Muzzle Brake “Timing:” What It Is & How to Do It
In the simplest of explanations, a muzzle brake reduces felt recoil. There is, however, more to it than that.
Energy from the ignition of your cartridge has to go somewhere. (Remember that Newton fella and his laws that you would have learned about in high school if you had been paying attention to the teacher instead of thinking about your next trip to the range?) That means just as energy from the escaping gas is propelling your projectile forward, it is also propelling your firearm rearward, creating what is known as recoil.
In order to reduce recoil, the escaping gas must be redirected, which is what a muzzle brake does. Vents or ports in the brake are designed to send some of the gas back at a 45-degree angle to the shooter, which pulls the gun forward. This redirection provides less gas (and energy) to be pushed back onto the shooter.
Basically, the goal of using a muzzle brake is to send the gas in any direction other than backward. This comes especially in handy when you’re shooting a large caliber rifle. The bigger the caliber, the more energy. That extra energy translates into more recoil, which makes those large calibers less fun to shoot the more you do it, unless you’ve got a good muzzle brake.
Of course, a muzzle brake only operates properly and optimally as described above when the vents or ports are properly aligned. This alignment is called timing.
What Is Muzzle Brake Timing?
Muzzle brakes are designed to deflect recoil away from the shooter. In order to do this properly and most efficiently, the ports in the brake that are going to redirect the gas and recoil need to be oriented in such a way that the gas is directed horizontally away from the gun and the shooter. If they’re at an angle or oriented vertically, then the brake will pull the gun in a different direction that is slightly off-axis and not provide the best efficiency for the intended purpose.
What are the Benefits of Timing a Muzzle Brake?
As was mentioned above, a properly timed muzzle brake will reduce some of the felt recoil when firing, but there are also some other benefits.
Improve Suppressor Alignment
If your suppressor is one that attaches to a muzzle brake (like the BANISH 30-Gold), then you need to ensure that the muzzle brake is properly timed and aligned so that your suppressor is properly aligned with your barrel.
Beyond suppressor alignment, the whole point of attaching your suppressor to the muzzle brake is so that you can use one or the other and quickly switch between the two. When your suppressor isn’t attached to the brake, then the brake should be aligned for optimum performance.
Simply put, a properly timed muzzle brake will result in better accuracy shot after shot.
While you may not be able to see it with the naked eye, the gases that come out of a muzzle brake actually do move your gun’s barrel. When timed properly, the brake just moves the barrel forward in a straight line. If the brake isn’t properly timed, then your gun’s barrel will move slightly off-axis each time you shoot. This will pull your shots away from your point of aim every time.
How To Time a Muzzle Brake
Proper timing of a muzzle brake is really quite easy to do. We’ll go over the quick and easy steps below.
Make Sure Your Gun Barrel is Threaded
This shouldn’t need to be said, but we’re going to say it anyway. In order to attach a muzzle brake, your gun barrel has to be threaded. While there are some muzzle brakes on the market that clamp on for use on barrels that aren’t threaded, the vast majority of muzzle brakes that are sold require a threaded gun barrel for attachment.
If your barrel needs to be threaded first, check out our threading services for a quick and easy way to get it done.
Attach Your Muzzle Brake to the Gun
In order to know how to properly time your muzzle brake, you need to install it first and see how it is lining up with the threads on your barrel. If you’re lucky, the brake will be oriented with the ports sitting horizontally. If not, don’t worry. Most people aren’t that lucky and there’s a super-easy way to fix it.
Unscrew the Brake and Add a Shim
Remove the brake from your barrel and add a shim over the threads. Shims are just thin pieces of metal that are used to ensure proper alignment with your threads. Some muzzle brakes come with shims and some don’t. If your brake doesn’t come with them, they are inexpensive to buy and can be found pretty much everywhere.
Important note: shims are not the same as crush washers. Do not use crush washers to time your muzzle brake. They do not always crush evenly and can result in improper alignment. This is not an issue when you use shims instead.
Re-Attach the Muzzle Brake over the Shim
Once your shim is in place, reattach the muzzle brake and see how the timing looks now. If your ports still aren’t oriented horizontally, remove the brake again and either add another shim or use one of a different thickness until the brake is timed correctly with the ports horizontally.
Tighten the Muzzle Brake
Once you’ve got your muzzle brake timed properly with the ports oriented horizontally, it’s time to tighten it down and lock it into place. A torque wrench is the best tool for this job.
Do You Have to Time Your Muzzle Brake?
No, you don’t have to time your muzzle brake, but you really should. If you don’t time your brake properly, then you won’t get all of the benefits of using the brake. As a result, you negate part of the purpose of installing a brake in the first place.
Time Your Muzzle Brake for Better Accuracy
Whether you’re installing a muzzle brake to reduce the felt recoil while you’re shooting or because you’re going to be using it in conjunction with a suppressor, it’s pretty clear that proper timing is important. Otherwise, your muzzle brake is kind of pointless.
As you know by now, timing your muzzle brake is a pretty simple procedure. It’s so simple, in fact, that there’s really no reason for you not to do it. It takes very little time, energy, and effort with minimal tools involved to do it properly.
Speaking of simple procedures, that’s exactly what buying a suppressor from Silencer Central is like. Get ahold of us when you’re ready to buy your first (or next) suppressor and let us take care of all of the paperwork for you from the comfort of your own home. We’ll handle everything and then mail your suppressor right to your front door once it’s been approved by the ATF. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.