TSAR-300 Upper Receiver in 300 Blackout from Tactical Solutions

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

April 23rd, 2014


Click pictures for a larger version.







Tac Latch charging handle.



Tactical Solutions free-floating railed handguard.



Top to bottom: dust cover, case deflector, forward assist.









The 300 Blackout cartridge has gained in popularity rapidly over the past two or three years, with several manufacturers offering rifles or complete upper receivers for the dandy little cartridge. The 300 Blackout is a very efficient cartridge, with terminal performance on target exhibiting much more authority than its diminutive size would suggest. I have three rifles now set up for the 300 Blackout, and the more I shoot them, the better I like both the weapon and the cartridge. The 300 Blackout is a natural for use in the AR-15/M-16/M-4 platform, as it uses the same bolt, bolt carrier, springs, and magazine as does the standard 5.56mm rifles.

Featured here is an excellent upper from Tactical Solutions of Boise, Idaho. Tactical Solutions is best-known for their superb X-Ring rifles and their barrel/receiver assemblies for Ruger pistols. However, Tactical Solutions also manufacturers an extensive line of other products, including their newest, the TSAR-300 shown here. The TSAR is a complete upper receiver for the AR-15 platform that will attach to any mil-spec lower. What sets the TSAR apart from other such uppers is that it uses an eleven-inch barrel, with a permanently-attached shroud which extends the length to 16.1 inches; meaning that this upper does not have to be attached to a pistol or a SBR lower, saving the owner the expense and paperwork involved in filing forms and paying the government extortion fee to own such a weapon. The TSAR-300 can be legally attached to any legal AR-15 lower, either semi-automatic, or fully-automatic. The shroud makes the length of the barrel legal, as it is part of the barrel. The rifled part of the barrel is only eleven inches long, which is pretty close to optimum for the 300 Blackout cartridge. The upper comes with a fake suppressor installed, but the user can install the sound suppressor of preference, as long as the suppressor is at least six and one-half inches long, and has a diameter no greater than one and three-quarters inches.

The TSAR-300 has a flattop receiver that is 1913 Picatinny compliant, to attach optics or mechanical sights. The Tactical Solutions free-float aluminum nine-inch handguard has full-length rails at the 3,6,9,and 12 O'clock positions, to attach lasers, lights, bipods, or other accessories. The eleven-inch barrel is rifled one-in-eight inches. The bolt and carrier are mil-spec full-auto rated, and the upper uses a pistol-length gas system. The chamber and throat are machined to accept the 220 grain Sierra Match King bullet, and that bullet performed very well from this TacSol upper. More on the accuracy later. As mentioned above, the rifle comes with a fake suppressor, so that the user can enjoy the weapon while awaiting the arrival of a suppressor, if desired. The upper, with fake can in place, weighs in at five and one-half pounds. The upper includes one ten-round magazine, and the weapon is compatible with mil-spec and Magpul P-MAG magazines.

All accuracy and velocity testing was done at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with temperatures in the 73 degree Fahrenheit range, with a light breeze and a relative humidity of forty percent. All accuracy testing was done firing from a solid bench using a Target Shooting, Inc. Model 500 rifle rest. For accuracy testing, I used a Leupold Mark 4 8.5 to 25 power scope set to the highest magnification. The scope was attached using an ArmaLite one-piece base. All supersonic ammunition was tested for accuracy at one hundred yards, with subsonic ammo tested for accuracy at fifty yards and one hundred yards. Velocities are listed in the chart below. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Bullet weights are listed in grains. SMK is a Sierra Match King bullet. All accuracy and velocity testing was done with my Tactical Solutions Karma suppressor attached. I did not test without the can attached, as that defeats the purpose of having the short barrel with the integral shroud. Since I know the question will be asked, the Karma suppressor is no longer manufactured, but this upper will work with any 30 caliber or larger suppressor that fits the size requirements listed above, and that has standard 5/8x24 threads.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Remington OTM 125 2140
Barnes TAC-XP 110 2242
Handload Powerbond 200 1107
handload SMK 220 1111

As can be seen in the chart above, the 300 Blackout cartridge performs very well from the abbreviated barrel. There is no need to use a sixteen inch barrel with that efficient little cartridge, as it loses very little velocity using shorter barrels. Also, bullet performance has been optimized in the 300 using barrels of between nine and twelve inches. Accuracy was very good with every type of bullet tested. Tactical Solutions claims a one inch at 100 yards accuracy standard using the Sierra Match King bullet, but the performance of this TSAR-300 upper bested that claim by a good margin, using both the SMK and hunting bullets. I was surprised at the accuracy of the Barnes TAC-XP ammo from this TSAR-300, as that bullet is designed for superb terminal performance, and is not marketed as a match-grade bullet, but it certainly behaved as one when fired from this TSAR. The Powerbond bullets also performed well. These bullets are plated lead, with a polymer tip, and are made to be affordable bullets to use in the Blackout, but they also proved very accurate from this TSAR-300.

After the accuracy testing was completed, I mounted the Leupold 1.5 to 5 power scope that is purpose-built for the 300 Blackout, having an etched reticle with both supersonic and subsonic sustentions for holdover out to extended ranges. This is the ideal scope for the Blackout, and as expected from past experience, it worked perfectly on this TSAR-300 upper.

Right now, there is nothing else on the market like the TSAR-300. The best selling point of this upper, in my opinion, is the ability to have the short barrel with the suppressor threaded on, without all the government hassle of registering an SBR (short-barreled rifle). The TSAR-300 achieves this goal, as well as offering a very accurate platform from which to fire the 300 Blackout cartridge. MSRP as of the date of this review is $1149 US, and it is available directly from Tactical Solutions.

Check out the TSAR-300 and other innovative rifles, barrels, and accessories at www.tacticalsol.com.

To order the Powerbond 300 Blackout bullets, go to www.powerbondbullets.com or www.highbornoutdoors.com.

For a look at the extensive line of Leupold optics and accessories, go to www.leupold.com.

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.







Tactical Solutions Karma suppressor (discontinued).



Leupold Blackout scope.