Rainier Ballistics, the Tacoma, Washington-based manufacturer of plated bullets, announced at SHOT, the industry’s first dedicated, subsonic 300 BLK bullet called the “The Wedge”.
Developed in conjunction with Alexander Arms, the 180 grain bullet is designed to work with low chamber pressures and low velocity. It should be a good candidate for hunting—it expands down to extremely low velocities.
The Wedge is available in both the FMJ and HP configuration.
From initial tests and the data I’ve seen, the Wedge it’s accurate and will function dependably. (We’ll be testing this bullet thoroughly in the near future so stay tuned).
This product also addresses one of the big issues with 300 BLK ammo—its cost and, often, its scarcity on store shelves. The Wedge is priced competitively and reloaders should be very happy with this product.
300 BLK shooters who don’t reload will now have an incentive to do so with this new product.
Genesis of The Wedge
So, is there really a need for yet another 30 caliber rifle bullet?
According to Rainier Ballistics President, Don Shride, the answer is an emphatic “Yes”. The R&D took the company two years to develop. “We did so,” said Shride, “because of the pent-up demand. The 300 BLK was becoming extremely popular. There were no dependable subsonic bullets available and the jacketed (supersonic) product was expensive”.
Shride stated that even though there are a plethora of 30 caliber bullets on the market, more often of than not, they don’t function with the 300 BLK platform. Says Shride, “Anyone who has tried to reload a run of the mill .30 cal bullet in a 300 BLK upper would know that unless you have exactly the right projectile, it’s notoriously unreliable.”
It all comes down to engineering.
The Wedge design team settled on a bullet weight of 180 grains. While not obvious for a subsonic, this weight is driven by the need to reliably cycle both short and long barrel weapons with and without silencers. The loads do not typically need any alteration to the spring and buffer group to operate.
Bill Alexander, of Alexander Arms, who did a great deal of the R&D, said a series of bullet weights were tested during development and it was a surprise to the design team that this lighter than typical weight provided the most flexibility in loading. The Wedge also maximizes the available case volume when loaded to work in the SAAMI chamber while at the same time matching the powder volume needed to cycle most weapons.
Accuracy and Suppressor-ready Operation
Alexander stated that the projectile’s (patent pending) shape is optimized for the best accuracy in typical barrel twist rates. “It feeds well if the feed ramps are correct M4 type although they may require slight smoothing if the edges are sharp.”
For best results a twist rate of 1 in 8 is recommended for 16” barrels and 1 in 7 for shorter barrels.
The plated construction has a copper thickness and ductility that allows for safe operation through suppressors. Jackets will not shed or split away when loaded to subsonic velocities and protect the gas system from the lead core. Shride said, “These bullets are triple struck during manufacture and subject to close quality assurance”. He added that unlike most rifle rounds, they can also be safely used in indoor ranges.
Loaded lengths were between 2.110″ and 2.120″ in the guns used to test the round.
Alexander says that under no circumstances should The Wedge be loaded as a supersonic load. It’s strictly meant for subsonic use.
The HP design will reliably expand at lower velocities down to 600 fps and will expand up to 0.4” diameter. Typical shank penetration is between 20 and 30” providing plenty of margin in tougher game and also, if bone is hit.
The Wedge can be purchased from Rainier Ballistics distributors or directly from the manufacturer.