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12/23/14

AR Pistol Build - 556 or 300 blackout?

I am piecing together an AR pistol currently and having trouble deciding between two different directions:

- 300 Blackout with an 8.5 inch barrel

OR

- 556 with a 10.5 to 11.5 inch barrel

Concept of use is a compact weapon for urban/vehicle/CQB use. Might throw a LAW tactical folder on it for compact storage.

556 gets the nod in commonality and cost. Buddies have 556. If I am at a training course others will be running 556. If crap hits the fan, others will be running 556 and it will be a hell of a lot more prevalent. I am not abandoning the caliber and will have 556 carbines in the safe for the rest of my days.

300 blackout gets the nod in effectiveness out of a short barrel, greater versatility and potential for suppressing. If I went with the 300 blackout, I would accelerate tentative plans to get a suppressor. 300 blackout is certainly a variant round, but it is becoming increasingly common. It is here to stay.

Factory 300 blackout is spendy, but I reload, which can lower the cost of shooting 300 blackout substantially. Lead subsonic reloads are in the ballpark of 223 reloads, so not a dramatic difference for practice ammo costs.

I am leaning towards the 300 black currently; it likely fits the niche better, especially with a can added to the end. A suppressed 300 blackout is the bees knees for indoor/close quarters stuff.

So - what does the tribe think? Short 556 or 300 blackout?

24 comments :

  1. yeah, 300 suppressed much better for enclosed spaces and very handy out a car window. unsuppressed 5.56 indoors is a beast, doubly so with the short barrel. the powder is still burning, kills your night vision/hearing.

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  2. seems to me that as it gets more popular the logistics train will sort itself out too. uses 5.56 brass and doesn't it use 7.62 bullets? so check out availability of powder and primers and drive on if they are not some exotic variety.

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    1. Yep, uses trimmed 5.56 brass and 30 cal bullets. Powders are nothing exotic - Lil Gun is a popular choice, for example.

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  3. The 300 Blackout sounds like fun. But even if you reload it can be a very cranky friend. reloading is the only way to reduce the cost and even then it is still spendy to get into. Two of my very close friends had them, one still does the other parted with his in frustration. Both had the same experience, very difficult to balance the load ballistics, velocity, cycling and groups while unsuppressed. Factory rounds were ok but not great. The whole design is to be suppressed, so consider that.

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  4. What riverrider said in his 2nd post and what Anonymous pointed out. Avoid the sirens song … Stick with 5.56; try and keep your life simple; keep your logistics tail manageable. Stay safe sir and Merry Christmas to you & yours!!

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  5. VHS versus Betamax. Beta may have been a better format, but the ubiquity of VHS gave the inferior format an advantage. Same story here. For a short barrel AR the .300 B makes sense until you need to find ammo somewhere other than in your pack. .223 , even though it's not as good a performer as the .300 in that short platform, would be a better choice just from a logistics standpoint.

    In the novel version of 'First Blood', Rambo is being kitted out for his insertion into Laos. They give him a super-razoo HK with lasers, lights, rangefinder, etc, etc. He looks at it and says "Thats nice, sir, but what I really want is an AK." "An AK? Hell, every 12-year-old in Vietnam has one of those!" "Exactly." Its all about logistics.

    In the land of .223, carry a .223.

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    1. Logistics are the big win for 5.56. I would still have 5.56s in the arsenal though; a 300 black, if I went that direction, would be more of a special use weapon.

      For the record, Beta was less popular because it was a proprietary format. 300 Blackout is very open sourced, which several big manufacturers making ammo and more coming out regularly. Where many 5.56 alternatives have been attempted and failed due to proprietary or specialized parts, 300 black has succeeded by using readily available, off the shelf stuff.

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    2. for the purpose you want to fill the 300 is so far ahead of 223 that, barring a total shortage of ammo, you have to go with the 300. its made to shoot clean out of the short barrel and with the suppressor it eliminates the blast and flash of the 223 shorty which for me at least was prohibitive. lay in the case sizing tools and dies and party like its beirut.

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. I had a 5.56 AR rifle, and had moved to an AK because I like the bigger bullet with better penetration. But I missed the accuracy of the AR platform, and scope mounting capability. Then I read about about .300 blackout, which would let me use all my existing magazines. Also the superior marks on shooting suppressed is great. I bought the 300 Blackout with an 8.5 barrel for traveling and in the house. It fits into a tennis racket case when traveling, which makes it very concealable when entering hotels and such taking it out of my car. I plan to get a suppessor mid-2015 after I save up a bit.

    My thoughts on supply. Yes, 300 blackout is more expensive and harder to find. I don't see it at my local Walmart, I have to buy it online at 60-70 cents a bullet. My 300 blackout pistol does not get shot as much as my 5.56 rifle. Can't afford it, but it is a specialty item. I also carry an XDS .45 pistol as my main carry gun. After 50 rounds my hand is sore, it is NOT fun to shoot. But it's not a fun gun. It is a conceal carry .45 in a small frame. I didn't buy it to shoot thousands of rounds through it. If shit hits the fan chances are I will be rolling along with my 9mm and my 5.56 rifle. Just the way of things. But for all situations up to SHTF, my .45 pistol and my .300 blackout AR pistol is my preferred options.

