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Shooting and Loading the 6.8x43 mm Rem. SPC

The 6.8x43 mm Rem. Special Purpose Cartridge (SPC) was developed by Special Forces personnel to boost the power level in the M4 carbine. Did it work?

1/14/2011

The 6.8x43 mm Rem. Special Purpose Cartridge (SPC) was developed by Special Forces personnel to boost the power level in the M4 carbine in order to address the perceived problems associated with the use of the 5.56x45 mm NATO cartridge. Predictably, this long-smoldering controversy continues as the military has apparently rejected its use.

Hopes that the 6.8 SPC would become the next great advancement in hunting cartridges were all but dashed when Remington, which commercially introduced it in 2004, failed to follow through on the promise of a6.8 SPC bolt-action. But, like Twain and Hemingway, reports of its death were greatly exaggerated. The 6.8 SPC has found a comfortable home with civilian shooters in AR-style rifles.

Based on a shortened version of the obsolete .30 Rem. case, the 6.8 SPC uses a 0.277"-diameter bullet that doubles the weight of the most popular bullets in the .223 Rem., but with only a moderate reduction in velocity from a short barrel.

Although it is adequate for deer- and similar-size game, it is not a powerhouse cartridge, so bullet choice is important. I have shot several deer and a mountain lion with the 6.8 SPC, and I have traced the bullet paths on several deer taken by other hunters. The problem encountered when testing this cartridge before its official introduction was that the bullets overexpanded on impact, limiting penetrations. Also, the short bullets tended to take unpredictable paths after expansion.

The 6.8 SPC is not a “drop-them-in-their-tracks” cartridge and rarely exited on a deer with the factory loads used in the early testing.

There are better options in factory loads for deer hunting today, but the handloader still has the most avenues open for improved bullet performance. Many bullet companies now have products designed just for this cartridge and, by matching the bullet to the game, the 6.8 SPC can become an effective hunting cartridge.

The cartridge works best with bullets from 85 to 115 grs. Although there is load data for 130-gr. bullets, it’s difficult to achieve enough velocity with this bullet weight. This is particularly true with a 16"-barreled AR-style rifle. Most of the 110-gr. bullets can be pushed to slightly more than 2500 f.p.s. from a 16" barrel. For deer, consider premium 110-gr. bullets such as the Nosler AccuBond or Barnes Triple-Shock X-Bullet for deep and straight penetration. You might also consider the cup-and-core-style Sierra Pro-Hunter bullet, which should work well at 6.8 SPC velocities. The 110-gr. Hornady V-Max is best used on coyotes, as it is a varmint bullet design and is a bit soft for deer hunting.

With a 90-gr. bullet you can approach 3000 f.p.s. with a longer barrel. That makes it a sizzling coyote load with bullets such as the Speer TNT or the Sierra hollow point. The Barnes 85-gr. Triple-Shock X-Bullet should also be a good deer load. This bullet is too new for me to have used it on whitetails yet, but Silver State Armory reports 17.38" of penetration in 10 percent ballistic gelatin at 100 yds. with the expanded bullet measuring 0.546". That’s acceptable whitetail performance.

The 100-gr. bullets seem to be mostly designed for varmint shooting. I can’t see any advantage over the 90-gr. for that use, but if they prove to be accurate in your specific rifle, then they don’t have any serious disadvantages, either.

There are two distinctly different cartridge cases for the 6.8 SPC. Remington uses a large rifle primer and the Hornady case uses a small rifle primer. Silver State Armory offers cases with both primer pocket sizes. I developed my loads with Remington brass using large rifle primers simply because I have a healthy supply of this brass. Most of the popular propellants for the .223 Rem. will work well in the 6.8 SPC, and there are a lot of options.

After testing a multitude of factory ammunition and handloads in four different rifles, I have not found the 6.8 SPC to be a particularly accurate cartridge. While accuracy is more than adequate for hunting, the 6.8 SPC will not be seen at many benchrest matches, and it certainly cannot match the inherent accuracy of the .223 Rem. While sub-minute-of-angle accuracy is easy to find with most ARs in .223 Rem., it proved elusive with the 6.8 SPC in all but one rifle. I have also found that each of the rifles is very load-sensitive.

Every rifle had a load or two that it shot well and others it did not. There is little consistency from rifle to rifle and a load that was accurate in one gun often would shoot horribly in another. So, if your 6.8 SPC rifle is not shooting well, don’t give up; I suspect the magic formula is out there waiting to be discovered. Another thing I noted is that almost all the rifles would shoot multiple loads to nearly the same point of impact out to 100 yds.

