DoubleStar expanded its popular Always Ready Carbine (ARC) line with the addition of a .300 Blackout caliber model; meeting the needs of hunters who wanted those larger 30-caliber bullets for hogs and deer. This filled the gap in the ARC line for a suppressible caliber version as well.
Always ready means you have it with you. For those who’ve carried rifles afield in rough terrain, it’s well known that ounces make pounds, and that’s where the ARC is designed to shine. It’s designed and manufactured to be light enough that you will have it with you, not left behind in the house, car or camp. At 6.5 pounds, it carries easily hanging on your sling, strapped to your pack, or at the ready in your hands.
The family owned company, located in eastern Kentucky has generations of experience in the AR market place; they aren’t one of the recent startups. They have decades of face to face time with their users, they knew what the consumers were looking for, and they built it.
With summer coming to an end and hunting season looming on the horizon, the ARC 300 is coming into its prime. As versatile as the 5.56mm ARC is, the new ARC 300 raises that to all new levels. The larger, heavier projectiles open the door to more hunting opportunities and to the calm, quiet of suppressed hunting and practice. Still fun to shoot, and a great defensive firearm with the same 30 round magazine capacity, just a wider range of applications.
The Good Stuff
The upper and lower receivers are made of forged 7075 T6 aluminum with Mil-Spec anodized finishes. The upper receiver has M4 feed ramps inside, brass deflector, dust cover and “T” marks on the top for attachment indexing. This isn’t a stripped down gun by any measure, except in weight.
The barrel is a 16-inch light contour, 416 stainless with a 1:8-in. twist, of course with M4 style feed ramps on the barrel extension for optimum feeding reliability. The barrel is free floated in the handguard to maximize accuracy. The lightweight contour of the barrel is a major player in minimizing the overall weight of the firearm.
The barrel sports a low profile gas block located under the Sampson handguard, running a pistol length gas system. The shorter length gas impingement system is in part what enables the ARC 300 to run normal and sub-sonic rounds reliably.
The ARC 300 comes with flip up front and rear sights, making it ready to shoot right out of the box. The fold down sights are a big advantage on a firearm like this, allowing mounting an optic (scope or dot) while maintaining a set of zeroed iron sights folded down out of the way in case of an optic failure, all a part of being “always ready”.
The 15 inch Sampson M-LOK handguard is a great choice for use on the ARC. At 11.7 oz., it’s a natural choice for keeping the gun light while maximizing performance and potential. Free floating the barrel and protecting it from contact helps increase accuracy and minimizes the chances of point of impact (POI) shifts due to the barrel coming in contact with a shooting rest or obstacle. The upper rail and M-LOK mounting system allow space for mounting flashlights, lasers, night vision, vertical grips, bipods or bottle openers. They also provide the rigid foundation for the mounting the flip up front sight.
The 16-inch barrel with 15-inch handguard is just the right combination for adding on suppressor, once the brake is removed or to attach over an OEM suppressor adapter/brake like a Surefire or AAC.
The “Big Timber” muzzle brake mounted at the end of the barrel is counter bored to come back over the barrel and provides an awesome finished look of the upper assembly. The ports of the Big Timber brake vent a portion of the cartridge gases upward. The look is great but the true muzzle braking effects seem to be minimal.
DoubleStar took a somewhat radical approach to the stock on the ARC models. They utilized their Mortar Plate Butt plate to help keep the gun weight down while still providing a comfortable shooting platform. The Mortar Plate clamps on to a standard commercial six-position carbine buffer tube, adding a little length to it with a rubber recoil pad that softens the already light recoils and provides a non-slip shoulder surface, a minimalist yet highly functional approach to say the least.
The Mortar Plate also has multiple mounting sockets for the provided quick detach sling swivel, accommodating right or left handed shooters. Also included in the ARC 300 package is an additional DS-4 carbine stock should the user want to employ a standard carbine style stock.
The installed “standard” trigger is a safe, practical weight for a field trigger. There are so many options for AR triggers it’s hard to make everyone happy. Single stage, two stage, straight, curved, what’s light enough to shoot well, heavy enough to be safe; everyone has an opinion. Dropping in a Geissele or CMC type trigger when you get your ARC 300 would allow you to wring out its full potential at extended distances.
- Caliber: .300 BLK
- Overall Length: 34.5 in.
- Weight: 6 lbs., 8 oz.
- Upper Receiver: T- marked, Flattop, Forged 7075 T6 Aluminum, Mil-Spec Anodized
- Lower Receiver: Forged 7075 T6 Aluminum, Mil-Spec Anodized
- Barrel: 16 in., 1:8 twist, 416 stainless, M4 Feed ramps
- Handguard: Sampson 15-in. M-LOK
- Butt Stock: Mortar Plate or included DS-4
- Capacity: 30 rds.
