The .300 Blackout is definitely a Kool-Aid kind of cartridge—you either love it or you don’t. Nobody I know has a Homer Simpson-like “meh” attitude about it.
Me, I’m on the dark side. I have yet to wholeheartedly buy into Blackout Fever. Why? Because it’s not particularly good as distances stretch past a couple hundred yards, and when I stuff a cartridge into a rifle, I want it to act, well, rifle-like. Until recently, I considered the .300 Blackout a very non-versatile cartridge.
A friend of mine, a ballistician at Barnes Bullets, made a comment that recently caused me to grudgingly crack the door and consider the Blackout more objectively: “It’s the best carbine cartridge out there for combat.”
A lifetime of gun technicana and a recent tour to Afghanistan backed his comment up. “What about long range,” I prodded.
He looked at me as if I was an idiot. (Could be he’s right.) “That’s what designated marksman and snipers are for.”
OK, in a team scenario, that made a lot of sense. The discussion continued. “What about for individual use? It’s not very capable as distances stretch.”
My buddy politely made the point that neither are most shooters, and closed his argument with the undeniable statement that within the ranges at which most conflict occurs, the .300 Blackout has considerably more impact authority than the 5.56mm.
My bias wasn’t exactly squelched, but it was cracked, and other considerations came flooding in. Finally, I had to admit perhaps, after all, the .300 Blackout is a very versatile cartridge, especially if you handload for it. Here are a few prime reasons why.
- Probably the greatest appeal of the .300 Blackout—and its best claim to versatility—is the fact it shoots bullets from zippy little 110-grain hunting projectiles at around 2,400 fps, clear up to 220-grain match bullets at a subsonic 1,050 fps. The lighter 110- through 125-grain bullets make reasonably good close-range deer and hog killers, while the heavier bullets can be almost completely silenced through the use of a good suppressor.