Long Range AR Caliber Options

BY Herschel Smith
9 months, 1 week ago


The Valkyrie takes standard .224-inch diameter bullets just like the .223 Remington but handles higher weights. Common loads among those released so far range between 60 and 90-grains, and 90 is the most common so far. Like the 6.5m Creedmoor, the bullets are by definition long for their weight, so the .224 Valkyrie also carries velocity downrange much more efficiently than .223 Remington alternatives. Let’s consider some examples.

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A similar phenomenon happens with the .224 Valkyrie. When comparing to the common “long range” version of a .223 Remington cartridge, the 77-grain bullets, it carries velocity down range more efficiently. A Federal Premium .223 Remington loaded with a 77-grain Sierra MatchKing leaves the muzzle at 2,720 feet per second. At 500 yards, it’s still zipping along at 1,674 feet per second. At 1,000 yards, it’s gone subsonic to 1,056 feet per second. The Federal Premium 90-grain .224 Valkyrie has a muzzle velocity of 2,700 fps. At 500 yards, it’s still cooking at 1,994 fps and carries 1,422 fps at 1,000 yards. Depending on your altitude and other conditions, it can remain supersonic past 1,300 yards.

The ability to “lose less speed over distance” is what makes the 6.5mm Creedmoor and .224 Valkyrie perform well at long range.

Tom McHale likes both the 6.5 Creedmoor and the .224 Valkyrie.

I’ll also comment that after making some rather cryptic remarks about the 6.5 Grendel several weeks ago, I’ve both looked out for good, well-reviewed 6.5 Grendel guns, as well as the availability of 6.5 Grendel ammunition.

There aren’t a lot of guns out there, and the ones that manufacturers do make are quite pricey if the barrel is any good.  There are .224 Valkyrie guns everywhere, some for quite good prices.  I’ve also see a fairly good bit of .224 Valkyrie ammunition in stores and online, but absolutely no 6.5 Grendel in local stores.  Not a single box in any gun store, Cabela’s, or anywhere else.

The .224 Valkyrie sends a 90-gr bullet down range as fast as the 6.5 Grendel 90-gr round, and it seems to hold its velocity better at distance.  If so, then the 6.5 Grendel probably won’t ever be anything more than a “wildcat” round and the Valkyrie will become more popular.


  1. On June 17, 2018 at 11:38 pm, Pat Hines said:

    The .224 Valkyrie will certainly have more brass being made on the ancient case head diameter of the .30 Remington since it uses the 6.8 SPC case as a starting point.

    Because I don’t buy ammo in local stores, what is or isn’t on their shelves is of little interest. My last purchase of 6.5 Grendel, steel cased, 120 grain was done for just over $5.00 per 20 round box. At that price point, buying case lots is a good idea

    The best barrel length for the 6.5 Grendel is something like 24 inches, if maximum velocity is necessary. Optimum bullet weight is 123 grains. Naturally, I’ve already invested in the 6.5G, doing so over 8 years ago, so won’t be looking to dump it all for a new round.

    If you’ve not invested in a high performance AR-15 yet, then the Valkyrie might be an answer.

    I do find the 6.5 Creedmoor interesting, though it requires a large frame AR. I am considering something semi-auto in it.

  2. On June 18, 2018 at 3:18 am, DAN III said:


    For me it is primarily a question of logistics.

    5.56mm/.223 can be had, for now, almost anywhere in the fUSA. While 6.5 Whatever or .224 Valkyrie cannot. While one may bemoan the lack of hi-speed, out-of-the-mainstream, non-military standard rounds at your “gun friendly” ChinaMart, do NOT forget the lack of/availability of/excessive price of ammunition with the subjugation of Freedom during the 8 year reign of Barry of Indonesia. Shooters could not even find common .22 Long Rifle for years ! Nor 5.56mm, 7.62mm, 9mm or .45ACP. What do you think will become of out-of-the mainstream calibers when the SHTF ?

    While the industry likes to quote .224 Valkyrie velocities as exceptional, those high end figures are measured from 24″-26″ barrels. Read the fine print. Further, the industry wants to expound on those same velocities at long-range distances of 500m, 600m, 700m and beyond. How many folks can even find 100m ranges in which to zero one’s weapon ? Let alone shooting distances of 300m and beyond ? Try using the long-range assets of .224 Valkyrie or 6.5 Whatever in vegetation heavy Penns’ Woods or South Carolina.

