Reducing Recoil with Muzzle Brakes

As we get closer to hunting season this week’s tip to get your shots on target in about muzzle brakes. When we plan to hunt with a rifle we need to do our best to make sure we have good shot groupings.

I’ve shared ways to attain a tighter shot grouping and a few ways to reduce shooting flinch. After that, I received a message from a friend telling me that adding a muzzle brake to the rifle is a way to reduce flinch. While the brake reduces recoil, it doesn’t necessarily reduce shooting flinch.

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in my segment at Armed Lutheran Radio.

I have a muzzle brake on the end of the barrel of my 6.5-300 Weatherby, my daught3er has one on her .270 WSM, and H has one on his .338-378 Weatherby. Are you noticing a pattern with these three guns? They are ones that shoot very hot rounds. That means the cartridge is loaded with a lot of gunpowder and when it’s ignited, it produces a mass of gasses that go “bang” and push the bullet out of the barrel.  Many of the rifles that shoot “hot” loads will have muzzle brakes on the end because without one the recoil would be tremendous.

Muzzle brakes are ported devices that attach to the end of the barrel and are designed to reduce recoil. They are not suppressors. The brake has ports that angle so as to push the gasses, which push the bullet out of the barrel, back. The shooter and bystanders will feel the effects/wind from the shot.

( + ) Reduced Recoil

The redirecting of the gasses causes the felt effect of recoil to be spread out instead of pushing the rifle directly back into the shoulder. Most muzzle brakes reduce recoil by about 50%.

This is something that indeed may reduce shooting flinch for someone, but let’s talk about some of the other plusses and minuses before we come to a verdict.

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( – ) Noise

You and any bystanders need to wear your eyes and ears when you’re shooting a rifle with a muzzle brake on the end of the barrel. Instead of being blown downrange the sound is being blown back to you. Along with this, dust and debris may be propelled in your direction Be safe and wear your proper protective equipment.

( +/- ) Accurate

The muzzle brake won’t decrease the velocity or accuracy of the projectile. However, you’ll need a gunsmith to install it and then you’ll need to sight it in. If you remove it you’ll need to sight in your rifle again.

( – ) Adds Barrel Length

The brake adds to the length of the barrel. I personally have no issue with the added length, however, some people do. If overall length is an issue, you may order your rifle with a shorter barrel prior to adding the brake.

( – ) Debris

A ported device that adds length to the barrel makes me think about knocking tree branches as I’m hiking, which leads me to the issue of debris. With a muzzle brake, you need to be aware that the ports will increase your chances of collecting debris in the barrel. The ports can snag pine needles and other items as your hiking. The good news is it’s easy to remedy this issue. Either rubberband a plastic bag over the brake, or cut the fingertip off of a latex glove and roll it over the brake at the barrel’s end. These are easy to remove and in a pinch, you can even shoot through them.

A muzzle brake is something you can look at to reduce recoil. It makes those larger calibers and hotter loads more “shootable.” However, due to that increased noise and the blow-back of air, it can actually increase shooting flinch. Overcome that with practice at the range.

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A Few Pre-Season Crossbow Tips from TenPoint

TenPoint_ACTPEN_Header1Proper shooting technique is critical to shooting a crossbow straight. After you have performed any needed maintenance, be sure to spend some time shooting the bow. Practice enough to regain your proficiency from last year. If you expect to make a good shot with little or no practice, you are inviting disappointment. 

  • Plant food plots.
  • Check. Set up stand. Check.
  • Buy license and tags. Check.

You’ve been checking items off your list for weeks now and are primed and ready for the season. Before entering your tree stand or ground blind on opening day, though, we’ve got a few pointers to ensure that nothing goes wrong when that trophy buck shows up in your sights.

Inspect all of your equipment.

Thoroughly check your crossbow for any missing, loose, or damaged parts. Don’t forget to check your scope battery. Inspect all accessories, and ensure that your arrows are straight.

Service your equipment.

It is not enough just to inspect your equipment. Clean the bow, lubricate it, wax your string, tighten all bolts, zero your sights, and shoot the bow enough times to be confident it is in good working order. If your equipment needs service, get it to your dealer or manufacturer well before the start of the season to make sure you will have it when you need it.

Review and practice your shooting technique.

Now that you have checked your equipment, tightened all you screws and bolts, and dialed- in your bow, sit back, relax, and enjoy the rest of the summer…maybe even do some fishing!
As always, check out for all your crossbow needs. Happy Hunting! 

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