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Muzzle Brakes

Muzzle Brakes: Field Test Overview & Line-Up

This is the first post in a series that will cover the results from an epic muzzle brake field test. This represents an unprecedented, data-driven approach to evaluating the best precision rifle muzzle brakes on the market. Hundreds of hours have gone into this research, and the tests I conducted are built on advice and feedback from some of the most respected experts in the industry. This included leading manufacturers, top shooters, gunsmiths, mechanical engineers, university faculty, and defense contractors who have done similar work for the military. Thanks to all the guys that helped me with this!

I tested 20+ muzzle brakes in many ways, including:

  • Recoil Reduction – I was able to directly measure the entire recoil signature of each muzzle brake using high-speed sensors. I fired over 1,000 rounds of match-grade ammo through 4 different rifles, ranging from a mid-sized 6mm to the monster 300 Norma Magnum. Although the recoil cycle happens very quickly (around 1/100th of a second), my test equipment could record up to 1,000 force data points during a single recoil cycle! So I was able to gather a lot of high-resolution data that was consistent and repeatable. I literally spent thousands of dollars on this part of the test, because I wanted to ensure I got it right. There is very little published on this subject, especially from an independent source. So I felt like this could be a valuable contribution to the shooting community.
  • Ability To Stay On Target David Tubb helped me develop this part of the test, because he believes this is the most important aspect of a muzzle brake. Using lasers and high-speed cameras, I was able to objectively quantify how well each design helped you stay on target.
  • Noise Level – Muzzle brakes are loud, but some are louder than others … like 3-4 times as loud. I enlisted the help of a seasoned veteran from the suppressor industry to help me precisely measure how much louder each muzzle brake made a rifle. We tested in accordance with MIL-STD-1474D using calibrated military-approved equipment, and we tested the noise level at the shooter’s position. This produced some interesting results.

Then I took a lot of high-resolution photos and videos of each brake. I also collected other information about each model (including price, whether it requires gunsmithing, what calibers it is available in, etc.) to make it easy to compare them side-by-side.

Keep in mind this is a field test, not a laboratory test … and I’m not claiming it’s flawless. I did put my best effort into this being as objective, precise, and unbiased as practically possible using the best equipment I could afford. My goal with this project was to equip fellow long-range shooters with as much hard data as I could reasonably gather, so they can make more informed decisions.

Honestly, I’d been dreaming about doing this test for over a year. I ended up spending twice as much money on this test as I made off the website all of last year! But, I’ve always been in the red on this website. I don’t do this for money, I do it to learn and to help people. It’s my way of giving back to the shooting community, and promoting this sport I’m so passionate about.

I’m also hoping this helps us understand what designs are most effective. There are a ton of designs out there, and even the leading manufacturers would tell you for the most part they’re just winging it. They put thought into the design, but at the end of the day, many are just drilling holes in metal, then taking it to the range and asking each other “Well, you think that one was better?” There is virtually no data-driven aspect to design. That’s why many manufacturers were excited when I approached them about this, because they’d love to have some hard data to guide them. In fact, a few sent me prototypes of new designs to try out for them. Some are even buying test equipment identical to what I used to aid in future designs. In the Carlucci’s textbook on Ballistics: Theory and Design of Guns & Ammunition, there is a section on muzzle devices, and at the end of that section he says “Research in this field is still in its infancy …” I couldn’t agree more. I hope this research project somehow helps further our understanding, and ultimately helps each of the companies design more effective brakes in the future. If that happens, we all win.

I hope you guys find this as interesting and helpful as I have. I’m excited to share all the results with you!

Muzzle Brake Line-Up

This test was focused on muzzle brakes designed for precision rifles in 6mm through 30 caliber. I used four rifles during testing, including a 6XC, 6.5 Creedmoor, 308 Win, and 300 Norma Magnum. I may do another test in the future focused on brakes designed for AR-15’s or large magnums (i.e. 338 Lapua to 50 BMG), because both of those seem to get you in a totally different type of product. But for this test, I narrowed my focus to allow me to more thoroughly test that range of calibers the majority of precision rifle shooters are interested in.

I started by including the most popular precision rifle brakes. All muzzle brakes used by more than 2 of the top 50 shooters in the PRS are represented (see the data). I also tried to represent the wide variety of the designs that are available. Here are the muzzle brakes represented in this field test:

Muzzle Brakes

Why didn’t you include …?!

If you’re upset that I didn’t include your favorite muzzle brake … I’ll give you a full refund! 😉 I hope you can still learn something from the test. If I do another brake test in the future, I may ask my readers to vote on which models are included. But on this one, I wanted to test all the brakes the top shooters are using … so these likely represent the “best of breed.”

I’d beware of bold claims regarding “how much better” other brakes are compared to these. There likely are other great designs out there, but many make impressive performance claims … and some of the hard data from these tests stands in contrast to those. It’s easy to market bloated numbers like “70+% recoil reduction” without any empirical testing to back that up. I’m not trying to knock anyone, but my advice is to approach with a healthy skepticism. If it sounds too good to be true, demand the data the claims are based on. If they don’t provide it … run.

Ultimately, I hope this test gives all manufacturers info they can use to improve their designs. It provides fresh insight into the competition, shows what works well, what doesn’t seem to be working, and what precision shooters are looking for. Part of the motivation behind my thoroughness was in hopes that I’ll be able to buy an even better muzzle brake for my rifle 2 years from now! This field test has already been a catalyst for conversations, and I hope it ignites some innovation over the next year or two. It’ll be fun to see what comes out!

The Contestants

I wanted to go through each brake, point out a few notable features, and things you might keep in mind.

A couple of the things I’ll touch on are how “do-it-yourself” each brake is. By that, I mean are you able to just order it and thread it onto your barrel without the help of a gunsmith? There are two parts to that:

  • Requires Gunsmith To Bore Hole: Some brakes require a gunsmith to bore them to the desired caliber, and others allow you to order the caliber you want. Where I list out the calibers the brake is available in, I only include the calibers that are available with a 5/8×24 thread pattern, since that is the industry standard for calibers this test was focused on.
  • Requires Timing or Shim: Some directional brakes must be “timed” to your specific barrel by a gunsmith, so that when it’s tightened down, the ports are pointing in the right directions. An alternative to this is using some type of shim kit, crush washer, peel washer, or locking nut.

DIY Muzzle Brake Timing Options Shim Kit, Crush Washer, Locking Nut

I’ll also list out the weight, length, and price of each brake. Note that those reflect the specific models/versions I tested, and all pricing is as of August 2015. Pricing is for informational purposes only, and subject to change without notice. Visit the manufacturer’s website for the latest information.

