Government restrictions aren’t the only laws that can sometimes seem burdensome to gun collectors. The laws of physics can also be problematic, and Isaac Newton’s third law of action and reaction can be a real pain in the neck - or at least the shoulder. Many firearms have a nasty kickback on being fired due to the gun’s reaction to of the bullet being pushed down the rifle barrel.
The Development of a Concept
The concept of muzzle brakes started to be applied as early as the 1930s, first in field artillery and later on many anti-tank guns. The system was efficient and soon armies began to scale down muzzle brakes for small military arms, which were in fact not so "small" because they were cumbersome anti-tank rifles.
After World War II, muzzle brake designs came into use on sporting rifles mainly limited to custom guns. Muzzle breaks are now common on even relatively weak .223 caliber rifles.
Before World War I, the British found that 15 ft. lbs. of free recoil energy was the maximum allowable for a service rifle. Above this level, recoil can lead to a gun-headache and shooters flinching. The British .303 Lee-Enfield infantry rifle was below that figure, but the Russian Mosin Nagant produced 15 ft. lbs. of free recoil energy chambered in rimmed 7.62x54R. For comparison, the iconic American .30-06 cartridge generates approximately 20 ft. lbs. of recoil energy when fired from M1903 Springfield.
The idea behind a muzzle brake is to partially divert combustion gases to counter the recoil and unwanted rising of the barrel that follows the firing of the gun. Nowadays, the construction of a muzzle brake - sometimes known as a compensator - can vary. There is a simple diagonal cut at the muzzle end of the barrel such as on the AKM. But there are also more advanced designs using baffles and expansion chambers to slow escaping gases.
Taming Mosin Nagant
Most gun enthusiasts agree that the Mosin Nagant firing a full-powered cartridge is on the upper scale of tolerable recoil for the average shooter. With that in mind, muzzle brakes are a prominent part of the project of transforming a Mosin Nagant into a sporting rifle that’s more controllable and more pleasant to shoot. With the growing popularity of this old warhorse in civilian markets, the industry offers a wide variety of different devices as an upgrade to an old gun.
Muzzle Brake Types
There are dozens of muzzle brakes available for the Mosin Nagant. Generally, they are divided into two categories by barrel coupling permanent or clamp-on brakes. The permanent muzzle brakes require you to thread your barrel and do allow the option for additional accessories like a suppressor where is it legal. The clamp-on or bolt-on muzzle brake attaches externally behind or around the front sight base and is secured via set screws.
Gunsmiths will confirm that best method of installation is threading the rifle’s barrel. This provides great accuracy and safety. Also, these brakes tend to last longer and are more efficient than clamp-on models.
On the other hand, one of the leading advantages of the clamp-on brakes is the affordability and simplicity of mounting. They also preserve the historical and monetary value of your Mosin Nagant.
As you probably realized by now, the fixed muzzle brakes require barrel threading. This should be done by a competent gunsmith. The cost generally runs from $50 to a few hundred dollars. That can be from half to double the cost of the gun itself! But if you want a safe, reliable job, don’t go cheap - a $10 threading usually isn’t good for the gun or for you.
However, there are a couple other problems from a technical aspect. The vintage Mosin Nagant rifles, particularly those produced during wartime, don’t really adhere to strict measurements and standards. Among the issues is that many of them do not have perfectly-centered concentric bores. That means that the external threads may not be harmonious with the diameter of the bore, causing a threaded muzzle brake to be off-kilter.
Also, the Mosin owner should know that a typical 7.62 or 30-caliber brake won’t work. Soviet weapons commonly use a 7.92 mm (.311 in) groove diameter with a land diameter of 7.62mm (.300"). On top of that, corrosive ammunition has caused, even the PU Sniper rifles to have bore diameters up to .313”. So the only option is to use a muzzle brake specifically made for the Mosin Nagant.
Muzzle brakes have an obvious effect on recoil reduction, taming muzzle rise, flash hiding and ground disturbance. Nevertheless, these little works of art will also add some length and mass to your rifle. This increases its inertia and moves its center of mass forward, changing the balance.
Another side effect caused by some designs have led to the device being nicknamed a "loudener." By redirecting the gas to the sides and upward, the brake can actually increase the sound signature of a supersonic bullet. It’s enough to want to double up on the hearing protection when shooting a lot. And for that reason, muzzle brakes are also prohibited on some gun ranges.
Quick Comparison Chart: Muzzle Breaks for the Mosin Nagant
Reviews of the Best Mosin Nagant Muzzle Breaks
Ready to have a more comfortable shooting experience? Here's our reviews of some of the best muzzle brakes currently available.
The DELTAC “Slingshot” is a fixed model with a good reputation. DELTAC is an American company based in Fort Worth, Texas. This muzzle brake for the Mosin Nagant usually comes in a complete threading kit that helps cut a 15mmx1 right-hand thread on the barrel. Though the DELTAC manual anticipates an advanced skill level for the installation, we recommend hiring a competent gunsmith who will ensure concentricity and clearance at the exit hole.
