Lightweight, Compact Single-Shot 300 Blackout Rifle from Advanced Armament Corporation

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

December 12th, 2012

 

Click pictures for a larger version.

 

 

 

 

Taken down, the AAC rifle fits handily into a Skinner carry case.

 

 

 

 

Latch easily opens action for loading.

 

 

 

 

Transfer bar safety.

 

 

Barnes TAC-TX ammunition exhibited perfect performance when fired into ballistic gelatin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the past few months, I have reviewed two AR-15 rifles that are chambered for the 300 AAC Blackout/300 Whisper cartridges. These two cartridges are pretty close to the same thing, and I have explained the differences in those previous reviews, so I wonít plow that same ground here again (see the earlier reviews HERE and HERE). Just to hit the high spots, the 300 Blackout is a very efficient cartridge, designed for subsonic use in short-barreled rifles and sub-machineguns. It turns out that it is also a fine cartridge for use in AR-15 carbines, pretty much on par with the performance of the 7.62x39 and 30 WCF cartridges, in a carbine that can use standard 5.56x45mm magazines and bolts. While I really like those two AR-15 rifles, for my use, the 300 Blackout is really at home in the new AAC single-shot, which is the subject of this review.

The little AAC is built by the H&R (New England Firearms) division of the Freedom Group for Advanced Armament Corporation. The handy carbine wears a blued steel sixteen and three-eighths inch barrel that has a one-in-seven-inch twist, and weighs in at just under five pounds. The overall length measures only twenty-nine and three-eighths inches, and the length of pull is a short twelve inches. This little jewel handles so quickly and easily, it comes to the shoulder instantly when needed. The short length of pull makes the carbine handy to use when wearing heavy clothing or body armor, and with its very light recoil, the short length presents no problems at all. The stock is made of a black synthetic which matches the matte blued-steel action and barrel very well.

Many shooters frown upon the idea of using a single shot rifle, but for a hunting gun, I find that it is no disadvantage at all. In all my years of hunting, I have only once shot an animal that needed more than one shot to put it down, and even then, the first shot destroyed both lungs. Also, a single shot rifle can get off subsequent shots faster than most folks believe, with an experienced shooter operating the weapon. Another advantage of the single shot is that it does not leave a cartridge case behind on the ground, and in some situations, leaving a case behind is not a good idea. The AAC single shot only extracts upon opening, and does not throw the case clear of the action, but lifts it enough so that it can easily be plucked from the chamber. The exposed hammer has a transfer bar between it and the firing pin, to prevent discharge if the weapon is dropped.

All accuracy and velocity testing was done at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with temperatures in the 40 degree Fahrenheit range, with a light breeze and a relative humidity of eighty percent. All accuracy testing was done firing from a solid bench using a Target Shooting, Inc. Model 1000 rifle rest. For accuracy testing, I used a Leupold Mark 4 8.5 to 25 power scope set to the highest magnification. The scope was attached using an ArmaLite one-piece base. All ammunition was tested for accuracy at one hundred yards. Velocities are listed in the chart below. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Bullet weights are listed in grains. GC is a hard-cast lead bullet with a gas check on the base.

SUBSONIC AMMUNITION Bullet Weight Velocity w/ Suppressor Velocity w/o Suppressor
Lehigh Defense Controlled Fracturing 170 1246 1232
Lehigh Defense Controlled Fracturing 186 1039 995
Lehigh Defense Maximum Expansion 200 1071 1069
Remington OTM 220 1066 1071
Handload Mt. Baldy Cast GC 150 1050 1028
       
SUPERSONIC AMMUNITION Bullet Weight Velocity w/ Suppressor Velocity w/o Suppressor
Lehigh Defense Controlled Fracturing 140 2095 2061
Atlanta Arms Pink Tip 125 2312 2292
Remington OTM 125 2273 2214
Barnes TAC-TX 110 2457 2350

Accuracy was very good with every type of ammunition tested, and I could discern no measurable accuracy differences with or without the suppressor attached. Typical groups are pictured. In my two previous reviews of the 300 Blackout/300 Whisper, I was firing AR-15 semi-automatic rifles, and doing so limited me to the types of powders that I could use in my handloads. In those rifles, the powder had to make enough gas volume to operate the action. With this single shot rifle, I had no such limitations, so I was able to do some experimenting with Trail Boss powder and cast lead bullets. As expected, that combination resulted in a fine cast-bullet handload, that is subsonic, and using light charges of that fast powder, having a very quiet sound signature, even without using the suppressor. My goal was to send a cast lead bullet to around 1050 feet-per-second (fps) at ten feet from the muzzle, and after a bit of load development, I settled upon a load using the Remington cases, Remington number 7 Ĺ benchrest primers, and a powder charge of 5.5 grains of IMR Trail Boss powder. Trail Boss is bulky, and 5.5 grains filled the cases perfectly up to the shoulder, and resulted in an average of 1048 fps at ten feet, using a Mt. Baldy .309 inch diameter cast lead gas-checked bullet. Perfect. From the muzzle of the suppressed AAC rifle, there is very little noise; about as much as produced by an air rifle. Even unsuppressed, the recoil is very mild, and the noise is minimal. With such a small powder charge, there is very little gas volume, resulting in minimal muzzle blast. This load has enough power to take small or medium game, or troublesome predators, and it closely follows the flight path of the 220 grain subsonic factory load out to around one hundred and fifty yards. All ammunition fired functioned perfectly. Every fired cartridge case extracted easily.

