hunting with a brake

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by dougedwards, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. dougedwards

    dougedwards Active Member

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    I am hoping that I am posting this in the correct forum but I am currently having a custom made Swinglock muzzleloader built to my specifications and am wondering about equipting it with a muzzle brake. The barrel is 28" long and although I am not enthused about adding any more weight to an already heavy gun (10lbs + with scope) I would like to do what I can to reduce felt recoil as the heavy charges under 250-300 grain projectiles can play havok with a shooters shoulder and nerves.

    I am planning on doing some target shooting with this rifle but also hope to hunt with it. Here is my question........Isn't the blast produced by muzzle brakes on hard kicking rifles terribly damaging to the shooters hearing system? I can't imagine pulling muffs over my ears right before I shoot. I did a search on this subject but didn't discover an answer. Do any of you guys actually hunt with a brake and if so do you use hearing protection of any kind?

    I am also aware that some muzzle brakes are removable and a screw on thread protector can be inserted in it's place. Wouldn't this action affect barrel harmonics in some significant way?

    Again I could also have a mercury recoil reducer added to the stock but that would also be adding more weight to the rifle. Any input would be appreciated.

    Doug
     
  2. Varmint Hunter

    Varmint Hunter Well-Known Member

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    Just forget to put on your hearing protection ONCE while shooting a braked rifle and you'll never do it again.

    You won't do it again because you'll probably throw the rifle away. Just once and you will know exactly how Quasimodo felt living in the bell tower. :>)
     

  3. longrange.270

    longrange.270 Well-Known Member

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    This deer season I used my braked 300 WM. I took ear muffs with me and put them on right before I pulled the trigger. I would think you would have time to put muffs on. Like what does it take like 10 seconds. Although I havent forgot to put my ear muffs on Im not dumb enough to do it either. I would like to be able to hear afterward. Just my 2 cents. -Jake-
     
  4. RT2506

    RT2506 Well-Known Member

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    My buddy had a 7mm STW with a brake on it when they first became a wildcat. The rifle was a 700 Remington 7mm mag that had the chamber reamed out to the STW. It had a break on it and he was wanting me to shoot a deer with it because he was hyped up about being able to see the bullet actually hit. I had never shot a rifle with a break on it and neigher had my buddy untill he got this rifle. Breaks were also something new. So I took his rifle and gave him mine to hunt with that afternoon. He forgot to tell me about the muzzle blast and that he used those sonic ear plugs that close off when you fire a rifle. I was hunting out of a 4X4 shooting house with a room on it. This big doe came out into the field about 200 yards away and I put the cross hairs on her front shoulder and was ready to see the bullet hit the deer when I squeezed the trigger. I did not see the bullet hit the deer and almost dropped the rifle out of the stand trying to grab my ears. All I heard for days was BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. I did kill the deer and had really bad thoughts about trying that STW out on my buddy for not telling me about the muzzle blast. I hate muzzle brakes because of the concussion. Even with ear muffs the ones that I have shot give me a head ake after shooting them a few times. When shooting game I don't feel recoil from a rlfle and most of the time my ears don't even ring after a shot at game. If I took one of my rifles out to the range and shot it without muffs my ears would ring for a week. Funny how that works out. When using my T/C Contender pistol while hunting I wear a pair of those rubber ear plugs that are on a string that look like a Christmas tree. They have three or four different size rings around them that go into the ear real easy and seal off the ear. I ware the string arround my neck and when I see something to shoot I quickly stick the plugs in my ears and get ready and shoot.
     
  5. kraky2

    kraky2 Well-Known Member

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    I've taken quite a few animals with guns with brakes. I have several brakes that were made by a local smith that are ported straight out the side with smaller holes and not back at the shooter.
    As far as I know I have no hearing damage....but I can't tell others they should hunt with a brake and no hearing protection.
    Don't know how cold it is where you hunt or what you'd think about this but for Wis deer season I sit with peltor elec hearing muffs. They are really entertaining cause you can hear really well when you turn them up a bit. Sounds like twigs cracking and leaves rustling and streams burbling come through like you are at a concert. Then at the crack of the gun the sound is shut down and you hear nothing for a second or two. Also they are really warm....no cold ear lobes.
    There are times you think the 30 point buck is coming only to find out a mole is rustling in the leaves 15 yards away.
    This year I noticed that my sling was making quite a bit of noise from the metal to metal contact of the swivel and the stud on my gun. I only noticed it when I had the "ears on". When a buck came out to my trail 140 yds away and I swung my gun he immediately turned and locked into where I was.....I think he heard what I had been hearing. Lucky for me I got the shot off and it was a good one. Next year no sling will be on the gun. The gun I use for deer hunting is just a little 308 and no hearing protection would be needed but I find the peltors too much fun to hunt without.
     
  6. Tyler Kemp

    Tyler Kemp SPONSOR

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    I think of it this way-
    If you're expecting close snap shots, leave the brake off but keep it handy, the barrel harmonics shouldn't change enough to cause at bad shot under 200 yards, and you won't think about the recoil when you're about to shoot at game.
    If you're set up for a long shot, put the brake on and have your plugs or muffs immediately ready to put on, it'll only take a second and you will be able to concentrate on that long range shot without worrying about flinching.
     
  7. dougedwards

    dougedwards Active Member

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    Good advice since most of my shots are within 300 yards due to the terrain that I most frequently hunt. The problem is that there is a great likelihood that I might not remember to put muffs on as I concentrate on the magnificent animal before me.

    I already wear an inserted hearing enhancement (Walkers Digital Game Ear) to hunt since I don't hear as crisply as I used to. Probably because of my exposure to rifle fire over the years. Possibly I could change to wearing their muffs.

    Part of the reason for posting this question is that I really didn't know how shooting a rifle without a brake would affect POI since I would be target shooting and sighting it with the brake. If I can anticipate that switching back and forth will not have much bearing on POI out to 300-400 yards then that is my answer I think. Is there anyone who does this that can verify that this would be a viable option for me to choose on my new rifle?

    Doug
     
  8. Nomad

    Nomad Banned

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    One Plus for the Walker hearing system they work....
    Helps in aid of better hearing and protection.......
     
  9. AZShooter

    AZShooter Well-Known Member

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    +1 on using hearing protection with a brake while hunting.

    As for POI changing with or without the brake. I have seen it change drastically at 100 yds or not at all. You will have to shoot it to see how your rifle is affected.
     
  10. Magnumdude

    Magnumdude Well-Known Member

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    I can't imagine trying to keep up with it, or hear anything, but the best way to protect your hearing is to wear in-the-ear-canal plugs and over the ear muffs.

    Part of the reason you get a headache is the bone behind the ear also transmits sound. If you shoot with just plugs you can still suffer significant hearing loss. The ear muff type hearing protectors cover that bone.

    I guess you could wear the Walker's and the Peltors. That's a lot of cash to lay out but how bad do you want to hear?

    I use the Peltors hunting, and the plugs and Peltors when practicing.