August 21st, 2020

.300 Blackout Fired in .223 Rem — Mistake Is Disasterous

.300 AAC Blackout 300 BLK kaboom accident blowup cartridge failure barrel .223 Rem 5.56
Photos and Facebook post by Tactical Rifle Shooters

Yet another .300 Blackout disaster. Unfortunately, that .300 Blackout cartridge can fit in a .223 Rem chamber. Shooting a .308-caliber bullet in .223 bore is a recipe for disaster.

.300 AAC Blackout 300 BLK kaboom accident blowup cartridge failure barrel .223 Rem 5.56

.300 AAC Blackout 300 BLK kaboom accident blowup cartridge failure barrel .223 Rem 5.56The .300 AAC Blackout aka “300 BLK”, is a compact 30-caliber cartridge designed to work in AR-15 rifles. It has a shorter cartridge case to accommodate the bigger 30-caliber bullet while still fitting in a standard AR-15 magazine. Unfortunately, that’s the danger. A careless shooter can toss a .300 Blackout cartridge in with .223 Rem rounds without noting. And because the case-head size is the same as the .223 Rem (5.56×45) the rifle’s bolt assembly will happily chamber and fire the .300 BLK round. Problem is, that forces a .308 diameter bullet down an undersized .223-caliber bore. Not good!

This images were provided by Tactical Rifle Shooters on Facebook. The message was clear: “Don’t try to run 300 Blackout in your .223/5.56mm. It won’t end well. The problem is identical rifles and identical magazines but different calibers.”

For those who MUST have a .300 Blackout, here are some things you can do:

1. Use different colored magazines for .300 Blackout vs. .223 Rem.
2. Fit all your uppers with caliber-labeled ejection port covers.
3. Mark .223 Rem upper handguards with the caliber in bright paint.
4. Mark all .300 BLK Rounds with heavy black marker.

.300 AAC Blackout 300 BLK kaboom accident blowup cartridge failure barrel .223 Rem 5.56

Comments by Folks Who Viewed these .300 Blackout Disaster Photos:

“The .300 Blackout is simply a badly-designed round. A properly-designed round would have had a feature in the shape that would have prevented cross loading in the first place.” — D. Santiago

“I almost made that mistake… I had a magazine of 300 BLK inserted in my .223/5.56 all night. Fortunately, I never pulled the trigger. Once I realized the mistake, I almost got ill. [After that incident] I no longer own a 300 BLK.” — B. Welch

“Happened to me hog hunting from a helo. Gun exploded in my face.” — B. Hood

“Fire-forming projectiles [is] so wrong in centerfire!” — M. Stres

“Had some dude come into the store the other day wanting .300 Blackout ammo to shoot in his 5.56 AR. It took 15 minutes of explaining for him to understand you got to have a .300 Blackout Upper!” — R. Williams

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
August 16th, 2019

Scary Stuff — .300 Blackout Fired in a .223 Rem Barrel

.300 AAC Blackout 300 BLK kaboom accident blowup cartridge failure barrel .223 Rem 5.56
Photos and Facebook post by Tactical Rifle Shooters

Yet another .300 Blackout disaster. Unfortunately, that .300 Blackout cartridge can fit in a .223 Rem chamber. Shooting a .308-caliber bullet in .223 bore is a recipe for disaster.

.300 AAC Blackout 300 BLK kaboom accident blowup cartridge failure barrel .223 Rem 5.56

.300 AAC Blackout 300 BLK kaboom accident blowup cartridge failure barrel .223 Rem 5.56The .300 AAC Blackout aka “300 BLK”, is a compact 30-caliber cartridge designed to work in AR-15 rifles. It has a shorter cartridge case to accommodate the bigger 30-caliber bullet while still fitting in a standard AR-15 magazine. Unfortunately, that’s the danger. A careless shooter can toss a .300 Blackout cartridge in with .223 Rem rounds without noting. And because the case-head size is the same as the .223 Rem (5.56×45) the rifle’s bolt assembly will happily chamber and fire the .300 BLK round. Problem is, that forces a .308 diameter bullet down an undersized .223-caliber bore. Not good!

This images were provided by Tactical Rifle Shooters on Facebook. The message was clear: “Don’t try to run 300 Blackout in your .223/5.56mm. It won’t end well. The problem is identical rifles and identical magazines but different calibers.”

For those who MUST have a .300 Blackout, here are some things you can do:

1. Use different colored magazines for .300 Blackout vs. .223 Rem.
2. Fit all your uppers with caliber-labeled ejection port covers.
3. Mark .223 Rem upper handguards with the caliber in bright paint.
4. Mark all .300 BLK Rounds with heavy black marker.

