It seems to have all started with a whisper. The 300 Whisper that is. This unique round was developed back in the early 90’s as a wildcat cartridge by J.D. Jones of SSK Industries. It was developed as a multi-purpose cartridge, capable of utilizing relatively lightweight bullets at supersonic velocities as well as heavier bullets (200–250 grains) at subsonic velocities. As with many wildcat rounds though, it drifted off to obscurity seemingly destined for nothing more than a page in the history book. That changed though when Advanced Armament Corporation (AAC) revived the 300 as an alternative to the standard 5.56 round. They simply wanted more punch and the 300 had the potential to make that happen. The end product of their work was the 300 Blackout round.
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With the launch of the new round came a clamoring for AR-15 rifles chambered in the .300 Blackout cartridge. The rest, as they say, is history. Several manufacturers have jumped into the 300 market and have built some exceptional guns to run this unique ammunition. Over the last several years though, another trend has developed. People love to shoot the 300 Blackout suppressed. The heavier bullet combined with an AR platform just screams for a suppressor. Of course, suppressors lose much of their magic if the round is still supersonic. With that, the cry went out again as the 300 shooters looked for solid, reliable 300 Blackout subsonic ammunition. What they wanted was a round that allows shooters to take advantage of these platforms without sacrificing projectile performance. Enter Hornady and their team of Jedi like engineers. Their goal was to produce the best 300 Blackout subsonic ammunition on the market. After extensive design review and testing, I believe they have achieved just that — Enter the Hornady 300 Blackout 190-grain Sub-X Subsonic (Subsonic – eXpanding). “Hornady’s Subsonic ammunition was developed because of the popularity of suppressors, as well as the need to have new bullet designs that are specifically designed for subsonic performance,” Hornady Ballistics Engineer Jayden Quinlan said. The round is well thought out and a serious performer.
Quiet And Effective
With any advancement in design, there seems to always be a central point, which the product is developed around. In the case of the 300 Blackout 190-grain Sub-X Subsonic the central point was the company’s new Sub-X bullet. It is designed to not only be quiet but to provide effective terminal performance at subsonic speeds. The round is obviously designed for more than just punching holes in paper. Their new projectile features a combination of a lead core surrounded by a grooved metal jacket and tipped with the company’s Flex Tip insert. The design of the projectile ensures expansion at speeds as low as 900 feet per second. In addition to its patented Flex Tip, long grooves in the gilding metal jacket of the 190-grain Sub-X combine with the bullet’s flat profile to ensure expansion. The Sub-X features a lead core and a cannelure for a positive case crimp for use in semi-automatics. Hornady Ballistics Engineer Quinlan shared that “The Sub-X bullet was designed from the ground up in .300 Blackout to perform terminally as well as to be a very accurate subsonic bullet.” Once again though we are reminded the new round is meant for far more than just target practice. “With the Hornady Sub-X bullet in the .300 Blackout load, we designed that so that it would meet the FBI protocol, the FBI protocol consisting of six different tests through intermediate barriers that law enforcement or the military commonly encounter,” Quinlan said. “The Blackout is a growing cartridge in popularity in law enforcement as well as military applications because of its suppression abilities.”
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It’s The Real Deal
As with all things though, it looks great on paper but I was curious if it truly walked the walk. So I grabbed my handy 300 Blackout rifle, almost an entire case of ammo and went to work on the range — I was not disappointed. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the ammo had a very mild report even before I put the suppressor on. While I would not call it hearing safe, it was drastically quieter than normal 300. In fact, I would recommend this ammunition for those 300 shooters that have not entered the suppressor world yet. It makes shooting much more enjoyable. Everything changed though when I put the can on. The first few shots caused my fellow shooters to literally laugh out loud as the gun now produced the much sought after “pew” sound. It was barely audible with hearing protection. Now with ear pro ditched, the serious shooting began. Two noticeable factors emerged. First was obviously the superior quiet factor of the round. The second was the lack of any muzzle signature. Hornady uses unique powders optimized for subsonic use that result in a low flash signature, ideal for either suppressed or unsuppressed performance. Yes, it was that noticeable especially as dusk settled in. I had no feed issues and used a variety of magazines. When running any 300 Blackout I prefer the ETS clear mags because they allow me to see what is loaded and helps avoid mixing ammo. Consider that your warning to know what you are feeding your rifle.
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Performance-wise, the round left the barrel at 1,050 FPS with a hearty 465 FP of energy. My thoughts turned to the rolling and lightly wooded areas of East Texas and all the hogs that were soon to meet their doom with this ammo. It performed well and is capable of punching tight groups at hunting distances. It is a rare day that I can honestly say the product lived up to the hype. The Hornady 300 Blackout 190-grain Sub-X Subsonic is a must for anyone serious about the business of 300 Blackout.
For more information, visit: www.hornady.com
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