At industry trade shows, manufacturers normally secure a local firing range and invite several gun writers as they show off their new wares. At one of these events back in the early 1990s out in Las Vegas, I had a rental car and drove to the range instead of catching a shuttle bus. Through a chance encounter, I met J.D. Jones in the hotel lobby and he asked for a ride. What neophyte gun writer wouldn’t chauffer such a “rock star” legend of the firearms world? J.D. told me about several projects he had just completed for military applications. One of them was the .300 Whisper. This new wildcat, (the name owned by Jones), used a resized .221 Fireball case necked up to .30 caliber, which fired 200- to 240-grain Sierra Match Kings at subsonic velocities. That was my first introduction to this fascinating cartridge.
Recently, I learned that the U.S. military began working on a round very similar to the .300 Whisper at USAF Armament Lab at Eglin Air Force Base in the late 1960s. The military produced the 7.62×28 cartridge, which propelled a 172-grain match projectile to the 1,050 feet per second (fps) range.
Several years later, an old friend, Gary Cook, introduced me to the .300 Whisper’s twin brother, the .300/221 Fireball. Cook was the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s top cop in charge of wildlife management for West Tennessee. Each summer, hundreds of whitetails were to be killed by biologists to collect herd health data that was used to set harvest regulations for the following season. Since much of this deer collection was conducted at night, after several years of officers shooting high-powered rifles after dark, the poacher hotline kept getting flooded with calls. So the solution Cook chose was to arm his officers with suppressed Savage bolt-actions re-chambered in 300/.221 Fireball.