Savage Scraps 300 BLK Rifle

Savage had announced that they were in the process of designing a Model 10 rifle to take advantage of the 300 AAC Blackout round. According to a post they made on their facebook page just now they appear to have scrapped the project. The reason? Apparently the subsonic ammunition provides unsatisfactory accuracy performance. Which makes sense — we’ve seen that in our tests as well. But it’s all part of the game, trading off accuracy for whisper quiet performance. And may I remind you that the round was designed to be used in an AR-15, not necessarily a bolt action rifle. Make the jump for their full announcement text…

Some time ago, Savage announced it would be chambering the Model 10 Precision Carbine in 300 AAC Blackout. Since that time, we have tested many variants of this cartridge in various barrel lengths and rates of twist. This exhaustive testing left us quite unsatisfied with the accuracy we were able to get from the subsonic loads in this chambering. Accuracy with the lighter, faster loads in this caliber was actually quite good. But we believe the real value in this cartridge lies in the use of subsonic loads for suppressed rifles. Therefore we have decided to scrap the project.

It is our understanding that pushing these heavy, slow bullets presents challenges not found in typical loadings and that our experience is not unique. Subsequently, many in the industry have simply adopted a lower standard for accuracy for these subsonic loads. While this does seem reasonable and we don’t criticize any in our industry that have taken this approach, it just won’t work for Savage.

Our brand was built on accuracy and we are too protective of our reputation for building the most accurate factory rifles available. We would rather walk away from this opportunity than sell a product that requires an explanation.

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About Nick Leghorn

Nick Leghorn is a gun nerd living and working in San Antonio, Texas. In his free time, he's a competition shooter (USPSA, 3-gun and NRA High Power), aspiring pilot, and enjoys mixing statistics and science with firearms. Now on sale: Getting Started with Firearms by yours truly!

30 Responses to Savage Scraps 300 BLK Rifle

  1. avatarpair-o-dee says:

    Seems a thoughtful decision on Savage’s part.

    • I actually have to agree. I have no idea why anyone would want a bolt gun in 300 BLK.

      • avatarirock350 says:

        For whisper quiet Whitetail take downs in the fall.

      • avatarThanks says:

        I said that same thing in another forum and recieved a quickly administered internet beat down. I like the cartridge in an AR, but one can do much better for much less effort in another cartridge outside the AR platform. As the 300 blk is often compared to 30-30, I think a 30-30 is a better non semi-auto alternative. My heavy subsonic loads are just stellar from my 30-30 and were easy to load for, too.

  2. avatarDerek says:

    “We would rather walk away from this opportunity than sell a product that requires an explanation.”

    Assuming that’s a sincere sentiment, and they’re not just blowing smoke up my ass after scrapping the rifle for financial reasons, I’m officially a Savage customer for life.

    • avatarRoadrunner says:

      You’re safe being a Savage customer for life. My .308 with AccuTrigger will print touching groups at 100 yards with cheap ammo, and consistently hits steel plates at 220 with just a side focus adjustment. Oh, and it’s soft as a .22; well it’s almost that soft. My 300 WSM is fantastic too, though I have to confess to being sore after shooting more than 15 rounds. My dad has a Model 99 lever action in 300 Savage. It’s older than I am, and it’s good out to 500 yards and probably beyond with an old Banner flip mount scope.

      By the way, I don’t work for them or own any of their stock. Yet.

    • avatarMark Smith says:

      That is an unusually insightful thing to see from any commercial company of any stripe.

      I have a Savage rifle and it is a thing of beauty. Can put multiple .260 bullets through the same hole.

