Can You Hunt Elk With A 300 Blackout?

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Video 300 blackout for hunting elk

Fact checked by Steven Lines, lifelong Hunter, and Outdoorsman.

If you plan to hunt elk, you need to get the right weapon. In this area, the .300 Blackout is a reasonably well-known name. But will it be powerful enough to kill an elk?

The .300 Blackout is powerful enough to kill an elk, as long as you are working within the right parameters. First, it has a limited range. You’ll have to be within 100 yards. You’ll also need to be confident of hitting the vitals, as it will struggle to get through the thick elk bones.

Before you head out to hunt an elk, you need to know what your weapons are capable of doing. This ensures that you will be able to deliver a kill shot. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about using a .300 Blackout during your hunt.

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Performance of the .300 Blackout

Let’s start by looking at the performance of this cartridge. This will help determine how effective it will be when hunting for elk. It will also help you determine if it will be a good fit for your hunting style.

Accuracy

One of the most important elements to consider when you are planning for your hunt is how accurate the cartridge will be. The amount of drop you experience will often vary a little, depending on the grain that you are using. Typically, the heavier the grain, the more you can expect it to drop.

The good news is that this the .300 Blackout is designed to be very accurate. However, you should be aware that the bullet will start to drop fairly dramatically after the first 100 yards. How far it will drop will depend on a few factors, like the type of gun you are using and the amount of wind you are facing.

Here is roughly what you can expect when using a 110-grain bullet:

  • Minimal drop within the first 100 yards
  • Down 2.1 inches after 150 yards
  • A drop of 6.6 inches after 200 yards
  • After 250 yards you have lost 13.5 inches

Recoil

The next thing that you need to consider is the amount of recoil that you will experience. The good news is that this is one of the lowest-recoil bullets you can use, especially in the hunting realm. It will be a little more than the .308 Winchester. It’s on par with the .223.

This is a good choice for beginner hunters, as it isn’t going to throw you off-balance too much. It’s also ideal for people who have shoulder problems or hunters who are a little older.

Cost

Due to the popularity of the .300 Blackout, the costs associated with the ammunition will be fairly low. This will vary a little, depending on the type of grain you are purchasing. Generally, though, you can expect it to be between $45 to $60. This is a fairly good price.

Availability

It’s important to think about the type of gun you will be using when hunting. You need to make sure that the cartridge will be compatible with this weapon. The good news is that there is a wide range of rifles that you can shoot a .300 Blackout from. The AR-15 is the most common weapon used with the .300 Blackout. Primarily, it is used for military purposes. Because of this, the popularity you shouldn’t have any trouble finding ammunition.

Type of Grain

When you are thinking about the equipment you are taking hunting, it’s important to make sure that you are getting the right grain. This will ensure that you have enough power to kill an elk. This is where the popularity of the .300 Blackout comes into play.

They are available in a range of grains. They typically start at around 110 grains, but they can go all the way up to 220 grains. It might be best to stick with a heavier grain. These will allow you to penetrate more deeply. It can also help when you are dealing with thick elk bones.

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It should be noted that, because they are used with the military, there is a wide range of available bullets. For example, some rounds are built to be subsonic. Others might be designed to work with silencers.

When you are hunting for elk, it’s best to use hollow point ammunition. They will be able to expand when it hits a target. This will do more damage, opening up a large blood trail.

Penetration

With any species, you need to make sure that you are doing enough damage to deliver a kill shot. This is more important than ever when you are dealing with a larger animal, like an elk. In this area, there are lots of variables that can affect the penetration, including:

  • Where you hit the animal
  • The amount of wind resistance
  • Distance from the elk
  • Grain of the bullet, which affects its weight

However, we can estimate how much force the bullet will impact will have by analyzing the ballistics. Often, the 110-grain will leave the bullet with a muzzle at 2,375 feet per second. If you hit the elk within the first 100 yards, you will be able to deliver 1,071 pounds of force.

