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The .300 Blackout: even in non-suppressed ARs this quietly accurate .30-caliber thumper has a lot going for it.

THE CARTRIDGE CALLED THE .300 AAC BLACKOUT A complete loss of power. See brownout.  IS RELATIVELY recent, but its evolution is quite interesting. Back in the 1990s, SSK SSK Sosyal Sigortalar Kurumu
SSK Strahlenschutzkommission (German: radiation protection commission )
SSK Sociology of Scientific Knowledge
SSK Conventional Submarine (Conventional Attack Submarine) 
 Industries brought forth a neat little .30-caliber cartridge and called it the "300 Whisper." It was based on the necked-up.221 Remington Fireball fireball, very bright meteor leaving a trail in the sky that can remain visible for several minutes; often a distinct sound, perhaps caused by very low frequency radio waves, is associated with it.  case and caused quite a stir at the time. The round initially pushed very heavy bullets at subsonic sub·son·ic  
1. Of less than audible frequency.

2. Having a speed less than that of sound in a designated medium.

 velocities, so it was eminently adaptable in suppressed weapons.

It quickly became the darling of the tactical community, but good things are hard to keep secret. Many shooters realized the potential of the Whisper in single-shot arms like the Remington XP-100 and the T/C T/C Table of Contents
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 Encore and that it made a dandy hunting cartridge with properly constructed 110- to 150-grain bullets.

In 2011, Advanced Armament Corp. introduced its version of the cartridge, but called it the "300 Blackout," getting the cartridge approved by SAAMI in January 2011. While the target market for it is not completely clear at this writing, this development will surely further the use of the round, as factory ammo and cases are now available for what was heretofore a wildcat wildcat, common name of two Old World cats, the European wildcat, Felis sylvestris, of Europe and W Asia, and the African wildcat, or kaffir cat, F. lybica, of Africa and Asia. . Handloaders will have a field day loading ammo for this neat little concept cartridge. Best of all, Hornady has introduced .300 Whisper factory ammo and Remington has .300 Blackout loads.

While the .300 Whisper and .300 Blackout cases are virtually the same, the Blackout throat is a bit longer, so it's okay to use Whisper ammo in a Blackout, but Blackout ammo might not work in a Whisper. The 100-percent safe solution is, of course, to use only the ammo of the caliber that's stamped on the barrel. Also, Hornady states that its new .300 Whisper ammo is fully compatible with all .300 Blackout rifles, so this solves the problem, too.

Our test rifle this month is a brand new Hunter AR from Loki Weapons Systems, and it proved to be a real shooter. It sports a 16-inch barrel with a 1:8 twist (the better to stabilize long bullets at low velocities). The Hunter has what barrel-maker Steve Satern calls the "Russian" rifling system, in which the edges of the lands are beveled bev·el  
1. The angle or inclination of a line or surface that meets another at any angle but 90°.

2. Two rules joined together as adjustable arms used to measure or draw angles of any size or to fix a surface at an angle.
 at 45-degree angles. I'm not sure about the technicalities of this, but I can tell you that it shoots great and doesn't pick up fouling, even after many rounds. We topped the Hunter off with a Bresser l-4x30mm scope in Weaver extra-high rings. Due to range construction, we had to test at 80 yards, instead of the usual 100.


Handloading the Blackout presents no unusual problems now, but back in the day, you had to form cases by necking up.221 Fireball cases. Today, we can either fire factory ammo or order preformed cases. We took the easy route and used Hornady cases and re-formed 5.56mm cases ( with complete success. We used a new set of precision-made Forster Benchrest dies, and the proper shellholder is the same as for the.223.

Cartridge overall length (COL) is critical for proper functioning of the round in an AR. The fat .30-caliber bullets should be seated deeply enough so that part of the bullet ogive o·give  
1. Statistics
a. A distribution curve in which the frequencies are cumulative.

b. A frequency distribution.

2. Architecture
a. A diagonal rib of a Gothic vault.
 that's about.250 inch in diameter is behind the two ridges on the inside of an AR magazine. Otherwise, the rounds may fail to feed. Note the COLs in the load table. While they look "too short," they are just the ticket for this situation



Standard small-rifle primers are all that are needed for the small powder charges used by the Blackout. The petite case and high bore-to-case capacity ratio limit appropriate powders to "slow pistol" or "fast rifle" numbers like H-110, W-296, Lil'Gun and IMR-4227 from Hodgdon; 4100 and AA-9 from Western; 2400 and PP-300MP from Alliant; and Vihtavuori N-110. All performed excellently with several loads, but it's sometimes tricky to seat a longer bullet on a powder charge that almost fills the case. Remember, the lighter (and shorter) the bullet, the more room there is for powder, and the denser the powder, the better.

The emphasis here is on loads for hunting various species, and many great combinations were developed. Bullets weighing 110 grains delivered velocities in the neighborhood of 2,000-2,300 fps and would do well on varmints and small game, depending on bullet construction. The Hornady V-Max favored 17.0 grains of Vihtavuori N-110, while the Sierra HP of the same weight shot great over 18.5 grains of H-110.

Two bullets that make into great hunting loads are the Barnes Triple Shocks, well known for deep penetration and reliable expansion. Top velocity with the 110-grain TS was a sizzling siz·zle  
intr.v. siz·zled, siz·zling, siz·zles
1. To make the hissing sound characteristic of frying fat.

2. To seethe with anger or indignation.

 2,369 fps over 20.0 grains of W-296. The 130-grain version clocked 2,203 fps with 19.0 grains of Lil'Gun.

