Olympic Arms K16 300 SST IN .300 BLK

[Aaron caught up with Olympic Arms at the 2012 SHOT Show and took a look at their new K16 300 SST chambered for the 300 BLK cartridge.]

By now most readers will realize that there has been an explosion in rifle offerings in .300 Blackout (BLK). The .300 Blackout cartridge came about to fulfill the desires of shooters who wanted to shoot .30 caliber bullets, but didn’t want to lose the capacity and weight advantages of shooting traditional 5.56mm AR-15’s.

Olympic Arms 300 BLK

The .300 BLK is a very unique .30 caliber cartridge. Instead of bulking up the casing and powder weights to accommodate the .30 caliber bullet, the .300 BLK starts with the same 5.56mm casing that is the standard for AR-15 platforms. From there the casing is necked up, or expanded out at the neck, to accept the .30 caliber bullet. The rest of the casing is the same as the 5.56mm casing along with powder weights. The end result is a .30 caliber bullet fired from basically the same casing as the traditional 5.56mm cartridge.

The .300 BLK can be loaded with heavier 115-125 grain bullets which will match ballistics of the 7.62x39mm AK round which are far better than the 5.56mm round. In addition, the .300 BLK can be loaded with sub-sonic rounds, such as the 220 grain Sierra OTM (open-tip match), that have far greater results in penetration and long range accuracy over other sub-sonic rounds in 9mm.

The sub-sonic rounds are particularly important in considering .300 BLK rifles, because the ability to include silencers was a major factor in the development of this cartridge. Having factory made sub-sonic rounds readily available makes this cartridge much more viable to the market it was intended to attract.

Interestingly the .300 BLK outperforms traditional 7.62x39mm AK ammunition in retained energy at distances of up to 300-400 meters. The round is also more efficient than the 5.56mm and therefore uses less powder. Advanced Armament Corporation (AAC) was the company to first develop this cartridge, which is basically (from what I’ve read) a SAAMI approved version of the .300 Whisper. According to the AAC website, there are over 60 companies that have announced or sell products for this cartridge, including reloading materials.

Olympic Arms 300 BLK

OLYMPIC ARMS K16 300 SST

While walking the floor at the 2012 SHOT SHOW I came across Olympic Arms and their K16 300 SST which is chambered for .300 BLK. Olympic Arms has been in the game for awhile, and they have a good reputation for quality rifles.

Founded in Colorado Springs, CO by Robert Schuetz back in 1956, the company was first known for making rifle barrels and blanks under the name of Schuetzen Gun Works (SGW). The company moved to Olympia, WA in 1975, and began making AR15/ M16 complete rifles in 1982 under the name Olympic Arms.

Interestingly, according to Wikipedia, Olympic Arms was the first company to produce flat top upper receivers, free-floating hand guards, pistol caliber conversions, and AR-15 based pistols for the AR platform – many innovations that are now standard for AR-15 rifles.

Olympic Arms 300 BLK

I was able to talk with Brian Schuetz, Vice President of Olympic Arms, at their SHOT SHOW booth and learned the following about the Olympic Arms K16 300 SST features:

  • Chambered – .300 AAC Blackout
  • Barrel – 16” bull, button rifled, made from 416 stainless steel
  • Bore – Life-long non-chromed
  • Twist Rate – 1:8
  • Upper receiver – Forged flat top with picatinny rails
  • Front sight – Gas block assembly with picatinny rails
  • Handguard – FIRSH, free floating with picatinny rails
  • Muzzle – Threaded muzzle end with thread protector cap. Silencer ready.
  • Stock – M4, 6-point collapsible, fiberite
  • Pistol grip – Standard ERGO grip
  • Length – 34.375” (extended)
  • Weight – 7.47 lbs. (unloaded)
  • MSRP – $1,075

Brian told me that another difference between the .300 BLK and .300 Whisper is that the .300 Whisper round had to be moved back in the casing to function properly. The .300 BLK cartridge takes the necessary steps to feed and fire properly.

Olympic Arms 300 BLK

The .300 BLK has been compared to a .30-30 cartridge fired from an AR-15 platform. However, according to AAC, the effective military M4 hit probability range of the .300 BLK is 440 meters for the 9” barrels, and 460 meters for the 16” barrels. What I found to be very interesting is that the 9” barrels have the same energy at the muzzle as the 16” barrels, and have about 5% more energy at 440 yards than the 16” barrels.

I have shot .30-30 with Hornady LeverRevolution ammunition, and I would guesstimate the effective hit range at only about 200-250 yards. That’s with getting around golf ball sized groups at 100 yards. That’s much better than traditional round nose .30-30 ammunition, which I would say is only good to about 150-200 yards, but not quite as good as the new .300 BLK standards. As such, hunters and long distance shooters have another great cartridge to consider when going into the field.

Olympic Arms 300 BLK

I have a friend that has been putting together a .300 BLK rifle. Now that I know more about them, I have to admit that I’d love to have a .300 BLK AR-15 for hunting and personal defense uses alike. I like the AR-15 platform. To have the capacity, and similar weight of traditional 5.56mm cartridges, while improving overall ballistics out to almost all hunting and personal defense ranges, is a great benefit.

