6.8 mm Remington SPC

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6.8×43mm Remington SPC
Oct. 06 003.jpg
6.8 mm Remington SPC (left) as compared to the 5.56×45mm NATO cartridge (right)
Type Rifle
Place of origin  United States
Production history
Designer Remington Arms, USSOCOM
Designed 2002–2004
Specifications
Parent case .30 Remington
Case type Rimless, bottlenecked
Bullet diameter 0.277 in (7.0 mm)
Neck diameter 0.298 in (7.6 mm)
Shoulder diameter 0.402 in (10.2 mm)
Base diameter 0.421 in (10.7 mm)
Rim diameter 0.422 in (10.7 mm)
Rim thickness 0.049 in (1.2 mm)
Case length 1.676 in (42.6 mm)
Overall length 2.260 - 2,3+ in.
Ballistic performance
Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy
7.45 g (115 gr) fmj 2,575 ft/s (785 m/s) 1,694 ft·lbf (2,297 J)
7.78 g (120 gr) sst 2,460 ft/s (750 m/s) 1,612 ft·lbf (2,186 J)
7.1 g (110 gr) Sierra Pro Hunter 2,500 ft/s (760 m/s) 1,525 ft·lbf (2,068 J)

Test barrel length: 410 millimetres (16 in)

[1][2][3]

The 6.8 mm Remington Special Purpose Cartridge (aka 6.8 SPC, 6.8 SPC II & 6.8×43mm) is a rifle cartridge that was developed by Remington Arms in collaboration with members of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, United States Special Operations Command[4] to possibly replace the 5.56 NATO cartridge in a Short Barreled Rifle(SBR)/Carbine.

Based upon the .30 Remington cartridge,[5] it is midway between the 5.56×45mm NATO and 7.62×51mm NATO in bore diameter and muzzle energy. It uses a 7.0 millimetres (0.277 in) (7.0358 mm) diameter bullet, the same diameter (not usually the same weight) as that used in the venerable .270 Winchester hunting cartridge.

Development[edit]

The 6.8mm SPC cartridge was designed to address the deficiencies of the terminal performance of the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge currently in service with the U.S. Armed Forces.[6] The cartridge was the result of the Enhanced Rifle Cartridge program. Participating in the program were U.S. Special Operations soldiers, as well as armorers and other technicians from the United States Army Marksmanship Unit.[7] The goal was to create a cartridge that would bridge the gap between 5.56 mm and 7.62x51mm NATO.

The program started the design by using a .30 Remington case, which was modified in length to fit into magazines that would be accommodated by the magazine wells of the M16 family of rifles and carbines that are currently in service with the U.S. Armed Forces.[8]

In tests, it was determined that a 6.5 mm barrel had the best accuracy, but a 7 mm barrel had the best terminal performance. Further tests showed that a 6.8 mm barrel was the best compromise between the two, providing accuracy, reliability and terminal performance up to 500 meters. The combination of the cartridge case, powder load, and projectile easily outperformed the 7.62x39mm Soviet cartridge, with the new cartridge proving to be about 61 m/s (200 ft/s) faster.[9] The resulting cartridge was named the 6.8 Remington Special Purpose Cartridge due to the size of its barrels and the fact that it was based on the .30 Remington case. However, in the ten years of its existence, it appears to be more of a General Purpose Cartridge in hunting, military/police & self/home defense.

In general, adapting an AR-style rifle to the new cartridge only requires the replacement of the barrel, bolt and magazine of the 5.56 mm-chambered rifle; but to further streamline and simplify the conversion process many parts manufacturers sell complete upper receiver assemblies chambered for 6.8 SPC alongside their conversion kits focusing on the key individual parts. While a complete 6.8 SPC assembly is a somewhat more expensive route, the conversion of an existing 5.56 mm/.223 rifle to 6.8 SPC using a complete upper assembly takes less than a minute on an AR platform rifle without the need for specialized tools or skills. In contrast, when swapping out the individual component parts, a significant level of gun smithing experience, special tools, and time are generally required to detach the barrel from the rifle's upper receiver and the gas system, and conversely those same needs are required for the reassembly of the upper receiver with the new 6.8 SPC barrel. Also, there is the issue of having to readjust the sights if a new barrel is placed on an existing upper receiver.

