BUYER'S GUIDE

EX­PAND­ING 300 BLACK­OUT SUBSONIC AMMO

Recoil - - Front Page - BY IAIN HAR­RI­SON PHO­TOS BY KENDA LENSIEGNE

300 BLK has a lot go­ing for it, right up to the point at which you try to take ad­van­tage of its subsonic prow­ess for tasks other than punch­ing pa­per. Com­mon subsonic loads, even if tipped with a frag­ile match bul­let such as the ubiq­ui­tous 220-grain Sierra Matchk­ing, plow 0.30-inch di­am­e­ter holes straight through fleshy tar­gets and keep on truckin’ right into the next in­con­ve­niently lo­cated piece of real es­tate.

We’ve tried bul­lets that in other ap­pli­ca­tions are pos­i­tively ex­plo­sive. Hor­nady’s 208-grain A-Max, for ex­am­ple, frag­ments vi­o­lently when shoved out the muz­zle at even .308 Win ve­loc­i­ties, but from a Black­out you might as well be us­ing a DeWalt. Get­ting a .30-cal to ex­pand re­li­ably at around 1,000 feet per sec­ond re­quires a spe­cial­ized pro­jec­tile, and they’re not ex­actly in­ex­pen­sive.

Be­ing cheap bas­tards, in times past we ex­per­i­mented by cut­ting back the jacket tip on an SMK and then bor­ing out the meplat, think­ing that this would be enough to in­duce ex­pan­sion. Great the­ory, sucks in prac­tice. Gel test­ing con­firmed that it per­forms no bet­ter than an un­al­tered bul­let, so why waste the ef­fort? Cut­ting to the chase, we rounded up a small se­lec­tion of ex­pand­ing subs. Note there are a few more com­pa­nies who of­fer bul­lets for you to roll your own (Cut­ting Edge, for ex­am­ple), but as work has dis­placed gen­tle-paced pur­suits like reload­ing, we’d of­ten rather pay in money than time.

If you de­cide that a subsonic 300 BLK fills your re­quire­ments for a stealthy hog slayer, or you’ve set­tled on that cal­iber for home de­fense du­ties, then you might want to avail your­self of our buyer’s guide be­low.

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