Why You Should Buy A 300 Blackout Gun
Josh Wayner for TTAG
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Why You Should Buy A 300 Blackout Gun
Josh Wayner for TTAG

There is nothing I like more than writing about ammunition and guns, with the possible exception of sitting in my 3,000 square foot (and growing) covered chicken enclosure watching them happily do their thing. Today we will be looking at life, liberty, poultry, and what all that has to do with you buying a rifle chambered in 300 AAC Blackout.

I retreated to the world of chickens as a change of pace from my routine revolving around firearms. In addition to writing, I work professionally as an industry consultant, with many products reviewed here being the direct result of my behind-the-scenes efforts.

I also shoot recreationally and competitively, and whether at the range for work or play, I’m always seem to hear people arguing over which caliber is the best, which brand could beat everyone else’s, and which guns are for those of dubious wrist strength/lack of chest hair.

Just when I had imagined I escaped to a hidden place where nothing could assail my interest in chickens, I was bombarded with the most tedious, visceral criticisms, but instead of the usual “Josh is a gun snob” banter I happily receive here, this abuse was from insane chicken people voicing wild dissatisfaction at my endeavors and practices. You’d have thought I was asking if 9mm was better than .40 S&W when I posted a question about vaccinating my flock. Lord, have mercy.

Since you’re (still) reading this article, I assume that you are interested in 300 Blackout and whether or not you should buy one. Others are here to talk about how much you hate the caliber and what a fool I am, and that is fine, too.

The 300 BLK used to be an odd duck, but not anymore. That much is absolutely true. I have published a large number of articles detailing my work on the 300 BLK and it is, in my mind, the single best cartridge to be introduced to the AR platform in its history. You’d do well to own one.

Why You Should Buy A 300 Blackout Gun
Left to Right: Lehigh Defense 78gr HVCQ, SIG 120gr HT, Lehigh Defense 111gr MSFT (Josh Wayner for TTAG)

I find that I ruffle more than a few feathers when I talk about AR cartridges. Cartridge choice is deeply personal to most people and any perceived slight about their favorite is taken as a personal insult, much the same as choosing poultry breeds.

The choice of cartridge says a great deal about what a person sees as priorities. Someone who chooses 6.5 Grendel over 6.8 SPC usually has their reasons for it, and it works the other way around as well. I think both are hot garbage looking for a trash can, but that’s just me.

The 300 BLK is today’s best AR cartridge for a number of reasons, but there’s a thick fog of misinformation about the caliber to get past. When you look at buying a 300 Blackout gun (or upper), you have a dizzying number of options to consider. The myths surrounding the cartridge have persisted for over a decade and I will do my best to address them with straight-up fact based on my personal experience.

One “fact” I hear a lot is that the 300 Blackout is strictly a suppressed short-range, short-barrel load. The idea behind this was that is was meant to replace the 9mm MP5 submachine gun in some roles, and this is mostly correct.

When the round was first introduced, the only good heavy bullets were along the lines of the 220gr SMK. That was fine, as everything needed for 300 BLK was available off the shelf, requiring only a barrel change over a standard AR-15 5.56mm rifle. Brass could be made from 5.56 NATO cases by cutting them down and re-necking them. All in all, the foundational idea of the 300 BLK was indeed a short-range, short-barreled weapon for combat use.

But that was then, and this is now. Today, the 300 BLK is a full-spectrum cartridge that can launch bullets as fast as 2,800 fps and maintain excellent accuracy at a 500 yard effective range. Crazy, right?

Lehigh Defense makes a 78gr load that hits that high velocity from a standard 16” barrel and I had no issues keeping up with .308 rifles at 500m. I’m not saying that it is a dedicated long-range round, but the capability is certainly there. You can go from 220gr subsonic ammunition to lightning-fast supersonics with just a mag change. The versatility is unequalled by any rifle round in common use.

As far as being a suppressor-only round, that’s also false. There are plenty of reasons to own a 300 BLK, even if you don’t own a suppressor. The idea that the round was designed around subsonic suppressed use is generally true, as dedicated supersonic ammunition had yet to be fully developed at the time the load came on the scene.

Bullets specific to supersonic use in the 300 BLK are readily and commonly available today and feature elongated profiles to aid in feeding from AR mags. The supersonic, un-suppressed 300 BLK is a wonderful, easy-shooting .30 caliber round that is kind on the shoulder and hard on game.

The technological gains made as a result of the 300 BLK can’t be ignored. Bullet technology in general improved as a result of the 300 BLK due to the fact that it has a muzzle velocity range of anywhere from 800 fps up to 2,800 fps. Subsonic ammo loads have different requirements than supersonics, but even those supersonic rounds have limitations compared to other common competitors.

The 300 BLK is essentially a pistol round adapted for rifle use in all respects, including they types of powder used. These limitations resulted in extraordinary innovation. I have seen more incredible and unique bullets for the 300 BLK than almost any other cartridge.

Why You Should Buy A 300 Blackout Gun
Josh Wayner for TTAG

What you really get with this round is supreme utility. I have chicken-keeping friends who have only specialty breeds, and while a Whiting True Blue is a nice bird, it’s nowhere near as hardy as the Americana, and both lay beautiful blue eggs. The Americana can survive in virtually any climate and lays year-round.

The same goes for the 300 BLK round. The cartridge is a year-round, all day, everyday champ that can handle varmints up to medium game (thanks to great terminal ballistics), shoot and win matches, and is easy to maintain. It isn’t finicky with bullet weight or powder charge, barrel length, or magazines. The 300 BLK is a breed adapted to this century’s needs.

When it comes to buying a 300 BLK, you have a lot of options. The SIG MCX is an extraordinary weapon that is essentially built around the 300 Blackout. AR-15 options are always available and are easy to build and shoot well on a budget. The AR in the article photos is my personal pistol build and it’s running strong after about 10,000 rounds.

A great thing is that the 300 BLK has extraordinary system life due to lower operating pressures and, as a result, requires lower lifetime maintenance. Faxon Firearms makes some of the best AR barrels in general and their 300 BLK barrels are my favorite for the cartridge. Short barreled rifles and pistol-length barrels are widely available.

The 300 Blackout is a fully mature, commonly available cartridge that allows the shooter to have a vast range of options as far as end use. It’s a great round, delivering Soviet 7.62×39-level power in a compact, light AR platform with only a barrel swap.

