Guns Rifles

New .300 AAC Blackout and .17 Hornet Cartridges Introduced, But Should You Even Care?

John B. Snow Avatar

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With the same predictability of the sun rising in the east, whenever a new cartridge is announced legions of grumpy traditionalists line up to denounce the upstart as irrelevant, unnecessary, inferior and a ruse by gun companies to get them to buy yet another gun. This last bit as though gun companies existed for some other purpose.

This isn’t to say that the grumps don’t have a point. Anybody been tearing up the gophers with their .223 WSSM this spring?

Well there are two new cartridges to kick around this year, the .300 AAC Blackout, which is nearly identical to the .300 Whisper, and the .17 Hornet, which is a .22 Hornet necked down to take the .17-cailber bullet.

For hunting purposes the .300 Blackout is a moderately powered deer round that will feed via AR-15 style magazines and lowers, and joins the ranks of cartridges like the 6.8 SPC and .30 Remington AR that both do the same thing.

The .17 Hornet fills a gap between the wildly successful .17 HMR and the .17 Remington and no doubt caused many a prairie dog to soil itself when it was announced.

I’m not sure I’m going to rush out to purchase either of these but I’m more than willing to give them a chance. I like my traditional cartridges just fine, but I love using the .17 HMR on ground squirrels here in Montana along with my Rock River Arms varminter in .204 Ruger. I’m also half convinced that I don’t need any other cartridge for big game than the 6.5 Creedmoor, given how well it does with Hornady’s 130-gr. GMX bullet. And I still have a soft spot for my .338 Federal, which as accounted for everything from coyotes to moose. Using the 180-gr. AccuBond, it’ll take down any animal and the recoil is hardly noticeable.