I finally got all my homework done for my first AR build, my upper and all the parts picked out and ready to order... I thought. I want something that will hit hard enough to cleanly take muleys at 300-400yds, but will be mainly used for coyotes (possibly Texas hogs, but I'm just not down there much). I'd like to stay with the AR15 to keep the weight down as I do alot of walking (plus the AR10s just don't handle the way I like)
I'd thought the 6.8 SPC would do the trick nicely, until I went in to a local gun shop to pick up my lower. The guy said the military had pretty much lost interest in it the SPC, and that it was destined for the shelf. He was under the impression that the 6.5 Grendel (my second choice) was in the same boat as the SPC, as far as a caliber "going out of fashion".
I think the guy was kinda full of S^%#, but I'm no expert myself... That's where you guys come in. But he did make me think twice about the SPC. I know the shelf ammo isn't cheap. But I'll just pick up reloading dyes for it anyway, so that doesn't seem to be a factor. I was just hoping that a better selection of bullets will become available soon, and that a new barrel and/or upper will still be available once (if) I burn this one out.
Does anyone have a fact based prediction for the future of the 6.8 SPC? I thought the military had already adopted it, thus insuring a long future. Or, should I look at the Grendel, if the SPC does look to be short lived?
I like things that go "bang"... I love things that go "BOOM!"
Last edited by threejones; 01-31-2012 at 06:30 PM.
The military has pretty much declared the 6.8mm SPC as being dead in the water, and I've seen no interest in the round recently from the spec ops community. As far as the Big Army, never gonna happen. We're wedded to the 5.56mm for the foreseeable future and nothings going to change that. I've made the prediction before that whatever replaces the 5.56mm, probably won't be recognizable as a cartridge as we know them now. Caseless, "smart", directed energy, who knows? But it won't be another solid projectile kinetic energy round based on a brass case and using the propellants we know today.
As far as whether the 6.8 coud see any limited use, always possible, but in this case pretty unlikely. The developer of the 6.8, Steve Holland (a friend of mine) is now retired from SF, and managed to step on some toes during the early phases of introducing the round. Some memories can linger in the military circles of such a small community, and that's something the 6.8 now has to overcome.
It's a good little cartridge, and adds a lot to the AR platform. I think it'll continue to see use for some time, but doubt that it'll ever really catch on in a hugely major way. Not a big deal if you're handloading, but I don't know that I'd want one if I didn't. At some point, I suspect the ammo companies will start to lose interest, and the stuff could become hard to get.
The Grendel shares some of the same issues here. While its been used in some special purpose applications, it has never been under serious consideration as a new military round. It was recently standardized by SAAMI (after much wrangling and some false starts by AA), but I see it in pretty much the same light as the 6.8mm. Does have a better selection of bullets available for it, and good cases on the market.
Does it matter if a cartridge is "here to stay" ? And there is the question "stay how long"?
When I started shooting the US standard cartridges were the 30-06 and the 30 Carbine. The standard pistol cartridge was the 45 ACP and it was used in sub-machine guns. The 50 BMG was well established but it had not become a sniping cartridge and was only shot in Browning machine guns. There were quite a few popular hunting cartridges like the 220 Swift, some belted magnums (264 and 338 win) but they were of little interest to the military.
I was in the US Army when the 308 Win (M14) and AR-15 /M16 were introduced and got "familiarization" training on them but most trained on the 30-06 M1 Garand. As a Signal Corps officer I was never in combat.
When is a cartridge obsolete?
I can still buy brass for my 50-70 Remington rolling block and loaded ammo for my 45-70 rifles. Those cartridges were introduced in the 1860/70's. Are those "here to stay"?
A lot of cartridges have been experimented with and even standardized over the the years by the US Military. Some became obsolete like the 30-40 Krag which was replaced by the 30-06. Some had good ballistics but just never caught on like the 256 Pederson. ( the M1 Garand was selected instead) The M1 Carbine was used extensively in WWII, but was abandoned rapidly with the introduction of the 5.56-45 NATO cartridge which was lighter and had much better range and penetration.