Detractors say it has poor bullet drop trajectory and spotty accuracy, but they are profoundly wrong in their idea of what makes a round desirable and successful. For real-life, everyday hunting (not long-range cruelty), plinking, and home defense, the 300 AAC Blackout is unbeatable in the AR-15, suppressed or otherwise.

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  1. Why not just use the 7.62×39 with any other non AR platform, or AR if you’re Glocktard equivalent fanboy, and get more options cheaper ammo and not worry about kabooming your 300 with a 556 on accident.

    • What was missed (somewhat) in this article is that it appeals to reloaders.

      Factory ammo for most rifle calibers is north of $0.50/round, the 300 Blackout is no exception.

      However, if you’re loading yourself (and I do), I can get subs for $0.13, which means I can load for less than factory 5.56 or 7.62×39 (which is actually .311, not .308), and in some cases, less than reloaded 5.56. I don’t have a good feel for how much reloading for 7.62×39 is done, given so much steel case comblock dirty ammo.

      Also, the 300 Blackout uses pistol powders (usually), making it more efficient in shorter barrels.

      Kabooms are certainly a possibility, though I think the number of incidents are actually low.

      • Ammo cost (unless you are .gov or reload) for .300 Blackout is the main thing keeping it from being a general purpose range gun.
        Hunting and self defense ammo is usually more expensive anyway and you usually don’t fire a ton of it, but the cost of plinking ammo means I can only shoot it a little before switching off to cheaper 5.56.

        It also makes it harder to justify an expensive rifle like the b&t APC300 because I don’t want to have to get a second one in 556 or not use it regularly. Hoping for a blackout modular barrel for the CZ Bren 2 MS, depending on how easy the swaps are, that seems like it would be ideal.

        • Your situation may be different than mine but I long ago gave up purchasing ammo and enjoy reloading as a hobby. Once you get to that point, .300blk is basically same cost as .223/5.56.

          *not affiliated with those stove pipe-hatted, monocle-wearing, bloated, plutocratic fat cats in Big Reloading or Big Primer or Big Smokeless Powder.

    • I have both in the AR platform. The 7.62 is great for plinking around when not concerned about noise or barrel length. Can’t beat the price of ammo. However, if you want something shorter than a 16in barrel, the Blackout is a much better option when it comes to ballistics. Not only that, but nothing puts a grin on your face like shooting a Blackout subsonic suppressed with a JP spring. Youtube videos do not convey how truly quiet it is.

      • I also like the versatility of the Blackout. I don’t hunt with my AR’s, not good reason I just like longer barrel, longer sight radius for irons (I’m 64 and wear glasses but I don’t have to have them to see iron sights if I’m in the woods and don’t have them on. I don’t wear earpro while hunting either – not even the amplified ones, just too much for me and I usually only shoot one or two rounds at game… I don’t like helmets while riding my snow machine to get to hunting country – maybe I’m claustrophobic but I also don’t have a chainsaw with a track and a 3″ windshield… I’ve got the Family Truckster with two up seating and the power and lower gearing to climb hills with a load in my sled.)
        I’ve got at least four dedicated blackouts, two are registered SBR’s as I’m always worried that the ATF with change the brace thing again.. four additional barrels, five 30 cal suppressors and by S&B subsonic and supers by the case.. until I get set up for reloading again. Had to move to help my Dad.. he is 89 and pissed at the world over his health.. he probably got Agent Oranged in Viet Nam because his kidneys are failing for no real reason.
        Anyway I liked your comments and this whole article. I do have one SB braced short “pistol”?? Had to take my folding grip off and put on an angled one, like the full sized folder better.

        • Tell your Dad thank you for his service. We are proud to know you. And praying for you and kidneys. Thanks for sharing your thoughts we appreciate it.

    • I kinda agree, if you have multiple AR’s why bother of risk the confusion and the resulting KABOOM, but if you don’t care to shoot more than 300 yards, and you want to run short barrel or a suppressor, .300 BLK is a good choice over 7.62×39. .300BLK is an outgrow of the 300 Whisper, designed to run suppressed. I prefer an AK for short range 30 caliber applications, but that’s just a personal choice.

      • Too many .300 blackout fanboys that want to pretend like their preferred round does more than it actually does.

    • The 7.62×39 does not play nicely with the AR-15/M-16 platform due the the shoulder angle on that round. Furthermore, finding subsonic 7.62×39 is like finding a pre ban Ishmash AK in America. The .300 Blackout with a suppressor and sub sonic Ammo is like an MP5SD firing a .45 ACP round. I built mine to be very accurate and equipped it with a NP3-plated bolt carrier group for reliability beyond the average AR-15.. with a Seekins 10.5” barrel sporting 5R rifling, my AR pistol is unbeatable.

  2. You haven’t convinced me how 300 is better than 7.62×39, which is half the price, unless I want to run suppressed, which I don’t (and I can’t).

    I’m open to learning.

    • In an AR, the big thing for me would be parts commonality. My x39 upper is great and all, but I hate that it needs specific magazines that are impossible to find locally above 5 rounds. If it’s a concern, the x39 mags are also shaped such that they wouldn’t work well with any 5.56 mag pouches you may have. I also hate that the BCG is proprietary, and I’ve had FTF issues with some trigger groups because of the harder primers on that nice cheap ammo I bought the upper to use. Speaking of that, the article mentioned the great bullet selection for 300BLK – for x39, you’re probably not going to find much outside of whatever Tularnaulbearyanovsk decides to give you. Domestic manufacturers have little incentive to invest in developing better rounds since the main appetite for x39 is cheap steel cased stuff for use in an AK or SKS.

      Honestly, I think the only thing x39 has going for it these days is price and availability. If I saw Tulammo .300BLK show up for the same price I’d never have a reason to run my x39 upper again. That’s probably part of why they don’t produce it, actually…

      • POF makes 7.62×39 in DI and Piston. Same size as a 223/556. Only issue would be mags which must be different. 28rd CPD/ASC mags are the bees knees. Zero, ziltch feeding issues.

