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Muzzle Brake - How To Choose

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Load Master, May 7, 2016.

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  1. Load Master

    Load Master Member

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    I have a new barrel for me Armalite M15 A4. The new barrel is an 18" 223 Wylde 1:8 Twist Barrel. It is threaded to except a brake. My intent is 100 and 200 yard target. There is an endless choice of muzzle brakes out there. Do you have a favorite? I'm looking for suggestions. Thanks.
     
  2. Sebastian the Ibis
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    Sebastian the Ibis Member

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    Do you like shooting with friends/family? If so do them a favor and don't get a muzzle break that blasts noise sideways towards your shooting buddies.

    If you must improve on a standard birdcage, I'd go for a Kink 4 piece for $30 on Amazon. They will be more effective than anything else that does't require a tax stamp, and they direct blast down-range.

    -- Just my $0.02, I'm sure others will have their own opinions.
     
  3. Welding Rod

    Welding Rod Member

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    I my experience with muzzle brakes is very limited, the only 223/556 brakes I have owned are BCM's. That said, I have been quite pleased with those. I ordered a few uppers from them when they were including the brakes "free". I was skeptical that they would do anything on a cartridge that I believed to be recoil free in the first place.

    In any case the reduction in recoil, shooting side by side with an A2 flash hider, is noticeable. These brakes are also not too obnoxious as far as noise. I shoot with them in high-power events and the guys next to me never say a word. I initially asked a few if they noticed much noise from my gun and none of them realized I had a brake on there.

    I have not tried to compare muzzle flash, but there is a Youtube video or two out that do.

    Overall I am happy with them, and given a choice to replace my other A2 flash hiders with them, I would take a couple more BCM brakes.
     
  4. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    Well, I can certainly give you the best value: the DPMS Miculek (available from Miculek.com). When choosing my own brake, I found this article:

    http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2014/11/jeremy-s/556-muzzle-device-shootout/

    The Miculek was ranked 3rd. Whereas the two slightly-better options and almost all the ones below it cost $80+, the Miculek is only $40. For me, it was a no-brainer.
     
  5. Ibmikey

    Ibmikey Member

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    I use muzzle brakes on many of my AR's but I do not have a need to worry about the increased noise factor as I never use public ranges. The brakes have the ability to reduce recoil ( yes there is a little) allowing more rapid shots when the tomato cans or dirt clods become an imposing threat. A brake (or compensator) come in many sizes and shapes, from cool to bulky and ugly and vary in their efficiency. Check them out and install what ever will serve your needs.
     
  6. Jackal

    Jackal Member

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    Go for a flash hider instead. 5.56 brakes are kinda pointless, outside of competition. Flash hiders provide much more benefit and utility on a practical rifle. I suspect most folks with brakes have never fired them at night....:scrutiny:
     
  7. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    100-200 yard target shooting? ZERO reason for a brake. Get a basic flash hider.

    Brakes are great for run-n-gun stuff where you're rapid firing or double-tapping everything. They are obnoxious otherwise.
     
  8. Bobson

    Bobson Member

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    Fixed that for ya.
     
  9. Load Master

    Load Master Member

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    To follow up on my original post, I have decided to use my bird cage style original Armalite brake on my new barrel for now. I'll keep looking here and may pick something different though for my normal 100 - 200 yard shots maybe the stock unit will be all I need. Still open to suggestions.

    Thanks guys!
     
  10. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    The Miculek brake is very good. Used one for years to great affect.

    I am putting a Kineti-Tech on my next build with the removable sleeve that directs the blast forward when I am not shooting competition.
     
  11. Trent

    Trent Member

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    There's a reason they are banned in highpower matches lol. Dang things are stupid loud, especially when shooting under a covered firing line. Brutal to RSO's and other shooters.

    I personally can't stand muzzle brakes.

    As far as flash hiders go, it's hard to beat a Smith Vortex. They completely eliminate muzzle flash at night, even out of SBR's.

