How to Properly Install a Muzzle Brake

How to Properly Install a Muzzle Brake

How to Properly Install a Muzzle Brake

Whether you’re at the shooting range or in the woods hunting, there are all sorts of different devices that you see threaded onto the muzzle end of barrels, including suppressors, flash hiders, compensators, and muzzle brakes. Each one fulfills a specific role and they all have their merits, but for the purpose of this piece, we’ll assume that you’ve already done your homework and have decided that a muzzle brake is the right addition to your rifle setup.

A brake can be a very effective muzzle device when installed properly on your rifle, but in order to enjoy its benefits, you’ve got to know how to install the muzzle brake properly. Thankfully, this isn’t hard to do by yourself at home with just a few tools. You don’t need to be a professional gunsmith with a whole workshop full of specialized tools to do the job right.

Benefits of a Muzzle Brake

A muzzle brake can be beneficial if you’re looking to improve your overall shooting experience and put better shots on target, repeatedly and consistently. So how does a muzzle brake do this?

Help with Rifle Recoil

A muzzle brake redirects the gases coming out of the end of your rifle’s barrel when fired. Instead of having all of the gas coming straight out the end of the muzzle, a brake sends some of the gas out to the sides at an angle. This change in gas direction has a direct impact on how the rifle recoils back into you, the shooter. Since the direction of the gas is changed and directed away from the shooter, the gun is pulled forward ever so slightly instead of being driven back completely into the shooter, so it causes less felt recoil each time the gun is fired.

Counteract Upward Barrel Movement

In the same vein as recoil mitigation, a muzzle brake also helps to counteract unwanted barrel movement. Again, this is also done by way of redirecting the gas that comes out of the muzzle when the gun is fired. The brake channels some of the gas so that the barrel stays level and is less likely to jump up and cause barrel rise.

Tools Needed for Installing a Muzzle Brake

A muzzle brake is a fairly easy item to install and it only requires a minimal amount of tools in order to do it properly. You probably already have most if not all of them at home.

Vise or Rest

You’ll want to have a vise or rest or some other kind of cradle to hold your gun steady while you work on it. If the gun is moving around and fighting you, then you risk improper installation of the muzzle brake, damage to your gun, and possible bodily injury to yourself.

Basic Wrench Set

A two-inch or three-inch adjustable wrench will be the main tool you’ll use for this job. It is also helpful if you’ve got a torque wrench.

Washer or Nut

Depending on the type of brake you’ll be installing, you may need a crush washer, peel washer, or jam nut for proper installation. Many brakes include these items in the packaging if they are needed.

Masking Tape

You may want to tape up parts of your barrel and your wrench to avoid leaving behind any unwanted marks or marring in the finish of your barrel or brake.

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Installing the Muzzle Brake

Installing a muzzle brake is a simple process. Here’s what you need to do:

Unload Your Rifle and Hold it Steady

Ensure that your rifle is unloaded and seated snugly in your vise, rest, or cradle before beginning any work.

Add Tape to Avoid Barrel Damage

Putting a few layers of masking tape on your wrench jaws and the few inches of your barrel nearest the muzzle where you’ll be working will help protect the finish of your gun from any tool marks that could otherwise be left behind.

Unscrew Thread Protector or other Device

If your rifle doesn’t have an existing muzzle device, then you’ll need to first remove the thread protector. If there’s another device already mounted, you’ll need to remove it first. A thread protector can be unscrewed by hand, but another muzzle device will need to be removed with a wrench.

Clean Barrel Threads

With the protector or other device removed, give your barrel threads a quick wipedown with a brush to make sure that they’re clean and free of any debris. Doing this guarantees that your muzzle brake will thread on completely and concentric to the bore.

Attach Muzzle Brake & Tighten

If you need one of the aforementioned nuts or washers, place that onto the barrel and then start screwing the muzzle brake onto the barrel. Different types and designs of muzzle brakes have different cutouts in them, and their proper alignment is crucial to a properly-functioning muzzle brake. Make sure they are lined up properly as determined by the manufacturer’s guidelines. Once things are all lined up, it’s time to tighten the brake into place and make sure that everything is good to go.

Go Shooting

With your new muzzle brake properly installed on your rifle, it’s now time to go do some shooting. Take your rifle to your favorite shooting spot, run some rounds downrange, and enjoy the benefits of your muzzle brake!

Get Your Muzzle Brake Attached at Home

If you follow all of these steps, as well as the basic gun safety rules and the guidelines set out by your muzzle brake’s manufacturer, then you’ll have no problem whatsoever getting your muzzle brake attached at home – no professional gunsmith needed.

Of course, you can’t install a muzzle brake on a barrel that isn’t threaded. If you need to have a barrel threaded, Silencer Central offers a door-to-door mail order threading service that guarantees properly cut threads with the best CNC machines available.

Learn More About Barrel Threading