muzzle brakes and recoil reduction question

ReloadKy

Handloader
May 13, 2020
264
117
How much does a muzzle brake actually reduce recoil? I have done some research on this and some say 20% etc. I would like to know a practical answer if possible. For example, putting a muzzle brake on a 7mm rem mag will make recoil feel like a 270 with a 130 gr bullet. I have never shot a rifle with a muzzle brake so I have no practical knowledge of their of their felt benefit.

The reason I ask: my son has asked for a new rifle for Christmas. This is not going to happen this year as we are building a house so I am trying to plan for next Christmas. Thus, I want to start stockpiling components when I see them between now and then.

My thoughts: he shoots a 243 or a 7mm-08 with a 120 gr bullet now. By next Christmas he is going to grow a lot. If I can get him a new rifle like the Savage line that has the accustock that will allow the rifle to fit him for a lifetime. If I can get one that is threaded I can put a brake on that will allow me to either step up the bullet weight / recoil in the 7-08 or possible make a 270 win feel like a 7-08 or make a different caliber very manageable.

Your thoughts / help:
 

jimbires

Handloader
Aug 16, 2011
2,507
477
go to Nathans website ,and watch his test videos . my opinion is , his brakes can't be beat . he makes a top of the line brake at a affordable price . He has quick service too . the brake will make the rifle blast very loud , he will need ear protection while hunting .

https://muzzlebrakesandmore.com/
 

JD338

Range Officer
Staff member
Nov 4, 2004
22,145
1,847
Muzzle brakes do work and can reduce recoil dramatically. The down side is that the noise level goes up and hearing protection is a must. My wife has shot my 338 RUM with a muzzle brake and it doesn't bother her in the least. Although I haven't shot a 7mm Rem Mag with a brake, the recoil is similar to a 30-06. With a good brake, recoil should be similar to the 7-08.

JD338
 

mjcmichigan

Handloader
Dec 26, 2016
2,263
31
Son has a 300 WSM with a mangaport brake. Former owner claimed it reduced it to 308 recoil. We shoot heavy for caliber, where former owner shot 150’s.

The 220 ProHunter’s kick good with the brake.

I think mileage varies based on design profile.

The noise consideration is real.


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jjs405

Beginner
Dec 24, 2017
129
16
JD338":2r7x89f0 said:
Muzzle brakes do work and can reduce recoil dramatically. The down side is that the noise level goes up and hearing protection is a must. ....
JD338


I agree 100%. I notice a drastic reduction in recoil with my 30 Nosler, but it's also deafening. I carry earplugs when hunting now and put them in before the shot when I have time.

I made the mistake of being beside my daughter when she took a buck at 200 yds with her 7mm Rem Mag with a muzzle brake - Loudest thing I ever heard & I think that my left ear drum was bleeding (Not really), but something I'd never want to repeat.
 

Charlie-NY

Handloader
Mar 11, 2005
1,180
203
I assume that your son will be hunting if you're interested in larger capacity cartridges. With hunting in mind, AVOID brakes entirely, if you can. The noise, blast and concussion just aren't worth it. It's pretty easy to forget to put on your hearing protection in the moment that a game animal appears. Hearing damage caused by brakes is permanent and cumulative.

With todays modern hunting bullets, large cartridges that generate heavy recoil just aren't needed for most hunting. IMO the current trend is to use smaller cartridges then has been used in the past. The magnum mania era has past. The "Creedmoor" era is here and probably for good reason.

Just my 2 cents.
 

mjcmichigan

Handloader
Dec 26, 2016
2,263
31
Charlie is probably right.

If you can find a skeet/trap/sporting clays club near you, get your son shooting a box or two of 12 gauge target shells at clays…

Three benefits.
1) gets used to recoil over time… worked on my flincher.
2) gets better at not missing a bird…last trip out.. 19 shots, 19 birds…
3) father & son bonding time…

I guess the 4 th would be, they could follow Charlie’s recommendation… make the blast go down field.


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gbflyer

Handloader
Mar 28, 2017
914
88
They work well in what would be considered an overbore cartridge. Usually with anything “magnum” on the end of it. In my experience the juice isn’t worth the squeeze on standard cartridges. I have a braked 7-08 and the concussion bothers a young or inexperienced shooter more than the recoil without a brake does. It is more important to get a good stock fit and good scope eye relief. For recoil reduction, substituting lighter monos that go fast for your normal lead core will keep performance where you think it needs to be.
 

