Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Lance

    I’d rather stay with 5.56mm NATO. I like the SiG AR almost as good as the Ruger piston AR. But 6.5 Grendel or 6.8 SPC would be far better alternative to 5.56mm than 300BLK.

    • Komrad

      I disagree. I think .300 BLK was designed for a very specific role and it does that well.

    • Other Steve

      Shoot 556 subsonic or 556 out of a short barrel and get back to us on why 556nato is more attractive than 300blk. πŸ™‚

  • bang3560

    Why is .300 BLK better than 6.8 SPC? I’m just curious and I’m not trying to be a dick.

    • Other Steve

      6.8 does not have a good subsonic option. 6.8 does not use 223 mags to full capacity or reliabilty. 6.8 does not use a 223 bolt. 6.8 does not use the most common and available bullet out there (30 cal). 6.8 brass can not be made from 223 brass.

      300blk makes a lot of sense.

    • It’s better IN CERTAIN APPLICATIONS. It’s really not a direct competitor, which is why I don’t understand the venom.

      -With supersonic, it has more energy from a 9″ bbl than 5.56 or 6.8.

      – It does this with MUCH less powder, resulting in MUCH less muzzle blast. This increases comfort and follow up speed dramatically. Have you ever shot a 5.56 or 6.8 in a 10″ gun? indoors? God forbid, with a muzzle brake?

      – Terminal effects for 6.8 and 5.56 drop off dramatically in shorter barrels, the 300 BLK with its small fast powder charge and heavy projectile is very efficient.

      – Like most bullets, performance does increase with velocity and bbl length, and 16″ is about the sweetspot for 300 BLK in terms of size and power.

      -With good bullets (ie the new Barnes ones), it has more retained energy than 6.8 out to 300m

      – And of course, you have the option of running subsonic ammo with a can for paintball gun sound, but delivering a 220-240gr bullet.

      – If you reload, 300 BLK brass can be made from 5.56/.223 brass for cheap, and bullets are common .308.

      It’s an industry standardization of a concept that’s been around since the Airforce tried something like it in the 60’s.

      As an aside:
      WTF does every caliber discussion turn into a pissing match between fanboys of particular cartridges? They are all tools, they should be chosen for your particular uses. More choices in the marketplace are a good thing.

      6.8 fans, get over it. 300 BLK is here. You have better long range ability, congrats. If you want to fight with anyone, fight with the 6.5 fans, as that is what will kill off 6.8 if anything does. Or, actually, better yet, at least stop fighting amongst yourselves- pick a chamber, primer size, barrel twist, etc.

      Congrats, you’ve invested in a particular round. You think it’s better for your application. that doesn’t mean there’s not a different application and/or a better round for it. Don’t feel so threatened by other options.

      For people that crap on 300 BLK for being a short range round (and it admittedly is, subsonics useful currently out to 100-200m and supersonics best only out to 300-400m), I’m curious at what long ranges you shoot, and how often? I work with multiple companies in the industry and shooting 1-100m outweighs anything over 300m for me and almost everyone I know by a factor of probably 20 to 1. Certainly in any HD situation, I wouldn’t be shooting out past 100m.

      • crosswiredmind

        Amen. I looked at all of the different AR calibers and went with 300 BLK because it fit the tasks I am most likely to ask it to handle:

        1. shooting subsonic suppressed at my local indoor range
        2. whitetail deer hunting where the typical ranges are under 50 yards
        3. 3 gun competitions where 300 BLK makes major power factor

        For CMP I have my .223 Rock River NM4, and for plinking I have an M&P 15-22.

        If I were hunting at 200+ yards I would go with 6.8 if I used the AR platform. But frankly, if I were taking game beyond 200 yards I would probably go with a .30-06 bolt action.

      • W

        jason presents a very compelling argument in favor of the 300 blk. I have no experience with this new cartridge, but will take the time in the near future to familiarize myself with it.

        I believe, based on the limited research I have done, comparing the 300 blk with the 6.8 is unfair. It seems to me the 300 excels in close quarters combat while the 6.8 is geared more towards longer ranged shooting. The 300 takes the best traits of the 30 cal (commonality), upgrades the tapered 7.62×39 Soviet and forms a very relevant combat cartridge.

        based on what i have dug up from a previous post here on thefirearmblog, “When combined with the AAC 762-SDN-6 suppressor it makes less noise than the 9mm MP5-SD while providing better ballistics and energy.”

        holy smokes that is impressive!

      • Counsel

        Do let us know how you feel-don’t hold back on the venom πŸ™‚

        What is right for “you” may not be right for “me.” You might not care about all the stats either. “Like” is not required to be alteredby facts.

