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The Mosin Nagant is one of my favorite rifles. I love its accuracy without optics, and its intriguing  history. So when the co-owner of Howling Raven found me on social media and asked me to review their muzzle brake, I jumped at the opportunity.

Howling Raven’s muzzle brake only works with the Mosin Nagant model 91/30. The company touts the following features:

– Reduces recoil by 50% and eliminates muzzle rise
– No gunsmithing or threaded barrel needed
– Slips around front site post and secured with brass set screws.
– Made out of 12L14 Solid steel with Black Oxide finish
– Weighs only 10.6 ounces
– Made in Texas with a limited lifetime replacement warranty

Courtsey of Sara Tipton

The muzzle brake isn’t permanent. It comes with the three screws necessary for installation and an Allen wrench needed to tighten the screws. It’s that simple, folks. No instructions were really necessary, but it came with those anyway. The muzzle brake is solid and machined well. I didn’t notice any burrs or errors when I gave it a once over. It’s built to last.

Courtsey of Sara Tipton

Once installed, the muzzle brake looks appealing.  But now I need to test it.  Everyone is aware that the Mosin kicks like an old mule.  One of the reasons for adding this muzzle brake is to decrease the felt recoil.

Courtesy of Sara Tipton

Testing the muzzle rise and recoil will be a little more difficult for me. You all will have to take my word for it and use the videos provided, obviously.  I have no way of gauging except that I will admit that when firing with the muzzle brake attached, recoil was reduced substantially.   Was it reduced 50% like Howling Raven claims?  Absolutely.  Probably more actually.  But it definitely a noticeable difference when firing the gun.  The muzzle brake makes the Mosin comfortable to shoot.

Based just on how much easier the Mosin was to shoot because of the reduced recoil, this is a modification I would whole-heartedly recommend.  But make sure you watch the videos so you can see the difference.  I will now show myself firing the Mosin Nagant 91/30 first without the muzzle brake.  I had to slow it down because the video cut short right before I shot.

And then I fired the Mosin with the muzzle brake installed.  I will shoot from the same position to try to keep things simple so comparisons of recoil and muzzle rise can still be made.

*After taking the videos, my videographer and husband made notice of something I feel is important to mention.  He said that when I fired the Mosin with the muzzle brake on, he could feel more concussion.  He was straight out to my right level with me while I shot.  He also noticed that the gas was obviously being dispersed differently around the muzzle brake (things I would not notice while shooting the gun and were not picked up well on the videos.)

I just tightened the screws hand tight and after 20 rounds of 7.62x54R 148gr FMJ rounds, it was still secure. And I could easily remove it in the field in order to compare the shooting without this muzzle brake.

Listed at a very fair price of $69.99, Howling Raven often lists these for sale and you can snag it for less.  I’ve seen it listed on their website for as low as $44.95.  Easy to navigate and with gift certificates available, Howling Raven’s website is pretty easy to figure out.

Ratings (out of five stars):

Aesthetics * * * * *
This muzzle brake is honestly a good looking piece of metal.  Add to the fact that it’s not permanent, there should be no hard feelings about using it while firing a Mosin for the purists. Couple that with functionality and it automatically becomes a more attractive piece anyway.

Ease of Installation * * * * *
Really, this one is a no-brainer.  No instructions were needed to install this muzzle brake.  The three simple screws hold it in place. You can easily remove it or add it while at the range as well.  Again, I cannot think of anything that could make it any easier.

Quality * * * * *
The muzzle brake is well thought out in design and function.  It’s solid and sturdy and the macining was top notch.

Price * * * *
Could it be cheaper? Sure.  But it’s well worth the almost $70 Howling Raven is charging.

Function * * * * *
Once put to the test in the field, the muzzle brake outperformed the stats given to it by Howling Raven.  Talk about underpromising and over-delivering.   It most definitely decreases recoil, and it obviously reduces muzzle rise.

