Developing a do-it-all cartridge has been the objective of almost every major cartridge designer and wildcatter in history.

In the four short years since the .300 AAC Blackout (.300 BLK) cartridge was SAAMI certified, Barnes seems to have found the winning formula for a versatile round that says “Yes, sir” to practically anything an AR can ask it to do. You name it, and this round can handle it: take down big game at reasonable distances, defend the home, perform in short barrels with and without suppressors, all while maintaining compatibility with standard AR parts and magazines.

By nature, the .300 BLK flourishes with versatility. However, the performance of many commercial Blackout loads is handicapped by .308-​caliber bullets designed for much larger cartridges. While those readily available bullets may achieve reasonable accuracy at the range, their terminal ballistics are not optimized to perform at Blackout distances and velocities, especially when we want to use a short-​barreled AR to stock the freezer with deer meat or cull an intrusive sounder of hogs.

Barnes’ .300 BLK VOR-​TX ammo isn’t your average .30-​caliber projectile smashed into a resized .223 case. Rather, its polymer-​tipped copper bullet is precisely seated into factory-​new Remington cases at an overall length of 2¼ inches for reliable feeding with standard AR mags. As it’s a 110-​grain supersonic load, expect consistent cycling through a direct-​impingement platform without adjusting the gas block.


Bullet expanded to .667″ with 98.5% retention.

Downrange, the TAC-​TX’s black polymer tip initiates rapid expansion for maximum impact trauma on tissue and vital organs, resulting in humane kills and less time spent trailing blood. Four razor-​sharp petals are purposely designed to peel back at a lower-​velocity expansion threshold near 1,400 feet-​per-​second. This results in full expansion out to 300 yards when fired through even short barrels.

As tested through a 10½-​inch Brownells .300 BLK barrel, TAC-​TX bullets zipped out of the muzzle at an average of 2,181 fps with 1,162 foot-​pounds of energy. Considering that Barnes advertises a muzzle velocity of 2,350 fps through a 16-​inch barrel, it’s clear that this round was engineered to maintain lethal velocities in SBRs and AR pistols.

barnes-300-blackout-vortx-performanceVelocity means nothing if the bullet can’t produce dependable accuracy. Average groups fired through the Brownells barrel with a Trijicon Accupoint 5-​20X scope measured 1.67 inches at 100 yards, which is more than acceptable for taking deer-​size game at average hunting distances. Combine an observed bullet expansion of .667 inch with 98.5 percent weight retention, and we have the ingredients for a lethal recipe cooked up in a short-​barreled rifle.

What more could you ask for in a projectile that’s capable of more than doubling in diameter in soft targets? As far as the .300 BLK is concerned, that’s about as good as it gets. When a reliable, accurate and ballistically sound cartridge becomes your “Yes, sir” round for a given firearm, it makes sense to keep an extra box — or case — on hand.

Photo by Drew Warden 12/11/14

Photo by Drew Warden 12/11/14

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