Ammo Test: Sig Sauer HT: .308 Winchester, 300 Blackout, and .223 Remington

Send to Kindle
The newest member of the Sig Sauer Ammunition HT family is the 60-grain .223 load.

The HT line of ammo from Sig Sauer was developed for hunting applications, but could also serve in defensive roles as well. One of the newest members of the HT family is the 60-grain .223 load.

We’re going to test out three new hunting loads from Sig Sauer Elite Performance Ammunition, and in the process, tell you how you can win a year’s worth of Sig Sauer ammo. Read on.

The HT family, now numbering three (300 Blackout, .308 Winchester, and .223 Remington) is intended for various hunting applications. Which ones depend on the caliber. At the high end is the .308 and for varmint and predator use, the .223. In the middle is the supersonic 300 Blackout round. The all-copper HT bullet design common to all three is designed to expand aggressively while remaining in one piece, even as it travels through tough targets. That helps develop consistent and predictable penetration. Today we’re going to take a look at the two newest loads chambered in .308 and .223 and one that’s been on the market for about a year, the 300 Blackout HT.

“We wanted to create an extremely accurate, effective, and environmentally friendly line of hunting ammunition and designed the Sig Sauer HT rounds using all-copper bullets that deliver deep penetration and consistent 1.8x diameter expansion,” said Dan Powers, President of the Sig Sauer Ammunition Division.  “We also designed the nose geometry of the Sig Sauer HT ammunition for superior feeding in AR-style platforms and now offer this round in Supersonic 120-grain 300 Blackout, 150-grain .308 Winchester and 60-grain .223 Remington.”

As the name implies, the HT line is designed for hunting, but as long as you understand what these rounds are designed to do, they’ll make excellent defensive choices too. These projectiles are designed to penetrate with predictable expansion, so if your defensive application is not sensitive to penetration of walls and such, check it out.

This is what the HT bullet is all about. Shown here is the 300 Blackout 120-grain projectile.

This is what the HT bullet is all about. Shown here is an expanded 300 Blackout 120-grain projectile.

Before we get started with testing, let’s take a quick look at the factory specs for the three HT loads.

Sig Sauer HT .223 Remington
Bullet Weight: 60 grains
Velocity: 3,100 feet per second
Energy: 1,280 ft-lbs

Sig Sauer HT 300 Blackout
Bullet Weight: 120 grains
Velocity: 2,250 feet per second
Energy: 1,349 ft-lbs

Sig Sauer HT .308 Winchester
Bullet Weight: 150 grains
Velocity: 2,900 feet per second
Energy: 2,801 ft-lbs

All of the HT rounds use common features like low-flash propellant, nickel-coated cases for slick feeding and corrosion resistance, and upgraded primers for velocity consistency.

Like the other members of the family, the .308 cartridges use upgraded primers and nickel-plated cases for corrosion resistance and smooth feeding.

Like the other members of the family, the .308 cartridges use upgraded primers and nickel-plated cases for corrosion resistance and smooth feeding.

Accuracy

To test out the new Sig Sauer HT Hunting Ammunition, I chose a new hunting rifle chambered in .308, a full length 300 Blackout AR-15 rifle, and “my version” of a hunting rifle chambered in .223 Remington.

For the .308, I used the new Thompson Center Compass bolt-action. We took a close look at this rifle recently, and you can find the details here. The folks at Thompson Center have made a career out of building accurate rifles that regular humans can afford. This one not only retails for $399, but it also comes with a one minute of angle guarantee provided you use match ammunition.

On the .223 side, I’m just an AR guy at heart, so I chose the FN-15 DMR (Designated Marksman Rifle) for the test platform. Besides, this ammo is billed as varmint and predator optimized, so it’s got AR-15 written all over it. The DMR rifle has an 18-inch barrel and has proven to be plenty accurate with the right ammunition. I topped it with a Burris XTR II scope. With its 2-10x magnification, bright 34mm tube, and very fine reticle, it allows a precise sight picture at the standard 100-yard accuracy testing distance.

