Negative recoil effects from muzzle brakes on scopes

Jim Berry

New Member
Apr 12, 2004
Culpeper, VA 22701
Hey guys/gurls, have any of you experienced and scope damage from the dual effects of recoil generated with the use of muzzle brakes. I purchased a "nused" Whitworth 22-250 with an aftermarket muzzle brake installed. 1st. shot out the tube was in the X ring @ 100, 2nd. one 6"R x 6"U, 3rd. one 8"R x 9"U, 4th. and all the rest were no where to be found. All mounting screws checked tight. Last Sat. while shooting with some buds, Tim remarked that his Burris had bit the dust, you guessed it, same problem, and he had just installed it on a model 70 in 250 Savage AI with a "new muzzle brake". Any one else experience anything like this?????
Never had a problem with brakes affecting scopes.

Have you looked at your rings? If the tube is bent due to misaligned rings, the recoil forces will break the scope eventually. That is probably the number 1 reason for scope problems.

My 340 with a muzzle brake caused a 3.5-10 Leupold to shoot craps. The windage adjustment basically went to pieces and it had to be totally rebuilt. Not sure if it was due to the brake or just recoil in general however. Good luck on your diagnosis. You've check all screws on action and scope mounts?
I shoot 1000yd benchrest matches and in the LG class we use muzzle brakes. These rifles are chambered for anything from 6BR all the way up to 338 Lapua Imp. with muzzle brakes.
If muzzle brakes caused more scope failures we should see a higher failure rate in BR shooting than other forms of competition that doesn't use them like F-class. And I shoot enough in both disiplines and know many friends in both and there is not a higher failure rate in 1,000yd BR competition. Scopes do break... it happens, but I don't believe the brake is the cause.
The only thing I have seen is some guys use mirage tubes that thread into the objective bell of there scopes and extend too far forward and the blast of the muzzle brake causes severe vibrations through the tube and into the scope. Honestly, I can't remember a particular incident where I saw a failure from this, but common sense says it can't be good.
Both without the mirage tube issue, if your scope fails on a rifle with a muzzle brake, it would've failed on a rifle without it also. Just coincidence in my opinion.

Hope this helps,

My 3.5-10 is holding up well on my 416 WBY, with loads of rounds through it, no brake on it but, I suspect it would make zero difference as it only reduced the recoil. I doubt very seriously that any of the brake designs even come close to producing negative G's but some used on the 50's.

My brother had a brake installed once that was threaded crooked, bullets were hitting it on exit and it had to be redone.

Anytime a bullet exits the muzzle and gas is allowed to escape around and in front of the bullet because of a muzzle brakes inherant design, there's always a possibility it might upset the bullet I guess, more so if the brake's discharge holes or slots are asymmetrical around the barrel. Muzzle brakes flirt with bullet upset plain and simple, and I suspect some designs are better than others at minimizing this I'm sure. How much the brake is overbored, side clearance, probably has significant effect on this as well as how close the crown is to the first discharge ports.
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