      • I’ve seen empty steel Blackout cases at the range in Alaska, brought two of them to the office where there are wiser people than me. None of us could decipher the marks on the case bottom… maybe some enterprising person has a shitload of 223/5.56 steel cases and used the forming dies… will that even work on steel. I do know people that reload Boxer primed steel just because they can but I don’t know anyone going through the trouble of sizing and cutting steel (brass, yes) to make Blackout. We put the micrometer to it and got out a book and it was definitely Blackout. I would buy it by the case if I could find some… my reloading bench at dads, he is getting old is only partly done but I do have two new Dillon’s and a Rock Chucker for the bench… just need the motivation to go out at 15-20 below zero and work… I’m pussing out in my old age.

  3. Built a blackout “pistol” while waiting for my form 4 to clear. On month 7 now. 🙁
    I really didn’t care about suppressors or blackout until I got a chance to shoot one.
    The “click” intrigued me and the “thump” downrange sold me.

    • “I really didn’t care about suppressors or blackout until I got a chance to shoot one.
      The “click” intrigued me and the “thump” downrange sold me.”

      Yeah, same here. An SBR muffled and with a quiet bolt / buffer spring, it’s instantly obvious just how *practical* the combination is for home defense or popping feral piggies…

  4. I already have a .30-30.

    Also, is it really appropriate to put chicken poop brown mags and grips on a .300 BLACKOUT? Shouldn’t the entire rifle be blacked out?

    • “Also, is it really appropriate to put chicken poop brown mags and grips on a .300 BLACKOUT?”

      Absolutely, Gov.

      He’s got 3,000 square feet of chicken coop.

      And that’s some *brilliant* camouflage going on there, Gov… 😉

    • I shoveled my share of chicken feces in my youth. “Brown” is not the color I would choose to describe it. But when you’re on the edge of losing consciousness from inhaling ammonia fumes, everything seems to fade to black & white, anyway.

    • I have a .30-30, too, and it’s my favorite gun ever. Leverguns just can’t be beat for badassness and the tactile experience of chambering a round — but a semiauto .30-30 would also be a pretty amazing thing.

      • For self defense I keep it loaded with Federal’s 125gr SJHP ‘varmint’ round. 2500+fps and a higher SD than a 158gr. .357 or 240gr. .44. Way more powerful than a 5.56 or .300 Blackout.

        • Hmm. A .30 caliber, 125 grain bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2,500 fps would be pretty devastating at close range if the bullet was designed to expand and stay together (rather than fragment) at that velocity.

          Although, now that I think about it, a bullet whose hollowpoint “petals” fragment might be even more devastating that an expanded .30 caliber bullet. (I use the term “petals” to refer to the six pieces of a hollowpoint bullet that would nominally peel back on impact to make the much larger diameter bullet.)

        • Looks just like your typical SJHP revolver bullet. Federal claims 2570 from a 24″ barrel. My 336BL is only 18-1/2″ but from what I’ve heard the micro-groove rifling nets higher MVs. So I figure 2500+fps is about right. So imagine a 240gr. .44 mag bullet launched at 2500fps and scale down a bit. The federal catalog says 1204ft/lbs at 100 yards, so even with the shorter barrel you’re looking at over 1000.

          Does shoot higher than the 150gr. though.

      • Start with RIT orange dye and FDE Magpul mags. Works. Just have to keep a close watch on color saturation if you do the mags in different batches.

  5. “There is nothing I like more than writing about ammunition and guns, with the possible exception of sitting in my 3,000 square foot (and growing) covered chicken enclosure watching them happily do their thing.”

    …And the ‘thing’ they do best is eat and sh!t.

    3,000 square feet of (literally!) chickensh!t to clean up is a lot of exercise, Josh.

    (Unless you have kids…)

  6. Josh you’re correct about everything you’ve written. The 300blk is the most consequential AR caliber developed since the 5.56 was adopted.
    Also, please check out Trom ammunition. They have a 300blk supersonic round they claim can reach out to 900 meters. TiborasaurusRex spent some limited time with it and his initial thoughts were that it was good stuff. Perhaps you could do some testing to confirm?

  7. OK, I’ve got a question about the .300 Blackout.

    Supposedly, you’re able to load the .300 Blackout with a wide range of bullets – from the very light to the 220’s.

    Buuuuttt… I know as a gunsmith who has worked on other .30 caliber rifles that this range of bullets needs different twists to properly stabilize this range of bullet weights/lengths. I’d reckon on 1:10 or 1:11 for the lightest .30 pills, and I’m guessing people are probably using something like a 1:8 for the 220’s. Without changing barrels, this constrains your choice of bullets a bit. Sure, the round can be loaded for all these bullets (and that’s wonderful, truly), but is a .300 Blackout fan to have multiple uppers to switch on/off the lower to use this range of bullets?

    • A 1:7 or 1:8 works for all bullet weights. A 1:10 is much too slow for 300 BLK. There are no constraints to bullet weight. Some use as fast as a 1:5 twist and this is even better in very short barrels. Long, heavy cast bullets can be used as well, often up to and over 240gr.

    • I have (I believe) a 1:8 8″ 300 Blackout barrel. I hunt with this using 110gr, and plink with 220gr coated. Whenever you use a suppressor, you want to make sure that the bullet is stabilized out of the barrel.. I’ve never had a problem….

    • “…but is a .300 Blackout fan to have multiple uppers to switch on/off the lower to use this range of bullets?”

      “One Twist” cannot rule them all, as you have noted. But I have to believe the typical .300 BLK buyer is at the table for a suppressed ‘pill’ *first*.

      I just know I will be!

      Then, as they tire of the SBR, yeah, they would buy a slower twist upper for supersonic fun-n-games.

      AR uppers are fairly cost-effective. A serviceable one can be had for the price of a Glock.

      Or so it would seem to me…

    • I know you can “under stabilize” a bullet but can you “over stabilize” one?

      I have a Faxon 300 BLK barrel with 1:8 twist and nothing I shoot keyholes from 110 gr to even the 220 gr beasts.

      • “…but can you “over stabilize” ”

        And is the penalty for that barrel wear / loss of velocity?

        Or are uglier things in store?

        • Tighter twist barrels do tend to experience throat erosion sooner than less-twisted barrels.

          This has been the “other end” issue that has kept the dream of gain-twist rifling alive for over 100 years. It wasn’t just a hobby horse of Harry Pope to gain-twist barrels. It has been noted that big, long bullets need faster twist rates, and that faster twist rates, especially with use of jacketed bullets, can result in faster rates of throat erosion. This is because of gas blow-by and also higher pressures behind bullets that show more reluctance to “get going” down the bore.

