Cans, Brakes, Impacts & Trace

WATERWALKER

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Alright gents, in order to promote discussion & to satisfy my own curiosity, I’m looking to see who is using cans & brakes & what their results have yielded.

Once you show up at a match & look down the line it’s very obvious that more competitors are shooting rifles w/ brakes vs cans. There’s nothing wrong w/ that at all. I shoot 100% suppressed & I have no shortage of other shooters telling me it’s a disadvantage for various reasons.

I’m interested in hearing from other shooters as to who is using which device & why. I favor using a suppressor because I don’t have to deal w/ the rifle’s concussive blast & still have the benefits of reduced recoil. Most of us have no problem spotting impacts through our scopes. Shooting w/ a suppressor I have no problem seeing impacts, but I seldom see trace. That is a rare occurrence. I realize that cartridge selection & rifle weight plays a large part in this equation as well. I’d like to hear from everyone, including top shooters, whether they see trace w/ cans too or just brakes.

*FWIW, I’m shooting a .308 that weighs in around 18 lbs w/ accessories. I also realize seeing trace would be easier w/ a 6 MM flavor as well, but I’m still interested in y’all’s feedback.
 

BOLTRIPPER

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Big problem in Competitions when you shoot a can, but the guys either side of you don't......and with the added length shooting suppressed sometimes abates your maneuverability, ask me how I know.
 

LawnMM

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I use a brake when competing/practicing because it keeps the gun almost a foot shorter and I don't have to worry about the can loosening up in the middle of a stage.

For any kind of fun trip to the range, suppressed all day
 

Danattherock

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I have had a few really good shooters tell me they don't use their suppressor in competition because they can't see their trace. The assumption being that they can see trace with brakes. I can't see it either way and just got a 338 thunderbeast. I will never shoot without it again. I just enjoy shooting more with it. Rare examples come to mind where a suppressors added length is an issue on a prop, barricade, etc. The pipe at KM one I'm dreading. Lol.
 

ToddKS

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I have started out shooting suppressed but now run a brake. The rifle simply moves less under recoil with the brake. I have an easier time spotting impacts with the brake vs. the suppressor. I am running a Gen 3 APA Little Bastard and it does not direct a lot of concussion back at the shooter like some brakes do. Prior to the APA I was running an Impact Precision brake. It also was good about not directing blast back to the shooter.

Reduction in length was another reason I changed. On many stages length is not an issue, but anytime you are having to insert the rifle through a port it is nice not to have an extra 9" on it.
 

jsimonh

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I've went back and forth a few times. I run an Omega with a Ti flat end cap so my can is 6" long, which is only about ~4" longer than a brake so the length issue is zero for me personally. Shooting prone makes no difference between the 2 on my 20lb 6 Dasher. On a weird positional stage I find that I have just as much trouble staying on target due to the recoil with the brake as my can. The can also balances out my rifle just in front of the mag well, if I remove it I have to add forend weights to get it balanced back out. At this point I'm back to using my can 100% of the time, its just so much more enjoyable to shoot.
 
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Sierra770

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Suppressor with .308. I try to build solid positions to manage recoil, but I don’t always see my impacts. More importantly, I make the best wind call I can and try to break the shot clean. Sometimes it works out where I can see the impacts, sometimes it doesn’t. I ain’t winning but I’m not scrubbing the bottom either.

I’m slower on obstacles but rarely run the clock out. It requires deliberate dry practice to smooth that out.

The remaining hearing I have is important to me.
 
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VVhoisJohnGalt

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I ran a can for first few matches then switched to a brake. Won’t shoot a can in a match again. The recoil impulse with brake is sharper but way faster than a can. I am able to pick up trace with a brake 20-30% of the time and maybe 2% with a can. I really don’t think the brand or caliber matter much on brakes. They all work good.

For practice I shoot all suppressed. If I shoot comp gun in practicethere is POI shift but never a shift back to the brake.

Extra 6” with a can should not change anything when building positions. Maybe 1 or 2 seconds over an entire stage with 5 different ports.
 
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WATERWALKER

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Thus far I’ve only shot a few matches. The can hasn’t hindered me at all as far as changing positions or shooting from props. I like shooting suppressed because I don’t have to deal w/ the muzzle blast, excessive noise or debris. Muzzle blast & debris can be an issue w/ contact lenses.

