Hornady 6mm ARC

Maximizing AR-15 Performance

When Hornady introduced its new 6mm Advanced Rifle Cartridge (ARC), it was a total surprise to both the industry and consumers.

Quietly developed for a U.S. Department of Defense entity seeking to replace its current .308-based rifle platform, Hornady engineers went to work to “produce the most flexible cartridge possible within the limits of the AR-15 system.” The result was the 6mm ARC.

However, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a new round touted as a gamechanger for America’s favorite firearm, so we dug deeper into what makes the 6mm ARC different.

6mm ARC

Based off the 6.5mm Grendel, the new 6mm ARC retains the case head diameter of 0.441″ with the same thickness at the rim. The overall cartridge length measures 2.26″ with a 30-degree shoulder — same as the popular 6.5 Creedmoor, 6mm PRC and comparatively ancient .300 Savage.

As for performance, the 6mm ARC is a low-recoil cartridge despite a muzzle velocity of 2,700 fps when fired from a 24" barrel. And with smaller, lighter 6mm/0.243" projectiles and efficient propellants, loads have a high ballistic coefficient and deliver comparable ballistics to .308 Win. Simply put, “the 6mm ARC does much of what larger cartridges can and everything that smaller cartridges can’t.”

While designed to function in semi-autos, the 6mm ARC is also a sure shot in precision bolt-action rifles, where ballistics should improve even more. This new entry shoots flatter than the .223/5.56 out to 1,000 yards and outperforms the 6.8 SPC at extended ranges. The use of modern, heavy-for-caliber 6mm bullets also means it should be popular among competition shooters and hunters, who will have no problem taking varmints and medium-size game.

As of this writing, two 6mm ARC loads are currently available from Hornady, including a 108-gr. ELD Match load and a 105-gr. BTHP in the Hornady Black family. Later this fall, a 103-gr. ELD-X Precision Hunter round will also be added, with a projected muzzle velocity of 2,800 fps. MSRP is currently unavailable for the 20-round boxes.

Market Support

Even for major ammunition manufacturers like Hornady, new cartridges require significant market support to get out of the gate. After all, what good is ammo without a firearm to shoot it? Not the case for Hornady’s introduction of the 6mm ARC, which was nearly underscored by the number of makers producing rifles to handle the round.

Nearly two dozen manufacturers will reportedly offer rifles and accessories for the 6mm ARC, including Adams Arms, Barrett, Christensen Arms, Mossberg, PROOF Research, Seekins Precision, Wilson Combat and others. Their decision to wrap guns around this new cartridge is proof the 6mm ARC isn’t just a flash in the pan.

Hornady is also helping its own cause, offering reloading components for the new cartridge, including unprimed cases, Custom Grade Series III two-die rifle die sets, a full-length resizing die and separate seating die, plus a neck-sizing die. The shell plate and shell holder are Hornady’s No. 6 and the trimmer pilot is the No. 3.

Considering its ballistics and components, the 6mm ARC shows lots of promise in a field seemingly saturated with hot new cartridges designed for modern sporting rifles. And with reported military support, it guarantees even more attention will be paid to this new entry.

For more info:
www.hornady.com , Ph: (800) 338-3220

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