By: Kurt Gruber, Staff Writer
Over the next couple of months, I am going to be writing a series of articles focusing on 300 AAC Blackout and its use in both tactical and hunting environments. I will be looking at different weapon options and test them with a wide array of ammunition choices.
Advanced Armament Corporation created 300 AAC Blackout (7.62×35), known as 300 BLK in its SAAMI spec, in conjunction with Remington Defense. The goal was creating a 30 caliber round that would work in standard AR-15 rifles. The 300 AAC Blackout cartridge allows for a very wide variety of bullet weights to be loaded into 5.56/.223 brass which has been altered to accept the larger bullet. The use of this standard brass size makes 300 BLK a great alternative for 5.56/.223 in the AR-15 platform because unlike many of the other alternatives, such as 6.8 SPC, the only thing that has to be changed is the barrel. 300 BLK utilizes the same magazines with the same capacity as standard 5.56/.223 guns as well as the same bolt face.
The first thing that we have to do is pick our weapon when choosing any caliber with which to hunt. In this case, I have two different 300BLK guns that I will be using for my testing. One is a 9” AAC upper that of course requires that in addition to the $200 tax stamp for your suppressor you also must have a registered short barrel rifle. The second gun that I will be using for testing is one that I built specifically for this test and that I plan to test with. The gun uses a 16” Wilson Combat Match Grade barrel that makes it unnecessary to have a registered SBR. In this purpose built hunting upper I also used some features specifically beneficial to both hunting and suppressed shooting. For this upper I chose to implement a gas piston system instead of the direct impingement system that most AR type rifles use. I chose the Adams Arms piston kit (http://www.adamsarms.net/), which is an aftermarket piston kit developed specifically for retrofitting existing DI guns into piston guns. The Adams Arms kit, like most piston kits, is great for use with suppressed weapons because of the ability to adjust the gas block to half power or turn the gas off totally. The Adams Arms kit, because of its design requires a specific hand guard configuration for a free float barrel. Jim at Adams Arms was good enough to send me one of the Samson Manufacturing rail systems that is specifically made to work with the Adams Piston kits as well as a new one piece bolt carrier (the kit came with a replacement key for the standard bolt carrier when I bought it a couple years ago before my desert adventures). I used an LMT upper receiver that has been in my safe for a couple years. Thanks to Cris at Houston Armory, who has been a leader in 300 BLK since its release, for the AAC Blackout Flash Hider to complete the build.
Over the next few weeks, I will be spending some time on the range with both of these guns. I have a wide assortment of ammunition that I will be testing. Look for the next episode of The Blackout Chronicles then.
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