6mm ARC — Everything You Want to Know About It

It isn’t unheard of for various firearm and ammunition companies to launch a hot new rifle cartridge. However, you might be asking yourself how often the latest hotness is truly a fantastic idea? Sometimes they are, and such is the case with the 6mm ARC. It isn’t the first intermediate rifle cartridge to be designed specifically for superior long-range use, but it just might be the most successful, at least in recent years.

Rifle chambered in 6mm ARC
There are quite a few gun makers coming out with rifles chambered in 6mm ARC.

If you want to know more about the cartridge, you’ve come to the right place. Herein you’ll find information about its history, usage, and practicalities. 

Contents

Who makes the 6mm ARC cartridge?
Background
Why does the U.S. Military want 6mm ARC?
Does long-range capability really matter?
Can the cartridge be used for hunting?
Is 6mm ARC good for self defense?
What loads are available?
What manufacturers make 6mm ARC rifles?
Who makes barrels for 6mm ARC?
Who makes 6mm ARC components?
6mm FAQs

The Company Behind the Cartridge

Hornady Manufacturing building
The Hornady Manufacturing, Inc. building in Grand Island, Nebraska. (Photo credit: Hornady)

6mm ARC is the brainchild of designers at Hornady Manufacturing, Inc. This should come as no surprise considering the ammunition makers’ lengthy history of designing and manufacturing high-quality products.

Hornady Manufacturing, Inc., was founded in 1949 as a two-man operation. Back then it was the Hornady Sporting Goods Company; the company went from making bicycles and basketballs to producing ammunition, which was quite a change. The idea to make the move into ammunition came as World War II came to an end. Supply shortages were beginning to improve and it was a safe assumption that people would be on the lookout for great ammunition. In fact, Hornady’s first official slogan was “accurate, deadly, dependable.”

To this day, the company can be found in Grand Island, Nebraska, the place of its birth.

The company’s first bullet was a 30-caliber, 150-grain spire point. At the time of this writing, their latest product to be released to the market is the 6mm ARC. Founder Joyce Hornady had a saying: “Ten bullets through one hole.” He used it to illustrate his expectations for the ammunition’s performance, and that philosophy has held true all these years.

Joyce Hornady
Hornady founder Joyce Hornady, hard at work in his office. (Photo credit: Hornady)

Perhaps the best way to get into the details of the ammunition giant’s commitment to quality is to quote from their own website. From Hornady:

The bullet makes the cartridge, and Hornady bullets are peerless. World record-setting accuracy, innovative new products, ultra-high ballistic coefficients, unprecedented terminal performance, and lot-to-lot consistency all combine to set Hornady bullets apart from the competition.

Cartridge Cases

All Hornady ammunition is loaded using premium cartridge cases, with most being made on-site at the Hornady case production plant. As with all Hornady products, only the highest quality raw materials are used and our manufacturing process and quality control procedures lead the industry in consistency and efficiency.

Powder

Hornady uses only premium propellants, and isn’t married to one particular powder vendor, so when decisions are made for specific loads, the ONLY consideration is performance. Propellants are chosen for each individual load, and every offering must provide the very best accuracy and temperature stability to ensure that whether you’re hunting in Alaska or Africa, you will get the performance and accuracy needed to take that trophy of a lifetime.

Joyce Hornady at his desk in Grand Island, Nebraska.
Joyce Hornady at his desk in Grand Island, Nebraska. (Photo credit: Hornady)

Joyce Hornady clearly had a high opinion of his target market. The people who would shoot his ammunition would do so because they were discerning, and he worked hard to provide what he believed they were looking for in a well-designed, high-quality round of ammunition. The Hornady website includes a note about the company’s customers:

The ‘bullet works,’ as [Joyce Hornady’s] children sometimes lightheartedly referred to the company, was a very interesting business. Hornady Manufacturing Company customers:

  • Were shooting hobbyists and enthusiasts
  • Had the same performance expectations as J.W. Hornady did
  • Could test bullet accuracy and dependability as well as the company’s lab

In brief, customers were generally knowledgeable, demanding, and critical. If a lot of bullets didn’t measure up, the feed back was immediate.