        Enjoy what you enjoy and ignore the chatter.

        Just imagine if the discussion was over a boy/girl. How fast they are, that size pants/shirt they fit in can vary what each of us likes. Like what “you” like and “I’ll” like what I like. πŸ™‚

  • George

    I too would like to see 6.5 Grendel catch on. It has very good long range performance.

    • Other Steve

      But it has bit supersonic option and does not use 223 parts. If supersonic is appealing 300blk even makes more sense than subsonic 308, the small case size means unlike 308 the powder is flopping around in their and will burn the same way every time, accurate subsonic has been elusive without fillers like cream of wheat and etc.

      For a mfg like SIG for example this is a niche gun without adding new parts to their inventory.

      If you don’t want parts commonality with 223. Same mags, no subsonic, and etc. But instead are only interested in long range out of a small gun, 6.5mm is great!

      For me, if I wanted long range semi, 6.5mm out if an AR seems a lot cheaper than 260 out of an AR-10. But personally I want a 260 bolt for long range and have little need for a semi in that function.

    • John Doe

      There’s actually a YouTube video of a guy hitting targets at 1000 yards with a 6.5 Grendel. Not to mention it would be great for deer hunting.

  • MarkM

    Why does renaming the 30 year old .300 Whisper suddenly make it fit better in the tactical scenario? It’s been around since before the first SOF three gun match, but AAC changing the name to Blackout has done more in marketing buzz than the ballistics ever attracted for decades.

    If there’s any draw at all, it’s for suppressor use, which is a very small market. While I certainly would like that market to expand exponentially, it doesn’t make the supersonic performance stand out all that much.

    Remington hasn’t been getting any base hits lately in public acceptance, much less a home run, and I don’t see anything here to applaud. It’s relying on the worn out acceptance of .30 caliber, and could very well backfire when it’s seen as simply going too far with the concept.

    With ammo projected at $12 a box, it’s going to compete with 5.56 at less than $5, and the paper & dirt shooters won’t subscribe to spending TWICE the money for ammo. It’s the biggest whine about the 6.8, and a valid one. Nobody shoots thousands of rounds a year of expensive commericial priced cartridges, especially when live game isn’t involved.

    The 3 gun, hunting, and plinker market won’t be turned over much by it.

    • The need for the renaming stemmed from JD Jones trademark of “Whisper”.

      • Other Steve

        And, AAC did note than just renaming. The allowed it to be made by anyone that wants to, not just people who pay royalties. So now for example SIG doesn’t have to do anything except make sure their gun is designed to the saami specs.

        Aside from royalties, Remington and so far a lot of other ammo mfgs have backed 300 blk. There is at least three companies with subsonic loads for what you claim is so rare with suppressor use (it’s getting less rare everyday btw). Lots more making supersonic, there are a lot of guns coming out that support it. So far, it seems to me it’s getting way more push than 6.8 did in years at first. I would not be surprised at all for more support for 300blk than 6.8 in one more year.

        AAC also did something JD never bothered. They made it work sub or super in one gun. By specing out powder type, charge and speed for both rounds they were able to cone up with equal(ish) pressure for the two, making cycling the same AR easy without overgassing or reliability issues (say when using subs without the added back pressure of the can).

        I’m not a fanboy, but AAC does deserve a lot of credit here. I mean, it wasn’t all for fun, they have rifles, ammo, and suppressors to go with this, they are now a one stop shop for a product try can control every aspect of, makes a ton of business sense. But we all win.

        So IMO, if you think 6.8 is tactical and makes sense, 300blk should be a good alternative with only a little comprise in supersonic ability. Your getting access, reliability, and support. 300blk is going to be big.

      • 18D

        LMFAO! The 3 gun market for .300 BLK has already been breached. It’s pretty much a done deal! Daniel Horner murdered the competition with a sweet custom rifle chambered in .300 BLK. Tell me the 3 gun market isn’t going to “turn over”. I gaurentee a bunch of 3 gunners have already switched over just because Daniel is running it. “If you run something different than everyone else and you’re world champion, that’s called innovative. If you run something different than the world champion and you’re constantly being beaten, that’s called naive”- Lanny Bassham- Get the point?

    • Other Steve

      Oh also, I like how say 3 gun won’t be turned over much by it…

      3 gun nationals was won with a custom this year.

      • Counsel

        Was the cartridge really the reason he won? Just curious…

    • Ethan
    • Me

      Because it was not viable until AAC made it so. AAC got bullets made that were optimal for feeding, they made subsonic and supersonic ammo that works in the same gun without needing adjustments, they got it submitted to SAAMI so that others would be able to make products for it, and they got Remington to make low-cost ammo and brass. So regardless about what people say this is just marketing – it is not – but rather four big impediments were eliminated making the 300-221 concept finally practical.

