Bear Creek Arsenal 300 Blackout Upper Review
Part 4 - Range Tests
February 2, 2024

Bear Creek Arsenal 300 Blackout Upper Reciever Assembly Review

My goal for range testing this upper assembly was a little different than testing a typical rifle.  My planned configuration for this setup is a night vision rifle shooting subsonic 300 Blackout ammunition suppressed in a single shot (not autoloader) configuration to eliminate the additional noise you get from the bolt cycling during each shot.  My interests were not sending hundreds of supersonic rounds down range.  Instead I wanted to verify it would cycle subsonic ammunition in a semi-auto configuration and then adjust the gas block and see what type of accuracy I could get out of the subsonic loads.

This next photo shows the final configuration of the rifle using the Bear Creek Arsenal (BCA) 300 Blackout Upper Assembly.  The lower receiver is a Spikes Tactical with Magpul components and a CMC Drop-In Trigger.  The optic is an ATN X-Sight LTV 3-9x Day & Night Digital Rifle Scope (subject of my next review) mounted with Burris Signature Zee Rings 30mm Extra High Model 420585 (you can view a review of the 1" rings here).  The IR illuminator came with the rifle scope and the suppressor is my Griffin Armament Optimus Suppressor.  Personally, I am very pleased with this overall setup, and the finish on the BCA components, along with the features of the upper assembly and handguard makes a very attractive shooting platform.

Figure 1 - Final Configuration
Bear Creek Arsenal 300 Blackout Rifle Build

Now, in full disclosure, this setup came in hefty at about 11 pounds (10 lbs 15.4 oz.) with nearly half of that weight being the 5 lbs upper assembly.  In my case, I chose to go with the Black Friday sale having the heavy barrel profile.  If another barrel profile was selected, then potentially the weight could drop.  I did a quick search at the BCA website and could not find a thinner barrel profile in 300 Blackout at this time (1/21/24).

Figure 2 - Final Weight
Bear Creek Arsenal 300 Blackout Rifle Build Weight


I chose to use some Hornady Sub-X 30 caliber 190gr hand loads for this review because that is the ammunition that I will be using for the intent of this rifle.  I have found this round to be very effective at dispatching the various varmints that plague my lake and lands.  The picture below shows my bench setup during range testing.

Figure 3 - Bench Setup
Bear Creek Arsenal 300 Blackout Range Test Bench Setup

Since this was my first attempt at hand loading the 300 Blackout Sub-X ammunition, I decided to get chronograph data during my range testing.  I shot an initial 5 rounds in the semi-auto configuration that averaged 1038 feet per second (f/sec) which is close to that advertised at 1050 f/sec if you buy the factory Hornady ammunition.  My ambient temperature was about 45 degrees F so overall I thought the 12.8 grains of CFE BLK were probably about right.

Figure 4 - Chronograph Setup
Bear Creek Arsenal 300 Blackout Range Test Chronograph Setup

Since the Sub-X is a subsonic 190gr bullet, I decided to initially zero the rifle at 30 yards. The ATN rifle scope is a digital scope and is advertised as having a 1-shot zero capability.  The picture below shows my first shot.  My next two shots were left of center and I made another adjustment and my final two shots stacked on top of each other.  I shot these 5 rounds, plus another few rounds in the semi-auto configuration.  The bolt cycled with no issues and each round fed into the chamber without issue.  I was initially concerned that feeding might be a problem with this Sub-X bullet profile because I have experienced that on another 300 Blackout pistol setup.  In this case, there were no issues, but keep in mind less than 10 rounds is not a great sampling of data.

Figure 5 - Zeroing Scope at 30 Yards

Once I thought I had a good "zero", I converted the upper assembly to a single shot configuration by sliding the gas block forward just enough to cover the gas port.  Then I shot this next 5-shot group at 30 yards.  I was very pleased to see the accuracy potential for this platform.  This group measured 0.31" across at the widest point.  If I factored this group up to a 100 yard accuracy, then this group would have measured 1.03".  I also measured velocity on these rounds and my average velocity for all the rounds fired in the "single shot" mode averaged 1109 ft/sec.  It looks like shooting without the bolt cycling gave me another 71 ft/sec, so I plan to reduce the charge weight on future loads.

Figure 6 - 5-Shot Group at 30 Yards

Next I decided to check the accuracy and bullet drop at 80 yards.  I was able to fire one 5-shot group (which I'm not proud of by any means) before my range testing was cut short due to image washout on my digital scope (sun was too bright on target compared to surrounding area) and not being able to see the lines on the target (very frustrating).  To make excuses, I was having a bunch of cross wind that was hitting my body which is possibly why I had this left/right spread and the flyer.  Ignoring the flyer, the 4-shot group would be about 1.3 MOA which I think is still pretty good for this blunt slow heavy round.  As far as bullet drop goes, my ballistic calculator was showing 1.9" of drop at 80 yards which is about what I got in this group.  At some point, I plan to do more range testing, but until then, I was convinced I could put this setup in action dispatching some unwanted pesky critters.



Although my range testing has been very minimal so far when compared to what I have done on some other rifles, I feel pretty confident that this Bear Creek Arsenal 300 Blackout Upper Assembly will perform to my needs which is essentially a subsonic suppressed single shot requiring hand cycling with the right side charging handle after each shot.  As they say, "the proof is in the pudding", I have already been able to reduce the critter population by three so far (2/2/24) and I'm confident that number will only grow over time.

For more detailed photos and commentary, make sure you check out the other parts of this review and feel free to leave comments below.  The following links are provided to help you see other parts of this review. 

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