  3. avatarkoolaidguzzler says:

    I applaud savage’s apparent transparency and reaching out to its fans on this issue. Personally, I don’t lament the slow development of these military experimental specialty rounds like the .300 whisper. Even though I embrace less popular rifle calibers, I wonder if the last ten years of military specialty spinoffs into the civilian market have been overkill. Just cuz a caliber is a new darling of specops (which I don’t think the Whisper is anyway), doesn’t mean it’s worthy for the civvie market. Sometimes monkey-see should not equate to monkey-do. They could have done what so many corporations today do to their consumers — give no reason, or give some BS reason. I think savage doesn’t get a fraction of the respect they deserve for cranking out possibly the most accurate out-of-the-box bolt rifle on the planet, strong and reliable and innovative, at one of the lowest prices anywhere. Their centerfire bolts have remained a rifle shooter’s dirty secret for a few decades, while so many others clamor to the pretty guns or the big-name guns for 2-4 times the price. Thank you, Savage. Keep doing what you’re doing, in your prices, in your caliber choices as well as your foray into lower-weight rifles.

    • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Here’s why Savage “gets no respect” for their bolt guns:

      The barrel nut.

      It’s a great idea as far as manufacturing engineering goes. Matter of fact, it’s a brilliant idea as far as manufacturing accurate rifles at a much lower cost without compromising quality in other areas (which is how Remington does it).

      But for some rifle owners, they get their panties in a wad when they see the barrel nut.

  4. avatarbontai Joe says:

    I admire a company that won’t lower their standards just to cash in on the fad of the month.

  5. avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    Hoo-ray.

    OK, for the boys who want to push a heavy, slow bullet in a US military firearm, might I make a suggestion?

    .45-70 in a Springfield trapdoor carbine.

    Just drill and tap the barrel forward of the loading gate for a wanker rail, put it in a synthetic stock that’s black and lo! You have a black US military rifle in a heavy, slow loading.

    • avatarbontai Joe says:

      It’s not a military arm, but what about .44 specials in a Marlin lever action? That gives you a heavy, slow slug that will drop a deer or a wild pig and still subsonic. I just don’t see the .300 BLK as being an attractive round for general hunting in a bolt rifle, it’s a niche market for a narrow purpose best suited in a semi-auto platform.

  6. avatarI_Like_Pie says:

    Bullet performance is the killer here. .30 at 1000fps and you are better off shooting .380. A .380 would actually perform better.

    • avatarkoolaidguzzler says:

      ” A .380 would perform better.”
      Maybe until we quibbled over the 380′s 50% lower bullet weight, 50% lower SD, and lower penetration.
      Point taken though.

      • avatarI_Like_Pie says:

        Yeah…they aren’t apples to apples,but what people are missing is that the current generation of .30 caliber bullets offer 0 (as in zero -0- ) expansion at subsonic levels. They just simply do not perform well at all.

        They could make them where they do, but they don’t. It is simply an ice pick no different than ball ammo.

        • avatarMatt G. says:

          Horseshit.

          There is at least one bullet specifically designed for 300blk to expand the same at subsonic as well as supersonic velocities. And several others that perform adequately.

          The idea that a 90gn .380 bullet is better than a 220gn 308 At the same velocity is laughable.

  7. avatarSanchanim says:

    I commend Savage on the fact they made a decision. I don’t think the slow bullet craze will sweep over us, I do realize there are specific application, but since you create firearms to use standard loads usually, and then we as consumers, might use special loads, then it makes sense. Why create a rifle which really only uses the blackout round.
    I really like the savage bolt action rifles. I am a south paw so not having to get the high end model just so it can be left handed is great for me.
    Just my two cents..

  8. avatarDarren says:

    Odd re: accuracy issues. The .300 BLK is pretty close to the .300 Whisper, I have even heard that ammo for the .300 BLK will work in .300 Whisper rifles. The .300 Whisper was supposed to be very accurate to 200 yards, claimed advantages were reproducible powder charges (small space for the powder/consistent performance) and the absence of a transonic transition, which tends to throw off supersonic rounds waaaayy downrange.

    I don’t shoot either, so I don’t know. Unless it’s a chamber difference between them or something, it’s hard for me to understand why something designed for an AR-15 would perform worse in a system with even fewer moving parts. Is it because .300 Whispers were handloaded by enthusiasts and .300 BLK is bulk loaded by robots, were the .300 Whisper fans always (quietly) blowing smoke, or is there some other reason the .300 BLK subsonics are underperforming their wildcat forebears?

    I’m not arguing plusses or minuses for either, just looking for some edjumication.

