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The 6.8mm Remington SPC

by Gary Paul Johnston   |  January 4th, 2011 19

The long-rumored .270 military cartridge is fact. Here’s how it performs in the field.

Using the handloaded Hornady 110-grain V-Max bullets, the Custom CZ Model 527 produced excellent accuracy at 100 yards.

If you’re thinking, “Just what we need, another cartridge,” I probably would have said the same thing not long ago, but Remington’s new 6.8mm SPC (Special Purpose Cartridge) is a different story for several reasons. Having been fortunate to be one of the few in the loop during the development of the round during the past two years, I know more about it than some. I’ve been able to not only study the 6.8mm as a military cartridge but also test it in several M16 variants.

The 6.8x43mm SPC was conceived by a U.S. Special Operations soldier in a quest to improve the terminal ballistics of the M4 Carbine. The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit and others assisted the Spec Ops team heading the project. Although the main objective was increased lethality, the new cartridge would go far beyond that in terms of accuracy and performance.

After selecting the .30 Remington as the parent case–a decision that required only slight modification to the M16’s bolt face–the case was shortened, given a new shoulder and blown out to maximum capacity for a new high-performance propellant. After testing a variety of bullets in 5.56mm, 6mm, 6.5mm, 7mm and 7.62mm, a bullet of 6.8mm was selected. This .270-caliber, 115-grain projectile has a ballistic coefficient of .350, offering optimum lethality and range.

The parent cartridge for the 6.8mm Rem SPC is the old .30 Remington, which is essentially a rimless .30-30. Left to right: .30 Remington, 6.8mm Rem SPC, .308 Winchester, .223 Remington.

Remington began to develop the 6.8×43 back in 2002 and is officially introducing it this year as the 6.8mm Rem SPC. As this is written, the cartridge has not been released to the public, but I can tell you that it provides one MOA accuracy out to more than 600 meters. It has a flight path almost identical to that of the .308 Winchester, less chamber pressure than the .223 and fits into the M16 magazine envelope. Tests in 10 percent ballistic gelatin show incapacitation as good or better than the .308.

While testing the military versions of the 6.8mm Rem SPC, I was offered the chance to hunt with a custom bolt-action rifle converted to fire the new round. I readily agreed and received the rifle along with 50 rounds of ammo loaded with Hornady 110-grain V-Max bullets. Having begun life as a CZ Model 527 in 7.62x39mm, the only portion of the rifle retained was the action. After the barrel was replaced by a stainless, semiheavy 22-inch match barrel by Mike Rock of Rock Creek Barrels, the bolt was modified to feed and eject the 6.8mm. No modification of the magazine was necessary.

The high-quality, Mauser-type, .223-length CZ 527 action will accommodate rounds similar to the 6.8mm Rem SPC. With a nonrotating extractor, the action provides controlled feed with a detachable magazine of single-column design that doesn’t release the round until it is partially chambered. The CZ has a totally positive thumb safety with integral scope bases. Like most true Mauser actions, it is very smooth and has an excellent adjustable trigger.

The author took this Colorado buck at 75 yards with the 6.8mm Rem SPC. It was the first mule deer killed with the new cartridge.

A custom stock was ordered for the CZ from McMillan Fiberglass Stocks. It was handmade with a special camouflage pattern by the late Mike Barber of McMillan, just before his tragic death in a sky diving accident while making a movie.

Although there is very little recoil from the 6.8mm Rem SPC, the stock was fitted with a Pachmayr Decelerator Pad to provide a nonslip surface. The rifle had no optics or iron sights, so I ordered a set of Talley one-inch steel rings. These rings are of the highest quality, and the fit is perfect. In these rings I mounted a Burris 3-9x32mm Mini scope–an ideal size for my needs.

After bore-sighting the CZ, I fired it from the bench. Loads using 110-grain Hornady V-Max bullets produced a three-shot, 100-yard group of .94 inch with an average of 1.18 inches. All groups centered about 1.5 inches high and left of point of aim and averaged 2,971 fps on my Competition Electronics ProChrono LE. Because of my limited supply of ammunition and the fact that there was a 20-mph gusting wind from the right, I called it good.

In addition to mule deer, I was prepared to use the 6.8mm Rem SPC on elk if the conditions were right. (Hornady’s Wayne Holt summed it up by saying that the 110-grain V-Max should do at least as much damage as an arrow.)

