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Yes, 300 BLK is Great for Deer

300 BLK has gotten a bad rap in the hunting community. A lot of old-timey hunters clutch to their wood stocks and bolt actions, sinisterly eyeing up the modern black rifle – a fine sporting and hunting rifle by any measure – the way Salem’s archaic townsfolk viewed maidens accused of witchcraft. 

But the 300 BLK-chambered AR 15 is great for deer, in the right configuration, shooting the right rounds. Search up “300 BLK hunting” on Google (like we jest with all other controversial topics) and you’ll find a plethora of forums containing posts complaining about hunters using the whisper round. Those folks are using it incorrectly.

(You Have to Go Supersonic!)

We’ll start with this disclaimer: You should not hunt deer with subsonic rounds. Does a subsonic, suppressed AR 15 in 300 BLK have its place in the hunter’s closet? Yes, when it’s used to take small, wild boar at close range. Otherwise, it is not suited for hunting.

But supersonic 300 BLK is wonderful – in fact, it’s better than 5.56 or .223, and we wager you’ll enjoy hunting with supersonic 300 BLK more than you would with .308. Wanna know why?

300 BLK Guns Are Lightweight

308 rifles are heavy, and that makes hunting a pain in the ass – especially when you’re trying to quietly stalk a buck. The average AR 10 platform weighs at least 7.25 pounds and can weight up to 9 pounds, depending on furniture and optics. Every ounce counts on the hunt, and the lightweight 300 BLK provides all the benefits of a compact AR 15 with enough firepower to drop that trophy quickly.

300 BLK Will, in Fact, Drop a Deer

Hunters like to keep things simple when it comes to numbers. Lucky for us, that means the minimum ethical amount of energy required to put a deer down quickly is 1,000 foot-pounds on the nose. While subsonic 300 BLK only packs a paltry 500 foot-pounds of energy, supersonic loads are another story.

The average supersonic, 125-grain 300 BLK round packs 1,360 pound-feet of energy, well above the minimum limit considered necessary for taking a deer. Mind you, this is all accomplished using a mostly stock AR 15 platform – the only difference between a 300 BLK gun and a 5.56 rifle is the barrel and chamber.

300 BLK is Convenient

That brings us to another point: 300 BLK is super-convenient if you’re already a black rifle owner. You get to use the same buttstocks, triggers, handguards, muzzle devices, optics, and all those other goodies that you probably already own.

That makes transforming your existing hardware into a deer hunting rifle a breeze. If you really wanted to keep things quick and easy, you could literally buy a 300 Blackout chambered barrel, slap it on your current AR 15, and go hunt deer.

300 BLK is Accurate

 Obviously, accuracy and shot placement are the two primary keys to successfully hunting deer. That means taking an accurate rifle out in the field. Fate would have it that 300 Blackout is also extremely accurate, especially at distances less than 200 yards.

Our standard 4150 Chromoly barrels are reportedly shooting 1” shot groups at 100 yards, while our stainless 416R barrels are managing somewhere around 0.7” shot groups at 100 yards. Most hunters report taking their shots between 100 yards and 150 yards. That means you get to enjoy laser accuracy in a rifle that’s lighter in weight and more compact than your typical deer rifle.

Optics and Hardware Options are Endless

We already briefly hit on this, but the choice of optics and accuracy-improving hardware available for the AR 15 outnumbers the average deer rifle by exponential figures. There’s simply a bigger market for the AR platform, and that means you get to enjoy more, higher quality components at more affordable prices.

Need more reasons to hunt with 300 Blackout? Probably not, but we could certainly go on comparing 300 LK to other, more conventional deer cartridges – and more often than not, the results will speak for themselves. 300 BLK is great for deer. Most folks just don’t realize it.

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The Ultimate 300 BLK Hunting Rifle: It’s in The Barrel

300 Blackout is awesome for hunting. Want to stalk wild boar? Easy. You can make your rifle so quiet, the only sound you’ll hear when you squeeze the trigger is the bolt cycling – that’s with subsonic. Shoot supersonic and stay within 150 yards (the distance that 96% of all hunters take their shots) and you’ll be able to drop a deer or elk with ease.

But hunting with an AR 15 requires the right setup. Perfecting that setup becomes even more important if you want a gun that’ll reliably, accurately shoot suppressed or unsuppressed – remember, we’re working with loads raining from 120 grains up to 220 and more.

Best Barrel Length for Hunting with 300 BLK

Thankfully, we have just the setup for you. But before we get to anything else, let’s clear something up: Longer barrels do not equal more accuracy. Longer barrels only provide more velocity, but every round has its optimal velocity and barrel length. This misconception about barrel length and accuracy has managed to live too long in the AR world, thanks to the ballistics of the standard 5.56 NATO cartridge

Why? Because most AR 15s are built using 16” barrels, but the 5.56 optimal barrel length is 20”. That’s because the original M16 featured a 20” barrel – that’s the length that gets 5.56 moving as fast as it’ll ever go.

But how much barrel is needed to get 300 BLK trucking along at terminal velocity? Only meager 9”. That’s right, it’s over half the required length. Same gun otherwise, by appearance and function – wildly different requirements.

That means you can hogs and four-legged creatures using a more compact rifle. If you don’t want to deal with the NFA paperwork of building an SBR, we recommend the minimum barrel length of 16”.

You’ll also want to stick with a pistol- or carbine-length gas system. These two systems are the only lengths capable of cycling supersonic and subsonic munitions, suppressed or unsuppressed.

The Best Twist Rate is…

Simply put, the best twist rate for hunting with 300 BLK is 1:7 or 1:8. If you plan to shoot heavier, subsonic rounds more for those juicy, mean hogs, then the “faster” 1:7 is best. If you want to drop deer or elk at greater distances with lighter supersonic loads, 1:8 will do you just fine.

If your rifle’s going to be dedicated to shooting supersonic loads, you could go with a 1:10 twist rate. But the return on the investment is minimal compared to 1:8. You’ll also sacrifice some much-needed stability if you ever do decide to shoot subsonic.

Picking the Right Barrel Steel

We’ll keep this simple once again: Stainless is inherently more accurate than chromoly steel barrels. Why? Because the steel that should be used in barrel building – 416R Stainless, the stuff we use – provides the best machinability to create the most precise rifling. It also suffers fewer ferrous and non-metallic properties, like sulfur, which can shorten barrel life and rifling precision.

That’s not to say a high-quality 4150 Chromoly barrel won’t be accurate. Our customers frequently comment on their ability to achieve 1 MOA accuracy at 100 yards – with our 416R stainless barrels, that number drops down to around 0.7 MOA, or less than 1” groupings at 100 yards.

All Other Components Considered

Your barrel length and steel, twist rate, and gas system are the three critical components needed to build the ultimate 300 BLK hunting rifle. You’ll also want to invest in some flip-up front and rear sights (we particularly like Magpul’s BUIS system for its cost and quality).

With this configuration we also recommend sticking with your typical adjustable buttstock – none of those large, fixed, heavy stocks are necessary at the distances you’ll be hunting. They add weight and bulk, and generally hinder the whole purpose of the ultimate 300 BLK hunting rifle: To function as a lightweight, compact, accurate weapon out to 200 yards.

 The Lower Counts, Too

Picking a good, quality lower with a smooth trigger system is the final key in unlocking the perfect 300 BLK hunting rifle. Our premium lower parts kit offers that crisp single-stage trigger you’re looking for. It affords little to no takeup, overtravel, or creep, and it’s tuned to a Goldilocks 4.5 pound pull.