    Average combat engagement range is inside of 200 meters. Whitetail deer shots are seldom beyond 50m. Maximum Point Blank Range for 77 grain, 5.56mm, Mark 262 Mod 1 and clones, from a 16″ barrel is approximately 250 meters. Proper fragmentation of the Nosler 77 grain, OTM bullet will occur out to 220 meters. Well within MPBR of the 77 grain, 5.56mm round fired from a 16″ barreled AR-malite.

    While velocity characteristics of Valkyrie and Whatever at long-range distances are quite inviting and intriguing, just how practical are these laboratory created velocities ? Further, if one’s vision can accommodate these long range capabilities with a $99 Sightmark optic, you are blessed. Otherwise, be prepared to dole out thousands of dollars for a Leupold or Nightforce optic that will allow one to SEE the target at the long ranges these two calibers are intended for.

    The bottom line remains….buy what you want. Not what you need. If procuring the latest and greatest makes your heart skip a beat, so be it. Practicality is irrelevant. But, for me the 5.56mm AR-malite does all I need it to do. And then some.

    Whatever weapon platform/caliber you choose, practice with it often and enjoy it. Enjoy what you want. However, the time may come when you just may NEED to be practical and be able to reach into your vehicle for that 7.62mm Kalashnikov or 5.56mm AR-malite.

  3. On June 18, 2018 at 3:43 am, Nosmo said:

    RE: Alcon’s comment (above), while Valkyrie’s long distance ballistics are impressive, as are the current crop of 6.5s, one needs to consider the ‘SHTF Factor” regarding ammunition selection: Can you walk into Billy Bob’s Country Store 20 miles from East Nowhere and find a dust-covered box of it on the shelf?

    No matter how much of Today’s Magic Caliber you stockpile in the basement, you’ll – first – have to carry your stash with you if it’s not commonly available, and second, have infrastructure for replenishment when you eventually run out.

    And, as Alcon points out, while it’s much many kool to be able to hit dimes and quarters at 800+ meters, the majority of “interesting events” will be conducted <250 yards on targets where making 100% hits on 8.5X11.0 inch copy paper – with almost any caliber – will be an important factor. Farther out than that, well, that's one reason why 7.62X51 was invented (yeah, I know, it's the bastard child of 7.62X63, but it'll work in short actions and X63 won't), and one has to question the wisdom of using gunfire as self-announcement to parties beyond naked-eye distance.

    As fascinating as 6.5 Creedmoor's/Grendel's ballistics are, and those of .224 Valkyrie, for now I'll stick with plain old 5.56X45 and 7.62X51 for daily use and leave the hobby calibers for another day. The common calibers, should conditions deteriorate sufficiently, will be delivered to my neighborhood for free, often in handy, ready-to-use packaging; the same cannot be said for what are still boutique calibers. Maybe someday, but not yet.

  4. On June 18, 2018 at 7:22 am, Jack said:

    [NB: Other than a happy user, I’m not affiliated with any of these sites]

    There are at least three very good ammo search engines that show plenty of inventory for 6.5 Grendel, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .224 Valkryie


    wikiarms also searches your local wally world inventory although that retailer doesn’t appear to carry anything out of the mass market (common pistol/rifle/shotgun)

  5. On June 18, 2018 at 10:42 am, Jack Moore said:

    Interesting. For me the deal breaker is that any .223 is not legal for big game in CO. I like Grendel and since I reload, I’m less concerned about Grendel availability and pricing. If you want to muddy the waters with another wildcat, look at https://www.maddogweapons.com/ They have a (still somewhat vaporware) 6.5 Timberwolf that is supposed to get almost 6.5 creedmore performance out of an AR-15. (No, I’m not affiliated with them, I haven’t een bought any of their stuff)

  6. On June 18, 2018 at 11:04 am, Bram said:

    I joined the Marines in ’89. They had me shooting my M16A2 at 500 yards – even though every said we’d never engage past 300 yards.

    Then a year and a half later, I was in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait – where the average engagement was as far as you can see and shoot. My battalion had fights that never got inside a kilometer.

    If one of these hot calibers becomes plentiful, that will be my next semi-auto.

  7. On June 18, 2018 at 11:14 am, Bram said:

    I was in Kansas for business last week. I looked at those low rolling hills separated by wide-open spaces and thought “long-range engagements”, not carbine country.

