April 5, 2018

An In-Depth Comparison of the .300 Blackout Vs .308 Winchester

This cartridge comparison will analyze the .300 Blackout and the .308 Winchester. The two cartridges have the ability to take high caliber bullets but there are other interesting attributes about them.

The comparison will shed light on these attributes and it will more or less make the case for why you need to use different types of cartridges in order to diversify your shooting experience.

A Brief History

.300 Blackout


First of all, let’s begin with a brief history of the .300 Blackout. The cartridge was first introduced in 2011 by the Advanced Armament Corporation. The initial idea for the development of the .300 Blackout was inspired by the need to develop a round that could easily match or improve the performance of enemy arms. The .300 Blackout was meant to be so versatile it could match the 7.62x39 rounds and still be used for a short barrel.

At the time of its development, there were glaring frustrations with other rounds that were available in the market. The 5.56x45 NATO, in particular, was criticized for lacking the required performance capabilities including high velocity. The round also made a horrible noise and flashed in close quarter environments.

The military had access to a 9mm round although some special forces expressed dissatisfaction with the round’s performance. With all these issues, there was a clear need for a better round and the .300 Blackout was developed as a possible fix. Ever since its development, the .300 Blackout has smoothly assimilated into very many corners of the shooting communities. At the moment, the cartridges are popular with special operations forces, home defense, competition shooting, and even hunting.

The .300 Blackout comes in both subsonic and transonic velocities. This adds to its versatility, making it an ideal multipurpose option in the gun community.

.308 Winchester


The .308 Winchester traces its roots in hunting and tactical traditions. The cartridge was first introduced in 1952 and soon after it became one of the most popular choices in America’s hunting world. However, due to its impressive performance specs, the .308 Winchester was adopted by the military and it was heavily used during the Vietnam war. The NATO version of the .308 Winchester, however, didn’t last long. The cartridge was replaced by the M16/5.56 combo.

But this didn’t in any way prevent the .308 Winchester from growing. The cartridge continued to attract hunters and other shooters in the country and soon enough it accumulated a large base of loyal fans who saw the value it brought. The .308 Winchester is a large round that has excellent range. Its stopping power and penetration are also quite good.​

For people who are interested in large game caliber bullets for hunting, the .308 Winchester would be the perfect choice to go for. The .308 Winchester is after all widely used in hunting but it has a few other applications in the police, the military, and among sharpshooters.​

Ammunition Specs

The .308 Winchester is a powerful rifle round that has been in the market for nearly seventy years. It uses a 30 caliber projectile with a case length of 51 mm. As for the speeds, lightly loaded rounds like the 125 spitzer cna can reach speeds of 3,100 feet per second.

The .300 Blackout, on the other hand, came loaded with a SAAMI spec when it first came out in 2011. The .300 is perfect for short barrels that have a suppressor. The cartridge uses a 35 mm case with a 30 caliber projectile. Ammunition speed is, however, lower compared to its rival. For instance, a 125 grain spitzer round will reach speeds of up to 2,125 feet per second.

Rifle Selection

It’s important to know the type of rifle you are looking for when it comes to the two rounds. Traditional hunting rifles will more often than not suffice for both. Tactical rifles are good enough too. However, there are a few specific details you need to keep in mind.

Here is the breakdown:

Tactical Rifles

In the semi-automatic tactical section, the two rounds have a great diversity of options. The .308, for instance, can be perfect for older battle rifles like the G3, the M1A, the FN FAL, and the AR 10. It’s very easy to understand why this is the case.

The rifles were designed when the .308 was popularly used by the military. Other than the A10, these other rifles are quite dated. They rely on iron sights other than optics and can be very heavy. In case you want a modern option that’s modular and relatively adaptable, then the AR10 is your best shot. It’s also the cheapest and most readily available tactical rifle for the .308.

As for the .300 Blackout, the fact that it came out in 2011 makes it adaptable to a wide range of modern tactical rifles. The .300 was initially designed for the AR15 and as such, this is the most common rifle you are likely to find the rounds in.

