We all love the AR platform because its so reliable and as long as you keep it maintain, it can last a life time. The only drawback from this platform is the 5.56 cartridge. Some folks want a little more punch. There have been some cartridges that have come down the pike as an alternative, but the only one that stands out is the .300 AAC Blackout. The .300 AAC Blackout was designed to give the AR platform extra umph in terms of power and penetration on intermediate ranges with reduce recoil while holding the 30 round mag. Its original intent was to provide outstanding terminal performance and accuracy going through suppressed with subsonic or standard ammunition. So here are the numbers.
Strengths & Weaknesses Both calibers are used for the same general purpose. Both cartridges are perfect for target shooting, hunting, home defense, and plinking.
Somethings to consider from each strengths & weaknesses.
DEAD FOOT ARMS
5.56 -The 5.56 is half the cost of 300 BLK and is available in more high-end loading suitable for precision rifle fire. -The 5.56 also shoots flatter, has less recoil, and the ammunition weighs about 40% less. -The 5.56 is also safer for use inside a building for home-defense because the rounds are designed to break apart upon impact. .300 Blk -The .300 Blk has a wider range of projectile choices – Due to the .30 caliber bore, burns its full potential in a 9-inch barrel, and is a much better choice for hunting. -Has the ability to cycle both super and subsonic ammunition without modification. – Its strengths shines with short barreled rifles and silencers and when barrier penetration might be needed. – Whether for hog hunting from 0-200 yards or conducting CQB work, this baby is godsend.
Back to more numbers.
The table above you can see the compared ballistics of both the 300 BLK and the 5.56 NATO. – Shows the barrels that the cartridges were designed approximately 20-inches for the 5.56, 9-inches for the .300 BLK, and the most popular civilian barrel length of 16-inches. –Exterior ballistics are the qualities associated with how a projectile flies through the air. **The wind drift, bullet drop, and zero range all fall into the category of exterior ballistics.**
You can tell that the 5.56 is significantly flatter than the 300 BLK in flight. This is due to a faster velocity. -The .300 BLK uses bullets with a higher ballistic coefficient but isn’t moving fast enough to take advantage of its sleeker projectiles.
This is why the 5.56 shoots flatter, with less wind drift although having almost half as much energy. Terminal Ballistics
Terminal ballistics of a round are the qualities it has when it hits the target. The sectional density, the relationship of its mass and its weight, its ability to penetrate rather than fragment, and the wound channel it creates due to its bore size are all the study of terminal ballistics. (tissue damage) It’s important to note that while energy numbers can give you an idea of power around is, it’s only a single data point. The stouter bullets, with more mass of a larger caliber seems to be the more effective round.
To the untrained observer the 300 BLK seems to have the edge in terminal ballistics. So which is better? Target shooting, training, or plinking is just plain fun. -It can get expensive when shooting so many rounds, so this round goes to the 5.56. -The 300 BLK’s lethality and stopping powers isn’t needed when all you’re doing is punching targets that don’t fight back. If you’re pressed with the $ issue, stick with the 5.56.
Home Defense For home defense, you should be thinking heavy hitters, walk softly and carry a stick chambered in 300 BLK. -Having a suppressor with subsonic ammo in a home defense situation is ideal for your hearing. -The .300 BLK is still great when you either can’t or care not to have NFA firearms. -If you find yourself in a state like California defending against zombies, with a tight magazine ban and zero NFA goodies, get the bigger bullet.
Hunting With modern bullet designs the gaps between the killing power of calibers is shrinking. -If you’re into small game, go with the 5.56. The wide range of factory loading for predator hunting edges out the 300 BLK. -If you plan on hunting medium or large game such as deer, hogs, or smaller bears, the 300 BLK is far superior. -The extra mass gives more reliable penetration than the 5.56. Here’s a video that demonstrates the comparison visually from Youtuber Langley Firearms Academy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIL3Ycaz9VE
In the End The .300 BLK will never replace the 5.56 for the most ubiquitous AR-15 cartridge but it does have some key areas where it really shines. Let us know below when you can think of a time where you wished your AR-15 had some “umph” to it?
Manufacturer are getting more resourceful, every year we get a new round that’s been declared the latest and greatest. The 6.8 SPC, the 6.5 Grendel, and we’ve seen the rise of the .224 Valkyrie. These rounds have a shelf life similar to the shelf life of freshly baked bread.
One round that have stood out is the 300 Blackout. In fact, it’s simply grown in popularity. The round introduction came at the best time!