  8. On June 18, 2018 at 12:32 pm, Gryphon said:

    I definitely agree with what DanIII wrote, an AR Carbine is Optimized for Close/ Mid-Range Shooting, and putting a Wildcat Cartridge and 24″ or longer Barrel to go to 800 Meters+ may be Useful for Paper or Varmints, but I still believe that at Ranges beyond 300 Meters, one should reach for a Full-Sized, .30 Caliber (or Larger) Rifle and appropriate Scope.

    Even if the 6.5 or .224 makes Inroads into the Market, they still are not going to be ‘Scroungable’ in the event of ‘Troubles’, so one still needs to be fully Invested in 5.56 and 7.62 (and maybe .50 for ‘anti-materiel’ jobs)

    Hey Bram, Didn’t you guys have ANY M-14’s over there?

  9. On June 18, 2018 at 1:50 pm, Pat Hines said:

    @Dan III,

    You’re certainly correct on the de facto standard for AR-15 is the 5.56NATO, all should have at least one AR in that caliber, probably more than one.

    All other calibers should be secondary at best, with the idea that investing in other calibers may interfere with adequate supplies for your main AR-15(s). However, if you’ve got the basics covered, other interesting calibers might be fun.

    Stimulated by the Captain’s essay, I did some research on the .224 Valkyrie and found some pretty outlandish claims, not uncommon for some enthusiast writers. I think that over time, that will settle down, I hope so.

  10. On June 18, 2018 at 1:59 pm, TheAlaskan said:

    6.5 Creedmoor is becoming very popular up here. Ammo seems to be available everywhere. It is a premiere, long range, hunting cartridge. Hunters are taking 1500# Alaskan bull moose regularly with the 6.5. As Pat above wishes, the AR10 platform allows follow up shots at ranges where two are flying before the first one marks. I believe the 6.5 Creed will become as utilized in the hunting world as the .300 WM and the 30.06. Eventually, the .06 and the .300 WM will become safe guns. Oh boy…I’m in trouble now.

    It is that good.

  11. On June 18, 2018 at 2:27 pm, Gryphon said:

    “Eventually, the .06 and the .300 WM will become safe guns.”.. Looks like they already are, and Surplus Mil-Spec ’06 is Scarce. Don’t See anyone shooting their Garands or ’03 Springfields much around here, and guys with M-1919 Brownings mostly Re-Barrel for 7.62 NATO…

    Moose with 6.5 ? Now I am Impressed.

  12. On June 18, 2018 at 2:38 pm, Pat Hines said:

    A ballistic comparison, both from Hornady’s web site. Top is .224 Valkyrie 88 grain ELD, out of a 24 inch barrel.


    Next is 6.5 Grendel 123 grain ELD, 24 inch barrel. The biggest difference is the much higher energy of the 6.5G, the drop at 500 yards is an additional 5 inches. Wind drift should be significantly less.

    You pays yer nickel and takes yer pick.

  13. On June 18, 2018 at 2:49 pm, Pat Hines said:


    Boy, you’re into the hornet’s nest now.

    Mark LaRue, of LaRue Tactical, took a good sized elk some time ago with a well placed 6.5 Grendel shot. It may have been a bolt gun, don’t remember.

    I think the accolades accruing to the 6.5 Creedmoor are warranted. Yes, the ballistics can be duplicated in the venerable 6.5×55 Swede, but not with factory ammo because most of it is loaded for surplus Swedish mousers, which are Mauser 1896 models. They can’t take the pressure like a modern bolt action can. They can’t take the pressure of a large frame AR either.

    I do have a bolt action in 6.5 Creedmoor, a Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle, with a 18.7 inch barrel. I have some factory ammo for it, there is NO low cost ammo available. I don’t expect there will be unless the US military adopts the caliber for their designated marksman round. That’s unlikely, in my Opinion. Loading your own makes sense.

  14. On June 18, 2018 at 9:05 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    @ The Alaskan

    ” believe the 6.5 Creed will become as utilized in the hunting world as the .300 WM and the 30.06. Eventually, the .06 and the .300 WM will become safe guns. Oh boy…I’m in trouble now. It is that good.”

    The Scandinavians – in particular the Swedes – have been hunting big/dangerous game for a very long time with rifles chambered in 6.5×55, the so-called “Swedish Mauser” round. Over there, they’re probably having a good laugh at our expense, saying in Swedish something like “What took you guys so long?”

