Like many firearms before, the AR-15, the M16's civilian cousin, has been bought by the general public. The main reason for the popularity was the vast influence of the military since the M16 is often portrayed as the "gun of good guys".
Due to futuristic design, mild recoil, and LEGO-style customization, the so-called “little black rifle” has become one of the most popular semi-auto guns in civilian hands with an estimated five million AR-family rifles manufactured in the U.S.A. only.
The original AR-15/M16 rifle is chambered in 5.56 X 45 mm NATO caliber or its civilianized counterpart, .223 Remington. Besides these standard calibers, there are a couple of dozen more available calibers for AR-style rifles and carbines.
Among the most common AR calibers, we single out a relatively new hybrid round that takes a 5.56 casing and puts .30 cal projectiles into it.
It is called .300 AAC Blackout and the idea behind its development was to provide a caliber in two different power levels. Namely, a subsonic loaded cartridge that can be fired in suppressed firearms and a supersonic load with ballistics that rival or equal 7.62x39mm.
Comparison of the .300 Blackout (Rifles & Ammo) For Hunting
SIG Sauer 300 AAC Blackout 125gr OTM Elite Ammunition
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Aguila - 300 AAC Blackout 150gr FMJ Ammo
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PSA 16" 300AAC Blackout MOE M-Lok Rifle
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CZ 527 300AAC American Synthetic Suppressor Ready Rifle
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Hornady 300 AAC Blackout 125gr HP Ammunition
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Is The .300 Blackout Great For Hunting?
As the AR-platform guns have grown in popularity, various shooters have asked for different cartridges designed to give the AR-15 a different level of performance than the standard 5.56 NATO/.223 Rem. The 300BLK is the darling of the shoot-quiet crowd, so naturally, the primary users are military Special Forces.
However, hunters can also put it to good use since this round is quite capable of taking down small and medium game at short to moderate ranges. Many stories and videos confirm the reputation the .300 Blackout has earned as a wild-hog assassin.
The first reason the .300 Blackout is great for hunting is that this very capable rifle cartridge has a large selection of quality hunting .308″ bullets placed in the 78-226-grain range.
There are a number of ammunition manufacturers who produce a wide variety of ammo for the .300 Blackout ranging from a plain old FMJ and open tip match (OTM) to the hollow point and ballistic tip ammo designed for hunting and personal protection.
The subsonic ammo with heavy bullets is notorious for their unreliable expansion on impact. Recently, some ammo makers offer new subsonic 300 BLK ammunition designed for maximum expansion with minimal pass-through.
For hunting, we recommend sticking with supersonic rounds loaded with 110 to 130-grain bullets reaching a muzzle velocity of right around 2,200 fps. With proper shot placement, the premium hunting bullets give the proper terminal ballistics and cleanly harvest your deer or feral hog out to 100-150 yards.
Though it isn't a tack driver, .300 Blackout loads can be very precise up to 300-yard range. The combination of decent accuracy, tolerable muzzle blast, and very mild recoil is always successful. So it is not surprising that if distances are kept around 100 yards, you can easily group three shots at 1.5-2.0" inches, on average.
Aspects to Consider Before Buying a .300 Blackout
Before you decide to add a gun chambered in 300BLK to your collection, you should know a few things about this caliber.
The dual-purpose .300 Blackout was designed for AR platform weapons as the American answer to the Russian 7.62x39mm round and also as a cartridge that still functions reliably in short-barreled rifles with suppressors.
Originally designed to operate in short barreled rifles (SBR) and pistol-length barrels, the 300 BLK reaches peak ballistic potential from a nine-inch barrel. It is the most obvious advantage compared to a 20-inch barrel that requires 5.56 to reach peak ballistic performance.
In the hunting fields, you should imagine the 300 AAC like a .30-30 Win, a cartridge capable for deer hunting but at the ranges no farther than 125 yards.
Since the .300 Blackout is a relatively popular cartridge, there are more hunters each year who embrace the .300 BLK in an AR-15 platform for deer hunting. That makes sense because the .300AAC Blackout was mainly designed for use with that platform.
While the .300 Blackout requires the changing of the barrel of your 5.56 NATO/.223 Rem. caliber AR, the only caveat refers to purchasing a dedicated magazine for reliable and safe functioning.