Alamo Four Star Cowl Induction Brake – Alamo Four Star is known for their rock-solid tripod and optics mounts, so it surprised me when multiple people suggested I look into the new muzzle brake they were working on. When that came from industry experts like David Tubb, it peaked my curiosity … so I contacted the guys at Alamo and included their brand new design in the test. It has some fundamental differences from any brakes I’ve seen. I had one of these in 30 caliber and 6.5mm. They should have a 6mm version available soon, but didn’t at the time. The 6.5mm brake was used for the 6mm cartridge in my tests.
Alamo Four Star Muzzle Brake

I wanted to highlight its patented baffle design, because it is so unique:

Alamo Four Star Muzzle Brake Baffle Design

You can see the 1st and 3rd baffles stop short of the bore, while the 2nd and 4th baffles come all the way in and have a little cup to help divert gas. Mark Deros, the designer of the brake, believes when those 1st and 3rd baffles are machined away from the bullet path, it allows more gas to expand and hit the 2nd and 4th baffles, which he calls “wind sails.” Most of the work is done by the 2nd and 4th baffle. That’s a novel approach.

  • Requires Gunsmith To Bore Hole: No (available in 6mm, 6.5mm, 30 Cal)
  • Requires Timing or Shim: Yes
  • Weight: 6 ounces
  • Length: 2.9 inches
  • Price: $139

 

American Precision Arms Little B* and Fat B* – These were the most popular muzzle brakes among the top 50 shooters in the PRS in 2014. They look like very effective designs, and the Gen II version includes a nice integral locking nut that I will talk more about later. The B* actually stands for bastard, but honestly I don’t like cussing and try to keep my website PG-13 … so I’m not going to say that name again. I had Little B* brakes in 6mm, 6.5mm, and 30 caliber. The Fat B* is primarily designed for large magnum cartridges, so they don’t make it in 6mm or 6.5mm. I only tested it on the 30 caliber cartridges.APA Little Bastard Muzzle BrakeAPA Fat Bastard Muzzle Brake

APA’s integral locking nut is a very slick feature. There is essentially a locking nut built into the brake to make timing painless. No need for shim kits, crush washers, or Loctite. You just screw on the brake, and then adjust the integral locking nut and a crescent wrench to time the brake to the barrel. It is simple, and gives you a clean look, without the little gap you see with all the shim approaches. It makes moving the brake from one rifle to another simple, and you don’t give up much (if any) in terms of aesthetics.

You have the option of a Gen 1 and a Gen 2 version of this brake. The only difference is the Gen 2 features the integral locking nut. The Gen 1 is like most other brakes in this test, in that it must be “tuned” to a specific barrel or used with some kind of shim kit. This brake is also available in a huge array of calibers.

APA Little B* Details:

  • Requires Gunsmith To Bore: No (available in 22 cal, 6mm, 25 cal, 6.5mm, 270 cal, 7mm, 30 cal, 338 cal)
  • Requires Tuning or Shim: No (Gen II model I tested doesn’t, but Gen I does)
  • Weight: 4.2 ounces
  • Length: 2.2 inches
  • Price: $160 (That is the price for the Gen II model I tested, the Gen I version is $125)

APA Fat B* Details:

  • Requires Gunsmith To Bore Hole: No (available in 7mm, 30 cal, 338 cal)
  • Requires Tuning or Shim: No (Gen II model I tested doesn’t, but Gen I does)
  • Weight: 7.1 ounces
  • Length: 3.3 inches
  • Price: $185 (That is the price for the Gen II model I tested, the Gen I version is $150)

 

Badger Ordnance FTE Muzzle Brake – Badger is quickly becoming a legendary brand, and they were the 2nd most popular brake among the top 50 shooters in the PRS this past year. These are also standard choices on precision rifles made by Surgeon Rifles and GA Precision, and their recommendations carry a lot of weight. This brake requires gunsmithing, so you could bore it to any caliber you wanted. I only had a 30 caliber version of this brake. This brake design is a little different, because the barrel has be contoured to a very specific diameter for it to work with it’s clamp-on mount. So I wasn’t able to use it on all of the rifles.
Badger Muzzle Brake

 

  • Requires Gunsmith To Bore Hole: Yes
  • Requires Tuning or Shim: No
  • Weight: 8.9 ounces
  • Length: 3.0 inches
  • Price: $150

Center Shot Rifles Blast Tamer – These muzzle brakes were designed by Jim See, a veteran and accomplished shooter in the precision rifle world. He is one of the few guys who has finished in the top 20 overall every year since the PRS’s inception. These Blast Tamer brakes are also very popular among the top shooters in the PRS. Jim is a sharp guy, and I know he put a ton of thought into his design, so I was excited to have his brakes represented. I included a few different variations of the Blast Tamer design, based on Jim’s recommendations. The mini was bored to 6mm, the clamp-on came ready to go on a 6.5mm, and the big 4 port brake was bored for the 30 calibers.
Center Shot Rifles Blast TamerBlast Tamer Muzzle BrakeCenter Shot Rifles CSR Muzzle Brake

  • Requires Gunsmith To Bore Hole: Yes, except clamp-on design which is available in 6.5mm or 30 caliber
  • Requires Tuning or Shim: Yes, except clamp-on design
  • Weight: Clamp-On = 5.0 oz., Round = 3.5 oz., 4-Port = 6.3 oz.
  • Length: Clamp-On = 2.1 in., Round = 1.9 in., 4-Port = 2.6 in.
  • Price: Clamp-On = $115, Round = $80, 4-Port = $90 (includes shipping)

 

Holland Radial Baffle Quick Discharge Muzzle Brakes – Darrell Holland has made muzzle brakes since the 70’s, which is way before any of these other guys. His designs have inspired most of the models you see on the market, and he continues to come out with improved versions. He is truly a pioneer in this area. His latest innovation is the Radial Baffle brake, which Darrell says “trap the gas and divert it around the shooter in a rearward direction, increasing the recoil reduction over a 90 degree exhaust pattern. Radial baffles increase the surface area for the gas to work against, providing exceptional performance.” I had caliber-specific versions for 6mm, 6.5mm, and 30 caliber in both the 0.985” profile and 1.25” profile versions of this brake.
Holland Muzzle Brake

  • Requires Gunsmith To Bore Hole: Yes
  • Requires Tuning or Shim: Yes
  • Weight: 985” = 4.0 ounces, 1.25” = 6.4 ounces
  • Length: 2.6 inches
  • Price: $170

Impact Precision Muzzle Brake – These muzzle brakes are made by Wade Stuteville and Tate Streater, who are both accomplished shooters in the PRS. Wade was shooting competitions when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, was the 2012 PRS Overall Points Champion, and is very well-respected in the precision rifle community. They came out with this brake design last year, and it is already one of the most popular muzzle brakes among top shooters in the PRS. This brake is available in caliber-specific options, and I had one in 6mm, 6.5mm, and 30 caliber.
Impact Precision Muzzle Brake