    As others have already pointed out, most of the factory ammunition on the market, at least here in the U.S., is loaded to modest pressures which are safe for vintage Swedish Mauser actions, which may be a century or more old. However, if you are willing to reload your own ammunition, and own one of the modern bolt-actions chambered in 6.5×55, you can definitely get 6.5 Creedmoor-like numbers out of the older cartridge, provided your rifle is set-up properly and has the correct twist rate.

    The 6.5 Swedish is a long-action cartridge, whereas the 6.5 CM is a short-action cartridge, so take that into account as well.

    I wouldn’t write off the .300 Win-Mag or 30-06 just yet, or for that matter, the .308. They’ve survived challenges from other technological new kids on the block and they’re still here, just as before.

    @ Gryphon

    ““Eventually, the .06 and the .300 WM will become safe guns.”.. Looks like they already are, and Surplus Mil-Spec ’06 is Scarce. Don’t See anyone shooting their Garands or ’03 Springfields much around here…”

    Not around these parts. There’s always an honored place on the firing line for one of those wonderful old wood-and-steel rifles like the Springfield M1903 and the M-1 Garand. The shooting club to which I belong gives members 5-6 guest passes each year. I usually use mine to bring young people or people new to the shooting sports, whenever possible.

    Without exception, the young people and newbies gravitate to these old war horses like moths to a flame. Their faces light up in a smile, and they smile even more when they get to get behind one of them on the firing line. Good buddy of mine tells me that when I kick the bucket, he wants to be first in line for my 1930s-vintage M1903.

    I’m not usually what you’d call a sentimentalist, but there’s something special about those old rifles. There’s a special connection there to our nation’s past.

    @ Bram

    “I joined the Marines in ’89. They had me shooting my M16A2 at 500 yards – even though every (one) said we’d never engage past 300 yards.”

    Staying frosty with irons. Got to love the Marines!

    “Then a year and a half later, I was in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait – where the average engagement was as far as you can see and shoot. My battalion had fights that never got inside a kilometer.”

    The brass always seem to prepare for the last war, don’t they?

    Guess it is a good thing that the DOD had some M-14s in mothballs back home, huh?

    Thanks to the story Herschel ran a while back, I saw that the Marine Corps is finally updating their precision weapons program along the same lines used by the Army, a good idea IMHO, i.e., .308 (light) > 300 Win-Mag, 338 Lapua Mag (medium) > .50 BMG (heavy).

  15. On June 18, 2018 at 9:10 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Thanks for all the comments. I should add that from time to time these posts are bait to see what will come from commenters. In other words, I think it’s interesting to see what people thing and how they intend to use their weapons.

    For example, I never intend to hunt with any of these calibers, not even the 6.5 Creedmoor. I have a Win .270 for that, and the BC for that round is as high as the 7mm Magnum and the round virtually as powerful. The BC is actually comparable to the 300 Win Mag (even though it weighs less).

    I also entirely agree with the notion that every man should have at least one 5.56mm gun, and if you have one then you must doubt the second law of thermodynamics. It would be wise to have more than one.
    The benefit of the .224 Valkyrie or the 6.5 Grendel is that it extends the distance to which I can reach out and touch bad actors. Not of the four-legged kind.

    My Win .270 Tikka bolt action will kill any four-legged critter in North America.

  16. On June 19, 2018 at 12:39 am, Georgiaboy61 said:

    @ Herschel

    Re: “For example, I never intend to hunt with any of these calibers, not even the 6.5 Creedmoor. I have a Win .270 for that, and the BC for that round is as high as the 7mm Magnum and the round virtually as powerful. The BC is actually comparable to the 300 Win Mag (even though it weighs less).”

    It’s always been something of a mystery to me why precision-shooters over the last half-century didn’t gravitate more to the .270 cartridge. The supply of commercially-available ammunition for rifles chambered in the caliber is almost all designed for hunting.

    No one of whom I am aware makes precision, match-grade target loads for it, and virtually no one is making match-grade BTHP or other bullets for rifles in .270 (Sierra is the only company making a competition bullet for it, and then only for reloaders. There is no Gold Medal Match or similar factory product for the chambering).

    Given the age of the cartridge, and the fact that the ship has sailed, so to speak, for newer and more technologically-advanced calibers, the .270 remains in the backwater of competitive rifle cartridges – but that doesn’t change the fact that it can deliver the goods in terms of flat-shooting, high-BC performance at almost all practical ranges, whether for hunting or precision use.