While on the subject of the bulletís flight path, I finally got to try the excellent Leupold Mark 4 MR/T 1.5 to 5 power scope with the 300 Blackout reticle. This scope has a reticle that is calibrated for holdover for both the subsonic and supersonic bullet flight paths. It also has an illuminated semi-circle aiming point in the center, with a rheostat illumination dial for various brightness settings. It is the ideal scope for any 300 Blackout or 300 Whisper rifle, being useful from distances of a few feet out to several hundred yards. I had briefly fired a rifle that had one of these scopes installed last year, but did not have that scope here for the testing of the two previous 300 Blackout rifles. The scope is very handy in size, and adds little bulk or weight to the AAC single-shot rifle. It also can stay in place when the rifle is taken apart and stored into a backpack or carry case. Shown here is a handy little case from Skinner sights that is made for the Ruger 10/22 Takedown rifle, but the AAC single-shot fits perfectly, even with the scope attached, and the suppressor fits inside as well. The case only measures about nineteen inches in length, and the two halves are separated within the case, to prevent scratching.

I covered most of the available factory ammunition in my two previous reviews, and refer you there for information on those, but I have really been impressed by a factory load that was not available to me when those earlier reviews were written. Barnes is now loading their 110 grain TAC-TX bullet that I hand-loaded in the previous reviews into factory ammunition. In South Carolina back in September, we had the opportunity to fire that load into ballistic gelatin to measure expansion and penetration of that bullet. Those bullets performed perfectly every time. Shot after shot, every bullet expanded perfectly, with almost two feet of penetration. This Barnes load would be my choice for a supersonic 300 Blackout factory load to use on deer and hogs.

I donít really know why exactly, but I like this little single-shot AAC 300 Blackout more than I do either of the AR-15s that I have in 300. This little jewel is just so compact and efficient! It stows almost anywhere, whether in the case or assembled. The sound suppressor adds several ounces and some length, so I will likely use the weapon without the device attached most of the time. However, when I have to make a shot and do so discreetly, screwing on the suppressor takes only a few seconds, and with the suppressor attached, the overall length is still under thirty-eight inches. For those with an AAC suppressor, AAC offers this little rifle with their muzzle brake/flash hider that has a quick-attach for the AAC can. Mine came with just the thread protector for the 5/8x24 TPI threaded muzzle. While the 300 Blackout is an ideal cartridge for an SBR (short-barreled rifle) or a sixteen inch AR, this little single-shot rifle is the one that stole my heart. Since the first one I fired at the Freedom Group Writerís Seminar months ago, I have had an itch for one of these, and I am now finally able to scratch that itch.

For more information on the 300 Blackout cartridge, go to www.300aacblackout.com.

For the location of an Advanced Armament dealer near you, go to www.advanced-armament.com.

For high performance subsonic and supersonic 300 Blackout ammunition, go to www.lehighdefense.com, www.remington.com, www.barnesbullets.com, and www.atlantaarmsandammo.com.

For details on the Leupold Mark 4 MR/T 300 Blackout riflescope and other quality optics, got to www.leupold.com.

To order the compact carry case, go to www.skinnersights.com.

Jeff Quinn

NOTE: All load data posted on this web site are for educational purposes only. Neither the author nor GunBlast.com assume any responsibility for the use or misuse of this data. The data indicated were arrived at using specialized equipment under conditions not necessarily comparable to those encountered by the potential user of this data.  Always use data from respected loading manuals and begin working up loads at least 10% below the loads indicated in the source manual.

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Click pictures for a larger version.

 

 

 

 

AAC Single-Shot (right) compared to S&W 300 Whisper/300 Blackout AR-15 (left).

 

 

John Hollister of AAC shooting a Single-Shot rifle in South Carolina.

 

 

Sound suppressor attaches easily to threaded barrel. Even with the can attached, the AAC carbine is still light and handy.

 

 

Leupold Mark 4 MR-T Tactical scope with illuminated 300 Blackout reticle.

 

 

Accuracy was tested from the bench using a Target Shooting, Inc. Model 1000 rifle rest and Leupold Mark 4 8.5 to 25 power scope.

 

 

Accuracy was excellent.