cart SHOPPING CART You have 0 items

Discussion Forums

Search forums
Forum Index > Rifles general discussion > small calibre muzzle brakes

small calibre muzzle brakes

22 Jul 2015
@ 01:33 am (GMT)


What's the story with small calibres having muzzle brakes?
Any Recoil reduction is good, iv never experienced one... let's say small like .223.
But iv been standing behind a 300 wsm a fair way back in a covered shooting range with muffs on. And holy hell what a racket. It turned me right off!
But thinking as you do... I wear ear muffs with a .223 any way. And less Recoil is good.... maybe it's not so bad being a smaller round?
I'm sure iv even seen them in books on rim fire rifles...


22 Jul 2015
@ 04:13 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: small calibre muzzle brakes
Just another excuse for piss poor shooting technique Jason.

Hey look at me, I can pull the trigger with my dick and there's no recoil. I wonder if I can start up a D-Class competition.
22 Jul 2015
@ 06:16 am (GMT)


Re: small calibre muzzle brakes
Haha, that's the way nath, don't beat around the bush. Receiving loud and clear!
22 Jul 2015
@ 06:21 am (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: small calibre muzzle brakes
dam i love some of your comments nathan cracks me up every time.

i remember seeing one of those prepper programs (now im shit scared that my own shadows going to kill me haha) this guy had an ar with a million and 3 round magazine that would of made rambo jealous, and a big muzzle brake.
well him and his mate was sitting in there watch tower (deer hide/tree hut) showing how manly they were he let rips with his ar with his muzzle inside the hut, well his poor mate suffered the full blast of the muzzle brake while the shooter looked at him funny saying whats wrong.

well there goes Darwins theory
25 Jul 2015
@ 01:25 pm (GMT)

Charles Brabham

Re: small calibre muzzle brakes
I would say that good shooting technique is going to be good shooting technique, whether you are experiencing significant recoil effects or not.

Muzzle brakes are perhaps most widely used among rimfire benchrest shooters, folks who are generally recognized as good shots. If you do a web-search for aftermarket muzzle brakes, what you will find very often will be beautiful custom brakes designed specifically for rimfire benchresters.

When you get past the rimfires and small-caliber centerfire rounds are considered, the .223 for example, the advantage there lies in not losing your image of the target through the scope as you shoot. - You can see precisely where your shots are striking, and thus compensate for wind or elevation issues that affect small caliber a bit more that the fellows shooting long, heavy projectiles from the larger chamberings like a .300 mag might experience, for example.

With the larger, more powerful rounds, there is a definite advantage in a faster recovery so that the game animal can be observed through the scope as quickly as possible and, if necessary a second round can be applied before it goes over the ridge, behind the trees, etc.. One would hope that one shot will always suffice, but Murphy has his way with us at times, so it is wise to be ready for a possible second shot as rapidly as good accuracy will allow. A muzzle brake can make this possible much faster, a difference that can make or break a good hunt. We should always remember that the game animal must be considered first.

Some hunting guides, and people looking for something to complain about at shooting ranges tend to look down upon muzzle brakes, and it is for this reason that the optional brake designs that can be turned on or off, according to the situation are preferred. The Winchester/Browning BOSS, a combination barrel tuner and muzzle brake first offered this option. Now Ruger, Savage, and a few others have stepped up to offer brakes that can be activated or deactivated without affecting accuracy.

Hunters (and guides) that hunt where brakes are being utilized would be well-advised to look into the electronic ear-plugs that allow one to converse or hear the game moving, but will protect you automatically when a shot is fired.

The function of a muzzle brake strictly as a recoil reducer on hunting rifles is largely dependent upon the velocity and volume of the gasses being expelled, following the bullets exit from the barrel. The higher the velocity and volume of those gasses, the more difference that the muzzle brake will make. Older shooters, and shooters with shoulder injuries can thus use cartridges that would be too much for them, otherwise.

This is why a brake is going to tend to make more of a difference with a .300 magnum for example than it will with a 45-70. The amount of recoil reduction is directly proportional to the velocity and volume of the gasses being expelled, so with a lower pressure round, you will see less reduction.

There being no such thing as a free lunch, users of muzzle brakes on hunting rifles must wear better quality hearing protection, must put up with complaints from folks who do not understand why they are used, and must count upon the weapon being at least two inches longer, and thus more ungainly to that extent.

I would not purchase a muzzle brake that cannot be deactivated at will, but that's just me. Many shooters utilize them full-time without difficulty. - Situational awareness is the key, here. A good rule of thumb would be to avoid public shooting ranges (a good idea in any case) and carry extra hearing electronic hearing protection for unprepared hunting partners and guides.

Kind regards,
Charles Brabham
Alpine, Texas
25 Jul 2015
@ 09:23 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: small calibre muzzle brakes
Some good points Charles but also some missing info there.

If you have a brake that can be turned off and on, you will need to resight the rifle in or dial for the difference in POI. If using a high caliber, the POI difference may be several inches away topwards the 1:30 or 2 Oclock position. You can't just turn off a brake to make your guide happy and then go hunting. The POI issue has to be addressed one way or another. And besides, why have the damned thing only to turn it off when you need it most. If you practice with the brake, then turn the brake off for hunting with a guide, there is a risk that your shooting technique will have deteriorated due to practice without recoil.