          So the idea (or dream, depending on one’s perspective) has been to gain-twist a barrel so that you start out with a slow twist that allows the bullet to rapidly start down the bore and get engaged deeply with the grooves. Then, when the bullet has fully engaged the rifling, speed up the twist as the bullet moves down the bore to accelerate the spin to stability.

          The net:net has been that gain-twist rifling hasn’t delivered enough “more” to justify the time and expense, in most cases. Still, if you run into a rifle that has HM Pope’s name and coded number on it, don’t go throwing the barrel away. They’re valuable.

        • Wouldn’t a gain twist barrel cause bullet deformation throughout the entire barrel instead of just in the first inch or so it takes to force it to conform to the rifling? I’d think that would lead to lower velocities, hotter barrels, and possibly compromise terminal performance.

      • It depends on your bullet construction.

        In .224″ barrels, you can “over-stabilize” when you over-twist for very light, very thin-skinned varmint bullets. The lighter/est bullets can actually come apart in flight if you really push them hard with a fast twist.

        If you’re shooting the new VLD solids, then I don’t think there would be much of an issue.

        • I experienced exactly that back in about 1980 in a .22-250. I was determined to get 4000+fps like a Swift, and I did. The problem was the .22 Hornet bullets I was using came apart in midair a few yards from the muzzle. I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t print a group downrange. When I moved back to 25 yards it looked like a shotgun pattern.
          That was the day I gave up on hyper velocity, and settled into other realms of performance.

  8. “You can go from 220gr subsonic ammunition to lightning-fast supersonics with just a mag change.”

    I’m at the edge of my ballistic knowledge, so this is an honest (yet theoretical) question: Could you load those same bullets in a .308 or .30-06 cartridge, and with the appropriate powder charge, attain the same muzzle velocities?

    • Since those are larger cases, you’d have to experiment with different powders that are appropriate, but you can most likely handload a .308/.30-06 down to that level. For example, the Lyman manual has loads for cast bullets using Accurate #5744 out of a .30-06 that run about that velocity.

      And, I’ve read of a number of people using Red Dot (a very fast pistol powder that’s bulky) for the same purpose, but lower velocities. But, in that case, you have to be *very* careful not to double charge the case.

      Personally, I run Blue Dot (a medium pistol powder) in .22-250 for a reduced load close-range groundhog round at 2500fps, and that’s worked very well! And, it’s quiet, too!

    • Agreed. I just got my ACR in 6.8 (yes, they are out there, Rays Sporting Goods in Dallas has them). Super excited!

  9. I bet that the terminal performance of .300 Blackout is spectacular, on chickens.

    All crude jesting aside, unless you are wanting to shoot subsonic rounds from a short barrelled weapon with a suppressor, there is not much point to having the cartridge. Ifyou want to shoot .30 caliber bullets, move up to a larger platform that can shoot a real .30 caliber such as .308, 30-06 or .300 Win Mag.

    The increasing proliferation of body armor is the final nail in the coffin of the .300 Blackout and ultimately the 5.56mm AR platform as well. The combat rifle of the future will undoubtedly have ballistic performance similar to the venerable .270.

    Mr Kalashnakov himself forsaw the coming transition to more powerful, higher velocity cartridges when he redesigned the AK-47 into the AK-74.

    • “I bet that the terminal performance of .300 Blackout is spectacular, on chickens.”

      Butchering and de-feathering in one go!

      *snicker* 😉

      (Just bust’in on ya, Josh. A buddy of mine has a half-dozen of those exotic-plumage chickens as backyard pets, and his wife *loves* the clucking bastards…)

      • If you used a 7.62x54R on a Mosin with a bayonet, you could probably cook them at the same time too…

    • I think you win the award for most comically incorrect comment of the year (so far).

      Literally nothing about your comment is even slightly correct, especially the AK47/74 thing. The 5.45×39 is smaller than 5.56 and has lower muzzle energy. Kyrakushin led the design department in creating the 74. Kalashnikov supervised the transition. Sabelnikov and his design group developed the 5.45×39 in the 1970s, not Kalashnikov. The round was not designed for optimized performance in medium range combat as well as weight savings over the M43 cartridge.

      No, the .270/6.8mm will never become a service round fielded by large scale forces. We will likely keep what we have and continue developing more specialized projectiles.

      As far as your thoughts on 300 BLK, read my articles here on TTAG and elsewhere. The cartridge is remarkably efficient and the AR is far lighter than the guns chambered for magnum .30 calibers.

        • Roman, to be clear, the DoD is saying flat out, in a lot of different publications, that they will field a 6.8 caliber bullet as a standard service rifle. However, I doubt it will be a 6.8SPC/6.8SPCII. It will be something else.
          I actually don’t think it makes sense, and that he Mk262 does what we need it to. But according to lots of statements by DoD officials, the 6.8 is where they are going.

        • JWT,

          I’ve heard the same thing, but I agree, what we have works. I don’t comment on here much, but I do have exp with this round. Anyways, thanks for replying!

        • I’m not saying any y’all are lying, but I’ll believe the military will change rounds when I see it happen, and not one minute before. Now, I could be wrong. I didn’t think they’d leave the beretta either.

        • Wrong, 6.8 will never see mainstream use in any B.O.S. Ever.. 300BLK is a scam. These rediculous calibers get bought by people who hardly shoot and have the money to spend. Good for them, but there is not one example of this happening in the US military, ever. Pound sand all you want but there is nothing in a cartridge that will replace 5.56<.7.62<.50 its fun to blow smoke but, that wackytobbacy a’nt gonna change facts.

      • Honest question, not calling you out-but I read somewhere that the Army is considering a 6.8…? I think there is quite a bit to be said for the round. I’m biased, as i own two (an ar and now the ACR in 6.8), but don’t you think you’re being a little biased as well? It has its merits…




        • Oh JWT, why don’t you stick to what you know? Wasn’t it just last month you were shilling the .300 HAMR or was it 6.5 Fadmoor? I have a hard time keeping track these days, but then again, what do I know? You’re the military supply authority.

