News: A Look at the Q Boombox: the first gas-operated 8.6 BLK

Q has what can be described as an updated Honeybadger in 8.6 BLK, which has a 1 MOA goal for subsonic at 100 yards out of a 6-inch barrel. Boom.

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Jul 2023

Kevin Brittingham of Q was one of the big brains at the old-school AAC when that company developed the original Honey Badger and the .300 Blackout more than a decade ago. Well, AAC flip-flopped between Remington and is now at Palmetto State Armory, while Brittingham, along with AAC’s Ethan Lessard, long ago left to start Q, where they make a better Honey Badger than the old AAC ever planned.

Q’s new low-pressure 8.6 Blackout round debuted a while back after three years of development and, using .338 caliber bullets .338 projectile, .308 bolt face, and modified 6.5 Creedmoor brass. The secret to its performance comes from a staggeringly fast 1-in-3 twist (compare to 1:7 and 1:8 for calibers like 5.56 NATO and 300 BLK), which stands to make the ballistic update to .308 WIN/7.62 NATO platforms that .300 Blackout was to .223 Rem/5.56 NATO platforms. This is because it uses standard .308 Winchester-sized magazines.

Essentially, whereas the .300 BLK all but replaces 5.56 inside 300m, the 8.6 BLK replaces .308 Win inside the same range. This is because the new fast twist barrels provide much greater energy with supersonic 160-225-grain rounds and better accuracy along with sound profile suppression for subsonic.

300BLK vs 8.6BLK
300BLK vs 8.6BLK

Plus, when subsonic 285-350-grain pills are used and the platform is paired with a decent suppressor, it is as quiet as a .22.

Brittingham talking about the development of the 8.6 in the below video two years ago, says pointedly that “a 12.5 inch 8.6 is going to have more muzzle energy than a 20-inch .308,” due to the faster twist. “So that’s significant. This really changes hunting. It changes target shooting with subsonic rounds because of fast twist we are able to get really small groups and shoot sub-MOA for the first time ever with subsonic rifle cartridges.”

The 8.6 has been used by Faxon, who is making AR-10 barrels in 8-inch barreled pistol, 12-inch pistol, and 16-inch carbine formats, all chambered for the caliber, as well as completion parts. They also offer much the same for Remington 700 platforms. They even recently started making all-up Sentinel, Overwatch Tactical, and Overwatch Hunter rifles in the caliber.

Discussion over at Sniper’s Hide and Accurate Shooter on the subject of the 8.6 has been brisk.

Now, Q has what can be described as an updated Honeybadger in 8.6 BLK, using a vent-forward gas system and a vastly improved handguard system: the Boom Box. It stands to be pretty sweet, despite its (likely) $3K price tag.

Brittingham visited with James Reeves over at TFB TV (or probably the other way around) and dished on the Boombox and the 8.6 BLK. He tells Reeves that they have set a 1 MOA goal for subsonic at 100 yards out of a 6-inch barrel. “It’s the 99 percent solution for inside 300 meters, super and subsonic.”

And, if you are just really looking for some low-brow range time with the pre-production Boom Box, Demolition Ranch managed to get their hands on one. Brittingham is on hand to provide some extra flavor and they also show some gel work with the 8.6, so there’s that.

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