If you own or are in the process of outfitting a .308 rifle, pretty soon you’ll realize that the .308 is a more than capable round in terms of delivering consistent performance at long range.
One consequence of this is that when a .308 bullet leaves the barrel, it does so in a real hurry with a lot of noise, flash, and recoil – at near 3,000 f/ps in some cases.
In order to mitigate that recoil better than the basic flash hiders that come stock with most rifles, you’ll want to outfit your rifle with a high-quality muzzle brake. This will keep your shots on target, and save both your shoulders and ears from additional and unnecessary punishment.
A good muzzle brake gives us reason to dance!
The Surefire Procomp 762 comes to use from one of the most respected manufacturers in the firearms world. This compensator is our top pick because it is a serious piece of precision machining. The compensator itself is ported vertically, which enables it to reduce the violent up and down recoil that can make follow up shots difficult for the .308 cartridge.
This means it’s ideal for both competition and long-range setups, as the speed and accuracy of follow up shots matter the most in those environments.
In terms of installation, it will need to be pinned and welded. This is aided by the pre-drilled blind pilot holes. That said, less experienced folks might want to tap the help of a gunsmith to make sure that the pinning and welding process goes well.
One oversight with this otherwise fantastic brake is the inability to mount one of Surefire’s excellent suppressors. While we think that the overall quality, ease of installation/pinning & welding, and significant recoil management more than offset this shortcoming, it would have been nice to have that option. That said, this is a go-to brake for anyone who plans on running an unsuppressed .308 rifle.
- Extremely secure once installed properly.
- Mitigates recoil very well with vertical porting.
- Has pilot holes for installing on the barrel.
- Very durable finish that will last.
- Has to be pinned and welded to the barrel, which some will not like.
- Is not a suppressor adapter, so if you need that look elsewhere.
These days, suppressors are all the rage, especially among long-range shooters who use them to save their ears and reduce recoil. In the suppressor market, very few come close to the quality of Silencerco. It’s all in the name, really.
With that in mind, if you want to mount your Silencerco suppressor in the most stable way that you can, we recommend the ASR series of brakes that come from the same manufacturer as those high-end suppressors. This one is a must if you’re designing a suppressor-based build.
The big appeal of this brake is that it is compatible with Silencerco’s quick-detach suppressor system. That means fast transitions, secure fit, and maximum stability for your can.
It also functions well as a standalone brake if you’re thinking about running a suppressor down the line or as your gun budget allows. The open design will get the gas out of the way and keep the muzzle down, but that may if that open design comes at the cost of increased muzzle flash when compared to other options.
Overall a more than solid choice that will be at home in a suppressor host build.
- Three port design effectively dissipates gas, which reduces muzzle climb.
- Threads directly onto the Omega and Specwar suppressors, making this an excellent choice for those systems.
- Pinned and welded design for stability.
- The very open design will not likely suppress much flash.
- Designed to be a suppressor mount first and a muzzle brake second
Midwest Industries makes the kind of stuff that we gun folks drool over. This brake is no exception and would be right at home on a rugged AR10 or SCAR build.
The MidWest .308 brake is designed from the ground up to reduce muzzle climb, which is the primary issue with the fast firing of .308 rounds. Installation couldn’t be easier, all you have to do is torque it down to spec with the included crush washer.
Normally, weight is something we try to reduce in guns, but when it comes to reducing muzzle climb and felt recoil the additional weight of a quality brake can increase rifle balance. Of course, redirecting spent gas in a way that counters the mass and velocity of a bullet leaving the barrel always helps with control.
The more weight you can put on the end of the muzzle, the more weight the recoil has to move. Think back to school, where we learned about our friend Mr. Newton. In this case, we want the muzzle to stay put, so the four ounces of steel on the end of the barrel will help keep it down when recoil wants to move it up.
The only thing we’re slightly concerned about is the tool steel finish, but as long as you don’t leave your muzzle brake in a bucket of water after sanding off the finish, you should be just fine for many years to come. Overall, this brake is one we’d be happy to try out on any of our AR 10 builds.
- Designed primarily to reduce muzzle rise.
- Heavy construction aids in muzzle rise and recoil reduction.
- Comes with a crush washer for easy installation.
- Excellent company with a reputation for product success.
- Crush washers have a slight tendency to walk over time.
- If you manage to wear through the finish, the steel is not stainless.
For M1A Shooters
The iconic M1A rifle is one of the best known and most recognizable .308 rifles of all time. Aside from nostalgia and historical value, the rifles are great shooting and are still more than capable at a match, in a defensive situation, or for hunting.