    • Me

      “With ammo projected at $12 a box, it’s going to compete with 5.56 at less than $5, and the paper & dirt shooters won’t subscribe to spending TWICE the money for ammo.”

      A 125 grain bullet has way more copper than a 55 grain bullet. More costs more, but it also does more. 300 AAC Blackout will have at least some practice ammo for $8 a box in 2012. To go cheaper requires steel cases. But yes, of course also have a 5.56mm upper – that goes without saying.

  • crosswiredmind

    I don’t get the caliber war between 6.8 and 300 BLK. Those two cartridges have different ballistics for different roles. The 300 BLK is not competing with 6.8 Rem SPC. The 6.8 is fantastic for long range accuracy, but most applications of 300 BLK are for less than 200 yards. In fact 300 BLK (7.62×35) is really competing with the Russian 7.62×39 which has had mixed results in the AR platform.

    • Other Steve

      Yea I agree, 6.8 is a totally different deal than 300blk.

      For the average shooting distance, or anyone using an SBR, I see 300blk making more sense. But that’s just my opinion.

      I think the 6.8 guys get a little defensive because 6.5mm is better a long long range, and 300blk fills a short, subsonic, and midrange role quite well. No one wants to invest in a caliber than won’t go anywhere (45GAP anyone?).

      “mixed results in the AR platform” is the NICEST way you can put how 7.62×39 works in an AR! πŸ˜€

      • crosswiredmind

        Yeah. If I had said that 7.62×39 sucks as an AR caliber I might have fed a troll or two. πŸ™‚

    • Flounder

      The caliber war revolves around the 6.8 spc being made for SBR AR-15’s. Something the 300BLK does very well also.

      I recently looked into the 6.8 and it is impressive at least to me. about 1550ft/lbs out of a 11.5″ AR IIRC. I’m still more fond of the 6.5 grendel and it’s many 6mm variants. But I’ve never shot either so I can’t speak from personal experience. All I know comes from looking at ballistics.

      It comes down to the 300BLK can have heavier bullets at supersonic or subsonic velocities while the 6.8 SPC will almost always have more energy even out of a SBR but is stuck to the realm of the supersonic.

      • crosswiredmind

        These were the numbers I saw for a 9″ barrel:

        5.56mm, M855 – 2558 ft/s, 901 ft-lb
        300 BLK, 125gr OTM – 2000 ft/s, 1109 ft-lb
        7.62x39mm, 123 gr – 2022 ft/s. 1117 ft-lb
        6.8 SPC, Hornady TAP 110 – 2157 ft/s. 1136 ft-lb

    • mosinman

      yes lets not get them started lol

  • Other Steve

    Although SIG still uses a goofy barrel profile, at least they removed the M203 profile cut.

    S&W’s Sport (556) and new 300blk guns use a much better profile. But at least SIG is getting there.

  • Other Steve

    Also, as far as I am aware… This is the first 300blk piston gun from a major mfg. Not that I buy into the piston craze as I feel subsonic this particular gun will be louder than a DI…

    But it is interesting.

    Now if CZ would get off their ass and make a factory CZ-527 in 300blk we would be getting somewhere!

    • noob

      It would be tricky to distinguish it from the CZ 527 in 7.62x39mm.

      Maybe if you could fit another round or two in the mag, vs the fatter 7.62×39.

    • Spork

      There are stock+barrel conversions that take a .223 CZ-527 to 300 BLK, but I sure would rather just buy one from the factory. Already have the CZ-527 7.62×39 carbine and would definitely be interested in a 300 BLK carbine. Maybe I’m overly optimistic, but it seems like a factory 527 in 300 BLK is just a matter of time…

  • Tinkerer

    We all know that .300 BLK makes a lot of sense in short barreled/supressed applications. Now I wonder: what’s the maximum practical barrel lenght that can be used with the .300 and how much more juice can we squeeze out of it with a longer barrel?

    • Other Steve

      Given the case capacity and minimum 110gr bullet weight, I bet 16″ is ideal and only a tiny bit of extya velocity at 18″. But that’s just a guess.