          Aside from small units, it is unlikely that major forces will adopt anything other than modified versions of what is in the supply line already. The government can’t even manage to meet normal recruitment goals and you think that they can logistically switch to a new rifle/caliber? Sure they want new weapons, and I want to own an ostrich. I’ll bet I get my ostrich before the military fully adopts a 6.8.

        • Replying to Josh, not John Wayner (don’t know what it won’t let me respond there)

          Relax man-I’m prior too, as are many people here, and with all of us having different experiences that reflect what we’re saying. 6.8 is a realistic switch, because unlike recruitment goals, it’s a decision made at top that they control. No need to get triggered because some folks here like 6.8. And JWT can like his boutique weapons bc this is America. I’ve got 556 (tommybuilt T36 is awesome, check out atlantic firearms), 6.8 ACR, and an MDR in 308. Random space weapons are fun for me. Just relax….no need for the flame wars…

      • Just FYI, my wife keeps chickens too. They lay eggs for me to eat, so I dont object. To reference the movie CHICKEN RUN, I do not make pies out of them.

        Excuse the Hell out of me for being a bit confused about exactly which Russians designed the AK-74. The elderly old farts all look alike to me and their names sound the same.

        I stand by my assertion that the US Military will transition to a more powerful rifle. The 5.56mm is already prooving its inadequacy against illiterate goat molesters in Iraq and Afghanistan. If the US gets into a war with a technological peer such as Russia, China or Turkey (frighteningly probable) whose troops are wearing body armor comparable to our own, US soldiers armed with 5.56mm or .300 Blackout carbines will be in deep shit.

        The AK-47 and the M-16 were both developed around intermediate power cartridges that could be manageable in fully atomatic mode for suppressive fire. This was wonderful back in the day when most troops were conscripts who could seldom hit reliably beyond 100 yards even if they used the iron sights. Weather they were ignorant peasants from the USSR or Obama’s cousins from the ‘hood, they were graduates of the spray and pray school of gun fighting so a small caliber mouse rifle made sense.

        The next generation rifle will be a true rifleman’s rifle which will include an intergral, night vision scope with laser rangefinder and automatic sight adjustment for bullet drop. In the hands of well trained professional soldiers (which demographics makes mandatory,) kill rates will be about one in ten rounds rather than one in ten thousand rounds. The troops will not be humping hundreds of rounds to sustain unaimed fire. If body armor keeps getting better, the troops might demand a rifle that fires a cartridge with ballistics comparable to 7mm Winchester Magnum.

  10. The strength of 300 BLK – interchangeability with existing AR mags – brings IMO its biggest downside that it can be chambered into a 5.56 barrel to cause a catastrophic disassembly. I’ll never keep 300 near my ARs for that reason. Anyway there are plenty of other cartridges available that do what 300 does.

    • “its biggest downside that it can be chambered into a 5.56 barrel to cause a catastrophic disassembly.”

      That’s not an argument against the cartridge, so much an argument against carelessness, stupidity, or poor eyesight. Very few people (other than myself) make the argument that “the biggest downside of .44 Magnum is that it can be chambered into a .45 Colt lever-gun (like my Winchester 1873) to cause a catastrophic disassembly.”

      I was mocked on TTAG when I made that same argument as a reason not to buy a .44 Magnum rifle if you already own one chambered in .45 Colt, but it’s a helluva lot easier (especially for those of with middle-aged eyes,) to confuse a .44 Magnum cartridge with a .45 Colt cartridge than it is to confuse a .300 Blackout cartridge with a 5.56 or .223 cartridge! My Winchester 1873 is not strong enough to handle .44 Magnum, yet it will fit in the loading gate, and my middle-aged eyes can’t read the engraving on the case head, so unless I have the box in my hand (and you know cowboy-action shooters prefer to keep the cartridges in lever loops on their belt), I wouldn’t know which one I’m loading into my lever-action Winchester 1873 rifle, which is one reason I avoid buying any .44 Magnum guns (another reason is that both .45 Colt and .357 Magnum are more than sufficient for my needs, and a helluva lot more pleasant to shoot).

      However, even I, with my middle-aged eyes, can EASILY tell the difference between a 300 Blackout cartridge and a 5.56 cartridge, so there’s no excuse for ANYONE to confuse the .300 Blackout with 5.56!
      You’d have to be blind as a bat to get those two cartridges confused.
      No, strike that — even a blind man could tell those two cartridges apart by size and weight, so there’s no excuse for even a blind man to get the .300 Blackout and 5.56 confused.

      • Can we PLEASE get the Edit button back?
        I meant to say “leather loops” on their belt, not “lever loops” on their belt!
        I was thinking about lever-actions and leather belts, not leather-actions and lever belts, LOL.

      • For what it’s worth I wouldn’t have mocked you for avoiding mixing 45 and 44 in the example you mentioned.

        The thing is, 300-in-a-556 is not an academic issue – every year a few kabooms are reported to happen to people. From talking to a very gun-smart friend who’s a 300 fan about his experiences, this may be an issue in reloads or cheap ammo with a weak crimp.

        As I said this is just IMO; I get what you’re saying.

  11. Quotes taken from the article…..

    “The 300 BLK used to be an odd duck, but not anymore.”

    “Brass could be made from 5.56 NATO cases by cutting them down and re-necking them.”

    “…easy-shooting .30 caliber round…”

    “The 300 Blackout is a fully mature, commonly available cartridge that allows the shooter to have a vast range of options as far as end use. It’s a great round, delivering Soviet 7.62×39-level power in a compact…”

    Which makes my reasoning for NOT using 300blk that much easier to understand. Here we have a caliber that was created by mating .30 cal projectiles and 223/556 cases. Both readily available and had been for a long, long time before 300blk was ‘invented’. 300blk as you stated is also not new to the scene, it has been around for a decade or more and there are many ammunition manufactures producing it, S&B, Armscor, PPU, Magtech, Fiocchi, Remington, Winchester, Federal, Hornady, etc.

    It also delivers comparable energy to the 7.62×39.

    What is all this adding up to?

    Well the cheapest I can currently find factory 300blk is $0.48 a round………
    7.62×39 = $0.20 a round all day
    223/5.56(brass) = $0.24 a round all day
    Heh….308/7.62×51 starting at $0.48 a round.