All brass should be full-length resized for any load to be used in an AR-type rifle. Trimming the brass ensures that the crimps are all even, which helps with accuracy. The maximum case length is 1.686". The maximum cartridge overall length (COL) is 2.260", the same as the .223 Rem.

Former DPMS President Randy Luth tells me that they have had better accuracy with a 1:11" twist rate over the standard 1:10" twist. DPMS offers barrels in both, and I have been working with one of its 1:11" rifles. My results would tend to support that claim. The results of five handloads and two factory loads fired with five-shot, 100-yd. groups in three rifles are as follows: DPMS 16"-barrel, 1:10" twist, 3.16" average: Bushmaster 16"-inch barrel 1:10" twist, 3.25" average; DPMS 20" barrel, 1:11" twist, 1.49" average. This represents all the groups with bullets from 85 grs. to 115 grs., all averaged together. The 1:11"-twist-barreled rifle outshoots both with 1:10"-twist rates, with groups averaging less than half.

The future of the 6.8 SPC remains a bit murky, but with the growing popularity of hunting with AR-type rifles, it has carved out a small niche with those looking for more energy than the .223 Rem. can deliver. With proper handloads, hunters who favor the AR will find this diminutive cartridge can hold its own on deer and predators, which just might mean it has finally found a home.

Data and Shooting Results

6.8x43 mm Rem. SPC Shooting Results

Web-Only Shooting Results

6.8 SPC Shooting Results

6.8 SPC Web-Only Loading Data

6.8 SPC Loading Data

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45 Responses to Shooting and Loading the 6.8x43 mm Rem. SPC

Gary wrote:
October 14, 2014

I can also confirm the 85 gr. TSX for dear hunting. Two whitetails double lung with exit. It also worked very well on havalena and did not destroy the meat in any way

Todd wrote:
December 19, 2012

3 deer, with 3 shots total. 85 gr. Barnes tsx from SSA. Awesome load for deer no tracking.

chad wrote:
November 19, 2012

It sounds like this magazine needs a new review and artical person that knows and understands the AR-15 6.8 SPC ll / 6.8 X 45 chamber with a 1:11 twist and 4 to 5 Grove well designed barell is really capeable of. Not One of the companies you listed for testing this round make a good shooting barrel for this round. They use the same barel manufacture there not even there own in house barrels. Try shooting a stag they at least use shielo barrels they are shooting 1" to 3/4" troupe at 100 yrds.

Steve wrote:
August 09, 2012

I just cant help but to laugh at the lack of knowledge this author has for the 6.8. Those of us who actually know about the 6.8 know what I'm talking about.

Bronson wrote:
July 04, 2012

The most important thing, that seemed to only be mentioned briefly, is that the 6.8 was designed as a tactical/military round, to bridge the gap between the 7.62x39 and 5.56x45 not to replace any current dear-hunting or match rifels. It should be chambered in SPCII 1-11. And as a combat weapon I think it is tactically perfect. My Stag 1-11 SPCII shoots 1 MOA using cheap rem 115gr FMJ loaded in SSA brass with h322. While my 5.56 rifles my have a small accuracy advantage they cant blow a hole through a 10" dia. hardwood tree like my 6.8 can. I felt this article was a little biased, didn't do an adequate job covering the 6.8spc round or its rifles, and that it should have been analysed and reviewed as a combat round/weapon rather than a replacement for a traditional hunting rifle. The 6.8 will never replace a.308 or 30-06 as a deer slayer and was not intended to but from my experience it is far more accurate and as lethal as the tried and true, deer slaying 30-30. The 6.8 isnt going to replace a single rifle on the market but in my opinion does is the most versatile and can do a decent job substituting for just about ayone between a .223 - .308

Phil wrote:
May 06, 2012

Have had a lot of experience with my 7.5' barred Mod.1 AR upper. It has a 10' twist spec 1. It shoots a 115gr Match King >MOA @ 100yds with H322. I now plan to get a 6.8 carbine. I am looking at the new Bison Armory with a spec II chamber and 7' twist!!!!! Forget about slow twist! The 7' twist will shoot the light bullets just as well as the 11' or 12' twist but will also shoot 130+ grain bullets well giving you better terminal performance at longer range with better bullet stability and accuracy.

kevin wrote:
April 10, 2012

what deer is the auther hunting. deer in this country weights are different. the v-max is perfect for deer in the 150 and below range i have taken plenty and have also taken with 75gr v-max. with internal mass distructtion and no exit wound it is perfect for any smaller animal including people.