Overall * * * * *
This is coming highly recommended.  I absolutely love that this muzzle brake is so easy to install while not permanent. While I am a sort of Mosin purist myslef this is a modification that I intend to keep on the Mosin – for the immediate future anyway.

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      • In my gearhead days we called that a $5000 stereo and $2500 worth of wheels and tires on a $500 car. Does it come with tactical Under Armor skivvies, cool 5.11 pants and shirts and Oakley sunglasses? Actually the muzzle brake isn’t a bad idea – I wonder how it works on a Nagant Carbine? Those things kick harder than the long rifle.

      • “The muzzle brake doesn’t permanently modify the rifle in any way and is easily reversible.”

        The set screws will nick the barrel a bit where they seat.

        Which leads me to my question:

        If one wanted to make the mount more secure, would noting the screw marks and *slightly* indenting the barrel with drill bit that matches the set screw base and loctite-ing the screws keep the brake from ‘wandering’ around or off the barrel?

        • DG is right, of course, but I wonder about the combination of heat expansion, vibration, and recoil, and the possibility that the brass setscrews might become deformed over time.

          Eventually, I can see at least a few of these rapidly leaving the area of the firing line and heading downrange.

          Strange that they didn’t put one or two of the fasteners behind the sight base, for a more positive mechanical lock.

          And I’d definitely consider drilling recesses for the setscrew noses in the barrel. What, you’re worried about making this rifle look “bad”? Especially one with this corn-cob-looking brake mounted on it? Two words: too late.

  1. What about the bayonet???
    Muzzle brake ain’t gonna do a damn bit of good like a bayonet for those up close and personal moments!!

  2. Good question, @ralph Humphrey — is there any way to attach this with the baynote in place? I’m away from my Mosin-Nagant right now and can’t check, but it doesn’t look possible.

    And how about the carbine with the folding bayonet, the 91/44? 91/38? Whatever it’s year is. Got one of those too. Would this muzzle brake fit on there, and if it did, could you still open the bayonet?

  3. Bayonets.
    There’s only one reason to put one on: historical accuracy of appearance.
    Thare are many reasons not to which you’ve all already heard so give Sara a break! (or brake, as it were) 🙂

    • They aim differently with and without the bayonet. I figure it’s a Russki relic of some of the worst fighting in WW II and deserves to be shot with the bayonet.

    • Actually the 91/30 was designed to be fired with the bayonet attached. Many people report better accuracy, er well at least better POI vs POA with the bayonet on the rifle.

      Plus, you can do you part to stop a cavalry charge if need be…

      • Better idea to shoot a horse than try to stab him while his rider is swinging a sabre at you. Just sayin’.

        • You have to keep this in the context of the time the rifle was introduced. Back in the 1800’s horse mounted cavalry were still a thing (in fact they were used in WWII as well). The military tactic for dealing with cavalry had, for centuries, been pikemen (think Braveheart cavalry charge scene).

          Militaries, being slow to adopt new stuff like tactics and shit, thought at the time that such a feature was still useful for infantry. So they incorporated long bayonets onto long rifles so that regular infantry could double as pikemen and repulse cavalry charges.

          Keep in mind that this rifle was originally designed and submitted to the Russians in 1889 and adopted in 1891. It wasn’t until two years later that the power of the Maxim gun was “revealed” to the world at the Battle of Shangani during the First Matabele War in Rhodesia. However, that bloody little engagement was only against spear wielding infantry of the Matabele and Europeans were not quick to adopt the gun due to it’s reputation for jamming. The Russians did use the Maxim rather extensively during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1906), which the Japanese won fairly handily while using the Hotchkiss machine gun. While I won’t argue that this is a serious knock against the Maxim, it certainly was a feature in lore at the time.