  • Requires Gunsmith To Bore Hole: No (available in 6mm, 6.5mm, 30 caliber)
  • Requires Tuning or Shim: No
  • Weight: 3.8 ounces
  • Length: 1.9 inches
  • Price: $105

JEC Customs Recoil Reduction Muzzle Brake – This has been a perennial favorite among PRS shooters, and is a very streamlined, elegant design. I used this brake last year on my quest to build the ultimate precision rifle. With “Recoil Reduction” in the name, I had to include it. 😉 I owned a 6mm version of this muzzle brake. I tried to contact JEC for 6.5mm and 30 caliber brakes for these tests, but wasn’t ever able to get in touch with them.
JEC Muzzle Brake

  • Requires Gunsmith To Bore Hole: No (available in 22 cal, 6mm, 6.5mm, 7mm, 30 cal)
  • Requires Tuning or Shim: Yes
  • Weight: 4.1 ounces
  • Length: 2.2 inches
  • Price: $110

JP Large Profile Compensator – JP claims this design should have performance on par with the JP Recoil Eliminator (the next brake in the line-up), but with a slimmer, more conventional appearance. These are slightly larger than their popular 3-gun compensators, which provides a little more performance without a radical aesthetic departure. JP only offers this brake in 30 caliber (at least for the appropriate thread).
JP Compensator

  • Requires Gunsmith To Bore Hole: No (available in 30 cal)
  • Requires Tuning or Shim: Yes
  • Weight: 5.4 ounces
  • Length: 2.8 inches
  • Price: $100

JP Recoil Eliminator – This iconic brake is often lovingly called “the Tank,” because it looks like the T-style muzzle brake on a World War II tank. It is easy to spot. While the aesthetics may be hard for some to get past, I wanted to know just how effective it was compared to these other designs. JP only offers this brake in 30 caliber (at least for the appropriate 5/8×24 thread).
JP Recoil Eliminator

  • Requires Gunsmith To Bore Hole: No (available in 6mm and 308)
  • Requires Tuning or Shim: Yes
  • Weight: 6.1 ounces
  • Length: 2.4 inches
  • Price: $100

OPS Accuracy Tuning Brake – I’m clearly a research nerd, and when I built my first custom rifle … I did a ton of research on every part. After reading a ton of forum threads, this is the brake I bought for that rifle. I was excited to see how the empirical data stacked up to the hype I read online. OPS would never respond when I reached out to them, so I only had my personal brake to test, which was 30 caliber. Note: I did have this brake Cerakoted. You can’t buy the brake in the color shown.
OPS Muzzle Brake

  • Requires Gunsmith To Bore Hole: No (available in 6mm, 30 cal, 338 cal)
  • Requires Tuning or Shim: Yes
  • Weight: 3.0 ounces
  • Length: 2.7 inches
  • Price: $116

Seekins Precision ATC Muzzle Brake – This is a very unique design that I noticed when 1 of the top shooters in the PRS used it in 2013. I originally didn’t plan to include this brake, but a friend handed me theirs one day. It seemed different from traditional muzzle brake designs, almost a mix between a Vias brake, a Holland brake, and something completely new. I was intrigued. This is only offered in 30 caliber (at least for the appropriate 5/8×24 thread).
Seekins Precision Muzzle Brake

  • Requires Gunsmith To Bore Hole: No (available in 30 caliber)
  • Requires Tuning or Shim: Yes (includes a knurled locking nut to make timing easier)
  • Weight: 3.5 ounces
  • Length: 2.4 inches
  • Price: $129

Shrewd Muzzle Brake – This is the bestselling muzzle brake on Brownell’s. If that wasn’t enough, I also wanted to include at least one unidirectional design, to see how effective they were compared to these other designs. Unidirectional just means it ports gas in every direction. Many precision rifle shooters avoid this type of design because it tends to kick up dirt and debris when shooting from the prone position. Hunters like the look of it, because it can be blended to match the contour of the barrel. But how effective is it compared to these other designs? I’ve heard a lot of guys speculate, but I wanted to see the hard data. The company that makes this wasn’t interested in sending a brake to test. They actually told me “We don’t have any problem selling our brakes.” So, I bought one out-of-pocket, bored it to 30 caliber, and used it on all the tests.
Shrewd Muzzle Brake

  • Requires Gunsmith To Bore Hole: Yes
  • Requires Tuning or Shim: No
  • Weight: 3.8 ounces
  • Length: 2.6 inches
  • Price: $60

Surefire SOCOM Muzzle Brake – This is the Thread-Over Muzzle Brake (TOMB) designed to work with the popular line of Surefire suppressors. Although Surefire suppressors don’t seem to be as popular in the precision rifle world as some other brands, I do see some shooters running these muzzle brakes on high-end rifles. This is only offered in 30 caliber (at least for the appropriate 5/8×24 thread).
Surefire Muzzle Brake

  • Requires Gunsmith To Bore Hole: No (available in 30 cal)
  • Requires Tuning or Shim: Yes
  • Weight: 3.3 ounces
  • Length: 2.7 inches
  • Price: $150

Thunder Beast (TBAC) Compact Brake – This is the Thread-Over Muzzle Brake (TOMB) designed to work with the new line of Thunder Beast suppressors, which are the most popular suppressors among the top 50 PRS shooters. It is a relatively small brake, and I thought including a compact brake like this would help us understand how size plays into the equation. This is only offered in 30 caliber (at least for the appropriate 5/8×24 thread).
ThunderBeast Muzzle Brake

  • Requires Gunsmith To Bore Hole: No (available in 30 cal)
  • Requires Tuning or Shim: Yes
  • Weight: 2.1 ounces
  • Length: 1.7 inches
  • Price: $125

TriDelta T6 Muzzle Brake – During testing, I referred to this as “The Amazon Special.” Years ago, a friend of mine heard of guys using muzzle brakes and thought he’d try one out. He didn’t have clue what to look for, so he just went on Amazon and ordered one. He said it was $20-30 at the time. He has upgraded since then, but still had this in a drawer. We thought it’d be fun to see what kind of performance you could expect from such a “cost-effective,” impulse buy. It does have great reviews on Amazon. 😉
TriDelta Muzzle Brake

  • Requires Gunsmith To Bore Hole: No (available in 30 cal)
  • Requires Tuning or Shim: Yes
  • Weight: 4.7 ounces
  • Length: 2.9 inches
  • Price: $55

Tubb Precision Muzzle BrakeDavid Tubb has won more NRA National Championships than any other competitive rifleman in history. This is his own design, and it has a few distinctive features. First, it’s specifically designed to be “tuned.” In the 22 LR rimfire benchrest world (yes, Virginia, there is such a thing), barrel tuners are commonplace. They don’t handload rimfire ammo. Since they can’t tune their ammo to their rifle, they’ve found a way to tune their rifle to factory ammo. David brought that same idea to centerfire rifles. The included lock nut allows you to move the muzzle brake in and out on the muzzle to tune vibrational nodes. David says that has been proven to enhance accuracy. You can also adjust the brake rotationally to eliminate sideways or angular movement of the muzzle during firing.

