6.8 SPC Ammunition
History of Remington 6.8mm Special Purpose Cartridge Ammunition
The Remington 6.8mm Special Purpose Cartridge (SPC) is a cartridge designed to improve on the terminal performance of the 5.56mm NATO cartridge currently in use by the US military. Specifically, this cartridge was designed to provide increased terminal performance from Short Barreled Rifles (SBR) and carbines. The 6.8 SPC was developed with the collaboration of Special Ops troops, the Army Marksmanship Unit and Remington. It began development in 2002 and was in field trials in 2004. Although not wholly adopted by the military, the field trials did show that there was interest in the return to a larger caliber rifle for use other than sniping.
The 6.8mm SPC is based on a .30 Remington, rimless bottleneck case that has been sized to accept a 0.277 inch bullet. The bullets are most commonly found in the 85-140 grain weight range with the 115 grain bullet being the most common. Also, the military trials showed that the 115 grain bullet offered the best combination of lethality and range. With over 1000 pounds of energy at 300 yards and one MOA accuracy at ranges in excess of 600 yards the 6.8 SPC easily outperforms the 5.56 NATO and the 7.62x39.
Some other advantages of the cartridge are: it will fit into a magazine that works in a rifle with AR-15 magazine well dimensions; it operates at a lower pressure than the 5.56 NATO and has a comparable trajectory to the flat shooting .308 NATO. The cartridge can be fired in an AR-style rifle with only a change in bolt, barrel and magazine. In an M4 style rifle, the 6.8mm SPC delivers 44% more energy than the 5.56mm NATO round at ranges up to 300 yards. Interestingly enough, barrel length has only mild impact on velocity and almost no discernible difference in accuracy. Barrels of 16 inches have almost the same velocity as 22 inch barrels when shooting the 6.8mm SPC.
Although not likely to be replacing the 5.56 NATO in the immediate future for military use, the 6.8 SPC is making inroads to the civilian market. It is particularly popular among deer and feral hog hunters as the 6.8 SPC is effective out to 300 yards, even when used in an AR style rifle with a 16 inch barrel.
Law Enforcement agencies have been looking closely at the Remington 6.8mm SPC as a replacement for duty rifles, many of which are chambered in 5.56 NATO or .223 Remington. Most notably, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration has been allowing its agents to purchase AR-15 styled rifles chambered for the 6.8mm SPC.
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