The official Mike Bellm's

Bellm TCs

TC Contender, G2, Encore/ProHunter Performance Center


Bellm Brake Machined into tapered Contender barrel, side view. Note horizontal ports are below center and top ports have a highly vertical component to drive the muzzle down.

Standard 12 port configuration with 3/16" diameter ports, 3 per row, 4 rows of ports.

The Best, Most Effective, and Neatest Way to Brake a Barrel!

Cleanest, neatest appearance.

Nothing gobby or gawdy added on.

All work done on center, referenced off the bore itself to within .0005" of true center of bore axis, thus....

Nothing to be misaligned with the bore.

No unsightly bulge.

Uses only about 1 inch of effective barrel length.

Expansion chamber design machined inside the barrel.

Precision 11 degree target crown cleanly, squarely cut at the end of the bore inside the brake.

Can be positioned to clear a standard front sight.

Ports neatly aligned with flutes in fluted Pro Hunter type barrels.

Ports angled back 22 degrees actually pull the gun forward by converting the blast normally out the front of the barrel to a force propelling the gun forward.

Top row of ports have a very pronounced vertical angle for more control of muzzle rise. Side ports are positioned below the barrel center line to make more room for the top row of ports, but are on a true horizontal plane so the they do not blast dirt and debris in your face when fired from prone.

(Lower row of ports in the "Pro Hunter" fluted barrels are angled downward slightly, only 20 degrees, for better positioning in the flutes, but still direct the blast well away from the ground and away from the shooter shooting prone.)

Ample clearance at the exit of the brake lets bullet pass without disrupting its flight and accuracy, yet balanced to restrict and redirect the blast out the ports while the bullet is passing through the exit hole or "pupil."

Can be machined into any Encore or Contender/G2 barrel or any barrel I can run between centers in the lathe.

My brake actually slaps the muzzle down! Your reflexes bring it back up to shooting position.

Just watch it being fired or cant your head to one side and watch the muzzle. Instead of rearing up, the muzzle makes a quick downward dip.

Make Those Hard Kicking Barrels Pleasant to Shoot!
Note the clean cut on the rifling in focus at about 7:30 inside the brake

Clean, sharp, 11 degree target crown cut inside the brake at the end of the bore.

Disregard the lint in the photo, but look at the end of the bore down inside the brake and see the distinct, cleanly cut profile of the end of the rifling where I managed to get it in focus at about 7:30.

All internal work is single point lathe bored with indexable carbide boring bars.

How brakes work........
Here are some guidelines.

1) All brake designs redirect muzzle blast to the side to reduce the "rocket blast" effect at the muzzle slamming the gun back.

2) As noted above, my designs literally pull the gun forward while also slapping the muzzle down, which you can see watching the barrel while being fired off hand. The muzzle is slapped down, then your reflexes bring the gun back to level.

3) No brake design can offset the inertia of accelerating the bullet.

4) The total effectiveness of my brake is dependent on both actual pressure at the muzzle and the volume of gas the powder charge generates. A faster burning powder in a .308 Winchester, for example, reaches its peak pressure farther back in the barrel while .300 Winchester with its slower burning powder maintains its pressure farther down the barrel with result there is both more pressure and a greater volume of gas at the muzzle. (This higher pressure over a longer distance clear to the muzzle is what produces "magnum" velocities, but also "magnum" recoil.) Thus percentage wise, there is a greater reduction of recoil from the magnum compared to the same weight of bullet fired from a .308 Winchester. Recoil from accelerating the bullet is greater in the .300 Winchester of course, but the pulling forward and pushing the muzzle down is also greater.

5) Effects of powder burning rate are readily apparent when I use faster powder in .357 Maximum test fire ammo. When I do the brake internals a pvc pipe sleeve is Bondo-ed onto the barrel. Bondo fills the ports. The easiest way to clear the ports is to simply fire a round. Extremely hot test fire rounds with faster powders in rifle length barrels will not even budge the Bondo from the ports at all. I have to go to the slowest powders proper for .357 Maximum in order to have enough pressure at the muzzle to blow the Bondo out of the ports! It graphically demonstrates the differences in muzzle pressure between faster powders v. slower powders!

6) Lower pressure rounds with heavy bullets in braked barrels give the least amount of recoil reduction and muzzle depression. Faster powders used in .45/70 and .460 S&W rifle barrels, for example, combined with heavy bullets are still going to produce substantial recoil and some muzzle rise. The best way to reduce recoil in these types of guns is with more weight to offset the inertia of accelerating the bullet.

