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Bruised or Deaf; Some Choice


uzzle brakes are a hot topic these days because many of the hunting rifles of the day are in calibers that kick like thoroughly ticked off Missouri mules. When I was just starting to hunt deer, in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, the most popular deer rifles were the .270 Winchester and the .30-06 Springfield. Many of the local ranchers around my part of the country used the diminutive .222 Remington and were completely satisfied with its performance on whitetails. Now, for some reason that I can’t fathom, it has become the norm to have a .300 magnum to hunt deer. The problem is that the average deer hunter cannot manage the recoil of a .300 magnum, so some way to mitigate or lessen the recoil becomes almost mandatory. The problem rears its ugly head when the hunter goes out to shoot his cannon for the first time after getting it back from the gunsmith with the muzzle brake attached. He sits at the bench, chambers a round, peers through the scope, and tickles the trigger. The result is a mild push at his shoulder, and a blast of sound that causes his eyes to pop, his sinuses to expand like balloons, the dust to rise for yards around, and the standers by to scream and clap their hands over their ears. Is the recoil reduced? Absolutely. But that energy has to go somewhere, so it ends up as greatly increased muzzle blast. What you have to ask yourself is: which is worse, recoil or muzzle blast? It is, or rather was, the old story of trying to have your cake and eat it, too. Then along came Johnny Glueck. Johnny, after talking with our ad director, Ardia T F & G

Neves, called me. He told me he had a muzzle brake that reduced recoil but did not increase muzzle blast. I, frankly, called him a liar. I had heard this line before, I said, and it had always been a pipe dream. Johnny, however, stood his ground and told me he was ready to put his muzzle brake where his telephone was. We agreed that he would come to my place and prove it to me. In short he did just that. However, after a few months of mulling it over, I decided that the short shooting session on my range was not sufficient. Johnny, or his company, Active Tuning Solutions, makes more than one muzzle brake, but just the one -- the Hunters Brake -- that keeps muzzle blast at a lower level. The others do a little more for reducing recoil, but do not have the sound softening technology in them. I decided that to do them justice I needed to do an extended range test with all of the brakes, comparing them to each other and noting what their effect is on the accuracy of the gun and the recoil reduction compared with a bare barrel. After a lengthy telephone conversation or two with Johnny, I sent him my pet .30-338 Magnum to be fitted with his muzzle brakes. In a remarkably short time I got the gun back with all the muzzle breaks and a nifty little thread protector that can be screwed over the threaded muzzle for cleaning, or for when you decide to play Elmer Keith and shoot the gun without any of the muzzle brakes. Johnny had also repaired some damage that my old gun had endured over the years, and the gun shoots a lot better now than it did when I sent it to him. I immediately screwed on the Hunters Brake and headed to the range. Since the final test would be to use the gun, with the Hunters Brake, in a hunting situation, I was doing the shooting with hunting bullets rather than the 168-grain Sierra Match Kings that the gun shoots best. The load was 72.5 grains of H4831 with 165-grain Nosler AccuBond bullets. This is my favorite longrange mule deer load. The scope is a Trijicon 5-20X. Trijicon may be the best American A L M A N A C

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made scopes on the market today and the 5-20X by 50mm, 30mm tube AccuPoint is currently, in my opinion, the best of the Trijicon line. Mine is equipped with the military mil dot crosshairs and has the little tritium dot and fiber optic aiming-point. The gun is a custom built Winchester Model 70 Classic Stainless with a 25-inch Pac-Nor match-grade barrel. After sighting in the gun, I was very happy with the result of the first session. Average group size ran right around sixtenths of an inch, and recoil was reduced to a point where after 20 shots I did not have my usual recoil headache. However, what I had in mind was going to require a lot more that one quick trip to the range. Fade to black and fast forward. As of now I have been shooting and testing the muzzle brakes that Johnny put on my rifle for a little over 4 months. I can now tell you that I am ecstatic with the results, which are exactly what he said they would be. Johnny actually fitted my gun with three different brakes, each with a different amount of recoil reduction and muzzle blast attenuation. I love the Hunters Brake! While it does not actually reduce the muzzle blast (that would make it a suppressor and require a bunch of silly paperwork with the BATFE) In fact, it does increase the apparent muzzle blast, but by so little that it really isn’t noticeable, which is a great step forward in muzzle brake technology. The others reduce the recoil a bit more than the Hunters Brake, but my old recoil deadened shoulder really couldn’t tell the difference. Difference in the muzzle blast, however, was definitely noticeable. I know because I got someone else to shoot the gun while I stood back behind it a few yards and listened, without ear muffs, which I do not recommend. Ever! In the final range test I shot the gun at 300 yards using an accuracy load of Berger 168-grain VLD bullets at 3020 feet per CONTINUED ON PAGE 74

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March 2012  

THE Authority on Texas Fishing & Hunting Texas Fish & Game is the largest, oldest, and best outdoors resource of its kind in the nation. No...

March 2012  

THE Authority on Texas Fishing & Hunting Texas Fish & Game is the largest, oldest, and best outdoors resource of its kind in the nation. No...