Savage Scraps .300 AAC BLK Rifles

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In December last year Savage announced they would be producing a Model 10 Precision Carbine chambered in .300 AAC BLK. They have just announced they no longer plan to produce it.

Their explanation …

Some time ago, Savage announced it would be chambering the Model 10 Precision Carbine in 300 AAC Blackout. Since that time, we have tested many variants of this cartridge in various barrel lengths and rates of twist. This exhaustive testing left us quite unsatisfied with the accuracy we were able to get from the subsonic loads in this chambering. Accuracy with the lighter, faster loads in this caliber was actually quite good. But we believe the real value in this cartridge lies in the use of subsonic loads for suppressed rifles. Therefore we have decided to scrap the project.

It is our understanding that pushing these heavy, slow bullets presents challenges not found in typical loadings and that our experience is not unique. Subsequently, many in the industry have simply adopted a lower standard for accuracy for these subsonic loads. While this does seem reasonable and we don’t criticize any in our industry that have taken this approach, it just won’t work for Savage.

Our brand was built on accuracy and we are too protective of our reputation for building the most accurate factory rifles available. We would rather walk away from this opportunity than sell a product that requires an explanation.

It is no secret that long bullets (such as the .300 BLK 220 grain subsonic) need a faster twist rate than shorter bullets (such as the .300 BLK 125 grain supersonic). It is reasonable for a gun to shoot one more accurately than the other. In most cases the subsonic would be used for close range work where lower accuracy is not as important.

[ Many thanks to Woodroez for emailing us the tip. ]




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.


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  • Jester

    Respect to Savage. I’d rather have them drop a product that they don’t like than try to make a cheap buck off us.

  • http://www.ncguns.blogspot.com Sean D Sorrentino

    I still think that unless you get a HUGE bullet, subsonic is a gimmick. The suppressor is there to prevent you from blowing out your eardrums, not to make you completely silent.

    I’ve got news for you all, you aren’t black ops, hiding in the bushes and picking off terrorists. You’re either hunting a deer, in which case you’re suppressing to save your hearing and as a courtesy to your neighbors, or your using it in the home defense role, and a boltie is the wrong choice anyway.

    A suppressed, but supersonic bullet saves your eardrums. It makes your neighbors happy. And it does the job that it’s supposed to do when it arrives. A 220 grain .308 bullet at 950 fps is nothing more than a skinny .45 ACP bullet. If you wanted to turn your rifle into a .45, then do it. Don’t waste your time with a specialty cartridge.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Steve (The Firearm Blog)

      Quality .45 Carbines / AR-15 conversion kits are not readily available. .300 AAC BLK is a cheap way to have the benefits of a suppressed pistol cartridge. Just buy and upper and you are all set. I love hunting with suppressors :)

    • Lou

      This cartridge is the next fad… a couple of years ago it was the 6.8 SPC…. as for using a suppressor with a super sonic cartridge…. still loud in doors do to the sonic crack.

      But I’m not throwing money at a cartridge that will be dead in five years. Good for Savage Arms to seeing some common sense.

    • Andy from West Haven

      1,126 fps.

      If one can get the right barrel and load combo to conistently push a 240 grain bullet at 1,050 fps that’s 587 foot pounds.

      A 185 grain +p .45 flies around 1,150 fps for 543 foot pounds but that’s not a subsonic load.

      A 200 grain +p at 1,050 is 489 foot pounds and a 230 at 950 is 460 fp. Both are subsonic yet both don’t match the ME of the .300 BLK or Whisper at 1,050. Heck, if one can get it at 1,100 then that’s 644 foot pounds. Still subsonic. But just barely.

      • Andy from West Haven

        Oh, and those .45 velocities are for 4.5-5″ barrels. Out of carbine better to go standard pressure as there will be a velocity increase from the longer tube alone. Don’t get me wrong. A supressed .45 ACP AR is pretty damn cool. But I’d rather have a supressed .300

  • Raoul O’Shaughnessy

    What’s the big deal? Part of Savage’s attraction is that their barrels can be swapped out fairly easily with just a barrel wrench/vise and a headspace guage. Market the gun as a 2-barrel package…one barrel for the lighter bullets, one for the heavier.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Steve (The Firearm Blog)

      I don’t think they want their average customer swapping out barrels. That is better left to experts and gunsmiths.

      • Jim T

        The ease of changing a Savage barrel is so simple nearly anyone could do it. Gunsmith’s and “experts” aren’t required to switch calibers.

  • Matt G.

    Good. The entire idea of 300blk in a bolt gun is stupid. You can load any of the myriad of 30cals to subsonic all you want. The point of 300blk is to cycle an AR.

    • Other Steve

      It makes a lot of sense if you are invested in the 300blk round, if you hunt deer on the east coast and don’t want to make 300WSM flavord deer soup, it make sense you want the absolute quietest 300blk subsonic shot you can get, and if you want an intermediate ranch type rifle that doesn’t need the distance 223 of but has the better bullet design of the 308.

      You don’t like it so it’s stupid… Sounds about right for the Internet.

      • G

        “Sierra does not recommend MatchKing bullets for hunting applications.”

        Hornady about A-max: “These bullets are not recommended for hunting.”

