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.308 vs 300 Blackout Full Comparison

.308 Win vs 300 Blackout

Table of Contents

The 300 AAC Blackout and 308 Winchester are both rifle cartridges with a 30-caliber design that use a .308″ diameter bullet. However, their similarities end there, as these cartridges serve different purposes. In this comprehensive comparison, we will delve into the 300 AAC Blackout and the 308 Winchester, focusing on their intended uses. Rather than declaring a winner, we will explore the benefits of versatility within a caliber for both you and the 2A community.

Contrasting Calibers As mentioned earlier, the sole similarity between the 308 Winchester and 300 AAC Blackout is their use of the .308″ diameter bullet. Each rifle cartridge was specifically developed for distinct purposes, excelling in their respective roles. However, these two rounds are vastly different, and we will now explore their dissimilarities.Personally, I’m eager to engage in this comparison between the 308 and 300 Blackout, imagining myself racking the charging handle on my AR platform and pulling the trigger. So, let’s dive in!

Origins of 300 AAC Blackout

The development of the 300 AAC Blackout ammo (also known as 300 BLK by SAAMI) began in 2010 when Robert Silvers of the Advanced Armament Corporation (later acquired by Remington) was approached by a member of the US Military’s clandestine operations community. The unidentified military client presented Silvers with a pressing issue, one that he was eager to address.With the widespread adoption of the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge (known as the civilian 223 Remington or 223 Rem), US troops were compelled to employ the same round for both long-range engagements and close-quarters combat.

Some special forces units expressed dissatisfaction with the stopping power provided by the 5.56 NATO and the 9mm (used in various submachine guns) during close-quarters encounters. They sought something with more “punch,” akin to the 7.62x39mm Soviet round fired from the AK-47.

However, there were additional requirements stipulated by this client:

  1. The rounds needed to fit into standard STANAG AR-pattern magazines while maintaining a 30-round capacity.
  2. The cartridge face had to remain the same as the 5.56 NATO, eliminating the need for a bolt change.
  3. It had to accommodate 30 caliber bullets and replicate the ballistic performance of the 7.62x39mm Soviet round.
  4. The new rifle cartridge needed to be compatible with short-barreled rifles (SBRs) with barrels under 16″, and it had to function seamlessly with a suppressor/silencer.
  5. Both supersonic and subsonic variants of ammunition were required, allowing for effective long-range shots and close-quarters combat, respectively

However, Silvers remained undeterred and returned to AAC to commence work on a new cartridge that would fulfill all these requirements. The search for a suitable host cartridge had begun.The shooting community was no stranger to attempts at integrating new calibers into the AR platform. The introduction of the 6.8 Remington Special Purpose Cartridge (SPC) and the 6.5 Grendel into the AR platform had some degree of success, but they fell short in several crucial aspects.

Both the 6.8 SPC and the 6.5 Grendel had a larger case head than the 5.56 NATO cartridge, necessitating a new bolt for the host carbine. Additionally, while these cartridges could be loaded into a standard AR-15 magazine, their increased case size prevented them from achieving a full 30-round capacity. Efforts by Colt Firearms and other manufacturers to adapt a 30-caliber cartridge to the M4 carbine had proven unsuccessful. Moreover, modifying the M4 to shoot the 7.62x39mm Soviet round was not a straightforward task due to the significant case angle, leading to chambering issues when using a standard M4 magazine.

As Silvers continued his quest for a suitable host cartridge, he turned his attention to various wildcat cartridges within the shooting community. Among them, the 300 Whisper stood out as the most promising candidate, eventually becoming the foundation for the 300 BLK. However, the 300 Whisper couldn’t be directly adapted for AR platform use because it lacked standardized loadings sanctioned by SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute).

Since AAC/Remington was a SAAMI-compliant company, loading 300 Whisper ammunition was not possible. Consequently, Silvers took inspiration from the concepts of the 300 Whisper and modified them to meet their specific design requirements. The resulting round was christened the 300 AAC Blackout (300 BLK), receiving SAAMI approval on January 17, 2011.

