Choosing the best round to use in a situation can be a very daunting task. With so many different names, numbers and bullets to keep in mind, it can be hard to answer the simple question: “what is best for me?”
Understanding Cartridge Types
Bullet types don’t have to be shrouded in mystery. We believe that once you understand a few details, the rest becomes simpler.
How Is Ammo Categorized?
Ammo is typically categorized in diameter-to-length measurements. So, 5.56x45mm ammo is 5.56mm wide by 45mm long. When you hear someone talking about “caliber,” they are usually referring to the diameter of the round such as “five-five-six” when talking about 5.56x45mm.
In the United States, you will find cartridges also expressed in inches instead of mm.
For instance, 5.56 ammo is a metric measurement (mm) which is closely equivalent to .223 ammo, which is measured in inches (but they are not the same round and are not fully compatible). So it is always important to understand what your firearm can shoot. To give another example, you can shoot .223 ammo in a 5.56mm rifle safely but you cannot and should not attempt to shoot 5.56mm ammo in a .223 rifle.
In plain talk, cartridges are expressed by their diameter and then their length– but they are typically referred to by just their diameter in either inches or mm.
If you come across a cartridge measured in inches that has an equivalent metric counterpart, that is used to designate that they are technically the same size cartridge but have some differences which require further knowledge.
The .300 AAC Blackout round was designed in 2011 during the height of the War on Terror. It was designed to put U.S. military weapons on at least the same playing field as the 7.62x39mm rounds the enemy was using (commonly fired from the infamous AK-47).
Instead of simply adopting the AK-47, Advanced Armament Corporation (AAC) wanted to make a round which could still be used on American AR platforms. Thus the .300 Blackout was born.
The .308 Winchester is perhaps the most popular hunting caliber in the U.S. and was developed from the .30-06 cartridge. It delivers incredibly consistent results at decent ranges. The U.S. Army has determined its max effective range to be 800 meters. The .308 is very similar to 7.62. In fact, if you remember how ammo is categorized, you know that .308 and 7.62 are just measures of the diameters– the very same thing, expressed in different terms.
So if it’s the same caliber, why does it have two different names? Well, the rounds are not exactly the same, so the different names help identify the difference. 7.62 NATO rounds use slightly thicker brass than the .308 Winchester, and that small variation can be important.
300 Blackout vs 308– Which is Better?
It depends. While this may seem like the most common, unhelpful answer you find when comparing ammunition, it is not without reason. Not every situation will be the same, and some ammo will perform better than others.
For hunting, you can’t go wrong with the .308. It’s one of the most popular hunting rounds of all time, and you won’t have a hard time finding a rifle chambered for that caliber. It has great range and consistency with enough power to hunt most North American small to medium game, such as coyotes and deer.
The .300 Blackout might serve you better for home defense. The .308’s long-range capabilities are not required in the smaller, more confined spaces of a home.
The .300 Blackout also has more manageable recoil and fits into most AR platforms, making it lighter and more maneuverable for tight spaces. The round’s development during the War on Terror focused on a very urban landscape and was designed with close-quarters combat in mind.
Where to Find Ammo
We believe that gun ownership is a fundamental right which every American is entitled to. In order to encourage exercising this right, we want to make getting - and understanding - ammo as simple as possible. We want to provide you with the ammo you want, when you want it at the price you want it at.
Check out our story to learn more about how we are committed to providing ammo for all.