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November 19th, 2019

The Mother of All Muzzle Brake Tests — PRB’s Epic Research

Cal Zant Precison Rifle Blog AccurateShooter Muzzle Brake Test Noise Recoil Reduction Video

Are you looking for a muzzle brake for your rifle? Then you MUST check out the epic Muzzle Brake Test performed a few seasons back by PrecisionRifleBlog.com. This massive, data-driven field test was organized by PRB head honcho Cal Zant. Over a period of months, Cal and his team tested 20+ muzzle brakes designed for 6mm, 6.5mm, and .30-caliber precision rifles. Hundreds of hours went into this research, which provided vital new insight and empirical data for several aspects of muzzle devices. Cal put a huge amount of labor/engineering into these tests and his findings deserve to be widely read.

Sound Level Test | Recoil Reduction Overview | Staying on Target | Muzzle Blast Test Results

Cal Zant Precison Rifle Blog AccurateShooter Muzzle Brake Test Noise Recoil Reduction VideoThe Muzzle Brake Overview Article covers designs, specs, and prices of 20+ brakes. Then separate, detailed PRB articles cover sound levels, recoil reduction results, ability to stay on target, muzzle blast/ground effects and more. SEE PRB Muzzle Brake Test Results SUMMARY.

GO TO PRB Muzzle Brake Test SUMMARY »

PRB muzzle brake test

Recoil Reduction
Cal created a system to directly measure the entire recoil force signature of each muzzle brake using high-speed sensors. Although the recoil cycle happens very quickly (around 1/100th of a second), his test equipment could record up to 1,000 force data points during a single recoil cycle! He fired over 1,000 rounds of match-grade ammo through four different rifles: 6XC, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, and the monster .300 Norma Magnum. He literally spent thousands of dollars on this part of the test, to ensure he got it right.

Cartridge Types Tested: 6XC, 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, and .300 Norma Magnum

Cal Zant Precison Rifle Blog AccurateShooter Muzzle Brake Test Noise Recoil Reduction Video

Ability To Stay On Target
David Tubb helped Cal develop this part of the test, because David believes this is the most important aspect of a muzzle brake. Using a laser and high-speed camera, Cal 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 … three to four times as loud. Cal enlisted the help of an expert from the suppressor industry to precisely measure how much louder each muzzle brake made a rifle. Each brake was tested in accordance with MIL-STD-1474D using calibrated military-approved equipment, and the noise level was also tested at the shooter’s position.

Cal Zant Precison Rifle Blog AccurateShooter Muzzle Brake Test Noise Recoil Reduction Video

Recoil Reduction Summaries by Caliber
In the detailed summaries of recoil reduction test results, PRB provides hard data that might surprise a few people and even dispel a few myths. Particularly interesting is Zant’s comparison of recoil reduction with a suppressor compared to muzzle brakes. How do you think the suppressor performed compared to the brakes? You may be surprised.

Here are brake test findings for 6mm and 6.5mm. Click image for Test Results.

Cal Zant Precison Rifle Blog AccurateShooter Muzzle Brake Test Noise Recoil Reduction Video

Here are brake test findings for .308 Caliber. Click image for Test Results.

Cal Zant Precison Rifle Blog AccurateShooter Muzzle Brake Test Noise Recoil Reduction Video

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, News, Tactical, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
July 21st, 2014

Muzzle Brake Performance Tests by Bertalotto

Muzzle brakes are controversial. Some people swear by them, while others swear at them. Still, there’s no question that a good brake can reduce felt recoil up to 45%. And likewise, the best brakes, when installed properly, seem to have no negative effect on accuracy.

VAIS muzzle brake

Roy Bertalotto has done considerable experimentation with muzzle brakes, testing dozens of brake designs on his own rifles over the past few years. Roy’s article, Adventures with Muzzle Brakes, discusses various aspects of muzzle brake design and performance. Roy doesn’t claim that his testing is definitive, but his article is definitely worth a read. Here are some of Roy’s interesting findings:

Exit Hole Diameter
“Best accuracy and effectiveness of the brake was obtained with a hole .020″ over bullet diameter. If the exit hole is too small, such as +.005″ over bullet diameter, accuracy suffers. If the depth of the exit hole is too shallow, the metal around the hole will erode very quickly.”

Hole Placement
“The most effective braking was with a brake 1″ in diameter with a 3/4″ exit hole on each side, just in front of the muzzle. The bullet passes through a cone of 35 degrees before it exits the brake. (Like the tank example), Incredible reduction of recoil. But loud and ugly. Very easy to make since you don’t need a spin fixture or a dividing head.”

Bottom Gas Venting Helps Accuracy
“In my tests, not having holes all around the brake effects accuracy a bit. I believe it does something to the bullet by the air pushed ahead of the bullet creating unequal turbulence in the bullet path. I’ve tried a few brakes where I drilled only holes on the top, test fired, and then completed holes on the bottom and in every case, accuracy improved.” Below are spiral-ported brakes crafted by Clay Spencer.