This efficient break is machined from top-quality 4140 steel and finished in black oxide. It will provide a significant reduction of muzzle rise and recoil. The brake features three ports on each side to deflect the gases laterally while three additional holes on the top direct the gases upward to reduce muzzle climb.
This muzzle break weighs 3 ounces and measures 2.5 inches long. The kit also contains the simple TAT (thread alignment tool) with a 2" long stem, #5 die handle and jam nut.
The Vossler brothers own the small company called Precision Armament, based in the town of Wellsville, New York. Precision Armament makes excellent muzzle brakes that have won some awards. The M11 Severe-Duty Compensator, the most wicked-looking brake, is no weak point in their broad product line.
The aggressive-looking M-11 reminds bystanders of the brakes found on WWII-era German panzers and is one of the company’s best-selling products. This device is almost 2.7″ long and weighs 5.6 ounces. That makes it larger than many of its competitors. But at the same time, when used with .30 caliber rifles it reduced recoil by 65% compared to a bare muzzle.
Like other Precision Armament’s muzzle brakes, the M-11 is made on CNC machines from HTSR (“heat-treated stress-relieved”) 400-series stainless steel bar for superior heat and corrosion resistance.
The M-11 is a non-symmetrical brake, and it uses three side baffles and two large top ports to redirect escaping gases laterally and upward. The first massive asymmetrical blast baffle is the largest. Each of the two successive chambers decreases in size. The M-11 provides noticeable recoil reduction while minimizing muzzle rise and ground disturbance for prone shooting.
As the only downside, some shooters found that M-11 is one of the louder muzzle breaks.
The engineering team at Texas Precision Products LLC (TPP) from Mineola, Texas has almost 4 decades of machining experience in firearm accessories. They manufacture muzzle brakes as for most of the Mosin Nagant classical varieties as well for the modern assault rifles and combat shotguns.
Generally, their devices require no gunsmithing. They install via a clamp-on system and set screws. A TPP muzzle brake for the Mosin Nagant 91-30 is mounted on the barrel by slipping it over the muzzle, rotating it 90 degrees, twisting it around front sight post and tightening the set screws. Simple enough, and no gunsmithing required!
The brake features two large round ports on each side that divert the gases left and right. Four smaller ports on the top direct the gases upward to reduce muzzle climb.
By many reports, this muzzle brake dramatically reduces the amount of muzzle rise. The manufacturer claims the muzzle drops about half an inch when firing in order to keep the shooter on target. They also say that shooting a Mosin-Nagant with their muzzle brake is like shooting a .243. That would mean that your 7.62mm recoil is reduced by up to 45%.
Muzzle Brakes from TPP are made of 6061 T-6 aircraft-grade aluminum. That means these weigh in at only 3.5 ounces.
As it previously mentioned, Texas Precision makes individual brakes for the different models of the whole Mosin Nagant family of rifles. But their most effective muzzle brake is for the short-barreled M44 carbine.
As some of you know, non-combusted gases in a short barrel make for a spectacular muzzle blast. That’s followed by excessive recoil when compared to standard, longer-barreled Mosins. Accordingly, Texas Precision manufacturers a muzzle brake specifically for the M44 Mosin Nagant that does an excellent job in taming muzzle rise and makes shooting the 54R manageable.
Like the TPP model for the 9130, no gunsmithing is required is required for this model. It just twists on and is held in place with a few screws. With quality workmanship, Texas Precision assured that the inside diameter of their brakes is the same as the outside diameter of the carbine barrels.
Like 91/30 brake, the carbine variant features a total of eight ports that improve the performance of M44. This good-looking piece of metal makes the Mosin comfortable to shoot even from the prone position since it considerably reduces your dust signature.
The only gripe we’ve heard is from a few people who regret that they can’t extend and use the bayonet while this brake is clamped on.
When it comes to historical military firearms and their preservation, clamp-on muzzle brakes are the way to go. Howling Raven is one of the leading manufacturers, offering compensators with a well-thought-out design and function.
The HRMB-913 brake does not require gunsmithing or a threaded barrel. It simply slips around the front sight post and rotates counter-clockwise, locking around the post. It is secured with three brass set screws that you use to anchor it in place.
At almost 11 ounces, this muzzle brake is solid metal hardware machined out of 12L14 steel It’s got an appealing black oxide finish. The company touts that its new HRMB-913 reduces felt recoil by 50%. It also eliminates muzzle rise substantially as it diverts hot gasses produced by the combustion of the propellant to the top and side ports.
The Howling Raven brake is priced fairly, but will only fit the Mosin Nagant model 91/30.
A muzzle brake can be a huge help in reducing recoil and keep your aim on target when shooting with your Mosin Nagant. While a permanently-fixed piece is safer and more reliable, it does gunsmithing and hurts the historical integrity of the rifle. A clamp-on muzzle brake can serve well if you are sure to attach it correctly. Happy shooting!