About this detail of the Tiger
A muzzle brake is a device that reduces the recoil force accompanying the firing of a gun, by deflecting part of the gas jet that follows the projectile from the barrel. This force, if transferred in raw form to the tank chassis, could move it enough to destroy the gunner's aim. In addition, the joint between turret and hull would have to be made much stronger than is the case if the turret were not to be detached from the hull. A hydraulic recoil mechanism was included in the Tiger 1 for spreading this impulse over a period of time and thus reducing the maximum force. The mechanism, located inside the turret on the sides of the gun, used a significant amount of the available space. The muzzle brake, by reducing the magnitude of the recoil force, limited the size of this mechanism.
The Tiger 1 was one of the first users of a muzzle brake, and the German military apparently considered the device a secret. German censors carefully erased the muzzle brakes from the earliest published photographs of the Tiger 1, such as the newspaper photograph that revealed the vehicle's existence to the Allies, and the postcard above.
There were two forms of muzzle brake on Tigers, and at present, only the early form is illustrated here.
The muzzle brake was screwed on to the end of the gun barrel and locked in place with a steel pin as shown in the above model. A separate locking ring was screwed onto the barrel behind the muzzle brake. The pin was fixed in place by a bolt which was quite prominent. The ring, I believe, was then tightened up behind the muzzle brake, using a tool to grip the four notches in it.
This model shows the front of the gun barrel with the muzzle brake removed. There were two holes in the gun barrel to receive the locking pin, above and below. Unfortunately I don't have a clear idea what these holes looked like, i.e. round or square ended. I've used the simplest design that fits the constraints.
The rifling in the gun barrel, according to the British who examined a sample, consisted of 32 grooves each 1.5mm deep and 5mm wide. I have included this in the model.
Tiger crews would have to remove the muzzle brake before they could slide the gun backwards through the mantlet for repair. Photos of this procedure show that the end of the barrel was unpainted, as in the model above. Note that this model bears no resemblance to doctored photographs mentioned earlier.
If you are detailing your Tiger model, you may want to make the bushing within the muzzle brake. This next model shows the muzzle brake removed and cut away to reveal the bushing.
The purpose of this bushing was to fit as tightly as practical around the emerging shell and thus seal the rear compartment of the muzzle brake, forcing the exhaust gases to blast out the side vents, which were angled backwards as you can see. I don't know why a similar bushing was not used for the front compartment, but perhaps the gas was at a lower pressure by then and it was not worth while.
The following diagrams give the gun dimensions so that modellers can build replicas. In all of the diagrams of this gun chapter, blue lettering will indicate a measurement that is specified on a preserved German document, and green lettering will indicate a measurement that is estimated and may be one or two millimeters wrong.