          It was not until 1912 that the Brits ironed things out and introduced a quite reliable version of the Maxim which we all know as the Vickers. So, from the time that the Nagant was introduced to the time that the Vickers made MG’s legit in the eyes of European (and Russian) militaries was 21 years. By that time the Nagant was the Russian military standard issue rifle and had been for two decades. Also, realistically speaking, MGs didn’t truly show their worth against cavalry until WWI (1914-1918) and without foresighted officers militaries are usually very slow to adopt new ideas, tactics, weapons etc. especially when the idea is theoretical which is why Carl von Clausewitz recommended that a country which didn’t go to war for a period of a decade should hire officers from a country that did as advisers. Just to stay abreast of modern developments. Look at combined arms and how long it took the folks in WWI to figure that out (or to figure out that trench warfare was a horrendous idea for that matter) for a stellar example of how slow a military can be to adapt even during war time.

          So yeah, I’d rather shoot the horse too, but in 1891 that wasn’t really a thought. The fact that slowly marching into MG fire from your trench towards the enemy trench while taking massive casualties was a terribly bad idea was something it would take world powers nearly 30 more years to figure out.

  4. reviewer failed to mention the numerous reviews, where failing to keep the set screws tight will allow the muzzle break to shift slightly and you can actually have bullet impact the muzzle break tearing off your front sight.

    • I’ve never heard of Howling Raven having that issue with their brake. I’ve heard of other brakes having issues with set screws not being tightened but have never once seen someone mention a Howling Raven brake getting misaligned or flying off. Owning one myself I’m not really even sure how that could happen. Fits on my barrel very snug.

  5. My cosmoline-fresh M44 only cost $80. My beat-to-shit 91/30 was basically a white-elephant gift that otherwise would’ve ended up at the bottom of a lake. It seems like a well-made product, but it’s a well-made product for a beater rifle where the price is one of the best things about it.

  6. I fail to see the point in this. To me it’s a solution in want of a problem.

    The rifle worked just fine for over 100 years. Adding things to it now seems… unnecessary. Especially if they’re poorly designed/made/require threadlocker. Wanna tame that muzzle flip by adding something up front? Put the bayonet on it. Mine weighs in at 11.35oz and the rifle was meant to be shot with the bayonet on it.

    If you can’t handle the recoil of a Nagant then sell it and buy something else or add a recoil pad.

    This comes across to me as a gimmick to fleece you out of $70 which could damn near buy you another Nagant.

    • I once wandered around a local shooting field with my 91/38/44 popping away at tin cans, shotgun shells, etc, whatever was left. 60 rounds in half an hour, nothing rapid fire. Dang thing got so hot I could old hold it by the sling. Cleaned up real nice with all that barrel heat. The recoil didn’t bother me at all. Prone recoil on almost any rifle is more than I like, even one shot. Offhand only 12 gauge slugs are too much.

      • I’ve never really understood the people who can’t take Nagant recoil but then I’m not recoil sensitive so I have no frame of reference.

        As for the heat, that’s why a lot of older guns have a wood stock. At one point I was dumb enough to buy the hype about a polymer stock for my SKS. After about 30 rounds I came to understand that the stock was a waste of something like $100 because the foreend got so hot you couldn’t hold it without gloves. I can’t imagine dumping 100 through it with that stock on there.

        • Agreed, if an M-N ‘punishes your shoulder’, you’re either a female of the runway variety (which I like very much mind you), or you really have no business shooting a grown-up caliber. Go back to .22LR and start over, because either the instructor sucks, or you are one of those rare people who don’t immediately acclimate to firearms.

          I have a coupla buck-o-five-soaking-wet twenty-something friends who may benefit from this device, but they manage Ok without it, and enjoy the push as it were….

  7. I wonder how much of the muzzle rise is tamed by the actual design of the device, and how much is just the simple physics of hanging 3/4 of a pound of metal on the end of a 4-foot-long rifle?

    Was there a noticeable point-of-impact shift with the brake vs. without? I know that the POI changes a few inches (and groups get a little smaller) on my M44 when shot with the bayonet extended.

