Kind of sounds like its capping the flame. I'd have to see a picture of it and see the weed burner in action, both dismounted and held next to each other at the same relative height they are inside the kettle. Side by side, if thats not clear. I want to know how far the flame goes at his "normal use" setting.
It's a 500K flamethrower, so I think pretty far. My concern is that theres a lot of unburnt propane going into the chamber and only igniting when it hits the turbulence around the deflector. I don't think theres any possible way with the described setup that he's getting decent airflow because of the lack of bottom intake area. So you have some potential for an cascading explosive event, in effect turning the bottom kettle into a large bomb.
Theres a big difference between the burner for a weed burner and the burner for a propane cooker. The structure is different, for an obvious reason. For a cooker, you want to disperse the gas evenly, but for a weed burner, you want the central jet to shoot the gas as far as possible before it is ignited by the flames from the smaller jets.