    So am I to understand ammunition companies are still charging for ‘R&D’ that was done 10 years ago on components that already existed (i don’t care about the ‘new’ weights, still a .30 cal bullet). Or maybe they are still charging these exorbitant prices to pay for tooling….from 10 years ago.

    ‘A fool and his money are soon parted.’

    • Probably a volume issue. Unlike your examples, 300BLK is not a long-standing and common military cartridge, and perhaps more critically, Russian manufacturers don’t currently turn out huge quantities of cheap steel cased plinking ammo. Manufacturers can’t sell enough to produce it at that low of a price, buyers avoid it because of cost and fear of it going from “fad caliber” to “dead caliber”.

      My thought back when 300BLK was first becoming a darling of the community was that it’d only really take off if/when suppressors were decriminalized. Seeing Tulammo show up in volume at wally world might do it, but suppressed performance remains its main draw, and I’m not holding my breath for the Russians to invest in production of a round that would pretty much obsolete one of their current big-ticket calibers outside of the SKS and AK.

      • I agree with you the main draw of this caliber is the subgun/suppressed market. I for one will never choose to shoot 300 blk while it is anywhere near 308 pricing. It just makes no sense to me.
        As far as ARs go I have a POF in x39 that runs like a champ. Zero feed issues, zero accuracy issues. Eats steel all day and bangs 12×24 silhouettes from 300yds+ with easily duplicated results, round after round.
        For my purposes it an expensive solution searching for a problem.

    • A fool and his money may be soon parted but I fail to see your connection to how this means no one should shoot 300 blk. I sold my 308 win, 556, and other calibers to shoot 300 blk near exclusively specifically for the economy of it. If you shoot enough to be worried about high cost of ammo, you should be reloading anyways. You can get started reloading with 150 bucks…I load 300 blk for 8 cents a pop 3¢ for the primer, 4.5¢ powder, 1/2¢ gas check, brass is range pickup converted and lead is free…150 grain cast supersonic round… freezer full of deer meat with em… accurate to 2moa. Economy is the name of the game and 300 blk fills the bill for everything I need it to do.

      • I reload pistol rounds, not rifle rounds. Do not like the extra measure and cut step, takes long enough as it is.

        Anything is cheaper if you reload, including all other rifle cartridges. Duh. We are talking about factory ammunition which the great majority of people reading this are using, not reloading.

        So to rehash, I would rather shoot 308 for the same exact price as 300blk. You can sing praises all you want of 300blk but it is in no way is comparable to 308. Physics are a hell of a thing.

        Or to break it down further since this is appearing really complicated for some reason to understand.

        308>300blk velocity, ft lbs, range, proven battle cartridge that %100 takes care of business

        308=300blk $$$$

        Hope this helps.

        • The .300 BLK (ACC?) works in the AR15 platform. My 6.8mm AR weighs in at 6.5 lbs with full (10 round) mag and scope.
          (Anderson AM15)
          The .308 Win (7.62×51) AR10 sitting in my safe with a full (20 round) mag and scope in place, scales an even 11 pounds!
          (PSA PA10)
          While the .308 is a much more capable (?*) cartridge than the .300 BLK, hauling around an extra 5 pounds gets old in a hurry!

          * – dead is dead, .22LR or .500 Nitro Express!

        • Well good for you. Nice to know your justifications for me being ignorant for liking something different than you. Who cares what you like? I don’t. I build a 300 BO pistol cause I wanted one. I have numerous 5.56 AR’s, a 9mm carbine and a pistol. I wanted a short barrelled pistol (with rifle round) but not in 5.56 (very loud). So I assembled a 300 BO pistol. It’s a blast to shoot. I don’t care what the ammo costs, I make enough money to support my habit. I don’t really care about the ballistics and the co efficient of whatever. I like to shoot and it is hard these days to find something different for me to spend my money on that I like. Different strokes, to each his own, etc……Too bad everyone can’t have their own opinion and do what they want without dimwits like you telling everybody else they are wrong and stupid because they do things differently than you. Have a nice day.

  12. Once I buy that little ranch out in the country where I can actually shoot suppressed and it accomplish anything but blowing more gas in my face, I’m all over it.

  13. First, that’s a very nice looking Ameraucana hen there!
    Had a coop full until the rodent boom (’15-’16) was eating more feed than the chickens!
    I’m as stuck on the 6.8mm Rem SPC II, apparently, as you are with the .300 BLK.
    At this point, I’m so enamored by the AR platform itself, caliber is a moot point … except when it comes to the Grendl! Highly over rated! LOL!
    As a young man, I spent some time working in a gun shop. Biggest lesson I learned was knowing when a chore was above your “pay grade”!
    We called them “shoe box” cases when they came in the shop.
    With no formal training, I learned to doctor a little on some guns and suggest a ‘smith for most others.
    I was never an AR fan until one “kinda” fell into my lap.
    Then I was forced (?) to complete a started AR.
    I’m no ‘smith by any means, but “assembling” an AR scratches my “‘smithing” itch! LOL!

  14. Just as he stated, it’s a fantastic and very utilitarian round…I have 3 bolt actions, 3 Ars in the caliber….I cast and reload my own and can get a box of 100 put together for 8 USD …that’s 8¢ per pop…2 moa accuracy with that load and excellent expansion at 50 yards …so perfect for Louisiana deer hunting, plinking, defense. That’s out of a 10.5 inch barrel. F150 trucks aren’t race cars…weren’t designed to be …but they are very utilitarian…and it sure beats having to buy ammo (x39 ammo) at 3 times the cost of what I can make it for…better selection of bullets if I want to buy them than x39, better feeding from AR platform, more mags and better parts support as opposed to ak or ar/ak barrel change only.

    I think he states it well….great round that fits the bill for most people. It’s not a specific thing that makes it fantastic, it’s all the specific things combined! No other round I know of can be as flexible and utilitarian…

  15. I used to raise Kelso’s, Lacy’s, Blue Minors and Brown Shuffler’s. Had a lot of fun until them asswhipes started fighting dogs, then the Feds showed up. I hate dog fighting and was accused of Narcing the place out. Mean people them dog fighters are, fact is I’d have shot them with a .300 Blackout if I could got away with it.

  16. the only thing that “gun” pictured is missing is an orange tip. Looks like a cheap play item from the toy aisle in Target/Walmart.