    Of course, this is idle speculation and conjecture now, since the .270 is about as popular for target shooting as its parent cartridge, the 30-06 – which is to say pretty much non-existent except in vintage rifle matches.

  17. On June 19, 2018 at 2:47 am, Joseph said:

    Honestly, both my local hardware store and the nearest Cabella’s to me have Grendel in stock. So locally, it’s not an issue for ammo supply, even barring the option to just order ammo online for dirt cheap prices.

    The main thing Grendel has going over other popular long-range AR rounds is case shape, and pressure. That being, it has a case well suited for reliable extraction, and the relatively low pressure of 45,000PSI, (and wider diameter vs .224 Val) means you will have significantly better barrel life. If you’re using a stainless steel target barrel, this can be a huge factor long-term.

    On the opposite end of things, steel-cased Grendel is just cheaper to buy online than anything available for 6.5 creed or .224 val, so if you’ve got a cheap practice upper in grendel, you’re going to be able to afford more ammo, and that upper will last longer to practice with that increased amount of ammo. Plus, unlike the creed, the grendel works in -15 lowers, which are more common and cheaper as well.

    I suppose only time will tell. If nothing else, 6.5 Grendel has at least some military backing going for it, unlike .224 valkyrie, since the Serbian army adopted 6.5 Grendel for use in DMRs.

  18. On June 19, 2018 at 6:24 am, DAN III said:

    This thread has been one of the more interesting topics courtesy of the commenters. Pretty interesting remarks.

  19. On June 19, 2018 at 12:33 pm, Bram said:

    Gryphon – Funny you should ask. I was in the Regimental Air Team and a last minute transfer into a Battalion getting deployed. The H&S Company CO was happy to see us and said “give the whatever they need”.

    So, when I got to the Armorer he tried to give me a pistol. I pushed it back through the slot and told him I needed an M14. He said okay and went to fetch one. No – luck, they were all gone. I ended up with an M16A2. Found out later a couple of old Vietnam Vet Gunnery Sergeants had drawn them.

  20. On June 19, 2018 at 2:20 pm, Pat Hines said:

    Jack O’Conner made Winchester’s 1923 introduction of their proprietary cartridge what it became. As far as O’Conner was concerned all cartridge development after the .270 Winchester were totally unnecessary.

    It is a good hunting round, but it is a “bastard” (no insult intended) 7mm round. The distance from .277 to .284 is not large, the 280 Remington was to compete with the 270 Winchester, which it really never did. There are still standard production rifles chambered in 280 Rem, but not many.

    The main reason none of those long cartridges make good match rounds is their gentle shoulder angle and too much taper in the body of the case. That’s why the .308 Winchester can be made more accurate than the .30-06. It’s science.

    A lot of thought went into the 6.5 Creedmoor. Less taper in the case walls, much sharper shoulder angle, and a somewhat long case neck all within short action receiver dimensions. Originally designed as a target/match round, but easily loaded with bullets for hunting purposes. Pretty cool, really. Check out the image of the case and bullets with the caliper on the Wikl page below.


  21. On June 19, 2018 at 2:22 pm, Gryphon said:

    Bram – although I was never in the Military, my Shooting Experiences covered a Lot of stuff, (including Tax-Stamped) and I always thought that disposing of the M-14 was done in Haste; one of My Uncles was in the Army in Korea (after the Chinese came in) and He was the BAR Man in the Squad, all using 30.06 in M-1 Garands and the Snipers had ’03 Springfields.

    I have read that the M-14 was designed to replace the M-1 and BAR, with 2 or 3 Men in a Squad having the Full Auto Versions. While I can only Afford an M-1A, a Friend who has a (Taxed) M-14, and as long as You’ve got a Bipod and something to Rest it on, it’s the Next Best Thing to a Belt-Fed.

  22. On June 19, 2018 at 3:41 pm, Bram said:

    The M-14 was still held in high regard during my time in the Corps. The Navy did not replace them out so many ships still had (maybe still have) M14s in their arms lockers. They would let the Marines draw them and find stuff to shoot at in the water.

    Before the M16, the Marine Know Distance course with the Springfield/Garand/M14 included 10 shots at 600 yards. With the M16 they pulled it in to 500.