The 6.8 mm Remington SPC was designed to perform better in short barreled CQB rifles after diminished performance from the 5.56 NATO when the AR-15 was changed from the rifle configuration to the current M4 carbine. The 6.8 SPC delivers 44% more energy than the 5.56 mm NATO (M4 configuration) at 100–300 metres (330–980 ft). The 6.8 mm SPC is not the ballistic equal of the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge, but it has less recoil, is more controllable in rapid fire, and lighter, allowing operators to carry more ammunition than would otherwise be possible with the larger caliber round. The 6.8 mm generates around 2,385 J (1,759 ft·lbf) of muzzle energy with a 7.5-gram (115 gr) bullet. In comparison, the 5.56x45mm round (which the 6.8 is designed to replace) generates around 1,796 J (1,325 ft·lbf) with a 4.0 g (62 gr) bullet, giving the 6.8 mm a terminal ballistic advantage over the 5.56 mm of 588 J (434 ft·lbf). One of the enigmatic features of this cartridge is it being designed for a short barrel carbine length rifle that the standard rifle length is (usually 41 cm (16 in)). The round only gains about 7.6–10.7 m/s (25–35 ft/s) for every 25 mm of barrel length past the standard 410-millimetre (16 in) barrel (all else being equal) up to barrel's length around 560–610 mm (22–24 in) with no gain/loss in accuracy. It also does very well in rifles with less than 410 mm (16 in) barrels. In recent developments (the period 2008-2012) the performance of the 6.8 SPC has been increased by approximately 61 to 91 m/s (200 to 300 ft/s) by the work of one ammunition manufacturer Silver State Armory LLC (SSA) and a few custom rifle builders using/designing the correct chamber and barrel specifications. Also, more recently, LWRC, Magpul and Alliant Techsystems (ATK) are currently introducing a new AR platform designed for the 6.8 SPC which allows for a proprietary 6.8 Magpul P-Mags and an overall cartridge length of 5.9 centimetres (2.32 in). The Personal Defense Weapon (PDW) known as the Six8 is SPC II w 1:250 millimetres (10 in) twist and is able to use all current 6.8 SPC factory ammunition.[10] See Gold Dot below for ATK's part.

Muzzle velocity from a 610-millimetre (24 in) barrel[edit]

  • 7.5-gram (115 gr) Full Metal Jacket (FMJ): 850 m/s (2,800 ft/s)
  • 7.5-gram (115 gr) Boat Tail Hollow Point (BTHP): 850 m/s (2,800 ft/s)
  • 7.5-gram (115 gr) Sierra Match King (SMK): 850 m/s (2,800 ft/s)[11]

Muzzle velocity from a 410-millimetre (16 in) barrel[edit]

  • 5.5-gram (85 gr) Barnes TSX ; 940 m/s (3,070 ft/s) - Silver State Armory (SSA) "tactical" factory load
  • 5.8-gram (90 gr) Speer Gold Dot 880 m/s (2,900 ft/s)- Federal(ATK) "tac/mil" load.
  • 6.2-gram (95 gr) Barnes TTSX: 870 m/s (2,850 ft/s) - Wilson Combat factory load[12]
  • 7.1-gram (110 gr) Sierra Pro Hunter; 785 m/s (2,575 ft/s) - Silver State Armory (SSA) "combat" factory load
  • 7.1-gram (110 gr) Hornady BTHP TAP; 780 m/s (2,550 ft/s) - Hornady Law Enforcement "tactical" factory load[13]
  • 7.1-gram (110 gr) BTHP OTM & Barnes TSX; 820 m/s (2,700 ft/s) - Wilson Combat factory load[14]
  • 9.1-gram (140 gr) Berger VLD; 732 m/s (2,401 ft/s) - Silver State Armory (SSA) factory load