Current standard military rifle cartridges are the 7.62x51 NATO (308 WIn), 5.56x45 (223 Rem), and the 12.7x99 (50 BMG). Many others have seen service in various quantities. The 300 Win Mag and 338 Lapua are currently in service for sniping but not standardized. The 5.7x28 FN, 6.8 SPC, 6.5 Grendel, 458 SOCOM, 50 Beowulf and several others have been experimented with but none seem to be taken very seriously by the military. New cartridges showing some interest appear to be the 6.5x47 Lapua and 338 Norma Mag, but I doubt either will be standardized.
Who knows what will happen in the future. Some new technology could make all firearms obsolete. Perhaps a kiloJoule pulse laser with adaptive optics in a < 5 lb package. No elevation, no windage, no target lead, no spin drift, no air density, no Coriolis, and egligible recoil. Just point and shoot.
So are you considering a 6.8 SPC or Grendel? What's your concern? Whether it's adopted by the militay or not doesn't change it's ballistics. I have several relatively uncommon rifles such as 256 TCU, 7mm BR, and 300 OSSM (plus 6.8 SPC and 6.5 Grendel) I have dies for each and a couple of hundred rounds of brass for each. That will last my lifetime. Beyond that I don't really care.
Wow, thanx guys. That's exactly the info I was looking for. I'm kinda of a gun gypsy, so if I decide this isn't going to be what I'm looking for I'll just sell the upper and move on to the next cartridge. If the round doesn't have a good following a couple years down the road, it's going to be harder to get a good price for it.
More importantly, if I like it, and it proves to be a good hunting round for me, I'm going to want to tinker with loads. If the big manufactures drop the round, my bullet selection will will dry up. Not to mention brass, and different uppers, etc.
Prehaps I've been asking the wrong question. It looks like the civilian AR15 market is going to be the key to either rounds "staying power". I know the Grendel was designed as more of a bench shooter/longer range round. While the SPC was created to give better terminal preformance at longer ranges than the 5.56. The Grendel should meet my needs as a coyote/deer/hog round. But, does the Grendel have enough following to gain the favor the big bullet makers, especially if the 6.8SPC doesn't?
I know I should suck it up and just buy one of them and start shooting. But I'm paying out-of-pocket for my wife to finish her degree right now, so new rifles have to be bought on a tighter budget than I'm used to (at least for the next 4 semesters... then it's GAME ON) So please, help me out. This thing is gonna be my only big toy for at least the next couple years, and I don't want to blow it on some flash in the pan.
Thanx again for your input guys!
I like things that go "bang"... I love things that go "BOOM!"
I went with the grendel because its butter for long range. The 6.8 has a better following i belive. For hunting the 6.8 gets top velocity for cartrige from a shorter barrel then the 6.5. In a 6.8 longest you will need is a 18-20" barrel 6.5 I recomend a 24"
Hope the wife gets degree done and a good 6 fig job. Then you can play all you want. From my 70 years I have learned lately that IF~n you find something in life that you would like to have for ever BUY A LIFETIME SUPPLY AS SOON as you can. Cause they will stop making it next month!!!!!
So, if you pick that round, 6.5 or 6.8 or what ever, find out what rounds she likes and BUY A LIFETIME SUPPLY AS SOON as you can of her favorite stuff and bullets that you also like for every thing from Ghogs to Browns!!!!
That way if the BLACK HELOS come from the UN & Hillary Rottem Bi**h........ you will still be set.
I feel the 6.8 is here to stay. I have 4 rifles chambered in 6.8, and if I ever have kids that want to hunt they will be using 6.8's until they start elk hunting. Although I might work up a good load this summer for my Ruger with 110gr Accubonds incase I do run into an elk when deer hunting. The little round kills way better than it should and does better at longer ranges than it should. There isnt much velocity difference between my 16" and 20", the long barrel has less muzzle blast.
I shoot my 20" and 18" AR's out to 550 pretty often ussally just busting rocks and smacking steel. But I would take a coyote at that distance with one and not think twice.
Stock up on brass, I like Remington and Hornady. Barnes has an 85gr MPG that was on sale, I bought 6 or 700 for under $100, makes for a good plinking/coyote bullet.