By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
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December 29, 2012
For those rushing to purchase tactical AR (AR-15) carbines/rifles ahead of pending anti-Second Amendent legislation, you might want to consider including a 300 AAC Blackout (300BLK) tactical AR carbine/SBR (Short Barreled Rifle) on your list of must-haves. A number of companies make them, including Daniel Defense (DD), the cartridge's namesake, Advanced Armament Corp. (AAC), and FERFRANS Specialties, since the 300BLK is the ballistic equivalent of an open-source project with captialist bent. This article will concentrate on Daniel Defense.
The Daniel Defense 300BLK carbine is a direct-gas-impingement gun designated the DDM4 v5-300 AAC Blackout carbine, and it looks like a great package. DefenseReview (DR) saw one of these and the SBR version at SOFIC 2012, and the packages were enticing. The ones DR liked best were outfitted with the DD Modular Float Rail (MFR) which offers the lightest-weight, most versatile package. This rail is good for both combat and competition applications.
We first handled this rail on the DDM4v7 at SOFIC 2011, which also featured a Contour gun cam/weapon-mounted video camera.
DR will probably pick up a 300BLK complete upper receiver (AR upper) at some point in the not-too-distant future, as we like the cartridge. The 300BLK complete upper makes an excellent modular accessory for those who already own enough AR lowers. If we go with a Daniel Defense upper, DR's preferred DD rail system for a lightweight gun is currently the DD MFR rail, so we'd probably opt for a DDM4 v7-300 AAC Blackout-config complete upper receiver.
The 7.62x35mm 300 BLK cartridge exhibits impressive ballistic performance with a maximum effective range of 460 meters out of a 16-inch (16") barrel, and 440 meters from a 9-inch (9") barrel. In other words. A 125gr 300BLK round's muzzle velocity (Remington brand?) is 2220 fps out of the 16" barrel and 2049 fps out of the 9" barrel. In other words, due to a combination of factors, you only lose 171 fps and 20 meters of effective range with the 9-incher. That's pretty cool. The 300BLK's weight and relatively long length (providing excellent ballistic coefficient) contribute to this. Defense Review has also been told by an AAC representative that another contributing factor is the 300BLK bullet's additional diameter over the standard 5.56mm, which provides more surface area for the ignited powder for more efficient bullet propulsion. And, the kicker is, it's really soft-shooting. A real pleasure.
If you're looking for 300BLK ammo, DR would recommend you take a serious look at both PNW Arms, Silver State Armory (SSA), two small ammo companies that are very serious about their the ammo they make. AAC's fellow Freedom Group company Remington Ammunition also makes some good 300BLK ammo, though.
Rob Silvers of AAC provided the following 300 BLK ballistics/maximum-effective-range info at the 300BlkTalk 300 AAC Blackout forum, which makes for a handy little guide:
"The US Military rates the Max Effective Range of the M4 as 500 meters for a point target.
If the max effective range of the M4 with M855 at 2900 fps is 500 meters, that has 100 inches of drop, 41 inches drift, and 291 ft/lbs of energy:
16 inch 300 AAC BLACKOUT 125 grain at 2220 fps has: 100 inches drop at 440 meters 41 inches drift at 484 meters 291 ft/lbs of energy at 700 meters.
The military tends to go by hit probability rather than energy. If we use the drift and drop range as being correlated with hit probability, and discount the energy advantage of 300 BLK, we get 462 meters.
Using M4 military hit-probability standards, the max effective range of 300 AAC Blackout from a 16 inch barrel is 460 meters.
From a 9 inch barrel (2049 fps): 100 inches drop at 410 meters 41 inches drift at 470 meters 291 ft/lbs of energy at 625 meters. 440 meters for a 9 inch. 300 BLK from a 9 inch barrel has the same energy at the muzzle as a 14.5 inch barrel M4, and about 5% more energy at 440 meters."
Silvers also added the following when questioned about the 300BLK's velocity and ballistic performance:
"300 AAC BLACKOUT has as much energy at 300 yards as a 357 Magnum revolver does at the muzzle. So, if you would shoot a deer with a 357 from up close, then you can shoot one with 300 AAC BLACKOUT at 300 yards – provided the bullet is functioning at that velocity.
The Army study guide used 2970 fps as the muzzle velocity of an M4. I was under the impression it was 2900 fps. Which is it?"
To which a member named "mechanus" replied:
"Answer to your velocity question: with the adoption of the M855A1, most M4 nomenclature will now show the increased velocity of the new round: 2970 fps.
2900 is quoted in the original Colt M4 brochure [http://web.archive.org/web/20110616210348/http://www.colt.com/mil/M4_2.asp], which was the correct vel before the adoption of the new round: "…- Accommodates the full range of 5.56mm ammunition, including the NATO M855/SS109 and U.S. M193, utilizing a rifling twist of 1 turn in 7 in. (178mm)…"
In any case, the 300BLK will get the job done past 400 meters by a good shooter, even using a 9" barrel. If you need longer range, it's time to move up to 7.62x51mm NATO/.308 Win. With specialized ammo like the PNW Arms Super Sniper Ammunition (SSA) SST enhanced-range 7.62mm NATO round, a good shooter can now effectively reach out and touch some out out to 1130+ meters. That's pretty amazing. DR has written a couple of articles on this unique ammo that are worth reading.
Company Contact Info:
Daniel Defense, Inc. (DD)
101 Warfighter Way
Black Creek, GA 31308
Email Contact Form: https://danieldefense.com/contacts
CAGE Code 3E3E2
Advanced Armament Corp. (AAC)
2408 Tech Center Parkway, Suite 150
Lawrenceville, GA 30043
Website 1: http://300aacblackout.com
Website 2: http://www.advanced-armament.com
PNW Arms LLC
1085 12th Ave NW, Ste. D9
Issaquah, WA 98027
855.768.2767 (855-PNW-ARMS) – Toll Free
1.425.651.4100 – Direct
1.425.651.4102 – Fax
Email Sales: [email protected]
Email Customer Service: [email protected]
Silver State Armory (SSA)
12913 US Hwy 12, PO Box 962
Packwood, WA 98361
Email: [email protected]
Remington Arms Company, Inc.
870 Remington Drive
P.O. Box 700
Madison, NC 27025-0700
Military, Law Enforcement, & Federal Agency Sales
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