Can I hunt deer with a .300 Blackout? thumbnail image

Can I hunt deer with a .300 Blackout?

Preston Arnet   |   Nov 13th 2019

.300 Blackout for Hunting

The AR-15 platform keeps getting tinkered with, and the results are new, innovative, and just downright cool calibers to push through a reliable and versatile platform. And still one of my favorites to be developed is the  300 BLK. It’s suppressible to a literal whisper, has pretty decent ballistics, and negligible recoil. With such awesome characteristics, I found myself thinking about combining my two favorite things: shooting the .300BLK, and hunting the American Whitetail. But as with any hunting, I need my caliber of choice to be dependable, accurate, and able to produce a quick, painless, and ethical kill shot on my intended target. Does the 300 Blackout meet these qualifications? Let’s see.

There's a wide variety of available ammunition for the .300 BLK

There is no doubt that the .30 caliber cartridge has been (and likely always will be) America’s favorite choice for Whitetail. When looking at the .300blk however, it doesn’t look like your typical .30 caliber cartridge. It’s short, stocky, and fairly un-athletic looking, definitely giving you second thoughts about shooting it at any kind of distance. And this is fine, because the .300blk was originally designed for suppressed close quarters work in the hands of our troops. But what does this mean for deer?

.300blk compared to several other popular hunting cartridges 

In the hunting field, and like it’s .30 cal older brothers; the .300blk is a fantatic choice. Much like the .30-30 WIN, you are going to want to keep distances modest; because after about the 100 yard mark that bullet is going to start dropping faster than my standards after a few too many on a Saturday night. The bullet drop can be slowed by choosing the correct ammunition, though. Ordinarily the .300blk is shot subsonic, and uses bullets around the 220gr range. For hunting purposes, these heavy and slow loads don’t offer good expansion, and may result in the loss or wounding of an animal. I would drop the weight down and shoot a bullet in the 120-140gr range. Moving at almost twice the velocity, these bullets have the speed behind them to open up, and we all know speed helps combat bullet drop, thus giving you a little more range.

Hornady makes great ammuntion, especially for hunting, like the 135gr FTX

After doing my research, the Hornady FTX bullet seems like a pretty great choice. At 135 grains, the FTX has a muzzle velocity of 2085 fps, and 1300 ft/lb of energy. Not staggering numbers by any means, but at 200 yards the velocity and energy hold at 1560 fps and 735 ft/lb respectively. For reference, it's recommended to have at least 600 ft/lb of energy when taking a white tail to ensure an ethical kill. With decent shot placement and quality ammunition, 600 ft/lb of energy will do just fine against medium sized game.

It is important to note that even with the FXT ammunition, which is considered a quick 300blk load; when zeroed at 200 yards, it will still drop 20 inches from 200 to 300 yards. Like mentioned earlier, this bullet drops quickly, which really limits the maximum effective range to about 200 yards—even less with heavier loads. And when zeroed at 200, you will be 5 inches high at 100, which puts you just out of a vitals hit. Make sure to keep this in mind when setting up your hunting rig.

There's plenty of options out there for the .300 Blackout

There are actually a wide variety of ammunition choices for the 300 BLK, so you might find better loads for your needs if you dig around a little, but by no means are you (or should you) be taking shots on animals at any kind of distance.

So in conclusion, is the 300 Blackout a capable deer cartridge? Yes, absolutely. It’s no .30-06 or .308, but inside 200 (150 preferably) you will have no problem taking pigs, deer, or varmint with an ethical and humane shot—provided you are shooting the right bullet.