How far is 300 blackout effective?
The 300 Black is a unique ammunition developed by AAC (Advanced Armament Corporation) that combines a 30 caliber projectile with a 5.56 casing body.
By incorporating a 30 caliber projectile, it offers a wide range of weight options, spanning from 110 grains to 220 grains. This versatility enables the rounds to be either subsonic or supersonic, while still ensuring reliable cycling of the weapon even when shooting suppressed.
We're going to focus on the effective range of the 300 Blackout, especially when fired from a 9" barrel or a 16" barrel on an AR-15 platform.
Effective range is the maximum distance at which a bullet can accurately hit a target and achieve the desired effect. By the U.S. Army standard, it can neutralize an enemy.
The 300 Blackout has a variety of effective ranges depending on the load you are using. Subsonic 300 Blackout loads have less range than supersonic loads.
Some loads send bullets faster than the sound barrier. These bullets travel in a straighter line and are less affected by the wind. However, they don't carry as much energy far away.
For a fair comparison, the Hornady V-Max 110-grain load (zeroed at 100 yards through 16 inches of barrel) has a muzzle velocity of 2,375 fps. This .30-caliber bullet drops less than 9 feet at 500 yards (21 feet less than the subsonic version) and carries 362-foot-pounds of energy there. At 300 yards, the holdover is only 23.4 inches.
These numbers show that it shoots straighter than the subsonic 300 Blackout load. On the other hand, its light weight means it loses energy as it travels.
300 Blackout Bullet Drop Data Table
Here's a table that lists the bullet drop data along with ballistic energy (ft lb) for different barrel lengths and distances:
|Ammo/Barrel Length||200 Yards||300 Yards||400 Yards||500 Yards|
|Hornady 110gr (10")||-8/692||-28.4/530||-64.9/409||-122.2/324|
|Hornady 110gr (12")||-7.5/734||-26.6/563||-60.9/433||-114.9/340|
|Hornady 110gr (16")||-6.6/824||-23.5/634||-53.9/486||-101.8/377|
|Hornady 125gr (10")||-9.7/672||-33.9/522||-76.5/412||-142.7/337|
|Hornady 125gr (12")||-9/716||-31.6/556||-71.1/436||-133.9/353|
|Hornady 125gr (16")||-7.9/810||-27.7/629||-63/489||-118.1/389|
|Hornady 190gr (10")||-47.6/280||-147.5/264||-303/249||-518.2/235|
|Hornady 190gr (12")||-41.8/316||-130.1/296||-267.9/278||-458.7/262|
|Hornady 190gr (16")||-33.4/384||-104.9/355||-217.7/331||-375.1/309|
How It Compares To Other 30 Caliber Bullet
Credit Sniper Country Studies
The substantial variance in bullet drop between the two subsonic .300 BLK rounds and the other 300 BLK and .308 Win rounds. At a distance of 200 yards, the subsonic .300 BLK rounds exhibit an approximate 25-inch greater drop compared to the rest, and this difference extends to nearly 100 inches at the 300-yard mark. It's crucial to understand that this disparity doesn't imply inferiority; rather, it highlights that these rounds are not optimized for long-range shooting.
Turning our attention to the supersonic .300 BLK rounds, their behavior aligns more closely with the .308 Win rounds at 200 yards, albeit with a slightly higher bullet drop of approximately 4-5 inches. However, this discrepancy becomes more pronounced as the bullets reach the 300-yard mark, with the .300 BLK rounds experiencing a 15-20-inch greater drop than the .308 Win rounds. This data underscores the distinction in ballistic performance between these rounds at extended distances.
300 Blackout Effective Range For 9" Barrel
From a 9-inch barrel, the 300 AAC Blackout 125 grain bullet has a maximum effective range of 440 meters. This is because the bullet drops 100 inches at 410 meters, drifts 41 inches at 470 meters, and has 291 foot-pounds of energy at 625 meters.
Most 9" 300 blackout barrels can achieve this performance under normal shooting conditions unless stated otherwise.
300 Blackout Effective Range For 16" Barrel
The maximum effective range for 300 blackout when fired from a 16" barrel is 460 meters with maximum muzzle velocity, or 503 yards. This is the farthest distance you can expect to hit your target accurately with this cartridge. But remember, the 300 Blackout might not keep at least 260 ft lbs of energy at every point throughout that range.
For self-defense in the civilian world, to get the desired effect, the bullet has to be able to transfer at least 260 ft lbs of energy to its target at its maximum range. And for deer hunting, you want your bullet to hit with at least 1,000 ft lbs of energy for a quick and humane kill.
Lighter weight prevents them from carrying an equivalent level of energy at longer distances.
For a fair comparison, let's consider the Hornady V-Max 110-grain load, which is also zeroed at 100 yards using a 16-inch barrel. This particular load achieves a muzzle velocity of 2,375 fps. At 500 yards, the .30-caliber bullet drops by less than 9 feet (21 feet less compared to the subsonic 300 blackout effective range) while retaining 362-foot-pounds of energy. At 300 yards, the required holdover is only 23.4 inches.
These numbers clearly demonstrate that the load with higher velocity has a flatter trajectory compared to the subsonic load. Conversely, its lightweight projectile loses energy at a faster rate downrange, which is why Hornady designates it as suitable for target shooting and varmint hunting.
300 Blackout Ballistic Energy
The .308 rounds significantly outperform the 300 BLK rounds in general, with over 1,000 foot-pounds more energy than the highest-performing 300 BLK round. This ballistic trend remains consistent from the muzzle out to 500 yards.
Additionally, it's evident that the 300 BLK supersonic rounds possess much higher muzzle energy than the subsonic rounds, which is expected. The subsonic rounds, however, maintain their bullet energy downrange at a more consistent rate than the supersonic rounds, resulting in both categories being closely clustered at the 500-yard mark. Nevertheless, for medium to longer-range shots, the supersonic rounds offer distinct advantages over the 300 blackout subsonic rounds.