300 Blackout Barrels
In the wild world of weaponry, no weapons platform has dominated for so long as the beloved AR-15. It has not only survived but excelled throughout numerous incarnations over the years and will likely continue to do so. It seems like a different cartridge appears on the market, creating a huge fuss, only to fall out of the spotlight. The last, but certainly not the least, to appear is the 300 BLK. The purists complain while enthusiasts praise the new round, which by virtue of filling a critical niche may just be here to stay. At the very least, the new .300 Blackout round brings a whole new array of options to the table. Versatility and options are what made the AR-15 such a success worldwide. It has proven itself worthy among the military, law enforcement, and competitive as well as casual shooters. When properly set up and tuned the AR-15 is a reliable and accurate weapon that is adaptable to a multitude of situations. The introduction of the .300 Blackout does not entirely replace any existing round, it simply adds another option. This text will explore the origin, potential, and application of the .300 Blackout and its role in today's world.
What Is .300 Blackout
The 300 Blackout was created out of the need for a more effective CQB (Close Quarter Battle) weapon catered for the special forces operating in the middle east. Beginning development of the 300 Blackout in 2009, AAC (Advanced Armament Company) set out with the goal to replace the MP5SD as the Spec-Ops weapon of choice. Up until that point, either the MP5SD or the M4 was the only options available for operators. The new cartridge was required to deliver more power than either of its predecessors while remaining compatible with the familiar M4/AR-15 platform.
Beginning with the .300 Whisper, a former wildcat round which was primarily found chambered in a single-shot pistol format, AAC developed the revolutionary .300 Blackout. The case is nothing more than a modified 5.56 shell that is necked up to accept a .30 caliber bullet and then trimmed to an acceptable overall length.
The round functions in an existing AR-15 weapon exactly like the 5.56 with the only modification necessary being the use of a .300 Blackout barrel. The existing upper, lower, and even magazine will run either round without alteration. However, due to the many similarities, one must exercise great caution if both rounds are present. With certain bullet configurations, the .300 Blackout round will actually chamber in a .556 barrel. In light of the .30 caliber diameter bullet that will not move down the.223 bore when fired the weapon will most likely suffer catastrophic failure. The two rounds are certainly separate and definitely not equal and should be treated as such.
300 Blackout Is The Close Quarter Battle Solution
While the 300 BLK was never meant to replace the 5.56, in some applications it does give the shooter an edge. The 5.56 cartridge requires a barrel of at least 12 inches to fully burn its available powder. Any shorter setup results in a fire blossom at the muzzle, which, while pretty is not conducive to most operations. However, due to its lower chamber pressure developed by a faster burning powder, the AR-15 300 blackout barrel completely devours its powder in as little as nine inches of bullet travel. This allows the weapon to be short, light, and quiet when suppressed, creating the perfect platform for close quarter battle.
The possibility of utilizing a nine-inch .300BLK barrel does set size parameters that feasibly replace the overall length of the MP5SD. While at the same time, retain the familiar AR-15 platform and magazine capacities. The AR-15 .300 blackout delivers a .30 caliber bullet that, while at a lower velocity, carries a greater mass than that of its competition. This attribute is beneficial in close quarter battle due to its additional stopping power and potential for barrier penetration. The AR-15 .300 blackout performs at its best when running in an SBR (Short Barrel Rifle) or pistol configuration and silenced. The .300 Blackout in and of itself is already a fairly quiet cartridge, however, when suppressed one scarcely even needs hearing protection. If you have ever had to endure the echoes of gunfire reverberating off the walls you will readily appreciate this attribute.
The .300 BLK finally received its approval by SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute) in 2011 and is rapidly gaining a wide following among shooting enthusiasts. The ammunition is readily available off the shelf, produced by a number of mainstream ammunition manufacturers. Not very long ago you had to search far and wide to find a .300 Blackout barrel for sale, however today, you can find a number of fine barrel options that are available at Wing Tactical.