7) Rounds with larger volumes of faster burning powders such as in .460 S&W handgun barrels maintain both a high pressure at the muzzle and larger volume of gas making them very effective. However, the extremely light weight TC factory .460 barrels still recoil substantially simply accelerating the bullet, but muzzle rise and overall recoil are dramatically reduced.

8) Rifle type rounds like .308 Win., .270 Win., and .30/06 in handgun barrels give good recoil reduction due to lighter bullet weights, the relatively large volume of gas, medium burning rate powders, , and maximum pressure at the muzzle. These are very effectively tamed down with my brake design.

9) Probably least effective is braking a muzzle loader barrel, but still something I do on request. Internal diameter of the brake is kept minimum and no expansion chamber is machined in. The object is to minimize potential problems with sabots passing through the ported area. To date there have been no accuracy complaints concerning the muzzle loader barrels I have braked, but I make no claims regarding accuracy from muzzle loader barrels with my brake.

10) Force over a longer period of time produce more recoil from accelerating the bullet. Thus the heavier the bullet and the longer the barrel, the more recoil from accelerating the bullet. Meaning, you will find more recoil reduction from the brake in shorter barrels v. longer barrels. And of course the shorter barrels will have more pressure at the muzzle compared to the same ammo in a longer barrel.

Bottom line:
1) The lighter the bullet and the greater the volume of slow burning powder in rifle length barrels, the more effective the brake is.
2) Conversely, there is less perceived recoil reduction in rifle barrels firing faster powders and heavy bullets.
3) Shorter barrels give more recoil reduction than longer barrels. Handgun length barrels, especially with lighter bullet weights, firing high pressure rounds give the most reduced recoil and muzzle rise.
4) I'm not a mathematician but dare say advertised percentages of recoil reduction published by others are probably not valid since they do not take all factors into account for all conditions.

One of hundreds of .444 Marlin barrels I done with my machined in brake.
.444 Marlin in a light Contender barrel is brutal to shoot without a really effective brake! With my brake shooters are able to milk outstanding accuracy from 14" Contender handguns, even without the weight of a scope to help mitigate recoil.

.444 Marlin represents THE most horsepower you can get out of a Contender, and my brake makes it entirely manageable!

This gun was used to take a 220 pound black bear with one good controlled shot by Pete Kolovos, shattering the shoulder and taking out the heart.

Quoting Peter, "The devastation this round caused on this Bear was incredible. The 265 grain Hornady broke the shoulder, blew the muscle in his left front leg apart, and pierced the heart. We never found the bullet."

6 scope base screws are a must to keep scope base screws from stripping out under the recoil of .444 Marlin. Base is standard Weaver base, converted to and installed with 6-screws.

Over the years, particularly during the 1990's, I did a lot of .444 Marlin 14" Contender barrels set up with aperture rear sight and shot a lot of them off the bench verifying correct sight heights. Without a scope, and with the weight of the barrel reduced substantially by the large bore, a .444 Marlin Contender offers little weight to offset recoil of the mighty .444 Marlin.
With my brake, shooting off the bench and taking full recoil, I find the .444's recoil quite manageable. (Mike Bellm)

While Peter Kolovos is the Director of Training at Academy of Tactical Training and Security, LLC working with tactical guns, for hunting this professional chooses the Thompson Center system and Mike Bellm for his custom TC work.

Check out the academy's professional level and concealed carry curriculum.
Academy of Tactical Training & Security, LLC

Target from a .375x.338 Win Mag barrel with my brake machined in.

From "M.D." whose barrel was, I believe 20" long, tapered octagon done by Virgin Valley, my chamber work.

You can easily shoot this barrel one handed with full house loads. The accuracy speaks for itself.

"This is 3 rounds at 100 yds with the octagon barrel you chambered and braked for me, with the cheapest Hornaday bullets I could find - I think they're something like 12 cents apiece."

A Rifle To Be Proud Of. .375x.338 Win. Mag.

Bellm Brake Machined Into Virgin Valley Tapered Octagon Barrel

Bellm machined-in brake, fluted Bergara barrel cut back to 24"

3/16" diameter ports can be neatly nestled into the flutes.

Side view. Flutes locate the top ports with a strong vertical component to control muzzle flip.

Bottom ports are positioned below center, parallel to the ground to avoid blowing debris back to the shooter. Fluted barrels have the lower row of ports angled down slightly but still directing the blast well away from the ground in front of the shooter.

.375 H&H Mag. 16" Handgun with Williams Firesight Front, Williams Guide Receiver Sight Rear
375 H&H Stainless 16" , with matte finish, Bellm brake, Williams Sights

This was a heavy stainless .375 JDJ factory rifle barrel I cut to carbine legal 16" length, machined my brake into, and rechambered to .375 H&H. Forend is the factory rifle forend. Barrel is drilled and tapped to also take a forend for 15" handgun.