  Muzzle 100 yd. 200 yd. 300 yd. Muzzle 100 yd. 200 yd. 300 yd.
115-gr. FMJ 2,800 2,523 2,202 2,017 2,002 1,622 1,250 1,039
115-gr. BTHP 2,800 2,535 2,285 2,049 2,002 1,644 1,345 1,075
115-gr. MK 2,800 2,535 2,285 2,049 2,002 1,644 1,345 1,075
*24-inch Barrel

Opening day found my wife, Nancy, and I hunting north of Ridgway, Colorado, at about 8,000 feet where my friends had seen some big bucks the day before along with a herd of about 75 elk. We saw several nice bucks the first couple of days, but they were too far away, and the elk we spotted were even farther. I knew I would probably have to use my .300 Win. Mag. for elk, but I was determined to get a mule deer with the 6.8mm.

On the third day, I was glassing a field at midday when my partner, Jaysen Evans, saw a buck running. I turned and got the deer’s east end in my scope as he headed west and disappeared into some scrub oak. I signaled Jaysen to go in wide and right while I stalked the buck. After I had gone about 25 yards, I saw it trotting away, but as mule deer often do, he stopped at about 75 yards and turned to look back at me through the scrub oak. I knelt and put my crosshairs on his ribs, but some brush was between us. I moved up until the reticle was clear, and I pressed the trigger.

As the shot cracked, the light recoil from the 6.8mm allowed me to see the buck do a backward summersault. He never got up. Jaysen and I estimated the deer at more than 200 pounds. What was left of the 110-grain .270 Hornady bullet had exited the opposite side of the rib cage, creating a large laceration. Both lungs had severe damage, and bullet and bone fragments had also damaged other organs. It was as clean a kill as I have ever made.

Burris Company Inc.
331 East 8th St.
Greeley, CO 80631
(970) 356-1670
Competition Electronics
3469 Precision Dr.
Rockford, IL 61109
(815) 874-8001
1401 Fairfax TFWY, B-119
Kansas City, KS 66115
(800) 955-4486
Hornady Mfg. Co.
P.O. Box 1848
Grand Island, NE 68803
(800) 338-3220
Remington Arms Co.
P.O. Box 700
Madison, NC 27025
(800) 243-9700
McMillan Fiberglass Stocks
1638 West Knudsen Dr.
Phoenix, AZ 85027
(623) 582-9635
Rock Creek Barrels Inc.
101 Ogden Ave.
Albany, WI 53502
(608) 574-2111
Talley Mfg. Inc.
P.O. Box 821
Glenrock, WY 82637
(307) 436-8724


In addition to any role the 6.8mm Rem SPC will have as a military cartridge, I predict it will be extremely popular as a hunting cartridge for small- to medium-size game at ranges out to 300 yards or more as it is extremely flat-shooting. Remington is now producing the 6.8mm SPC in three loadings,

all with 115-grain bullets. The MatchKing Ballistic Tip Hollowpoint will deliver 2,800 fps and 2,002 ft-lbs of energy. It will also be offered in a standard BTHP loading and in an FMJ version, both with the same muzzle velocity out of a 24-inch barrel.

Remington is expected to introduce rifles for the 6.8mm SPC soon, but at press time no specifics were available. One rumor is that a heavy-barrel tactical rifle will be introduced and possibly a Model Seven. Other makers are waiting anxiously to chamber AR-type rifles and carbines, and several ammunition companies plan to load the new round. Look for more news soon in the pages of RifleShooter.

  • oreo

    6.8 rem spc never met the velocity remingtion claimed. thank GOD they working on it. hopefully a manufacture will pick up the new 6.8 *43

    • l coffey

      i predict that this catridge in an ar platform will be in the deer woods all over this country. LC

      • johnny

        i agree wit u im fixing to get one for deer hunting,and hogs

    • john boy

      ruger makes the 6.8 m77 hawkeye with 16 1/2 inch barrel. ihave one and absoulty love it.john boy

  • smudge

    I just got off the phone with remington, they knew of "nobody with plans for a bolt action rifle in 6.8 REM SPC" . Too bad it is a fine shooter/hunter in the Ruger mini and I suspect it would make an excellent choice for my grandson in a bolt action.

    • john boy

      the 6.8 is perfect for him i have one of the first ruger hawkeye 77 with 16 and one half inch barrel.shot first deer this week using remington 115 grain bullet. deer only went 45 yards. major blood trail. shot was 85 yards

  • smudge

    remington did a special run in 2005 of a very few model 7's in 6.8 spc, but try to find one. if you do, it will be some pricey i'm sure.

  • grandpak

    Got my new ar-15 6.8spc just in time for deer season in ND. Took a nice buck at 220 yds. on the run feel like a rock. Using rem 115 gr bthp . the bullet came apart and part was just under the skin on the other side. i was going to use the nosler ballistic tip but loaded the wrong clip. either way the deer went down.

  • gene's dog

    So basically your spending great amounts of money for a 7mm-08, how stupid.
    WOW I have a 6.8 oooooooooooooooooooo
    .283 dia bullit X 51mm vs
    .277 dia bullit X 43mm
    great, good move boys, btw, you can make 7mm-08 from, .308, 30-06, 8mm-06, 260, 280, and on and on and on and on , yadda..yadda..yadda.. who cares except the people picking your pockets.