.300 AAC Blackout 300 BLK kaboom accident blowup cartridge failure barrel .223 Rem 5.56

Comments by Folks Who Viewed these .300 Blackout Disaster Photos:

“The .300 Blackout is simply a badly-designed round. A properly-designed round would have had a feature in the shape that would have prevented cross loading in the first place.” — D. Santiago

“I almost made that mistake… I had a magazine of 300 BLK inserted in my .223/5.56 all night. Fortunately, I never pulled the trigger. Once I realized the mistake, I almost got ill. [After that incident] I no longer own a 300 BLK.” — B. Welch

“Happened to me hog hunting from a helo. Gun exploded in my face.” — B. Hood

“Fire-forming projectiles [is] so wrong in centerfire!” — M. Stres

“Had some dude come into the store the other day wanting .300 Blackout ammo to shoot in his 5.56 AR. It took 15 minutes of explaining for him to understand you got to have a .300 Blackout Upper!” — R. Williams

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News, Tech Tip 20 Comments »
August 27th, 2018

How to Expand Cartridge Brass in Stages with Progressive Press

Darrell Jones DJ's Brass Service expanding brass 6mmBR 6BR BRX 30BR Hornady press
Photos from DJ’s Brass Service.

Have you ever expanded a .22 or 6mm cartridge all the way up to .30-caliber? If so, you know this can be a difficult procedure that stresses the case necks and neck-shoulder junction. A significant neck-size expansion done in one big jump can increase run-out, cause doughnuts, or worse yet, even split the brass. Therefore you want to proceed in increments, increasing the neck diameter in stages. One smart way to do that is to use a Progressive Press. This article explains how…

The most successful short-range brenchrest-for-score cartridge is the 30 BR. That cartridge, as well as 30 BR variants such as the 30 BRX, all start with the 6mmBR Norma parent cartridge, typically with Lapua 6mmBR brass. To get a nice 30 BR case you want to expand in stages, increasing the inside neck diameter incrementally from .243 to .308.

Darrell Jones of DJ’s Brass Service creates thousands of 30 BR cases each year. He has found a clever way to speed up the process — Darrell uses a Progressive Press. He runs his 6BR brass through four (4) separate Hornady neck-sizing dies with expander mandrels. First there is a .257 die, followed by .264 (6.5mm), .284 (7mm), and then .308. Then a fifth and final K&M die provides one last, slight expansion so the newly-fashioned 30 BR cases perfectly fit the arbor of Darrell’s neck-turning tool.

So to repeat, the case starts as .243 (6mm), then moves in up stages .257, .264, .284, and .308, with a final “finishing” step prior to neck-turning. You can see the expansion in this video, which starts with 6mmBR brass that was first hydro-formed to 6 BRX:

Watch 6mm Cases Expanded to 30-Caliber (6BRX to 30 BRX)

For this demo video, Darrell expands just one case at a time. However, he can also put multiple cases in the progressive — one per station. This takes a little more effort, Darrell says, but the results are still excellent. Darrell tells us: “I do put multiple cases in the progressive to save time. The results are the same — I just wanted to show a single-step process and how it reduces run-out by not stressing the shoulder with one big expansion from 6mm straight to 30 caliber. Doing the operation in multiple stages avoids binds and helps keep the shoulders concentric.”

This same multi-stage procedure can be use to expand other cartridge types. For example you could take .221 Fireball brass in stages up to .308 to create 300 Blackout brass.

Darrell Jones DJ's Brass Service expanding brass 6mmBR 6BR BRX 30BR Hornady press

Darrell uses caliber-specific, Hornady neck-sizing-only dies with elliptical expanders. Darrell tells us: “The Hornady elliptical expander has a reduced bearing surface that puts less strain on the brass when expanding the necks to the next size.” The fitting at the bottom of the die is the Lock-N-Load die bushing that allows fast die changes.

These particular cases used in the video were first hydro-formed to 6BRX then expanded to 30 BRX before neck turning. DJ’s Brass offers hydro-forming for many popular wildcat cartridges such as 6 PPC, 6mm Dasher, and .284 Shehane.

Darrell Jones DJ's Brass Service expanding brass 6mmBR 6BR BRX 30BR Hornady press

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
June 4th, 2017

Ammo Special: Cartridge Cutaways from Fog Ammunition

sliced cutaway ammo ammunition FOG diagram

Here’s something you don’t see every day — the inside of loaded cartridges, sliced halfway through. This lets you see how bullet core, jacket, cartridge case, powder, and primer all fit together. Give credit to the folks at FOG Ammunition for creating this interesting series of cut-through ammo images. We show four cartridges here: the .308 Winchester, 9mm Luger, 300 BLK, and .50 BMG. You’ll find two more (the .223 Remington and .45 ACP) at www.FogAmmo.com.

sliced cutaway ammo ammunition FOG diagram

This .308 Winchester model took on a different approach by only cutting the brass case and displaying the full bullet, primer and powder load. A spec amount of powder was used to create the model powder form. An estimated 10% volume was added during the forming process, along with an undetermined amount of air pockets.

sliced cutaway ammo ammunition FOG diagram

This bisection is a 9mm Jacketed Hollow Point round with flake powder held together with super glue. After this self-defense round was cut by a trained professional the round was polished by hand. This might look like stick powder, but those are in fact flakes stacked up in cross-section. Designed in 1901 by Georg Luger, this popular cartridge is used by civilians, military, and law enforcement.

sliced cutaway ammo ammunition FOG diagram

For this model of the .300 AAC Blackout (aka 300 BLK), a Dremel tool was used to create a pie cut within the bullet and brass case. A measured amount of power, roughly 65% of spec charge, was placed inside the case with super glue. This cartridge was originally optimized for subsonic use with a suppressor, so the amount of powder used is small relative to the nominal case capacity. That leaves more room for the relatively large .30-caliber bullet.

sliced cutaway ammo ammunition FOG diagram

Last but definitely not least is the .50 Caliber BMG round (aka .50 Browning Machine Gun). Famed for its wartime use in the M2 Machine gun, the .50 BMG round is also used in civilian Long Range competitions. A typical .50 BMG cartridge holds over 225 grains of powder. That’s almost ten times the amount in a 5.56×45 NATO Round!

