The good folks at Ruger have been in the Mini-14 biz for going some 40 years or so and in that time have cranked out millions of these rugged .223 carbines. As time has gone by, the company has trotted out offerings of these guns in 5.56x45 (there is a slight difference over .223), .222 (not a misprint) 7.62x39 (Mini-30) 6.8mm (Mini-6.8) and .308/.243 (XGI). Well now, the time has come to add a new caliber to that field:
Why .300 BLK
The 300 AAC Blackout round (7.62x35mm) was designed by a suppressor maker, Advanced Armament for use in modified AR-15s. The goal was to use the same .223 case, neck it down to accept a .308 bullet 2-3 times the normal weight of the 40-71 grain .223, and give it performance that equaled or bettered that of the standard and popular AK-47/SKS round, the Combloc 7.62x39 (which itself owes some allegiance to the old German 7.92-33mm Kurz used in the world's first assault rifle, the StG-44).
In the end, you have a .308 that fits in a standard NATO M16/AR-15 magazine and can use the same lower receiver paired with an upper in the appropriately changed out caliber. A neat benefit (and the reason it was introduced by AAC) of the round is since it uses such a big fat bullet over a low charge, its usually subsonic which means you can use it with a suppressor and not have to worry about the sonic boom of the ammunition to add to the sound signature.
(Left to right: .223 with .55-grain bullet, .308 WIN with 173-grain bullet, .300 BLK with 125-grain bullet)
Ruger goes BLK
Introduced last week, Sturm, Ruger unveiled its newest offering in the Mini-14 Tactical series http://www.ruger.com/products/mini14TacticalRifle/models.html , and advised that it is an optimized .300 BLK platform geared with suppressors in mind.
"This is an exciting addition to the Mini-14 rifle line," said Ruger CEO Mike Fifer in a statement obtained by Ruger Talk. "The ability to run the wide range of ammunition available, from suppressed subsonics to unsuppressed supersonics, broadens the versatility of the timeless Mini-14 rifle. With its solid reputation for reliability, the new Mini-14 Tactical rifle is an obvious choice for those who want an autoloading rifle chambered in the 300 AAC Blackout," he added.
The rifle uses an optimized gas port that reliably cycles with both supersonic ammunition and subsonic ammunition and, most importantly, has a 5/8"-24 threaded muzzle (under the removable flash suppressor) that is ready to screw on a wide assortment of 'cans.'
In just the past four years, suppressor ownership across the country has doubled from 285,000 registered cans in 2011 to more than 571,000 today. No less than 39 states allow ownership of NFA-registered suppressors, and most of these further allow their use in hunting, with this club increasing every year. In 2014 alone, Georgia, Louisiana, and Alabama all expanded this right to their sportsmen, while Florida is considering doing the same.
Moreover, with the performance of the .300 BLK at ranges less than 200 yards, the new Ruger would make a great brush gun for medium sized game up to whitetails and wild hogs.
A nylon stock, receiver-mounted Picatinny rail, and overall weight of 6.75-pounds remind you that it's a Mini-14.
Overall, it seems that Ruger is gearing up for some quiet time.
Stock: Black Synthetic
Rear Sight: Adjustable
Front Sight: Blade
Barrel Length: 16.12"
Overall Length: 36.25"
Material: Alloy Steel
Length of Pull: 13.00"
Weight: 6.75 lbs.
Capacity: 20 round magazines standard (comes with two)
Twist: 1:7" RH
Suggested Retail: $1019.00 (likely to be much lower at your local store)