Review: SilencerCo 300BLK Harvester Ammo
SilencerCo made some pretty big claims about their recently released “Harvester” 300 Blackout ammunition, a round specially made for optimal performance in suppressed firearms. Offered as a subsonic 220 grain Sierra Matchking, the round allegedly outperforms other commercial loadings in both accuracy and decibel reduction. We headed to the range recently with two different AR-15 uppers chambered in 300BLK to see how well it preforms.
The most boastful claim made by SilencerCo is that the ammo consistently produces Sub-MOA accuracy. This a statement that needs to be put into context. Shooting groups smaller than 1” at 100 yards has more variables than just the ammo. If you the shooter are not capable of shooting to this standard, it’s never going to happen. Likewise, if you have a firearm that has a bargain basement barrel, shoddy construction or jacked up crown, it’s never going to happen. If your optic has a wandering zero because you picked up a “bargain” at the gun show, it’s never going to happen. If you cut corners at any point, it’s unlikely you are going to have the advertised results. But if you are a great shot, always apply the fundamentals 100%, don’t skimp on quality optics and guns, well… you will probably shoot sub-MOA.
The whole point of 300 BLK is to shoot a .30 caliber projectile out of a AR-15. The idea of small, light and accurate .30 is appealing to many, especially if you can do it cheaper and easier than with a AR-10 style receiver and special magazines. Personally, I don’t see the point in building a 16” barrel 300 BLK. The cartridge is best suited for short barreled rifles, otherwise don’t bother; stick to a .308 battle rifle. Since the majority of people partaking in the 300 BLK craze are doing exactly that, throwing projectiles out of short barrels on class 3 guns and AR pistols, this isn’t much of a surprise. The cartridge deserves a silencer, and most shooting it will have one hanging off the end of their gun.
220 grain projectiles are loaded to be subsonic, while lighter weight projectiles are usually loaded for max velocity. When shooting supersonic rounds out of a 300BLK you will hear the sonic crack of the round tearing down range, which sort of negates the point of the round. I have found that most shooters who are fans of the 300 BLK prefer subsonic rounds, and only seem to shoot supersonic loadings for further distances or when shooting unsuppressed.
For my evaluation, I shot two hundred Silencerco Harvester rounds out of two different 300 BLK upper receivers, at 25 50 and 100 yards. The uppers used were a Daniel Defense “pistol Upper” with a 10.3” CHF barrel with 1/8” twist. The Second upper was a AAC built 9” barrel upper, with 1/7” twist. Both uppers have free float forearms, and both sport electronic red dot EOtech sights.
I started by zeroing both SBRs at 25 yds, first unsuppressed, and then with a AAC 762 SDN can attached. Both SBR uppers functioned fine with the ammo, with slightly more noticeable recoil in the DD. This continued with the AAC suppressor installed, and I believe its because of the Daniel Defense being over-gassed. Personally, I think its better that a gun is over-gassed rather then under-gassed, but maybe that’s just me.
Without aid of magnification at any range, I was happy with the three and five shot groupings down range, and proceeded on to the fifty yard line. The same format was followed at fifty, first shooting the Harvester ammo without the silencer attached, and then again with the AAC can installed. Their was minimal drop despite the 25 yd zero, with rounds impacting about two inches below my point of aim. Attaching the suppressor raised the point of impact slightly, requiring minimal adjustment to the EOtech. The EOtech is hardly a precision optic, but its small, 1 MOA center dot gives you a finite aiming point. I guess in reality I should have used a magnified 2×10 or 3X9 power optic, to wring out as much accuracy as possible. But both guns shot consistently well with the ammo, the groups would have only been slightly smaller on the SBRs. In reality, I’m not sure what more you could expect out of this ammunition.
After shooting the Harvester for zero and groupings, I proceeded to shoot failure to stop and controlled pair drills, getting the gun hot and dirty. There were zero malfunctions of any type, and I ended by shooting for accuracy at 100 yds with a hot barrel. Standing, unsupported, I kept all my rounds in the center of a steel torso target. Overall, I’m pleased with the performance of this ammunition and would recommend it to friends. It’s loaded extremely consistently, sounds good out of a silenced SBR and shot without issue. I’m sure someone else could wring out more accuracy, but like I said I think magnified optics on SBRs are kind of stupid. The down side? its not cheap ammo, so I wouldn’t plan on plinking with it too much. But for hog hunts and high stakes, I’d use it with confidence.
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About the Author: Nathan “Mad Duo Nate” is a former USMC Sergeant who recently transitioned to being a nasty civilian. He lives largely on nicotine, whiskey and hate and can be frequently found orating Kipling poems to frightened hipsters. A graduate of the Camp Lejeune School for Wayward Boys, he was a Marine NCO, Infantry Platoon Sergeant and Scout Sniper team leader. He is a fully qualified American Jedi, handsome badass and world-renowned field barista. He has numerous deployments to the Middle East and Africa and is something of an idiot savant when it comes finger-fucking stuff to make it work better. Nate only chain smokes when he’s drinking and only drinks every day. We reckon he is probably best described as a sociopathic philosopher with vestigial cutthroat (though poetic) tendencies. Thus far Murr’s writing has appeared in such places as here on Breach-Bang-Clear, on Military.com, in field shitters and portajohns on at least 3 continents, in RECOIL Magazine and of course Penthouse letters. (Grunts: vestigial)