Two decades before all of American industry became aware of the importance of total quality control, Hornady Manufacturing was committed to it.

6mm ARC Background

The new cartridge was officially launched by Hornady in 2020. Interestingly, the launch wasn’t really its initial arrival in the gun world. This cartridge is unique because it was adopted by what Hornady called a “notable Department of Defense (DoD) entity.” It isn’t quite the norm for ammunition to see use from the United States military before it gets to the general market, and it makes it clear this isn’t just any ordinary new rifle cartridge. Of course, it isn’t the first time; Hornady’s 300 PRC was released to the military first back in 2018, making 6mm ARC the second.

This is a cartridge made for the popular AR-15 platform, and that alone makes it special. The majority of AR-15s are chambered in shorter or mid-range cartridges, but the 6mm ARC was made to reach out and touch its targets at greater distances than, say, 5.56x45mm NATO. In fact, the bullet performs at supersonic levels further out than 1,000 yards, depending on the weather (wind, among other things, can certainly affect these things).

One of the reasons the AR-15 is preferred by both the military and the average gun owner over the AR-10 platform is portability. The AR-15 is simply easier to carry around; it’s lighter weight, more easily maneuverable, and fairly versatile. Of course, its usual 5.56x45mm NATO chambering isn’t ideal for long-range, but 6mm ARC solves that problem. The 6mm ARC is an AR-15 platform cartridge that performs well whether it’s a close-quarters situation or if there’s a need for a longer-range shot to be taken.

Hornady 6mm ARC ammo
Launched in 2020, the cartridge continues to gain popularity. (Photo credit: Hornady)

Hornady has the following to say about the cartridge:

Tested, selected, and fielded by a specialized group within the U.S. DoD for its multipurpose combat rifle program, the versatile 6mm ARC does much of what larger cartridges can and everything that smaller cartridges can’t. Designed to meet the needs of the world’s toughest critics, the 6mm ARC utilizes efficient, high-BC [ballistic coefficient] 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 person protection applications.

Advanced: Achieves results never before delivered from the AR-15 platform with the ultimate blend of system weight, performance, and shootability.

Versatile: Equally at home in AR-15 platforms and short or micro bolt guns and suitable for applications from personal defense to match shooting and hunting.

Efficient: Balanced application of cartridge, chamber, and propellant design coupled with bullet selection for optimum all-range performance and barrel life.

Effective: Excellent terminal performance from an assortment of bullets for a variety of applications.

Why does the U.S. Military want 6mm ARC?

The military has many possible applications for a cartridge like the 6mm ARC. (Photo: U.S. Military)

There are many reasons the military wanted and benefits from the 6mm ARC. Aside from the previously mentioned needs for lighter-weight rifles capable of longer-range shots, the fact is the individuals our country has gone to war with are accustomed to what traditional AR-15’s chambered in 5.56x45mm can do. The effective range of 5.56x45mm NATO is significantly shorter than that of 6mm ARC.

For example, during our military’s time in the Middle East, it was surprisingly easy for terrorists to avoid the reach of AR-15s chambered in 5.56x45mm NATO. All that was required was to stay approximately 500 meters—546 yards—away, if that. Having the ability to engage enemies at longer distances has many benefits including reducing injuries and deaths for our own military.

And then, don’t discount the importance of a more portable platform. Carrying a heavier AR-10 through frequently punishing terrain is exhausting. Rifles chambered in 308 Win are also not as easy to maneuver due to their larger overall size.