I prefer the can to shooting w/ a bare brake for a variety of reasons. I appreciate what hearing I have left at this point also. I’d also agree the recoil impulse is a little sharper but faster w/ a brake.

As I mentioned above, spotting impacts isn’t an issue. I would like to see trace more often than once in a while.


I appreciate everyone’s input thus far, but I assumed there’d be more input on this topic.
 

Nortex

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I'm no top level shooter fwiw but I won't run a brake anymore. I ran one for 3yrs and it got to the point after a 2 day match in a dusty environment I would end up with a sinus infection. Switching to the can required so getting used to but it's not too bad. I'll say if you have multiple cans don't go to a big match with one if you haven't practiced a good bit as they don't all have the same recoil impulse
 
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FUNCTIONAL

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308 and ran a can all season. Less debris kicked up, less concussion in pipes or between two taller props, if my ear pro breaks weld I dont have ringing for hours/days. It CAN be a little lengthy to weave in and out of obstacles but no more than my braked 26" barrel.

The reason I think many dont use suppressors more often is the length barrels people run lately. My 308 is a 24" barrel with 9" reflex so my overall barrel length turns out to be 29". People are running 26 and now 28" barrels with a brake so its not far off OAL. Some may also say they get mirage but I've had 12 round strings of fire in 90 seconds in the 100degree NC sun with a cover that doesnt come off and havent had a problem on that stage or the stage after.

Having done it both ways I will be shooting all rifles suppressed from here on out.
 
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hlee

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My ONLY complaint about suppressors in matches is as an RO on a somewhat crowded line. It can be difficult to follow the shooter's progression the targets. The report is so quiet that it can get lost in the noise from adjacent stages.
 
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FUNCTIONAL

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My ONLY complaint about suppressors in matches is as an RO on a somewhat crowded line. It can be difficult to follow the shooter's progression the targets. The report is so quiet that it can get lost in the noise from adjacent stages.
I RO too and it was a pain in the dick. Until...someone had their child with them watching a match who had a selfie stick. Clamp that timer in the stick and never had an issue.
 

LoneWolf_052713

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Brakes:

Notes:
1. Shorter recoil impulse makes it feel like "less recoil"
2. Easier to spot especially in awkward positions or when laxed fundamentals aren't implimented
3. Shorter overall length, easier to manipulate
4. Concussive blast disturbs some shooters
5. Shooting from inside pipes or on covered decks all day requires solid ear pro

Suppressor:
1. Longer recoil impulse than a brake, but less recoil than no brake
2. takes more effort to control recoil and spot impacts
3. Extends overall length of rifle that may be challenging to work with on some stages
4. No concussive blast to the shooter or shooters to the sides/behind
5. No issues shooting on a covered deck all day or inside pipes/culverts etc.

Area 419 Maverick (I don't have one yet, but I have one on order)
1. Can be a full suppressor, so I assume the suppressor notes apply
2. Comp mode with the brake is the middle ground. I ran about 10 rounds through one at the finale
3. No concussive blast or greatly reduced to normal unbraked levels for the shooter in comp mode
4. shorter recoil impulse and rifle tracks with limited muzzle flip
5. easier on the ears/brain on covered decks etc.

I've shot matches 100% with a brake for the last 5yrs. in 2021 (due to deployment) I will be running the Maverick 100% of the time I'm shooting. I like the balance and the idea that I can do all my training days fully suppressed.
 

RoterJager

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With switching calibers for the 2020 season, I'll try both suppressed and braked again and make a decision from there. There are merits to both.
 
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lte82

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You can definitely run a suppressor and compete at a high level. I know there was at least one in the NRL top 10. A good brake like the 419 hellfire or APA lil bastard is more effective at reducing recoil and keeping you on target though. Not even a close comparison. For that reason I just run double ear pro and a good brake.
 
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RoterJager

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@lte82 I've been running a break and double ear pro for awhile. In the case of 2020 and switching calibers I like to revisit all options just to make sure I covered my bases.
 