Quick Take - The 300 Blackout (Rifles & Ammo) For Hunting
These are our recommendations for the best 300 Blackout (rifles & ammo) for hunting:
Our Top Picks For .300 Blackout Rifles For Hunting
Initially intended as a light and short weapon for close quarters use, .300 Blackout guns are perfect home defense or for duty use as a cruiser rifle. When it comes to buying a 300 BLK platform, you can choose from full-spectrum of AR-style beauties, from bolt-action and rugged break-action rifles to single shot pistols.
As its name says, SIG Elite Match Grade ammo provides superior accuracy and minimal dispersion when suppressed, but at the higher prices. Recently, SIG Sauer has expanded its Match Grade Elite Performance Ammunition line for rifles with the addition of a 125-Gr .300 Blackout loading intended for target shooting, training, and plinking.
The SIG Sauer 300BLK supersonic ammunition features a 125-grain Sierra MatchKing bullets with optimized nose geometry for reliably feeding on AR platform weapons. This Sig load with 125-grain Open Tip Match (OTM) projectiles generates muzzle velocity of 2,200 fps with a muzzle energy of 1,343 ft-lbs to provide superior accuracy, flat trajectory, and consistent point of impact.
SIG uses match-grade brass cases and noncorrosive powders and primers to ensure reliable ignition and minimum velocity variations.
Although the SIG Sauer manufacturing plant in New England applies high standards in production and monitoring, you may encounter occasional inconsistencies from batch to batch.
Loaded with 125-Gr Sierra MatchKing bullet, the SIG Sauer Elite Performance 300 AAC Blackout is impressive ammunition made from the ground up to be a reliable, accurate, tactical, target, and competition cartridge.
Aguila - 300 AAC Blackout 150gr FMJ Ammo
Aguila Ammunition is the newest manufacturer offering shooters a .30-caliber option for their black rifles. This Aguila 300 AAC Blackout ammunition is very basic ammo tailored to function reliably and accurately for all your general fun gunning, but also a solid choice for training needs or three-gun competitions.
Aguila rounds with designation number 1E300110 are .300 AAC Blackout cartridges topped with a 150-grain full metal jacket boat-tail .30 caliber bullet (FMJBT). Unlike other supersonic .300 AAC Blackout ammunition, this load is heavier due to the lead-core and full metal (copper) jacketed bullet.
Although this feature potentially provides better accuracy and terminal results, with a muzzle velocity of 1,900 fps, surely this 300 BLK ammo is not ideal for a reduced sound signature. At the same time, the Aguila 150-Gr FMJ ammo offers manageable recoil perfect for plinking, practicing, and other leisure shooting activities.
Aguila Ammunition comes in a reloadable brass case with nickel-plated noncorrosive primers. The Boxer-primed case is loaded with a 150-grain FMJ cannelured bullets with a muzzle velocity of 1,900 fps and muzzle energy of 1,203 ft/lbs., making it a decent downrange performer.
Aguila Ammunition has positioned itself in the ammo industry as descent manufacturer of cost-effective, quality ammunition for recreational, hunting, self-defense and law enforcement applications.
However, their products require more extensive quality control processes as you may come across minor issues with inconsistencies and off-center flash holes on cases that make them not reloadable.
While this Aguila150-grainer belongs to the mid-offer in .300BLK caliber, it is a compromise of two purposes. On the one hand, its FMJ construction makes it a great all-purpose round, whereas the heavier bullets offer better accuracy matched by impressive terminal results.
The next candidate for the .300 BLK hunting rifle might surprise our readers because it is based on Mauser action and comes from Europe. The CZ 527 American Synthetic Suppressor Ready rifle, or CZ 527 SR for short, is made by Ceská Zbrojovka and originated from the CZ 527 American series rifles designed to fit the small base calibers.
Unlike bigger brothers built on a standard Mauser action, the CZ 527 American SR features a true micro-Mauser action, which is only six inches long and weighs at least one pound less than a purebred Mauser bolt-action.
The CZ 527 is available in several different styles and calibers intended for hunting medium-size game at shorter ranges, but the CZ model 03085 in .300 AAC Blackout (300 BLK) is a step further in terms of caliber choice and suppressor adaptability
As the shortest model from the CZ 527 family built on a .223-length action, the CZ 527 American SR (Suppressor Ready) bolt-action sports a cold hammer-forged sporter profile barrel with 5/8×24 threaded muzzle to accept a suppressor.
