A mystery that lasted for many years with me, was what is the purpose of those things that you find on the end of some, but far from all, gun barrels? It turns out these are called 308 muzzle brakes and you can see more here: madhousedesign.com/product/308-muzzle-brake
Just to solve some of the mystery. Think of the Sherman tank and that it has a 75-millimeter multi-purpose gun with no barrel brake, but only a smooth tube that fired both high explosive and armor piercing and has an excellent high explosive shell. So the manufacturers thought, well let’s put a similar gun in the judges. Churchill has a very similar gun that fired the same ammo, but it had a barrel brake with a hole in the side.
So, as you can see, sometimes, even the same gun firing the same ammunition can have one. Coincidentally, the British put a barrel brake into one of five Churchill’s until the end of the war as the 6-pound happen to have an enormously superior armor-piercing capability over the American Sherman’s
What are the Functions of a Barrel Brake/Muzzle Brake?
We can truthfully say that a muzzle brake is a more accurate term for these as the muscle is at the front end of the gun. So, a barrel brake has two primary functions.
One of them has to do with smoke management. You see, when you fire a gun, all that smoke and all the impurities of the propellant that actually shoves the shell out the front of the barrel that then follows the shell and goes out in front of you if you just fired out a straight tube so you may see your target out there. Put the crosshairs on it, and bang it just disappears as you just put loads of smoke in front of yourself. It makes that you can’t see so well.
At this point, you’ll be looking through the sight and checking the binoculars to see when the smoke will dissipate. Most of the time it is not so bad. In time you normally get off a handy second shot. But sometimes it proved to be a problem as you’d be shooting out loads of smoke in front of the gun, which obscures the target. Whereas, the barrel brake would channel the smoke sideways, giving you a much clearer view ahead of you.
So, that is one major benefit of the muzzle brake. If you got artillery that points their guns straight into the sky, then you might want to manage your smoke so it goes sideways and don’t give your position away to the enemy who might be a long way away, but can spot the little puffs of smoke way over there against the dark forest or something that can pick it out. Therefore, you may give your position away if you do not have a barrel brake/muzzle brake fitted to deal with smoke managements.
The other reason is recoil. If you got a tube, then everything that goes that way would go up the tube, the shell and all the blast of the gas would create an equal and opposite reaction. We call this Newton physics where you get recoil when you fire a gun in that the force goes back into the turret of the firearm you’re using.
So, if you got a small turret and you got a very powerful gun that got a heck of a kick in it, then what will happen is that the breach if you don’t have a muzzle brake will result in your gun firing backward and smack right into the back of the turret. Obviously, before you built the turret, you had to work out how long the recoil was and made the turret accordingly,
But, imagine, you’ve got a tank of a certain size turret where you cannot make the turret any bigger, and if it ‘s too big, you won’t be able to fit that gun in the turret. However, if you put a muzzle brake on the end, then it would lower the recoil and the breach won’t be shooting backward all that far.
Another massive reason why many favor a 308 muzzle brake is the new designs that make it to the forefront on a regular basis, such as the triple-port muzzle brake by MadHouse Design. You can learn more about this invention by visiting https://madhousedesign.com/