The Great Blackout of 1965 caused the power sytems throughout the Northeast to fail, thus plunging New York, Boston and other cities into darkess during the evening rush hour. Owing to its modular design, the adaptability of the modern sporting rifle (MSR) is unparalleled; in fact, it’s the only platform with which the highly subjective term “perfection” can be quickly, easily and affordably achieved for a large (and growing) segment of the shooting public.
An absence of anything but low-quality, surplus-type ammunition didn’t improve perception of the cartridge, either. Owners of inexpensive SKS and AK-47 rifles tend to feed them with equally inexpensive and readily available ammo. High-quality AR platforms, like the Rock River Arms LAR-47 X-1, help wring the accuracy potential from the 7.62x39 mm cartridge, despite the dearth of match-grade ammunition in the chambering.
Other manufacturers, such as Windham Weaponry, Patriot Ordnance, ArmaLite, Bushmaster, Olympic Arms and LWRC use AR-15-size receivers and AR-style magazines.
Shortly after SAAMI approval, the marketplace was awash with .300 Blackout-chambered arms and ammunition, a trend that continues today. As varied as factory-loaded ammunition is, it’s only a drop in the bucket compared to the options accessible to handloaders. The versatility of the .300 Blackout and ease of chambering it in standard AR platforms has led to its embrace by AR manufacturers like Rock River Arms. For shooters desiring a new rifle in .300 Blackout, nearly all AR manufacturers offer options.
Which is Better?Well, the cartridges are virtually identical ballistically when bullets of similar weight are compared and both muzzle velocity and ballistic coefficient (BC) are factored in.
SAAMI dimensions (minimums for overall length) measured in inches demonstrate the similarities of these two cartridges. Get the Shooting Illustrated Reloaded newsletter for at-a-glance access to industry news, gear, gun reviews, videos and more—delivered directly to your Inbox.
Given the quantity of both small- and large-scale AR parts and accessories manufacturers—particularly in the aftermarket—there’s something to satisfy even the most-discriminating palate. In fact, shortly after facing the cartridge in battle in Cholm, Russia, in 1942, the USSR commenced creating its own intermediate-range infantry cartridge. Don’t expect sub-MOA accuracy from this discount ammunition, but it’s perfectly acceptable for plinking and practice.


Concerning .300 Blackout ammunition, it’s available from Barnes, Federal, Hornady and others with weights ranging from 90 grains to 220 grains. Companies such as Rock River Arms, Wilson Combat, DPMS and others offer AR-pattern rifles, but other choices in the caliber exist, too. Feeding the tapered Soviet round from AR-pattern magazine can result in frustration, especially if said taper isn’t accounted for.
That’s where the primary parallels end; there are real, noteworthy differences to consider when contemplating the cartridge to best fit your shooting needs.
The rifle with which the chambering is inexorably linked, the select-fire AK-47, was not ready for military trials until after the war ended.
Because of the circumstances surrounding, and locations of, world conflicts since its unveiling, this “middle-ground” cartridge has proven time and again to be particularly well-suited for the “modern” battlefield—spitting distance engagements in jungles and city streets, where the extra energy and reach offered by full-length rifle rounds, such as the 7.62x54 mm R, is generally unnecessary. Yet, such ammo offered unequalled value, which led to acceptance of surplus arms in the chambering, especially the SKS. Moreover, low-capacity, five- and 10-round AK magazines, which are needed for hunting or ownership in certain locales, are few in number. Even 7.62x39 mm-specific AR-style magazines have a reputation for poor feeding, as evidenced on forums and product re-views. In fact, projectiles run from 78 grains (Lehigh Defense Close Quarters) to 240 grains (Sierra MatchKing). For example, Ruger has a Mini-14 Tactical model in the caliber, and bolt-actions and single-shots are also available and are ideal for suppressed shooting. However, the increased BCs of the bullets used in the latter negate much of that velocity difference.
Further, bullets for the latter are generally FMJ in profile, which are good for practice but poor first choices for defense and mostly illegal for hunting. For this reason, many manufacturers opt to use AK-47 magazines, however, doing so requires the use of a larger receiver.
SKS and AK-47 rifles are still the arms most commonly chambered for this efficient, ultra-reliable cartridge. Thanks to pre- and post-election hoarding, much of the Cold War-era supplies of surplus 7.62x39 ammunition have dried up, but the ability of foreign makers (especially in Russia) to produce high volumes of steel-case ammunition at low cost remains.


That has changed in recent years as the popularity of the chambering in AR platforms has grown. Additionally, .30-caliber projectiles offer superior ballistic coefficients—especially those heavy-for-caliber options. Moreover, AK-47 magazines are less varied in capacity, which may or may not be an important consideration for you. Thus, the primary allure of the Soviet creation is acceptable-quality ammunition at minimal cost. Unless used for personal protection or hunting, seldom will the owners of the aforementioned rifles pair them with top-notch loads. Of course, other changes, such as the bolt, firing pin and extractor must be made to accommodate the larger cartridge, so the interchangeability of these parts isn’t possible. Lastly, the 7.62x39 mm requires the use of unique, non-interchangeable parts that take into account the cartridge’s larger size. As such, relatively little research and development has been employed in creating “premium” offerings; quite simply, the demand is thought to be too small to warrant it. Fireball loaded with light- and heavy-for-caliber bullets to supersonic and subsonic velocities, respectively—was created for enhanced external and terminal performance (over 5.56 NATO) in the M16 platform while using existing magazines loaded to full capacity.
This somewhat counters the Blackout’s lower muzzle velocities (compared to the 7.62x39 mm), which is due in part to its smaller case capacity. Because the .300 Blackout is a SAAMI-approved cartridge, reloading dies have standardized dimensions and are offered by several makers.
For clandestine work, subsonic loads were paired with sound suppressors, which Jones’ SSK Industries also built.
The problem was, there were dimensional variations stemming from companies bypassing Jones’ original work.




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Rubric: Blacked Out Trailer



Comments

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