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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 »
February 24th, 2012

New .204 Ruger, .300 Whisper, & .223 Rem Ammo from Black Hills

Black Hills has announced three new types of loaded ammunition for 2012. (This is all-new factory ammo, not commercial reloads.) The first caliber is the .204 Ruger. The new round uses the 32gr Hornady V-Max™ projectile that has proven to be one of the most accurate and effective bullets available for use on varmints.

Black Hills 2012 Ammunition

125gr and 220gr (subsonic) Options in .300 Whisper
The second is the .300 Whisper. This cartridge is the brainchild of JD Jones of SSK and has been around a long time as a proven wildcat cartridge. This versatile 30-caliber cartridge is designed primarily for use in M4/M16/AR-15 family of rifles and allows for use of a wide weight range of projectiles. Initial Black Hills loads for this cartridge are a 125 grain load that essentially duplicates 7.62×39 ballistics, but with far superior accuracy, plus a 220 grain Sierra MatchKing at subsonic velocity.

New 69gr SMK load in .223 Rem for AR15s
For use in AR15s with 1:9″ twist barrels, Black Hills’s customers have asked Black Hills to provide factory ammo loaded Sierra’s highly accurate 69gr MatchKing. In response to customer demand, for 2012 Black Hills will be offering the 69gr SMK loaded to 5.56mm pressures and velocities in military specification brass. In this new ammo, Black Hills has utilized modern temperature-stable, flash-suppressed propellant.

New Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 4 Comments »
January 19th, 2012

SHOT Show: New 125gr Flat-Based .30-Cal MatchKing from Sierra

Sierra Bullets rolled out few new products for SHOT Show 2012. The one new bullet is a .30-caliber flat-based bullet, the 125gr OTM (open-tip match HP) MatchKing, item #2121. This unique flat-based bullet was designed in conjunction with AAC (Advanced Armament Corporation) and Remington for the new .300 AAC Blackout (BLK) cartridge, a relatively small cartridge based on the .223 Rem necked up to .30 caliber. The bullet length is tailored to correctly fit and feed from AR-15 platform magazines. The relatively light weight of Sierra’s new 125gr MK allows it to reach fairly impressive velocities even with a modest powder charge. Of course it can also be used in subsonic mode, running at sub-Mach velocities. However, it is more typical for .300 BLK shooters to run a heavier bullet, such as the 240gr SMK, for subsonic applications (the heavier projectile delivers much more downrange energy at subsonic MVs).

The projectile’s Open Tip is pinched for greater uniformity in the same manner as Sierra’s Palma Competition bullets. The G1 BC is surprisingly high for a relatively short, flat-based bullet: 0.310 (below 1600 fps), 0.330 (1,600-2,000 fps), 0.338 (2000 – 2650 fps), and 0.349 (above 2650 fps). Though it will perform well at low velocities in the .300 BLK, this bullet can handle the higher velocities produced by common .30 cal mid-sized cartridges, such as the .30-30.

Sierra 125 gr Matchking

The new 125gr Matchking is now being loaded in factory ammo, including Remington’s Premier Match, which retails for $34.00 for a 20rd box. These 125gr bullets are available now from MidwayUSA for $34.99 per hundred.

Sierra Bullets 125 grain match king 308

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 3 Comments »
November 13th, 2011

New 125 GR Flat-Based MatchKing from Sierra Bullets

Sierra has introduced a new .30-caliber flat-based bullet, the 125 grain OTM (open-tip match HP) MatchKing, item #2121. This unique flat-based bullet was designed in conjunction with AAC (Advanced Armament Corporation) and Remington for the new .300 AAC Blackout (BLK) cartridge. The bullet length is tailored to correctly fit and feed from AR-15 platform magazines. The projectile’s Open Tip is pinched for greater uniformity in the same manner as Sierra’s Palma Competition bullets. The G1 BC is surprisingly high for a relatively short, flat-based bullet: 0.310 (below 1600 fps), 0.330 (1,600-2,000 fps), 0.338 (2000 – 2650 fps), and 0.349 (above 2650 fps). Though it will perform well at low velocities in the .300 BLK, this bullet can handle the higher velocities produced by common .30 cal mid-sized cartridges, such as the .30-30.

Sierra 125 gr Matchking

Sierra 125 gr MatchkingThe new 125gr Matchking is now being loaded in factory ammo, including Remington’s Premier Match, which retails for $34.00 for a 20rd box. These 125gr bullets are available now from MidwayUSA for $34.99 per hundred. Sierra offers five other bullets in the same general weight range that may work well in the .300 Whisper or .300 AAC Blackout:

  • .308 dia. 110 gr. FMJ Pro-Hunter Item 2105
  • .308 dia. 110 gr. HP Varminter Item 2110
  • .308 dia. 110 gr. RN Pro-Hunter Item 2100
  • .308 dia. 125 gr. SPT Pro-Hunter Item 2120
  • .308 dia. 135 gr. HPBT MatchKing Item 2123
  • Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 3 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 »