Made to be used with optics and designed to squeeze maximum accuracy from .300 Blackout, the CZ 527 American boasts a free-floated, 16.5-inch barrel and single set trigger (SST). The European style two-position safety selector may interfere with low-mounted optics.
Along with two-position safety, a unique, single-set trigger is an off-beat design for U.S. shooters. Whereas the normal trigger pull is around 4.5 pounds, by pushing it forward, we can set trigger weight at less than two pounds.
While all CZ 527s feature a 16-millimeter scope base for mounting rails or ring mounts, the CZ 527 American has no sights, but it is shipped with one-inch steel scope rings.
This short, handy 527 features a classic American-style synthetic stock, pistol grip, detachable five-round magazine, and detachable sling swivel bases.
There are some complaints about sharp edges on the magazine and a few issues regarding the quality and aesthetics of the synthetic stock, but rifle functioning is flawless after a short break-in period.
Today only a few major gun companies offer the .300 AAC Blackout in a bolt-action rifle format, but the CZ 527 American SR is superior to them, being definitely at home in both defense and a hunting role.
Overall the CZ 527 SR is a great-handling, lightweight, and affordable rifle ready to accommodate mounting a suppressor and to fulfill multiple purposes.
Though the semi-auto AR-style weapons seem to be all the rage these days, the leading companies in the firearms industry recognized the needs of traditionalists for an affordable, accurate, and rugged rifle in classic bolt-action system.
A growing market of legally available suppressed weapons for civilians has prompted many rifle makers to offer their models in suppressor-ready configuration.
One of the best offerings comes from the Ruger and it actually represents an amalgam of their two popular working-man rifle brands- the American Rifle bolt-action line and the Ranch Rifle, semi-automatic series.
The gun with a moniker like American Ranch is a handy bolt gun weighing only 5.9 lbs. It sports a 16 and ⅛- inch, free-floated, hammer-forged barrel and originally had a five-round rotary magazine.
While the first series features Ruger’s proprietary and expensive plastic magazines, these tend to be picky in feeding 300BLK loads. However, this new American Ranch rifle can accept detachable box magazines, namely AR-style magazines.
The medium profile barrel in 300 BLK is threaded at the muzzle at 5/8x24 TPI in order to allow attachment of a sound suppressor or flash hider.
The heart of the rifle is Ruger's iteration of the Mauser '98 with a one-piece, three-lug bolt with a sturdy claw extractor allowing a low bolt lift of 70° and speeding up the whole firing cycle. The magazine release and safety on the tang are both easy-to-reach ambidextrous controls.
The American Ranch rifle has Ruger's Marksman Adjustable trigger with the safety trigger or trigger-in-trigger design. As the name implies, the trigger allows the shooter to adjust the pull weight from three to five pounds.
The stock is colored Flat Dark Earth (FDE) and can be ordered in two sizes, but it is a bit flimsy and comes without an integral comb riser. However, it is expected that guns in that price range sport a synthetic stock with a plastic feel.
On the top of the receiver is a factory-installed, one-piece aluminum scope rail which accommodates most scope mounts.
Compared to higher-priced bolt-action hunting rifles, the Ruger American Ranch probably belongs to an entry-level rifle, but this suppressor-ready gun is chambered in the 300 BLK and designed for people looking for an affordable, feature-packed rifle.
What we mean by the term recce rifle or recon rifle is a lightweight, accurate, easy-to-use carbine that has enhanced ballistic performance and utility over a standard issue M4. Bravo Company Manufacturing produces the RECCE series rifles in 14.5 and 16-inch barreled versions.
BCM’s RECCE 16 KMR-A is based on government-profile 16-inch barrel machined of certified mil-spec, chrome-lined 11595-E steel. It is matched by the company's lightweight 13-inch long KeyMod Rail-Alpha (KMR-A) handguard, which features a robust attachment system for mounting plenty of accessories.
The Recce 16 ships with Mod 1 7.62/.300 BLK compensator which is a combination muzzle brake/flash suppressor. Although the Mod 1 compensator is screwed onto 5/8x24 threads, it is slightly longer than a standard A2 birdcage and won't accept a flash hider-mounted suppressor.
Rounding out the platform, Bravo's BCM RECCE 16 KMR-A operates on a carbine-length gas system and an H buffer (3.8 ounces) for shooting high-velocity ammo. While the carbine buffer (3 ounces) is designed to work with subsonic ammo, an H3 buffer with unsuppressed subsonic loads will cycle the rifle but won’t have quite enough oomph to achieve last-round lock back.