    I pulled the brake off of my SCAR17 and put a 30 cal Smith Vortex on it. Recoil is a little harsher on the 30 cal, but accuracy was slightly improved vs. the stock muzzle brake.

    Also made it high power legal. 98-2x on 200 yard rapid fire.

    obJzMj3h.jpg

    Those are mostly good rifles, out of the box. Once you get rid of that pesky folding stock and obnoxiously loud muzzle brake...... ;)
     
  12. tarosean

    tarosean Member

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    Unless your planning to compete, no need for one on a 556/223..

    I have a jp 2 port that nullifies muzzle climb, but you will walk away from a match with a migraine.
     
  13. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    Honestly, I wasn't a huge fan of the recoil characteristics of my AR with the A2 flash hider, so I put a Miculek brake on it. No regrets.
     
  14. Trent

    Trent Member

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    I'd like to add that the A2 birdcage is just fine for high power (and perfectly legal, as it's not ruled a compensator). The lack of ports on the bottom keep dirt and debris from kicking up during prone stage. Just be sure to time it properly.

    While it's not particularly visible here I had one of my AR's out last year with a birdcage flash suppressor on it doing iron sight shooting at 600 yards on a 1/2 scale AR500 target, and it was ringing steel just fine.

    jvDto9Gh.jpg

    (You can see the front end of my SCAR there as well, with the Smith Vortex on it.)

    The target is up at the tree line.

    QEP7uRqh.jpg

    snba0XFh.jpg

    SCAR w/ notepad (my buddy Chris was spotting for me)

    RbQ0Z1ih.jpg

    Anyway, iron sights, A2 flashhider (or Smith Vortex), both perfectly capable of hitting the vitals at 600 yards.
     
  15. David4516

    David4516 Member

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    Agreed. I have one on my rifle. Usually shoot it at 200 yards or less, with iron sights.

    I'm working an a long range AR build (6.5 Grendel) might put a brake on it (don't really care about recoil but want to get rid of muzzle jump so I can see where my rounds are impacting through the scope).
     
  16. bfoosh006

    bfoosh006 Member

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  17. Trent

    Trent Member

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    bfoosh; here is one where testing is done in low light w/ 11.5" barrels

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbXdghpxlrw

    Some time indexes;

    no muzzle brake 2:58

    a2 flash hider 3:28

    surefire mb brake 4:00

    atrs at15 brake 4:35

    smith enterprise coast guard brake 5:08

    smith vortex flash hider 5:30 (if you have watched all of the testing until now, you'll be truly amazed. If you haven't, you'll be truly amazed. There's ZERO flash.)

    I stopped watching there as I was just looking for a time index for the vortex; it's the best. Period.


    If you have any plans to use your rifle for home defense (or any sort of situation where you might be shooting in low light) you should seriously dedicate 5 minutes of your life and watch the first half of that video, to see the difference between brakes and flash hiders.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2016
  18. Ibmikey

    Ibmikey Member

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    Most of my AR's have Daniel Defense flash hiders installed, however they and the rifles with a brake are not used at night so that is a non issue. Shooting (I should say plinking) with either is a lot of fun and the lack of recoil and obviously different sound are part of that experience. So if you have only one or two AR's ( you poor underprivileged soul) install the "hider" of your choice but if you have multiple rifles equip one with a brake and enjoy the difference.
     
  19. Load Master

    Load Master Member

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    Trent, that shooting location would be fun! Thanks for sharing the photos and your info. Very interesting.
     
  20. Tirod

    Tirod Member

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    Be careful looking at all the stuff available for the end of the barrel and thinking they are all "brakes." It's like assuming any AR is the same. It should be obvious they can be very different.

    Case in point, a 6.8SPC 16" midlength used for hunting, or a 10.5" AR pistol - used for hunting. And yet both have the same muzzle device on them, and BRT Covert, which is a linear compensater. No side ports at all.