Ken S. wrote:
April 08, 2012

Two points: First, the .243 Winchester will not fit in the M16. The case is too big/long. It would "likely" also be difficult to control under automatic fire due to muzzle rise. Other military considerations are muzzle flash and blast. "I can attest to permanent hearing loss during my military tenure." Second: For me (Knock on Wood) the 6.8 Remingtron SPC, 85gr Barnes, has been lights out on two yotes and a deer. Not much of a complete test I know... but still impressive performace in my limited opportunities.

Derek wrote:
April 06, 2012

There's a lot that goes into shooting any rifle to get the reward of great groups or clean kills. Clean trigger 'squeeze' and breathing are just a couple also good equipment. Perhaps Mr. Townsley can't shoot?

denner wrote:
March 20, 2012

Instead of the military developing a needless cartridge, just bump up to the .243 Winchester, the 308's baby brother.

Dan C wrote:
January 16, 2012

I bought a StagArms 6.8, sighted it in @ 100 yards with an Osprey 3-12 scope. Took an huge 4pntr @ 30yrds. 1 shot, thru both lungs. Traveled only 50yds. Used 110gr SSA soft point. Perfect!

Larry W. wrote:
December 31, 2011

I would like to find an AR that I can use my 7mm BR in. It seems like a better over all cartridge for many different uses then the 277 bullets. I amy have to talk to someone about a conversion to 7mmBR

Surculus wrote:
December 29, 2011

Only one problem with the 6.8SPC: it should have been a 6.5mm [better BC & SD in similar bullet wts., greater variety of bullets to choose from, & no significant difference in lethality vs. the .270 bore. I guess they didn't want people thinking they were "me too"-ing the Grendel? Still waiting for someone to wise up & wildcat the 6.8 back down to 6.5mm... ;)

Steve Foxx wrote:
November 26, 2011

I did a T&E with an unbiased approach. I tested 5 uppers from RRA,Wilson Combat, Addax Tactical, Daniel Defense, and Barrett, all using SSA 85gr TSX supplied by Art at SSA. My results were very different than this article, with all uppers shooting sub-moa @100yds, and the Wilson Combat, and Addax Tactical punching less than 5" groups at 500yds. The Addax was 1st with the Wilson C, close behind it, and the infamous Barrett coming in last, and yes it was the only "piston upper" tested. The 6.8 while maybe not being a BR cartridge, neither is the 30 RAR. I think the 6 PPC, and BR, have the BR shooting pegged. However, SSA does not offer the 6.8 in a large primer config., only small primer, unlike the JUNK remington sales for the 6.8spc. I will agree that he probably did not get much accuracy out of the Rem. ammo he used, since the Rem. shoots like garbage. SSA has the 6.8 down to an art( not you Art,lol) and delivers sub moa groups very consistently. All the uppers I shot with the 85grainers were between .2's and .7's. Why would Rem want to produce, or put, much effort in the 6.8, since the 30 AR (their invention) is being compared to it? Truth is the 6.8 is an awesome whitetail cartridge, and has been proven all across the country. Just look at SSA's website, or check out YOUTUBE. As for a Battle Rifle, I myself would rather have an 85gr bullet traveling at 3000fps, than a 55 or 62 going the same speed, when facing terrorists in the sand box, and don't see what the hold up is. If I was NATO Id be on the phone w/ Addax, or Wilson Combat, Daniel Defense, or even RRA, I'd leave Barrett to their 50 cal, as they use DD parts anyhow, and jack the price up, simply because it says Barrett. What would you pick? A Barrett with DD receiver, forearm, for $1875 an upper or a sub $1000 Addax or WC, with LMT bolts?

Jeff Foster wrote:
February 24, 2011

I wanted to compare two articles Field Editor Bryce Towsley wrote. His first is this one RE: 6.8 SPC and the second one is a report on the .30 Rem. AR in the Rifleman this month. The 6.8 article seems rather rushed through and ill prepared. He is really down on the 6.8 with terms used like "I have not found the 6.8 SPC to be a particularly accurate cartridge", "There is little consistency from rifle to rifle", "one gun often would shoot horribly", "the future of the 6.8 SPC ramains a bit murky". In contrast he seemed to have spent a lot of time working up loads for the Remington .30 Rem. AR cartridge. He comes in with remarks like, "The 30 Rem. AR has proven to be a very handloader-friendly cartridge", "using Hodgdin data, I NEVER found a bad load", and "If the AR-15 lives long and prospers as a big-game rifle, it may well be due to the .30 Rem. AR." This is quite a profound statement. But wait, He states that he developed his loads for the 6.8 using Remington brass because he had a "healthy supply" of it. I wonder what other support Freedom Group/Remington has supplied to the author so that a glowing report of the .30 Rem came in? Perhaps trips to the game farms that they operate? Perhaps healthy supplies of other shooting supplies? The 6.8 was developed by G.I.'s in the field answering a specific need and the cartridge has been inproved in the several years it has been in existence. By the way, Ruger catalogues their M77 bolt action rifle and their SR-556 in in 6.8 SPC. I've got to believe that Ruger and the U. S. Army Marksmanshop Unit are backing a winner here. Perhaps Mister Towsley should revisit the 6.8 at some time in the future.