Sheerly, for the sake of convenience, one could obtain an entire .300 BLK upper so a swap from 5.56 could be made in minutes even at the range. However, actually, all that is necessary is a .300 Blackout barrel, an armorers wrench, and a place to work, the changeover is really that simple.
The AR-15 .300 blackout is a versatile, intermediate range weapon that well serves close quarter battle conditions. Additionally, with suitable ammunition, it allows the operator the luxury of accurate performance out to 300 yards. The 300 BLK combines the .30 caliber performance of an AK with the familiarity and reliability of the AR-15 platform.
The AR-15 .300 Blackout Has Many Faces
So far, we have explored the close quarter battle situation involving the .300 Blackout, still, you may ask what is 300 Blackout good for in my world? The answer to that question lies in the cartridges versatility. Certainly, the .30 caliber bullet configuration allows for many more options when it comes to the full potential for the cartridge.
When loaded with a subsonic, heavy 220-grain bullet and running a suppressor on the .300 BLK, you gain two major advantages. This configuration delivers the quietest possible large caliber weapon with the lowest felt recoil in an SBR or pistol set-up. This translates into quick and fun when running through fast-paced three-gun drills at the range.
On the other hand, should hunting up to medium size game, i.e.: deer, bear, or hogs, enter into your game plan all that’s needed is an ammunition change. Simply choose supersonic 150-grain or 125-grain ammo and the .300BLK barrel will perform nicely out to a range of about 300 yards. Although with this set-up, a suppressor is not going to perform as well, one could put on a linear compensator and still keep the decibel level at a minimum for the shooter.
Certainly, no one gun is going to serve every purpose, but the AR-15 .300 Blackout is arguably the most versatile cartridge to appear on the market in quite some time. Not since the .40 caliber Smith & Wesson arrived some twenty years ago has the shooting world experienced such controversy. Now there is an entirely new generation discussing the attributes of bullet mass versus velocity. Ultimately, the answer is moot, for it entirely depends on the individual circumstances in which the weapon is used.
300 BLK Is The Child Of AR-15 And AK
From its inception, you have to wonder what .300 Blackout is but basically, the love child brought about by the 7.62x39 and the .223 getting together. The operator keeps the accuracy and familiar ergonomics of the AR-15 platform while gaining the potency of the AK-47. The .300 Blackout barrel spits out rounds that mimic the 7.62x39 ballistically in addition to running well in the AR-15.
The .300BLK barrel delivers what is potentially one of the finest subsonic, long-range rounds available. The weapons performance can be alternated from subsonic, supersonic, barrier-penetration, and long range with nothing more than a mag swap. This versatility can be had with commercially available, off the shelf ammunition.
Reloading dies are readily available for the .300 Blackout and it has shown to be a very forgiving cartridge to reload. While its presence in the marketplace is still relatively young and .300 BLK brass is still scarce the old reliable .223 is not. Transforming the .223 brass into the .300 Blackout is certainly not rocket science and can reasonably be accomplished by most reloaders. By bringing reloading into your skill set the higher cost of .300 blackout ammo is brought down to nearly that of the .223.
The 300 blackout delivers a large caliber bullet to the target with minimal noise and recoil. This results in more weapon control and faster reacquisition of the target in a multiple shot scenario. When correctly deployed this combination is the dream gun for law enforcement, the military in close quarter battle situations, as well as fast-paced, three-gun competition.
The round develops greater stopping power that of the 5.56 NATO or the 9mm weapons due to the increased mass of its payload. Also, it does so in a compact, lightweight package that, when suppressed is proven to outperform the MP5SD in close quarter battle.
The .300 Blackout is able to effectively run heavier rounds in order to customize the weapon for specific mission requirements. One can switch from a quick, quiet, easy to manage weapon suitable for CQB or three-gun competition to a sporting arm with just an ammo change and a mag swap.
Unlike the .223 that belches fire when a shorter barrel is attached, the .300 blackout still runs clean. It develops less muzzle blast than the .223 even with it wearing a longer barrel. Therefore, it creates a more user-friendly shooting experience for everyone around. Therefore, the shooter can retain precious night-vision when firing in low-light.