    There are flash hiders, brakes, and linears. They do different things. The A2 basically reduces night time flash with some dust reduction. Brakes generally have side or upper ports to push the muzzle down and reduce recoil. Linears are almost always closed to direct gasses forward, and may even increase residual barrel pressure for a small amount of time to increase what is used cycling the action. There is little muzzle climb reduction with them and they may even increase recoil an incremental amount. With the 5.56 intermediate cartridge having recoil so low you can shoot it with the butt against your mouth ( and an AR pistol rest was actually marketed to do that) any further reduction of recoil is largely a competition effort. Those who use them are attempting to improve scores shooting multiple rounds at paper targets - and just as often use lightweight bolt carriers with specially tuned buffers, gas systems, and springs to control bolt movement. They are handling recoil by dealing with the action itself, not just the muzzle blast.

    That puts the gun into a very tightly defined operating envelope - they are race guns, not plinkers or hunters. Change any one of the parts, including ammo, and recoil would be an issue again - as much as it is an issue at all.

    The M16 was specifically adopted with 5.56 precisely because it did reduce recoil and the soldier not only benefitted but reacted by firing MORE ammo, exactly as intended. An M16 is a lot more accurate shooting double taps compared to .30 cal rifles and it's exactly one of the reasons it dominates in open competition against them. They are less affected by recoil in the faster shooting portions of competition and score higher.

    The AR is inherently better at it than larger guns and in terms of combat effectiveness is already tuned to reduce recoil as is. Also goes to the amount of ammo the two different owners take to the range - AR shooters can blast away shooting hundreds of rounds, .30 cal shooters tend to limit it to dozens.

    For the most part an AR doesn't need an expensive special muzzle device unless there is some special reason to prefer one. Some AR builders putting together a hunting rifle use linears because they may like having a reduction of sound at the unprotected ear for the one or two shots in the field that might occur. High speed second shot followup is a lot more difficult on a non stationary target and muzzle control or recoil reduction nearly useless because of it. Same as a standard GI gun.

    There are a lot of tests out there on devices but the major consideration is that if there are ports on the side then that device can and will have a higher noise rating at the ear than one that doesn't. It's turning the blast sideways and some even direct it back toward the shooter. I've noticed on a 10.5" I get almost no feedback from shooters in the next lane about the noise using a linear, where normally many would expect the 50% higher gas pressure on muzzle exit to be painful even with hearing protection.

    Sort them out with a discerning eye, if they give you a migraine during a days shooting you are getting physical feedback. Just because you can doesn't mean you should when it comes to blast affects from a firearm.
     
  21. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I don't shoot 3 gun at a high level so the "birdcage" on my old HBar is fine.

    My attempt to make an F Class rifle out of an AR has a bare barrel. How much more "linear" can you get? I don't notice the recoil or blast through plugs.
     
  22. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    For actually shooting I like linears that port out the front, much easier on the shooter I even have them on a couple 22 LRs.
     
  23. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    As much as people in this thread seem to complain about the noise of brakes being "rude" to nearby shooters, nobody seems to complain when someone starts shooting a big boomer like a Mosin M44 next to them. Brake or no brake, that thing's just LOUD. Honestly, I don't care if the person has a "loud" brake on their gun. That's what my hearing protection is for. What I do care about is whether I'm getting pelted by their hot brass or not. Use brass deflectors or screens, folks! No one likes a range jerk.

    The Miculek brake didn't seem absurdly loud at the NRA indoor range I was at. The guy with the M44 next to me was a bit punishing, though. Oh well, that beast was "punishing" him, too. In his shoulder. :)
     
  24. Haxby

    Haxby Member

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    There's a test and comparison at the 'Precision Rifle Blog' site.
     
  25. Jackal

    Jackal Member

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    The Griffin Armament minimalist brake on my 10.5 AR 5.56 is brutal. Even doublemuffed (ear plugs AND muffs) I can still feel the blast pressure through my nose. I cant wait for the ATF to sign off on my Recce 7.....
     
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