The 5 Best .300 Blackout Powders

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Best-.300-Blackout-Powders

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Handloading, also called reloading, is more than just a wonderful hobby for gun owners.  It is an effective way to obtain ammunition for lower prices than equivalent factory ammo.

Besides the cost-saving advantages, handloading is also a way to tune your ammunition to your .300 Blackout rifles so that it performs with the best accuracy and reliability possible.

When starting a new load, always begin with the starting load data written in a recent handloading guide, or 15% under a listed maximum load if there is no starting load data provided. Make sure always to observe reloading safety rules and not to reload while ill, tired, impaired, or in any state with less than your undivided attention.


5 Best .300 Blackout Powders


1. IMR 4227

imr 4227

DuPont initially developed the first Improved Military Rifle (IMR) powders between World War I and World War II as miniaturized versions of US artillery extruded propellants. IMR propellants have long been used to manufacture US military service ammunition, such as .30-06 M2 Ball (IMR 4895) or 7.62mm NATO M61 AP (IMR 4475).

Today, IMR is a trademark of the IMR Powder Company, a Hodgdon brand.

IMR 4227 is a pistol powder with a medium burn rate, primarily intended for use in Magnum pistol and revolver cartridges. It is a classic reloading powder that should be on the shelves of any handloading enthusiast.

The relatively fast burn rate makes it suitable for loading various varmint and intermediate rifle cartridges with limited case capacity, such as .22 Hornet, .221 Fireball, .222 Remington, or .300 Blackout.

IMR 4227 is suitable for supersonic and subsonic loads. Hodgdon produced the following load data using a 16” barrel with a 1:8 barrel twist rate, Hornady cases trimmed to 1.363”, and Remington 7 1/2 Small Rifle Magnum primers.

Speer Varmint Hollow Point #2005

Bullet constructionJacketed hollow point, flat-base
Bullet weight (grains)130
Bullet length (inches)0.890
TypeSupersonic
Cartridge OAL (inches)2.005
Suggested starting load17.4-grain charge Muzzle velocity: 1,885 ft/s Muzzle energy: 1,025 ft-lbf Chamber pressure: 38,700 psi
Suggested max load19.4-grain charge (compressed) Muzzle velocity: 2,062 ft/s Muzzle energy: 1,227 ft-lbf Chamber pressure: 49,000 psi

Hornady InterBond #30309

Bullet constructionBallistic tip, bonded, boat-tail
Bullet weight (grains)150
Bullet length (inches)1.264
TypeSupersonic
Cartridge OAL (inches)2.235
Suggested starting load15.6-grain charge Muzzle velocity: 1683 ft/s Muzzle energy: 943 ft-lbf Chamber pressure: 34,500 psi
Suggested max load17.8-grain charge Muzzle velocity: 1,899 ft/s Muzzle energy: 1,201 ft-lbf Chamber pressure: 48,700 psi

Hornady Sub-X #30730

Bullet constructionBallistic tip, flat nose, boat-tail
Bullet weight (grains)190
Bullet length (inches)1.297
TypeSubsonic
Cartridge OAL (inches)2.050
Suggested max load10.4-grain charge (compressed) Muzzle velocity: 1,056 ft/s Muzzle energy: 470 ft-lbf Chamber pressure: 29,100 psi

Sierra MatchKing HPBT 220-grain #2240

Bullet constructionMatch-grade hollow-point, boat-tail
Bullet weight (grains)220
Bullet length (inches)1.297
TypeSubsonic
Cartridge OAL (inches)2.260
Suggested max load10.1-grain charge Muzzle velocity: 1,044 ft/s Muzzle energy: 532 ft-lbf Chamber pressure: 26,700 psi

2. Hodgdon CFE BLK

hodgdon cfe blk

In 2012, Hodgdon introduced the Copper Fouling Elimination reloading powder line, with the CFE 223. It was later followed by CFE Pistol in 2014 and CFE BLK in 2019.