If you’re curious why the U.S. military didn’t go for another quality long-range round such as 6.5 Creedmoor, the answer is simple: because it’s made for the AR-10. Adopting it gains nothing for weight and maneuverability. In addition, the barrels of rifles chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor tend to have a life of approximately 3,000 rounds while those chambered in 6mm ARC have a life expectancy of 5,000 rounds. From a financial standpoint, it makes sense.

Finally, other possibilities, like 6.8 SPC, do not have the longer-range performance capabilities of the 6mm ARC.

Does long-range capability really matter?

Although it would be accurate to state the answer to this question depends on your own needs and the purpose of your rifle, as a general rule it’s a good idea to have a rifle capable of good long-range work. Because the 6mm ARC is an AR-15 platform cartridge, it’s more affordably priced than many AR-10 platform guns, and its lighter weight makes it an attractive addition to your collection.

Long-range shooting isn’t just for precision shooters. It’s a lot of fun to shoot long-range on steel—it’s rewarding—but there are other uses for it. From the perspective of a seasoned hunter, the ability to make an accurate, ethical one-shot kill on a game animal or predator at a longer distance is helpful. You should never hunt outside your skill level, but if you’re a good enough shot to make longer shots on animals, your success rate can go way up. Think how much easier it would be to tag out on deer or bear if you didn’t feel forced to wait for them to wander into 150-yard range, or even closer.

As for personal defense, longer-range shots are generally not recommended because self-defense laws do not allow you to fire your gun and claim defense unless you’re faced with an immediate threat. A potential assailant being 500 yards away means they’re not an immediate threat, as a general rule. Now, in combat, longer shots are essential to survival.

The bottom line is that no matter what you plan to use it for, having a long-range rifle on hand is smart. Any improvements to your skills on guns bleed over into other platforms; if you get better at long-range rifles, your close-range game will improve, too. Being a diverse shooter who is able to perform well under a wide variety of circumstances is valuable. The 6mm ARC makes it possible without the exorbitant price tag attached to many long-range platforms.

Can 6mm ARC be used for hunting?

There are a lot of hunting applications for it. One of the great things is the fact it’s a larger bullet, so it can be used to hunt even in states where the standard .223 Remington/ 5.56x45mm NATO isn’t allowed. Considering the fact there are tons of 55-grain bullets out there for the traditional AR-15 platform, it’s also a win that 6mm ARC was designed around a 108-grain bullet, almost doubling the weight.

Hornady 6mm ARC Precision Hunter is specifically designed for peak performance on a variety of game animals and predators. (Photo credit: Hornady)

It is fantastic for small predators and varmints such as coyotes that you’re likely to shoot from a greater distance. Unlike other rounds that aren’t able to reach far enough, forcing you to attempt to call the coyotes in closer, 6mm ARC stretches for excellent long-range shots. And, since it’s a versatile round, you can use the same rifle for hunting larger game that you use calling coyotes.

This is a stellar round for deer whether they’re whitetails or muleys. Hornady made their Precision Hunter load for deep penetration and wide wound cavities so your one shot gets the job done quickly and ethically. As mentioned above, the larger bullet diameter makes it legal in states where AR-15s in other calibers may not be used for deer hunting. Considering how jumpy deer tend to be it’s also good to have the option to take a longer shot instead of waiting for them to get closer, or trying to move in on your own.

It isn’t limited only to coyotes and deer, though. You can hunt any game animal or predator the size of deer and bear or smaller with 6mm ARC. That includes raccoons, feral hogs, mountain lions, badgers, and more. If you tend to hunt in the mountains or deep in the woods, using a rifle chambered in 6mm ARC will also be easier on you thanks to it being lighter than its AR-10 counterparts. If all you do is hunt with it, it’s worth it. Your rifle should be purpose-driven, and hunting is a worthwhile purpose.

Here’s what Hornady has to say about their 6mm ARC Precision Hunter ammunition:

Tested, selected and fielded by a specialized group within the U.S. DoD for its multipurpose combat rifle program, the versatile 6mm ARC does much of what larger cartridges can and everything that smaller cartridges can’t. 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.

