Hornady just officially announced the 6mm ARC, or Advanced Rifle Cartridge, for the AR-15 platform. The new cartridge is similar to a number of wildcat loads based on 6.5 Grendel necked down to 6mm.
While some people are saying that this cartridge is to 6.5 Grendel what .224 Valkyrie is to 6.8 SPC, others are saying this is what 6.5 Grendel should have been in the first place.
“Tested, selected and fielded by a specialized group within the U.S. Department of Defense for its multipurpose combat rifle program, the versatile 6mm ARC does much of what larger cartridges can and everything that smaller cartridges can’t,” said Hornady. “Designed to meet the needs of the world’s toughest critics, the 6mm ARC utilizes efficient, high-BC bullets to deliver unprecedented performance from the AR-15 platform.”
“Commercial 6mm ARC offerings will feature bullets selected to deliver ideal performance for hunting, match shooting and personal protection applications,” they said. Hornady is launching with two loads, a 105-grain hollow point for hunting and self-defense and a 108-grain low-drag round for match shooters.
Rumors that Hornady was working on a 6mm cartridge started making the rounds earlier this year when a mystery 6mm ammunition specification was accepted by SAAMI, the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, the standard-keeper for most ammo in America.
Hornady’s 6mm ARC pushes 103- to 108-grain bullets at around 2,750 feet per second at the muzzle out of a 24-inch barrel. That works out to over 1,900 feet per second at 500 yards and it remains supersonic out past 1,100 yards.
One thing it does have in common with .224 Valkyrie is that Hornady went the distance and lined up a lot of industry support for their new cartridge. Not only does Hornady have two loads ready at launch with a third due later this year, they have components, reloading dies and market support from a large number of manufacturers right now.
Manufacturers working with Hornady include APF Armory, Barrett, Brownells, Christensen Arms, CMC Triggers, CMMG, Faxon Firearms, G.A. Precision, Geissele Automatics, Howa USA, Lantac USA, O.F Mossberg & Sons, NEMO Arms, Noveske, Odin Works, Proof Research, Radical Firearms, Uintah Precision and Wilson Combat.
Not only are the companies supplying parts including barrels but many of them offer complete rifles.
Existing 6.5 Grendel shooters only need a 6mm ARC barrel to try the new cartridge. Everything else is compatible with 6.5 Grendel including the bolts and magazines.
Because 6mm ARC is based on some well-established wildcat rounds, reloaders will be able to quickly adapt known handloads to the new cartridge.
Hornady’s 6mm ARC is meant for shooting out to and even a little beyond 1,000 yards. It’s a match cartridge that can also double as a hunting round for small and medium game where the projectiles are permitted. Hornady’s third cartridge, due this fall, is a hunting-specific 103-grain round.
And of course, even though this was developed for AR-15s and similar rifles, that doesn’t mean it’s limited to AR-style guns. There are plenty of micro-action rifles and other firearms that will gladly support the new cartridge.
With the amount of support for the new 6mm ARC this cartridge looks like it will be more than just a fad.