Virtually all of these brakes were available with a 5/8×24 thread, which has become the standard for muzzle devices in these calibers. That was true for all of them except the Tubb Precision Muzzle Brake, which is only available in a 3/4×28 thread. I tried to find a thread adapter for that, but after calling multiple manufacturers … I became convinced it didn’t exist. So I had to barter with a gunsmith to build a custom thread adapter so I could include the Tubb brake. It required a skilled gunsmith to ensure it was 100% concentric and it was labor intensive (read expensive), but I’m glad I found a way to include that brake in the test.
Tubb Muzzle Brake

  • Requires Gunsmith To Bore Hole: No (available in 6mm)
  • Requires Tuning or Shim: Yes (comes with really nice locking nut)
  • Weight: 3.7 ounces
  • Length: 2.0 inches
  • Price: $120

West Texas Ordnance Muzzle Brake – This is a new design by a couple of precision rifle gunsmiths and competitive shooters in Texas. At first glance, it looks like the JEC design, but it has one elongated port and several other design changes like a recessed target crown, slimmer profile, 90° baffles for less blowback, etc. It is a really sharp-looking brake, and a little more compact than most of the others represented.
West Texas Ordnance WTO Muzzle Brake

  • Requires Gunsmith To Bore Hole: No (available in 6mm, 6.5mm, 7mm, 30 cal)
  • Requires Tuning or Shim: Yes
  • Weight: 2.0 ounces
  • Length: 2.1 inches
  • Price: $110

So that’s our line-up. I’m sure there are others that could have or maybe even should have been included, but since I can’t test an infinite amount of muzzle brakes in my spare time … these are what I landed with. I did try to reach out to a couple other manufacturers like Vias Arms, but they weren’t interested in being in the test. Their design appears very similar to the Shrewd brake, so I’d expect the performance to be similar. A few manufacturers weren’t interested in sending me one of their brakes to test, so I ended up buying a few of these out-of-pocket or borrowed them from friends. Overall, I think this is a well-rounded group of muzzle brakes designed for precision rifles.

Several manufacturers ship their muzzle brakes with an undersized hole, which requires them to be bored by a gunsmith to the desired caliber. Boo! That can cost $100 per brake … but luckily, West Texas Ordnance was excited about me doing this test, and they wanted to help me make it happen. So they were willing to donate 6 hours of gunsmithing to get all of these brakes ready to go. If they wouldn’t have done that, I couldn’t have included a few of these brakes. Thank you guys!

Pricing Summary

Here is a price break-down of the different models included (as of August 2015). You can see the majority were in that $100-125 price range, with a few being over and a couple under.

Muzzle Brake Price

How Results Will Be Published

There are many aspects that go into a muzzle brake’s performance, so I conducted a lot of different tests. I gathered a ton of data. Instead of disappearing for a couple of months while I write all this content, I’m planning to publish the results for different aspects as I work through the data. That should get them in your hands faster, but because I’m still crunching all the data, creating the charts/graphics, and writing the content … there will be a week or two between each post. Please be patient with me.

I promise I’m as excited to get you the data as you are to see it! 😉

Want to be the first to know when the next set of results is posted? Sign-up to receive new posts via email.

Other Post in this Series

This is just one of a whole series of posts related to this muzzle brake field test. Here are links to the others:

  1. Field Test Overview & Line-Up: Overview of how the tests, what brakes were included, and which were caliber-specific.
  2. Recoil Reduction Results: Let’s get right to the meat!
    1. Recoil Primer, Test Equipment & Rifles: Explains how I tested, and what equipment and rifles were used.
    2. Results for 6XC and 6.5 Creedmoor: Recoil results for the mid-sized 6mm and 6.5mm rifles.
    3. Results for 308 Win and 300 Norma Mag: Recoil results for the mid-sized 30 caliber and large magnum 300 rifles.
    4. Summary: Overview of recoil results from all rifles, and overall ratings of each muzzle brake.
  3. Ability to Stay on Target: Lasers and high-speed cameras were used to objectively quantify how well each muzzle brake helps you stay on target through a shot.
  4. Sound Test: A high-end sound meter was used to measure how loud each brake was to the side of the rifle and at the shooter’s position behind the rifle.
  5. Muzzle Blast & Ground Signature: High-speed videos were shot of each brake to show the direction of the muzzle blast, and the impact that could have on the shooter.
  6. Overall Summary: Putting all the results together in a summary that is easy to take in, and do side-by-side comparison, allowing you to draw your own conclusions on what muzzle brake is best for your situation.

About Cal

Cal Zant is the shooter/author behind PrecisionRifleBlog.com. Cal is a life-long learner, and loves to help others get into this sport he's so passionate about. Cal has an engineering background, unique data-driven approach, and the ability to present technical information in an unbiased and straight-forward fashion. For more info, check out PrecisionRifleBlog.com/About.

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87 comments

  1. Cal, what can I say. I just love your approach and attitude to these projects. It’s really inspirational stuff. I don’t even use a brake but I cannot wait for the next installment in this series. Thank you for taking the time and money to do this stuff. I know you don’t do this for praise but I hope you get enough from the community. So again from me, thank you.

    • Thanks, Vegeta. I appreciate the encouragement.

    • Thanks for the in depth studies, I used to love the articles Rick Jamison did years ago.
      I’ve got a TBAC 30BAS, 30CB9, and an Ultra-7 & 9 on the way. I’m going to bore scope them before shooting, then test them side by side. I want to know how TBAC was able to cut weight, add a 17-4 SS blast chamber, make it much quieter AND stronger.

      • Thanks! I have a TBAC 30P-1, and will probably get one of the new ones they have. I can’t decide between the Ultra-7 or Ultra-9.

        I told Zak about this test that I was doing and he actually drove down (several hours) to test his new line of suppressors on my recoil test system. He wanted to be able to provide that data. I will probably publish that stuff at some point on here. I also talked him into bringing down his really expensive sound meter setup with him, and that is how I was able to measure the noise level on all these muzzle brakes. That equipment can cost several thousands dollars or more, so I wouldn’t have been able to do it if he didn’t let me borrow his setup.