    • It’s a lot harder to get consistent powder burning at lower velocities, and every brand of ammunition we have tested has shown that (in general) the lower the muzzle velocity the higher the variation.

    • avatarDarren says:

      Thanks for the reply. Curious if you see this in pistol powders as well, or would using a pistol powder push the pressures too high in a .300 BLK? In theory you’re not moving as much mass as a 230gr .45 ACP round, though the barrel is longer and the bearing area on the rifling might be higher, leading to more friction along the barrel. You don’t tend to see such fps variations in pistol ammo, is it a powder thing?

      I only ask because the legend on the Whisper was that is was very accurate, and the subsonic BLK apparently is not.

  9. avatarDan says:

    this seems to be a common thing with savage lately. anouncing new products, even printing them in their catalogs, then never following through.

    thats quite OK though. the aftermarket is more than happy to provide where savage is unable to. aftermarket 300blk barrels for savage rifles can be had.

  10. avatarJames says:

    I can’t say I really understand the whole fascination with .300BLK, anyway.

    For a bolt gun – for any gun, IMHO – .30cal has been done better for longer by a whole mess of people. Yeah, OK – silencers. I don’t have one, though, and I will not ever pay some tax-feeder two hundred bucks to own one. (Not to mention the fact that most suppressors run close to a grand. For a couple hollow tubes stuffed with steel wool. I exaggerate, but still…)

    If I wanted an AR with expanded capability, I’d go for .458SOCOM before .300BLK.
    Both require a barrel/bolt (read: upper receiver) swap, but use the standard 5.56 magazines;
    Both require hand loading ammunition (until prices get more reasonable for either);
    Both can be loaded for sub- or supersonic use;
    Neither round has a long-range capability, maxing out around 200yd. or so (correct me if I’m wrong here);
    But, the .458 can pack a way harder punch. Way harder.

    That’s the round I can’t believe hasn’t caught on yet.

    • avatarDarren says:

      Good points, but the .300BLK can be loaded with supersonic light loads (120gr) and fired well beyond 200yds, or subsonic heavy loads (200gr) for short range/low noise applications. The .458 SOCOM is a hammer, no doubt, but you can’t swap the mag for a projectile that’s 60% the weight of your subsonic load and reach out and touch something much farther downrange. At least, not as far as I know.

      • avatarJames says:

        I just did some Googling, and it seems to be widely accepted and confirmed that even the heavier .458s can go out to 200-400yds, and there are claims of people using Creedmore or Lyman sights hitting 2′x2′ metal plates at 700yds reliably and consistently.

        Truthiness of said statements is wholly unconfirmed by yours truly, as my only experience with the .458 is from what I’ve read online.

  11. avatarRobert Silvers says:

    While it is true that it is hard to make subsonic ammo as accurate as supersonic ammo, there is one thing that I can’t ignore – Savage baffled the 300 BLK world when they announced this rifle with a 1/10 twist and a 20 inch barrel.

    If your goal was to make the least accurate 300 BLK rifle for subsonic ammo, a 1:10 twist and a 20 inch barrel would be a good start. Why? The ammo is designed for 16 inch barrels, and a 20 inch would make it closer to transonic – where the bullets would be in an unstable transition phase.

    Second, 1:10 twist will not make the 220 grain bullets stable. They should have consulted with AAC for assistance as so many other rifle companies have.

  12. avatarAndyroo says:

    1/10 twist might not work for 220 grain jacketed, but it suits me quite well for hard cast 175 gr boolits.

    7 gr. H110, 175 gr. Hard Cast with GC, LC brass trimmed minimum SAAMI specs. Federal SR primer. Seated Max OAL Speed fluctuates between 950 and 1010 FPS.

    (Try it, you’ll like it!)

    Barrel length doesn’t seem to be an issue either. I’ve shot these out of my 20″ 1/10 upper and 8″ 1/10 upper.

    I was using the TC encore load data for the 300 whisper, which had a 1/10 twist.
    Why did I use a 1/10 barrel? Because I got a bunch of blanks for super cheap that had this twist.

    There are infinite amounts of variables with handloading. You can get just about anything to work if you experiment enough.

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