The 6mm ARC achieves results never before delivered from the AR-15 platform with the ultimate blend of system weight, performance and shootability. Equally at home in AR-15 platforms and short or micro action bolt guns, this load is suitable for applications from personal defense to match shooting, hunting, and military and law enforcement.

Balanced application of cartridge, chamber and propellant design is coupled with bullet selection for optimum all-range performance and barrel life. The 6mm ARC provides excellent terminal performance from an assortment of bullets for a variety of applications.

Is 6mm ARC good for self defense?

There was a time when many people gravitated toward shotguns for their home defense weapon of choice, but times change. Today, an increasing number of gun owners are using AR-platform rifles and pistols to defend their homes. So, is this a realistic cartridge for home defense?

One of the most commonly asked questions about ARs being used for home defense involves over-penetration. If you use an AR, some people say, you are guaranteed to have a bullet fly through every wall in your house, across the street, and into the neighbor’s house. Or maybe it’ll just go through a wall and hit an innocent family member. Here’s the thing about over-penetration: everything can over-penetrate. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a shotgun, rifle, or handgun. They all have enough power to blow right through doors and walls.

This is where knowing your target and what is beyond it becomes important. It’s a good idea to have a home defense plan with your family, and if you have kids, that plan might include something like getting on the floor and staying down. There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all defense plan. You’ll have to work out the best possible plan for you and your family.

As for using it for personal defense, yes, it can be done. One of the great things about testing and use of the rifles has been their performance in close quarters. Thanks to being lightweight and short enough to manipulate around corners and through entryways with greater ease than is possible with an AR-10, AR-15s chambered in 6mm ARC are valid options for defensive purposes.

Use of this cartridge for self-defense isn’t limited to only your home, of course. If you’re looking for a good truck gun, consider an AR-15 in 6mm ARC. Truck guns are good not only for personal defense but for hunting, depending on where you live. Even with a carbine-length barrel, rifles chambered in 6mm ARC have proven accurate, and they do far better at maintaining velocity than some other cartridges.

Before you decide to get a truck gun, take the time to familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations. And if you intend to travel, you need to know the gun laws in every place you go through. Claiming ignorance of the law is never a valid legal defense.

What 6mm ARC loads are available?

It wouldn’t be at all surprising for Hornady to continue coming out with new loads for the 6mm ARC, but right now there are three on the market. General specifications and features for the three loads are as follows:

Specifications

  • Name: 6mm Advanced Rifle Cartridge (ARC)
  • Manufacturer: Hornady Manufacturing, Inc.
  • Country of Origin: United States
  • Produced: 2020-present
  • Type: Centerfire Intermediate Rifle
  • Parent Case: 6.5 Grendel
  • Case Type: Rimless, bottleneck
  • Bullet Diameter: 6.18 mm (0.243 inches)
  • Neck Diameter: 6.96 mm (0.274 inches)
  • Shoulder Diameter: 10.924 mm (0.4301 inches)
  • Base Diameter: 11.201 mm (0.4410 inches)
  • Rim Diameter: 10.44 mm (0.4410 inches)
  • Case Length: 37.85 mm (1.490 inches)
  • Overall Length: 57.40 mm (2.260 inches)
  • Minimum recommended rifling twist rage: 1 in 8
  • Primer Type: Small Rifle
  • SAAMI Maximum Pressure: 358.53 MPa (52,000 psi)

6mm ARC 105 grain BTHP Hornady Black

Features:

  • BHTP bullet
  • High-quality, carefully designed cases
  • Performance optimized to work in numerous platforms
  • Target and match use
  • Sectional density .254-inches
  • Ballistic coefficient .530 (G1)
  • Minimum recommended twist rate: 1 in 8

