gases at the muzzle. This big "balloon" is easy to see from a distance and from many angles at a distance.

A birdcage-style flash-suppressor vents the combusting gases into a star-shaped pattern, with thin, sheet-like columns of gas.

It is much harder to see the star-pattern than than the "glowing balloon" pattern.

A REAL flash hider is almost built like a silencer and keeps the combusting gases INSIDE an almost-enclosed space.


EDITED: It is possible that unburned gases may not ignite. When the gases are forced through the flash-hider, they DO speed-up a little bit, but I would imagine that ignition sources are ALSO being sped-up. A flash-hider would do a good job at dispersing them though.
Link Posted: 10/17/2002 9:41:08 PM EDT

Originally Posted By DevilsAdvocate:
The correct answer is as follows...

Unrestrained muzzle flash (at night) produces a large "balloon" of burning gases at the muzzle. This big "balloon" is easy to see from a distance and from many angles at a distance.

A birdcage-style flash-suppressor vents the combusting gases into a star-shaped pattern, with thin, sheet-like columns of gas.

It is much harder to see the star-pattern than than the "glowing balloon" pattern.

A REAL flash hider is almost built like a silencer and keeps the combusting gases INSIDE an almost-enclosed space.



So hoe does the Phantom work without slots? Is it true that the Phantom is the best out there?
Link Posted: 10/17/2002 9:46:14 PM EDT
I think the Phantom may also have radial slots which would produce the same starburst effect, but I may be wrong.
Link Posted: 10/18/2002 6:01:38 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/18/2002 6:02:50 AM EDT by ipschoser1]
My theory... Unburnt powder particles are prevented from being ignited in the oxygen rich atmosphere by venting the hot gases (ignition source) out to the sides. The "ballooning" affect of a plain muzzle is known and the starburst pattern of a FS (and some muzzle brakes) does reduce it's duration and visibility greatly as mentioned previously. Interestingly, an A2 FS has a divergent duct shape for the gas path. In supersonic theory this is a shape that increases gas velocity. How this factors into flash suppression, IMHO, is to speed up the unburnt powder particles to reduce their exposure time for ignition.
Link Posted: 10/18/2002 6:30:17 AM EDT
I believe the starburst vs. ballooning explanation is correct.
I've always heard that fanthoms and vortexes were the best out there, but what about the longer 4" - 5.5" suppressors? It seems that these would hide more of the initial gas ignition, then dissipate the rest with the slots.
Link Posted: 10/19/2002 9:38:01 AM EDT
The shape and location of the slots, and shape of the interior area of a flash suppressor mix cool outside air with the muzzle gases in a manner to retard combustion of unburnt powder and flammable gases, and cool the combustion products already present, reducing their visual signature.

An A1 "birdcage" or A2 "half-birdcage" is not particularly efficient at this, so still produces the characteristic star-shaped muzzle signature. It is not just a redirection of a balloon, but a redirection, and reduction in magnitude.

The Phantom and Vortex designs are MUCH more efficient, and can reduce the visible signature much more than the military issue flash suppressors - sometimes even entirely eliminating visible muzzle flash (depending on environmental factors, barrel lenght, and the ammo/powder being used).

The original 3-prong flash suppressor was much more effective at suppressing muzzle flash than either the A1 or A2 style, but was changed (for reasons of which I'm not fully aware).
Link Posted: 10/19/2002 7:40:28 PM EDT
I ran some very unscientific tests a few years ago: Three guns, a Mini-14 w/Setscrew mounted Vortex, A stock Mini 14, and a AR15 A2 with 20" bbl. Ammo was USA ball.

The AR and the Mini 14 had equal flash signatures (note that the Mini 14 has a shorter bbl), which were a tenth as visible as the unsuppressed Mini 14. My girlfriend basically said she could see the flash and muzzle with the supressor, without the supressor she could see the whole gun, my face and close background objects.
Link Posted: 10/21/2002 2:28:17 PM EDT
The original 3-prong of the M16A1 was changed becaused it caught on vines and such.
It also could be loosened when using it to break the banding wire on cases of Viet-Nam era C-rations...just couldn't wait to get at them Ham & Mothers!
So during a rifle inspection, you excuse for having a loose flash suppressor was because you "had to used it to open C-Rations".
ColdBlue sends...
Link Posted: 10/21/2002 3:10:06 PM EDT
I still say its magic!
Link Posted: 10/23/2002 8:21:14 AM EDT
Does a flash suppressor do anything for recoil?
Link Posted: 10/23/2002 9:18:52 AM EDT
No. Except the A2 USGI will reduce muzzle climb somewhat due to its upward facing slots.
Link Posted: 10/23/2002 2:38:41 PM EDT
In my humble opinion, I find that there is a bit of a difference bettween the A2 and Phantom. I have had both on the same carbine. I find that the Phantom provides a bit more recoil. Not that there is much to begin with, but I found it noticable. I'm guessing that this is due to the change in direction of the escaping gases...I know it sounds silly to say, but...perhaps it's sent straight back 180 or so degrees, rather than at a 90 degree to the bbl with the A2? Although I haven't shot a Phantom in full auto, I have found in rapid semi fire, it QUITE effective. The A2 works well too, but...there's something to be seen with the phantom ....darkness and glow in the dark sights.
Link Posted: 10/23/2002 2:53:44 PM EDT
I've touched off my 16" AR at night and my Phantom FS works excellent. No flash whatsoever. None. I can see my tritium sights without any issues at all! The Phantom from what I've picked up on this board - IS the best FS out there. The Vortex is good too, but subject to damage more so than Phantom due to structural design. Again, that's the OVERALL consensus on AR15.com.

