Missing the bullseye because of heavy recoil is a waste of time and ammunition. No shooter must tolerate this kind of hassle and inconvenience. Therefore, learning how to install a muzzle brake is useful in controlling recoil, reducing high velocity, and redirecting propellant gases from the muzzle blast.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll teach you how to install a muzzle brake in no time.
Table of Contents
- 1 7 Steps to Follow When Installing a Muzzle Brake
- 2 FAQs
- 3 Final Thoughts on Installing Muzzle Brakes
7 Steps to Follow When Installing a Muzzle Brake
1. Gather Your Tools
Gather your tools in installing muzzle brakes/flash hiders. You will need a vise, a basic series of wrenches, a jam nut, masking tape, and other items. You will also need other things like an adjustable 2” or 3” crescent wrench and a torque wrench. You won’t need a crush washer to do this.
2. Remove existing attachments
Next, remove existing attachments on your weapon. Carefully remove the magazine and unload all its ammunition.
Also, check the rifle chamber to confirm if the weapon is in a safe condition.
Almost the same in installing a compensator, failure to confirm whether the weapon is fully unloaded may result in serious injuries, or worse, even death. No person should risk his life for this.
Next, use a ¾-inch open-end wrench. Right after removing the muzzle device/flash suppressor, others clean and check the threading for unnecessary debris. Another important way/thing to do is to time your muzzle device using peel washers or a shim kit, although this may not always be necessary, like using a crush washer.
After finally removing the attachments, apply a small amount of red Loctite or rocksett to the host firearm’s treads.
3. Clean the barrel threads
Next, you need to clean the barrel threads part by part. Remember, oily, dirty, and waxy surfaces could prevent bonding in your barrel. You may use acetone, brake cleaner, paint thinner, alcohol, or lacquer thinner to clean the threads. Anyway, any pretty good solvents should work on your upper receiver. You can also manually clean it, or brush it down, depending on your preference or its length.
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4. Unscrew and position the muzzle brake
After unloading the weapon and cleaning the AR-15 rifle barrel threads, the next step /direction is to unscrew and position the muzzle device/flash hider. Again, we suggest double-checking whether the magazine and chamber are unloaded like how you usually install a compensator. After doing so, place the firearm into the padded gun-vise. Its sights must be facing up before locking it down.
Locate the roll pins on the brake, if there are any. Then, heat the brake with a propane torch for about 30 seconds to let the metal expand. This way, the pins are easier to remove, and the bold adhesives will also loosen. Place a hammer punch onto the roll pin and tap it out. Then, turn the muzzle device counter-clockwise to unscrew it. It isn’t recommended to use a crush washer when installing it.
5. Take note of the space where the shims will sit
It would be best if you also took note of the space where the shims will sit. This space is typically seen between the shoulder at the barrel’s rear and the muzzle brake/flash hider. As there are various sizes for shims, we suggest finding a combination of shims that will fit securely within the space. Don’t use crush washers.
We recommend taking your time to make some trial and error to find the perfect fit or correct the issue. We don’t recommend using a crush washer, but we suggest using a few shims. Starting with the thickest shims first is a better option.
6. Screw on your muzzle brake
Right after finding the most secure fit, you are now ready to install your muzzle brake/flash hider. You have to completely remove the muzzle device and place the combination of shims you have previously found over the threads of your barrel. Don’t work yourself upon the shims’ order, as they are irrelevant, same as using a crush washer. It won’t affect the installation, its functionality, or anything important.
Now you are ready to install the muzzle device. We suggest screwing it by hand until the 9 o’clock position. Take note that if you aren’t able to end up in this position, you need to go back to step number 4 and repeat the whole process. Again, using a crush washer isn’t recommended in installing your muzzle device.
7. Tighten the muzzle brake
After securing a perfect fit for your muzzle brake/flash hider and shims, you can now tighten it to complete the installation process without using a crush washer. You could use the 3/4” Wrench if you used YHM-5M2-QD and YHM-3302-MB-24A.
However, if you used YHM-3802, the 7/8” wrench is a better tool for its ports. You need to tighten it one quarter turn to the “12 o’clock position.” And then, your muzzle brake/flash hider is ready even without using crush washers
No. We suggest that you avoid using a crush washer at all costs, as it is prohibited due to improper bore alignment in your upper receiver. A down side of crush water is it could result in baffle strikes when used in a suppressor or a muzzle brake/flash hider.
No, you can’t use a muzzle brake on any kind of firearm as each rifle is threaded differently. Muzzle devices/products used to be positioned dead center on most rifle muzzles/products. However, modern AR-15 rifles/guns now feature a right twisting action with a different barrel length and weight, so they are now positioned marginally right off-center.
Final Thoughts on Installing Muzzle Brakes
You won’t need the help of any professional gunsmith in the muzzle brake installation process. Just carefully follow the steps in this guide, and you’re good to go. Muzzle brakes/suppressors are relatively important, as they tend to reduce recoil by around 50%.
This is a great help, particularly for people with shoulder injuries and in preventing shoulder injuries. Some rifles would likely be unshootable without one. Muzzle brakes improve accuracy, as well as make the shooting experience a little bit more comfortable. 
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