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lte82

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@lte82 I've been running a break and double ear pro for awhile. In the case of 2020 and switching calibers I like to revisit all options just to make sure I covered my bases.
Which cans do you have? I found my TBAC 9" to have the most recoil reduction vs the Omega, Harvester, and a shorter Crux can, and running a 6mm @ 2900ish fps is not bad at all with either of them. Pushing 130's @ 2920 fps with a 6.5 creed definitely was more difficult to manage, and with the 308, forget it LOL. With the Gen 3 Lil Bastard you can pretty much free recoil from barricades and stay on target. It's shocking how good it is.
 

RoterJager

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@lte82 primarily running an Ultra 7. Also have an old YHM Phantom but the thing weighs about 2lbs. I'm running Dasher next year, so recoil shouldn't be a huge issue but if I can reduce it with a break to the point that I can watch the trace all way down range, that's a no brainer.
 
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lte82

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@lte82 primarily running an Ultra 7. Also have an old YHM Phantom but the thing weighs about 2lbs. I'm running Dasher next year, so recoil shouldn't be a huge issue but if I can reduce it with a break to the point that I can watch the trace all way down range, that's a no brainer.
I used an Impact brake this year and it worked pretty well, but the 419 and APA brakes are much more helpful at staying on target. Believe it or not, my 16 lb 223 with an Impact brake is harder to keep on target than my 20 lb 6x47 with a gen 3 APA.
 

ThePretzel

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I'm currently running a muzzle brake but honestly I prefer running a suppressor. I've tried both and Ultra 7 and an Ultra 9 and preferred the 7 because it was shorter. I just prefer not having the noise and concussion, especially since I've found that enough noise and concussion can cause me to flinch more easily than any amount of recoil. I'll shoot a suppressed 300 win mag all day over a shorty .223 AR that has a particularly aggressive muzzle brake.

Realistically my gun is heavy enough that it doesn't move much from the recoil of a 6BR regardless of what's on the end of it. I'd rather save my ears than have slightly less recoil in those circumstances. As far as maneuverability goes the suppressor sucks some for cattle gates but the brake I use (PVA Jet4) is really only 4 inches shorter than the suppressor anyways.

The only other stage where the length has bothered me is at a local match where they have a 48" diameter piece of rigid irrigation tubing that you get inside of and shoot from ports cut into the side. That stage is a slippery bastard regardless of what you do and even braked rifles are too long to comfortably maneuver, so it's mostly a wash to me.
 
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WATERWALKER

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This is exactly why I started this topic. I wanted to see how many of my fellow shooters actually see trace on a regular basis.

I see impacts regularly from props w/ a can & shooting a 308, but rarely do I see trace. I’ll rebarrel at some point & hopefully I’ll see trace more often. I still prefer the can & added recoil to the brake’s minimized recoil & loud ass concussion.
 
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djarecke

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I’ve run my 338 Ultra on a 6GT and it is stunning. I’ve heard it before and didn’t believe it, but there’s something about the 6GT’s recoil impulse that makes it less-sharp than my BRA.

The 338 Ultra is the first can I’ve tried that I would actually run in a match. I think the additional volume absorbs the recoil more effectively than my 6mm or 30 cal cans.
However, seeing trace is something that happens maybe 30-50% of the time for me. Much of it depends on environmental and is lighting-related. I enjoy trace when I see it, but I don’t think seeing trace is much of a competitive advantage.
 

ThePretzel

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This is exactly why I started this topic. I wanted to see how many of my fellow shooters actually see trace on a regular basis.

I see impacts regularly from props w/ a can & shooting a 308, but rarely do I see trace. I’ll rebarrel at some point & hopefully I’ll see trace more often. I still prefer the can & added recoil to the brake’s minimized recoil & loud ass concussion.
If trace can be seen in that day's conditions I can usually spot mine off most obstacles that aren't incredibly unsteady (wobbly barricades, for example). The trick is that you can't always see trace even with a spotting scope depending on environmentals.
 
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WATERWALKER

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Right, & I agree w/ you completely. Maybe I should’ve been a little more clear when I made the initial post; when I made this post I meant to ask who is sending a round down range & seeing trace through your rifle scope as well as spotting impacts

Seeing trace through a spotter or binos is far easier.
 
