Ever wonder what are those big bulging things you see on tank model kits or on real-life massive guns? They’re called muzzle brakes, and while it’s incredibly cool looking, they actually serve a very important purpose. It’s easy to only associate them with larger guns or their use on sporting rifles has always been limited to custom guns. However, muzzle brakes can be fit as an accessory on regular firearms.
The reason why your gun kicks is because the gas that propels the bullet in one direction also moves the rifle in the other direction very hard. So if you do not want the gun to kick so hard, you have to change the direction of the gas column. To do this, you can cut holes or ports in the barrel itself to divert the gas upward or sideways. If the gas goes upward, it presses down on the muzzle and counteracts muzzle jump.
Most muzzle breaks will reduce the recoil by 50 percent. There are plenty of rifles that would be unshootable were it not for their brakes. Even shooters who fire very heavy rifles that kick very little, have now come to favor muzzle brakes because they need to see the bullets splash, and you can’t do that if you have any recoil at all. There is also evidence that particularly with light barrels, using muzzle brakes results in better accuracy, quite aside from their positive effects on the shooter.
Most brakes take the form of 2-inch tubes that screw onto the muzzle and divert the gas 90 degrees to the side around the circumference of the barrel. This is accomplished by a series of small parallel holes drilled in the tube. Almost all muzzle brakes can be detached, and the threads at the end of the barrel can be covered by a little screw-on cap.
Need more proof? Here is a breakdown when we have tested the muzzle brake recoil:
A .375 H&H without a muzzle brake will generate approximately 45 foot-pounds of felt recoil, a substantial kick.
Add a muzzle brake to that .375 and recoil is reduced to about 23 foot-pounds, which is that of a brake-less .30/06.
Putting a muzzle brake on an’06 cuts recoil back to approximately 14 foot-pounds, about what a standard .243 generates.
You can see a variety of muzzle brakes selections here: https://www.dbtac.com/product-category/muzzle-brakes/