    • Bob Lee Swagger

      Also, the recoil factor of a 6.8 SPC is very light 5-8lbs which is nice compared to a 12lb for a 7mm-08- 15-18lb for a .308. That is about double the recoil. I do like having an upper receiver in 6.8 SPC for my AR-15 so I can hunt deer, hogs, medium game ethically and if I want to, put a .YHM .308 can or QD mount on it to reduce the Db noise level it is also quieter. Try lugging around an AR-10 platform in the woods to hunt compared to a AR-15 carbine and you will know which one you right off is more comfortable and still deliver on ranges… AR-10's while they look good, are battleships compared to a slimmed down comfortable AR-15 Carbine with collapsing stock. Put a 16" 6.8 SPC barrel and bolt, and you have an excellent deer / hog carbine rifle with a quick follow up shot with minimum recoil even a kid can shoot easily. Put a drop in Geissele or Timney Trigger and you have an excellent hunting rifle.

      I think that you are in love with the 7mm-08 which is a waste of money to just buying a .308 with better bullet selection in the same recoil zones. 7mm-08 is a 7mm Rem Mag short…. .308 Win is a 300 Win Mag short and 6.8 is a .270 Win short. All of which can effectively take medium game under 200yds— 99% of all game taken at this range. A .243 Win is considered a youth's rifle due to recoil at 10 lbs… 6.8 SPC has even less recoil than that… So it is an ultralight with great capability as long as the hunter does his job on bullet selection and shot placement…

      Which can do it all with minimum recoil and powder? ….. The 6.8 SPC can.

  • MiamiNice57

    Some of us have the option of buying a 5.56 and mounting a 6.8 upper (2 guns in 1) and saving over $500. I would say that's an oooooooooooooooooooooo factor. Especially if that is all one want;s or needs. My case entirely. As far as I know the 6.8 is .270 cal. Next good reason is that inexpensive ammo is available for the 5.56, if the military finnaly accepts the 6.8 platform there will be a third type of inexpensive ammo. I like the idea of a 6.8 vs the 7.62. There are good deals in ammo for the .308 but as most people know it should not be chambered/fired from a 7.62 chamber. Kinda like the 223 v 5.56, 223 good in 5.56, not the other way arround.

  • Brad Jordan

    Ok you sold me!!!

  • Dixie Boy

    Hey if you're in love with your daddy's shotgun that's your prerogative. The cartridge isnt a replacement for you beloved 7mm-08 its replacing 556. So either hop to a 7mm-08 forum, or post something constructive so that those trying to learn about the new cartridge dont have to sift through your Bull S*&t.

  • Erik-Kun

    Like your discussion.
    Liked the info on the 6.8 and your opinions. Found it all very informative.
    Also interesting the fact that this Law Enforcement/Military "Game" Ammunition is also adopted by Hunters.
    I'm not a hunter myself. I only hunt in "Deer Hunter 4" and "Deer Avenger 2".

    I assume you're all aware of the 9mm+ Airguns able to kill a Boar ?
    Maybe an idea for some of you.

  • Deer hunter

    I'm looking at buying an ar-15 with the 6.8 caliber I am an avid deer hunter. My question is, is the 6.8 caliber good for deer hunting?

  • Lee

    Were really missing the oportunity with the 6mm. x 45 cartridge particularly with all of the bullet technologies out there. A 6 x 45 with a light Barnes or Nosler Partition is quite awsome on deer and hogs, and has a bet advantage on varmints with the numerous light varmint bullets.

  • Ash

    I finally had the opprotunity to shoot my Stag Hunter 7, 6.8. What a gun! Very little recoil and very accurate. I managed to order 25 rd clips a month ago and recieved them after a 3 week wait. I plan on deer hunting with this gun and I may get a chance to shoot a few sick pigs out at the farm to see what kind of damage the round does; of course I will have wide range of ammo. I am having a hard time finding ammo due to everyone buying everything they can due to proposed new laws and bans. Glad I got the gun and clips now!

  • JW

    I have one of Remingtons 700 short action with a Sako extractor with 6mm tube I put it together with the 6.8 case useing Hornady 65 Balistic tip with the case full of (28.5gr)IMR 4895 checked out at 3000FPS also the Sierra 70 gr with same powder charge checked out at 3000 FPS- GREAT Cartridge on coyotes Antelope white tail and Prarie Dogs.. next tube will be the 6.5 type useing a 120 gr bullet. Some time ago I Bought 5 Howa Actions Perfect for this Case..

  • Ryan

    Will the standard CZ527 223 mag fit the 6.8 spc?

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