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
April 13th, 2017

300 Blackout Basics — Specs and Cartridge INFO

300 BLK AAC Blackout

As the .30-Cal cartridge of choice for the AR15 platform, the 300 AAC Blackout, also known as 300 BLK, has become quite popular with black rifle owners. You can now purchase quality factory ammo and even premium Lapua 300 BLK brass. Some folks wonder — “why consider a 300 BLK”? Here are the key reasons you may want to acquire a 300 AAC Blackout upper for your AR:

FIVE REASONS to Shoot the 300 BLK:

1. Easy Conversion: Use your current AR lower, bolt/carrier, buffer, and magazine. The only part you need to change is the barrel.
2. Hunting Capability: 300 BLK conforms to state hunting regulations which may require a cartridge larger than .22 caliber. The 300 BLK shoots .308 caliber bullets.
3. Suppressor-Friendly: You can shoot heavier bullets subsonic. The subsonic capabilities of the 300 BLK make it ideal for use with a suppressed AR.
4. Great Barrel Life: With a .30-caliber bore and a modest powder charge, barrel life is outstanding.
5. Great Brass: No Case forming is required — just buy Lapua 300 BLK brass.

The 300 AAC Blackout was created by Advanced Armament Corp. and Remington primarily for the military as a way to shoot .30-caliber bullets from the M4/AR15 platform while using standard magazines. As explained by Robert Silvers, AAC’s R&D Director: “[You can] shoot 30 caliber from your AR while still using normal magazines with full capacity. Even the bolt stays the same, and all that changes is the barrel.” CLICK HERE for more information.

300 BLK AAC Blackout magazine

The concept of putting a .30-caliber bullet in a shortened 223 case has been done before, but not as an industry-wide standard that anyone can make products for, royalty-free. SAAMI, the industry standards organization, adopted and standardized the AAC 300 Blackout earlier this year. The SAAMI diagram for the 300 BLK is shown below.

300 AAC Blackout SAAMI Diagram
300 Blackout SAAMI Cartridge Specification

Affordable Factory 300 BLK Ammo is Available
Remington now sells a variety of 300 BLK ammo: 1) 125 grain open-tip match with a custom Sierra bullet; 2) 220gr subsonic, and 3) 125gr AccuTip (photo below). While the 300 BLK is easy (and inexpensive) to reload, Remington and AAC recognized that most people are not reloaders. So Remington will be budget-priced UMC-brand 300 BLK ammo through at just $12.99 per box — that’s less than most other rifle cartridges than are more powerful than the .223.

300 AAC BLK ammo

The 300 AAC Blackout definitely works for hunters who want to use their AR15-platform rifle. And it also serves as a specialized 30-Cal “rule-beater” that lets 3-Gun competitors “make major” with a low-recoil cartridge that also offers long barrel life. For those who need to run a .30-caliber cartridge from a standard AR15 platform (as opposed to the AR10), the 300 AAC Blackout makes sense. But for hunters using a bolt gun, there are any number of tried and true options, such as the 7.62×39, .30-30, and, of course, the .308 Winchester (7.62×51 NATO).

WARNING: With some bullet options (and setback during chambering) 300 Blackout rounds will go into a .223 chamber and fire. Putting a .308-caliber bullet in a .224-diameter barrel is a recipe for disaster. You can blow up your gun and sustain serious injury. That’s why we recommend you have a dedicated 300 BLK upper and mark your magazines. Also, always, always check your .223 magazines to ensure no 300 BLK rounds worked their way in when you loaded the mags. There have been a number of Kabooms recorded from 300 BLK rounds fired in a .223 Rem/5.56×45 chamber. CLICK HERE to see actual 300 BLK in .223 Rem chamber.

Other 300 BLK Resources
300 BLK by AAC: An Introduction by Paul Erhardt.
300 AAC Blackout Ammo Review
AAC .300 BLK AR-15, The Gun Blog.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tactical 6 Comments »
January 30th, 2015

Why Shoot a 300 Blackout? Kirsten Provides Some Answers

.300 AAC blackout blk

In her latest video, Kirsten Joy Weiss shows off the 300 AAC Blackout, a popular .30-caliber cartridge for AR-platform rifles. Kirsten explains the advantages for the 300 BLK for hunters as well as those using an AR for self-defense. The 300 BLK is popular with suppressor owners because it works well with heavy bullets launched at subsonic velocities.