TD wrote:
January 26, 2011

I have been shooting the caliber in question since 2006. I have shot many thousands of rounds of factory ammo and loaded thousands of rounds in the caliber and this article leaves alot to be desired....I have personally taken a few Deer and many many 300lb+ hogs using the caliber, with a good percentage of one-shot DRT drops and the vast majority dropping in 10 paces or less after a hit. Results have been good with the full Range of appropriate bullets, ranging from the 85 gr TSX to the 130gr Gameking. I have 4 AR15 based rifles chambered in the round. All of them are capable of sub-moa groups with any good factory ammo.As far as handloads go, my best 5 round group to date was a .417 CTC group at 100 yards using 130gr Sierra Gameking bullets and 27.4gr Benchmark powder. The truth is that end users have done as much if not more than industry to push development of the 6,8 SPC into what it is today. It is my belief that if the originators (in the 5th SFG) of the cartridge had the benefit of the improved performance of the Spec II chamber and 1-11 twist(first developed and brought to market by a man named Tim from North Carolina) and consistent, proper ammo (like SSA produces) as opposed to the trash that Remington sells, if maybe there would've been a better chance of winning acceptance. Anyone interested in the real capabilities of the 6.8 need look no farther than the 10,000+ member 68forums.com for accurate, up to date and unbiased look at the round backed up with a trove of photos, real-world first-hand data and field results.It is a shame that the writer failed to include good quality ammo in the accuracy and velocity discussion, but that probably has more to do with advertising contracts than honest testing. Whatever you do, Please do your own research and for the love of god, DO NOT BUY ANYTHING from Model 1 Sales as their refusal to change their outdated specifications can result in dangerous chamber pressure from the even the tamest factory ammo.

JD wrote:
January 25, 2011

I have a Stag Armes Model 7 Hunter Spec II chamber 1/11 twist. Shots 1/2" groups at 100 wit SSA 110 Gr Sierra Pro Hunter, and 3/4" groups with 85 gr BTSX. At $1055. it is an outstanding value and such a vast improvemwnt over the M 16 I had to carry in the later part of My Marine Corps Career. FYI.

Charles wrote:
January 24, 2011

So, in summary, what we've learned here in this discussion is that: 1. SAAMI spec'd hardware is inferior to hardware which have updated specs (given that SAAMI specs generate more chamber pressure and utilize rifling that fails to unleash the full potential of the caliber for the most widespread use). 2. Updated spec'd hardware delivers more velocity with lower chamber pressures from a given loading, ensuring a safer weapon. 3. Rifling rate of twist and rifling design enhances (or detracts) from performance, depending upon the desired usage (SBR/Suppressed/Sub-sonic, Bench Work, Hunting with non-SBR/non-suppressed). 4. Someone wanting to buy 6.8 SPC hardware should seek current information compiled by the enthusiasts/hunters who work with it daily, and refrain from relying on "Household Name Brands" that want us to believe they know what's best for us (just because it has their logo on it). 5. True/honest efforts to report on, and further the growth of the 6.8 SPC should include data which is up to date, and well researched. 6. Folks who want the most from this caliber are (for now) going to have to obtain a well spec'd piece of hardware and work their hand loads (since the ammo manufacturers are being held back by gun makers who insist upon clinging to the obsolete SAAMI specs for this caliber). 7. New comers to the 6.8 must understand that the basic clarification of the well-muddied waters (kept muddied by misinformation and agendas)is rather basic: 6.8 SPC (SAAMI) is akin to the .223 Remington, and that the 6.8 SPCII (updated) is akin to the 5.56 NATO (with regard to chamber pressure/velocity differences). As the customer parting with coveted dollars, it is our duty to insist upon receiving the most for our hard earned dollars. As we demand/buy updated spec'd goods, market share WILL turn the necks of gun makers as they see their market share dwindle before their eyes. They'll either "get with the program" and adapt, or get out of the 6.8 game.