For the 300 Blackout, I used a Daniel Defense DDM4v5 AR-15 rifle with a 16-inch barrel.

I had little trouble getting 100-yard, five-shot groups like this with the 300 Blackout HT load.

I had little trouble getting 100-yard, five-shot groups like this with the 300 Blackout HT load.

I fired five-shot groups from 100 yards for the .223 and 300 Blackout. Given the design and purpose of the Thompson Center Compass rifle, I fired three-shot groups also from 100 yards.

RifleAmmoGroup Size
Thompson Center CompassSig Sauer HT .3081.55”
Daniel Defense DDM4v5Sig Sauer HT 300 Blackout1.40”
FN-15 DMRSig Sauer HT .2233.1”

For some unknown reason, the .223 HT load and my FN-15 DMR didn’t get along so well. I fired six very careful groups to be sure, and if nothing else, the group sizes were consistent. They ranged from 2.85 to 3.62 inches. The same rifle regularly prints sub-one-inch, five-shot groups with match ammunition, so I’m not exactly sure why the performance didn’t compare with that turned in by the .308 and 300 Blackout loads.

The HT projectiles are designed to start expansion almost immediately.

The HT projectiles are designed to start expansion almost immediately.

Velocity

To keep things consistent, I used the same three rifles for velocity testing. I set up my now almost shot to pieces Shooting Chrony Beta Master Chronograph. Hey, when you shoot thousands of rounds through one of these, you’re bound to have some strikes now and then. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. Anyway, I placed the unit 15 feet down range and proceeded to shoot 10-round strings to get average figures and measures of consistency. Here’s what I found.

 Average VelocityExtreme SpreadStandard Deviation
Sig Sauer HT .2232,664.24813.6
Sig Sauer HT .3082,898.89531.6
Sig Sauer HT 300 Blackout2,421.8319.1

 

While the .308 showed a little more movement around the average, the other two loads were exceptionally consistent in terms of recorded accuracy and variance. Velocity spreads from highest to lowest of just 31 and 48 feet per second are impressive. That’s clearly a result of finicky production methods assisted by use of match-type primers.

Expansion

These all-copper HT projectiles are designed to expand in a dramatic way. Per the factory specs, the ideal expansion is 1.8x original diameter. Since they’re all copper, they should maintain most of their original weight, even when passing through tough targets. I didn’t have a long line of tough target volunteers, so I shot into Clear Ballistics gelatin blocks to get a view of what the expansion pattern looks like.

These two .223 HT bullets performed identically, penetrating Clear Ballistics gelatin to a depth of 24 inches.

These two .223 HT bullets performed identically, penetrating Clear Ballistics gelatin to a depth of 24 inches.

The 300 Blackout bullet, fired from the Daniel Defense rifle with its 16-inch barrel, expanded to a whopping .63 inches. That’s just over double the starting diameter of the projectile. As for penetration, the projectile came within two inches of exiting the second block. That’s 30 inches of penetration through Clear Ballistics gel. I weighed the recovered bullet and found that it gained a little, coming in at 120.1 grains. That was a result of a little bit of gel stuck under the petals.

I fired a couple of the .223 HTs into 16-inch Clear Ballistics gelatin blocks. Since I wasn’t sure how much penetration I’d see, I put two blocks end to end. That turned out to be a good plan because both projectiles stopped at almost the exact same position in the second gelatin block. Total travel was 24 inches. After digging out the bullets, I measured the maximum diameter and found one expanded to .463 inches and the other to .455 inches. Considering that both of these should have measured .224 inches before firing, they also expanded to over double the original diameter. These two projectiles gained a bit of gelatin weight as well, weighing 60.1 and 60.5 grains. The takeaway is that the bullets remained intact and didn’t shed pieces along the way.

Both of these .223 HT bullets expanded to over double their starting diameter.

Both of these .223 HT bullets expanded to over double their starting diameter.

I ran out of gel blocks by the time I got to .308, but given the performance of the other two calibers, I’d expect similar results.

The 120-grain 300 Blackout bullet penetrated to a depth of 30 inches and expanded to over double original diameter.