Reasons to Shoot a 300 AAC Blackout:

— You can use your current AR Bolt, Bolt Carrier, Buffer, and Magazine. The only part you need to change is the barrel.
— 300 BLK conforms to state hunting regulations which may require a cartridge larger than .22 Caliber. The 300 BLK shoots .308 caliber bullets.
— Lapua now sells 300 AAC Blackout brass so no case-forming is required. Just load and shoot.
— You can shoot light bullets supersonic or heavier bullets subsonic. The subsonic capabilities of the 300 BLK make it ideal for use with a suppressed AR.
— With a .30-caliber bore and a modest powder charge, barrel life is outstanding with the 300 BLK.
— You can make 300 BLK cartridges from fired .223 Rem brass, which is plentiful and cheap.
— The .300 BLK performs well with some very accurate powders, such as Hodgdon H4198 and IMR 4227.

300 BLK Dan Horner

The 300 AAC Blackout was created by Advanced Armament Corp. and Remington primarily for the military as a way to shoot .30-caliber bullets from the M4/AR15 platform while using standard magazines. As explained by Robert Silvers, AAC’s R&D Director: “Now there is a way to shoot 30 caliber from your AR while still using normal magazines with full capacity. Even the bolt stays the same, and all that changes is the barrel.” For more information visit www.300aacblackout.com and download the 300 BLK Cartridge Information Guide (PDF).

300 AAC Blackout SAAMI Diagram
300 Blackout SAAMI Cartridge Specification

SAAMI, the industry standards organization, adopted and standardized the AAC 300 Blackout in 2010. The SAAMI diagram for the 300 BLK is shown above. Lapua now makes 300 BLK cartridge brass.

300 BLK Blackout AAC Lapua brass cartridge

300 BLK for 3-Gun Competition
The 300 AAC Blackout has been touted as an important new hunting round, but we see it more as a specialized “rule-beater” 30-cal option that lets 3-Gun competitors “make major” with a low-recoil cartridge that also offers long barrel life. For those who need to run a .30-caliber cartridge from a standard AR15 platform (as opposed to the AR10), the 300 AAC Blackout makes some sense. But for hunters using a bolt gun, there are any number of tried and true options, such as the 7.62×39, .30-30, and, of course, the .308 Winchester (7.62×51 NATO).

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo 14 Comments »
December 4th, 2014

New Lapua Brass for 2015: 300 BLK, 7mm-08, 8x57mm JS

Every year we anxiously await the new product announcement from Lapua. In 2014, Lapua brought out new bullets and new cartridge brass — .221 Fireball and .50 BMG. For 2015, Lapua once again brings out new brass offerings, this time three new flavors of cartridge brass, all made to Lapua’s exacting standards. First, Lapua will introduce factory 300 AAC Blackout (300 BLK) brass. This promises to take this highly-efficient, AR-friendly .30-caliber cartridge to another accuracy level. Second, Lapua will offer premium brass for the 7mm-08 cartridge, a very popular round among hunters and silhouette shooters. Lastly, in 2015, Lapua will produce 8x57mm JS brass. That’s good news for fans of this classic Mauser cartridge.

Lapua 2015 cartridge brass casing 300 blackout blk 7-08 7mm-08 Remington 8x57mm JS 8x57

300 AAC Blackout Brass

Lapua’s Press release states: “Few cartridges have generated as much immediate interest as the 300 Blackout. Standardized by AAC, this diminutive cartridge is derived from the 223 Remington. Intended specifically for use in suppressed firearms, the versatility of the Blackout has appealed to a much broader range of shooters than just the audience for which it was originally designed. [Originally] intended to drive 220 grain bullets at subsonic velocities, the switch to lightweight bullets such as the 125 grain offerings delivers performance very similar to the venerable 7.62×39 cartridge. This makes the 300 Blackout potent enough for a wide range of shooting tasks, from certain tactical applications to many short range hunting situations involving medium-sized game. The ability for many 5.56mm/223 systems to be switched over to the 300 Blackout, merely by changing barrels, makes this an incredibly versatile combination. Lapua brings over nine decades of case manufacturing knowledge, precision and quality to the new Blackout, assuring the shooter of the very best performance.”

Lapua 2015 cartridge brass casing 300 blackout blk 7-08 7mm-08 Remington 8x57mm JS 8x57

7mm-08 Remington Brass

Lapua 2015 cartridge brass casing 300 blackout blk 7-08 7mm-08 Remington 8x57mm JS 8x57Lapua notes that it’s new 7mm-08 brass is made to very high standards, benefiting hunters as well as competitors: “The 7mm-08 came to dominate the High Power Silhouette rifle game shortly after its introduction, offering a superb combination of power, light recoil and accuracy. Since then, it has also been used to win National Championships in High Power competition, and become a staple for hunters as well. With ballistic performance exceeding that of the time honored 7x57mm Mauser, but suited to a shorter action, the 7mm-08 is an ideal cartridge for most big game hunting. Lapua brings… state-of-the-art manufacturing methods, combined with old world craftsmanship, to the production of these cases. Primer pockets and flash holes are held to strict tolerances to withstand repeated firings and reloadings. After final necking of the case, they are finished with the proper anneal [for] accuracy and durability.” Lapua also notes that it offers two new 7mm Scenar bullets, which will work very well in the new 7mm-08 cartridge brass.

