The new Black Rain Ordnance .300 Blackout in digital tan is a range-ready workhorse that’s as good looking as it is dependable.
Black Rain’s newest introduction is an AR chambered in .300 Blackout (BLK) and based on the BRO-PG2, an earlier model available in 5.56 NATO with a digital tan anodized finish. The new .300 BLK shares the same look as its predecessor but utilizes a pistol-length gas system to improve reliability with the alternate chambering. While it’s yet to receive an official name, the new .300 is every bit as sexy and tough as you’d expect from the folks at Black Rain, and it fulfills the company’s commitment to producing guns that’ll last multiple lifetimes.
Based out of Neosho, Missouri, Black Rain was co-founded in 2009 by CEO Justin Harvel, a 10-year veteran firefighter who grew up in the gun store business and returned to it after his days as a fireman and EMT. His grandfather and uncles were all gun dealers and still carry on the tradition today. Harvel grew up in his dad’s gun shop, learned the industry, saw how business was conducted and eventually started two of his own gun stores.
It was during those years as a shop owner that Harvel developed a vision for crafting AR-type rifles that would strike a balance between form and function, giving his clientele a custom gun at a reasonable price. He envisioned a rifle that was built like a tank but looked and performed like a Lamborghini.
“Quality was our mission from day one,” Harvel said. “We knew we’d never be about producing the kind of quantity as some manufacturers, but that was never our goal. Let other people do that. Our niche is to build the best rifle in your arsenal, the one you’ll be proud to pass on to your kids. They’re dependable, sexy, incredibly accurate—the total package.”
When it comes to the AR-type rifles and parts it makes, Black Rain’s philosophy is simple: Only produce what you would personally own or operate. The new .300 BLK is no exception to that rule.
Make it Rain
While it features several unique design elements, the new .300 BLK is still built around the same core elements inherent in Black Rain’s DNA—an exclusive, single-stage trigger, nickel boron bolt carrier and billet aluminum receivers. The BRO-DIT (drop in trigger) is manufactured in house and allows the company to offer a high-end trigger at reduced cost in all production AR-type rifles. The trigger can also be purchased separately for $199 and is comparable to what you’d find in aftermarket triggers that can run anywhere from $250-300. Not only is the 3.5-pound trigger remarkably crisp, it has a positive, audible reset for fast and accurate follow up shots.
“Once we got our trigger into production, we decided it should go in every gun,” Black Rain general manager Jared Moser said. “We feel like it’s worth it to the customer. The obvious thing is we built it with a clean break, which is really about the surface condition of the materials we use, but even more important we felt was the reset, audible but not super long. It’s really more about a release of pressure rather than a ton of movement.”
The second foundational component on the .300 BLK is the nickel boron BCG (bolt and carrier group). The BCG is made in house from Carpenter 158 steel and nickel boron coated for longer life, ease of cleaning and added durability under heavy stress. The carrier group is rated for full-auto and can be buffed back to a shiny finish even after it gets darkened by gases and oils. It’s a bit overbuilt, as Moser pointed out, but it adds strength to the part and, perhaps equally as important, it just looks cool.
Finally, the .300 BLK features Black Rain’s milled billet aluminum receivers with a digital tan anodized finish (a black finish will also be available). Generally speaking, billet aluminum is CNC machined from bar stock, while forged aluminum receivers are hammered into forging dies, subjected to repeated force and then finished by CNC machining. Forged receivers are considered to be the strongest, while billet allows manufacturers like Black Rain to craft artistic lines into the receivers for the ultimate in aesthetic appeal. The lines on the .300 upper and lower are incredibly smooth and reveal the passion for craftsmanship envisioned by the company’s founders.
Seven Pounds of Sleek
The rifle weighs just over 7 pounds and features a 16-inch, 416R stainless steel barrel for added heat and corrosion resistance. It comes with a 1:7-inch twist, eight-flute design and a pistol length gas system. The .300 BLK comes standard with a Syrac Ordnance adjustable gas block, which can be accessed by taking off the handguard. Also included is a sharp-toothed BRO-MFS flash suppressor that would do a fair bit of damage in lieu of a bayonet.
Different handguard options are available, but the model reviewed for the magazine included the 12-inch Modular Rail FDE, which features top-mounted Picatinny rail sections at the front and rear with a sloped, smooth section in the middle. Removable rail sections are also located at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions on the front of the handguard for whatever combination of lights and sights you might prefer. A crisply etched “Black Rain” with company logo ride along both sides of the rail and add to the sex appeal. An equally sleek and silver “300 BLK” is displayed on the dust cover when open.
Multiple Magpul furniture options are available, but the .300 reviewed had a MOE SL (Slim Line) carbine buttstock and pistol grip, both in tan. The buttstock features dual side release latches and angled rubber buttpad to help with shoulder transitions with body armor or modular gear. The rifle comes without sights but has an optic-ready top-rail upper. Also included is a BRO charging handle and forward assist.
The rifle was tested using five different loads. Accuracy testing was conducted at 100 yards from a bench and measured on five different three-shot groups for each load. Velocity was measured using a Competition Electronics ProChrono chronograph from Brownells. Short-range target work was performed with Trijicon’s small but mighty RMR, while the accuracy portion utilized Steiner’s M5Xi 3-15x50mm Military optic.
Of the five loads tested, the SIG Sauer 220-grain Elite Performance Subsonic posted the best accuracy results, with an average group of .92 inches and a best group of .74 inches. Average velocity was 1,108 fps with a standard deviation of 7 fps and an extreme spread of 15 fps. Nosler’s 110-grain Varmageddon had the fastest average velocity of the group at 2,284 fps.
The B.R.O. .300 BLK isn’t the cheapest AR you’ll buy ($2,439), but it is extremely well built and offers a lot of value for your dollar. A nickel boron bolt carrier and group, match-grade drop-in trigger, Magpul furniture, adjustable gas block and billet receivers mean you don’t need to spend on upgrades if you don’t want to, and in return you get a high-performance, sleek-looking, turn-key AR that’s ready to make it rain brass. It’s also reasonably accurate for caliber and comes suppressor ready, which is a main draw for the .300 BLK.
Black Rain Ordnance .300 BLK
Type Direct impingement, semi-automatic
Caliber .300 AAC Blackout
Barrel 16 in., 1:7-in. twist, 416R stainless steel
Weight 7.4 pounds
Handguard 12-inch modular rail
Stock Magpul MOE SL
Grip Magpul MOE SL
Trigger 3.5-pound BRO-DIT
Magazine PMAG (30-round)
Muzzle Device BRO-MFS (milled flash suppressor)
Manufacturer Black Rain Ordnance,
This article appeared in the July 2015 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.