Re: muzzel brakes
Jerry gives good advise re:ear plugs. Hearing is also done with the skull and bones in the head, as well as the ear. A good way to prevent hearing damage is to install foam rubber to the comb of the rifle stock to reduce vibrations transferred thru the head. A material similar to a mouse pad can be applied to the comb of the stock. This in combination with the ear plugs will greatly help in hearing loss reduction.
Any cushioning material between your cheek and the stock that cushions the "cheek weld" is a big help.
"A tie is as good as a loss, and no one remembers second place."