Looking for an exciting new ammo to try out in your AR-15?
While the firearms industry may forever be inundated with new cartridges that are first described as “revolutionary” before fading into obscurity and obsolescence, a select few, through chance or by design, seem to take hold immediately with shooters and only grow more popular as time goes on.
The best example in recent years? .300 Blackout.
If you aren’t familiar, .300 Blackout, or .300 BLK, is a round that is designed to work with the AR-15 platform, and to excel in short-barreled and/or suppressed weapons. It mimics the Russian 7.62×39 round, and can even be loaded into standard 5.56/.223 AR-15 magazines.
The overall design goal was to have a harder hitting round that could be suppressed more easily, would burn all its powder in a shorter barrel, and would have superior terminal ballistics at short range than the venerable 5.56×45.
Fortunately for Advanced Armament Corporation (AAC), the creators of the round, development of the .300 BLK concluded and it was released out into the world right when interest in SBRs and suppressed rifles was beginning to peak.
Ever since the round has enjoyed wide popularity with shooters that like the AR-15 platform, but need something other than the 5.56.
And of course, with that popularity, comes a huge variety of ammunition manufacturers all making a huge variety of .300 Blackout ammo.
That all can make it hard to choose the very best.
Fortunately for the .300 Blackout-buying public, we rounded up all the best .300 BLK ammo for every purpose imaginable, including hunting, target shooting, suppressed shooting, and self-defense.
We’ll show you which brands we think are right for you, regardless of what you need it for.
What makes .300 Blackout so Popular?
.300 Blackout owes its success to a few key factors. One, it excels more than almost any other round when used in short, 9-inch-or-less barrels. These types of barrels have become extremely popular following the advent of the AR pistol brace that allows shooters to avoid hefty NFA tax stamps for true SBRs.
Two, it hits harder than the 5.56×45 at typical self-defense and hunting ranges and has better average terminal performance.
Finally, the smaller, and specially formulated powder charge allows the round to completely expend its powder in a shorter barrel, and this same characteristic makes it an excellent caliber for a suppressor host, because you have very little unburnt powder or excess gas.
Best .300 Blackout Ammo
Now that we’ve discussed what makes the .300 BLK so very popular, let’s look at ammo options.
Best .300 Blackout Ammo for Target Shooting and Plinking: Hornady American Gunner
Hornady’s American Gunner line has rapidly gained a reputation as one of the best budget ammunition lines around, especially given the quality and consistency of the ammunition for the price.
Hornady American Gunner .300 BLK 125 Gr.
- Good Value
- Not a good cheap hunting round
The 125gr .300 BLK round with an HP is an excellent loading for general purpose use and is still cheap enough that you can send a few dozen rounds downrange into empty cans and such without feeling like you’re wasting money.
It’s not a great hunting or self-defense round, but it can be used as a light varmint round for things like coyotes and prairie dogs, and it’s more than accurate for use if you want to try a .300 BLK in a competition like 3-Gun.
Best .300 Blackout Ammo for Hunting: Barnes VOR-TX
One of the best things about .300 BLK is that it makes hunting with an AR-15 a much more viable option, and it uses the same mags as a standard .223/5.56 AR. The increased kinetic performance offers a huge step up in terminal ballistics, and it’s much more widely accepted as a legal deer cartridge than the .223/5.56.
Barnes VOR-TX .300 BLK 110 Gr.
- Great expansion
- Consistent terminal performance
- Still can’t do much beyond 300 yards
- Fairly expensive
There are a number of excellent .300 BLK hunting rounds available, but the Barnes VOR-TX 110gr loading is excellent for deer and hogs, and anything smaller that walks the earth. It’s a very well-designed bullet that offers good expansion, and near-ideal energy transfer when striking medium-sized game.
The .300 BLK is no long range round and is best suited for use inside of 200 yards on nothing larger than 300lbs, but with the VOR-TX bullet in this load, you’ll be able to put down just about anything within those parameters.
Best .300 Blackout Ammo for Self-Defense and Tactical Use: Fiocchi SST
There are a lot of options out there if you’re looking to use .300 BLK to deal with two-legged threats, whether you’re looking to defend yourself in your home, or are looking to outfit your department or agency with something a little beefier than the standard 5.56, or that is easier to suppress.
Fiocchi SST .300 BLK 125 Gr.
- Specifically designed for defensive use
- Excellent expansion
One of the best of choices for this kind of work is Fiocchi’s 125gr SST load, which is a supersonic round topped with a Hornady projectile that is specifically designed to defeat barriers and obstacles such as clothing while still offering excellent expansion against dangerous targets.
This load is rumored to have been used by special operations forces in several countries and is an excellent choice for anyone looking to use the .300 BLK in a defensive (or legal and justified offensive) manner.
Best .300 Blackout Ammo for Suppressed Shooting: Hornady Black 200gr A-Max
Hornady’s A-Max bullet has won acclaim the world over as an excellent projectile with good terminal performance, and it truly excels in the 200gr form here. This is one of the quietest suppressor-ready rounds on the market right now, certainly one of the quietest centerfire rounds, and with a good suppressor, the action of a semi-automatic rifle is going to be louder than the report of the powder detonation.
Hornady Black A-Max .300 BLK 200 Gr.
- Quiet. Almost “action movie” quiet.
- Good terminal performance
- Only effective out to about 75-100 yards
This is also a great round for hunting hogs and other large varmints, especially when you’re trying to put down several of the large pests without spooking the entire herd. This is one of the largest .300 BLK bullets available, and it does a more than fair job against most game the .300 BLK can be used on.
Best of all, it’s not terribly expensive either.
.300 Blackout may have seemed like a “flavor of the month” round to start with, but it’s certainly here to stay at this point–and for a good reason. This round is a great addition to the AR-15 lineup, and the plethora of quality ammunition makes it easy to find something for any purpose.
Do you like .300 Blackout? If so, how does it perform for you? Tell us in the comments! Want to discover other ammo types for your AR-15? We’ve got it all in our guide to the best AR-15 ammo.