- MSRP: $1,371
- Manufacturer: DoubleStar
This is where the fun starts, with a gun such as the ARC 300 it needed to be tested in all its possible modes. In unsuppressed mode, the ARC 300 functioned flawlessly while running five different types of Hornady ammunition, ranging from 110 grains to 208 grains.
For the accuracy evaluation, a NightForce 2.5-10X scope was mounted on the ARC 300. The lower range worked well up close and in gathering light at the end of the day, while the 10x was perfect for longer range accuracy work.
Considering the lightweight barrel contour and a wide variety of bullet fired, the ARC 300 delivered consistent accuracy. This is an impressive feat considering bullet weights varying almost 100 grains, length and ogive differences, and velocity differences of over 1000 fps; the slim barrel maintained hunting grade accuracy. This isn’t meant to be a match rifle, it’s the rifle you will have with you, “Always Ready”, and it is certainly ready and capable of putting rounds on target out to 200+ yards.
Using the NightForce reticle, holding 1-1.5 mils resulted in 16 straight hits on a reduced size steel silhouette shooting a combination of the 110-grain GMX and 135-grain FTX at 230 yards. Hogs, deer or predators are all fair game at hunting distances with the ARC 300.
I read that the maximum effective range for the .300 Blackout was 460 yards, not sure if this was based on hit probability or some terminal ballistics (energy) requirement. This seems a bit out there for such a short, fat little round with limited powder capacity, so thought we needed to check it out.
Based on the 100-yard data, ballistic coefficient, and velocity it looked like the Full Boar 110 GMX would be the best round to stretch out to a bit more distance. Shot one group to true up the dope the ballistics calculator had provided; wind pushed half of it off the target. Dialed the corrected dope into the Nightforce scope for elevation, and held left a bit for the wind hurricane Harvey (2 states away) was providing and fired a fast 10 rounds of the bags from 450 yards, trying to beat changes in the wind.
As expected, the left to right wind was the biggest factor on the group size, as it strung out a bit horizontally. One flyer out to the right opened the group up to 16”; could have been wind or me on the trigger. Excluding the far right flyer the group size dropped to 10 ½ inches, definitely respectable for a lightweight gun in a little bit of wind on a target over a quarter mile away.
Being the light, fast handling AR that the ARC 300 is, it definitely deserved some close range work to be fully evaluated. The gun ran perfectly while shooting the VTAC 1-5 drill at 5 yards in an unsuppressed configuration, resulting in a time of 3.58 seconds for the 15 round drill.
Staying with the flavor of its origins, quiet military style, I also shot the speed drill with a suppressor installed. Running the drill from 10 yards on steel targets resulted in a time of 3.89 seconds. Even after installing a suppressor the ARC 300 continued its run of flawless operation. Reliability wise, the ARC is a trooper, 200+ rounds of a wide assortment of ammunition, with and without a suppressor and never a single malfunction, exactly what you need from your “go to carbine”.
DoubleStar has put together a fine carbine, with some outstanding features that excels at up close quick shooting, and is also able to address targets at distance in a caliber that fills the needs for defense, hunting and those looking to suppress their AR.
Alternative calibers and accessories are big factors in what has made the AR-15, America’s Rifle and the Modern Sporting Rifle (MSR) it is today. Many wildcats had been fitted to the AR platform through the years, but the 300 AAC Blackout brought that to a whole new level. In 2009/10 Advanced Armament Corp. (AAC) working to support military customers took the J.D. Jones 300 Whisper concept and made it an industry standard, SAAMI spec’d, mass produced cartridge and gun combination.
Initially developed to provide added power as a suppressed weapons platform in M4 carbines with minimal firearm changes, the 300 Blackout has grown far beyond its roots. Manufacturers have developed firearms and ammunition for both its suppressed and non-suppressed applications.
The greater frontal area and weight of the 30 caliber rounds make it a fine mid-range hunting round. Many states required greater than a 22 caliber for deer hunting, the 30 caliber Blackout solved that problem for AR owners, a simple upper assembly switch and their AR just became their deer rifle of choice.
Hog hunting was changed forever with the AR’s high magazine capacity and readily available ammunition choices. With more states now allowing suppressors for hunting the 300 Blackout is destined to continue to grow in popularity in the light weight, low recoil AR platform.
Based on the fact that the .300 AAC Blackout was designed to support military applications it certainly has applications in your defensive weapons arsenal as well as hunting.
High capacity 300 Blackout AR pistol with Surefire muzzle brake/ suppressor adapter for when things go Bump in the night, or take off the flashlight and go deer hunting.
For more information about DoubleStar, click here.
For more information about NightForce scopes, click here.
For more information about Hornady, click here.
For more information about SureFire suppressors, click here.
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