  17. I like the 7.62×39 better than the 300. But for some reason the ammo people have ignored the fact that there is a market for various bullet weights for the 7.62. There are multiple choices for the 300.

  18. Thinking about a braced pistol for home Defense, Either 9mm, 5.56 or 300BLK. I think they would all work in my house.
    Which would be easier on my ears 9mm, subsonic 300 blk or 5.56? I will not be putting a suppressor on it.

  19. Why 9mm over 300blk? For home defense, I assume defensive ammo (read: expensive whatever the caliber, and you aren’t going to stockpile 1k rounds). Subsonic means you are restricted to velocities around 1050fps, depending on your atmospheric density. This leaves you with mass to provide energy on target. So….9mm subsonic is likely going to be something in the 148gr weight range with a reduced load/integrally suppressed barrel to force the projectile to subsonic velocity, vs a 208-240gr projectile in the blackout. Blackout recoil is mild, and rapid follow-up shots are no big deal.
    As far as sound, the loudest noise with a decently suppressed setup, could be the action of the bolt at the ear for either.
    I don’t have any experience with 5.56 in a short barrel, but from what I’ve read, making it subsonic kills it as far as terminal performance goes. I am may be wrong, but far as I know, no one is marketing a subsonic 5.56/.223 defensive projectile that has better wound performance than 9mm or 300blk, and what goes for the 9mm at 148gr vs 300blk goes double for pretty much any projectile mass you can find in 5.56/.223. Am I wrong? Maybe, I’m no expert.

  20. took me a while to see the practical aspects of the 300blk, but when it struck me its is essentiall a long range accurate pistol round that shoots .308 rifle boolits, how i percieved this cartridge made a lot of sense.
    built me a truck gun using a Green Mountain Rifle Barrel chambered blank, turned it on my lathe and it made this little rifle into a 200 yard fine deer and varmint number using Hornady 110grn black ammo.
    i like it so much last two seasons thats all ive used, along with kill permits from F&G to take deer eating my field corn im at 14 deer one shot one kill DRT. even one at 265 paces. superb practical cartridge for my uses. from deer to rabbits in my fields eating my crops its been nothing short of spectacular. those Hornady 110’s shoot 3.4 high at 100 yards, zero at 200 yards. litterally blows small wistle pigs and rabbits apart in two or three seperate parts.
    excellent idea whoever came up with this nifty little number.

  21. Just going to sprinkle some more info here…. the 9x39s (google it and learn) are coming!!!!!! and WOLF and TULA already manufacture this Russian cartridge. Even though the current cost is gross I’m sure it will undercut 300blk when fully introduced and import numbers have firmed up.
    **cartridge is for short range, suppressed, supgun work, and work it does. Will not threaten 300blk for its versatility but will give it competition for its main purpose…short range, suppressed, subgun work.**

  22. Great. I already wanted one of these.

    I really do think it’s a cool round and absolutely want to build a .300 upper next.

  23. 7.62×39: Russian – AK-47 / SKS / etc.
    7.62×35: 300 BLK
    7.62×33: .30-30 of lever action fame.

    Suggesting that these roughly similar sized calibers could be roughly similar ballistically is considered Heresy, and is thus grounds for Expulsion and Excommunication from the Holy Church of Eternal Firepower. The Forever Jihad / Holy War must be eternally waged against all who slightly differ in thought or opinion on this caliber subject, until Armageddon or End of Days, whichever comes first to a neighborhood near you. In the meantime, guard your hearts and souls most carefully my brethren, and lead yourself not into the temptation of caliber adultery. Stick only to the One True Caliber that you already know. There Can Be Only One.

    Beware, this 1-6x variable power scope with the infamous ACSS reticle, is advertised as designed to work equally well with either 300 BLK or 7.62×39:

    This heretical object most obviously _must_ be a tool of the devil, an evil device created solely to divide and confuse the masses. An evil temptation designed to lead the flock of Eternal Firepower away from the truth and salvation of True Caliber Purity, and to sinfully dilute and pollute the Holy Mandate of Proper Caliber Devotion. Repent now before it is too late!

    Please, donate now to the Church of Eternal Firepower in the ONE TRUE CALIBER of your choice, that you already keep in your very own gun collection at home. This you must do to ensure that your own Caliber Devotion is kept Pure, by continually cleansing yourself of all Deviate Caliber Attraction. May the Healing Light of the Almighty Muzzle Flash shine brightly upon you all.


      • Please forgive me for I have sinned (in the olden days of Robin Hood style archery competitions, if you shot and missed it was called a “sin”, a miss, an error, you get the idea), the 7.62×33 is indeed the .30 Carbine, as per the infamous M1 carbine of WWII fame, and not the .30-30 of lever action fame at all. Now is probably the time that almost everybody else here realizes that they should have spotted that erroneous detail as well, but that is often the single biggest difference between the leaders and the led.

        With a sharp eye like that you could probably start an entire new religion for the masses, with nothing more than a book of matches, 2 coins and some pocket lint… and of course that clever multi-tool knife thingy with more gadgets in it than a Swiss Army knife has. The Church of Make Whatever You Happen To Have Work, or something similar. Glory Be!

  24. I like your gray Americana, I have 3 myself. As far as an AR in .300 BLK goes, buy what you like, shoot what you like. Your arguments are valid.

  25. So how about putting those 78 grain bullets into a 308? Should extend the point blank range by 100 yards over the BO. And 30-40 and 30-30 will outshoot the BO using the same bullet too.

    There are stock 308 bolt guns under $500 that weigh less than 99% of AR’s.

    Blackout cartridges do look cute with a little flat point cast bullet tho. Idea for a bunny rabbit gun or for a little girls first centerfire.

  26. This reminds me of a discussion I had years ago about whether my Chevy was better than my buddy’s Ford! Folks, bottom line is this: Do your research and objectively take it all in and weed out the obvious false reviews. Then choose what you want for what you need and that is it. I still like my Chevy but I have owned many Fords and am currently driving a Dodge! See, there you go. Just use common sense and don’t fall for everyone else’s short comings here. Have fun and keep shooting.