The 120-grain 300 Blackout bullet penetrated to a depth of 30 inches and expanded to over double original diameter.

Win 12,000 Rounds of Sig Sauer Ammunition

While we’re here talking about ammo, how would you feel about 12,000 rounds of free Sig Sauer Ammunition? Now through May 31, 2017, you can enter to win one case (1,000 rounds) of Sig Sauer Ammunition, each and every month, for an entire year. That should keep you busy.

You can enter two different ways. First, if you buy Sig Sauer Ammunition directly from their web store during the contest period, you’re already entered. Alternatively, you can enter via the contest form on the rules page.

There will be three lucky winners, so be sure to enter. Might as well be you, right?

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Kenny August 6, 2017, 12:57 pm

    I have taken five boar with the 300blk HT all around 100 yards with a suppressed SBR and recovered four of the five rounds and there was absolutely no expansion, the one round not recovered was through and through right neck left rib cage and the exit wound was the same size as the entrance. They have been extremely accurate but no expansion.

  • Robert Goodrich August 2, 2017, 10:06 pm

    I have been trying various loads in my .300 Blk. The best ammo has been the Sig in subsonic and match. I haven’t tried any of the HT, but it sounds like a good plan.
    I tried LehighDefence copper Controlled Chaos, and it would not feed into my gun!
    I am going to try their brass product, as their accuracy and gel results are superb.
    This HT is certainly on my list to try!

  • loupgarous May 25, 2017, 1:43 pm

    I want to read around a little more and talk to people who actually shoot 300 AAC Blackout, but Tom’s test results are impressive – better than half-inch expansion and 30″ of penetration in a round that starts expanding on hitting the gel – plus what looks like a very impressive wound cavity in the gel block. That’s impressive whether you’re going after deer or dissuading an uninvited guest from attacking you and your family.

    That the Daniel Defense AR in .300 AAC Blackout shot tighter groups from a 16″ barrel than the same manufacturer’s .223 Remington from an 18″ barrelled FN DMR is odd. Not cattle mutilation by aliens odd, but odd nonetheless.

  • Guns Are My Thing May 24, 2017, 9:58 am

    I love this ammo! The .308 Winchester and 300 Blackout copper bullets are excellent rounds! Both had awesome penetration and were absolutely deadly. The accuracy exceeded my expectations and I was impressed on the knock down power they had on hogs. As for the .223, my groups were under 2″ at 100 yrds (Diamondback DB15) and are perfect for varmint control and defense applications. You guys seriously need to try them. I’ll be buying a lot more of these copper rounds.

  • Grendel May 15, 2017, 10:01 am

    Would love to see some articles on the 6.5mm Grendel. This is the weapon our troops should be carrying, not the lightweight 5.56.

    • Nate Carey May 15, 2017, 12:40 pm

      It’s a good thing this article is about hunting ammo then isn’t it.

    • Keith May 19, 2017, 3:44 pm

      I agree. The 6.5 x 39 round is far better than the 5.56 x 45 round. I think magazine capacity is 26 shots with it. The round is effective out of a 16 inch barrel past 550 meters. You can carry far more 6.5 x 39 rounds than 7.62 x 51. The M-4 is less effective than most rifle rounds beyond 200 yards in range.

      I do like supersonic .300 Blackout cartridges with 120 or lower bullets more than the 5.56 x 45 as well. But supersonic .300 Blackout is only effective to about 290 yards in range.

  • Nate May 14, 2017, 9:30 am

    Thanks for the review; however, you didn’t address the .223 elephant in the room. In addition to poor groups, the .223 was shooting several hundred feet per second slower than advertised. That’s a lot of lost energy for a hunting round.

    • Steve May 15, 2017, 1:50 pm

      that’s what I was going to say too. over 400fps of velocity loss? and he was using an 18 inch barrel?

      • Nate May 16, 2017, 4:06 pm

        Yep, I think I’ll stick with my Barnes Vor-Tx. Sorry Sig but that is some sad velocity from 18 inches.

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend