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8.6 Blackout: The Next Big Thing In Big Game Hunting?



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DROPPING BIG GAME WITH A BIG CARTRIDGE

From the designers that invented the Honey Badger, The Fix (to what we’re still not sure), and the .300 Blackout cartridge comes the new big bore badass, 8.6 Blackout.

With a new twist on an old idea, 8.6 Blackout is a .338 caliber round designed for short barrels and suppressors. Able to deliver a ton of energy on target, but with the ballistics of a rainbow, does the hype match the promise?

Let’s dig into it and find out.

THE IDEA

Much like how the 300 BLK is designed for the AR-15 platform to give it a 30 caliber, soft shooting, wonderful to suppress round that performs well out of a short barrel – the 8.6 Blackout is the same idea (kind of) but in the AR-10.

Using .338 caliber monolithic bullets, the 8.6 Blackout is optimized for 9-12” barrels and really shines when it’s suppressed. While supersonic loads are available, the point of this cartridge is for it to work at subsonic speeds.

To pull this off, Q uses a 1:3 twist rate to raise the rotational energy of the bullet hugely. In theory, allowing it to have more energy than a standard .338 caliber round moving at the same speed.

8.6 Blackout at CANCON 2022

At the rotational speed 8.6 Blackout operates at, monolithic bullets are required to prevent them from breaking apart mid-flight.

Basically – take a big piece of copper alloy, yeet it out of an AR-10 at about 1,050 FPS, and spin it really, really fast. The results? A ton of damage on soft tissue with an effective range of about 200 yards.

BALLISTICS

Gorilla Ammo 285gr 8.6 BLK Subsonic

Range (Yards)Elevation (Inches)Elevation (MOA)Elevation (MIL)Windage (MOA)Windage (MIL)Energy (Ft.lbf)FPS
0-1.500006981050
503.35-6.37-1.850.550.166761033
1000.03-0.03-0.010.840.256561018
150-11.687.432.161.190.346381004
200-32.0215.274.441.530.45620990
250-61.2223.376.81.880.55604977
300-99.5231.669.212.220.64589965
350-147.1540.1311.672.550.74575953
400-204.3548.7714.192.890.84562942
450-271.3257.5616.743.210.93549932
500-348.2966.5119.353.541.03537921

Gorilla Ammo 210gr 8.6 BLK Supersonic

Range (Yards)Elevation (Inches)Elevation (MOA)Elevation (MIL)Windage (MOA)Windage (MIL)Energy (Ft.lbf)FPS
0-1.5000018101970
500.49-0.93-0.270.710.2116441877
1000001.320.3814911788
150-3.212.040.591.990.5813501702
200-9.424.51.312.690.7812221619
250-18.967.242.113.420.9911051540
300-32.1610.232.984.181.2210001464
350-49.4213.483.924.971.459051393
400-71.1716.984.945.791.698201326
450-97.8620.766.046.631.937461265
500-129.9824.827.227.492.186821209

PRACTICAL USES

Hunting. That’s about it, really. 

While 8.6 Blackout is a big round, and it can move fast if you want it to, this is not a long range round. Even with a long barrel, a lot of muzzle velocity, and an unlimited wallet – 8.6 Blackout starts to drop like the stock market in ‘08 when it goes past a few hundred yards.

But inside that range, it delivers a lot of damage to anything unlucky enough to get in its way.

A big bullet with loads of energy, this is a deep penetrating round that does some insane damage. Between the size and energy of the bullet and the fancy expanding bullets that are available for it, this is a beast of a round.

The recoil is surprisingly soft, and the rifles that shoot it are nearly silent with the right suppressor. All of that together, and you have one hard-hitting, easy-to-use, and very cool hunting rifle.

As long as your game isn’t further than a couple of hundred yards from you.

MAJOR DOWNSIDE

What might kill the 8.6 Blackout is a simple lack of availability. 

AR-10 barrels in 8.6 Blackout aren’t horribly hard to find, and they run about the same price as a normal AR-10 barrel. The bolts are standard AR-10 .308 Win bolts, so those are easy to source as well.

The big problem? Ammo.

285gr 8.6 Blackout bullets

Loaded ammo for 8.6 Blackout is almost unobtainium. When a retailer gets a restock, it’s sold out almost instantly because of the line of people waiting to get their hands on some. 

And it isn’t cheap, not by a long shot. As of writing this at 11 pm on Wednesday, the 8th of February, Ammoseek only has one option for 8.6 Blackout ammo, and it is over $4 per round.

If you reload, you have it a little easier. Dies are standard price, brass can be converted from 6.5 Creedmoor, and 8.6 BLK uses common powders like Accurate 1680 and VihtaVuori N32C. 

.338 caliber monolithic bullets aren’t cheap, but they are available. 

Ignoring the cost of equipment to reload on, you’re probably looking at about $2 per round in components to handload 8.6 BLK.

LOOSE ROUNDS

Is the 8.6 Blackout right for you? That’s your call, but I think it deserves at least some consideration. 

With the rise in popularity of suppressors and the ease of access to short-er barreled rifles, the 8.6 Blackout is in a perfect position to become the next big thing.

Will it? Only time will tell.

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1 Comment

  • Kevin Anderson says:

    Why not just go with a .308 pistol-rifle with a 12.5″ barrel and suppressor? Much more range, muzzle velocity, and muzzle energy than 8.6 blackout.

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  • Why not just go with a .308 pistol-rifle with a 12.5" barrel and suppressor? Much more range, muzzle velocity, and muzzle energy than 8.6 blackout.

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