Comparison to other military calibers[edit]

Cartridge Muzzle velocity 180 metres (200 yd) drop 180 metres (200 yd) velocity 370 metres (400 yd) drop 370 metres (400 yd) velocity
5.56x45 3.6 g (55 gr) M193 937 m/s (3,073 ft/s) 56 mm (2.2 in) 717 m/s (2,353 ft/s) 710 mm (27.8 in) 531 m/s (1,743 ft/s)
5.56x45 5.0 g (77 gr) OTM 817 m/s (2,679 ft/s) 84 mm (3.3 in) 675 m/s (2,216 ft/s) 830 mm (32.7 in) 550 m/s (1,810 ft/s)
6.8x43 SPC 7.5 g (115 gr) SMK 810 m/s (2,650 ft/s) 89 mm (3.5 in) 653 m/s (2,143 ft/s) 900 mm (35.4 in) 511 m/s (1,677 ft/s)
6.8x43 SPC 7.1 g (110 gr) V-MAX 810 m/s (2,650 ft/s) 84 mm (3.3 in) 673 m/s (2,208 ft/s) 790 mm (31.1 in) 552 m/s (1,811 ft/s)
7.62x39mm 700 m/s (2,300 ft/s) 84 mm (3.3 in) 545 m/s (1,787 ft/s) 1,370 mm (53.8 in) 404 m/s (1,324 ft/s)
7.62x51 10.9 g (168 gr) SMK 790 m/s (2,600 ft/s) 86 mm (3.4 in) 681 m/s (2,235 ft/s) 820 mm (32.3 in) 576 m/s (1,891 ft/s)

Typical trajectory information from carbines with drop and velocity calculated at sea level with a 91 metres (100 yd) zero.[15]

ATK Gold Dot[edit]

When the LWRC Six8 was being developed, Alliant Techsystems was contracted to develop a new 6.8x43mm round for the weapon. Unlike smaller commercial firms, ATK is a large ammunition supplier that delivers products for the U.S. Army, so it had large resources and manufacturing capabilities at its disposal. Commercial cartridges varied in case capacity and thickness, but LWRC wanted a thick and durable case for military uses. A 90 gr (5.8 g) load was developed specifically for a high muzzle velocity and low felt recoil from the Six8's 8.5 in (220 mm) barrel. Effective range would be over 300 yd (274 m) and the bullet would still have enough energy to penetrate intermediate barriers. Three 90 gr loads were constructed for testing that included Gold Dot, Monolithic Hollow Point, and FMJ. The Gold Dot bullet was selected with a .035 in (0.89 mm) jacket and a bonded core. The propellant was designed for reduced muzzle flash stable performance at temperatures between -29.2 to 125.6 degrees F. Muzzle velocity averaged at a 200 ft/s (61 m/s) difference at the required temperature extremes from the 8.5 in barrel. From a 24 in (610 mm) barrel, the round produced a group of 1.56 in (40 mm) at 200 yd (183 m).[16]

Barrel length Muzzle velocity Muzzle energy
8.5 in (220 mm) 2,450 ft/s (750 m/s) 1,199 ft·lb (1,626 J)
16 in (410 mm) 2,900 ft/s (880 m/s) 1,680 ft·lb (2,280 J)
24 in (610 mm) 3,050 ft/s (930 m/s) 1,858 ft·lb (2,519 J)

Applications[edit]

Commercial[edit]

6.8 SPC cartridge (left) compared with 5.56x45mm NATO/.223 Remington cartridge. Both cartridges are loaded with Barnes Tipped Triple Shock X Bullets, shown on the right. The 6.8 bullet weighs 7.1 grams (110 gr), the 5.56 bullet weighs 4.0 grams (62 gr).

