In the last thirty years muzzle brakes have become very popular in the shooting community. Muzzle brakes and compensators can be very helpful to the shooter both because of the great reduction in recoil and the ability to spot impacts or watch the bullet hit the target. For many years, installing a muzzle brake was a bit of a pain and sometimes a major headache. Traditionally they had to be installed by a gunsmith, with him or her using shims, crush washers, or some other crass device. But in 2011 that all changed when APA introduced the self-timing muzzle brake.
So, What is a Self-Timing Muzzle Brake?
There seems to be a fair bit of confusion around this topic. For non-radial brakes or brakes that have mirrored ports on opposing sides of the brake body, it is important that the ports are on the right and left side of the brake or nine and three o’clock. There are several reasons for this but the primary reason is to avoid downward dirt blast when shooting prone. A self-timing muzzle brake is a brake that can be oriented correctly without the use of skilled labor, machines, tools, timing shims, crush washers and so on.
How Does a Self-Timing Muzzle Brake Work?
The self-timing muzzle brake is a two-piece design. First, is the functioning, brake body and second is the timing or locking nut. The brake body has an internal female thread that goes on to the threaded muzzle as well as an external thread that is used for the locking nut. The locking nut has an internal thread that obviously mates up with the external thread of the brake body. Once this two-piece system is installed on to the threaded muzzle, the brake body can move independently and can be oriented with the ports in their proper location. The nut can then be tightened down against the shoulder of the barrel, locking the unit in to place.
Installing the APA self-timing muzzle brake is incredibly fast and simple and can be managed in less than thirty seconds. Start by threading the nut all the way onto the brake body. (This is how the brake comes.) Then, thread the entire unit onto the muzzle until it stops against the shoulder. Next, back the brake off the shoulder, just until the side ports are at nine and three o’clock. Last, with one hand hold the brake body in place and with the other hand tighten down the nut.
That’s it, you’re ready to go!
(Note) It is important that the barrel has enough shoulder for the locking nut to seat up against. For example, APA recommends that for a Gen 2 Fat Bastard self-timing muzzle brake, a barrel needs to have .850” to 1.00” of barrel diameter at the muzzle. This will allow enough surface area for a secure lock up. If a barrel diameter is smaller like a standard sporting weight barrel that may have a .700” diameter, a Micro Bastard may be a better fit. If the barrel is slightly under a preferred diameter, APA recommends using a little bit of Blue or Purple Loctite on the muzzle threads to secure the lock up. This is also recommended if the shooter is going to be doing aggressive competition like shooting with longer strings of fire.