Jake wrote:
January 24, 2011

I have been accused of being a "Grendel" fan simply because I made some assertions that this article made some good points. I am what should be called an "alternate AR caliber" fan. I shoot and enjoy playing with cartridges that exceed the performance of 5.56. I know the limitations of the 6.8 and I know the advancements and research that has gone into it. Though I agree that it would be nice for the author to have mentioned that the SAAMI specs suck and should be burned in infamy, the fact remains that ruger, model 1 and some others use either SAAMI specs or an SPCII chamber with the old 1-10" twist (rock river arms). I personally feel that if you are going to write an article about the 6.8 it is irresponsible and somewhat dangerous to ignore the potentially thousands of 6.8 owners that don't have the new specs. Writing only about the new advancements when doing an article about a cartridge that has changes so much over the years is great but it also fails to address the exact opposite points that many are complaining about here. I thought that the article was good because it did mention that advancements have been made in both chamber and barrel twist in order to increase performance. I will also agree that Bill Wilson's article was probably a little more informative and helpful for those looking to buy a "new version" of the 6.8.

H wrote:
January 23, 2011

This is a link to the 2008 performance test, it shows the difference in pressures and velocity generated by different barrel configurations. There are some extreme loads in there, it is not recommended to duplicate those loads but it is what the test was all about, finding out just what the 6.8 could handle when built in the proper configuration. http://68forums.com/forums/showthread.php?7220-6.8-Performance-Testing-Report-2008

H wrote:
January 22, 2011

Most loads shown for the high performance chambers on 68 forums do not show swipes or flattened primers as Jake who seems to be a Grendel fan states, he may not know much more than Towsley does. All but 2 or 3 of the 20 or so manufacturers now use a high performance chamber for a good reason. Hornady and SSA 110gr loads produce apx 2600fps from a 16" barrel, 2750fps out of a 16" barrel is possible by handloading. The 6.8 and 6.5G/264LBC are intermediate cartridges capable of taking deer and hog sized game to 300yds mainly due to the bullet dropping below the velocity needed for reliable expansion. The 6.8 and 6.5G/264LBC are within a few inches of having the same trajectory at these distances. There are many good bullets available for hunting with the 6.8 the author just happened to pick the worst. The little 85gr Barnes TSX will pass through hogs end to end, the 95gr TTSX is another great bullet along with Nosler's Accubonds, the Sierra 110 Pro-hunter is a very accurate deer bullet and the Speer 90gr TNT is a very accurate varmint bullet. Remington dropped the 6.8 ball, the rest of the country has taken it away and is running with it. The 6.8 is now the second most popular AR15 caliber, mostly due to deer and hog hunters wanting a light and quick swinging rifle but, more and more LEO's that are allowed to use their personal rifle on duty are choosing the 6.8.

JTL wrote:
January 22, 2011

Wow, I have to say that I am unimpressed with the research Mr. Towsley did on this round. I'm planning a new AR build soon and have been comparing the 6.5 Grendel and the 6.8 SPC. After even a quick bit of research you can find out enough to realize this article is not using current information. Thankfully Mr. Wilson actually knows about the round and describes what it can do. Who would buy or build a 6.8 with a spec I chamber or 1:10 twist? Nobody who has done any research. Without the Wilson piece, this article would have been a slam on this round.

Alfonse Rispoli - Member wrote:
January 21, 2011

I was very disappointed in this article. There is a wealth of information availble that would provide strong evidence of substantially better performance in accuracy for this cartridge as well as its tremendous terminal ballistics. I can't avoid holding that the cartridge was not given a fair treatment at all. There is readily available information on the history and developement of the 6.8 SPC. I was very surprised to see that this was not mentioned at all. I hope that the magazine staff takes a another look at this cartridge that, far from having found a "niche", has become extremely popular with AR-15 platform users, some estimates placing it second to the .223 in this field.

Charles wrote:
January 21, 2011

"Jake"... you confirm my point brilliantly with your last sentence: "The 6.8 is a great cartride, when launched from a great gun." (Although, I'm certain you intended to say "cartridge"). The apparent "nerve" you strive to hit though, relates directly to the half-truths and/or misinformation spoken about the 6.8 SPC from those who: 1. Do not know the truth (of which they speak). 2. Strive to promote an unspoken agenda (as in "caliber X" is superior). The progress of the 6.8 SPC (from SAAMI spec) through the hard work of the hunters and enthusiasts is unknown by many who are looking for an alternative to the 5.56 NATO, or by those who attempt to educate the general public (another hint to the author). Ignorance and Agendas are two constants needing to be corrected by the 6.8 crowd. We are gaining ground though, only a couple of vendors are clinging to the obsolete SAAMI specs (Ruger, LMT, and Model1 Sales). The rest are embracing the safety of lower chamber pressures offered by the SPC II chamber design. The 6.8 SPC has become the second most popular caliber for the AR platform, and has in excess of TWO dozen bullets to choose from. Buy a well spec'd piece of hardware and the potential of the 6.8 is easily attained.