6mm ARC 105 grain BTHP Hornady Black statistics

6mm ARC 108 grain ELD Match

Hornady's Match ammunition for the 6mm ARC is made for precision at longer distances.
Hornady’s Match ammunition for the 6mm ARC is made for precision at longer distances. (Photo credit: Hornady)

Features:

  • Heat Shield ELD Match bullet
  • AMP bullet jacket
  • Specially selected cases
  • Powder matched for optimal pressure
  • Dedication to high-quality control standards and tight tolerances
  • Outperforms BTHP
  • Sectional density .261 inches
  • Ballistic coefficient .536 (G1) and .270 (G7)
  • Minimum recommended twist rate: 1 in 8

6mm ARC 180 Grain ELD Match stats

6mm ARC 103 grain ELD-X Precision Hunter

Features:

  • Heat Shield tip ELD-X bullet
  • Designed for terminal performance while hunting
  • Highest-in-class ballistic coefficient
  • Interlock ring
  • Deep penetration
  • Large wound cavities
  • Sectional density .249 inches
  • Ballistic coefficient .512 (G1) and .258 (G7)
  • Minimum recommended twist rate: 1 in 8

6mm ARC 103 grain ELD-X Precision Hunter statistics

What firearms manufacturers make 6mm ARC rifles?

Lantac's 6mm ARC.
Lantac’s 6mm ARC. A number of manufacturers are making guns in this chambering. (Photo credit: Lantac)

At the time of this writing, there are a number of excellent gun makers coming out with rifles chambered for this cartridge, including:

  • Addams Arms
  • APF Armory
  • Barrett
  • Brenton
  • Brownells
  • Christensen
  • CMC Triggers
  • CMMG
  • GAP
  • Geissele
  • Howa
  • Lantac
  • Mile High Shooting Accessories
  • Mossberg
  • NEMO
  • Noveske
  • Odin Works
  • Proof
  • Radical Firearms
  • Ruger
  • SanTan Tactical
  • Savage
  • Seekins Precision
  • Stag Arms
  • Uintah Precision
  • Wilson Combat

Which manufacturers make 6mm ARC Barrels?

Ballistic Advantage barrel for 6mm ARC
Ballistic Advantage barrel for 6mm ARC.

If you’re in the market for a 6mm ARC barrel, quite a few manufacturers are producing quality options. Faxon and Ballistic Advantage were among the first, but at this point, the options have expanded. This is not an exhaustive list, just a place to get you started.

  • Ballistic Advantage
  • CMMG
  • Faxon
  • Mos-Tek Innovation
  • Odin Works
  • Precision Firearms
  • Proof Research
  • Rainier Arms
  • Shaw Barrels

Which firearms manufacturers make 6mm ARC components?

In order to build your own 6mm ARC AR-15, you’re going to need specific components. There are numerous manufacturers making parts for these builds, including:

  • Aero Precision
  • Brownell’s
  • CMC Triggers
  • CMMG
  • Mos-Tek Innovation
  • Odin Works
  • San Tan Tactical
  • Stag Arms

Frequently Asked Questions

How is 6mm ARC different from 6.5 Grendel?

It has far greater long-range performance than its parent cartridge, the 6.5 Grendel. Hornady based the 6mm ARC on the 6.5 Grendel, but they altered the case. To create the 6mm ARC, the case of the Grendel was necked down. They also pulled the case’s shoulder back .0030 inches. So while they’re related, they aren’t the same thing and are not interchangeable.

How Does 6mm ARC compare to 308 Win and 223 Remington?

6mm ARC next to 308 Win and 223 Remington.
Cartridge comparison. (Photo credit: Hornady)
6mm ARC velocity graph
Comparison trajectory graph. (Photo credit: Hornady)

In short, there’s no competition between the 6mm ARC and 223 Remington when it comes to versatility and long-range capabilities. 308 Win is an AR-10 platform cartridge, but if you want to compare apples to oranges, it’s safe to say it holds its own.

How accurate is the 6mm ARC?