All CFE powders are double-base, spherical propellants designed to perform 2 tasks:

  • Reducing copper fouling in the barrel even after high volumes of fire
  • Serving as optimal powders for their intended cartridges.

For example, CFE-223 is optimized for .223 Remington, CFE Pistol is best suited for commonly-used pistol cartridges (9x19mm, .45 ACP) CFE-BLK is designed for .300 Blackout.

An optimal powder charge fills up between 90% and 100% of the case, provided it doesn’t result in dangerous levels of overpressure. Such loads tend to deliver more consistent performance, resulting in fewer muzzle velocity variations between each shot.

Hodgdon CFE-BLK was designed to provide that level of consistency and performance in the .300 AAC Blackout cartridge, particularly when making subsonic loads. It is also suitable for .221 Fireball, 6.8mm SPC, and 7.62x39mm if you happen to reload for these cartridges as well.

As with IMR 4227, Hodgdon obtained the following load data using a 16” barrel with a 1:8 twist rate, Hornady cases trimmed to 1.363”, and Remington 7 1/2 Small Rifle Magnum primers.

Nosler Ballistic Tip #30125

Bullet constructionBallistic tip, boat-tail
Bullet weight (grains)125
Bullet length (inches)1.060
TypeSupersonic
Cartridge OAL (inches)2.060
Suggested starting load19.0-grain charge Muzzle velocity: 1,866 ft/s Muzzle energy: 967 ft-lbf Chamber pressure: 23,700 psi
Suggested max load20.0-grain charge (compressed) Muzzle velocity: 1,945 ft/s Muzzle energy: 1,050 ft-lbf Chamber pressure: 26,500 psi

Sierra Varminter Hunting #2124

Bullet constructionHollow-point, flat-base
Bullet weight (grains)135
Bullet length (inches)1.060
TypeSupersonic
Cartridge OAL (inches)2.055
Suggested starting load19.0-grain charge Muzzle velocity: 1,895 ft/s Muzzle energy: 1,077 ft-lbf Chamber pressure: 24,600 psi
Suggested max load22.5-grain charge (compressed) Muzzle velocity: 2,090 ft/s Muzzle energy: 1,310 ft-lbf Chamber pressure: 37,000 psi

Hornady A-MAX #30732

Bullet constructionHollow-point, boat-tail
Bullet weight (grains)208
Bullet length (inches)1.543
TypeSubsonic
Cartridge OAL (inches)2.260
Suggested max load11.6-grain charge (compressed) Muzzle velocity: 1,041 ft/s Muzzle energy: 501 ft-lbf Chamber pressure: 13,400 psi

Berger Hybrid OTM Tactical #30112

Bullet constructionOpen tip match, boat-tail
Bullet weight (grains)230
Bullet length (inches)1.608
TypeSubsonic
Cartridge OAL (inches)2.260
Suggested max load11.3-grain charge (compressed) Muzzle velocity: 1,045 ft/s Muzzle energy: 558 ft-lbf Chamber pressure: 20,000 psi

3. Accurate 1680

accurate 1680

Accurate 1680 (AA1680) is a well-known double-base propellant with one of the fastest burn rates available.

Intended primarily for high case capacity, high-power cartridges such as .454 Casull, .475 Linebaugh, and .500 S&W Magnum, it has also been used successfully for decades in certain rifle calibers, such as 7.62x39mm and .300 Blackout.

The fast burn rate makes it ideal for use in subsonic loads, producing enough pressure to cycle the action even when pushing the heaviest bullets out of the muzzle.

The load data provided by Accurate Powders suggests a 16” barrel with 1:10 twist rate, Remington cases trimmed to 1.358”, and Winchester Small Rifle primers.