If you or your guide has a pointer or recovery dog, the dog is going to wear it if you use a brake in the field. This is utterly cruel. I keep cotton balls for my dog and although he also has ear muffs, the ear muffs do not stay on. The dog has learned that he has to stay behind the shooter in a direct line and I have modified the brake designs for my rifles cut down noise.

My ears still ring after wearing grade 5 protection when shooting with modern brake designs. So for range work, I have to wear ear plugs and ear muffs. Most people don't. Most don't really understand the long term consequences.

Some of the most popular designs have proven to me to be the worst in the field, throwing gas into the eyes, especially during a head wind. Safety glasses help very little. In the summer, if there is no time to lay down a mat, dust can be thrown back, curves in a cross wind, gets behind glasses and into the eyes. The net result is a loss of sight for up to 20 seconds or more, no chance of a follow up shot.

Another problem with some of the current popular designs is that recoil to the shoulder is replaced by a shock wave slap to the face. When speaking to other industry peers, comments come up such as "felt like I had a bleeding nose". The sight picture simply cannot be maintained with this type of effect, it's a false economy.

You still have to work the bolt on a bolt action so there is no such thing as a double tap follow up shot anyway. The re-acquisition of a target with a high zoom scope takes practice, there is no way around this.

From my statements, you might think that I do not use brakes but this is not true. I do have braked rifles and outlined what I believe to be key factors in my long range rifles book. But I stand by what I have said- brakes are these days, an excuse for piss poor shooting technique. The same goes for suppressors, yet I am not against these either. It is when, how and why we employ these tools that is of interest to me.

There are many readers here who have been under my shooting instruction and know exactly why I am saying this. There are also a lot of people being beaten around by recoil not due to the power of their cartridge, but due to poor shooting technique.

People really get fooled into brakes solving all of their problems. But what people do not understand is that brakes can introduce a whole new set of problems. Spend enough time with different types of rifles and brakes and you will soon come across these problems.

As for brakes on the likes of the .223. I held back on this because I did not want to appear racist but you have forced my hand Charles. In NZ (where this question was posted), brakes are one type of item that is considered cool amongst young Asian hunters. They are a fashion accessory for a naive group of shooters. It has nothing to do with rifle accuracy. My apologies to my regular Asian Kiwi readers (who do care about accuracy).

25 Jul 2015
@ 09:50 pm (GMT)

Chris Murphy

Re: small calibre muzzle brakes
We'll put Nathan the other thing not mentioned Charles is rifle weight and stock design relating to felt recoil. And the weight of a bench rest .22 over comes the inertia (sorry not sure of spelling) of the gas an projectile exiting the muzzle so there will not be enough recoil to put you off target. Even a standard tikka t3 .308 with correct technique you will be able to spot your shots. Not so much if you don't hold her and use the fashionable crossed arm method. A gun's like a woman, it's all how you hold her.
26 Jul 2015
@ 12:26 am (GMT)


Re: small calibre muzzle brakes
Nathan where do you get the dog ear muffs?
I was at the range again the other day. Don't you hate it when you lie down... I do others use a bench. And then firing starts to find out there's a guy with a brake.
This guy had a 3006 on a bench I was lying down he would of been a good five positions down with nobody in between. And yes Nathan. The shock wave! It was enough to make me flinch. His turned off as well. And talking to him, he was a nice guy, starting with Me giving him shit, what's that noisey f'n thing! He basicly said oh its hard to shoot with out it. It really takes the boot out. But straight away I could see his problem it was a light weight rifle. Sauer? Is it?
His 60 odd grains and my 72 odd grains. And I'm unbraked. Medium? Weight sendero.
I really hate the things! Yeah maybe they have a place, but that noise is just too much for me, I'd rather carry weight.
I thought maybe a small calibre might be ok, as lower noise level. But maybe I'm sensitive I'd rather Recoil than any extra noise. specially as seen as it's manageable recoil, sure if I had a 338 edge or something it might be a real help, but I don't have one.
Anyway good input guys. At this stage I don't need a muzzle brake on anything I own.
26 Jul 2015
@ 11:19 pm (GMT)

Martin Taylor

Re: small calibre muzzle brakes
My son & I are about to build a 223, wish l’ d known it needed a brake to be shot accurately as l would have ordered it with a threaded muzzle. Damn.

If a shooter cannot recover sight picture after firing a small calibre like a 223 or simliar at it's medium/maximum effective ranges they are doing things horribly, horribly wrong. Set up your gear and get some techneqiue worked out as Chris & Jason have said.

Justifing brakes on small cal's, give me a bloody break....... I will stop my ranting there and not type the rest of what l was thinking!
27 Jul 2015
@ 06:52 am (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: small calibre muzzle brakes
So do they carry a rest bench around with them hunting. For their bench rest shooting ? Oh yeah and is the rest bench needed because of the heavy weight of the Pizzle brake? I will keep a lookout for a rest bench in the bushes in case I need a snooze.


We are a small, family run business, based out of Taranaki, New Zealand, who specialize in cartridge research and testing, and rifle accurizing.