This cartridge was designed not only for long-range use but for precision. The exact details of accuracy and precision depend on the rifle you’re using along with your own skills, but overall it’s an accurate cartridge that can be quite precise. Rifles chambered in 6mm ARC can produce sub-MOA groups and even sub-half-MOA groups.

What about performance?

The cartridge was designed by Hornady not only to fit the AR-15 platform but to perform in some unexpected ways, considering it’s a long-range round. Rifles chambered in this cartridge are low-recoil; this cartridge does not produce overwhelming or even significant felt recoil. Although it is somewhat more than a classic 5.56x45mm NATO recoils, it is far less than AR-10 platform cartridges like 308 Win.

Can I convert My AR-15 to 6mm ARC?

Yes, you can. In order to convert a standard 5.56x45mm NATO AR-15 platform rifle to 6mm ARC, you need to replace the barrel, bolt carrier group (BCG), and possibly magazines. Although some standard AR-15 magazines work well with this cartridge, magazines made for Type II 6.5 Grendel work a bit better.

The 6mm ARC is an official SAAMI cartridge.
The 6mm ARC is an official SAAMI cartridge. (Photo credit: Hornady)

Is the 6mm ARC a Wildcat cartridge?

No, it is not. It is an official SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers, Inc) cartridge. It was launched in 2020 by Hornady Manufacturing, Inc.

Does the 6mm ARC come in AR-10 platform rifles?

No, it does not. It was specifically designed for AR-15 platform rifles.

Are there 6mm ARC bolt-action rifles?

Yes, there are. The cartridge works well in short and micro bolt-action rifles.

What was its’s parent cartridge?

6.5 Grendel.

What company designed 6mm ARC?

Hornady Manufacturing, Inc.

Did Hornady make 6mm ARC for the U.S. Military?

Yes, they did. It was designed by Hornady in response to a request from the Department of Defense. They wanted a cartridge that was combat-capable but usable in a smaller platform than the 308 Win, which is made for AR-10 platform rifles.

Does anyone other than Hornady make 6mm ARC?

Not at the time of this writing. It’s certainly possible Hornady will eventually allow other manufacturers to produce the cartridge under their own brands, but right now it’s only Hornady.

Can I hunt with 6mm ARC?

Yes, you can. In fact, Hornady designed a round specifically for hunting, the Precision Hunter.

What animals can I hunt with 6mm ARC?

This cartridge is good for a range of game animals and predators including deer, bears, feral hogs, and other moderately-sized or smaller animals.

Is 6mm ARC good for home defense?

According to Hornady, it is a solid choice for close-quarters defense such as what you’d run into in a home defense scenario. Since it’s in the lighter-weight, more portable AR-15 platform, you shouldn’t have trouble maneuvering it through your home.

Is 6mm ARC a good performer for precision shooting?

Yes, Hornady makes a precision round in their 6mm ARC line. It’s made for consistent, reliable performance at longer distances, and is capable of maintaining supersonic speeds beyond 1000 yards.

What can the 6mm ARC be used to do?

Hornady designed the it to be a versatile cartridge. It’s great for everything from personal defense to match and precision shooting to hunting. Not only does it perform nicely as a close-quarters cartridge but it delivers superior performance at long ranges, too.

Is there a recommended twist rate for rifles chambered in 6mm ARC?

Yes. Per Hornady’s recommendations, the minimum twist rate for 6mm ARC is 1 in 8.

What is the best barrel length for 6mm ARC?

It depends on what you intend to do with your rifle. Hornady performed their ballistic testing through a 24-inch barrel, which makes sense because the greater length provides improved stability and maximizes terminal performance. However, there are carbine and mid-length options on the market, and they’ve received good reviews. The 18-inch models are a good option for home defense while longer barrels over 20 inches in length are wiser for precision work.

Can I reload 6mm ARC?

Hornady sells components for their 6mm ARC, so it is possible to load your own ammunition.