If you’re not into the details, here are some top .300 Blackout Ammo for the many different purposes:
As the shooting industry was beginning to lean towards short rifles and suppressors – the 300 Blackout just so happened to be designed for short barreled rifles, and you can suppress it as well. Timing was right for the .300 Blackout round.
Initially designed for the military, the civilian market caught on real quick. The 300 Blackout functions perfectly in an AR-15 platform with hardly any changes, this makes it inexpensive to adopt and easy to test out.
So what about the ammo?
The fact that the 300 Blackout is a versatile round its best to look at its purpose. Here’s some 300 Blackout ammo on the market.
300 Blackout is slowly becoming a more affordable round. It may be nowhere near as cheap as 223 or 7.62×39, but the price has been dropping steadily. The price used to be near a dollar a round, that is like seriously throwing away your money every time you pull the trigger.
Good thing prices have dropped, you can now get it for under a dollar a round. Now for the non reloaders you can check out Magtech First Defense and Fiocchi 300 AAC Blk.
This 123-grain FMJ ammo is one out on the market thats affordable, reliable and easy to shoot.
Supersonic ammunition and flies forward at a blistering 2230 feet per second, the ammo uses premium brass cases and high-quality FMJ projectiles.
This is very basic ammunition designed to function reliably and accurately for all your training needs, perfect to be bought in bulk.
When it comes to purely plinking you can trust some lower quality rounds.
Magtech consistently makes quality ammunition.
When the times comes to put lead downrange regardless of the reasons you’ll be hearing bangs and not clicks. This ammo is a solid choice for general fun gunning, tactical training, three gun, and more.
One of the best things about the 300 Blackout round is the fact it’s superbly versatile. The rounds can range greatly in weight from light 90-grain supersonic loads to 220-grain subsonic baseball bats.
When it comes to a suppressor slower is better. A subsonic round lacks that supersonic crack. A suppressor only stops the blast at the muzzle end of the gun. It does nothing for the supersonic crack.
A subsonic load through a suppressor is nice and quiet. Nowhere near movie quiet, but quiet enough to be hearing safe.
One solid subsonic load for the suppressor enthusiast is the Sellier and Bellot 200 Grain FMJs and Hornady Subsonic 190 grain Flex Tip.
These are on the lighter side of subsonic loads, so they move a little faster than the 220 grains and this translates into a little extra energy.
The lighter loads are chugging along at only 1,060 feet per second.
With rounds like this, you are getting performance a little better than a 45 ACP round. Slow is smooth, and smooth is basically a handgun round. It’s one of the joys of the 300 Blackout platform. It’s effectively suppressed at the cost of the long-range ability.
Swap in a magazine full of supersonics and bam you got your long-range performance back at the sacrifice of getting a little louder.
I personally hunt with an AR-15 and don’t see an issue with it, but the 300 Blackout has found its way into guns like the Ruger American rifle. It’s a great hunting cartridge and can be used both in a suppressed platform and a loud platform.
Barnes VOR-TX Tipped Triple-Shock X Hollow Point 110gn 300 BLK – 20 Rounds
The only thing you need to consider when using 300 BLK to hunt with is that it offers a limited range, 200 yards for supersonic ammo and 150 yards or less for subsonic ammo.
When it comes to hunting I’d stick with a supersonic cartridge.
They fly further, hit harder, and are much more capable of quickly killing your game of choice. There are a number of different hunting cartridges out there for the 300 Blackout, but one that’s proven is from Barnes.
As it penetrates it’s also going to open up and expand. As it expands it leaves a wake of destruction which increases your chances of a one hit kill. This is a humane round that will put a deer down without issue.
Barnes is a premium ammo and it comes at a premium price, but the pay off is ethical hunting and that makes it worth the extra cents.
A suppressed, short barreled rifle is a mighty good home defense device. Even if you subtract the short-barreled part a semi-automatic rifle is a helluva way to deal with things that go bump in the night.
To do so you need the right ammo. A standard FMJ isn’t going to do it. They pass through walls, furniture, and everything else a little too easy. Plus, they aren’t the most efficient “man stopper”.
For this the Fiocchi 300 Blackout load is perfect. This is brass cased premium round loaded with one bad projectile. The projectile is from Hornady and weighs 125 grains.
The projectile is a Super Shock Tip projectile. It reaches 2,200 feet per second and is designed to deliver controlled expansion at high velocities.