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    1. When I hear someone make a statement like this I just have to say what the F@!&.

      "After 50 rounds my hand is sore, it is NOT fun to shoot. But it's not a fun gun. It is a conceal carry .45 in a small frame. I didn't buy it to shoot thousands of rounds through it."

      If this is the gun that your life is dependent on than you need to be able to train with it for more than 50 rounds. If 50 rounds hurt your hand than get rid of it. I carried a G27 as on off duty and I had the same experience, it is long gone and has been replaced by my G23 for off duty carry. Another problem if it is hurting your hand the more you shoot it, than it will affect ultimately affect your accuracy. If you want to stick with a .45 than get a larger frame pistol were the weight will help off set some of the recoil. Otherwise go with the 9.

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    2. What he said. Not sure what special applications you have in mind, but lots of training and work with 1-2 guns will beat most exotics when SHTF. Anything else is simply for fun. That's fine but don't get the two confused

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    3. Anon are you responding to my post?

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    4. 3rdman - I have a larger .45, the XD .45 compact which I love, is great to shoot and I have shot a heck of a lot more rounds downrange. But I also live in a hot, humid climate where with just a t-shirt there is printing, or with activities like bending over it is more likely to show. The XDS is just more concealable. I carry the XD .45 compact generally in the winter time when it is cold and I wear a hoodie or jacket and blue jeans, so they weight does not wear down my basketball shorts.

      The magazine has 5 rounds plus one in the chamber, I carry 1 extended round magazine in my front pocket (7 rounds) for a total of 13 rounds. So in a self defense scenario I would not shoot more than 13 rounds, my conceal carry is to get me out of a tight situation, to back away to my car or house where I have other firearms. The 50 round marker where my hand would tend to get sore would not come into play and affect accuracy. As far as shooting hundreds of rounds downrange, I'm accurate enough at close range. I am not a cop like you, I'm not going to play hero or respond to a call. My conceal carry is just to get someone off me or my family, If they are far enough to where I won't be able to hit them, chances are they are far enough I can back away out of the situation.

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    5. Fair enough, but remember firearms are tools while they are fun to shoot they still are tool with a clear purpose. We also become more proficient with tools we enjoy using, not the ones we do not.

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  8. I vote 556.
    Unless you can afford to own both :)

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  9. Problem, if you are going to use lead bullets (non-jacketed) you will turn your suppressor to a lead pipe. Lead bullets tend to splatter lead inside the suppressor. This is why most .22lr suppressors break down to be cleaned. I personally use a suppressed 308win bolt gun with jacketed 180gr flat base round nose and trailboss for powder. Now you can do something similar in that 300 blackout with the right powder, barrel twist rate and tuning so the gun cycles. Just remember if you go faster then the speed of sound your not going to get the desired affect. I have a friend who hunts with a 300 blackout bolt gun and solid brass hollow points (I think Lehigh bullets) and they work great. Using it in a AR will present its own problems (getting it to cycle). When you do get it to work with sub ammo it may not be suited for high velocity ammo. It can be done, just be safe. Hope that helps.

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    1. I would use coated lead bullets and am planning on a liberty mystic x for a suppressor, which is easily user dissembled for cleaning. That would do a lot to mitigate leading problems. Lead would only really be used for practice.

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  10. Now back to the topic. I am still up in the air on the AR pistol myself. I have had the opportunity to shoot a SIG AR pistol with an arm brace though. I found without the brace the pistol was to heavy to keep steady one handed, which is a requirement for a pistol. Using the arm brace or buffer tube for support is a must for accurate shooting. So for me the jury is still out on the pistol AR much less the 5.56 verse 300 Blackout debate.

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    1. If I dropped the dime it probably would be in the direction of SBR. The ATF has also clarified their position on the Sig brace.

      http://looserounds.com/2014/12/26/atf-changes-opinion-on-legality-of-sig-brace-fired-from-shoulder-apparently/

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  11. Had not seen that. The ATF is a cluster of confusion and flip flopping. How they can say that shouldering the buffer tube redesigns its intended use is silly. Will see what the fallout in this is.

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  12. 5.56, If silencing is a primary concern I would look at a short barreled (10-11in) AK in 7.62x39. An M92 PAP pistol with the adapter and brace would be very handy and not the logistical nightmare of 300 black out which I personally think is a solution in search of a problem.

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  13. NihillistJuly 12, 2015

    So which way did you end up going? I've been kicking this back and forth myself for the last six months and pretty soon my build is going to be done except for the barrel and I still can't decide. Oh, choices choices. I'll probably just end up making a similar upper later on in the other caliber.

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    1. I actually abandoned the idea after the ATF flip flopped on the shouldering of SIG braces. I think choice depends on your concept of use...if suppressing and going really short, 300 blackout is the way to go...if you reload. Otherwise, for something like a 10.5 inch, I would go with 556.

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