  23. On June 19, 2018 at 10:48 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    @ Gryphon

    Re: “I have read that the M-14 was designed to replace the M-1 and BAR, with 2 or 3 Men in a Squad having the Full Auto Versions. While I can only Afford an M-1A, a Friend who has a (Taxed) M-14, and as long as You’ve got a Bipod and something to Rest it on, it’s the Next Best Thing to a Belt-Fed.”

    The design specifications for the M-14 were, at least in engineering and technical terms, crazy. Any FA designer or engineer worth his slide rule would tell you that asking for one rifle to do the work of 5-6 previous distinct designs is nuts.

    It is one thing to ask the M-14 to replace the M-1 Garand, but it is quite another to ask it also to replace and fill the roles formerly held by the M-1 Carbine, Thompson and M3 Grease Gun SMGs, and the BAR.

    I am one of those who believes that the M-14 is an excellent design, a sterling example of a mid-20th century battle rifle. However, as conceived, it is not well-designed to replace the BAR, since it lacks a quick-change barrel.

    Absent the ability to quickly change out burned-out, overheated barrels, it isn’t realistic to expect that weapon to be successful at sustained fire-support or fire-suppression roles. The M-14 select-fire versions ended up being what the BAR was – a true automatic rifle, i.e., a rifle capable of fully-automatic fire but not designed to be used as a true light machine-gun.

    The Thompson and the Grease Gun both fired the .45 Auto (ACP) pistol cartridge, typically 230-grains – whereas the M-14 fires a full-power rifle round, which by definition, isn’t suitable for use in a submachine gun.

    The M-1 Carbine fires a 110-grain FMJ .30-Carbine round, akin to a hot-rodded .357 Magnum pistol round. Some firearms authorities consider it a true intermediate cartridge, whereas others do not – but one thing is abundantly clear – there is no equivalence between the .30 Carbine cartridge and the 7.62x51mm NATO (.308). The former is easy to control when utilized in select-fire operation; the latter difficult to control in full-auto for most men.

    Given the muddled thinking during the design specifications phase, it is remarkable that the M-14 turned out as well as it did. Design by committee is rarely a good idea.

    If an intermediate cartridge had been selected for the M-14, perhaps its suitability for a greater range of roles would have been possible, but that road wasn’t taken – as the designers opted for incremental evolutionary improvement of the M-1 instead.

  24. On June 19, 2018 at 11:05 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    @ Pat

    Re:”The main reason none of those long cartridges make good match rounds is their gentle shoulder angle and too much taper in the body of the case. That’s why the .308 Winchester can be made more accurate than the .30-06. It’s science.”

    The same qualities which make the 30-06 and .3008 arguably less-capable as precision competition cartridges, make them highly-suitable as standard military cartridges, do they not?

    Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t it desirable for automatic weapons to utilize cartridges with a more-softly tapered shoulder as opposed to a steeper one? Since the former are more-easily extracted and ejected?

    We already know that the 12mm shorter .308 (7.62×51 NATO) case proved to be more-reliable in crew-served automatic weapons than its longer parent, the 30-06. Longer dwell times, more-advantageous timing and so forth.

    Re: “A lot of thought went into the 6.5 Creedmoor. Less taper in the case walls, much sharper shoulder angle, and a somewhat long case neck all within short action receiver dimensions. Originally designed as a target/match round, but easily loaded with bullets for hunting purposes.”

    It’s a great cartridge, there’s no denying it. I can definitely see it being used more-frequently within the precision-rifle community, whether civilian side or military. Great for hunters, too, since the 6.5mm slugs have excellent SD values and retained energy down-range. I wouldn’t hesitate to take my Savage 6.5 CM bolt-gun hunting with me, if the opportunity arose.

    For the reasons mentioned above, however, plus the fact that the 6.5 CM has a reputation for being tough on barrels, I’ll be curious to see if there’s a move to adopt it for use in crew-served and individual automatic weapons.

    Some of the qualities that make the .308 less-useful for precision LR rifle work actually make it useful for use in machine-guns, for example, in comparison to the 6.5 Creedmoor.

    The relatively parabolic arc of the .308, especially as it decelerates towards the transonic zone, makes the round highly-useful for indirect fire missions where infantry have to advance under MG fire toward an objective, whereas a flat-shooting round like 6.5 CM would be less-useful in such a role. Similarly, the high arcing path of .308 MG fire also makes it useful for bringing enemy troops under fire, who are defiladed behind a ridge on a reverse slope. Again, the 6.5 CM – because of its relatively flat trajectory – is not as useful in this role.