8x57mm JS Brass

Last but not least, Lapua is producing 8x57mm JS brass. Lapua notes that: “When the 8x57mm JS cartridge was introduced in 1905, its innovative use of a high velocity and relatively light weight pointed bullet design revolutionized infantry combat. An outgrowth on the original 8x57J military round, the 8x57mm JS round served the German military in both world wars, and became a popular sporting cartridge in any area where there was a strong German influence. From African plains game to European stag and boar, the 8mm Mauser has earned an enviable reputation as a big game round in a wide array of conditions. Accurate, versatile and powerful, the 8x57mm JS still serves the sporting community well for a host of hunting applications. In answer to the requests of the many devotees of this fine cartridge, Lapua is pleased to announce our introduction of the new 8x57mmJS case. The new 8x57mmJS will deliver the same accurate, reliable performance for which Lapua cases are world renowned. This means tough, durable cases that will not only withstand repeated loadings, but retain their accuracy shot after shot. [Lapua’s 8x57mm JS brass offers] very tight tolerances in neck wall concentricity and overall uniformity.”

Lapua 2015 cartridge brass casing 300 blackout blk 7-08 7mm-08 Remington 8x57mm JS 8x57

See Lapua’s New Products at SHOT Show 2015
If you plan to attend SHOT Show in Las Vegas, stop by and visit the Lapua Exhibit (booth #11929). With luck, samples of the new 7mm-08, 300 BLK, and 8×57 JS brass will be available to view. Lapua engineers will be on hand to talk about Lapua brass and bullets, and explain the production processes that make Lapua brass so durable and consistent. In recent years, in the world of centerfire competition, Lapua brass has absolutely dominated the winner’s circles as well as the record-books.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 16 Comments »
October 11th, 2014

300 AAC Blackout Load Data from Sierra Bullets

Sierra Bullets has just added extensive load data for the 300 AAC Blackout (300 BLK) cartridge. Developed for the AR15 platform, the 300 BLK offers AR shooters a large-caliber option in both subsonic and supersonic variants. The 300 BLK can be made from modified .223 Rem brass or necked-up .221 Fireball cases. We like to form our .300 BLK brass by necking-up the excellent Lapua .221 Fireball brass.

CLICK HERE for Sierra Load Data for 300 AAC Blackout (PDF File)

Sierra Has 5 Pages of Load Data for the 300 AAC Blackout. Here is one sample page:

300 AAC Blackout .300 BLK Whisper AR15 AR

Sierra Cartridge Comments: 300 AAC Blackout
The 300 AAC Blackout (300 BLK, or 7.62x35mm) was created by Advanced Armament Corp. and Remington in order to provide the military with a way to shoot .30 caliber bullets from the M4 platform with only a barrel change. It has since become popular for a wide range of uses including hunting and home defense.

300 AAC Blackout .300 BLK Whisper AR15 AR

The cartridge shares case-head dimensions and body taper with the .223 Remington. Not only does this allow for compatibility with existing magazines and bolts, but it allows reloaders to form 300 BLK brass from the vast supply of 5.56mm or .223 cases. However, since .223/5.56 cases need to be cut-down and reformed, it can be simpler to neck up .221 Fireball brass.

The 300 AAC Blackout is similar to previous wildcats, such as the .30-221 and .300 Fireball, as well as the proprietary 300 Whisper®. However the 300 BLK was the first SAAMI-approved (and standardized) cartridge of this type. Moreover, any company is free to make firearms or ammunition for the 300 BLK.

300 AAC Blackout is popular with hunters, who may not be allowed to legally hunt with .223 in their state, and who prefer .30-caliber bullets for medium-sized game. It provides similar effectiveness to the 7.62×39mm or the slightly more powerful 30-30 cartridges, while working in the more up-to-date AR15 platform. Effective range for hunting is about 100-150 yards.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 4 Comments »
May 3rd, 2014

Lyman Releases New AR Reloading Handbook

Lyman AR15 reloading guide handbook bookAR this, AR that… sometimes it seems the gun world has gone AR crazy. There is even a book specifically dedicated to reloading for AR-platform rifles. This may seem superfluous when there are so many other reloading manuals on the market. However, there are some special factors to consider when reloading for ARs and other semi-automatic rifles. Cases should be full-length sized, with adequate shoulder bump and neck clearance (more than you might run with a bolt gun). Cartridge pressures must be appropriate for the AR platform, and you want to select powders that minimize fouling. Also, when loading for an AR you may want to experiment with cannelured bullets and crimping. And of course, rounds must be loaded to mag-length. Lastly, with the advent of the 300 AAC Blackout (and similar cartridges), many AR shooters now are experimenting with heavy 30-cal bullets in subsonic applications. AR owners will experience a “reloading learning curve” when moving from .223 Rem to the more exotic, subsonic 30-caliber cartridges.

These and other concerns are covered in Lyman’s new AR Reloading Handbook. This comprehensive reloading guide provides the AR shooter with reloading data for nearly all popular AR-platform chamberings. In addition to data for the standard .223 Rem, the following cartridges are also covered: 6.8 Rem, 300 AAC Blackout, 7.62×39, 450 Bushmaster, 50 Beowulf and others.

