Saturday, September 7, 2013

Blacking Out- The Dean Martin / 300AAC BLK Blog

Dean Martin once said, “I feel sorry for people who don’t drink. When they get up in the morning, that’s as good as they’re going to feel all day.”

I heard that the other day and laughed. Then thought of drunks blacking out, which lead me to think of my 300 Blackout rifle, which lead me to a blog idea. Like how my mind works? It is kind of like living in a free-association exercise all the time. It must suck to work with me and listen to this all day.

I like the Blackout. No, not "Blacking Out." I speak of the 300 Advanced Armament Corporation Blackout cartridge, also called the 7.62x35, 300BLK and 300 AAC.

Like many who have gotten into building ARs, I wanted something just a bit bigger for using on deer and pig hunting and also as a mild-shooting house gun. Yeah, I built a pig gun. And no, I've never seen a pig around the old homestead. But I remain hopeful. When I do, you can expect an Ann Arbor Arms pig roast.

A friend asked me the other day about some alternative calibers for a prospective AR purchase, what calibers I had considered before I built my 300BLK and why I decided upon the 300BLK. I thought it’d be a great blog.

There are a whole host of other calibers out there that are suitable for an AR build. Some have much more oomph than the 300BLK.

I wish the 5.56x40 WT (Wilson Tactical) from Wilson Combat would catch on but so far it isn't showing the kind of excitement needed for bigger popularity. It’s basically the same idea as the BLK but has a case length of 40mm as opposed to the Blackout’s 35mm length. The extra case length translates into more powder capacity. With the 110 gr Barnes TSX bullet, it gets about 150 more fps than the same bullet in my BLK, hot-stepping along at just north of 2500fps with max loads. But more velocity from the ammo is worthless if you can simply not get the ammo. I do not currently reload so that was a big factor.

The 6.5 Grendel has a slimmer .26 caliber bullet of similar weights to the lighter 300BLK rounds, but pushes the projectile faster. Ammo availability is also a big concern here.

The 6.8spc also was considered. It is a fine round, pushing 110 gr .277 diameter bullets to 2700fps. Like the others above it would be fine for deer and pigs and has reached a better level of popularity than they have. Ammo is easier to find that the 5.56x40 and 6.5 Grendel.

Bigger rounds are available, too. I considered the 450 Bushmaster and 50 Beowulf cartridges, too. Both send huge hunks of lead and copper downrange and moderate velocities and are devastating close range hunting and combat loads. The 450 was my second choice after the 300BLK and might still be a future build.  Hornady tells us the 450 can send a 250 grain bullet downrange at 2200fps.

So why did I choose the BLK? One big factor was that the BLK uses the same bolt and magazine as the 5.56x45 I had already built. The BLK uses trimmed and shortened 5.56 cases so there are no modifications needed to bolts and magazines. Bear in mind that I was building during the lean times last winter when there were almost no AR parts to be found.  Also, the idea of a round that could eventually be used suppressed in an AR handgun or SBR was attractive.

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