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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I have some questions about the items listed in the subject. I did not find info that would answer my questions in any of the FAQs that I read here. If I missed a section of the forum that discusses these things specifically then I would appreciate a link or redirect.



Muzzle brake.

My understanding is that the purpose of this is to reduce the recoil. Is this correct? Does a muzzle brake also serve some other function? Does a muzzle brake effect the ballistics (I am not sure if this is the proper term to summarize muzzle velocity, trajectory, accuracy, etc, overall characteristics of the rifle).

Suppressor / Silencer.

Do these words mean the same thing? Is there any purpose to these other then to reduce noise and / or muzzle flash? Do they also act as a muzzle brake? Do they effect (for lack of a better overall descriptive term) the ballistics?


Any information on what these things do and / or how they work physically would be great. I am planning on acquiring a brand-new rifle this year and even though I have shot them for the last 25 years it seems there is a lot that I know nothing about. I have been lucky (or maybe unlucky heh) in that everyone I know has always had an extra rifle for me to borrow.

I am used to hunting in the brush / timber, but now it seems that I will be doing a lot of high-desert hunting for the foreseeable future so it is time to figure out how to make long-range, accurate shots and get my act together.
 

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You're right about a brake, it's to reduce felt recoil. Doesn't do much outside of that other than increase the blast and noise. But who doesn't want to have the "I'm so bad"/intimidation of that going for them? :p The only eception I can think of is the BOSS, which is an adjustable brake designed to adjust with bullet weight and increase accuracy. I reluctantly call it a muzzle brake because of that characteristic. I have no personal experince with them, but here's my understanding of... : "Supressor" is the correct term for "silencer". "Silencer" is the equivalent of "ain't". While it's isn't proper terminology, it still gets used in less formal discussions from time to time. Still, it ain't the proper word. They usually do decrease recoil for the same reason as a brake. They also decrease flash and sound (obviously), but the sound reduction isn't like in the movies. Their performance varies greatly and it's rare to get one quieter than a .22. Subsonic ammo helps immensely to their effectiveness as the sound of the bullet passing the sound barrier is fairly loud on it's own. They typically shange the POI as well, and affect accuracy for either the better and sometimes the worst.

And... cue the more experienced guys.
 

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Kaz said:
You're right about a brake, it's to reduce felt recoil. Doesn't do much outside of that other than increase the blast and noise... They (suppressors) typically shange the POI as well, and affect accuracy for either the better and sometimes the worst.
1. A muzzle brake does not increase blast or noise. It simply turns the shock wave more in your direction.

2. A properly designed suppressor should not reduce accuracy or POI. In fact it should increase it. Search the extremely detailed post by Black Ops on the subject.

-snowy
 

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If you are going to get a rifle for hunting don't bother with a muzzel break or suppresser IMHO. They cost money, lenghten your rifle that makes handling a little less handy and are of no real value for hunting.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for all the info so far. Just to clarify, while its true that the primary function of the rifle I would like to get is hunting, my interest in this topic is in the context of target shooting. In a typical year I may only shoot 1 or 2 rounds while hunting, and in those conditions it seems there is some immunity to recoil. By this I mean I have never noticed the recoil when I was shooting with the intent to kill something, unlike shooting at a target where recoil is very noticeable. Id like to get one rifle that I could use for both hunting and target shooting for the next 30 years or so.
 

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I'm not to sure on this subject but i think suppressors are illegal for hunting in most states. I'm not 100% sure as i'm not a hunter but i'd just like to bring this topic up for others to weigh in on. So someone makes sure it is legal to use them for that use in his/her state.
 

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If I learned correctly in a previous thread, in a large caliber over a long time (let's say... 30 years), a brake will have negative effects.
A brake sends shockwaves directly back into the shooter's head, bypassing the ears by going through the skull, and directly to the eardrum.

You'll have to take this into account with a larger caliber like a .338 or bigger, but I'm pretty sure something like a .308 won't really matter.

Will it (to someone that actually knows)?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Maybe my posts are misleading. I had not considered the idea of hunting with a suppressor and although I have heard of guys using muzzle brakes I have never seen one. My motivation in asking these questions is that I have seen several pictures linked in this forum of rifles at ranges that have suppressors / muzzle brakes and I was wondering what the purpose of these items was in the context of target-shooting.

Currently I shoot a .338 win-mag (factory produced rifle I guess) and I am only confident out to about 250 yards. I would like to get a new rifle (thinking .300 win-mag or .338 win-mag or .338 Lapua) and spend a lot more time shooting so that I can increase my effective range out much farther. So I am just trying to learn all I can about long rang shooting and target shooting before I try to make a decision on what to get. Thanks again for the info and I am sorry if the way I phrased the questions has caused any confusion.
 

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The purpose of a suppressor at the range is generally from my experience for the "wow" factor. They do reduce the noise but, if the guy next to you isn't using one you shooting experience won't change much.