A good all-around bullet weight is 125 grains, and the three tested performed impressively. The Nosler Ballistic Tip "Hunting" with 17.0 grains of AA-4100 at 2,211 fps would make a dandy deer load, while the Sierra Spitzer liked 18.0 grains of Alliant's new Power Pro 300MP at 2,116 fps. The Speer TNT TNT: see trinitrotoluene.
 in full trinitrotoluene

Pale yellow, solid organic compound made by adding nitrate (−NO2) groups to toluene.
 hollow point propelled by 16.0 grains of AA-9 at 2,099 fps would be coyote coyote (kī`ōt, kīō`tē) or prairie wolf, small, swift wolf, Canis latrans, native to W North America. It is found in deserts, prairies, open woodlands, and brush country; it is also called brush wolf.  poison.


A real sleeper in the hunting-load category is the new Hornady 140-grain MonoFlex, Designed for the .30-30 Winchester, the MonoFlex incorporates Hornady's "Flex Tip" technology into a monolithic, lead-free bullet. The top load with it was 17.0 grains of Lil'Gun for 1,855 fps.

You'd think that traditional 125-, 150- and 170-grain flat-point .30-30 bullets would be perfect for the short COLs required for the .300 Blackout. I tried several, but they were totally unsuitable, as they must be seated so deeply for their flat points to clear those magazine ridges that the resulting rounds are just too short to function. A great idea, but it didn't work.


Velocities of 150-grain hunting bullets topped out at around 1,800-1,900 fps. While they were very accurate, this is about the lower limit for proper expansion downrange down·range  
adv. & adj.
In a direction away from the launch site and along the flight line of a missile test range: landed a thousand miles downrange; the downrange target area. 
, so that may limit their usefulness for hunting.

Paper punchers should try the trio of Sierra MatchKing HPBTs and the Hornady 208-grain A-Max for serious long-range work. All lived up to their reputations for pinpoint accuracy. The Hornady 180-grain SST SST: see airplane.  was very accurate in several loads, and one is shown primarily for reference. Velocity is quite a bit below the minimum 2,400 fps listed in the Hornady "Bullet Guide" in their manual, so expansion would probably be nonexistent non·ex·is·tence  
1. The condition of not existing.

2. Something that does not exist.

. No subsonic loads are listed, as these are primarily for suppressed rifles, and data for such are found in various contemporary manuals.

It's nice to see something "old" become "new," and the .300 Blackout certainly is one of these. Nevertheless, in whatever guise you find it, it's miserly mi·ser·ly  
Of, relating to, or characteristic of a miser; avaricious or penurious.

miser·li·ness n.

Adj. 1.
 with powder, relatively quiet and highly accurate.


               WEIGHT                              (GR.)     (FPS)

BARNES TSX        110  mil.   WSR      W-296       20.0     2,369

HORNADY V-MAX     110  mil,   WSR      Viht.       17.0     2,071

SIERRA HOLLOW     110  mil,   CCI-400  H-110       18.5     2,282

NOSLER            125  Hor.            AA-1680     20.0     1,946
BALLISTIC                     CCI-400

NOSLER            125  mil.   WSR      AA-4100     17.0     2,211

SPEER TNT HP      125  Hor.   CCI-400  A A-9       16.0     2.099

SIERRA            125  mil.   WSR      Alliant     17.0     2,053
SPITZER SP                             2400

SIERRA            125  Hor.   CCI-400  PP-300MP    18.0     2,116

BARNES TSX        130  mil.   WSR      Lil'Gun     19.0     2,203

SIERRA            135  mil.   CCI-400  H-110       18.0     2,100

HORNADY           140  Hor.   WSR      Lil'Gun     17.0     1,855

SPEER GRAND       150  mil.   CCI-400  PP-300MP    17.0     1,901

SPEER             150  mil.   WSR      Lil'Gun     15.5     1,807

SIERRA PALMA      155  mil.   WSR      IMR-4227    17.0     1,805

HORNADY SST       180  Hor.   WSR      Lil'Gun     15.0     1,720

HORNADY           208  Hor.   CCI-400  Viht.       11.0    1,295.
A-MAX                                  N-110

BULLET         STD.   AVG.   MUZZLE    COL
               DEV.   GROUP  ENERGY   (IN.)
               (FPS)  (IN.)  (FT-LB)

BARNES TSX         9   0.67    1,371  2.040

HORNADY V-MAX     12   0.75    1,048  2.100

SIERRA HOLLOW     11   0.84    1,272  1.935

NOSLER            13   0.76    1,051  2.050

NOSLER            16   0.77    1,357  2.050

SPEER TNT HP      18   0.80    1.223  2,000

SIERRA            15   0.68    1,170  2.000

SIERRA            16   0.76    1,243  2.000

BARNES TSX        12   0.77    1,401  2.040

SIERRA            15   0.87    1,322  2.020

HORNADY           14   0.63     1070  1.942

SPEER GRAND      .19   0.75    1,204  2.050

SPEER             16   0.80    1,088  1.957

SIERRA PALMA      18   0.78    1,122  2.055

HORNADY SST       17   0.83    1,183  2.098

HORNADY           16   1.05      775  2.200

Notes:A Loki Weapons Systems AR-15 whit a 16-inch Satern barrel with an
8:1 twist was used for all testing. Accuracy is average of at lest two,
three-shot groups at 80 yards. Abreviations:mil., re-formed 5.56mm
military cases; COL, Cartridge Overall Length; TSX, Triple Shock-X;
HPBT, Hollow Point Boat Till; SST, Super Shock-Tipped: BT, Boat Tail;
FB, Flat Base; PP, Alliant Power Pro.
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Title Annotation:G&A RELOADS
Author:Gash, Steve
Publication:Guns & Ammo
Date:Dec 21, 2011
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