Sierra GameKing #2115

Bullet constructionFull metal jacketed, boat-tail
Bullet weight (grains)150
Bullet length (inches)1.114
TypeSupersonic
Cartridge OAL (inches)2.140
Suggested starting load19.5-grain charge Muzzle velocity: 1,877 ft/s Muzzle energy: 1,174 ft-lbf
Suggested max load21.7-grain charge Muzzle velocity: 2,057 ft/s Muzzle energy: 1,410 ft-lbf Chamber pressure: 54,564 psi

Sierra MatchKing HPBT 210-grain #9240T

Bullet constructionMatch-grade hollow-point, boat-tail
Bullet weight (grains)210
Bullet length (inches)1.484
TypeSubsonic
Cartridge OAL (inches)2.170
Suggested starting load10.9-grain charge Muzzle velocity: 1,089 ft/s Muzzle energy: 553 ft-lbf

4. Winchester 296

winchester 296

Winchester 296 (W296) is a high-density, spherical smokeless propellant, mainly intended for use with magnum revolver cartridges, such as .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum. It is also widely considered to be the powder of choice for .410 bore shotgun shells.

W296 is also viable for reloading .300 Blackout, although it is best suited for supersonic loads only. While subsonic loads are technically possible with W296, you should avoid them because it is too easy to reach dangerous overpressure levels with this powder.

Hodgdon H110 is identical to Winchester 296; it is simply sold under a different label. If you cannot find one powder in stock, the other may function as a substitute, using the same load data.

Hodgdon produced the load data below using a 16” barrel with a 1:8 twist rate, Hornady cases with a trim length of 1.363”, and Remington 7 1/2 Small Rifle Magnum primers.

Hornady V-MAX #23010

Bullet constructionBallistic tip, boat-tail
Bullet weight (grains)110
Bullet length (inches)0.921
TypeSupersonic
Cartridge OAL (inches)2.050
Suggested starting load18.4-grain charge Muzzle velocity: 2,191 ft/s Muzzle energy: 1,173 ft-lbf Chamber pressure: 38,900 psi
Suggested max load21.7-grain charge Muzzle velocity: 2,286 ft/s Muzzle energy: 1,277 ft-lbf Chamber pressure: 48,400 psi

Nosler Ballistic Tip #30125

Bullet constructionBallistic tip, boat-tail
Bullet weight (grains)125
Bullet length (inches)1.060
TypeSupersonic
Cartridge OAL (inches)2.060
Suggested starting load15.7-grain charge Muzzle velocity: 1,921 ft/s Muzzle energy: 1,024 ft-lbf Chamber pressure: 32,400 psi
Suggested max load18.5-grain charge (compressed) Muzzle velocity: 2,205 ft/s Muzzle energy: 1,350 ft-lbf Chamber pressure: 52,500 psi

5. Ramshot Enforcer

ramshot enforcer

Ramshot Enforcer is a high-performance, double-base spherical propellant intended for high-power handgun revolver cartridges, such as .44 Magnum, .454 Casull, or .500 Magnum.

Although all Ramshot propellants are made in Belgium at the PB Clermont factory, it is a Hodgdon brand, benefitting from the company’s decades of experience in smokeless powder manufacturing.

Ramshot Enforcer is also usable as a high-performance powder for .300 Blackout supersonic loads, ideal for projectiles ranging between 110 and 155 grains. This powder generates relatively high velocities, making it suitable for loading hunting or self-defense ammunition.

Hornady V-MAX #23010

Bullet constructionBallistic tip, boat-tail
Bullet weight (grains)110
Bullet length (inches)0.921
TypeSupersonic
Cartridge OAL (inches)2.068
Suggested starting load17.4-grain charge Muzzle velocity: 2,182 ft/s Muzzle energy: 1,163 ft-lbf
Suggested max load19.3-grain charge Muzzle velocity: 2,362 ft/s Muzzle energy: 1,363 ft-lbf Chamber pressure: 54,472 psi

Sierra ProHunter SPT #2120

Bullet constructionSoft-point, flat-base
Bullet weight (grains)125
Bullet length (inches)0.894
TypeSupersonic
Cartridge OAL (inches)1.850
Suggested starting load17.5-grain charge Muzzle velocity: 2,182 ft/s Muzzle energy: 1,322 ft-lbf
Suggested max load19.4-grain charge Muzzle velocity: 2,358 ft/s Muzzle energy: 1,544 ft-lbf Chamber pressure: 54,293 psi

Why Reload .300 Blackout?

