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The Gun Shots
March 07, 2013
Gun Review: DPMS 300 AAC Blackout - 1
by John B. Snow
The 300 AAC Blackout is an interesting little cartridge. It is a .30-caliber round designed to feed through AR-15-size rifles and magazines. It was originally developed for the military—the justification being that it has better terminal ballistics than the 5.56 NATO and is superior in design to the 7.62x39, at least with respect to the AR platform, while equaling the classic AK-47 round’s performance. Though, like any new round, it has generated considerable interest among sportsmen, who are using it on deer, hogs, and other game.
But it has also caused some confusion among shooters. How does the 300 BLK (as it is also known), which debuted in 2011, differ from the 300 Whisper, created by J.D. Jones back in 1992? (The answer: It doesn’t really, except for minor dimensional differences.) And how compatible are the two flavors of loads being offered in the 300 AAC Blackout—the supersonic cartridges that use bullets weighing from 110 to 150 grains and the subsonic loads that employ much heavier bullets, weighing 208 grains and more?
Against this backdrop, DPMS has introduced this new rifle.
DPMS settled on a brisk 1-in-7-inch twist, which in theory should favor the heavier subsonic loads. But that wasn’t reflected at the range; the supersonic loads shot quite well, while the subsonic offerings had difficulty.
I put five loads through the DPMS during the evaluation, chronographing their speeds. The rifle showed a preference for two in particular: Remington’s 125-grain OTM (2,252 fps) and Hornady’s 110-grain A-Max (2,384 fps), which is chambered in 300 Whisper. The A-Max delivered sub-MOA accuracy, printing the smallest group of the test—a .874-inch five-shot group. The accuracy of this load (and the others, for that matter) would certainly have been better if the rifle were equipped with a better trigger. The factory trigger on my sample was rough, with a fair amount of creep, and broke at 6 pounds 6 ounces. An aftermarket trigger would be a wise investment.
The average group size for the Remington 125-grain OTM was 1.435 inches, while the Remington 115-grain CTFB’s groups (2,334 fps) opened up to 2.813 inches. Between the two subsonic loads, Hornady’s 208-grain A-Max (882 fps) averaged 3.030-inch groups, whereas Remington’s 220-grain load (885 fps) had trouble holding dinner-plate-size patterns.
So where does that leave this rifle? The faster loads, which will be more effective for hunters, worked well, making this round a viable option for close shots (200 yards or less) on big game and varmints.
With this in mind, the DPMS 300 AAC is well suited for hunting at moderate ranges and has the flexibility to be configured for competition and self-defense.