Weighing less than one pound than the official M4, the 6.3 lb BCM's RECCE carbine consists of 7075-T6 forged upper and lower receivers that are hard coat anodized per MIL-A-8625F.
The BCM bolt is machined from mil-spec Carpenter No. 158 steel and shot-peened for increased strength. While the carrier is machined from tool steel, the whole BCG group is ion-bond finished, magnetic particle inspected (MPI), and high-pressure tested (HPT) during production.
The Recce rifle upper is an A-3 flat-top model with full-length Picatinny top rail but without any iron sights. The RECCE-16 is equipped with tank-tough Gunfighter furniture including Mod 3 pistol grip, Mod 4 charging handle, enlarged trigger guard, and Gunfighter Mod 0 buttstock.
The BCM RECCE-16 KMR is a lightweight modular carbine which is equally as good as duty gun or competition machine. With all the distinctive features, the BCM RECCE 16 is a real contender for the best off-the-shelf RECCE rifle.
Aspects to Consider Before Buying .300 Blackout Ammo
If you have decided to go 300Blk road, you already know about the extraordinary large span of bullet weights and types. Choosing ammunition is always a personal choice and depends on many factors including purpose, range, and style of shooting.
Considering Blackout's technical properties, you can’t expect to take long shots or shots with questionable target placement. Actually, this cartridge is most effective for hunting over short distances and you’ll want to limit the range to 100 or 125 yards.
Supersonic or Subsonic
While there are supersonic and subsonic loads available, people who have used 300 BLK for hunting and also many gun authors recommend lighter supersonic rounds as a 300 BLK hunting load. A good bullet at the lighter .30-caliber weights (110-130gr) will open up and expand at modest .300 AAC speeds and get the job done.
Suppressed or Unsuppressed
On the other end of the spectrum, shooting subsonic ammo suppressed or unsuppressed is very attractive since you can see your hit on the target and deliver quick follow-up shots if needed.
However, subsonics typically won't have enough actual energy to really penetrate deeply and these bullets typically will not expand. Though they are not great hunting loads, these days you can find new subsonic expanding-point ammunition, which reliably expands at lower velocities but requires rifles with adjustable gas blocks.
Our Top Picks: 300 Blackout Ammo For Hunting
Although the .300 AAC Blackout was initially designed for military use, today there is purpose-built 300 BLK ammo for hunting, self-defense, and outdoor target training. The .300 Blackout is a remarkable round and you can create a formidable force by matching the bullet to the cartridge and intended use.
For years, Palmetto State Armory has produced their ultra-affordable AR-15s oriented towards budget-conscious gun aficionados and first time AR buyers.
While the PSA has three tiers of barrels, the model 516444725 boasts a standard quality barrel made of nitride treated 4140 steel. Featuring a heavy profile, the 16" long barrel chambered in .300 AAC Blackout comes with a 1:8 twist and M4 feed ramps.
Interestingly, this barrel has a pistol gas system because that is preferred when using a suppressor, which the .300 AAC was made for. Along with A2 bird-case, flash-hider, and a low-profile gas block, the PSA .300AAC Blackout barrel features a 5/8" x 24 muzzle threads suitable to use with any standard sound suppressor.
Like the lower, the upper receiver is quality constructed using 7075-T6 aluminum and hard coat anodized. The A3 style receiver is flat-top and without mechanic sights (the MBUS sights come in the box, uninstalled) but it includes a forward assist and dust cover.
The PSA mil-spec engine consists of a shot peened Carpenter 158 bolt and chrome-lined M-16 full-auto profile carrier machined of 8620 steel. The gas key is hardened to USGI specifications and secured with grade eight fasteners.
One of the selling points of the PSA is the Magpul MOE furniture such as a six-position Magpul carbine stock and 13.5" MOEM-Lok free-float handguard. Aside from overall mid-quality, the only negative things are some finishing issues and occasional sharper edges found at the handguards.
As one of the most budget-friendly options, the PSA 16" 300Blk, MOE M-Lok rifle is a great all-around rifle that will work well for the less demanding shooter, who will overlook some details like perfect finishing and tack driver accuracy.
Over time, a 300 Blackout is becoming an affordable round and Hornady introduces the American Gunner line of ammunition that hits well under a dollar a round.