For hunters of game larger than varmints, the 6.8 SPC cartridge is a significant improvement over the 5.56 mm (.223) based cartridges currently available in the AR-15 platform. The .223 Rem cartridge falls below 6 millimetres (0.243 in), which in many counties and states in the USA is specified as the smallest legal caliber to humanely take game such as (but not limited to) groundhog, woodchuck, coyote, wild hog, deer, black bear, caribou, and smaller sized elk. It is gaining popularity particularly among wild hog hunters. By adopting 6.8 SPC, a hunter also gains the ability to use the AR-15 platform for hunting out to 270–370 metres (300–400 yd) depending on load, chamber specification, and barrel length.

Military/law enforcement adoption[edit]

By late 2004 the 6.8x43mm SPC was said to be performing well in the field against enemy combatants in Special Operations.[6] However the cartridge was not used by conventional US military personnel. It was not adopted for widespread use due to resistance from officials and the development of the 6.5mm Grendel, which had better accuracy past 500 meters.[17] The 6.8 SPC was designed for better terminal effectiveness at the shorter ranges of urban combat experienced in Iraq. When fighting in Afghanistan began to intensify, engagements began taking place at further distances. Experiments suggested that the relatively short 6.8 mm bullets became ineffective at longer ranges.[18] In 2007, both the U.S. SOCOM and the U.S. Marine Corps decided not to field weapons chambered in 6.8 mm due to logistical and cost issues.[19]

While there are many rumors of evaluations of the cartridge by several major Federal and local law enforcement agencies, the US Drug Enforcement Administration has allowed individual agents to purchase the M6A2 D-DEA - which uses the 6.8 mm Remington SPC - as an authorized alternative to their duty weapon. In 2010 the Jordanian state-owned arms manufacturer KADDB announced that they would be producing 6.8 mm rifles and carbines for the Jordanian Army.[20] There is also a contract between LWRC, Magpul, Alliant Techsystems and The Saudi Royal guard for around 36,000 Six8 PDWs & undisclosed amount of ATK/Federal XD68GD (90gr Gold Dot 'training' ammo) and proprietary Magpul 6.8 Pmags specifically for the LWRC Six8. See above under the subsection 'Development' Section.

Current chamberings[edit]

There are currently 4 different chambers for the 6.8 SPC which yield different results. They are:

  1. The Remington SAAMI submitted specifications. It has a .050 freebore, 45 degree cone angle, .278 diameter freebore.
  2. SPC II is current standard chamber used by most barrel manufactures. It has been said to be very close to the original Enhanced Rifle Cartridge Program chamber. It has a .114 freebore, 45 degree cone angle, .278 diameter freebore, .3085 neck.
  3. 6.8x43mm (renamed 6.8 ARP)(DMR has been replaced by 6.8x43/6.8 ARP,both are/were created by AR Performance.). It has a .095 freebore, 45 degree cone angle, .2775 dia, and a .3085/.309 neck.[Proprietary]
  4. Noveske Mod 1 designed by Noveske Rifleworks LLC. It has been said to have a .100 Freebore.[Proprietary]

Only the rifles chambered with the newer specified chamber (6.8mm Spec II, Noveske Mod 1 and 6.8 ARP chambers) can safely use the higher pressure military/tactical and near max-maximum handloaded ammunition. Those rifles using the Original SAAMI specs should only be used with the standard commercial cartridge pressure (Specified by SAAMI).[21][22]

Semiautomatic action[edit]

The first major manufacturer to offer a 6.8 mm Remington SPC chambered version of the AR-15 was Barrett Firearms Company, offering the Barrett M468 and later the REC7. By 2007, most major manufacturers of AR-15 type rifles for the civilian gun market were offering rifles in this caliber. Dedicated AR upper receiver assemblies chambered for the round are produced by a number of smaller firms. Ruger Firearms produces a 6.8 mm for their Ruger SR-556 piston-driven AR-15 variant.[23] The Stag Arms Hunter and Tactical models utilize the newer chamber(SPC II) and specified twist rates to accommodate higher pressure loadings. Microtech Small Arms Research offers their version of the Steyr AUG in 6.8. Robinson Armament Co. offers the XCR-L in 6.8, which can be easily converted between 6.8, 5.56, and 7.62x39. Bushmaster has promised its ACR customers a 6.8 barrel conversion ability since the launch of the ACR (4 years ago as of April 2014), it also announced a 6.8 ACR offering alongside its .223/5.56 initial offering in April 2010, but has yet to deliver a 6.8 Remington SPC ACR to the market. Given the track record of regularly promised, yet undelivered 6.8 offerings for the ACR, a significant number of ACR industry experts, firearms enthusiasts and owners believe Bushmaster will never release 6.8 products for the ACR (nor any other caliber beyond .223/5.56). Ruger Firearms chambered their Mini-14 Ranch Rifle in this round for several years; however, it has been discontinued.