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ThePretzel

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Right, & I agree w/ you completely. Maybe I should’ve been a little more clear when I made the initial post; when I made this post I meant to ask who is sending a round down range & seeing trace through your rifle scope as well as spotting impacts

Seeing trace through a spotter or binos is far easier.
I am doing that with probably 75% of my shots when the conditions make trace visible.
 

spelunk

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I run suppressed 100% of the time period. Range day or match day, doesn't matter. It blows my mind that so many people are wiling to risk permanent hearing damage over a hobby. I did try a brake for about a year after all my friends insisted I try one. I do think there is a SLIGHT increase in spotting your own trace while using a brake. But throw in a tire, wall, culvert, any surface that can reflect that concussive wave and you're in for a nasty surprise. Also, if you're shooting prone or near the dirt with a brake, you're gonna have dust in your action, mag, and eyes. I feel like I've used both enough to positively say for ME the suppressor is definitely the way to go. As others have mentioned, trace is also heavily influenced by lighting and atmospheric conditions so seeing it can be a bit random. I'm no top dog, but I've won some matches up here in the NW, and feel like I can stay competitive with the good guys even though I'm one of the few who run a can.
 

Killswitch Engage

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i switched to shooting comps suppressed 2 yrs ago and i will never go back. i haven't found any real disability to added length. i can spot my impacts from every position as well as i could from a brake. what i do find as a major benefit for me is less total fatigue after two full days of shooting. wearing ear pro whether its in ear or on ear doesnt stop concussion that travels right up the jaw bone into your ear. my ears are damaged and severely sensitive these days and suppressors have made it 100% enjoyable again.
 

Killswitch Engage

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I’ve run my 338 Ultra on a 6GT and it is stunning. I’ve heard it before and didn’t believe it, but there’s something about the 6GT’s recoil impulse that makes it less-sharp than my BRA.

The 338 Ultra is the first can I’ve tried that I would actually run in a match. I think the additional volume absorbs the recoil more effectively than my 6mm or 30 cal cans.
However, seeing trace is something that happens maybe 30-50% of the time for me. Much of it depends on environmental and is lighting-related. I enjoy trace when I see it, but I don’t think seeing trace is much of a competitive advantage.
110%
 

JC Steel

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I like running a brake over a can.
Have run both in prs/NRL matches and won matches with both.

there is substantially less recoil with a brake.
but there are advantages to both.
for example,
Running a brake will give you a slight advantage to spotting bullet trace.
i may see 80% of my shot fly, but when using a can maybe 1-2%.
reason is because the can recoil impulse is a much longer impulse. Thus missing the opportunity.
One bonus of shooting suppressed is the concussion is drastically lower. And thus you are able to focus on everything more.
Both good. Brake is better if you are wanting to compete at matches.
 
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dgheriani

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I don't have that choice (as my govt doesn't allow us to have suppressors and man would I like one) so I run a brake but I'd add that with regards to seeing trace, caliber makes a huge difference. I almost never see trace when shooting my .308, rarely see it (generally prone) shooting my 6.5, often see it shooting my 6mm (prone and barricades) and pretty much always see it shooting my .223. I'd say what caliber you shoot probably makes a bigger difference to spotting trace than whether you shoot suppressed or braked.
 

Wssickta

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I personally can see 308 trace way better than with 6mm cartridges. In my opinion the larger the diameter of the bullet and the slower the speed the better trace can be seen providing the recoil can be managed
 

Peter Laurvick

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I shoot a RPR in 308 for matches. I've only shot about a dozen so far and before this rifle I've used a suppressed AR in 6.5 Grendel and a 300 Win Mag with Area 419 Sidewinder Brake. For the RPR 308 I've shot 6-8 or so match and only this last one has been suppressed. I had a YHM Ti. Phantom and it was terrible at reducing recoil although it does great for noise, the YHM was so bad at recoil reduction on the 308 that I only fired about 10-15 rounds through it before taking it off and just using the brake. I just got my TBAC Ultra 7 out of purgatory and used that for a match last weekend and i'll be using that from now on. Recoil is more defined, just more of a solid push, you need a more solid position to hold the rifle on target. But I notice I was getting a much more consistent trigger press with the suppressor due to not flinching knowing it wouldn't have a big concussion afterwards. I've already got plenty of hearing loss as is and am pretty sensitive to overpressure so for me the suppressor is worth getting use to. I am planning on switching calibers to a 6mm to reduce the recoil further and allow easier spotting of shots but I don't mind the 308.
 
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