VAIS muzzle brake

Brakes Work Best with High-Pressure Cartridges
“The higher the pressure of the particular round, the more effective the brake. I have over 20 rifles with brakes. The 220 Swift is the king of reduction. Followed very closely by the 25-06, 6mm Remington, any Weatherby small bore. With a proper brake and a hot handload under a 40 gr bullet, the Swift will move 1/2″ to the rear and 0 muzzle rise! Big boomers with low pressure like 45-70s and shot guns benefit the least.” [Editor’s Note: Roy is judging effectiveness by the percentage of recoil reduction rather than absolute levels of recoil. Obviously if you start with a heavier-recoiling round, the absolute amount of recoil energy reduction is greater. Roy is really talking about efficiency–brakes are most efficient when used with high-pressure cartridges.]

Installation is Key to Accuracy
Roy’s findings are fascinating and suggest that further study of muzzle brakes is warranted. But we can all agree that precision installation of the brake is essential for accuracy. A poorly-installed, mis-aligned brake will degrade accuracy, that is well-known.

Harrell’s Precision has made thousands of muzzle brakes, in many styles and port arrangements. The Harrell brothers offer some good advice for gunsmiths installing brakes: “Muzzle brakes aren’t magic, they reduce recoil by redirecting exiting gas. What’s important is that they are straight and the threads are perpendicular with the base. The only way to get the base and threads perpendicular is to thread, not tap, them on a lathe.”

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 9 Comments »
July 29th, 2013

High-Quality One-Piece Rest with Recoil-Reduction System

Targetshooting.com 1000LP one piece rest recoil reduction 50 bmg 458 lott sorbothane

Do you have a favorite large-caliber rifle that sits in the safe because it’s just too painful to shoot? Perhaps you’re planning a big-game safari, and you need to comparison-test some ammo, but you dread the punishment you will take firing many dozens of rounds over the course of an afternoon. Well TargetShooting Inc. has a solution. Two new accessories are offered for TargetShooting’s model 1000LP one-piece shooting rest that tame the recoil of even the hardest-recoiling rifles. Up front, a 19.85-lb weight provides extra mass for the unit, keeping the 1000LP firmly planted. In the rear, an adjustable Recoil Pad Assembly soaks up recoil energy. The key component is a very thick Sorbothane pad that adjusts to the angle of the butt on your rifle.

Targetshooting.com 1000LP one piece rest recoil reduction 50 bmg 458 lott sorbothane

With the recoil reduction system in place, we have tested the 1000LP with a variety of hard-hitting calibers: 50 BMG (with brake), .458 Lott, .338 Lapua Magnum, .375 H&H. It handled all these big boomers well, and the felt impact on the shoulder was significantly reduced. We won’t say you can shoot a .50 BMG “all day long” with this rig, but this set-up is definitely a shoulder-saver. If you are testing ammo with a hard-recoiling caliber, the 1000LP with recoil reduction allows you to fire more rounds without abusing your body, or developing a bad flinch. We also tested the 1000LP with a common hunting caliber — the venerable .30-06 — and the felt recoil was really quite mild. Honestly, you could shoot many dozens of rounds of .30-06 or .308 Win with this rig without having to take multiple “time-outs” (or see a chiropractor). By itself, the 1000LP one-piece Rifle Rest costs $699.95. The adjustable Recoil Pad Assembly sells for $349.95 extra. The low-profile, forward counter-weight unit costs $139.95. The 1000LP and all its accessories are precision-crafted with very high levels of fit and finish.

The weight of the rifle and the shape of the stock/chassis will affect how the gun behaves on recoil. Light rifles with narrow fore-ends tended to jump a bit out of the front bag. Heavier rifles with a beefier chassis would recoil more in a straight line. But no matter what the caliber (or stock type), the Sorbothane recoil pad soaked up the lion’s share of the recoil, dramatically reducing the shock (or jolt) you actually feel on your shoulder. By the laws of physics, the energy of the rifle’s recoil can’t magically disappear. However, when using this system, the smack on your shoulder is much diminished and the perceived recoil “hit” (on your body) is far less extreme.

Targetshooting.com 1000LP one piece rest recoil reduction 50 bmg 458 lott sorbothane

Targetshooting.com 1000LP one piece rest recoil reduction 50 bmg 458 lott sorbothane

Note: The 1000LP is designed to slide a bit when used with a big-caliber gun. If the rest did not move at all, this could cause problems with stocks or optics. On a concrete bench-top the rest might slide back 1/2″ to 3/4″ after firing a big-caliber round. After a couple shots we would reposition the rest. This was easily done by sliding the rest forward on the three legs (you do not have to lift up the entire rest between shots — just push it forward, while keeping the rear “superfoot” pad aligned under the rear adjuster).

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 1 Comment »