William Mitchell wrote:
January 21, 2011

I have a Ruger Ranch rifle in 6.8 SPC and shooting Silver State ammo with 110 gr Sierra Pro hunter at our 125 yd range in eastern Wshington got consistant 1.25-1.50" 5 shot groups. I have loaded some 115 gr Rem Corloct Ultra and H322 powder but have not had a chance to try these. The rifle stays in the truck most of the time for coyotes but if the RemCorlocts work may use it for a mule deer this fall. Great article by both Towsley ad Wilson, Thanks

Jake wrote:
January 21, 2011

I see I hit a nerve. All I was trying to say is that I felt that the article was accurate as far as what most guys can expect from from their rifle. Why do I say that? Well, there are very few data sources for loading to SPCII specs. So, what most guys are going to find in their manuals and load to are the SAAMI load specs. It is pretty well known that the SAAMI loads are 100 or more fps slower than what you can get from an SPCII load. However, even if you have the SPCII chamber and a 1-12" barrel you kind of have to venture into unknown territory in order to get the most out of your rifle. Much of the stuff posted on the internet produces flattened primers and ejector swipes even with the spcII chamber. Those are indications of excessive pressures that are bad for your brass and rifle but for some reason it has become the norm in the 6.8 community. I like my 6.8 and I have even loaded it to some of the velocities I have found on the internet, but knowing that most guys out there that buy the 6.8 are not as adept about the cartride as the 8 or so guys that frequent the 6.8 forums. Until Ruger, RRA, and other popular large manufactures stop making rifles with the anemic SAAMI chamber I feel that articles like this are a fair representation of the 6.8. My biggest fear for the popularity of the 6.8 is that someone like the author will hear about all the amazing velocities of the 6.8 but not be able to reach them. Kool-aid drinkers can rant all they want about how good their rifle is but not all rifles are the same. Not every 6.8 you buy out there has the accuracy potential of the higher end stuff. You may love your rifle but pretending that the 6.8 is magical in accuracy and velocity over every other cartride does no good. Many guys have dropped a caliber for good because they got a particular rifle that couldn't shoot and they blamed it on the caliber rather than the rifle. Be realistic. The 6.8 is a great cartride, when launched from a great gun.

MarkM wrote:
January 21, 2011

It's interesting the crazy velocities Jake disparages are right there in Bill Wilson's sidebar, and something both he and many of his customer's have come to expect from their guns. But that's from the perspective of someone who's building and shooting them, and expertise on firearms doesn't seem to have much place in Townley's article. Basing most of performance reporting on older loads in .270 Win spec barrels isn't the leading edge of the specification 95% of the market is getting today. As such, it's either a disservice to American Rifle readers, or anther obviously biased review like Jim Zumbo's. Over 20 million prior servicemen and women are quite familiar with the AR15 and it's operation, bolt guns were never the focus of the cartridge, nor was the public waiting with any anticipation of yet another Remington bolt gun caliber. The Bill Wilson sidebar is the much better report, accurate, and the writer has actually used the round extensively. Read that for the current state of the art, which isn't represented by the big firearms makers guns sitting in a Boxmart rack. You have to go to the internet to keep up these days, and it seems that's a habit an older generation of writers doesn't possess. If I need a rotary dial users view of the modern cell phone, I can look to my own experience and reflect that it was an easy change for me. I don't really need to read Mr. Townley's view on it. Life Member Retired Reserve OEF-ONE Vet

KopfenJager wrote:
January 21, 2011

Maybe you should have actualy researched the 6.8SPC before attempting to write an article. The information was outdated and incorrect.

Jeff wrote:
January 20, 2011

This issue of AR, had two articles written about the 6.8 SPC. The above article written by Bryce Townsley. which I find to be very poorly researched and out of date. Shame on Mr. Townsley for not doing his homework. I will leave it at that. The second Article was written by Bill Wilson. I found his article current, relevant, and very informative. Kudos to Mr Wilson for writing an excellent article. AR could use fresh perspectives such as Mr Wilson's in future articles.Your readers demand it!

Derek wrote:
January 20, 2011

What a contrast between your two recent articles on the 6.8mmSPC. It's like these two gentlemen were writing about two different calibers. Mr.Towsley's article really seemed lukewarm, almost bashing. I was disappointed in his assessment of this new and impressive cartridge. Why was nothing mentioned about the two different chambers, older SAAMI, and the newer SPC II? Prehaps some more research and working up loads would be helpful. Thank Goodness that Bill Wilson's side article on 6.8 SPC hunting set the record straight. I've been handloading and shooting the 6.8mmSPC since 2007, and have been impressed with it's accuracy and performance. Especially when the SPC II chamber and 1:11 or 1:12 twist barrels are used.