With more and more of the big manufacturers including these rifles and ammunition in their inventory, I’d say that this cartridge is here to stay, and thankfully so. And the Olympic Arms K16 .300 SST appears to be a real competitor in this market.

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About Aaron

Aaron is a sergeant with a midwestern police department, where he serves as a trainer, supervisor and SWAT sniper. In addition to his broad tactical knowledge, Aaron is an experienced hunter using bow and both modern and blackpowder firearms.

Comments

  1. I wouldn’t call a .300 Whisper clone “unique”.

  2. Thanks Marc,

    I knew I would hear from some .300 Whisper followers. I’ve just started looking into these cartridges and rifles. I like what I’ve found so far – especially the potential for accuracy and kills to 450 yards or so.

    I suppose my use of “very unique” was meant more for the overall cartridge compared to other calibers, rather than comparisons within this particular market. But you’re right on about the .300 Blackout being modeled after the .300 Whisper.

    Unfortunately for the .300 Whisper, SSK Industries and inventor J.D. Jones don’t seem to be willing to let go of their Trademark. As such, Thompson Center is the only manufacturer currently allowed to produce rifles in .300 Whisper. AAC seems to be taking over the marketability, by producing a SAAMI cartridge that is opened up for numerous manufacturers to use. Right, wrong, or indifferent I think the .300 Blackout will win out if for no other reason.

    I also read that the .300 Whisper has issues with using .223/5.56mm cartridges (which J.D. Jones says not to use). The .300 Blackout does not seem to have those problems, making reloading very accessible with relatively inexpensive Remington .223 brass.

    Thanks for the comments! Keep reading.

    Aaron

  3. I have yet to see any rifles or stores in my area.
    Sounds very promising, but they all said that about the 6.8spc

    A while ago My Mini 14 jammed, a live round was stuck in chamber, somehow a russian 5.45×39 round had found its way into a mini 14 magazine. OK so It was my gun I take the blame. but my point is that do you want two rounds that fit into the same magazine that will only work in guns with different barrels. Now this maybe fine for recreational shooters who can load magazines before going to a range, but would you want this situation with Police or Military who may not be “gun” people

  4. Michael,

    I would agree that the shooter would have to be cognizant of the weapon and ammunition they’re using. However, that is a standard safety tip for any shooter any time. Know what you’re putting into the weapon.

    I’m really not sure what you mean by “would you want this situation with Police or Military who may not be ‘gun’ people”. I’m not saying that all police and military personnel are weapons masters, but they do have much more weapons training than most “recreational shooters”. In both the military and police you must show proficiency in the weapon to be able to carry it.

    Now if you were saying that if soldiers or officers were in the same unit having both 5.56mm and .300 BLK rifles, than yes, some kind of marking or identification method would need to be utilized to prevent the wrong magazines or ammunition being inserted into the wrong rifle. That has been done for some time, for instance with less lethal shotguns.

    Thanks for reading.

    • I have seen many Police and Military that have little gun skills and knowledge. My point is that we would need to replace all 5.56 weapons with 300 in a military enviroment to avoid accidents .
      Now I like 300 and will probably buy one in the near future, but it does not fix the shortcoming of the 5.56, which is lack of lethathilty at long range. I know it is not trying to do that. It would be more effective at short range, and can be slienced, but would not be a great replacement for general military service. Now as a LE round it would excel.

  5. I guess I’m not familiar with where you are from to compare weapons skills of military and police personnel.

    As I mentioned, I don’t think you would need to completely eliminate one rifle over the other – simply mark them adequately so that the wrong ammunition doesn’t get into the wrong gun.

    American military units frequently carry a variety of weapons in 5.56mm and 7.62x51mm. Weapons recognition training allows the units to use the different caliber weapons without issue. This involves both personal and squad automatic weapons. Each has benefits and limitations.

    I agree that it may be simpler or more cost effective to choose one caliber and stay with it.

    Good points.

  6. Although I have reservations about two similar sized cartridges I would like to have an AR upper in 300blk, a bolt gun with a 16 inch barrel would also be nice.
    I just wanted to relay to people my stupid mistake in having the wrong cartridge in a gun, learn from my mistakes. Always check the cartridge. I read that the DSARMs 300 Blk upper is not even marked with the calibre (according to a customer comment). A recipe for disaster.
    I have been shooting for a number of years and have seen lots of military, police and prison guards shoot, Not all are knowledgeable and some I felt were dangerous.
    One calibre would be great, but that would never happen, lets hope we never discuss the perfect handgun round

    • Good points Michael!

      It is unfortunate that there are military, police, and corrections officers that don’t have proper weapon handling skills. Like anything technical in nature – it takes practice, practice, practice.

      The DSARM’s 300 BLK without markings does sound like a disaster. The shooter needs to know what they have, especially in a similar platform.

      I agree – we don’t need a “perfect” handgun or pistol round – the more the better!

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