When a battle rifle in .308 Winchester is desired but out of reach financially and the AR-15 5.56 just does not give us warm fuzzy feelings of an effective round or appropriate round for our intended use some of us may find the 300 Blackout is a decent Goldilocks caliber. The AR-15 chambered in 300 Blackout may be ideal for somebody wanting 7.62x39 class performance but in a more familiar platform. Similar to the 30 carbine in concept it offers a modern day 30 caliber round for those who want light recoil and reliable terminal performance. M1 Carbine prices have been steadily going up and your choice in ammo is pretty limited in the 110gr realm +/- 20 gr depending on if you handload or buy custom loaded ammunition. The M1 Carbine still holds strong as a concept of light ammunition in a compact package for those who may not necessarily need everything a 30/06 or .308 has to offer. An AR-15 in 300 BO gives you excellent range, bullet selection and terminal performance. It is the poor mans alternative to a M1 carbine and will carry you through deer season as well as SHTF nicely as a long arm and if you ask me its the better caliber choice as well.
Why not .223/5.56?
Not every hunter or prepper desires to get on the 5.56 bandwagon, there are drawbacks that simply can not be ignored, light weight bullet, low penetration on harder targets. Deer hunting with .223/5.56 though legal in some areas is not widely accepted even in the hunting community as ethical. Bullet selection and shot placement though critical with any hunting shot is especially important with the smaller caliber chambering. The .223/5.56 does have its pros that make it a tempting pick for those looking to just get a long arm...and the mentality of "if its good enough for the military and law enforcement its good enough for me" makes it a popular choice...even with me from time to time though I find the caliber has limited applications. Then throw in the low cost of ammo, the HUUUUUGE abundance of accessories, magazines, platform specific optics, lasers, phasers and triple action intabulator and it becomes very attractive. With the AR-15 platform chambered in 5.56 cost continuing to go down its not hard to see why it has such a huge following. The 300 BO has been slow in coming full force to the market and as such prices have not been trending with the 5.56.
"The 300 BO is only meant to be suppressed and is useless with bullets under 150gr"
I kid you not, the above was a statement I heard probably 3-4 years ago on a podcast and for a time....I sort of believed it. That anybody with a AR-15 in 300 BO shooting 110gr or 125gr bullets without a suppressor was...wrong. When I heard that opinion the 300 AAC Blackout hadn't been on the widespread commercial market for long. It seemed to me the "new" AR-15 caliber was one that the rich yuppie shooters dabbled in with their surefire suppressors and custom loaded 220gr match bullets. If you shot it unsuppressed or with light bullets then you didn't understand the caliber or the purpose. If you're daily job is slitting gate guard throats and silencing guard dogs in the dead of night then the suppressed version with HEAVY bullets is more your cup of tea. As more load data and a wider acceptance of the 300 BO comes to pass we see just how much versatility this little round is capable of. It was out of reach for the budget shooter for a time as well but today is a different day. Brass, barrels and purpose designed bullets are more common now and as such prices have declined from "NEW iphone 10" prices.
The quality AR-15 as we know it today is very much in reach for anybody who can save $550-$700 for a off the shelf variant. If you are a DIY'er then $350-$450 is possible if you have access to the tooling to do a 80% lower or if you get a low cost 100% lower on sale (I have seen quality lowers as low as $35 each in recent months). The difference between the 5.56 and the 300 BO on the AR-15 rifle is simply....the barrel. Barrel production was drastically ramped up prior to the last presidential election cycle and as such the cost to get into a 300 BO has come down to nearly 5.56 levels.
The 300 Blackout has phenomenal versatility, bullet weights from 73gr to 230gr are fair game and can be run in the AR-15 rifle with proper magazines and buffer combinations. I've been impressed with range results I've seen out to 500 yards with the 110-125gr loadings out of a 300 BO....without a suppressor (eye roll). You don't need a suppressor to make the most of the 300 BO nor do you need to shoot 150gr + bullets.
The 300 Blackout has many advantages and few disadvantage for the modern carbine shooter be it a hunter or prepper looking for a mid-level round that offers versatility and effective terminal ballistics when compared to other platform cartridge options (ie 5.56)
-Wide range of bullet weights and designs for every application sought by hunters and preppers
-Availability of brass made from .223, .308 bullets, and powders.
-AR-15 needs only a upper swap or barrel swap to take to 300 BO
-Same magazines, same lower
-Not widely adopted by military or LEO enough to produce the level of surplus that 5.56 shooters enjoy
-MUST make sure muzzle accessories have clearance for 30 cal bullets, ALSO make sure you do not chamber 300 blackout ammunition in 5.56 barrels. It will ruin your day...and your face.