7.62/300BLK/.308 Muzzle Devices
How to Choose the Right Muzzle Device for Your .30 Caliber Rifle
The term “muzzle device” covers several different components that, while similar, are quite different by design and function. Any .308 muzzle device can be described as a metal component that attaches to the end of a .30 caliber weapon’s muzzle, that alters the guns performance. The goal in implementing a muzzle device is to change some aspect of firing the gun for the better.
Although some models definitely have that futuristic, space-age vibe these devices are nothing new. Nearly a century ago the Army incorporated muzzle brakes into their artillery and Sherman tanks to its great benefit. Most of us have watched an old World War II movie and saw the horizontal pieces at the end of a tank's gun, well, that’s a muzzle brake. Jump forward a bit, and many military issue rifles were sporting a flash suppressor. Crawl on up into the 21st Century and you will find military snipers using a muzzle brake or compensator, depending upon their particular weapon.
Today, nearly every gun that is commercially available comes with some type of device screwed to the end of its muzzle. Why has the presence of a muzzle device become the mainstay of our weapons culture? The short answer is, they make a difference. Okay, granted some work better than others and some look better while doing their job, but by and large, they help. But, how do they help?
I know you have heard the phrase “it’s not rocket science”, right? Well, in this case, it is. There is no black magic, no witchcraft going on at the range, a .308 muzzle brake does its job because of physics. Over three centuries ago that sneaky old Isaac Newton had it all figured out. I will spare you the lecture, however, Newton's laws of motion dictate the manner by which brakes and compensators work. A .308 flash suppressor incorporates a bit of chemistry to the mix. And, some of them do it all at the same time.
Common Types of .308 Muzzle Devices
There are three common types of muzzle devices. All three muzzle devices do their job by manipulating the gasses that are created by firing a round through the gun. A flash suppressor minimizes the after shot muzzle flash from the shooter’s perspective. A muzzle brake reduces the weapons felt recoil. Compensators don’t really affect recoil, their design focuses on controlling muzzle rise.
Ofttimes, people will unknowingly use these terms interchangeably. While similar in nature, they are indeed quite different. Don’t worry, the grammar police aren’t going to come knocking on your door. We’re just going to explore the devices, their design, and purpose. This text is going to focus on .30 caliber muzzle devices, so any reference to specific calibers can be considered interchangeable as long as they fall in the.30 cal realm. After that, you will be able to make an informed decision as to which one, if any, of these components to add to your weapon.
.30 Cal. Flash Suppressors
By far the most common .308 muzzle device to be seen on an out-of-the-box factory gun is the .308 flash suppressor. The flash suppressor, or .308 flash hider, was the original device to be used on military weapons and is still in use today. This is the most basic in function of the three devices. Its only job in life is to lessen the amount of muzzle flash the shooter is exposed to when the gun is fired.
Most modern factory loaded ammunition is designed to fully burn the available gunpowder in the trip through a 20-inch barrel. When a gun is outfitted with a shorter barrel, the unburnt powder is expelled along with the bullet. Bang, you get a fireball. Just how big depends upon the type of gunpowder and length of the barrel.
A standard 5/8x24 flash hider is easily identifiable and categorized into one of two common types. The “duck bill” type has prongs that extend forward and is unmistakable in profile. A variation on this model is called the “birdcage” type. It builds on the original design, adding a ring around the very end to create an enclosure.
Both variations of the .300 blackout flash hider function in the same manner. After the bullet exits the muzzle, it enters the space provided by the .300 blackout flash hider. The unburnt powder mixes with air, which lessens, and in certain conditions virtually eliminates the fireball caused by the shot.
The exposed prongs of the duckbill type of .308 flash hider usually yield better results due to the open design. Standing alone, the exposed prongs behave much like a tuning fork. The resulting vibrations prove to be more efficient in dissipating the unburnt powder. However, this design is not without flaw, it can snag on obstructions.
A birdcage style 5/8x24 flash hider helps this condition, maneuvering more easily through brush and other possible entanglements. By virtue of the ring encircling its forward end, this type of .308 flash suppressor has a cleaner profile. Depending on your intended area of operation the trade-off may be worth it.
Certainly, the flash signature will be reduced. In some combinations of load and environment, it may be reduced to the point that it would go unnoticed by a casual observer. However, that’s not the purpose of a .308 flash hider. The role of this .308 muzzle device is to protect the shooter from as much of the muzzle flash as possible. This feature is a great match for the task of combat or self-defense, when losing your night vision could be detrimental to your health.
In low-light conditions, a shooter’s night vision is greatly diminished when muzzle flash goes unchecked. Under these circumstances, the element of recoil or muzzle rise means nothing if you cannot see your target. Therefore, if your gun is primarily going to be there in your house if you ever need it, then a quality .30 cal flash suppressor should be on the end of the muzzle.
.30 Cal. Muzzle Brakes
No doubt, the main purpose of a .30 cal muzzle brake is to reduce the felt recoil of a gun. Just how that is accomplished is as simple as it is amazing. In a nutshell, a 7.62 muzzle brake is designed to divert the gasses following behind a fired bullet in order to counter the recoil of the gun. The .30 caliber muzzle brake is over-bored enough to allow the round to pass through unimpeded. As the bullet enters the muzzle brake there is just enough room for the gasses to begin to get around its sides.
It’s at this point that a standard threaded 5/8x24 muzzle brake goes to work. The gas first encounters baffles that have been machined into the interior surface of the muzzle break. Within a millisecond, the .308 muzzle brake diverts the gasses horizontally. Although this happens in less than the blink of an eye, the felt recoil is spread over a slightly longer space of time. As the gas encounters the internal baffles on a 5/8-24 muzzle brake, the weapon is driven forward. The combination of this forward impetus, along with the lateral force of escaping gas, serves to soften the felt recoil.
