Muzzle brake cleaning

J E Custom

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2004
Messages
10,723
Location
Texas
Those that have muzzle brakes know that cleaning is not always easy depending on the design and port size. Leaving them dirty, can effect their performance. The amount depends on how dirty they are. it is sometimes hard to see the performance degrade but recoil test have proven that it does. The dirtier the brake is the harder for it to get rid of the gas efficiently.

The advantage to removing it to clean is to also clean the threads and reapply the anti seize for future removal, and easy cleaning. If you own a sonic cleaner, use the brass cleaning solution and you will be amazed at how clean it comes out is 8 to 10 Minutes.(Looks like it was just machined).

Before I remove a timed brake, I place a small center punch mark between the brake and the barrel shoulder on the bottom of the barrel. after cleaning and reapplying the anti seize I use this match mark for retiming. some think it will not time the same, but if the barrel shoulder and back of the muzzle brake are square it will go back the same way it came off and be tight.

My normal process it to take the brake off and start the sonic cleaning then start the rifle cleaning. when the rifle is clean, I remove the brake and rinse it in cold water (To remove the sonic cleaner fluid)
then spray it down with WD 40 to remove the water, wipe it down and install it using the anti seize and the match mark.

No more harsh solvents or Q tips for small round ports. the side ports are easier but they need to be removed to prevent them from becoming corroded to the threads from the bore solvents and becoming locked on for ever.

Just a hint/trick for keeping everything in the best working order.

J E CUSTOM
 

Varmint Hunter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2001
Messages
3,957
Location
Long Island, New York
I've had bad luck with keeping my side discharge brakes timed. After removal and reinstallation they eventually seat a few degrees past TDC. Having my smith re-time the brakes is very impractical.

This solution sounds ridiculous but it works:
I made a super thin shim/washer out of a piece of plastic bag. Placed it over the threaded portion of the muzzle and reinstalled the brake. You can easily tighten the brake to where you want it because the plastic has a bit of give and the brake remains tight. Once the brake is in place I carefully trim off any excess plastic with a razor knife.

Not very professional but it actually worked well.
 
Last edited:

J E Custom

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 29, 2004
Messages
10,723
Location
Texas
I've had bad luck with keeping my side discharge brakes timed. After removal and reinstallation they eventually seat a few degrees past TDC. Having my smith re-time the brakes is very impractical.

This solution sounds ridiculous but it works:
Make a super thin shim/washer out of a piece of plastic bag. Placed it over the threaded portion of the muzzle and reinstalled the brake. You can easily tighten the brake to where you want it because the plastic has a bit of give and the brake remains tight. Once the brake is in place I carefully trim off any excess plastic with a razor knife.

Not very professional but it actually worked well.


There is a product called peel washers that are .003 thousandths thick that come stuck together and using a razor blade to separate them into the thickness you need is another alternative.

Some smiths over tighten trying to time when they first install and this could upset the make up surfaces.

J E CUSTOM
 

Mram10us

Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2019
Messages
3,708
Location
Idaho
A side discharge can be cleaned fine on the rifle. I hit the crown with a qtip and cleaner. Then hit the ports with a brass brass and solvent. I also epoxy the brakes on, so harmonics never change. Just another way to do it.
 

Axl

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2015
Messages
582
Location
SW Montana
I don't have a sonic, so I soak them in CLR then rinse with hot water. Also use the CLR on spark arrestors from my chainsaws and generator. Soak them overnight.
 

tobnpr

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 30, 2013
Messages
253
I'm not a fan of frequently removing brakes for cleaning (or anything else).
Particularly on timed brakes, overtightening (as some may be prone to do) will stretch the threads beyond their yield point. Then the brake will no longer clock correctly, and despite the fine threads be more prone to vibrate loose.

Just like many OEM's, I use Rocksett- the exact opposite of anti-seize.
I tell customers to hang the rifle muzzle down to soak in a container of solvent.