A lot of times a company hypes their ammo a bit, what I like about the Fiocchi SST is that it actually has some solid reasons backing it up:
SST projectile expands on contact and penetrates with near recklessness
Hornady’s Interlock ring keeps the copper jacket and leads internals together, allowing for excellent weight retention and penetration without over-penetration
A magazine of two of these bad boys is going to be one helluva solution to whatever problems you may have.
Using a rifle for self-defense does require plenty of practice and if you make that decision you need practice.
Make sure you get both a good self-defense round and a lot of ammo to train with.
If you noticed my selection for training ammo was a 123-grain round and my choice for a self-defense round is 125 grains – I do this so that the recoil and operation will be as close as possible without having to spend the money on mass amounts of high-end ammo.
Rocking the 300 Blackout
The 300 Blackout is a modern little cartridge that absolutely rules the 0-300-yard range. It’s potent, powerful versatile, and popular enough to give you a wide selection of rifles to choose from.
You can do a lot with a 300 Blackout rifle, and the task you choose is going to determine the ammo you need. So its important to pair up the right ammo for the task.
Checkout this .300BLK AR Pistol, yes pistol. But, it’s not an AR pistol with a short-barreled and a brace instead of a buttstock. This custom made gun can actually be shot and carried like a handgun.
Elijah Duray of Eagan, Minnesota is the builder of this almost look a like Han Solo blaster. His .300 Blackout pistol on an AR-15 platform weighs about 38 ounces, which is about the same as a 1911 pistol.
Elijah saids he built this as a side project with the hunter in mind, but a little different. But, I think this would make a fantastic survival gun. When you look at it you’ll notice there isn’t any buffer tube. The gun is not a semi-auto, but a straight-pull bolt action with a side-mounting charging handle acting as the bolt handle. Yes, its a manual.
This Blackout doesn’t need a large gas system. Every time you pull the bolt back, it cams, ejects a round, and chambers a new one. Elijah built this gun this way so as to trim as much weight as possible.
“You don’t need a gas block, a gas tube, you don’t need a hand guard, you don’t need a normal charging handle, you only need half a bolt carrier you don’t need most of your gas key, you don’t need your bolt catch, your buffer tube, your buffer, your spring, all these part that you can eliminate by making it a straight-pull bolt action pistol,” says Elijah.
Another cool thing about Elijah .300 Blackout AR pistol is that you can run it suppressed. Elijah wanted this gun to also be more quiet than the regular AR pistol. Because this gun don’t have to have enough pressure to cycle the action you can load subsonic in any weight that you want. The result is that it is very quiet when suppressed.
Another piece to eliminating the action noise while trimming weight and parts, this AR frame uses a hybrid polymer lower and upper (with metal inserts) and is manually-operated.
Without the need for a Bolt Carrier Group he says he uses one that is basically cut in half and drilled and tapped for the left-side charging handle. At the same time, he still has all of the modularity of a standard AR when it comes to triggers, parts, magazines, etc.
This Blackout can hold a 10 round, 20 round magazine. Not sure if it comes with a 30, but probably. You all can correct us on that.
The Solo cost Duray about a few hundred dollars to make and he can use hand loads with bullets from 60-grains up to 265 with a very subtle sound signature when fitted with a screw-on can and minimal recoil. This gun looks like a fit for plinking, varmint hunting and loads of other fun with a suppressor.
With the proliferation of AR15s and STANAG-compatible rifles, many of us end up having to keep numerous incompatible magazines on hand. For example, 6.8mm SPC and 338 Spectre require one type, 223 Remington, 300 Blackout and 458 SOCOM another, 7.62×39 a third. Keeping them straight for a range trip is half the problem. Changing over chest rig pouches from mostly straight 223 to curved 7.62×39 is more annoying. And the cost of getting numerous magazines for every caliber isn’t trivial, either. The Unimag by Ross and Zheng Engineering solves this problem by using a stainless-steel body shaped much like a regular GI magazine and a clever articulated follower that automatically adjusts to the shape of the cartridge column. It worked well for me in a variety of AR15s, ARAK21, TAR21, RDB, MAD556 (a roller-lock rifle with very fast cycle). The magazine body is treated with slick anti-corrosive finish on the inside and with textured finish on the outside. This design should be of a special interest to 458 SOCOM users, as it holds a dozen large-bore rounds instead of the usual ten that fit in a conventional GI magazine.
Unimag magazine capacity
5.45×39 Russian – 29
6.8 SPC/338 Spectre – 26
7.62×39 Russian – 25
6.5 Grendel – 24
458 SOCOM – 12
223 Remington, 300 Blackout – 30
The Ross and Zheng Engineering, or RZE UNIMAG. Multiple calibers, one magazine.