Everyone's got an opinion, but I can vouch for the Phantom - it truly eliminates all flash.
Link Posted: 10/23/2002 10:02:45 PM EDT

Originally Posted By new-arguy:
I still say its magic!



This is got to be the best answer. MAGIC!!
Link Posted: 10/24/2002 2:31:02 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SMGLee:

Originally Posted By new-arguy:
I still say its magic!



This is got to be the best answer. MAGIC!!



DUH!!! There are many mysteries about the AR15 rifle. Here's another explanation unfolded, but keep it low, and you didn't hear it from me.

There is also a little gerbil inside the lower receiver that takes the round from the mag, heaves it into the barrel, then takes a tiny gerbil-sledge and wails on the primer. Then, the gerbil tags out to the chipmunk who throws the bolt back and chucks the casing out the side.

I know what you're thinking...WHERE DOES THE GERBIL AND CHIPMUNK LIVE!!!

Slow down kids, I was getting to that. They live in the buttstock of course!

Tomorrow I'll explain how an AR misfeeds...
Link Posted: 10/24/2002 5:10:52 AM EDT
You are all wrong these are rifles of evil and blessed by witchcraft......But hey I`m getting another one soon!
Link Posted: 10/24/2002 5:41:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/24/2002 5:59:49 AM EDT by NORTH556]
This is based on the Vortex US Patent #5596161
from the US Patent Office website.
patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=/netahtml/srchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=5596
161.WKU.&OS=PN/5596161&RS=PN/5596161




"BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The flash suppressor of the present invention takes advantage of the aerodynamics of the propellant gases and projectile in a rifled barrel. The rifling imparts a spin on the bullet perpendicular to the direction of motion. This spin stabilizes the projectile as it travels through the air. The spinning of the projectile also imparts a spin on the adjacent trailing propellant and the shock wave ahead of the projectile, so that the leading air and trailing gas is rotating in the direction of the rifling (generally clockwise) as it exits the barrel. By employing offset, helical flutes in the same orientation as the gas rotation in a barrel extension, the flash suppressor of the present invention facilitates the radial and forward outward flow of the air ahead of the projectile and the exiting trailing propellant. The flutes extend all the way to the distal end of the device, so no barrier is presented to the forward and outward motion of the expanding air and gas. The rotational outward flow of the leading shock wave draws with it the air in the immediate vicinity of the muzzle, preventing oxygen from combining with the hot propellant gases immediately upon the propellant's exit from the muzzle. Directed outward expansion then cools the propellant and dissipates the unburned powder and also generates a vacuum to pull the remaining propellant behind the projectile outward away from the projectile.

The dissipation and cooling of the propellant gas not only suppresses the burning necessary for a flash, but also decreases recoil by directing a portion of the exiting propellant gases radially from the barrel and reduces muzzle lift by neutralizing some of the reaction to the torque generated by the spinning bullet. Finally, most of the propellant is drawn away from the projectile as it exits the firearm barrel, so that it does not exert a force to cause the projectile to yaw.

Thus it is one object of this invention to provide an improved form of flash suppressor to more effectively eliminate the post-exit propellant combustion and resultant visible flash attendant to discharging a firearm.

It is a further object of this invention to dissipate some of the reactive gas forces that contribute to the firearm recoil and muzzle lift.

It is a further object of this invention to draw the high-velocity exiting propellant away from the projectile to lessen the propellant's drag and the propellant's tendency to cause projectile yaw, thus leaving the projectile with greater velocity and stability. "

To summarize-The spinning shock wave ahead of the bullet moves forward and outward, drawing the air in the exit chamber with it. Propellant gas does not immediately ignite in the evacuated exit chamber due to a lack of oxygen, and then is expelled forward and outward through the flutes, cooling and dispersing the gas before it combines with enough oxygen to ignite. Drawing the gas outward also decreases friction on the spinning bullet, making the bullet's trajectory more stable, and decreases the reactive torque exerted by the spinning gas on the barrel.

You can search the US Patent Office site either by patent # or by description.

Happy Hunting
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