JMO.
 

couesaddict

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2014
Messages
385
Location
Central AZ
I pull mine once in a while and soak in penetrating oil for a little while to remove carbon buildup. And I’ve had the issues with them not timing back correctly too. I pull a few threads from a 30 cal cleaning patch and wick the lubed threads with them just in front of the shoulder. Works good to time and keep them from shooting loose. I believe JE when he says that they’ll always time the same with perfect threads and shoulders, I’ve just never gotten one with those yet.
 

tobnpr

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 30, 2013
Messages
253
Here's the issue with timing brakes perfectly. I'm all ears if someone has a better way
Thread "crush" is impossible to quantify precisely, whether it's the barrel shoulder to the receiver ring, or a muzzle device to muzzle shoulder. No question, when perfectly square and faced surfaces are mated it is minimal. One can literally "wring" a brake tight (like gage blocks) when the surfaces are precise.

While I know my shoulder is correct, there often is minor misalignment on the brake itself, no different than any other high volume production part- we all know that's why receivers need truing for optimal results.

To my point, the setup holding the barrel- whether chambering, or working the muzzle end, is tenuous when using spiders at both ends. One can't torque on a receiver, or brake to desired end values without risking shifting the barrel. So, we're left with an educated guess as to how much more the part will rotate past hand-tight when final torque is applied. Just a couple of degrees of over-rotation can be visually evident on many brakes.

Because of this, there are times when the brake is precisely timed at less than full torque. When using threadlocker or Rocksett, this becomes a moot point. The shoulders will keep the brake perfectly aligned, the Rocksett prevents it from vibrating loose. If removed, and the owner torques to full recommended value (usually 20-40 ft/lbs) they will find it going a degree or two beyond perfect alignment.

That all said, it makes absolutely no difference from a practical perspective whether the brake is timed perfectly, or a degree or two "off" either direction. It is a visual distraction, however.

JMO, YMMV.
 

Varmint Hunter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2001
Messages
3,957
Location
Long Island, New York
That all said, it makes absolutely no difference from a practical perspective whether the brake is timed perfectly, or a degree or two "off" either direction. It is a visual distraction, however.

JMO, YMMV.
I've got to agree:

I have two PK brakes with top holes, they are on a 300RUM and a 338RUM. Both have moved beyond TDC and I never use a wrench on them, they've only been hand tighten.

Both rifles group/shoot quite well with the brakes visibly off center. However, it bothered the heck out of me until I got them straightened out.
 
Last edited:

MNbogboy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2009
Messages
876
Location
Northern MN
I bought some thin locknuts off of ebay and milled/ground a wrench thin to fit the nuts. Witness marks as JE said and you always can get them back to where they were.
Side note: household CLR will eat and soften that hard carbon readily. Works great on the Stainless brake. But, it also loves bluing so be careful with it. Dont ask how i found that out!...lol
 

jrock

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2014
Messages
1,244
Location
Idaho
I tried using Simple Green on brakes. I spray it on heavy and clean the rest of the gun. The carbon seems to soak it up and loosen. Most of the carbon wipes out easily. I have an ultrasonic cleaner but haven't used it to clean brakes.

I also have a rifle where the brake was over timed. I made a .001 thick washer out of shim stock. It was too thick and when I torqued the brake, the washer would tare. Peal washers tend to be too thick per layer to retime a brake by a few degrees. For a 24 tip thread, 1 degree equals 0.0001" of tenon length. I'll have to try the plastic bag idea if I ever take the brake off.

On machining, I try to be just short of 'timed' on the lathe. That way I can use antiseize to squeak up on it afterwards. To torque, I use a punch through a port and twist by hand. That way, I "think" I am staying below a stress level that may cause accuracy issues. The brakes seem to stay on that way. On the opposite hand, if I time the brake perfectly on the lathe, I use blue thread locker with hand tight torque. I can take it off and put it back on in the same way and have no issues with retiming. Overall, I think timing a brake on the lathe is an experienced feel thing.
 

Varmint Hunter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2001
Messages
3,957
Location
Long Island, New York
I've posted this before but it's worth repeating:

If you really want to take a brake out of time, clean it in your SS tumbler. It will be immaculately clean but you might not get it back on the muzzle at all. And you know how I know; don't you?
 

Recent Posts

Top