Specs on 300 AAC Blackout

Ever since its SAAMI approval in 2011, the 300 AAC Blackout (300 BLK) has surpassed expectations in nearly every aspect. With an overall case length of 35mm, the 300 BLK offers a case capacity of approximately 19.2 grains. The reduced case length was necessary to enable it to fit into a standard M4 carbine magazine while accommodating a longer 30-caliber bullet.

300 BLK ammunition can be categorized into two bullet weights: subsonic loads at 220 grains and supersonic loads ranging from 110 to 125 grains. Supersonic ammunition, typically utilizing a 125-grain bullet, achieves a muzzle velocity of around 2250 fps and a muzzle energy of approximately 1404 ft-lbs. Industry standards indicate an effective range of 500 yards for supersonic 125-grain loads. In contrast, subsonic ammunition fires a 220-grain bullet at a muzzle velocity of approximately 1000 fps, delivering a muzzle energy of 488 ft-lbs. Subsonic loads have an effective range of 200 yards.

These two popular loadings highlight the versatility of 300 BLK ammo. By simply changing magazines, shooters can transition from supersonic rounds for long-range engagements to subsonic rounds for close-quarters combat.Moreover, the 300 BLK was specifically designed to achieve complete powder burn when fired from a 9-inch short-barreled rifle (SBR), preferably equipped with a suppressor/silencer.

 

300 AAC Blackout: Armscor & Barnes
300 AAC Blackout: Armscor & Barnes

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Origins of .308 Win

The 308 Winchester (also known as 7.62x51mm NATO) has served the US Military for over six decades and remains the quintessential hunting round for game ranging from whitetail deer to black bears. The development of the 308 Winchester stemmed from the US Military’s need for advanced battle rifles akin to the STG-44 and AK-47. In 1952, the US Military commenced efforts to replace the long-standing 30-06 Springfield cartridge (designated M2 Ball or 7.62x63mm).

While the 30-06 Springfield had valiantly served through both World Wars and the Korean War, the military sought a lighter cartridge more suitable for fully automatic rifle fire.Through advancements in rifle powder technology and case design during the 1950s, the new 7.62x51mm NATO rifle round achieved nearly identical ballistic performance to the 30-06 Springfield, but with a shorter cartridge case length and reduced overall weight. The US Army officially adopted the 7.62x51mm NATO round in 1958, and it has been in service ever since.

Although the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge and its parent rifle, the M14, saw limited frontline use in Vietnam before being replaced by the 5.56 NATO, the military quickly employed it for sniper operations and fully automatic machine guns.With an impressive effective range extending beyond 800 yards, civilian firearms manufacturers swiftly recognized the potential of the new military round.

Winchester became the first to adapt the cartridge for its Model 70 bolt action rifle, renaming it the 308 Winchester. The 308 Winchester rapidly established itself as the go-to high-velocity hunting round for long-range engagements, boasting sufficient muzzle energy to halt a black bear in its tracks. Since gaining acceptance from the hunting and competitive shooting communities, the 308 Winchester has become a staple at deer camps and F Class Shooting Competitions alike.

Specs of .308 Win

308 Winchester ammunition offers an extensive range of bullet weights, providing a wide variety of options to suit your specific needs. From 55 grains to 220 grains, you’ll never be short on choices when selecting the best 308 round for your purpose.

With an overall case length of 51 mm, the 308 Winchester boasts an impressive 52-grain case capacity. For instance, a 150-grain bullet loading delivers a formidable 2820 fps muzzle velocity and a muzzle energy of 2648 ft-lbs, packing quite a punch.

.308 Win Ammo: Norma/Vairog/Aguila
.308 Win Ammo: Norma/Vairog/Aguila

Need bulk .308 Win ammunition? Visit our .308 Win ammo section to see what’s available!

