Educational Zone #163 – The Kahntrol Solutions Muzzle Brakes

I recently got an e-mail from a fellow from Kahntrol Muzzle Brakes that said:

“I’ve been a big fan of BOT for a long time. I am a manufacturer of muzzle brakes (clamp-on as well as threaded models), and I was wondering if you’d be interested in me sending you some brakes for testing/review.”

That sounded interesting, so I gave him a call and we talked about his brakes. We decided that he would send me a couple to try out to see how well they worked.

Information about these brakes can be found at: http://kahntrol.com

They have both clamp-on brakes and also permanently installed screw-on brakes. The screw-on brakes are slightly less expensive, but you would have to add in the gunsmith services to thread your barrel and install the brake.

Some of the advantages they list for using a muzzle brake include:

  • Recoil reduction
  • Staying on target so that you can see the bullet impact and place a follow-up if needed.
  • Improved accuracy due to less flinching in anticipation of recoil.
  • Less noise transmitted downrange while hunting (less chance of spooking on a miss).
  • More accurate chronograph readings for hand loaders.

These all sound very reasonable to me. I have owned and shot some heavy kicking rifles in my time. Probably the hardest kicker was a Winchester Safari Grade bolt action in .375 Holland & Holland. When I loaded up 300 grain solids over a maximum charge of powder, you sure didn’t have to look for a hole in the target to tell if it went off or not.

I am not particularly recoil sensitive, but less recoil will usually make shooting more pleasant and won’t have anything but positive results in the accuracy department.

I got a brake for my Remington 700 VLS in .308. Now the .308 is not a “hard kicker” by any means, but it does kick more than a light cartridge like the .223 Remington. I was interested in seeing how much it would reduce the recoil. I also wanted to see if the brake had any effect on accuracy.

The Kahntrol site gives excellent instructions on how to install the device on your rifle. I followed them and had no problems at all.

  1. Clear the weapon!!! Installation on a loaded weapon can kill you.
  2. Clean the muzzle end of the barrel, grit trapped between the brake and barrel WILL damage the finish.
  3. Wipe down end of barrel with a light gun oil. Wipe off excess oil.
  4. Inspect the barrel opening of the brake and make sure there is no dirt/grit inside the bore.
  5. Check the size of brake bore (bullet hole) for your caliber (should be .020” to .055” larger than bullet diameter) as well as the barrel O.D. to Brake I.D. Barrel manufacturing intolerances can vary even within identical model barrels. The Brake should go on, from all the way to seating depth, with a little bit of clearance (on smaller end of scale) proceed to step 7, to barely any engagement (for larger end of scale) proceed to step 6.
    If brake does not engage at all, Please Contact Kahntrol Solutions at 336-453-5272 or email jeepkahn@yahoo.com.
  6. If the brake only engages partially there are a couple of options that can be used together or individually;
    A. Tap with a soft faced hammer to seat completely.
    B. Take the 2 screws farthest from the business end; thread them in from the bottom and use pennies or some other thin soft metal in the slot to allow the screws to spread the slot slightly.
  7. Once the brake is engaged full depth (barrel seated against step), make sure the brake is level, and proceed to tighten in a criss-cross pattern starting with the 2 screws closest to the muzzle to 5in-lbs, repeat to 10 in-lbs., repeat to 15 in-lbs., repeat to 20 in-lbs. and finally to 25 in-lbs. (21 in-lbs. if using anti-seize on the screws). (Anti-seize is highly recommended)
  8. Check alignment of rifle bore and brake bore. If there are any doubts that the bores are aligned properly, DO NOT SHOOT THE WEAPON, until you have confirmed alignment or rectified the misalignment.”
Here’s what the brake looks like. It is a very well designed and well-made brake.

Here’s what the brake looks like. It is a very well designed and well-made brake.

Their specs state: “Machined from 6061-T6511 aluminum, and MIL-A-8625 Type III hardcoat anodized in Matte Black.

