Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by futureranger, Sep 21, 2008.
Of course my saying this comes as NO surprise to my fellow THR'ers
The 6.8 is a relatively new cartridge, and while it's been taking off fairly well, there just isn't as much out there in the way of ammunition and custom parts, even though all of the accessories you might be inclined to load onto the ever present rails of an M4gery or an AR will of course work on a gun chambered in 6.8 SPC. If you reload, it will of course alleviate some of the cost of 6.8, but if you're looking to get a gun that is going to be spending some time at the range, and you're on a budget, 6.8 SPC isn't cheap to play around with.
Not to thread jack:
We had a guy at our range a few months ago that was giving a basic class to a bunch of kids going into the Naval Academy. They shot some ARs with the .22 kits and loved it (I even donated my 20" A2 for the heck of it). But he moved onto handguns. He pulled out two Government models and began a 30min tirade about how stupid the military is for not staying with it, terminal ballistics, yada yada yada. Then the kids shot them, but were VERY BORED with this old guy's opinion (believe me, it was ALL opinion, he didnt cite ONE fact). But realistically, these kids are going to be issued what they are issued, not issued what they want based on an civilian's opinion. I thought it VERY unnecessary to give these young guys and gals a pistol into with the WRONG type and caliber of handgun (even after I offered my Beretta 92 and ammo for the kids).
Back to the show:
You can have a 5.56 lower with a 6.8 upper. Just change out the uppers (PLUS BOLTS, two completely separate uppers and bolts). The 6.8 is a pretty warmed up .223. Want some excitement and a damn good hunting round: Check out the 6.5 Grendel. Better ballistics than .308 (theoretically) at VERY long ranges due to better BC.
Yes, the lowers for 6.8SPC uppers and 5.56 uppers are the same.
6.8SPC and 6.5 Grendel, however, are kind of boutique calibers. You aren't likely to find either at your local gun store, so you are more than likely to be mailordering in bulk for your ammo purchases.
There are only a couple of guys in my area that have 6.8 uppers, and they don't shoot their rifles. Nobody here runs 6.5.
At least one of these calibers is predicted to die out. Keep that in mind. I'd love for one of these calibers to become widely accepted, but until it does through a large military or police purchase (think of the .40S&W case), I'd hold off.
Now, stuff like a .308 upper is what requires a different lower, due to the length of the cartridge.
Get either a 16" or 20" AR-15 in 5.56, flattop upper, with a 1/7 twist to shoot the heaviest/longest bullets (you will easily shoot the lighter bullets). 1/9 twist makes no sense...1/12 twist is too slow. You will likely be using 55grn FMJ for most of your plinking, but it's nice to be able to use the heavier ammo (like 75 and 77 grn rounds).
I like LMT, Charles Daly, CMMG, and S&W for ARs. I do NOT recommend buying the cheapest AR you can buy. Buy once, cry once. Most of the cheaper brands are assembled with little attention to QC, or made of cheaper materials. Some of the more well known brands have prices that you could have bought better for nearly the same cost.
www.m4carbine.net is a good reference site for all things AR. It's not huge and overwhelming, and the members are people who use ARs heavily.
I'd stick with 5.56mm for your first AR. And, I'd make a .22LR conversion kit or dedicated upper the next caliber I got for it.
Oh, and Magpul PMAGS rule over all other mags.
My recommendation would be get a decent quality AR and a basic rig for it -- a decent quality lower (Rock River, Bushmaster, etc.) married up to a quality upper, like Lewis Machine and Tool, is a pretty good entry-level approach that will get you a carbine you can plink with at the range all the way up to running it hard in classes or competition.
I have both (5.56 and 6.8 bolts and barrels for an MRP) and I do think 6.8 Rem SPC is a really good cartridge. Cost though means that the ratio of 5.56 to 6.8 I shoot is incredibly lopsided in favor of the 5.56.
16" is a better all around barrel length for a fighting gun, in my (and lots of other people's) opinion. 20" gives you a bit more performance from the bullet itself, but not as much as a lot of internet venues would lead you to believe (i.e. the guys who split hairs to infinity about fragmentation velocity).
Something else you might also want to look after getting an AR is getting some professional instruction on its use above and beyond what the military provides (which, depending on where you're going, can range from great to downright sorry). Practical skill at arms is simply something that all branches of the military, outside of the SOF community, having been playing catch up on since 9/11 and are still not quite there yet across the board.
If you're in the Virginia area, you've got some pretty good options in your area, if you can spare the funds for a class ($400 + ammo is pretty typical for a two day course from most places these days).
BTW I LOVE my Model 1 Sales .22LR upper. THAT is a money saver, and for marksmanship practice, .22LR works just as well as .223 unless you have access to a range longer than 100 yards.
Why buy RRA when you can get better for about the same cost and less wait?
Take a serious look at S&W and Charles Daly Defense ARs.
Go to CMMGs website and gaze at their rifles and options (they have just about any config you could desire, and plenty of options for each, so you can get a rifle configured the way you want for a good price).
I personally think the 6.8 spc will catch on. There are a lot of companies already chambering these in their uppers or plans of doing so. The new "tatical" rifles coming out all seem to have a 6.8 chambering in the works. On different forums that is one of the first questions asked, "will it come in the 6.8 spc?" One thing lacking is not enough people are loading ammo for it right now. Also, no large orders such as military and police.
The major hang up the that they are working through final details to get the maximum speed out of the cartridge. Primer size, new chamber dimensions, twist, number of grooves, ect. Cardinal/Kotonic seems to have the best barrels with all the latest improvements that combined with Silver State combat loads adds almost 200fps over standard loadings.
You can still find M193 under 40c.
If you can swing an extra 500 bucks a case for practice ammo, go for it.
I'd second what was said above re: looking at the Charles Daly or S&W over the Stag or RRA. You'll get a better rifle for the same, or very slightly more, money.
I think you made the right choice. I wrestled with the same thing, 6.5 grendel or 5.56x45 in an XCR - I'll be going with 5.56 first. Mags being the main reason.
I vote for 5.56.
That said, I think a 1/8 is the best compromise.
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