    • Vorpalis

      300BLK was designed specifically for suppressed SBRs, so while you do get increased velocity/power with longer barrels, the increase per inch of additional barrel is significantly less than you’d get from lengthening a 5.56 or 6.8 barrel. There’s actual numbers comparing the three calibers and also a chart of predicted velocity / barrel length in a PDF at the bottom of

  • elk hunter

    Hey, what about the 458 Socom? Or the 50 Bewulf (Bewolf).?
    Close to 45-70 ballistics and blows away the competition.
    There is also a 35-223 wildcat that was suppose to replace the 351 WSL cartridge.
    Has anyone ever chambered a AR-15 in 351 Win. Self-Loading? It is more powerful than the 357 Magnum fired out of a rifle.

  • noob

    As .300 BLK gets more popular keeping your .300BLK and 5.56 stuff separate will become more important.

    For instance, this is what happens when you put a 5.56 suppressor onto a .300BLK upper and fire into it:

    I’d hate to load one .300 BLK round into a mag that was supposed to be 5.56 and then find out when it jams halfway into the chamber in my 5.56 upper. Imagine if you were actually in a fight?

    Looks like magpul will have to start making pmags with “.300BLK” molded into both sides in huge embossed letters, so you can feel them in the dark.

    • crosswiredmind

      Good point. I had already planned to use Troy mags for my 300 BLK. I am also planning on picking up a Sig M400 next year. I’ll stick with pmags for that one. Right now I only have 20 rounders for CMP so I don’t think I will run into any confusion there.

  • Charles

    The 300 Blackout totally shines in the subsonic role, I’ve been shooting 220 SMK, 240 SMK and a 247gr Lead Projectile, wow is all I say every time I shoot it. Shooting the subsonic rounds without a can is also very quite, and shocks all my friends.

    Switching to the super sonic realm, The 300 Blackout is not a speed demon, but with 110gr V-Max’s and 110 Gr Barnes TTSX’s, the Blackout has bite. Shooting these rounds through a can is also quite, but with a sonic crack.

    I converted a couple of old and tired 5.56 uppers with new 300 Blackout barrels. I cut my first 300 Blackout cases with my RCBS hand trimmer, it’s do-able, but I opted to buy converted Brass from, they even came all the same LC09 headstamp. Midway also has brass in stock now, so many brass options are available.

    Mags, I’ve loaded all my ammo so that I can use my GI mags to the full capicity(29 rounds,lol). Now I’m on the hunt for some of the pulled 130gr 30 cal bullets, I can’t find any of the pulled M118’s(those worked great in the 300 BLK).

    I have a 6.8 SPC with 12 inch barrel and a 16 inch barrel, Home defense and for hunting, the 6.8 packs more energy(12 inch barrel, factory 85 TSX, 2850fps), I get HUGE amounts of flash and blast with the 12 inch, one I get some 110gr TTSX(new ones that expand down to 1300fps) loaded in factory ammo, I’ll put the 300 BLK into the home defense role.

    I don’t think factory ammo will ever get as cheap as 5.56, but I’ve bought Pulled bullets(M118’s) for 10 cents each, same cost as M855 bullets, so reloading is the same cost as 5.56 for me, and I’ve loaded some of my LC cases 11 times, and the primer pocket is still tight.

    I shoot my Blackout’s more than I shoot the 6.8SPC’s, just due to ammo costs, I was very happy that the 300 BLK didn’t require new mags, using my 5.56 mags was a huge cost savings vs me having to buy extra 6.8 mags.

    I’ve shot Pigs, deer and coyotes now with the Blackout, I’m a happy hunter, and I love plinking with the Blackout too.

    • mosinman

      hmmm interesting… thanks for all the info… i always like new calibers… im interested in making my own some day, since i think up crazy stuff all the time hahaha

  • Charles

    I’ll have to handle one of these SIGs when they hit the stores, I’d like to shoot one before I bought a Piston rifle.

    When shooting DI, there is a big difference between shooting a 16 inch carbine gas vs Mid length gas. 20 inch rifle using rifle gas length are even smoother(not over gassed). What do the piston systems feel like in comparison?

    • Stella

      I will qualify my forthcoming statement by saying that my exposure to AR pattern rifles is fairly limited. That said: I own a piston AR (an LWRC M6A1) and a carbine length DI AR. I have also shot rifle length ARs but I don’t feel that it’s fair to compare rifles to carbines, more so since I was shooting an old Colt HBAR that was very front heavy.

      The felt recoil between my piston and DI AR is the same, however the impulse is different: the piston feels sharper, with a bit more of a β€œcrack” (especially under the hand guards), where the DI impulse is sluggish, more drawn out and is present in the receiver. In my opinion, if one had no experience shooting at all, the DI may be a bit easier, but with a few hundred rounds of practice the difference is negligible.

      I love my LWRC; you mileage will vary. Put some rounds through a piston AR before you obligate yourself to buying one.