  25. On June 20, 2018 at 11:26 am, revjen45 said:

    This clown purporting to speak for the “firearms community” is analogous to me (blue-eyed blond) donning blackface to speak for African-Americans everywhere.

  26. On June 20, 2018 at 3:07 pm, Pat Hines said:

    @ Georgiaboy61

    I think the case taper issue, which was made against the 7.62×51 back in the day, was finally worked out to be a chamber, bolt, and extraction issue, not case shape (within reason, of course). There’s not going to be any belted cases as auto weapon rounds. Testing will prove this it seems to me.

    Tough on barrels may be from the fact that serious shooters replace barrels almost like serious runners replace their shoes, after several thousand rounds or less, no matter the caliber. Also, the 264 Winchester Magnum did have a problem of barrel wear until Winchester put stainless steel barrels on the Model 70s chambered for that round. By the time that Winchester did that, the damage was done. Truly, the 7mm Remington Magnum had/has barrel wear problems if you shoot it through a plain steel barrel. Chrome lined or stainless steel is the way to go, though serious competition shooters won’t use a chrome lined barrel, not accurate enough.

    In my 30 years in the military (I’m retired now) I’d not heard of indirect rifle fire, but then again, I wasn’t in the infantry either. I think I’d prefer a 40mm rifle grenade or a mortar tube for that.

    @M-14 enthusiasts

    I suggest you obtain something with the history of the FAL versus M-14. The FAL beat the M-14 utterly and completely in all performance tests, but one LTC nixed the FAL, choosing the M-14. It was a huge mistake. Look up the 280 British round, too. Very interesting history of corrupt military procurement. I do own an M-14S, military components on a Chinese receiver. Nice shooter, but I like the FAL better.

  27. On June 20, 2018 at 3:39 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    @ Pat

    I’m well-familiar with the shenanigans that surrounded the adoption of the 7.62×51 NATO service round, as well as the drama surrounding the adoption of the M-14 in preference to its competitors such as the AR10 and FAL.

    Where muscle cars are concerned, I’m one of those heretics who likes both Ford and Chevy, and then compounds that no-no by liking the odd Chrysler, too. I’m no different where FAs are concerned. I can appreciate the different virtues of the FAL, AR10, G3/CETME, and M-14 all more-or-less simultaneously.

    The FAL has proven itself around the world, and its record speaks for itself. However, it is not perfect. As the Israelis discovered, it doesn’t always live up to its legendary reputation for reliability when operated in desert conditions. The iron sights and trigger are clearly-inferior to those of the M-14, despite the FAL being the more-recent design. The M-14 is probably slightly more-accurate, and since the FAL is difficult to scope properly because of its clam-shell receiver design, the M-14 probably gets the edge as a precision rifle as well.

    If our armed forces had adopted the FAL, I have no doubt that it would have performed just as well as it did in the hands of those nations which adopted it. The .280 intermediate round is one of those great “what-ifs” in firearms design history. We can only speculate what would have developed from that – but that’s the key word, “speculate,” since that road wasn’t chosen.

    The design that really got the shaft around the time the M-14 was adopted was, IMHO, the AR10. Armalite didn’t quite yet have the design completely sorted out at the time of trials for the new service rifle in 1957.

    Over the objections of chief engineer Eugene Stoner, Armalite’s CEO at the time, George Sullivan, ordered that the prototype rifles being sent to the Springfield Armory for testing be equipped with a then-experimental lightweight aluminum/steel composite barrel. One of these barrels failed catastrophically during torture testing, and the AR10 never recovered from that unfortunate event and was eventually dropped from consideration in favor of the two finalists, the FAL and M-14.

    However, the story does not end there – for if you look closely at what the AR10 eventually became in the hands of the Dutch firm Artillerie Inrichtingen – which licensed the design from Armalite from 1957-1962 – you will see a highly-advanced design which was literally decades ahead of its competitors.

    Portuguese AR10s were used by the elite paratroop units of that nation in the Angolan civil war and numerous other firefights on that continent during the 1960s and early 1970s, where the Dutch-manufactured Artillerie Inrichtingen AR10s were highly-prized even in comparison with G3s and FALs.

    They were light, tough, accurate, durable and extremely reliable, as well as surprisingly controllable when used in fully-automatic mode (probably due to the straight-line stock of the design).