Manual action[edit]

Remington also makes a bolt-action rifle chambered for 6.8 SPC, a 610-millimetre (24 in) barrel Model 700. Ruger offers their M77 Hawkeye Compact rifle with a 420-millimetre (16.5 in) barrel weighing in at 2.7 kilograms (6.0 lb).[24] Browning offers their A-Bolt rifle in 6.8 SPC, and Thompson/Center offers barrels chambered for 6.8 SPC for the G2 Contender and Encore.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Silver State Armory specializes in 6.8 SPC Ammunition, 115gr OTM, and custom brass cases - 6.8 Ammunition, 6.8 SPC Ammunition, SSarmory.com, SilverStateArmory.com". Ssarmory.com. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  2. ^ "Hornady Manufacturing Company :: Ammunition :: Rifle :: Choose by Caliber :: 6.8mm SPC :: 6.8mm SPC 120 GR SST®". Hornady.com. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  3. ^ "6.8 SPC 110 grain Sierra Pro Hunter Ammunition, 20 rounds/box., SilverStateArmory.com". Ssarmory.com. Retrieved 2012-05-26. 
  4. ^ Not a private endeavor or fully sanctioned government project[dead link]
  5. ^ "30 Rem". Chuckhawks.com. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  6. ^ a b John Pike. "5.56-mm Cartridges". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  7. ^ "6.8 mm SPC Cartridge History & Development. Hornady's Ammunition. The Stag Carbine". Demigodllc.com. 2006-07-31. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  8. ^ Paul, Gary (2011-01-04). "The 6.8mm Remington SPC". Rifleshootermag.com. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  9. ^ "6.8 mm SPC Cartridge History & Development. Hornady's Ammunition. The Stag Carbine". Demigodllc.com. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  10. ^ https://www.lwrci.com/articles/SGNLWRCsix8.pdf
  11. ^ "DTIC.mil". Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  12. ^ http://shopwilsoncombat.com/68-SPC/products/409/
  13. ^ http://www.hornadyle.com/products/more_detail0a5d.html?id=72&sID=151&pID=1
  14. ^ "110 gr. Hornady BTHP, 2700 FPS - 16" Barrel-Wilson Combat". Shopwilsoncombat.com. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  15. ^ "6.8mm SPC article". Demigodllc.com. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  16. ^ LWRCI UCIW SIX8 Review - Shotgunnews.com, 9 November 2012
  17. ^ Another 7.62mm Bullet For M-16s - Strategypage.com, 8 January 2012
  18. ^ The 6.5×40 Cartridge: Longer Reach for the M4 & M16 - SAdefensejournal.com, 26 March 2014
  19. ^ Dan Lamothe. "Corps to pass on Army upgrades to M4". Army Times Publishing Company. Retrieved 11 September 2010. 
  20. ^ "LWRC rifles to be license-produced in Jordan". Thefirearmblog.com. 2010-05-13. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  21. ^ "6.8 Performance Testing Report 2008". 68forums.com. 2009-07-27. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  22. ^ "2008, 6.8SPC PERFORMANCE TEST- follow up report now posted". 68forums.com. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  23. ^ "Information on the 6.8 SPC Mini". Ruger-firearms.com. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  24. ^ "Information on the 6.8 Ruger Hawkeye Compact". Ruger.com. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 

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