From a tactical LR shooting viewpoint a suppressor on standard ammunition will alter the muzzle blast enough that a target at about 500-600 yards away will not be able to discern the point of origin of the shot. With no reliable sound marker and no muzzle flash, a well hidden sniper has fewer things to worry about.

Muzzle brakes at the range reduce felt recoil. If you're shooting large calibers and shooting them a lot, you may want to look into one. They will not earn you any friends on the firing line.

The purpose of a muzzlebreak in the field is the same. reducing felt recoil and shooter fatigue. Muzzle breaks used in combat scenarios tend to not have ports on the bottom, this reduces the amount of dust and debris kicked up and thusly reduces visual evidence of the sniper. Even tactical muzzlebrakes still kick up dust.

Hope this helps.

-snowy
 

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Yeah what they said.

No really it's really is rather simple. Muzzle brakes work by redirecting the gas leaving the end of the bbl thus reducing felt recoil among other things. Suppressors have about the same effect (primarily due to them working on the same principals and at time being built off of muzzle brakes themselves) Only a suppressor slows the gas exiting the bbl thus quieting the sound. However the only way to get rid of the sonic crack is to use subsonic ammo. As for accuracy a quality muzzle brake or suppressor should help accuracy.
 

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Brakes pull the rifle forward with the hot gases exiting the barrel. That's the explanation I got and it makes sense to me.
 

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Kaz is correct,
the muzzle brake re-directs the high pressure gas by deflecting it side ways therefore pushing on the deflection plates/surfaces which gives the "braking" effect to the rearward travel of the rifle.

The re-dirrection of the gasses resulting in this braking is the same method used in a jet on landing for braking the aircraft ..... the reverse thrust deflectors are rammed into the jet thrust stream thereby redirecting it.

These brakes vary in efficiency depending on design.
 

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Do you mind me asking what you are hunting with a .338 WM? If it is purely used for the range that comes with it, then I understand, but at 250 yards, that is one heck of a cannon. If you are looking for a new rifle, I might suggest rethinking the .338 class unless you really plan on shooting at extended ranges a LOT more, doing more structured work. Please note that I do not make any assumptions about your shooting ability or motivation, but it sounds like you are an good shooter for short-ish range (just like myself). There is a HUGE difference between 250 yards and 1000, especially when it comes to animals instead of paper.

-I suppose for energy on target, the .338's will do the trick for most any soft target you wanna hit, but if I am not entirely mistaken, .30 cal projectile selection is much better.

-In thirty years, are you really going to want to put up with the recoil and weapon weight of a .338?

This is just my two cents, and if I am entirely off the mark with any or all of this, don't hesitate to let me know, discussion is what forums are for after all.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well up until recently I have hunted deer, elk, wild-bore in what I think of generally as forested-terrain. So I am used to hunting where there is timber, brush, and scattered clearings. Here I might expect to see targets between 10 feet (pigs are sneaky..) and about 250 yards. As I said I have never purchased my own rifle and for years I just borrowed other peoples extras so I could hunt with them, so I have hunted with a lot of different factory rifles between .243 and .338, lever-action to bolt to semi-auto, open-sights to 10x scopes etc.

For no reason that I can explain I just like shooting the .338 WM. I was given one as a gift a couple years ago so that when I went I would always have the same gun (and wouldn't be borrowing someone else's extra guns heh). Now if I was going to continue hunting in country with more cover I agree that a .243 or .270 such would have some practical advantages in terms of recoil or weight, but even then I would stick with the .338 since I just like it. I don't notice the recoil at all when shooting at an animal (but it seems to kick pretty hard on a target) nor does the weight of the gun bother me when I'm on the move.

For the foreseeable future I will be hunting in what I think of as high-desert terrain. I will be (and have recently been) hunting in country with almost no cover and much longer shot options. In this setting, limiting myself to 250-yrd shots seems overly restrictive. I'll be after mule-deer, antelope, and elk at much longer range, so I plan to get something that is very accurate at longer ranges then I am used to and I'll need to spend more time target-shooting to (hopefully) get my own ability up.
 
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Re: muzzle brake / silencer / suppressor - purpose / functio

ed209 said:
Muzzle brake.
More typically referred to by folks as a recoil eliminator. Most folks feel the JP Enterprises is the best of breed; and I agree with that. Another bonus with the JP is that the concussion is eliminated because the gasses are forced to the side and up. This also makes sight recovery almost instantaneous.


ed209 said:
Suppressor / Silencer.
There is no such thing as a silencer. A suppressor does exactly that - it suppresses sound - often by about 28 to 32 decibels. It does this by allowing the gasses to expand inside the can. Understand that this is only one of the two sounds that a bullet makes. The first is the gas expansion at the muzzle; and the second is the bullet breaking the speed of sound. Nothing a supressor can do about stopping the latter (speed of sound). That's why when someone shoots you hear a crack-bang. If you count the time between the two; you can calculate the distance the shooter is from you. Supressors can be wet or dry, and some do not work with automatic weapons. Additionally, some cause "splatter" - this is typically an issue with close bolts.
 
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