The .300 Blackout has become very popular in recent years, and this is due in part to the cartridge’s high versatility. This cartridge was designed from the ground up to provide adequate performance in both supersonic and subsonic applications, making it highly versatile and adaptable.

Another advantage of the .300 Blackout cartridge is its dimensions. The case dimensions are very similar to .223 Remington and 5.56mm NATO, with virtually identical cartridge overall length (COL) and base diameter, allowing a shooter to load .300 Blackout cartridges in an unmodified AR-15 magazine without loss of capacity.

These dimensions make caliber conversions of firearms from 5.56/.223 to .300 Blackout relatively easy, only needing a barrel replacement.

All .300 Blackout rifles can shoot either subsonic or supersonic with no additional changes or accessories, the only difference being in the ammunition. Subsonic rounds are particularly suited for use with a suppressed carbine.

A .300 Blackout rifle loaded with subsonic ammunition and fitted with a suppressor is truly silenced; the firearm’s loudest element is the bolt going home with every shot. It is quiet enough to allow a shooter to fire it without hearing protection.

Supersonic loads with lighter bullets are suitable for hunting and offer ballistics equivalent to .30-30 Winchester or 7.62x39mm. In contrast, subsonic .300 Blackout is ballistically very close to the Russian 9x39mm, the 2 often being compared to the point that bullet drop data and points of impact are virtually identical from 0 to 200 meters.

Case Capacity and Projectiles

The .300 Blackout is an intermediate rifle cartridge, just like 5.56mm NATO and 7.62x39mm. A handloader using .300 Blackout has less case capacity to experiment with than they would with a full-power rifle cartridge such as .308 Winchester or .30-06 Springfield.

Case capacity is critical with .300 Blackout. This cartridge accepts 0.308” bullets, making it a true .30-caliber cartridge for which a wide selection of projectiles ranging from 80 to 250 grains is available. Depending on the weight and length of the bullet selected, the amount of space available inside the case may change dramatically.

A typical 125-grain bullet for supersonic loads, such as a Sierra MatchKing 2121, has an overall length of approximately 1.18”. In contrast, a 220-grain bullet ideal for subsonic loads, like Sierra MatchKing 2240, possesses an overall length of roughly 1.49”.

These seemingly small differences are significant. At best, a powder charge that is safe to use with the lighter, shorter bullet may make it impossible to seat in the longer, heavier bullet. At worst, it puts you at risk of extreme and life-threatening overpressure.

Supersonic or Subsonic?

Although there are multiple powders suitable for use with .300 Blackout, not all of them may be optimal for either application.

A subsonic load requires a powder that will launch your bullet at a muzzle velocity under the speed of sound (1,125 ft/s) with sufficient downrange accuracy. If you’re using an AR-15 or another self-loading platform, the powder charge must also be enough to reliably cycle the action, unless you don’t mind transforming your AR-15 into a straight-pull bolt-action rifle. Good subsonic loads fired out of a suppressed weapon should be quiet enough that you don’t need hearing protection.

Supersonic loads allow you to use lighter bullets and reach higher muzzle velocities. With the right projectiles and an adequate rifle platform, such loads are ideal for hunting or self-defense.

In Conclusion

There are many good reasons to reload for .300 Blackout. It is a versatile chambering, capable of accepting a wide range of .30-caliber projectiles. Optimal performance with supersonic loads is generally achieved with 100- to 130-grain projectiles, while good subsonic loads are achievable with 190- to 240-grain bullets.

Whether you are reloading to save money or to create the perfect load for hunting, self-defense, or suppressed use, there is load data and a suitable propellant for you.

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