Legality

Finally, you should always check your hunting rules before you begin. If you have the wrong set-up, you could be facing a major fine. The good news is that the.300 Blackout is legal in all states. You just need to make sure that you are using supersonic rounds. Though in some jurisdictions, subsonic varieties will be allowed.

What’s the Range of the .300 Blackout?

The .300 Blackout is a close-range weapon. It’s best to use this within a 100-yard range. Outside of this distance, the power starts to drop, so you might not have enough force to kill the elk.

The .300 Blackout is a popular choice when hunting for Whitetail deer. You can kill these animals from 200 yards away. Plus, they allow hunters to use AR-15, a weapon that most people will be familiar with and fairly comfortable shooting.

When you are working with any weapon, it’s important to think about the range. This is especially important when you are working with a large animal, like an elk. Too little power and you could be setting yourself up for a long blood chase as you work to track down and kill the injured animal.

The .300 Blackout has a limited amount of power, especially when compared to some of the larger hunting cartridges on the market. To ensure that you can penetrate deeply enough to kill the elk, you will need to move reasonably close before taking your shot. It’s usually best to be within 100-yards, though closer is usually best. If you can, try to get even closer. 40 or 50 yards will deliver the best results.

It should be noted that there are a few things that will affect the range of the weapon. These elements include:

  • Weather conditions. On a blowy day, you will face more wind resistance on the bullet. This can slow it down, reducing the penetrating force.
  • Accuracy. This is one of the most important elements to consider. If you can reliably land a shot to the vitals, you might be able to move a little further back. But you don’t want to go too far back, as you don’t want to risk not having enough penetrating force to kill the animal.
  • Species. If you are shooting a deer or hog, you can be further away. 200 yards for these species is a good option. But an elk is one of the largest hunting animals. Because of this, you will need to be closer.
  • Temperature and humidity. These might also affect the flight path of the bullet. Though this only starts to come into play when you are shooting from long distances.
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Should You Shoot an Elk With a .300 Blackout?

The .300 Blackout is only effective at close ranges. It will also require you to have a clean shot and the accuracy required to hit your target. If these conditions don’t suit your hunting style or abilities, it’s best to try a different cartridge.

Now that we know a little more about this type of cartridge and how it performs, we have established that it can be to hunt elk effectively. But this doesn’t answer one of the most important questions. Is it a good choice for these larger species?

This is a contextual question, which will require you to answer a few important questions. These are:

  • How far away are you? This is one of the most important things for you to consider. As we mentioned, this will only be effective within 100-yards, it isn’t a good choice for hunters that prefer to shoot from a longer distance. But if you are presented a good opportunity, like an unexpected shot at a buck as you are stepping out of the car, it will be a good choice. You can shoot with an AR-15 within a few seconds, often with accuracy.
  • Can you hit the mark accurately? The next thing you need to consider is how confident you feel using the cartridge. The good news is that the .300 Blackout tends to be fairly user-friendly. It doesn’t have a lot of recoil and will fly fairly straight. But you should still have a few practice shots before the hunt to make sure you can hit the target.
  • What type of bullet are you using? This will determine the amount of damage you will be able to do. If you are using a heavier grain and have a hollow point, you should be able to kill the elk. Even if you don’t the wound will be deep enough to create a strong blood trail.
  • Are there any other options available? Finally, think about what other weapons you have at your disposal. If you have the choice, it might be better to pick a more long-range cartridge, like the Nosler Accubond. This has plenty of power, so you shouldn’t have any issues taking down the elk, even if you are around 200 yards away.

Once you know the answers to these questions, you will be able to determine whether you want to take the shot. There are a few circumstances where you can comfortably use the .300 Blackout. The elk will need within 100 yards. You’ll also need to have a pretty good shot, so you can be sure of putting it into the vitals and delivering the kill shot. You should be able to put the elk away.