Unfortunately, all this wonderful recoil reduction does come with a price, and that price is not measured in dollars. The first issue is noise, even in smaller calibers the decibel level goes from uncomfortable to deafening. A 308 muzzle brake 5/8x24 standard thread, when attached to a gun can easily do permanent hearing damage when fired without hearing protection. Many shooters double up, using both earplugs, and shooting muffs.
Furthermore, the increased noise comes with a horizontal pressure wave. The ensuing concussion can actually cause physical harm, especially to someone alongside the shooter. In severe situations, one could suffer a blast-induced sinus cavity concussion or even retinal detachment. This concussion can be enough to damage optics if they’re not specifically designed for these added forces.
Firing through any .30 caliber muzzle brake will affect the guns point of impact. That means, except for cleaning you’re going to have to leave that 7.62 muzzle brake on for good. If you switch to a different model of .308 muzzle brake or remove it, you’re going to have to zero your rifle in again.
Sometimes we have to dance with the devil. That 5/8-24 muzzle brake brings so much to the game maybe it’s worth wearing extra hearing protection. If you spend a long time at the range firing through a 308 muzzle brake 5/8x24 thread device you will definitely enjoy it more. By reducing recoil fatigue a .30 cal muzzle brake will let you practice more. It’s not a big stretch from there to say you just might shoot better with a 5/8x24 muzzle brake on your rifle.
.30 Cal. Compensators
A .308/.300 blackout compensator, like its brake counterpart, is slightly over-bored, in order to work properly. As the bullet enters the .300 blackout muzzle device, gasses push their way around the projectile. This time, however, the gas is vented vertically, ultimately counter-acting muzzle rise. There’s old Mr. Newton again, the action of the gas upward forces the barrel down, you know, that whole equal and opposite reaction thing.
Consequently, this 7.62 compensator has little impact on recoil, although, the prevailing dynamics are more noticeable when the volume of gas is increased. Therefore, the hotter the round you feed through the 7.62 compensator, the more efficient it becomes.
One perk of running a .308 compensator is faster follow-up shots due to the fact that the barrel rise is controlled. In a long-range hunting situation when the barrel stays down one is better able to see shot placement. Depending on the design of the particular .308 compensator, timing can affect its performance.
Of course, the gas must be vented vertically for a .300 blackout compensator to operate to its fullest potential. However, one must take into account the twist of the barrel’s rifling when positioning the compensator on the barrel. Depending upon the degree to which the .300 blackout compensator is vented, optimal performance is usually attained by positioning the upper vents slightly off-center. By patiently tweaking the .300 blackout muzzle device a bit to the left or right of center, one will eventually find the “sweet spot” that particular set-up likes.
.30 Cal. Hybrid Muzzle Devices
While not exactly new on the scene, a hybrid .308 muzzle device adds a new level to the playing field. A hybrid muzzle device is designed in such a manner that it combines two or more device elements into one unit. For example, you can get a .300 blackout muzzle brake that works as an effective flash suppressor as well. If you have only one gun with which to work and multiple operational needs, then a hybrid muzzle device does bear consideration.
In a perfect world, we would have at least one of each weapon and could switch at will. Conversely, having multiple muzzle devices for one gun is not cost effective either. Consider the time it will take to switch out components, not to mention the ammo required to again zero in that weapon.
They’re a plethora of muzzle devices on the market from which to choose. Indeed, it is easy to pick the shiny one that your buddy next door has. However, there is a logical progression that one can take in order to reach a conclusion as to which one to get. The first thing to consider is the primary intended use of the muzzle device, as well as your individual needs.
When the gun is intended for self-defense and informal plinking, then a basic flash suppressor is really all you need. You could screw on a simple, straightforward, standard 5/8x24 flash hider and forget about it. A good thing about this is you can find a quality .308 flash suppressor on the lower end of the price spectrum.
Perhaps you’re prone to flinching or for medical reasons want to mitigate recoil. That being the case a good .30 caliber muzzle brake would be the answer. That is, as long as your shooting circumstances allowed for adequate hearing protection. Also, you should avoid firing a weapon equipped with any muzzle brake indoors.
If competitive shooting is your passion, then something like a .300 blackout compensator would do nicely. Although any recoil reduction is likely to be imagined, the benefits of a compensator are real enough. When the barrel stays down on target, it becomes much easier to drop in a fast second shot.
Make Sure You Choose The Right Size
The standard thread pitch for a .308 muzzle device is 5/8x24, therefore when ordering replacement parts this is necessary to check. When you shop with Wing Tactical, the specifications are going to be clearly listed, so you know what you’re getting. And, if something goes awry our customer service professionals will make sure you get what you need. If you decide to go to Ben Chu’s eBay Emporium to save a buck well, then good luck with that.
Stay On The Right Side Of The Law
One last point, one must always comply with both Federal and State regulations, especially when it comes to firearms. There is an overall length to maintain on your rifle in order to be legal. You must know what this number is for your location, and never go shorter than the law mandates. When you bought your rifle if the muzzle device was pinned in place, there may be a reason for it. Perhaps it was sold that way to comply with the overall length requirements. Even if the device wasn’t pinned, replacement parts come in many different lengths, so to address the elephant in the room. Don’t ask your neighbor, find it in writing and use a measuring tape. That way you know for sure that you’re legal.
Wing Tactical Experience
At the end of the day, you want the best quality you can get at the best price. Here at Wing Tactical, that’s exactly what we want you to have. Spend a minute and scroll back up to find some of the best deals on the finest muzzle devices available. This is not like standing in line at some store in the mall, this shopping is actually educational. Read all about what we have to offer, think about what you want, and get a muzzle device started your way, today.