2010 appears to have been the year for the .30 Rem AR. I used the cartridge in a Remington R 15 to take four big game animals in three states with three different bullets. I also witnessed one big game animal taken with the .30 Rem AR using another bullet and was on a hunt where two other animals were taken with the rifle and cartridge. I wish I could show you some recovered bullets but all bullets exited.
In the R 15 the .30 Remington AR produces recoil similar to a .22-250 Remington in a bolt rifle. Hard to believe I know but that is one of the virtues of the AR (R15) platform.
The cartridge has plenty of power to cleanly take big game animals up to 200 pounds (and heavier I’m sure) out to 250 yards or more.
If there is a down side, it’s the low BC of the bullets in the 110 to 130 gr. weight range. Velocity drops fast past 300 yards – depending on the bullet you may get into the area where impact velocities are below what’s needed for good expansion.
Of the loads I have experience with I believe the factory 125 gr. AccuTip at just over 2800 fps or a handloaded 150 gr. Nosler AccuBond at just over 2500 fps (Bill Wilson’s preferred bullet.) are the best all-around choices.
In a bolt rifle like the one I am awaiting from New Ultra Light Arms there should be a velocity increase of about 150 to 175 fps. This may help some of the bullets that need more speed to open step up as real contenders but recoil will increase dramatically due to the absence of the buffer and gas systems.
I believe that in the AR 15 or AR 10 platform, the .30 Remington AR offers the best balance of terminal performance, recoil and rifle weight of any cartridge currently available for big game hunting.