  8. This brake appears to reduce recoil significantly over the stock rifle.

    Insert my standard screed about brakes and your hearing. Never, ever light off a rifle with a brake unless you have hearing protection on, and the people around you are likewise protected. In my shop, every request for installation of a brake comes with a free-of-charge rant about how dangerous brakes are to your hearing.

    Sara, please excuse this hijacking of your product review – your videos have given me a perfect “Exhibit A” for a discussion of recoil and gun fit.

    Let’s talk about recoil and the perception of recoil: I’d like people to look at the videos Sara posted here. Blow them up to full-screen size. Look carefully at the issues to which I’m about to call attention.

    Look in the first video (stock Mosin) where the butt of the stock is on Sara’s shoulder. It isn’t as clear as in the case of if Sara were wearing a t-shirt.

    Then look at where her right hand is on the grip in relation to her face, esp. her nose. This you can tell from the videos, but especially the second video.

    The first gun fitting problem I see is that the butt appears to be high on Sara’s shoulder – perhaps as much as half off the upper extent of her shoulder. I’m estimating the amount of the butt being high because of her winter clothing.

    Her right hand appears to be approximately 2″ in front of her nose.

    Right there is a formula for two things:

    1. The rifle will want to climb at the muzzle. This is because with the butt mounted high on Sara’s shoulder, it will want to rotate around the upper edge of her shoulder, meaning that the muzzle will climb worse than if the butt were fully engaged on her shoulder.

    The reason for Sara mounting the butt high on her shoulder could be one of several things:

    – the drop of the comb is too aggressive for the length of Sara’s neck
    – the length of pull is too long for her, which will mean that she’s trying to mount the gun to her cheek further back on the comb than a man would, which means she’s experiencing more drop from boreline than if the length of pull fit her
    – In some men with really broad shoulders, you have to mount the butt high on the shoulder because you can’t seem to lay your head over on its side enough with the rifle butt mounted fully on your shoulder.
    – Or, you’re shooting an AR-15, where there is no drop, and the gun fit simply sucks.

    2. When the length of pull is too long for the shooter, the shooter tends to experience worse recoil. Ideally, you’d like to have the knuckle of your thumb, when your right hand is on the grip such that you’re positioned to squeeze the trigger properly, to be about 3/4″ in front of your nose. That Sara’s right hand is so far in front of her nose means that the LOP is too long for her.

    Look at how Sara has contorted her upper body to get behind a gun that has too long a pull for her. See how her right shoulder is being pushed back and her stance “opened up?” In other words, rather than having her shoulder perpendicular to the recoil vector, Sara has the rifle mounted to her shoulder at an acute angle. This makes the recoil vector want to push outwards on her shoulder – which can hurt. The rifle is trying to push outwards out of the pocket in the shoulder joint that forms when a shooter mounts a rifle. With a long enough pull, the rifle will want to slip completely out of the pocket and start hitting the muscle bundle that is exterior to the pocket – and this will hurt.

    All I can say about this situation is this: That rifle doesn’t fit that shooter – and that’s long before we get to issues of cast-off, toe-out, etc. For women with larger breast development, or rifles with sharp butts, like many 19th century curved-butt stocks with steel buttplates, toe-out prevents the toe from digging into the top of the breast or pectoral muscle pad.

    I didn’t mean to hijack Sara’s review here, but these videos, shot in profile with a gun that is obviously not fitting Sara at all provide a perfect jumping-off point to talk about gun fit and recoil. Most videos of shooters are taken from behind and their right, and this presents almost no perspective to talk about stock fit.

    Most surplus military rifles designed prior to WWII to 100+ years ago will suffer from poor fit to today’s shooters. They’ll have too short a length of pull for larger men (over 5’10” – a 1903 Springfield and Mauser 98 are hilariously small on me, with my nose in full contact with my thumb on the stock wrist) and they’re too long for many smaller women.