Bill Dean wrote:
January 20, 2011

Recently purchased the Ruger SR556 in 6.8 and SSA 110 gr Sierra Pro Hunter ammo. While I can't yet attest to the kill efficiency, I can say that in the sight in I had several groups of 3 that 2 of the holes were touching. I'd have to give it a thumbs up for accuracy. Much better than I had expected from a short barreled rifle. Couldn't be more pleased!

Charles Coker wrote:
January 20, 2011

I have been a 6.8 user for several years. It is a fantastic deer and hog round, I know of several hog hunting guides that use the 6.8 as a primary gun for themselves and clients. Like the others have posted, this article is out of date. Enough said

Dan wrote:
January 20, 2011

I purchased a Stagarms Upper 6.8 SPC 20.77" 1/11 Twist to change out with my 5.56 Stag for hunting. I put on a Trijicon 3-9X40 scope with LaRue QD mount. I fired fifteen rounds of 6.8 Remington SPC 115GR thru the new barrel to sight in the scope at 80 yards. My last 5 round shot group was 1.5". One week later I took down a 125lb bear that was running away from me at about 100 yards. I double tapped my shot and both rounds completely went through the bear 1" apart as noted on the pelt. All I can say is that the 6.8 round and rifle I was using did what I expected it to do.

Reno Sepulveda wrote:
January 20, 2011

I credit the 6.8 SPC with getting me interested in the AR-15 platform. I am a casual hunter and serious plinker. After exhaustive scientific research here are my conclusions. I've managed to kill 3 California wild pigs quickly and cleanly with the SSA 110 grain Pro Hunter. Accuracy at the range is as good as my .243 Browning A-Bolt. Which is to say rotten grapefruits out to 300 yards are dead meat. I haven't had this much fun with a rifle since my grampa loaned me his old .250-3000 Savage 1899.

Jake wrote:
January 19, 2011

I feel that this article was more than fair as far as the description of what most 6.8 users can expect to get from the 6.8. This article will no doubt receive a bunch of posters hooked on the 6.8 kool-aid that will cry foul that the author didn't list all the crazy velocities that people can get on the internet. The truth is that spcII may very well be capable of higher velocities, but not everyone makes the SPCII chamber in 1-12" twist. The author did fine in explaining what most users can expect from the 6.8. Though there are new bullets to be found for reloading, one cannot take advantage of many of them unless they reload. Good article!

Charles wrote:
January 19, 2011

To the folks interested in learning about the 6.8 SPC (and interested in buying one), my suggestion is to avoid "learning" from the big names within the gun-making community (hint to the author of this article). Get your information from the small businesses who are specializing in the 6.8 SPC. The large gun makers think of the 6.8 SPC as a side dish of little importance and toss out "something" to get a slice of the market share. Most of them are doing good if they don't just grab the initial SAAMI specs and call it good. The smaller, specialty shop type businesses are doing the research for what makes this caliber truly "sing". The proper specs offered up by these shops are coupled with the personalized care (for not only the assembly of parts, but customer service too) needed to produce a fine product, and accuracy to go with it. The specs used by them are enabling the reloader to gain the best potential from this caliber. The specs are also allowing the shooter of factory ammunition to obtain the highest possible velocity and lowest chamber pressures from any given offering. At a minimum, look for 6.8 SPCII and 1:11-1:12 rate of twist. Settling for SAAMI spec in this caliber is akin to leaving a LOT of performance on the table.

John H (Life Member) wrote:
January 19, 2011

As others have stated, much of the information in this article is old and incorrect. The 6.8 is 2nd only to the 5.56 in AR sales, and is a superbly accurate cartridge. It is also capable of handling any game animal up to elk (I know of one guy who took one at 360 yards with no problems at all) For target shooting, long range varmints, and deer in a pinch, the Hornady 110 gr. BTHP match is hands down the best bullet available. I'm getting sub 1" groups and 2600 fps in my 16" Rock River AR. The author really dropped the ball on this one, in my opinion. We've put a lot of effort into getting the word out to counter the misinformation out there on this caliber, and don't really appreciate writers who perpetuate the same old misconceptions we've been dealing with since Remington dropped the ball 5 years ago. You could've done a lot better, Bryce.

John wrote:
January 19, 2011

Though the article does seem to be "dated", the author did what most gun rag writers do..keep it generic and conservative. In the other direction, the critics lauding the use of the 6.8 for elk and grizzly are just as guilty, and "routine" 0.5" and under groups exist primarily in cyberspace. Bill Wilson's article provided the balance needed.