        I’m just as curious as you are about how they were able to get the results they were able to achieve on the new line of suppressors. Seems like magic, but I can now verify first-hand that they are amazing. Wish I had one in my hands already!

        Thanks,
        Cal

    • thanks for the help

  2. I’m in the marked for a muzzle break for a new build. I’ve been dancing back and forth between a few different ones based off of recommendations from the builder and past experience from other rifles. Perfect timing for this series to come out.

    • Awesome, Jon. Glad to hear it. There is a big difference in performance, and I think it may surprise a few people which of these ends up on top … and which land towards the bottom of the pack. So stay tuned! I’ll try to crank out the results as fast as I can.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  3. Love the data-driven approach here. Looking forward the your next few posts!

  4. I would love to see the results of your testing.

    Thanks,

    Glen

  5. Cal – thanks for all of your efforts. Incredible amount of data and knowledge you are passing along!! Ordered the JEC late last year – had 2-3 months of ordering/manufacturing delays (which I believe were a one-time problem that have been sorted out), but finally got the brake (for a 6.5 Creedmoor) and it is working great. Looking forward to seeing the results of your research.

    • Jeff, you’re not the only guy that has mentioned issues receiving JEC orders in that timeframe. Hopefully they’ve got those issues sorted out. It is a great muzzle brake, and I’ve enjoyed using it for the past year on my 6XC. We’ll have to see how it stacks up!

      Thanks,
      Cal

  6. Thanks for the heavy lifting !!! Can’t wait to see your data since we’re right in the middle of several builds.

    • Yes, sir! I’m already working on the next posts. I probably won’t even make it to the range over next several weeks, because I plan to throw all my free time at publishing the results. Can’t wait to share them with everyone. That’s the payoff of all the long hours I’ve already put into this. It was a lot of wasted time if I don’t get it into the hands of people like you that it can help. So I’m pressing that way!

      Thanks,
      Cal

  7. Cal, you are truly amazing for your excellent quality of work and sheer dedication. I always look forward to your posts. Thank you for doing such a phenomenal job!

  8. Hi, Have you seen these brakes from new Zealand and the comparison with other brakes? http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-PKOEy54NrI
    More videos on his Chanel.

    • I have! I actually contacted that guy early on in the planning phases of this test. He seems like a nice guy and was very helpful. I can appreciate his pragmatic approach, especially since it is so easy for people to see and understand. But I’ve gone WAAAAYYYYY beyond what his demos on YouTube. I was going to do something similar, but decided to go big. My setup is pretty ridiculous. You’ll see what I’m talking about. Stay tuned!

      Thanks,
      Cal

  9. Nice test!

    Another brake you may want to look at is Kirby Allen’s Painkiller. I had one on a custom 7mm that was firing 180 Hybrids over 80 gr. of Retumbo. The rifle kicked less and jumped less than my buddy’s 6.5-284 with a JEC. I could spot my own shots easily.

    Kirby has created some monster wildcat cartriges and his brakes are able to tame them.

    • Thanks for the tip. I checked those out, and they look similar to a couple of the ones that I’ve included in the test. I bet they are effective, but their performance would likely be similar to couple similar designs represented here. If I ever test more, I may consider including those … but this field test is in the books. I just need to publish the results at this point.

      Thanks,
      Cal

      • I’ve fired it next to the Muscle Brake, which is identical to the Blast Tamer in your test, and the ports on the top did make a noticeable difference for muzzle jump.

      • Yes sir. That is a good design, although some people go overboard on those top ports. There is a balance. The impact of both not having them and having too many will be pretty obvious when I present the results from the tests related to staying on target. It’s pretty eye-opening. There are a few designs that seem to strike the perfect balance.

        Thanks,
        Cal

  10. Delicious data! I am hungry for the rest

  11. Hi.it was very helpfull informations for me.would u pls tell me how can i buy a muzzle brake for my own medium mauser 8mm .
    bestregards

    • You got me, reza. I don’t know anything about a Mauser 8mm. I’d think a gunsmith could help you figure it out, or even make something custom that would work. Here is a link to a long list of amazing gunsmiths. I’d bet any of them could help you figure this out.

      Best Rifle Gunsmiths

      Thanks,
      Cal

  12. Another area which may be nice for some to see would be the dust signature from was each. Of course brakes that have holes 360* will kick up more dust but I’ve shot next to people that had to stop shooting for a longer time than most to let the dust settle. That was with a traditional brake with only ports on the side. I have quite a few of some that are listed (mostly the APA LB) and have used a bunch oothers and can definitely tell a difference recoil between two brakes based on the design of the ports that from 5′ away look identical.

    • Thanks for the input, Zac. You’re right, there can be a major difference in terms of performance between brakes that look similar.

      And I did do something related to the dust signature or ground disturbance. It was a direct measurement, because I couldn’t figure out an objective way to do that. But I did take a high-speed video of each muzzle brake in a way that illustrates the blast pattern (direction, angle, etc.). I think this will give us at least a little insight into that area. You can certainly see which brakes have the potential for more ground disturbance pretty easily. So stay tuned!

      Thanks,
      Cal

  13. Ok here is something that would be over analysing. Pressure out of each individual port. If you knew that you could custom design for individual rifle and cal.
    Don’t think this matters but someone may take on that challenge:)

    • Might be interesting to see. I don’t think I’d like to know the price tag of the sensors necessary to record that. The problem is we are dealing with really short periods of time, which I’ve learned means all the equipment is really expensive. 😉 But, if someone wants to do it … I’d love to read about it.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  14. Very grateful for your time and effort. Regards from Panhandle.

  15. Awesome post as always! I know they are kinda new on the market, but have you heard about the Cadex MX1 muzzle break? They are canadian made and I heard they were doing a great job!

  16. The Terminator brake will beat every brake on your list. Why not include it?

    • I agree, the Terminator brake does appear to be very effective. That was actually one of the first companies I contacted when I started planning this test. Greg was very helpful, seems like a sharp guy, and his YouTube videos are compelling. But, the Terminator design seems very similar to the American Precision Arms Fat B* brake, except with flats on top and bottom. So similar in fact, APA specifically asked me not to include it on the test. I don’t want to get caught in the middle of their differences, but it seemed like the honorable thing to do. I believe there are patents pending on the APA design, but I don’t know that for sure. Regardless, I’d expect their performance to be very similar. I’ve tested a lot of designs, and at this point I probably have a better feel for that than most.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  17. No AAC brakes? I’ve also been looking at the Mack Bros. brakes since they can be used in conjunction with Templar suppressors.