    People often ask why big game hunters taking a rifle to Africa get a custom-made rifle (or at least a custom-made stock fit to their rifle). The answer is that a properly fit stock allows you to a) mount a gun for moving shots much more reliably and with better repeatable hits on game, and b) allows you to handle far more recoil than if the rifle doesn’t fit you.

    • Your post reminds me about a guy who wrote a book on big game hunting in Africa who mentioned exactly what you describe.

      He got a big bore double barrel that he paid some ludicrous amount of money for (I don’t remember what it was, the guy’s book was something my dad gave me for Christmas a few years back and it was pricey enough that it sits in a safety deposit box) and that’s in today’s money when he spent it in like 1968…

      Anyway, long story short he tried the gun out and the recoil from the rifle blew it back into his face, knocked off/smashed his glasses and nearly knocked him over. Fortunately he had a friend, such as yourself, who was knowledgeable about this and did some custom stock work for him free of charge. The author said it was a night and day difference. At first, before a significant explanation, he didn’t really understand what the smith had done to the rifle at first but said that now the recoil was completely manageable as opposed to… well, this:

    • – Or, you’re shooting an AR-15, where there is no drop, and the gun fit simply sucks.

      Next thing you know, you’ll be saying a .45ACP can’t steal a man’s soul when whisked by his ear. Let alone spin him around as in a movie, when he is actually hit by it.

      Watch your sacrilege ‘bro.. 🙂

  9. It amazes me that people can attack a product the way some on here have done. This is the USA. No one is forcing you to buy the product. If you don’t like it, simply don’t buy it. I doubt I will buy one, but then again, I’m not going to slam the product, either. If some people like the thing and want it, more power to them. Isn’t it great to have choices?

    • This is the USA. As such, we have the freedom to criticize as we see fit. If you don’t like it, you have the freedom to ignore the criticism, and proceed with your own thoughts/feelz/whatevs.

      If you have a factual refutation, please share it, I’m all about a valid contra-position supported by facts and experience.

      • “…proceed with your own thoughts/feelz/whatevs.”

        Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow your roll there 16V. Whatevs are a gateway drug to not giving a shit, which rapidly leads to having no fucks to give. That’s exactly how you end up like me.

        Let’s not ruin the poor guy, eh?

      • I’m real glad that you’re some kind of super-tough guy; not everyone is, though. I own a Mosin, I shoot it just fine the way it is. However, some people may not and may want to use that muzzle break. If they do, what the hell is it to you? Is it going to ruin your tough-guy image if someone puts a muzzle break on their Mosin? Or maybe you’re just one of those who likes running around talking shit to people and being a dick for no good reason.

  10. Good review. Mean it. That Sara puts up with the commenters here is a testament to her goodness.
    But I saw the words “aesthetics” and “accuracy” somewhere above, perhaps in the comments.
    This is in regard to a Mozin?
    Hahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahaha…falls, ROFL
    It has such a Russian aesthetic. Look at that barrel band in the picture. Then look at the barrel bands of a k31.
    And there’s that old joke about a Mozin being able to hit the broad side of a barn, from inside the barn.

  11. Some people like fine dining, some like the greasy spoon. When I’m in the mood for greasy spoon shooting, I shoot one of my four Mosins (especially after watching Enemy at the Gates). Well, three actually, I have a pristine 44 that I’ve never shot. I also have an 8mm Mauser carbine, AKs, ARs and shoot black powder. I like the feeling of communing with history that these guns provide. For fine dining, I have a Remington BDL in 8mm Remington Magnum that I rarely shoot, as well as a Thompson Encore that I have nine pistol and rifle barrels for.

    As another poster said: It’s nice to have choices.

  12. I ordered one from them and they seemed to have disappeared. Are they still in business? Can’t pull up a web page, their Facebook page is gone and when I call I get an answering machine. Left a few messages but no reply.

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