With that said, the aftermarket for them is a fraction of what you will find for other rifles, so our experts wanted to show some love for one of our favorite rifles.
The M14, if you happen to have one in select-fire, can be a real challenge to control in a rapid-fire scenario.
This break from Smith Industries will reduce that recoil substantially, making the rifle much easier to control. Also, this is a great replacement if you’ve lost or damaged your M1A flash hider, or if you want to reduce overall felt recoil and flash beyond what would have been period correct in the 1960s.
This comes machined with threads and dovetails to match the original barrel, so installing it will be a breeze and we recommend this break to any M14/M1a owners out there.
- Fits Springfield M1A rifles exactly.
- Replacement part for original M14 or M1a flash hiders.
- Enhanced design from original in terms of felt recoil reduction.
- Easy installation onto factory M1A/M14 barrels.
- Not an exact replica as issued on M14, you’ll need a surplus one for that.
- Only for M14/M1A rifles, so others will need to look elsewhere.
Best for SBR Builds:
For our final pick, we’re doing things a little bit differently. For a muzzle brake compensators to work really well, the more weight and length it has to dissipate gasses and recoil, the better.
But sometimes that’s not the only goal. If you’re building a short-barreled rifle, you might favor limiting weight and length over blast and flash suppression. If that’s the case, then this small .308 muzzle break from Brownells might be just the one for you.
At just over an inch long, this brake probably won’t give you the same performance as the other ones on this list. With that said, the evenly spaced ports in the brake will still substantially reduce flash and recoil. Plus it looks like it walked off the set of an action movie.
In a lot of cases, folks pin and weld muzzle brakes to increase the overall length of their rifle to meet legal requirements: this one won’t help you there, but can still give you good performance in a small package if you are, for example, making a short-barreled rifle and value length over all else.
This high-quality brake is something of a wild card pick for those in that particular circumstance.
- Just over an inch long, making it perfect for an SBR setup.
- Has ports evenly along the body, smoothing out recoil impulse.
- Comes in two finishes, black and stainless.
- It is quite small, so do not expect the world from it in terms of flash and recoil suppression.
- Does not come with a crush washer, we recommend putting one on so it doesn’t walk off.
Why bother with a muzzle brake?
Muzzle brakes are designed to mitigate felt recoil and reduce muzzle blast by redirecting the gas that exits before and after a bullet leaves the muzzle of your gun and by adding weight & length to the front of a rifle.
In doing so, they improve accuracy and can make shooting more pleasant when compared to flash hiders or a bare muzzle. Basically, you’ll want one of these on a rifle if accuracy, control, and follow-up shots matter to you.
Several of the ones on our list are also a great way to attach a suppressor to a rifle, as the suppressor will just thread onto the brake, creating a seamless fit.
Muzzle brake considerations
When looking for a .308 muzzle brake, it’s important to consider what the brake was engineered to do.
Based on the brake you choose, you can get drastically different results. Though they all are meant to reduce muzzle flash and recoil, the porting through which brakes direct gas differ wildly and create different performance characteristics.
Some are meant to help you secure suppressors, while others mitigate flash or recoil better. Others are meant to fit on a specific rifle, and other designs are focused on keeping the overall rifle short and light. Aligning your rifle’s intention with the performance characteristics of the brake you choose will give you the best results – anything else is cosmetic at best, and couter-productive at worst.
How do I install a muzzle brake?
On the upside, the muzzle brake is one of the easier to do gun modifications if you have time and a little patience.
Most of them are made of stainless or heat-treated steel and are durable enough to serve as the business end of your .308 muzzle without cracking or breaking. From there, assuming you have a threaded muzzle, all you’ll need to do is pop on a crush washer and tighten to manufacturer specifications that will come with your brake.
For some other applications – like legal pinning and welding might make sense, but we’ll walk you through that when we get to those cases.
In this article, we’ve recommended five muzzle brakes for .308 that will work in a variety of builds. Because of that variety, it is a little difficult to pick just one as our top choice.
Even with that in mind, we’re still going with the Surefire 7.62 Procomp. Overall, it is the best on this list at what a brake is supposed to do as a standalone product: it reduces recoil, muzzle climb, blast, and flash.
The Procomp makes no compromises and works for a wide variety of builds. Of course if you want to build an SBR, attach a suppressor, or upgrade a specific rifle that’s hard to find parts for, the other entries on the list present a lot of value as well.
We hope you learned something from this that will help you make an educated decision in the purchasing of a .308 muzzle brake.
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