Recoil is a hard push back, virtually no rise at the muzzle. Easy enough to shoot one handed!

Brake Closeup. Large 3/16" diameter ports, 3 per row.
Note the soft, fine sand blast matte finish.

To me this is the best metal finish for hunting next to camoflage.

Note more vertical orientation of the top ports for maximum downward muzzle deflection.

Set up as a rifle with the new Flex Tech buttstock and forend
Early indications are the Flex Tech forend is standing up ok to the recoil of the light weight .375 H&H.

Quite an impressive package for all hunting from up close and personal out to about 300 yards, compact enough for the most dense cover, big enough for the toughest game, light enough for hunting in those deep, dark pockets of down timber high in the mountains at "timber line."

Would YOU shoot this compact "serious business rifle" in .375 H&H without the most effective muzzle brake you could get?
Elk hunting guide, Mark James, carries this .375 H&H in a backpack/ scabbard when hunting in dangerous grizzly bear country.

Bellm brake machined into 15" Encore .375 JDJ factory barrel. Note the ports clear the front sight. Smaller .140" diameter ports, 3 per row. Takes up only 1 1/8" of barrel length.

End view of Bellm brake machined into .375 JDJ barrel above.

Close up of 11 degree target crown down inside the brake area (complete with lint on the end of the barrel!). Note the clean, sharp outline of the lands and grooves.

Like above but 4 smaller size ports per row
7mm-08 15" stainless steel factory barrel with 4 small ports per row. Still takes up no more than 1 1/8" of barrel length.

.300 Win. Mag. factory 24" light barrel
3/16" ports. Maximum recoil reduction in just 1" of barrel length!

Top View, .300 Win. Mag. 24"
Ports space closer for a more depression of muzzle.

.300 Win. Mag. Side view.

.300 Win. Mag. 26" stainless steel heavy barrel.
3/16" ports. The 26" stainless .300 Win. Mag. factory production barrels are proving to be some of the straightest TC production. When running barrels between centers in the lathe, how straight a barrel is becomes very apparent as it is turning. Most all barrels have some degree of warpage to them, but most of the .300s in the heavy stainless 26" configuration are very straight, inside and out as of this date, 6/2006.

These should be accurate barrels and once the bone jarring, stinging recoil has been removed with my machined in brake system, they should make excellent hunting barrels. I'm inclined to buy one for myself!

Shoot a.45/70 10 inch barrel? Yes, and comfortably!

Obviously, stiff 400 to 500 gr. loads are going to recoil quite heavily, but normal Contender 300 to 350 gr. loads are quite manageable.

Normally I would decline such a project, but this .45/70 barrel, cut back to 10" was for a special application, and turned out to be quite interesting.

Extra ports for large cals, large capacity magnum cases

This system with a total of 16- 3/16" diameter ports, 4 per row, is for larger bore sizes from .44 cal. up and larger cases. I chambered this particular 18.5" Encore barrel in .458 Lott Encore and fired one handed as a handgun with 70 gr. of Rel. 7 and 300 gr. bullet.

Very little muzzle rise, quite a bit of torque, and a generous shove back, but VERY manageable and not uncomfortable. That said, at my age carpal tunnel is something I am more conscious of, so unlike the days in my 20s and 30s, I wouldn't sit there and shoot one all afternoon inviting a sore wrist. But I would have no hesitation to become proficient with it, work up good loads, and use it on a serious hunt where this much horsepower and penetration are in order, even as a handgun.

The .458 Lott cartridge is one of my new chamber offerings.

For all you wannabee Quigley Down Unders, the Lott is basically a modernized .45-110 nearly identical to the Sharps Matthew Quigley used in the movie, but using a belted case. Ie, most likely a belt counterbore could be cut in the end of a .45-110 chamber, and the .458 Lott would fit perfectly...... though not recommended for a Sharps type rifle of course.

Now fixtured to locate ports on the TC Dimension rifle barrels without having the receiver here.
Eric Ebbinghaus, Haus of Arms, shows how the TC Dimension rifle rechambered to .280 Imp. with Bellm machined in brake shoots.

Haus of Arms for TC products, Click Here.

Click on the link below for the barrel work page. Prices and procedures for sending barrels in for brake work are near the bottom of the page.

Barrel work page

How effective are my muzzle brakes? Here is what my customers have to say about them.
Muzzle brake reduced recoil level of the .35 Whelen to that of a 270 or less. Shoots well. No problem with 1 to 1-1/4" at 100 with 225 Noslers at 2300. Many thanks.


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