    • No sir. I’ve shown all that I tested. The book is closed on this test. Just need to publish the results at this point.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  18. Cal,

    First off, thanks for putting the time, money, and effort into this! I am excited to see the results!

    Second, have you considered crowdfunding any of your tests? It could be at least a compensation for your equipment costs.

    I, for one, would love to see a follow up scope test on lower priced scopes. For those of us just getting into the sport, scopes under $1500 are much more likely to be looked at than >$1500. And there is a darn good chance I would donate some cash towards such a venture.

    You could crowd fund the price of any scopes manufacturers wouldn’t lend, and then sell the scope at the end for %50 to your viewers, or randomly give away to those who donated, and if upfront about it, I don’t think anyone would mind if you kept a portion.

    Or crowdfund your time, so that you could take non paid time off. Heck, there might be a way to turn this data-driven “hobby” of reviews into a full time job… there is so much equipment that needs objectively evaluated and compared.

    Thanks,

    Sam

    • That’s a great idea. I have thought about it. It is less about the cost and more about the time investment. I’m not looking to turn this into a full-time job. I love my job. This is just a hobby. I enjoy it … but I’m not interested in doing it for a living.

      I may do another scope test next year. We’ll see. I know that would benefit a lot of shooters … so I’ll crack eventually! 😉

      It’s just A LOT of work and time. I know a couple guys who set out to do something similar, and I even sent them the exact targets and eye charts I used … and still haven’t seen anything published. I think they realized how many long hours went into my test. If I wasn’t so stubborn, I probably would’ve quit! Guess in that instance a character flaw was an asset! 😉

      Thanks,
      Cal

      • Perhaps you could design the tests, select the equipment, and sub out the actual tests? And then do the analysis. Could crowdfund the hiring of the staff to actually do the data gathering… just a thought…

        Thanks for all your work, Cal!

  19. This issue might have been asked and answered in other posts or publications, but I am curious if the effects of muzzle velocity will be included in the testing that was conducted?

    • No sir. I haven’t ever noticed a measurable amount of variation in muzzle velocities between different muzzle brakes. I guess it’s possible. Have you seen that?

      Thanks,
      Cal

      • First let me say thank you for the great job your doing putting all this information together in an easy to read format. Though my experience is very limited, I haven’t seen anyone else attempting to provide this type of data driven analysis. Please excuse my failure to mention that in my previously posted question.
        When I purchased my first rifle in the fairly recent past, I was told that the muzzle brake probably increased the muzzle velocity. Not having found any evidence to refute or uphold that claim, I’m wondering if it’s even an issue worth pursuing?
        Your reply leads me to think its a very minor consideration and was not included because of the more relevant factors.

        Thanks again,
        Eric

      • Thanks, Eric. There doesn’t seem to be many guys that take the same approach that I do, although I’m hoping that will change as my site gets more of a following. Hopefully this will inspire other guys to do data-driven tests and post them online for everyone to benefit from. It is a lot of work, and it’s a commitment to stay independent. Lots of people want to send you some marketing money if you’ll say nice things about them! 😉 I know being independent helps people trust my results, and trust is a big deal to me. I feel a heavy sense of responsibility to my readers. That may be more rare than it should be.

        And there may be a slight increase in muzzle velocity with a brake, but it would be very small. I have a 9″ suppressor and it increases muzzle velocity by 28 fps. Most of these muzzle brakes are 1/3 of that size or less. So although I didn’t measure it, I’d be shocked if there was more than 5-10 fps in muzzle velocity difference over a bare muzzle … and I bet it’s on the low end of that. There is more variance in muzzle velocity shot-to-shot than that, so it seems like we’d be in the noise.

        It does seem like a more minor consideration, but I do appreciate the thought. It made me think!

        Thanks,
        Cal

  20. Cal

    I want you to know how much I appreciate your efforts. Your testing and research are things
    one would expect to see, but never do, in the gun magazines.

    • Thanks, Colin. It’s hard for those guys to go as deep on any one subject. They really have to be generalists. I have the luxury to do a deep dive into whatever piques my interest at the time. I can spend months on it (like I normally do), where they’re chained to publishing deadlines. Two different worlds for sure!

      I’m glad you like my style. Just trying to put out good info to help people (like you … And even me) make informed decisions.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  21. Icantwaiticantwaiticantwaiticantwaiticantwait!
    Aaaaaaaaaaaagggggggghhhhhhhh!

    😉
    You produce some great articles & your work is really appreciated!

  22. Very nice to have this done for brakes as they relate to common precision bolt calibers

    I’m sure you’ve seen vuurwapenblogs take on the 5.56 muzzle devices in the AR market niche.

    • I’m not sure that I have seen the vuurwapenblogs muzzle brake test. I assume this is the one you’re referring to: http://www.vuurwapenblog.com/uncategorized/ar-15-muzzle-device-comparison/?

      I did see Jeremy S’s big comparison of AR-15 muzzle brakes: https://youtu.be/3FD-Rou9-9A

      I also saw an even nice study that was released this April on AR-15 muzzle brakes: http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2015/04/jeremy-s/ar-15-muzzle-brake-shootout-2/

      Seems like lots of people have reviewed AR-15 muzzle brakes, but there isn’t much out there on brakes designs for larger calibers … especially not for precision rifles. So I hope this can give new insight.

      Thanks,
      Cal

      • I agree. The largest gap in data as I see it is poi shift and effects on accuracy. So a brake might move your point but does this brake turn a .5 moa stick into a 1moa stick? Or is it in the noise? I’m guessing if I read more from tubb, beings how he has a tunable brake, the answer is probably it depends largely on the brake and the load… which says to me a novice like myself who can’t devote alot of time to the finer points should stick with a bare muzzle to start off…

        Any who, just spitballing. Keep up the good work.

      • I didn’t think any of these brakes affected my accuracy. They can if they aren’t concentric to the bore (i.e. the baffles are closer on one side than the other. I actually have never noticed a muzzle brake affecting accuracy, although I haven’t used everything out there. I think it’s in the noise like you’re saying. I might just not be a good enough shooter to notice it. I thought about testing these for accuracy, but I don’t have a rail gun … so I don’t feel like I have the equipment to be able to accurately and confidently quantify that.

        And there may be a slight increase in muzzle velocity with a brake, but it would be very small. I have a 9″ suppressor and it increases muzzle velocity by 28 fps. Most of these muzzle brakes are 1/3 of that size or less. So although I didn’t measure it, I’d be shocked if there was more 5-10 fps in muzzle change difference over a bare muzzle … and I bet it’s on the low end of that. There is more variance in muzzle velocity shot-to-shot than that, so once again … we find ourselves in the noise.