J&G Sales AR 15 Gallery Suppressor

Lyman touts its new book: “Reloaders will appreciate the wealth of AR-specific reloading data [for] all popular brands of bullets and powders. Specialty cast bullet and sub-sonic data further expand the usefulness of the handbook. Interesting articles by well known and popular firearms journalists are also included. These cover such areas as ‘Reloading for Suppressors’ and ‘Cartridge Interchangeability”. Finally all this AR data is presented in a full size, easy-to-use 8 1/2″ x 11″ format.”

Suppressed AR15 photo courtesy J&G Sales Ltd..

Book tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Reloading, Tactical 1 Comment »
March 15th, 2014

Learn About 300 AAC Blackout with Articles and Podcast

Now that Lapua is making very high-quality .221 Fireball brass, those of you who own an AR may be considering a 300 AAC Blackout project. For AR shooters, the 300 Blackout (300 BLK) offers the ability to fire a heavy-weight bullet from standard AR15 magazines. When loaded to supersonic velocities with heavy bullets, this little cartridge packs more punch than a 30-30 round. Alternatively, when loaded to sub-sonic velocities, the 300 Blackout is ultra-quiet when used with a suppressor.

AR15 Podcast 300 AAC Blackout BLK

Writing for the CTD Shooter’s Log, CTD Mike has authored a good Beginners’ Guide to the 300 AAC Blackout. This explains the basics of this interesting cartridge, which is a .30-caliber round that works with existing AR15 magazines and upper. You can purchase 300 Blackout factory ammunition or you can load your own. The easiest way to make 300 Blackout cartridges is to neck-up Lapua .221 Fireball brass. But if you have hordes of .223 Rem brass, you can also cut those cases down and reform them into 300 Blackout. But that is much more work. With Lapua .221 Fireball brass, you lube the inside of the necks, expand, and you’re good to go.

AR15 Podcast .300 AAC Blackout BLK

300 Blackout vs. 6.8 SPC
AR owners who have considered a dedicated upper in 6.8 SPC, should give serious consideration to 300 Blackout instead. First, with so much .223 Rem available, you have a virtually infinite supply of parent brass. 6.8 SPC brass is not so easy to find. Second, to function optimally, the 6.8 SPC requires dedicated magazines. CTD Mike says: “6.8 SPC II and 6.5 Grendel both require specific magazines [that are] different from the Standard NATO Agreement (STANAG) AR-15 magazine. These magazines are not nearly as common … and of course cost a bit more. On top of that, you lose capacity in those calibers, down to 25 rounds instead of 30, because their casings are fatter and take up more space[.]”

The Sound of Silence — Suppressed 300 Blackout Properties
The 300 AAC Blackout is a great option if you live in a jurisdiction that allows suppressor ownership. A suppressed 300 Blackout is ultra-quiet and very reliable. CTD Mike explains: “Unlike 5.56, subsonic [1000 FPS] loadings that still cycle the AR-15 action reliably are easy to make [with] a 220 grain .308 bullet. At close range, these 220 grain rounds really thump, and the real kicker is that using an AAC suppressor with them in a 9-inch barrel brings the sound level to only 125 decibels. That’s quieter than an MP5SD shooting 9mm rounds, and much quieter than a MK23 pistol shooting .45acp rounds. You have to be there and shoot one of these rifles with a ‘can’ attached to realize that this 220 grain bullet is nearly as quiet as a silenced .22 pistol.”

AR15 Podcast 300 .300 AAC Blackout BLKAR15 Podcast Talks about 300 Blackout
If you are intrigued by the 300 AAC Blackout, you should consider listening to an hour-long AR15Podcast hosted by Reed Snyder and co-Host Anthony Hardy. In this Podcast, Reed explains how to re-barrel an AR15 for the 300 Blackout. Step by step, he explains how to remove your .223-caliber barrel and install a .30-caliber barrel chambered for the 300 Blackout. Reed lists the tools you’ll need and he also explains how to tune adjustable gas blocks for best performance with a 300 Blackout upper.

AUDIO FILE: AR15 Podcast about 300 AAC Blackout (Warning Loud Volume)

For those who are undecided about adapting their AR15s for the 300 Blackout, Reed weighs the pros and cons of having a dedicated .30 caliber in your AR arsenal. Here are some of the strong points of this interesting cartridge:

  • 300 Blackout cartridges fit and feed in standard AR magazines.
  • 300 Blackout rivals 7.62x39mm performance.
  • Brass and Bullets are readily available.
  • Barrel is only part that needs to be modified.
  • Excellent Subsonic Performance — very quiet.
  • .30 Caliber suppressors can be used with smaller calibers as well.

300 AAC Blackout

About the 300 AAC Blackout (300 BLK)
The 300 AAC Blackout cartridge shares case-head dimensions and body taper with the .223 Remington. Not only does this allow for compatibility with existing magazines and bolts, but it allows reloaders to form their own brass from cut-down 5.56×45 mm or .223 Rem cases. You can also form 300 Blackout cases by necking-up .221 Fireball brass. Take Note: Lapua has started producing .221 Fireball brass — this should be available in the USA by the end of April.