Outside of this circumstance, it’s probably not a good idea to use the .300 Blackout. It will be a great option for smaller animals like deer or hogs. But when it comes to the bigger prey, like elk, it might struggle to get the job done.

What Else Can You Shoot With a .300 Blackout?

While elk might not be the best fit for the .300 Blackout, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to use it when hunting. It just means that you might need to adjust your target species a little. Here are some of the animals you can focus on:

  • Deer. This is the most common hunting application for this ammunition. In particular, you should focus on the whitetail. As we mentioned, it will be legal in all the States, so it has become a popular choice with deer hunters.
  • Hogs. These are other ideal target species. Like when hunting deer, you will be able to use this cartridge from a distance. You should be able to kill a hog from 200 yards away.
  • Bears. When on a camping trip, it can be a good idea to take an AR-15 with you, especially if you are going into bear country. If one of these animals breaks into your camp, it will allow you to defend yourself. If you need to, a close-range shot to the head should be enough to kill the bear. Often, though, the noise of the gun will be enough to deter them.
  • Smaller varmint. The .300 Blackout will offer more than enough power to stop smaller animals, plus it’s low-cost and accessibility makes getting replacement bullets easy.
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Alternatives to Using a .300 Blackout

No cartridge will suit all hunters; you might need to experiment a little to find the one that suits you the most. The good news is that there are plenty of other options available for you to explore. These include:

  • Hornady. This is one of the most popular deer hunting cartridges on the market. It’s known for its accuracy and deep penetration. It should offer enough power to take on larger game, like elk.
  • .223. The .300 and .223 offer a similar shooting experience. The .223 will also be suitable for use with AR-15s.
  • .308 Winchester. This is another cartridge that is often compared to the .300 Blackout. However, this option is often best for shooting over longer distances.

It’s often a good idea to experiment with the type of ammunition you are using during the off-season. Go to your local range and try out different types of cartridges. This will make it easier to find one that you like to work with.

Tips For Hunting With a .300 Blackout

As we mentioned, the .300 Blackout can be a good choice for elk hunting. But you will need to be careful about the situations you are using it in. Here are some of the tips you can use to make sure that you get a kill shot on your next hunting trip:

  • Get close. Because of the limited range, you will need to get used to stalking the bulls. This takes a lot of skill.
  • Be patient. This cartridge might struggle to bust through the thick bones of the elk. Because of this, you will need to wait until they are in the right position before you take the shot. This gives you the best chance of hitting the vitals.
  • Be prepared to take a second shot. If you aren’t quite hitting the spot on your first attempt, you might need to make a follow-up shot. This is where the rapid-fire nature of the AR-15 shines. If you can get a second shot in quick enough you might be able to save yourself from having to follow a long blood trail.
  • Always be ready. You never know when you might get an opportunity to take a shot at the elk, especially if you are stalking them. Because of this, you need to get confident in your hunting ability. If you are offered a clean shot, within the target range, take it. You never know when you are going to get the next one.

As long as you apply these tips, you stand a good chance of being able to land an elk with a .300 Blackout.

Final Thoughts

Buy Ammo from Guns.com

Buy 300 Blackout Ammo from Palmetto State Armory

In the right hands, any weapon is capable of taking down an elk. The key is finding the one that best suits your hunting abilities. The .300 Blackout won’t be suited to those who like to shoot from long distances. But, if you like to get close to the action, stalking until you are within 100 yards, this cartridge is right for you.

Steven Lines is a hunter and outdoorsman from Safford, Arizona, USA. Since he was a child, he has been hunting and fishing and has over 20 years of outdoor experience. Steven works as a hunting guide in Arizona during his spare time and runs a Youtube channel dedicated to sharing his outdoor adventures with others.

Sources

  • https://www.80percentarms.com/blog/300-blackout-deer-hunting/
  • https://www.huntinggearguy.com/tips/300-blackout-vs-223/
  • https://americanarmamentco.com/300-blackout/
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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>