PJGunner

Handloader
Dec 11, 2010
1,859
473
I have a Winchester M70 Stainless Classic in .338 Win. Mag. that frankly flat out beats me to death.I had my gunsmith put a Decelerator pad and muzzle brake on the rifle and the damn thing still beats me to death. Yes, I had plugs and muffs both when I shot the rifle. The only thing I can figure is it must be the stock shape that's causing the problem. It's as unpleasant to shoot as my Ruger #1 .416 Rigby but at least the Rigby has an excuse. :roll:
Paul B.
 

IdahoCTD

Handloader
Nov 4, 2004
2,510
117
Muzzle brakes work with the gas volume of a cartridge to reduce recoil so the more overbore the more recoil they reduce typically. The design of the brake changes the effectiveness as well. Most drilled hole brakes, brakes with round holes around the whole circumference, will only reduce a maximum of about 30% of the recoil. They don't have enough surface area pushing forward when compared to baffled brakes. Baffled brakes have large vertical slots machined in to them. The more the ports are angled back towards the shooter the more recoil they typically reduce. The down side to that is the potential concussion the shooter is exposed to. Brakes rarely elevate the db level of a gun but they do change the direction of the noise. Many people say they make them louder and that isn't really the case. It just exposes the shooter more directly to the noise they make and adds in concussion. If the shooter shoots mostly prone, aggressive brakes like mine, rarely effect the shooter. Shooting from a bench, where your positioned to the side of the gun, can result in concussion. Some people can tolerate concussion and some cant. Those that don't like it are better off with a brake that doesn't have ports angle back towards the shooter. 90 degree ports give up performance but are still better than drilled hole brakes and rarely bother concussion sensitive people.

I shoot brakes on everything but I take the time to put ear plugs in. There are other db clipping devises like Walkers Game Ears that can be used and left in all the time to prevent hearing damage. My 2 kids, 9yo and 70lb and 10yo and 85lbs, both shoot a 6.5x47L with 147 ELDM's in a 7.5lb rifle using one of my brakes with ease. My 10yo just shot a 5x6 bull Tuesday night at 200yds with the same gun. His first big game animal ever. Never once have they flinched from the recoil. Most people do shoot better with muzzle brakes as long as they can tolerate the concussion.

Nathan
Muzzle Brakes and More
 

D21ALASKA

Beginner
Oct 29, 2013
210
110
My take on muzzle breaks is that they're awesome but they're also just for the range/practice with any given rifle so they have to be removable for the field. When shooting with one any Dr. would recommend double ear protection with them, i.e. plugs and muffs. This obviously isn't always feasible in the field and you WILL do permanent damage to your hearing shooting a muzzle break without protection, there's just no two ways around it. If you're recoil shy, or just plain want to shoot big bores more often, get one and use it in practice for the upcoming hunt. Anything that makes you shoot more is good. But before you leave for the field, unscrew it and throw it in the drawer. I've never heard anyone complain about recoil after pulling the trigger on an animal and with all that lead up practice with a soft recoil your form will be on point.

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Joec7651

Handloader
Apr 7, 2019
582
307
They are a personal choice. As for recoil reduction, it depends on how it’s made. Some work great others just make more noise. There’s no doubt that they all increase the noise level EXPONENTIALLY. They will also blow sh@t everywhere if it’s close to trees or bushes when you fire. The vented gasses will also blow the drivers side tail light out of your truck if it’s close enough. A little learning moment for me there. Lol.

Depending on the barrel, cutting the muzzle down and machining threads can frequently bell the muzzle. If that happens the rifle will never shoot consistently until that part of the barrel is removed and recrowned. This is caused by stresses in the steel. When the material is removed, hoop strength for that portion of the barrel is removed as well. It can create a loose spot in the bore right at the muzzle. That’s very bad. It’s much less prevalent in high end barrels, but if you have a brake added to a factory barrel it’s more likely.

I don’t use them because I don’t like the added noise, and to be honest I’m still a little salty over my long lost tail light. Long story short. To me there isn’t much if any advantage to a muzzle brake. Add the chance of belling the muzzle and I’ll pass.
 

ReloadKy

Handloader
May 13, 2020
264
117
Some very good information provided. Thank you all very much. This gives me plenty of info to ponder on over the next year. Currently leaning toward a brand new 7-08, start loads with the 120's and work to the 140/150's for elk later on.
 

