Tag Archives: handloading

Subsonic Projectile Alternatives for the 300 BLK

The 300 Blackout (BLK) is a fun rifle to own and use. It has tremendous versatility since it supports such a wide range of ammo- more specifically projectiles- many more than its parent cartridge-5.56 NATO. One of the favorite flavors of ammo for the BLK is the 220gr HPBT- it’s subsonic, 4 times heavier than common 55gr 5.56 and has tremendous stability. For most users this equates to excellent accuracy. Remington green box is a common commercial version of this load and handloaders use the 220gr Sierra MatchKing (SMK)- which is damn close to Remington’s projectile if it isn’t identical.

With availability fluctuating and prices running high–over the past year we have seen prices ranging from $38-$50 per box of 100 SMKs–it can get pricy to roll your own. Not as pricy as factory BLK ammo runs these days but still expensive when you’re in the $0.40 range per round (and that’s assuming your brass was free). Surely there have to be other options, right? Here are the ones my research revealed:

Option 1: Hornady 178gr and 208 gr A-Max

The A-Max runs a few dollars cheaper per box – typically around $30 / box of 100. They are high quality, may expand a bit more than the SMK (but don’t expect major mushrooming) and reliable quality. My recipe for 178 A-Max subsonic loads works great. Once I get my hands on some 208s I will post a recipe for those. They get bonus points for the red tip because it makes the ammo look extra evil. 

 

Option 2: Surplus SMK 220 pulls

 

They can be difficult to find nowadays but if you keep an eye out for pulled bullets on the cheap. For those who don’t remember President Clinton left gun owners a little goodbye gift with an executive order that prevented sale of surplus ammo as whole units- now all are disassembled and used as components if it isn’t destroyed. Some bullets will have marks on them from the extraction process (see photo above for example- 175gr match but all I could find a photo of) and being loaded once can diminish the integrity of the projectiles– this results in dismissed accuracy. For cheap plinking though they are a good bet. 

 

Option 3: Make your own boolits

If you have extra time and a little desire it’s not too difficult to get started casting your own bullets. Powder coating is a growing practice for cast bullets (boolits as they are known among aficionados) and can result in some really sweet looking ammo as pictured above that doesn’t foul your bore like raw lead projectiles. The cost of making your own comes out to pennies per projectile – well worth the effort if you can spare the time. Powder coating gives you the ability to make funky looking ammo too– I’d really like to make some of these someday.

Look for a Lee casting kit- you can pick up a mold for 230gr .308 and be set for projectiles in a short period of time for less than the cost of 500 SMKs. It takes time though and a good place to melt down the lead and cool the boolits. Old wheel weights are an abundant source of material for casting.