Shooting this new caliber in one of Bill Wilson’s superb AR rifles has been a real pleasure. As I reported last time, the trigger is perfect, the rifle is not only attractive but exceedingly well made and this new caliber is just the thing Wilson envisioned; a nearly perfect caliber for deer and wild hogs. While it outperforms the mild shooting 300 Blackout by a substantial margin, I found shooting his caliber, in all bullet weights and loadings, to be very manageable and not the least bit unpleasant.
What’s it good for? Aside from deer and pig hunting it should be suitable for hunting anything in that size range out to about 300 yards or so. With seven loadings available from Wilson Combat it would also serve as a superb defensive cartridge. As you are probably aware, some folks have been looking for a better military cartridge for the AR family of rifles than the venerable .223 Remington/5.56 NATO. For any number of reasons Big Army has not been ready to abandon the 5.56 but most of the special operations units would like to have something better and have been experimenting and pushing for change. Hence, we’ve seen the emergence of calibers like the 6.8 SPC, 6.8 Grendel, .300 Whisper, 300 Blackout and 7.62X40. For one reason or another all have been found wanting and it remains to be seen if Wilson’s improvement on them will have appeal beyond the civilian market and be of interest to the military. Regardless, what we have here is a terrific all around defensive/hunting/ranch rifle – a one-gun solution for most applications.
Wilson kindly sent me samples of all seven of the 300 HAM’R loads he sells along with the rifle; complete with a very nice Trijicon 1.5-4X24 illuminated reticle scope. Over several range sessions I managed to fire at least five groups with all seven of the loads off a benchrest at 100 yards on Gunsite’s York Range. A word about my group shooting is in order. While I sometimes shoot the “five consecutive five shot groups” protocol I prefer to shoot 3 shot groups. I shoot over a sandbag rest and don’t use any sort of machine rest, as I’m more interested in what I can do, and what you can likely expect as a shooter, than pure mechanical accuracy. I’ve found most guns shoot better than I do so I accept the blame for blown groups and don’t take credit for the occasional one hole group. I call them as I see them and don’t cherry pick for the best groups.
Having said that, this rifle performed very well, certainly with the kind of accuracy I’ve come to expect from well-made AR pattern rifles. The Trijicon scope is superb, offering a clear picture and a green dot illuminated reticle, making it perfect for its intended role on this rifle but not ideal for 100 yard group shooting. While you can argue the merits of higher magnification for shooting groups, in my case it helps and I know my results in this shooting test would have been better with a less practical but higher magnification optic.
Here are my shooting results:
110 grain (gr.) Sierra HP-V @ 2600 feet per second (fps)
Largest group: 1.89” Smallest group: 1.41” Average group: 1.65”
(This load shoots some 5 inches higher at 100 yards than the 150 grain load.)
110 gr. Lehigh CC @ 2600 fps
Largest group: 1.56” Smallest group: .87” Average group: 1.33”
125 gr. Sierra SBT PH @ 2525 fps
Largest group: 2.36” Smallest group: 1.03” Average group: 1.72”
125 gr. Speer TNT @ 2525 fps
Largest group: 1.68” Smallest group 1.05” Average group: 1.47”
130 gr. Speer HP @ 2475 fps
Largest group: 2.72” Smallest group: 1.42” Average group: 2.04”
130 gr. Speer FN HC @ 2510 fps
Largest group: 2.58” Smallest group: 1.45” Average group: 1.86”
150 gr. Speer FN HC @ 2260 fps
Largest group: 1.43” Smallest group: .95” Average group: 1.2”
Throughout my testing it should be noted the rifle ran like a champ without a single malfunction.
My Wilson Combat Ultralight Ranger test sample retails for $2450 direct from Wilson Combat. The Trijicon 1.5-4 scope runs $900 from Midway USA and the Wilson Combat scope mount goes for $149. It’s pricey but competitive with other high-end AR rifles. And you get Wilson’s rock solid guarantee along with a rifle others will drool over. If you’re in the market for a nearly perfect defensive and hunting AR pattern rifle this version from Wilson Combat in 300 HAM’R may be just the thing.
Read Part One of Ed’s review here.
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