    The Portuguese paratroopers liked their AR10s so much that when OEM spare parts became unavailable, they contracted with machine shops to produce the needed spares locally, rather than turn their rifles in.

    In short, the Dutch – with some well thought-out modifications and tweaks to Stoner’s original design – made the AR10 into what it was always supposed to be.

    Firearms News did a nice write-up on the design in an issue late last year, if you are interested in learning more.

  28. On June 20, 2018 at 4:22 pm, Pat Hines said:

    @ Georgiaboy61

    Condensing my position on the long range cartridges, I’m thinking a lot about acquiring a large frame AR and barreling it in 6.5 Creedmoor. DSA makes FALs in 260 Remington, but I’d rather have an AR in 6.5CM, for the trigger if for no other reason. You are quite correct, the FAL trigger, to be blunt, sucks big time and there’s no one that has ever, to my knowledge, made it come close to a worked over M-14 trigger. Maybe someone with deep pockets will rebarrel a M-1A in 6.5CM and put it in a Chassis system.

    An AR-308/AR-10 type rifle can have a great trigger, in a relatively modern design, and the 6.5CM uses .308 magazines. My ideal would have an 18 inch stainless steel barrel.

  29. On June 20, 2018 at 8:43 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    @ Pat

    Re: ” Maybe someone with deep pockets will rebarrel a M-1A in 6.5CM and put it in a Chassis system.”

    FYI, both Fulton Armory and Springfield Armory now have M1A-type rifles chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. Firearms News just did a whole issue devoted to the M-14 and civilian-legal variants thereof. The reviewer in question was quite taken with Springfield Armory’s new M1A 6.5CM in a modern fiberglass/composite fully-adjustable stock, one of the featured rifles in the special issue.

    A lot of big name manufacturers – Rock River Arms, Windham Weaponry, Smith and Wesson and Savage, to name a few – have recently come out with AR-style precision rifles in 6.5CM, and for those with the financial wherewithal, Seekins Precision and NEMO Arms also offer up-market semi-automatics in the same chambering.

    Don’t know the specifics of having a large-framed AR rebarreled in 6.5CM, but it ought to be doable given the right gunsmith. One of the after-market barrel manufacturers might even do it for you – for a suitable fee, that is.

    Whatever path you decide upon, best of luck.

  30. On June 21, 2018 at 2:34 pm, Gryphon said:

    Georgiaboy61 – I did not say or imply that the M-14 was intended to replace All of the Small Arms in a Squad, certainly not ones like the Carbine or Subgun… IMO as a Common Platform for the Rifleman, DM, and Automatic Weapons Man, the M-14 seems to be Fine; remember, this was conceived at at Time before Jungle/Urban Combat and ‘Spray-n-Pray’ Shooting became the Norm.
    Yes, the M-14 doesn’t have a Quick-Change Barrel, No, it can’t give Sustained Fire Support like a Belt-Fed LMG, but if You Need a Belt-Fed, you need One.

    As an Individual, a Crew-Served Weapon is entirely Impractical, so I’m just Saving Pennies to Buy an M-14 when I can, as there may be Times when 25 Rounds at a pack of Zombies may be Valuable….

  31. On June 21, 2018 at 5:24 pm, Pat Hines said:

    Gentlemen, I think we’ve drifted off subject a bit.

    For me, the subject is what high performance round is good for the AR-15 frame and them what is good for a large frame AR, if you want real performance.

    That means, again in my opinion, the 6.8 SPC and the 6.5 Grendel. I don’t regard the 224 Valkyrie as viable, too much hyperbole surrounding it.

    Moving to the large frame AR, there’s the 260 Remington, 243 Winchester, the 308, and the 6.5CM. It’s my opinion that the 6.5CM is the current leader.

  32. On June 21, 2018 at 10:14 pm, Herschel Smith said:


    ” … too much hyperbole surrounding it.”

    How do you know? Be specific. If the data is metered and velocities are taken with a chronograph, it isn’t hyperbole.

    As for the “fine print” of being with a 24″ barrel (or whatever), that’s the way all of the muzzle velocities are presented with the 5.45mm. the Grendel, the Creedmoor, etc.

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You are currently reading "Long Range AR Caliber Options", entry #19478 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) AR-15s,Firearms,Guns and was published June 17th, 2018 by Herschel Smith.

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