Cleveland48

Handloader
Jul 28, 2015
1,939
65
I have two muzzle breaks I’ve used on my target rifles. One is an area 419 hellfire the other is the new Eric cortina tuner break. These are both self timing breaks. Both work awesome and easily allow you to spot long range hits on the target. Problem is I despise muzzle breaks lol. Pretty sure I’m fixing to retire both of mine and be done with it. I’m gonna use my target rifle some for deer this year and I don’t need to deal with forgetting ear plugs [emoji23]


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Nimrod84

Handloader
Feb 20, 2017
376
2
ReloadKY,

Sorry I'm late to the party.

Take a look at the testing at PRB - https://precisionrifleblog.com/. Brake design and amount of gas in the barrel make a very notable differences as to the amount of recoil reduction, sound signature, ability to stay on target, etc...

Just a few examples of the 9 or so different tests and write-ups on the site:

https://precisionrifleblog.com/2015/07/ ... 6mm-6-5mm/

https://precisionrifleblog.com/2015/07/ ... nt-rifles/

https://precisionrifleblog.com/2015/07/ ... reduction/

https://precisionrifleblog.com/2015/08/ ... ound-test/

https://precisionrifleblog.com/2015/08/ ... signature/
 

Darkhorse

Handloader
Mar 14, 2014
757
33
Many years ago I bought a Browning stainless stalker Lefthand in .300 win. mag. with the BOSS. The BOSS was both a muzzlebreak and tuner in one package. I bought this rifle to be my main elk rifle. Previously the 7mm Rem. mag was both my full time hunting rifle and my elk rifle. I have never been very sensitive to recoil but I readily admit heavy recoil can be a showstopper when attempting to develop your ultimate accuracy in a given platform.
Personally I like a muzzlebreak in .300 win. mag. and larger calibers.
So one day my son and I spent a day at my personal rifle range. We carried several different rifles in various calibers. But only two, my Browning .300 win. mag. and my son's .243 have a bearing in the discussion.
We spent a lot of time both at the bench and shooting from various positions, enough rounds were fired to draw comparison's between the two. We both used double hearing protection, ear plugs and muffs.
Off the bench the .300 was obviously a larger weapon in a harder kicking caliber while the .243 is known for lighter recoil. So it came as a surprise when the .300's fearsome recoil was tamed by the BOSS and actually kicked less than the .243. The recoil was barely noticeable shooting the .300 win. But the .243 had a noticeable sting.
I don't think much benefit would come from a muzzlebreak on a .308 or 6.5 Creedmore. But the break comes into it's own from say the .300 winchester magnum and larger. Exactly the calibers considered for elk and moose rifles.
 

Charlie-NY

Handloader
Mar 11, 2005
1,180
203
I spent last week hunting whitetails from a box blind in N Carolina. Just for the heck of it I was using a full custom rifle in 6.5 PRC with a side port brake. I kept a set of ear protectors right on the edge of the blind so I wouldn't forget to put them on if an animal appeared.

As luck would have it, a nice buck appeared on the tree line but was reluctant to step out. It gave me plenty of time to put the hearing protection on. Loosing the ability to hear your surroundings while trying to zero in on a deer compromises your senses and made me uncomfortable. You really want to see and hear everything around you when you're about to pull the trigger.

I have several rifles with brakes but brakes on hunting rifles just don't set well with me. IMO it's just better to use a cartridge that you can handle w/o a brake when hunting most game animals. As others have stated, you never feel the recoil when shooting at a game animal.

And yes - I could have removed the brake but the rifle/load was tuned with the brake in place.
 

diverdown

Handloader
Apr 29, 2015
469
89
Charlie, pick yourself up a set of Electronic Muffs. I use them for hunting (I'm pretty much deaf from the Military) and boy, what a difference.
 

bhruble

Beginner
Feb 5, 2022
5
4
I have shot a lot of rifles with muzzle brakes and the biggest down side is the noise . The loudest brakes I feel are the KDF's and the most quiet I shot with was the Vais brake . I also put a KDF brake on a Sako 75 Light Hunter in .338WM because it would just beat me up and still beat me up after brake installed ! Go figure ? I also think caliber makes a difference in noise . I had a long range prairie dog gun built some years ago in 6MM Ackley IMP wanted to see my hits so had a KDF brake installed , turned it into the loudest gun I have ever fired ! Had to wear ear plugs and muffs to keep my hearing ! Moral of the story is brakes work but be careful of your hearing !
 
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