Muzzle Brake dimensions are; 3.350L x 1.625W x 1.125H , and weight is 5.1oz.”

Mine went on with a slight tap with a rubber hammer.

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I tightened the bolts in a staggered pattern and made sure they were tight.

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I then torqued the bolts as per the instructions.

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I confirmed that it was straight with a bore rod, and I was ready for the range.

I also installed a brake on my heavy barreled AR-15 rifle in the same manner.

As a matter of interest, these brakes can be removed without any harm to the barrel if you choose to do so.

Time for some shooting.

I had recently shot both of these rifles in a “One MOA, All Day Long Challenge” on AR15.com, and I thought I would do it again to see if there was any change in accuracy with the new brakes installed.

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Some folks might say, “I don’t like the way a brake looks on my rifle.”

That is fine, as it is a matter of personal preference.

But my position is like Forrest Gump, “Pretty is as pretty does.”

If it works well for me, I can learn to like the way it looks.

Here’s what it looked like on the rifle, from the side.

Here’s what it looked like on the rifle, from the side.

Here it is from the front.

Here it is from the front.

I settled down for some shooting and my son, Abel, was taking pictures for me.

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I knew that the brake would sound loud, so I wore both ear plugs and electronic ear muffs.

Let’s talk about noise for a minute. If we ask, “Does a brake make a rifle louder?”, the surprising answer is, “No”. The actual decibels of noise are the same. But the brake directs the noise back at the shooter and it “sounds” much louder to the shooter or anyone next to or behind him.

I touched the first one off and Abel swore that his ear muffs backed up on his head a little.

I don’t know if that actually happened, but it sure was loud.

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But the amazing thing is this: It completely removed any recoil from the rifle. I was simply amazed.

Continued below...

I was shooting some 165 grain .308 handloads and they usually have some recoil. Not enough to “hurt” me, but I have to wear a P.A.S.T. Recoil Shield to enjoy shooting 25 to 50 rounds.

But with this brake, I didn’t use the shield and could not feel any recoil at all. Simply amazing!

Here’s a picture to remind some folks of just how far 100 yards looks from the bench.

Here’s a picture to remind some folks of just how far 100 yards looks from the bench.

I shot 5, 5-shot groups at the same piece of paper with 5 bulls eyes on it.

I let the rifles cool between strings a little.

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It was around 90 degrees today and Abel caught this picture of me wiping my face with a towel.

 

Shoot a few shots, mop face.

 

Shoot a few shots, mop face.

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I then shot my DPMS heavy barreled AR15. 

Here it is with the new brake.

Here it is with the new brake.

And me on the rifle.

And me on the rifle.

Now, as we know, the .223 is not a hard kicker.

But what was amazing was that with the brake, the movement of the rifle was so slight that I could watch the bullets hit the target.

This might be a big advantage in varmint hunting where you had to “walk” your shots onto the target.

I participated in a great contest recently on AR15.com.

It is called the “One MOA All Day Long Challenge”.

It was done because some folks will shoot a very nice 3 shot group and say, “My rifle will shoot into one MOA all day long.”

Well, maybe so and maybe not.

We all shoot very nice 3 shot groups now and then.

But can you shoot 5, 5-shot groups in a row that will average less than one MOA?

Not many can really do that.

Here’s the link to the contest.

I shot an average .858 MOA group with my .308 in the contest, and today shot an average of .696 MOA group with it.

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I shot an average .988 MOA group with my AR-15 in the contest and today shot an average of .947 MOA.

Both were better.

Does that mean that the brake made the rifles more accurate?

I don’t know.

But I do know that it made them “more pleasant” to shoot and easier to hold steady as they were shot.

It made a positive difference for me.

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Conclusions:

Their brakes are quality brakes and if you are interested in getting a brake for your rifle, you sure ought to look at them.

They are fine products and I highly recommend them.

And, it’s fun to shoot stuff.

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