        I find all of my rifles are more pleasant to shoot with a muzzle brake. I have a heavy 223 that I don’t use a muzzle brake on, but all the others have one. I will use a suppressor if I’m shooting next to other guys all day long. But the brakes are just really effective at reducing recoil and helping you stay on target. Both are pretty awesome!

        I appreciate the thoughts,
        Cal

  23. Perfect timing. I’m planning a custom build and this will help greatly. Keep up the good work!

  24. As a fellow engineer, I’m looking forward to your publishing the results. I’ve always enjoyed your content and attempts to be as thorough and unbiased as possible! Great work, and keep it coming!!

    That being said…

    I know you got it figured out with a custom smithed adapter, but Delta P Designs does make one. I used to run it on my SRS-A1 and it worked great and was very high quality.

    https://www.deltapdesign.com/muzzle-adapters/dta-adapter.html

    • Thanks, Rex! I think you’ll appreciate what I’ve been able to gather. And the adapter I had to make was for a 3/4×28 thread, not a 3/4×24. I know … I got excited a few times when I found an adapter, and then realized it was close, but not it. But, I got it done! It would have disappointed me a little if that really was it! 😉

      Thanks again for the encouragement.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  25. Cal- Two things. First, regarding your Ultra-7 / Ultra-9 decision. I have NO experience with these, but I’m shopping for an Ultra can too right now. Did you see the sound comparison of the two? The one I saw showed there was almost no sound difference between the two, so for me, I’m getting an Ultra-7. Second, did you get a hold of any KAHNTROL SOLUTIONS brakes? I’ve got a drawer full of brakes and comps for my rifles (I really need to put them all on eBay), but now I’m running the Kahntrol stuff on just about everything. Their 3-gun .223 brake is fantastic, and their big brake has turned a .300WinMag into a quite little .308. Stunning difference. Please consider testing one.

    • Hey, Scott. I will probably go Ultra-7, but there is a sound difference. I point that out in my post on this new series of suppressors. It is 2-3 dB, which might not sound like much … but 3 dB represents twice as much sound pressure. It’s a logarithmic scale, which we’re not used to dealing with, so it’s easy to underestimate how much that small numerical difference really is. But, if you fired them side-by-side … you’d say the 9 was quieter. I’ve done it.

      And no, I didn’t have any Kahntrol muzzle brakes … although I guess the President of Kahntrol just contacted me. Unfortunately, I hadn’t heard of their company before today. I simply couldn’t test every muzzle brake out there. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of designs, and I do all this testing in my spare time. So it just wasn’t feasible to test more than I did. They may be great, I just don’t have any experience with them. And this test is in the books. I won’t be testing additional brakes any time soon. I have a few other tests that I’m excited to get to. They should be just as interesting as this one was.

      Thanks,
      Cal

      • While 3db means double the sound pressure, our ears also hear much closer to logarithmically, and I’ll bet you’d have trouble telling the difference without perfect back-to-back testing. The 2″ of length, and the added weight, probably don’t make it worth it – at least to me. Now the difference between 5″ and 7″ is HUGE. Either way, thanks for all the tests!

      • That’s exactly my thoughts, and why I’m leaning to the Ultra-7 as well.

        Thanks,
        Cal

  26. Cal, I’m new to your site and am totally blown away by the quality content. The time you invest in your spare time to produce this material is nothing short of heroic. Like everyone else following your work, I’m waiting on pins and needles to see the results. I bought a Mausingfield action based in large part on your article and will be building a 6.5 Creedmoor setup with it. Thank you so much for your dedication. I hope your family life doesn’t suffer as a result.
    Kind Regards,
    Joe

    • Thanks, Joseph. Glad you’re finding it helpful. It does take a lot of effort, but I try to be protective and sensitive to my family time as well. I don’t want to look up one day and notice I’ve helped thousands of shooters, but my little girls don’t know me. Trying to keep a healthy perspective, but that just means I can’t turn out content as quickly as people would like … or test as many products as they’d like me to. But, I’ll continue to do whatever I have time for, and just hope it helps.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  27. Cal..what can I say but great work mate!

    I am really interested in seeing the sound results come out. Our local range has banned the use of brakes a while back as our benches are pretty close together and our firing line is fully enclosed, but there are plenty of us with brakes who would like to see some hard data and possible ways to reduce the effects of the side blast on adjacent benches.

    keep up the great work.

    Muz

    • Thanks, Muz. After I work through the recoil posts, the rest of the data will be much easier (and hopefully quicker) to work through. So I should be to the sound data shortly.

      The fact that the firing line is enclosed will probably present a problem. Brakes create a lot of pressure. It reminds me of this excerpt from the American Sniper book written by US Navy Seal Chris Kyle:

      I used a .338 [Lapua Mag] on my last deployment. I would have used it more if I’d had it. The only drawback for me was my model’s lack of a suppressor. When you’re shooting inside a building, the concussion is strong enough that it’s a pain – literally. My ears would hurt after a few shots.

      In a confined space, the concussion doesn’t have anywhere to go … so it can be painful. But, you can wait and see what the sound data says. There are some designs that send more sound pressure backwards than others. The sound data to the side of the rifle (mil-spec standard testing) didn’t have many surprises … but the sound data back at the shooter’s ear was interesting. So stay tuned!

      Thanks again for the kind words,
      Cal

  28. How did you get the brakes timed correctly? I have seen a lot of shim kits but they are all .002 or .0022 increments between each shim, and this would be 18 degrees of rotation between each shim. Did you just get them as close as possible or did you do something different?

    • I used a locking nut for the ones that needed it, not a shim kit. Shim kits, crush washers, and peel washers are from the devil. Huge pain in the butt, and tough to get right. I like the designs that clamp around the threads (not the barrel), or that have the integral locking nut like the APA. Either of those are great designs. Otherwise, I’d personally pay a gunsmith to tune it. Last resort would be a locking nut. The locking nut was quick to get right on these tests, because I was switching them out and using different rifles.

      Thanks,
      Cal

      • Could you point me in the direction of the jam/locking nut you used for the brakes that were not designed for one? Did you run into any issues with the loss of thread contact on the barrel causing misalignment? Was the instance of the shrapnel hitting your partner with a brake using a locking nut that was not designed for one?

        Also when you do the next round of tests I have a Huber Concepts Square Brake in .30 you can borrow.

      • Sure, Matt. I actually used the locking nut (aka jam nut) that came with the JP brakes. Its size and thickness seemed ideal for me, since I was obviously changing out brakes 1,000 times during this field test (might be a slight exaggeration, but it felt like 1000 times … then again it may have been). And although I didn’t use these on any of these tests, I’ve also used these jam nuts off Amazon and they seem to work well too (and the price is right at a pair for $7 😉 ).