How to Choose the Right .300 Blackout Barrel
Choosing an AR-15 .300 Blackout barrel is a bit more entailed than simply finding a .300 Blackout barrel for sale and ordering it off the old inter-web. If you want to get the best .300 Blackout barrel, first you have to know what is to be the primary use for the weapon. The .300 Blackout is a gun where one size does not fit all.
Gas Blocks Can Make or Break Your Day
Basically, the shorter the distance that the gas has to travel the more reliable the weapon is going to cycle. Keeping that fact in mind the best .300 Blackout barrel to run would have its gas block as close as possible to the action. This means if your shooting requirements allow you to run a carbine or pistol length barrel you can expect better overall results. After all the 300 Blackout performs at its best when incorporated in an SBR (short barreled rifle) or a pistol configuration.
That being said, if long-range application of the weapon is to be the goal, neither of these barrels will suffice. When pushing the round out to 300 yards or so a 16-inch barrel will be in order. This length, coupled with a 1:8 rifling twist, provides the best 300 Blackout barrel for supersonic loads at longer ranges. The gas flow cycling issue must be dealt with in a different manner, which we will delve into momentarily. Due to the fast burning powder inside the cartridge, there is no advantage to running an AR-15 .300 blackout barrel longer than 16-inches.
Should the weapons intent be up close and personal, the barrel should be shortened considerably. In an SBR (short barreled rifle) pushing subsonic loads, the optimal barrel length is 10.5-inches with a 1:7 rifling twist. Bearing in mind optimal doesn’t imply that it’s necessary, for the .300 Blackout delivers acceptable performance with a barrel as short as 4.5-inches.
When deviating from the norm, gas control becomes an issue. If you want to run a short pistol length or a longer rifle length barrel installing an adjustable gas block will make tuning the weapon much easier. Suppressed fire, for which the 300 Blackout was intended, may require additional compensation by changing the buffer. Obviously, a heavier buffer will somewhat slow the weapons cycle rate resulting in greater reliability.
A barrel’s profile is usually a matter of personal taste and with a 5.56 the profile of the barrel doesn’t really affect performance. This is not so with the AR-15 chambered for .300 blackout, the barrel profile is important. An AR-15 .300 Blackout yields better performance and life when fed through a heavy profile barrel. This is particularly true if the weapon is to be run suppressed. When any gun is suppressed excessive heat build-up becomes a factor. The heavy barrel profile serves to better dissipate this heat.
When searching for a .300 Blackout barrel for sale another consideration is the type of material from which it is made. In order to get the longest life from the investment in a new barrel, sticking with quality is always a wise decision. Getting a .300BLK barrel that is made from 4150 Chromoly or 416R Stainless Steel from a reputable maker is the best bet. The rigid, machinable nature of these materials usually results in a barrel with fewer metallic inclusions that could threaten accuracy and negatively affect the barrels lifespan. If the barrel is heat-treated properly, then the hardened rifling will better stand up to the variety of .300 Blackout loads available.
Taking the Plunge into the .300 Blackout
Ultimately, reading about the .300 BLK will only do so much for you. The desire for the new cartridge will either eat at you until you own one or it is fulfilled by some other means. When it comes to weaponry that usually means adding another piece to the old collection. I know of absolutely no gun enthusiast who owns only one firearm. One great thing about the .300 Blackout is that a whole new gun can be had by simply switching barrels. At the very far end, rig a new upper and go for the quick transformation on the fly.
The .300 blackout adds versatility because of the wide array of .30 caliber loads readily available. You only need one gun that can easily cover both short and long-range applications by simply changing the ammo you feed it.
It can be set up as a light, compact gun that runs quiet and reliably inside the AR-15 action. Still, it has the increased penetration and the stopping power of the larger .30 caliber bullet without the excessive recoil. While it will never supplant the 5.56 NATO round for general use, the .300 Blackout does bridge a gap. In less than a decade this cartridge has managed to carve a niche for itself among shooters. Whether you embrace the change or reject the idea, the .300 Blackout is quite likely here to stay.