300 AAC Blackout

The 300 AAC Blackout is a similar concept to previous wildcats, such as the 30-221 and 300 Fireball, as well as the proprietary 300 Whisper®, except that 300 BLK was the first to be a SAAMI-approved cartridge and any company is free to make firearms or ammunition.

300 AAC Blackout is also finding use with hunters, who may not have been able to legally hunt with .223 in their state, and who prefer .30 caliber bullets for medium-sized game. It provides similar effectiveness to the 7.62×39 or the slightly more powerful .30-30 cartridges except works in the more up-to-date AR-platform rifles. Effective hunting range is about 150 yards. Some innovators, such as Dave Whitford, have also experimented with the 300 BLK for Across-the-Course competition. READ Whitford story in Rifleman’s Journal..

Related RESOURCES:
American Rifleman Article with 300 AAC Blackout AND 300 Whisper Reamer Prints.
.330 AAC Blackout Factory Ammunition Review.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
December 30th, 2013

New 30 ARX — 6.5 Grendel Necked to .30 Caliber Beats 300 BLK

Robert Whitley 30 ARX ar15 6.5 grendelRobert Whitley of AR-X Enterprises has a new .30-caliber cartridge for AR-platform rifles. The new 30 ARX is based on the 6.5 Grendel parent case necked-up to .30 caliber. The 30 ARX mag-feeds flawlessly in an AR15, while offering excellent accuracy, good velocity, and serious knock-down power. Compared to a 300 AAC Blackout (300 BLK), the new 30 ARX holds much more powder so it can push bullets faster and harder. Whitley’s 30 ARX boasts 57% more case capacity than a 300 Blackout. As a result, the 30 ARX outperforms the 300 BLK by a large margin. In a 20″-barreled AR, the 30 ARX can drive a 125gr bullet at 2500+ fps, or launch a heavier 150gr bullet at 2400+ fps:

30 ARX Loads
H4198, CCI BR4 Primers,
Necked-up Lapua 6.5 Grendel Brass:

2419 FPS: 28.0 gr. H4198, Nosler 125gr Ballistic Tip Hunting Bullet (2.260″ OAL)
2517 FPS: 29.0 gr. H4198, Nosler 125gr Ballistic Tip Hunting Bullet (2.260″ OAL)
2363 FPS: 28.0 gr. H4198, Sierra 150gr BT Hunting Bullet (2.240″ OAL)
2441 FPS: 29.0 gr. H4198, Sierra 150gr BT Hunting Bullet (2.240″ OAL)

Robert Whitley 30 ARX ar15 6.5 grendel

Robert Whitley explains the advantanges of the 30 ARX for AR-platform rifles: “The 30 ARX is a cartridge designed from the get-go for use in an AR-15. The case length and chamber design of the 30 ARX are optimal. The case allows the use of many of the favorite .30-cal bullets, magazine fed out of an AR-15 and backed by some real power. Brass is easy to make with a simple necking-up process. Neck it up, load it and go shoot. Good 6.5 Grendel brass is readily available, and we have 30 ARX dies available.”

Watch One-Step Process for Forming 30 ARX Case from 6.5 Grendel Brass

With the ability of Lapua 6.5 Grendel brass to handle stout loads, the 30 ARX cartridge delivers 30-30 Winchester-class performance, from the modern, semi-auto AR-15 platform. The 30 ARX cartridge has sufficient case capacity to push popular .30-cal bullets fast and accurately even at moderate chamber pressures. The case has approximately 38 grains water capacity. With its 57% greater capacity than a 300 Blackout, the 30 ARX is a more versatile, more powerful hunting cartridge (at least when loaded to supersonic speeds). With 150gr bullets running in the 2500 fps range, the 30 ARX offers impressive knockdown power in a cartridge that fits an AR-15 magazine.

  • 30 ARX Cartridge OAL mag-feeds perfectly with a variety of .30-cal bullets.
  • Longer, heavier long-range bullets (with longer COAL) can be single-loaded.
  • Lapua 6.5 Grendel brass is excellent, strong brass, that is readily available.
  • AR-X Enterprises now offers die sets for the 30 ARX.
  • The neck up process is very easy. Simply lube the inside of the necks of 6.5 Grendel brass, run the brass through your re-size die (with .30 Cal expander in place).
  • Works well with a lot of commonly available powders such as: Hodgdon 4198, Vihtavouri N130, Accurate LT-32, Accurate AA1680.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 39 Comments »
December 20th, 2013

Sierra Offers Load Data for 300 AAC Blackout

The 300 AAC Blackout (300 BLK, or 7.62x35mm) was created by Advanced Armament Corp. and Remington in order to provide the military with a way to shoot .30-caliber bullets from the M4 carbines with only a barrel change. It has since become popular with AR shooters for a wide range of uses including hunting and home defense. With the increased popularity of this cartridge, folks have been looking for reliable 300 BLK load information. Now, thanks to Sierra Bullets, we have some good load data for the 300 AAC Blackout. Sierra has released a FREE 6-page Load Guide for this cartridge, as part of the Sierra Reloading Manual (5th Edition).