Differences Between 300 BLK & .308 Win

While these calibers are distinct rounds with different applications, let’s quickly compare each rifle cartridge to outline their pros and cons.

Recoil

In terms of recoil, the 300 BLK takes the lead by a wide margin, offering approximately 4 times less recoil than the 308 Winchester. While on paper one might argue that recoil shouldn’t matter and to focus on shooting fundamentals, the reality in the field is often different.

Shoulder fatigue becomes a significant issue during prolonged shooting sessions or when attempting follow-up shots. Fatigue can lead to recoil anticipation, trigger jerk, and over-correction, ultimately affecting downrange accuracy. In terms of recoil, the 300 Blackout is undoubtedly the better option.

Ballistics

We have comprehensive ballistics tables further down in this article, but let’s highlight a few key points here. When it comes to ballistics coefficient, the 308 Winchester emerges as the clear winner when compared to supersonic 300 Blackout ammunition. With an average BC of around 0.45, the 308 Winchester outperforms the typically sub-0.4 BC of 300 BLK. Regarding bullet drop and velocity (fps), the 308 also takes the lead. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering that the 308 was specifically designed for effectiveness at longer ranges.

Home Defense

Both the 308 Win and the 300 BLK are viable options for self-defense. However, there is a crucial factor to consider when it comes to close-range engagements: overpenetration. The 300 BLK was specifically designed for SBR use with a suppressor, making it the superior choice for indoor and short-range engagements. Additionally, the 200 to 220 grain subsonic ammo provides a measure of safety against overpenetration, as it rapidly loses velocity upon impact. In contrast, the 308 Winchester can be likened to a freight train, potentially penetrating multiple suburban houses and endangering innocent bystanders.

Remember the wise words, “Every bullet you fire has a lawyer attached to it.” Therefore, overpenetration must be carefully considered when engaging in close-quarters self-defense. Considering its low recoil (allowing for faster follow-up shots), integration with the AR platform (offering modularity and light weight), compatibility with short barrels, ease of sound suppression, and 30-round magazine capacity, the 300 BLK is the ideal choice for home defense.

Suppressor Integration

When it comes to suppressor integration, the 300 BLK takes the lead once again, thanks to its specific design for suppressor use. One of the most incredible experiences I’ve had is witnessing the firing of a suppressed subsonic 300 BLK round. It’s like something straight out of a movie—utterly quiet, just as you’d imagine. You know those scenes in action movies where James Bond effortlessly wields his suppressed AR-15 or KRISS Vector, unleashing a storm of full-auto fire, and all you hear is the gentle whisper of the wind? Well, in real life, it doesn’t quite work like that.

There are two main sources of firearm noise: the explosive sound of the powder ignition and the “sonic crack” produced when a bullet breaks the sound barrier. While a suppressor can significantly reduce the noise from the powder explosion, if the bullet is traveling at supersonic speeds, you’ll still hear the distinct “crack” as it surpasses the sound barrier.

BUT!

Here’s the game-changer: When you shoot subsonic ammunition, the bullet never exceeds the speed of sound, eliminating the “crack” altogether. With this knowledge, you can achieve a truly hearing-safe shooting experience using a 300 BLK rifle, a suppressor, and subsonic rounds.

Long Range Shooting Accuracy

Once again, when it comes to long-range shooting, there’s no contest—the 308 Winchester reigns supreme. With its generous case capacity, impressive velocity, minimal bullet drop, superior ballistic coefficient, and extensive effective range, the 308 outshines the 300 BLK in every aspect of long-range precision.

But let’s be clear, this outcome is expected, considering that the 308 Winchester is purpose-built for exceptional long-range performance.

300 Blackout vs .308 Win For Hunting

Let’s delve into hunting applications as a separate topic, as it sparks some controversy within the shooting community.

Recoil

As we’ve discussed before, recoil is worth emphasizing here as it plays a significant role. With significantly less recoil, the 300 AAC Blackout offers greater forgiveness for follow-up shots. This can make a crucial difference in ethically harvesting an animal, preventing wounded animals from escaping.