  27. I Love the 300 Blackout for a medium range (under 200 yards)low recoil deer round. I hunt in northern Minnesota & Wisconsin forests & have never taken a deer at more than 70 yards usually around 50 yards due to not being able to see further than that. I have many AR’s of which 2 are in 300blk. One is a 10.5″ pistol AR the other a standard 16″ rifle. I use the rifle for hunting & the pistol as a home defense gun. Not sure how common this is throughout the country but a lot of states will also let u use the AR pistol as a handgun in a shotgun/pistol zone. I also recently found a used FDE Ruger Ranch rifle in 300blk that I’m excited about giving a try this year. I actually bought that for my kid it will be his youth deer rifle in a few years. Light weight, compact & low recoil bolt action what more can u ask for in a youth rifle. As for mixing up a 300blk & a 5.56 my solution was to build my 300blk AR’s in FDE color. I bought a FDE ammo can I keep only 300blk ammo in along with FDE magazines which I only use with my FDE AR’s

  28. I personally like 300 BO. I reload, so I pump it out cheap and can shoot all day. I have 2000+ rounds of 7.62×39 steel case and 500 rounds of brass cased ammo. I found reloading for the x39 is more of a pain, where 300 is easier. Limited powder choices and neck tension problems with the x39 keep me going back to the 300 BO. I also can get cases much cheaper. The ballistics are good and I built a 10” barreled pistol for a truck gun. Not to mention mags are easier to source and cheaper.
    Shoot what you like, but aren’t we all in the same boat at the end of the day? We all want affordable ammo and easy maintenance, not to mention the gun grabbing idiots who want all of our guns at every turn. We should be coming together instead of arguing about what caliber is best, because in the end it’s all subjective and comes down to personal choices and what we are used to.
    One personal opinion I have about 300 BO vs the author of this column is that 300 BO being the best round for the AR platform – while it is my 2nd favorite round for the platform, my favorite is the .450 Bushmaster. Truly an awesome round to reload and shoot. Would take any game in North America easily.
    Shoot straight and be safe my fellow gun lovers. Peace.

  29. Thanks for the article! I am a little more than a year in to the AR platform and have two PSA 556s; a 16″ carbine and an 8.5″ pistol. While considering a 300 BLK barrel, most information considered it a short-range heavy hitting round; therefore I should get a short barrel for my pistol. Thanks to your article I will continue to research the longer range (sub 500 yard) capabilities of the 300 BLK using a 16″ barrel on my rifle lower. I will probably do this before getting started in the AR10 308 platform. I do not hunt, using my weapons for short to intermediate range target fun and self defense. Thanks again for giving me something else to look at!

  30. The stuff I’ve read of people trying to reload 300 on the forums indicates they end up having to do a lot of tweaking to get a load that works in subs with and with out a can. Can’t speak to the super sonic stuff though and I’ve never tried it. Want to get a Lee 185 mold and build an upper to test it out with though. To me it seems like a step up from a .357 mag in a PCC.

  31. I’ve got to put my two centavos in on this one😂.
    First, Hats off to Poultry. Chickens are a great alternative to the usual cows and sheeo. They require very little maintenance, and selling the eggs you don’t eat, will cover the feed easily. My oldest boy’s first FFA critter was a turkey, and he ended up taking Grand Champion for the breed at the State Fair back in 2000.
    Second, I’m fairly new to the AR platform (picked my first 6 years ago), so my opinion isn’t one that has the years of experience som of the gentlemen on here have. About 2 years ago, I decided I’d like to try building an AR. For several months, I read and watched everything I could get my hands on, because I didn’t want just anothet 5.56. The tools I had on hand were more than adequate to finish the 80% lower. I also asked questions on forums and such. There was a font of information, Pros, Cons and I thank those that took the time to “edjikate” this auld fart. After perusing and cogitating the info, I chose to go with the .300 Blackout. It was capable of doing everything I was looking for. I priced the ammunition online as well as local sources, and in my neck of the woods, it wasn’t that much more per box than what I was paying for 5.56 fodder (within a buck or two for Ball plinkers). I’ve been reloading for 40+ years, so it was just a question of waiting for the Dies I prefer to go on sale, and collect enough of the brass I fired.
    As far as concern over getting 5.56 and .300 mixed up, since this was a ground up build, I cerakoted the gun Foliage Green rather than black. I’d been using P-Mags for the 5.56, but I had on hand a rough dozen of the steel 30 round mags, an I Cerakoted those the same color. I made a template and bead blasted .300AAC, on the lower part of the mags. This solved the worry over a potential cartridge switch, because it’s plain as day the differences between the 2 guns.
    Loaded with subs, it’s a great home defense gun. Loaded with sonics, it was perfect for popping prairie dogs and coyotes. With coyotes, its actually better than 5.56. Even though I always strive for one shot-one kill, sometimes it’s unavoidable and a second shot is called for. With the .300, it dropped them in their tracks, no second shot was needed as long as I did my part.
    In closing, I’m extremely pleased with the .300 Blackout. Now next year, I think I’ll build an AR-10. Let’s see .308 or 6.5 Creedmore. Decisions, decisions.

  32. I originally (somewhat recently) got into building ARs and realoading because of 300 BLK. The appeal of using 5.56 and 223 brass to make 300 BLK brass for loading was huge, since there are tons of law enforcement and DHS folks training at my local range and I almost always leave the range with ~100 once-fired cases.

    As mentioned in the article, there are now a lot of bullet options for loading 300 BLK. However, I haven’t gotten anywhere near 2800 fps! I’d like to see that load data.

    Generally, I’m not pushing the pressure on my loads and usually I’ll stick with an easy shooting load. I have a couple mags of those Lehigh CQ for home defense backup.

    I’m finding that 150 grain loads are accurate and fun; I just bought a bunch of pulled 147 grain bullets for cheap and will load those up to have on hand. It is a fun caliber. Although, I’d argue that the CMMG 22lr conversion is just as fun and a lot cheaper for AR plinking! I’m looking at getting a silencer for that pistol as my next purchase. Keep these articles coming! Thanks for the topic.

  33. I like .300 AAC Blackout supersonic 100 to 125 grain out of a 16 inch barrel. Ammunition fired from that barrel length is effective to about 280 yards and semi effective to 400 yards. Huge amount of bullet drop beyond 300 yards for .300 AAC Blackout.

    With the above mentioned ammunition types and barrel length it beat 5.56 x 45 in stopping power out to about 280 yards. (The 5.56 x 45 fanboys will scream at me for this post.)

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