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.
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.
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 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.
|Thompson Center Compass||Sig Sauer HT .308||1.55”|
|Daniel Defense DDM4v5||Sig Sauer HT 300 Blackout||1.40”|
|FN-15 DMR||Sig Sauer HT .223||3.1”|
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.
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 Velocity||Extreme Spread||Standard Deviation|
|Sig Sauer HT .223||2,664.2||48||13.6|
|Sig Sauer HT .308||2,898.8||95||31.6|
|Sig Sauer HT 300 Blackout||2,421.8||31||9.1|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?