  • Other Steve

    This is BS, if savage was interested in Subsonic, they wouldn’t have made a 20″ where factory subs would go super it transonic. 16″ is max subsonic length IMO, 8-9″ being ideal.

    There is another reason and they are covering. I could be wrong but something doesn’t seem right about a 20″ bolt gun maker complaining about subsonic accuracy.

    • Woodroez

      The statement said they experimented with several barrel lengths as well as barrel twist…I don’t really see why you would not take them at their word. Now would be the time for them to try to introduce a rifle in this caliber, striking while the iron’s hot and such, I would think.

      And they’re making, like, five different models of rifles both built for hunting and for LE/military that come with threaded barrels in .223, .308, and a hunting model in .338 win. They’re going as deep in that market niche as any rifle manufacturer of their kind.

    • Anon

      I was personally told the exact same story as above from a Savage rep last week – specifically, that they’d chosen not to produce the rifle because they simply couldn’t get accuracy up to their standards. When I asked whether he was referring to factory ammo or handloads, the rep indicated that the rifle would probably shoot just fine with handloads, but with their testing of the available commercial ammo the accuracy just wouldn’t suffice.

      Which is really a commentary on two things: Savage’s commitment to accuracy, and the lack of serious development of .300BLK right now as a commercially significant cartridge. Easy to produce some cheap blasting loads…harder to develop and bring to market an accurate hunting load in quantity at a reasonable price.

      • Woodroez

        That sounds fair enough. If this round does end up standing the test of time, maybe Savage and other non-Freedom Group rifle companies will revisit the concept.

    • G

      I have two acquaintances who have built bolt action rifles in 300 Whisper (i.e. the wildcat that inspired 300BLK). Neither were able to find subsonic loads that had good accuracy so I don’t doubt Savage’s claims.

      • Other Steve

        Ugh, what is it abou this site sometimes…

        If factor sub loads are going transonic in some people’s 16″ ARs occasionally, why would savage make a 20″ that almost promised them to be past the ragged edge of subsonic? If they are going transonic all accuracy bets are off.

        Even last that, after 200 yards you need to be so dead on Wih your range estimation that subsonic accuracy doesn’t matter. For instance, 2Moa is fine for subs as the rainbow trajectory makes it very difficult regardless. Subs are for 100y-, anyone that has shot them knows this. Who would expect a 220gr mass to fly at 1050fps like its flying at 2100fps? Standard BC does not apply for subs.

        Savage knew all this going in. There sudden, oh it’s not very accurate makes no sense.

      • G

        Other Steve:

        Most, if not all, match ammunition for 22LR is subsonic. Yet people seem to get som really good accuracy with 22LR match ammo:
        http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/2012/04/22-lr-ammunition-accuracy-55-types-tested/

  • Jason

    Good. Now hopefully they’ll concentrate on something useful like a 6.5 Grendel bolt gun =)

    *Tiger Woods Fist Pump*

  • http://corn,beans,spentbrass,anemptypageandadeadline Frank W. James

    I’ve been shooting and loading the .300 Whisper since its initial introduction (many, many years ago) and my favorite subsonic loads (1,037 fps) with either the 220 gr. or 240 gr. Sierra MatchKing bullets will stay sub-minute of angle all day long. On a really good day I can put 5 rds together that measure almost a half-inch at a 100 yards, certainly within .60 of an inch.

    I simply don’t buy “the subsonic rounds aren’t accurate” argument. It flies in the face of my personal experience and my .300 Whisper AR has a 1-10″ rate of twist.

    But I will also say we are beginning to see failures with the .30 caliber 220 gr. subsonic suppressed loads on feral hogs and have switched exclusively to the 240 gr. Sierra MatchKing out of a suppressed .300 Whisper AR-15 as we have yet to experience any failures with them.

    My thoughts are Savage didn’t want to use a ‘faster’ twist rate for their rifling and therefore made the decision to bow out…

    All The Best,
    Frank W. James

    • Larry

      Good info. Frank.

      I’m wondering what gun and barrel length you were using. Also, I’m interested in discovering the exact load you used.

  • ibgp3

    “Savage was going to offer a 300 Blackout rifle, but they said they could not get good accuracy out of subsonic loads, so they have dropped it. ”
    ” This exhaustive testing left us quite unsatisfied with the accuracy we were able to get from the subsonic loads in this chambering. Accuracy with the lighter, faster loads in this caliber was actually quite good. ”

    “Savage used 1:10 twist and 20 inch barrels – about the two worst decisions imaginable. 1:10 is not stable with 220 and 20 inch makes subsonic go transonic.” (R Silvers for AAC)

    If Silvers information is correct, Savage had a tumbling bullet going subsonic between the muzzle and the target. I think the surprise would be if you hit a target.

  • 300Fireball old school

    Why wouldn’t they just go with a 1 in 8″ twist rate?

  • http://TheFirearmBlog grandpa

    Now that the 300 is out, may be Savage can put some money into a stock that is much better then the ones they are putting out now. Every Savage i have owned the first thing i do is can the stock, i admit that i have never owned one of there wood stocks but from what i understand they are of good quality at least the laminated ones.