H&R 300 AAC Blackout Handi-Rifle Review
Over the past couple of years, I have seen both the firearms industry and consumers take great interest in the relatively new 300 AAC Blackout cartridge. It seems more and more firearms manufacturers are making rifles chambered in 300 AAC Blackout and more and more ammunition manufacturers are now offering factory ammunition to meet the growing demand. As with nearly any new cartridge (or even long standing cartridges), you find people who will debate in favor of or against a cartridge and debate on what may be it's best shooting application. With the 300 AAC Blackout, the debates get even more interesting because I see this cartridge as catering to two different shooting situations (traditional supersonic and suppressed subsonic). The situation you select to use more often may be a result of the type of rifle you choose (semi-automatic or bolt or break open). My preference for suppressed subsonic shooting situations would be towards a break open or bolt rifle to achieve the maximum noise reduction. Conversely, if I were planning to use semi-auto platform, I would bias toward the supersonic ammo to achieve performance slightly better that the 7.62x39 cartridge. These are just my preferences and yours may be completely opposite. In either case, whatever rifle you select, the 300 AAC Blackout cartridge can be effectively used shooting both supersonic and subsonic ammunition. Advanced Armament has put together a good website at http://300aacblackout.com/ which gives you lots of data on this caliber and it's development.
Recently I acquired a 300 AAC Blackout suppressor and started looking for a rifle platform for me to begin my education into the world of shooting suppressed firearms. After a little study, it was clear that the platform I selected would have a direct impact on the potential quietness of shooting a suppressed firearm. When shooting a semi-automatic rifle, the noise comes from six distinct sources. The first is the drop of the hammer or firing pin. The second is the pressure release or blast out of the muzzle of the rifle. The third is the sonic crack you get when the bullet breaks the sound barrier. The fourth is the action of the rifle cycling and chambering another round. The fifth source of noise you get is some of the blast noise will come back through the chamber as the bolt cycles. The last source comes from your bullet impacting an object. Keep in mind that the first five sources of noise occur within a fraction of a second to produce your gun shot sound. With a "brake over" (i.e. Handi-Rifle) or bolt action rifle, you immediately remove two sources of noise (action and blow back noise). By adding a suppressor and shooting subsonic ammunition, you greatly reduce the muzzle blast and eliminate the sonic crack. So in my opinion, I think a break over or bolt rifle would be a great platform to for shooting 300 AAC Blackout with a suppressor.
I was really excited last year when I discovered that Advanced Armament Corp was having H&R manufacture a Handi-Rifle to AAC's specifications. I already owned a Handi-Rifle chambered in .223 that my children used as their first deer hunting rifle and the meat put in the freezer by that rifle is a testament to its simplicity and accuracy. My immediate thoughts on the 300 AAC Blackout Handi-Rifle were this would be a great value entry level rifle into 300 Blackout world and would make a great suppressed rifle platform. It took me a while, but this year I finally got my hand on a 300 AAC Blackout Handi-Rifle for review. At the AAC website you can see that MSRP on this rifle is about $360. In today's market, street prices seem to be very near the MSRP.
During my reviews I like to compare my results to the manufacturer's claims where possible so the following text in colored italics was taken directly from the Advanced Armament Corp website on 4/27/13 and gives the Key Features and Specifications for the 300 AAC Blackout Handi-Rifle. The , and are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this review with either photos, commentary or both. I may also add commentary after these marks as necessary to explain some items if needed.
This review is broken down into multiple parts with this page providing links to each part along with an overall summary of the specifications, pros and cons, and my final "bottom line" comments. Make sure you take time to checkout the other parts of the review because they contain many photos and lots of commentary. Also, there is an extreme amount of detail in those parts which is not covered on this page.
As you read these Pros and Cons below, keep in mind that it is hard to keep my particular preferences from creeping into the equation. Therefore, it is important that you take the time to look at the other parts of this review so you can decide for yourself on items which may be more of a personal preference.
Pro/Con/Comment (you decide)?:
I really like the H&R 300 AAC Blackout Handi-Rifle and really enjoyed shooting this rifle with a suppressor and subsonic ammunition and am already looking forward to my next time at my range. I'm still amazed by the short compact form of the rifle. It appears to be a simple, yet quality product which can deliver good accuracy. The shortness of the rifle and threaded barrel, along with the quietness of shooting a break over action makes this platform prefect for using a suppressor. The dual aspects (subsonic and supersonic) of the 300 AAC Blackout cartridge makes it a viable choice as a hunting rifle when shooting supersonic ammunition. Recoil is very mild which increased the shooting experience for many shooters. If I were faced with the choice years ago to either purchase a Handi-Rifle in .223 or 300 AAC Blackout, the 300 AAC Blackout would have easily won the battle.