Mike wrote:
January 18, 2011

This article sounds like it is three years old. The author clearly has done no research on the cartridge, and the article doesn't reflect the improvements to the cartridge over the past 2 years. I am very disappointed at the lack of effort on the part of the author, and hope people considering a 6.8SPC rifle do are not discouraged by this poor bit of "journalism"

H. wrote:
January 18, 2011

I agree, the article was written by someone with very little knowledge about the 6.8, maybe a little research in the correct spots would have unveiled a whole different cartridge producing over 3100fps from the 85 Barnes TSX, 2750fps from 110gr projectiles from 16" barrels. Poor choice of brass, primers,bullets, powder and rifle produce poor results just like the author said, make good choices and 1/2" groups are possible from some production grade rifles. Mr. Towsley and everyone else take a minute and visit www.68forums.com and learn a lot about what the 6.8 can really do.

C. Haynes wrote:
January 18, 2011

With the prior posts, the SPC II chamber and the twist rates between 1:11 and 1:12 perform better than the old specs. I have shot my 14.5 inch 6.8 with Silver State Armory 85gr., TSX rounds (tactical load) factory loaded with very good accuracy to 100 yards(less than an inch) and the average three shot velocity was 2986fps. I don't find the 6.8 SPC's murky...

Paul wrote:
January 18, 2011

It's hard to take the article serious when the word "diminutive" is the best description the author could find for the cartridge, though I guess it's true when comparing it to a 300 Win. Mag. It's also kinda unfortunate that the author didn't dig a little deeper, I think he would have found the tremendous potential of the 6.8 as exemplified by the thousands of deer, hogs, and other animals (eg. grizzly, elk, etc) dropped in their tracks...

Trevor Bready wrote:
January 18, 2011

Agreed with 1st post. This caliber is fantastic for medium to small game at distances out to 300. With the new Barnes 95 TTSX kill shots can be acheived out to 400 yards. I have killed many deer with the Barnes 85 gr TSX and penetration was thru and thru with massive blood trails.As for accuracy I own 3 different 6.8's and 1 is a custom build I assembled from scratch, all of them shoot MOA or better. It seems like evry article that is posted for this cartridge is always lacking hands on experience and the articles leave very little to be desired. I have shooting this cartridge for over 3 years now and reloading for it for about 2 years. The lighter rounds such as 85 and 90 gr can reach 3000+ fps out of a 16'' barrel with the proper chamber and rifling.

Sean wrote:
January 18, 2011

I found this article had many inaccuracies and less than reliable information. Such as stating the cartridge is "inaccurate" I find this cartridge to be very accurate. Shooting sub MOA groups at 100 yards with 6 different bullets. These results are very common with a quality rifle. Which can be verified by hundreds of users. I would attribute the accuracy issues to the rifles not the cartridge. Also mentioning the 85gr Barnes TSX bullet, without stating that Silver State Armory offers factory loaded ammunition with a MV 0f 3000 fps from a 16" barrel. The author could also have mentioned that Barnes released a 95gr TTSX bullet specifically designed for the 6.8 SPC. That expands reliably down to 1600fps. Which is not a varmint type bullet, Nor is the 100gr Nosler accubond. Which the author stated the 100gr bullets were of the varmint type. Or perhaps how Hornady is now offering a 120gr SST for the 6.8 SPC, Currently in loaded ammo. Or that Nosler will be releasing an 85gr E-tip bullet for the 6.8 SPC later this spring. Lastly the Author completely failed to talk about the differences in the Standard chamber and the SPC II chamber. What the differences would mean to a handloader regarding performance and COAL. Had the author spent some time talking to end users there he would have been able to write a much better article with current information on the cartridge, and the performance achievable with the cartridge in the AR15 platform. Been reading American Rifleman for years, and very rarely do i ever find an article of this low quality. Sincerely Sean Sewill

Mike Starling wrote:
January 18, 2011

I do wish the author had done his homework a bit better before writing this article ... there is a lot of information about the cartridge he seems to have missed. The modern 6.8 SPC II chamber with a 1:11 twist barrel would be what most 6.8 shooters consider to be about right for the chambering. I certainly do not share the author's analysis that the 6.8 SPC II cartridge is not inherently accurate. In a rifle with a free floated 18" WOA I routinely get 3/8" to 1/2" groups at 100 yards using H322 on SSA brass and 110 gr Sierra Prohunter projectiles. The 6.8 shooting community has not found the Hornady V-max projectile to do well.