Never used one until my daughter begin hunting with a larger game. She tried elk hunting last year and with the step up in fire power the brake DID make a difference for her. Ear protection is a must though...
I would pass on getting a rifle with a brake if there was any way around it. I do have one so equipped though. The only way you could get a Weatherby Mark V chambered for 460 Mag back in 1987 - and I assume the same today - was that it had to come from the custom shop with a full action slicking job and integral muzzle brake. Of course with 110 ft-lbs of recoil energy you don't really say a whole lot about any extra noise because the benefits of a brake are sorely needed. It does have surprisingly little muzzle rise for something with such savage rearward thrust. I've killed a number of deer with it using a full 120 grains of IMR4350 and a 300 grain Barnes bullet. I never use any kind or ear protection while deer hunting. I had to shoot one doe 3 times to put it down and I can't say that I've ever been aware of it being painfully loud without ear protection while hunting. Now for people on adjacent benches when I've shot at ranges, they always seem to move back for some reason.
Still however I'd not get a rifle chambered for a normal round with a Brake if there was any other choice.
I was on the Sako TRG 42 338 Lapua one day and my spotter was trying to tell me where the next target was and I took my ears off to hear him,,when I found what he was talking about I shot it without thinking to put my ears back on,,needless to say it took a few minutes to get my bearings back
In my life, I've owned only one rifle with a muzzle brake and I only kept it one season. Thing was too loud to use hunting without ear protection. They definitely work to reduce recoil but will ring your ears. I absolutely despise it when folks shoot them at the range. Even from a few benches over, the muzzle blast and noise is absolutely annoying.
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