I am glad you brought up the noise difference, I was wondering if you would notice anything different.
We have tested alot of muzzle brakes
over the years. We do, or used to do alot of long range coyote hunting
, not so much anymore, to much time in the shop and with the little one!!! But, we tested many different designs to see how the down range noise signature was compared to each other.
To do this we would position a shooter roughly 1/2 mile from the target and then position the "listener" if you will in a safe location about 75 yards from the target itself. By safe location I mean that this person was sitting safely behind a pile of rocks that no conventional rifle or 50 BMG would even put more then a chip into. The idea was to shoot the different brakes and see how they sounded down range.
It was our experience that a coyote could easily pin point your location with a rifle with no brake, even at long to extreme range. Now you say you should not miss that first shot, yes that is the goal but it does not always happen, AND, in our area, seldom would the yotes be alone, if was pretty uncommon to see anything less then a pair of yotes and in some cases 3 to 4 would be crusing the low creek bottoms hunting together.
With a bare muzzle, at the first shot, if you hit your intended target, you would get one on the ground but the rest of the dogs would pinpoint your location and hit cover if possible or put her in high gear dead away from you.
We noticed one day while testing one of my first 50 BMG rifles with a down range spotter that the muzzle blast was dramatically different in sound with the muzzle brake
. In fact, my bare muzzled 6-284 has a dramtically louder and more distinctive CRACK when it was fired. The big 50 simply was a muffled boom. You could still hear it but it was not so sharp and clear that you instantly knew where the sound came from.
So we got to thinking, maybe this would help us increase our kills on yotes allowing multipule kills. We tested several muzzle brake designs, the most notible were the Holland QD, the Vias and the Gentrey "quiet" muzzle brakes.
We found the partition style brakes dispersed the muzzle blast signature MUCH better then any other design that we tested. The Vias and Gentrey, both being radial port muzzle brake designs both changed the sound signature but it was still distinctly sharper and easier to pinpoint the location it came from then the Holland.
Several years later I did some more testing to see how the Holland would be effected as far as down range sound signature depending on the bore clearance to the bullet. Standard clearance is to be set at 20 thou over bullet diameter.
For this test, I took a 257 AM and fitted a Holland QD but only reamed it 7 thou over bullet diameter. If fitted properly to the muzzle, this works perfectly fine. Recoil reduction is amazing and we found muzzle blast dispersion is also VERY good.
I then opened it up to the standard 20 thou over bullet diameter. To be honest, it was hard to tell any real difference. At times it would sound like there was a sharper crack but others did not seem to.
Then I opened it up to 40 thou clearance. This made a noticable difference. While the sound signature was still softer and more dispersed then the radial port brakes, it was noticably sharper then the with the bore hole properly reamed. Why? Well, in my opinion, its a simple matter of how much of the venting gas is allowed to exit the front of the brake along with the bullet. The tighter the bore, the less gas gets out the front of the brake, the looser the bore to bullet fit, the more gas goes out the front of the brake with the bullet.
This was taken underconsideration when I designed the PK muzzle brakes.
I had also shot the Armalite AR-50 BMG ALOT previous to me designing my brakes and we also tested the down range sound signature on these rifles. Of the 50 BMGs I have shot this was the loudest at the shooters location but the quietest down range. Obviously the back angle on this brake contributes to lower down range sound signature as well.
Again, this was taken into account when I designed my PK brakes.
In testing my medium 3 port PK brake, we found it to be about as quite as you can get a rifle to be as far as down range sound signature without using a suppressor.
Another witness to this was Shawn Winchester who owns and runs Headhunter Whitetails and Exotics down in Oklahoma where we just went on an exotic big game hunt a few weeks ago. When we were hunting some Exotic sheep, Shawn and his hired hand drove down off the high spot we were positioned at to see if he could locate any rams in the creek bottom. Well, he did and his precence was enough to move the sheep out of the creek bottom where they began feeding on some of the more open food plots. THe shee were roughly 820 yards from my shooting position and Shawn was probably 400-500 yards down range and 200-300 yards to the left of my line of sight to the sheep.
When I shot one of my rams, he radioed back and said the only thing he heard was the bullets sonic crack at what seemed to be around 600 yards from my muzzle. He said he never did hear the muzzle blast of any kind.
Now I am sure if he had been ready for it and expecting it he could have heard something from the muzzle but the design of the PK is such that its first job is to reduce recoil as much as possible but also to conceal the shooters location as much as possible as well.
Now when those pairs and triplets of yotes come wondering down the draw, after that first shot they will have no idea which way to run to avoid danger and I have found they are much more likely to simply stand there or only trot off a short distance before stopping to see what just went on as they did not hear that clear warning crack telling them that a human is in the area.
It was not a design requirement of the brake but its a hell of a bonus!!!
Again, all partition style brakes do this pretty darn well, in my testing though, the PK is about as quiet as it gets for down range sound signature short of using a can on your muzzle.