Rifle Availability

In this aspect, the 308 takes the lead, given its extensive presence over the past 60 years and proven hunting success. Almost every rifle manufacturer offers options in 308 Winchester. On the other hand, the 300 BLK is relatively new, but it’s gaining traction among manufacturers. There are increasingly more rifles available in 300 BLK, including the Ruger Mini-14. Nevertheless, the vast selection of bolt action and semi-automatic rifles for 308 Winchester hunting purposes grants it an advantage in this category.

Ammo Varieties

Once again, the 308 Winchester prevails. It boasts a plethora of ammunition options, ranging from the Barnes Varmint Grenade to the Hornady InterLock and Nosler Partition. Similar to the abundant choices in 223 Remington, there’s an extensive array of 308 Winchester ammo. Considering the shorter lifespan of the 300 Blackout (around 10 years), the market offers fewer ammunition varieties specifically tailored for hunting.

Effective Range

Determining the effective range can be misleading. Although the 308 can reach distances of over 800 yards, the ethical aspect comes into play.

Ask yourself: Is it ethical to take a shot at a game animal from 800 yards?

Responsible hunters would likely refrain from such long-range shots. Consequently, it’s fair to say that both rifle cartridges are comparable in terms of effective range, as most ethical hunting shots are typically taken within 400 yards.

Stopping Power

This category showcases the strength of the 308 Winchester. With an impressive muzzle energy of 2648 ft-lbs, the 308 packs more stopping power than the 300 BLK.

Does this mean the 300 Blackout is ineffective for hunting? Not at all!

However, it’s important to note that using a 300 BLK on game larger than whitetail deer may raise ethical concerns. Past 400 yards, penetration and energy significantly decrease, making it less suitable for larger game.

Should I use 300 blackout or .308 Win?

Overall, the distinctions between 300 AAC Blackout and 308 Winchester are evident. 308 Winchester stands as a highly successful hunting and long-range shooting cartridge with a proven track record spanning over 60 years. It was meticulously designed to deliver exceptional stopping power, high velocity, and a substantial effective range, and it excels in all these aspects.

On the other hand, the 300 Blackout round was specifically developed for AR pattern rifles, showcasing its strengths in short barrels and compatibility with suppressors. The ease of converting an AR-15 to 300 Blackout with a simple barrel change is a significant advantage, considering it utilizes the same bolt and magazines. This conversion is cost-effective as well. Both rifle rounds serve distinct purposes based on your shooting requirements. Therefore, comprehending these differences is crucial before making a purchase decision.

If you’re seeking a lightweight, short-barrel carbine for home defense, the 300 Blackout is the perfect fit. Its ability to reliably use subsonic ammunition makes it an ideal choice for self-defense, offering low recoil and facilitating quick follow-up shots. The versatility of the 300 Blackout shines through, allowing seamless transitions to supersonic ammunition for engaging targets at extended ranges of up to 500 yards. It also proves capable of effectively hunting medium to small-sized game animals.

However, if your goal is to engage in long-range shooting and truly push the limits, the 308 Winchester has got you covered. With its exceptional range, stopping power, and high velocity, it enables you to reach distances of 800 yards and beyond. Regardless of your chosen caliber, purchasing ammunition in bulk is always a wise decision. Be sure to explore our selection of 300 Blackout bulk ammo and bulk 308 ammo.

Are you ready to venture out and acquire your very own 300 Blackout rifle? I certainly am! However, my trusty 308 bolt-action rifle will remain securely stored in my gun safe, as the availability of different calibers allows us to select the right tool for each specific task. After all, variety, my friends, is the spice of life (and shooting!).

Need bulk ammo? At True Shot Ammo, we have a wide variety of handgun ammo and rifle ammo available to purchase. Please visit our website trueshotammo.com, call us at (888) 736-6587 or, you can email us at [email protected] for more rifle ammo options.

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