Surprisingly, in that price range, you will get premium brass cases, matching propellants for optimal pressure, and a factory cartridge loaded with match grade hollow point. The brass casing features the high-quality, freshly drawn Boxer-type primers that are reloadable and noncorrosive.
The Hornady American Gunner rifle ammunition in .300 AAC Blackout marked as item 80897 sports 125-grain, hollow-point (HP) bullets with an open tip on the nose. This ammo reaches a maximum velocity of 2,175 feet per second and muzzle energy of 1,313 ft.-lbs.
With affordable .300 Blackout American Gunner ammunition, every shooter gets an all-around versatile cartridge and fun shooting experience. Providing an average accuracy around 1MOA at 100 yards, these rounds are the perfect choice for target shooting. Plus, topped with 125-grain HP projectiles, this ammo is welcomed at shooting ranges since the most ranges do not allow ammo loaded with FMJ bullets.
Using premium components, Hornady ensures this line of ammunition will give you the tight groupings and terminal performance optimal for varmint/small-game hunting and self-defense.
Unlike the world-renowned, piston-driven SIG Sauer MCX line fielded by members of the special operations community, the M400 rifle series represents the SIG family of traditional direct-impingement rifles based on the AR-15 rifle.
SIG Sauer’s SIG M400 lineup includes guns offered in several configurations. It is designed as entry-level carbine but with qualities and features above what most AR buyers think of when "entry-level AR-15" springs to mind.
The Sig 400 features a sixteen-inch, nitride-treated, chrome-lined barrel made of carbon steel and anodized 7075-T6 aircraft-grade, aluminum-forged upper and lower receivers. This SIG "entry-level" gun is a true AR platform tactical rifle designed equally for the sporting field and military operations.
The SIG Sauer model RM400-300B-16B-ECP is chambered in the increasingly popular .300 AAC Blackout caliber. The Sig phosphate-finished barrel sports the 5/8”x24 TPI threads that will accept sound suppressors and other common AR muzzle devices.
The SIGM400 .300 Blackout, Enhanced Patrol model utilizes a carbine-length gas system matched by a railed, low-profile gas block and a Magpul flip-up front sight.
The flat-top upper receiver comes with case deflector, forward-assist assembly, and a section of 1913 Picatinny rail topped with the flip-up rear sight.
One of the selling points is an ambidextrous magazine release with extra magazine-release protection. Additionally, it features a flared magwell for easier insertion and a polished stock trigger which is unsurprisingly nice, but not completely crisp.
As for the furniture, this Enhanced Patrol version in .300 Blackout features a black polymer Magpul MOE forend, pistol grip, and a six-position collapsible stock. An A2-style pistol grip is a rubber overmold and it is usually the first part to be upgraded.
As a member of the SIG M400 family, the Patrol model in .300 Blackout surely appeals to people who like a carbine-sized rifle, yet want to retain all the accuracy and power of the full-powered version.
In addition to the listed enhancements that you cannot find at similarly priced competitors, the SIG Sauer M400 .300AAC 16" BLK Patrol rifle comes with a 30-round polymer magazine.
As earlier said, the .300 Blackout was initially designed for military, but the civilian market accepted it quickly and soon, the shooting industry was beginning to offer more and more 300BLK firearms and adequate ammunition.
Members of the gun community, especially those who prefer modern sporting rifles, would agree that .300 AAC Blackout offers certain advantages over the .223 Remington. That is why these days, there is a much wider variety of weapons chambered in a .300 Blackout, whereas the ammunition choices are actually pretty broad.
Although many younger gun enthusiasts lean towards short rifles and suppressors that the 300 BLK was made for, some caution when hunting with .300 Blackout subsonic heavy loads is definitely needed. Subsonic 300 BLK ammo usually has a poor terminal performance on deer and feral hogs, so an ethical hunter and sportsman should select appropriate supersonic loads with bullets featuring controlled expansion and enough velocity to expand on impact.
To wrap up, there is one note of caution regarding the interchangeability of magazines. Since the .300 AAC Blackout has become a favorite among everyday AR shooters, it is important to know that it can fit into a barrel designed for a .223 Remington. However, firing this round out of .22 caliber barrel would cause catastrophic consequences. However, with the right practice, there’s no more threat in using 300BLK ammo than any other when properly chambered.