CLICK HERE for Sierra 300 AAC Blackout Load DATA (PDF Format).

Here is ONE of SIX Pages in the Sierra Load Sheet for 300 AAC Blackout

300 AAC Blackout Sierra load manual PDF load infomation .300 Whisper

300 AAC Blackout

About the 300 AAC Blackout (300 BLK)
The 300 AAC Blackout cartridge shares case-head dimensions and body taper with the .223 Remington. Not only does this allow for compatibility with existing magazines and bolts, but it allows reloaders to form their own brass from cut-down 5.56×45 mm or .223 Rem cases. You can also form 300 Blackout cases by necking-up .221 Fireball brass. Take Note: Lapua has started producing .221 Fireball brass — this should be available in the USA by early April.

300 AAC Blackout

The 300 AAC Blackout is a similar concept to previous wildcats, such as the 30-221 and 300 Fireball, as well as the proprietary 300 Whisper®, except that 300 BLK was the first to be a SAAMI-approved cartridge and any company is free to make firearms or ammunition.

300 AAC Blackout is also finding use with hunters, who may not have been able to legally hunt with .223 in their state, and who prefer .30 caliber bullets for medium-sized game. It provides similar effectiveness to the 7.62×39 or the slightly more powerful .30-30 cartridges except works in the more up-to-date AR-platform rifles. Effective hunting range is about 150 yards. Some innovators, such as Dave Whitford, have also experimented with the 300 BLK for Across-the-Course competition. READ Whitford story in Rifleman’s Journal..

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Reloading 9 Comments »
November 5th, 2011

Smith & Wesson Rolls Out .300 Whisper AR-Platform Rifle

Smith & Wesson is going to produce an AR15-type rifle chambered for the .300 Whisper cartridge. This will be an addition to S&W’s Military & Police (M&P) Rifle series. As the first production rifle in the AR platform to be chambered in .300 Whisper (and .300 AAC Blackout), the new rifle offers both sub-sonic and supersonic capabilities. Originally developed and pioneered by J.D. Jones of SSK Industries, the 300 Whisper is based on the .221 Rem Fireball case necked up to .308. Notably, S&W says its M&P15 .300 Whisper is compatible with both the .300 Whisper and the .300 AAC Blackout (BLK) cartridges. The latter is a SAAMI-standardized, trademark-free variant of the .300 Whisper.

Smith Wesson M&P15 .300 Whisper .300 AAC blackout

Smith Wesson M&P15 .300 Whisper .300 AAC blackout

Manufactured on the M&P15 (AR-clone) platform, S&W’s new semi-automatic .300 Whisper rifle features an 1 in 7.5” twist, 16″ chrome-moly barrel. Both the forged 7075 aluminum upper and lower receivers have been coated with a Realtree APG camo finish. Standard features include forward assist and a six-position, collapsible CAR stock. MSRP for the complete rifle is $1,119. A separate .300 Whisper AR flat-top upper will also be offered, with an $819.00 MSRP.

“As the popularity of the modern sporting rifle continues to grow, more hunters are seeing the advantages of taking these firearms into the field,” said Mario Pasantes, S&W Senior Vice President of Marketing. “The M&P15 300 Whisper gives consumers the ability to use either lightweight or heavy cartridges during hunting or recreational applications without changing rifles or barrels.”

Is Hunting the Real Market for S&W’s .300 Whisper M&P15?

Editor’s Comment: If this gun is intended for hunting, we’re not sure Smith & Wesson got this one right. While the .300 Whisper is an interesting cartridge, it was originally designed to run sub-sonic, or be used with a suppressor. At sub-sonic velocities, the cartridge doesn’t pack much punch — not much more than a heavy pistol round. So you’re carrying around an 8-lb rifle (with optics) that only hits like a pistol. On the other hand, it can be loaded up to supersonic velocities, yielding ballistics similar to the .30-30.

But if you run it supersonic, why mess with this oddball cartridge at all? There are many other proven, game-killing chamberings for which a huge variety of inexpensive hunting ammo is widely available. (In fairness, .300 Whisper factory ammunition does exist. Hornady now offers both 1200 fps sub-sonic and 2375 fps supersonic .300 Whisper Ammo.)

Now the use of a .300 Whisper with a suppressor is intriguing. But, realistically, how many American hunters are going to get fingerprinted and pay the $200 tax for a suppressor, not to mention the hefty cost of the suppressor itself? As for the rifle configuration, a 16″ barrel is quite short for a hunting gun, and a wobbly first-gen collapsible stock that rattles is the last thing we’d want to take hunting.

Our guess is that most purchasers of this rifle will simply use it for plinking or tactical games, where the low recoil and long barrel life associated with the .300 Whisper will be welcome. One source suggests that the .300 Whisper has become popular with metallic silhouette shooters due to its low recoil and high accuracy. However we doubt you’ll be seeing many M&P15s on the silhouette course, given the funky, collapsible buttstock and short sight radius. (Under NRA Rules, AR15-type rifles are eligible for metallic silhouette competition under rule 3.1.2, but they must use “standard type stock[s]”.)

Story Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product 13 Comments »