        It seems to me that the brake just needs something to butt up against, that keeps some tension on it. The threads should keep it concentric to the bore. You need lots of thread engagement, but all of my rifles had plenty of that. One of the rifles was threaded for this test, and we made the tenon a little longer than typical, because we knew we’d be using a jam nut … but you don’t have to do that. It worked equally as well on all of the standard threaded barrels I tested on.

        The instance of the shrapnel hitting my friend didn’t seem to be a result of a baffle strike. There didn’t appear to be any damage to the muzzle brake, or missing metal. The baffle strikes I’ve heard about were all pretty catastrophic events (at least with suppressors). I think the shrapnel was likely carbon build-up on the muzzle brake or a burr of the chamber of a brand new barrel that I was testing on. I can’t say for sure though. The bore on all of these brakes is way bigger than the bullet you’re pushing down it. So it seems that the threads would have to be grossly out of alignment for a baffle strike to even be plausible. Things like that are the reason you use a good gunsmith. You never have to think about stuff like that.

        I certainly appreciate the offer on the Huber Concepts Square Brake. I don’t have any plans to test additional brakes in the near future, but I’ll try to keep that in mind. That’s very generous.

        Thanks,
        Cal

      • Thanks for pointing me in the direction of those jam nuts. I featured them in a review and comparison I did for the Huber Square Brake and APA LB Gen2

      • Wow, Matt. Great video! Thanks for sharing it with me. Seriously, really well done.

        Thanks,
        Cal

  29. You just have to test the AR30 brake on the big 30cal and 338 Lapua,, against your top contenders on the list. I have shot all kinds and the AR30 just seems to sit there when you pull the trigger,,,ugly and loud but I bet it tops the list..All the Ar30’s brakes I have shot were the original bolt on top ….. Roger

    • Roger, I appreciate the suggestion. If that brake works for you, that’s great. You sound happy with it, so I wouldn’t try to fix happy. As for testing, I’m all through testing muzzle brakes for at least a year. If I do test more in the future, I may let my readers vote on what models should be included. So if there is enough support, the AR30 could be one of them.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  30. Hi Cal:

    Great field/lab work, writing and presentation. I learned a lot and since I’m thinking about a custom build in 7mm (caliber still in flux) I’m keen on muzzle brakes and their benefit – you demonstrated they do help a lot if chosen properly.

    A suggestion: The next project you do (and your seem sure to 1 or 50) you ought to consider doing some web-based fund raising. At even a buck per contributor I’d imagine a 10**3 figure could be raised easily, allowing you to do the little extras/OCD stuff all us researchers love to do. I’m definitely in! Your work definitely deserves that kind of support; there’s nothing else out there like it by someone like you doing it because . . .

    Thought you’d like to know your length and weight for the Alamo brake needs to be corrected – it’s not 7″ and not 9 oz. 🙂

    Take good care (and thank you again),

    Rachel

    • Thanks, Rachel. I appreciate the feedback and suggestion. I might try that! And I got that error corrected. It looks like there was an issue when I copied that content over into the post, but it should all be correct now.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  31. Hi Cal:

    Again, great work made quite accessible . . . Thanks!

    I’m wondering if anyone is seriously designing brakes that have the <90º blow-back blast patterns while at the same time disrupt the flow such that it reduces or better seriously minimizes the rearward blast/noise. I also wonder if someone has done some serious supersonic/shock wave analysis/simulation that rocket nozzle and airfoil designers do to eliminate ablation and drag (of course here the goal would be reduced reward motion and noise redirection/lessening). Back in the day, I worked on a team for the Apollo Program that did some pretty cool stuff with shaping blast signatures and dealing with shock wave impacts. With today's tech and science, it would be fun to play with muzzle brake design to see just what might be possible. Heck with a laptop, some science and visual simulation one ought to be able play and create some really interesting ideas.

    I'm not diminishing the great work you and so many others have done; it's just the curious mind that early on caused a young girl to dive deeply into applied mathematics and thermal dynamics. Hopefully, there is a whole new generation of curious and interested young'ns that are doing things like this because . . . well, because. Your blog suggests they are 🙂

    Thanks for your great work,

    Rachel

    • That’s a very interesting thought. If someone is working on it, I’m unaware. I do know there are literally hundreds of gunsmiths out there playing around with muzzle brake designs. It’s attractive because the work is more production related and not “made to order.” It can also be a pretty high margin product compared to custom rifle builds, and one you just stock on the shelf and ship out pretty easily. So … you can see why so many people are trying out their own designs. But most aren’t good. Some are. Like you said, there is a lot of science behind what works and what doesn’t. Just drilling holes in metal usually won’t lead to the optimal solution. If someone applied modeling and CAD to this area, they might end up with interesting results. I was hoping to inspire a more data-driven approach to this stuff by doing these tests. We’ll see what comes out in the next few years!

      Thanks,
      Cal

      • Hi Cal:

        Thanks for the thoughtful reply. It would seem someone or persons with anechoic and supersonic flow experience ought to be able to model a muzzle brake that might be quite impressive once some basic designs were scoped and the chamber/shape were tuned for optimum performance. Of course, the gas specifics from various cartridges and bullets (temp, density, pressure, etc) would force a compromise design but that’s almost always the case. It might even suggest various bullet wt:velocity models for the same caliber. Maybe if one created a hi-bypass situation that enclosed the trust-reduction blast as is done with jet engines . . . I’m just being crazzzy now (lol).

        I kind of wish I still had the skill set and it was current. It’d be an interesting and entertaining DIY project with some CAD and supersonic airflow simulation software. Today’s PC’s would crank that kind of analysis pretty handsomely. Somebody might be able to make a small fortune once the science/engineering was nailed.

        Thanks again,

        Rachel

  32. Great test! My name is Alex Pace and I am the CEO of AMP Steelworks out of Texas. My team just finished developing a very effective muzzle brake we call the Riot Maker. So far we have beaten everything we have tested it against but after reading you study I have to say you guys did your homework. Is there any way for us to get our brake added to your test?

    -Alex-

    • Hey, Alex. I don’t have any plans to test more muzzle brakes in the near future. I may do another test in a year or two, and if/when I do that … I’m thinking about asking my readers to vote on what muzzle brakes should be included. You’re more than welcome to have your customers weigh in if/when I do that, but like I said … it may be a while. If I were in your shoes, I’d think about making a recoil test rig similar to the one that I built. That would help you do real-world, objective comparisons against the competition and give you some facts you could tell your customers about. I’d bet it could also help you do more strategic product development. I know a couple guys who are doing that, and I bet the investment is worth it for the improvements they’re going to make to their products over the next few months. Just a suggestion.

      Thanks,
      Cal