However, other semi-automatic rifles are also accommodating the .300. But these rifles can be rare and very expensive to buy. To avoid any problem, it would be better to use the AR15 tactical rifles.

Hunting Rifles


The .308 is the best for hunting no doubt. Because it’s dated and highly potent, there are simply a wide range of rifles that are compatible with it. Hunting rifle designs like bolt actions, lever actions, single shots, and semi-automatics will all provide a good experience with the .308. Besides, any major hunting rifle manufacturer out there will produce their rifles for the .308. It’s the classic round that has been the choice of hunters for so many years.

For hunting rifles in the .300 Blackout there are many limitations. Although you will get some very nice bolt action .300 Blackout rifles from companies like Remington Savage and Ruger, the options are very limited. The .300 Blackout hunting rifles also tend to be lighter and shorter.

In terms of the diversity of rifles available for each round, the .308 will offer the largest selection. However, the .300 Blackout is growing in popularity and we may see other rifles adapted to it in the market soon.

Range

The range categories are often very hard to assess because the range will be determined by the needs of the shooter. However, if you are looking for a round that offers maximum range between the .308 and the .300, then the .308 will be perfect. Besides, the 7.62 NATO, often considered the .308 cousin is the most widely used round for military and police snipers. The round has also been used in medium machine guns.

However, even though the .308 has a better range, it doesn’t mean that the .300 is a slow starter in this. The round can really go the distance too. When you account for projectile energy, the maximum range of the .300 with a 125-grain projectile will easily hit 460 meters. However, as you start shooting heavier projectiles, the range will decrease. Because of this, the .300 is usually used for medium and close quarter shooting.

Nonetheless, the most important thing is to understand the kind of range you need and pick the right round for you.

Controllability


The .300 Blackout wins it when it comes to controllability hands down. However, just like the range, controllability is subjective. You have to decide how much controllability you need. When you do a quick comparison of the .300 round and the .308 you will immediately notice that the .300 is shorter. This is because while the .308 is designed for full power rifles, the .300 is suited for carbine rifles. The shorter .300 cartridge has less powder and less recoil. The reduced muzzle size is also important in enhancing controllability on the .300.

Having been designed as a full power round, the .308 will give you that extra range. But more range has some implications on controllability. In addition to this, the power of the round increases the recoil massively. In other words, although .308 rifles hit hard, they also repay the favor in recoil. Unless you are in a supported position, this recoil will be hard to miss.

It’s also very common to feel the upward muzzle when you are using a .308 rifle. As the rifle tries to find its way out of your hands, it will buck and jerk especially when you try to squeeze more than one shot rapidly. This will affect controllability in the end.

Uses

Your choice of a rifle based on caliber has to be determined by the rifle’s intended use. Both the .300 and .308 calibers are all impressive and would normally deliver impressive performance no matter how they are used.

Hunting

When it comes to hunting, the .308 is highly recommended. Although the .300 is not bad either, the kind of versatility offered by the .308 is simply amazing. The round is ideal for hunting deer, big bears, elk, and coyote.

Home Defense

When it comes to home defense, the .300 Blackout would be the perfect choice. This is because it’s very easy to use compared to the .308. Besides, inside a home you won’t really need the long-range offered by the .308. The controllability of the .300 Blackout is also a big plus in home defense situations. In addition to this, most .300 Blackout rifles are shorter and lighter making it easier to handle them in close quarters.

Conclusion

Choosing ammo has its own challenges. There are many good options out there all of which are unique in their own way. Picking a winner is therefore not easy. Besides, there are many other personal factors that may affect your choice of ammo. In order to easily pick the right rounds, you must, first of all, do a careful assessment of your needs and see whether there’s a round out there that can meet them. Although various rounds have various features, at the end of the day choosing ammo often comes down to personal choice.

Alex Ramsey

Work hard & live to hunt! Countryman Hunter , Archery, shooter, Freelance outdoor writer and Love USA. founder of thebigdeer.com where I share my hunting experiences and gear reviews to help you become more prepared. Knowledge will save you, but great gear will help! Let Get Out & Go Hunting

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