6mm ARC projectile
Yes, it can be hand-loaded. Components are available from Hornady. (Photo credit: Hornady)

Is 6mm ARC better than 6.5 Grendel?

The 6.5 Grendel is the 6mm ARC’s parent case. Although it has a lot to recommend it, the Grendel isn’t capable of the stability or range the 6mm ARC delivers.

6mm ARC versus 6.5 Grendel
6mm ARC versus 6.5 Grendel. (Photo credit: Ammunition to Go)

Can I build my own 6mm ARC?

Yes, you can. There are many gun makers producing the components needed to build a 6mm ARC.

What is the SAAMI maximum pressure?

SAAMI lists the maximum pressure of the 6mm ARC as 52,000 psi. This is one of the reasons the barrels of these rifles last longer than those chambered in rounds like 6.5 Creedmoor. The pressure and powder is more moderate, allowing the barrels to last longer.

Can I make my own 6mm ARC cases?

In order to create this cartridge, Hornady necked down the 6.5 Grendel case and pulled back the shoulder. It’s recommended to use brass already made for this cartridge whether you’re reloading or handloading.

Is 6mm ARC better than 224 Valkyrie?

The answer to this is more opinion-based than anything else. It does boast somewhat more impressive ballistics and, of course, it has larger bullets. The 6mm ARC maintains its trajectory and velocity for greater distances than 224 Valkyrie and performs better for long-range, living-target engagement.

6mm ARC
There are all sorts of uses for this cartridge. (Photo credit: Hornady)

I don’t shoot long-range. Why would I want a 6mm ARC?

This isn’t only for long-range shooters. As has been proven by the U.S. military, it’s a good cartridge for CQB (close quarters battle). Although we don’t know exactly which branch of the military has their hands on the rifles, it is public knowledge that it’s a special forces group. If it’s good enough for the military to have close-range gunfights, it’s good enough for you. And if you don’t need or want a personal defense gun, there’s always hunting, or plinking at the range.

Do I need new magazines for 6mm ARC?

Yes, and no. Technically, standard AR-15 magazines work, but magazines made for Type II 6.5 Grendel work a bit better. And, of course, there are magazines on the market that are made specifically for the 6mm ARC.

What’s so special About 6mm ARC?

What makes this cartridge unique is, among other things, that it’s made for the AR-15. If you could put your 308 Win in an AR-15, would you? And if that 308 Win then performed even better than before, wouldn’t that be fantastic? 6mm ARC gives gun owners a lighter-weight platform for close-up and longer-range shooting that can do it all: hunting, personal defense, and matches.

What bolt face is 6mm ARC?

It takes a 6.5 Grendel bolt face.

Who makes a bolt-action 6mm ARC?

Short and micro bolt-action rifles can be chambered in this cartridge. Gun makers such as Savage Arms and Tikka manufacture bolt-actions in this cartridge.

Is it the same as 6.5 Creedmoor?

No, it is not. There are countless differences, but perhaps the most noteworthy is that 6.5 Creedmoor is an AR-10 platform cartridge while 6mm ARC was designed specifically for the AR-15 platform.

What caliber is 6mm?

6mm is .24 caliber (6.2mm).

Is there a 6mm ARC handgun?

Not yet. It would certainly be possible to make an AR pistol chambered in it, but as for actual handguns, they don’t exist.

What does 220 Russian have to do with 6mm ARC?

220 Russian cartridge diagram
220 Russian data. (Photo credit: historical archives)

Well, 6mm ARC’s parent case is 6.5 Grendel. The 6.5 Grendel’s parent case is—you guessed it—220 Russian. 220 Russian is also known as 5.6x39mm and was created in the 1950s as a hunting cartridge. It was first produced by SAKO and Lapua and, as you may have guessed, its roots are in Russia.

How long has 6.5 Grendel been around?

6.5 Grendel was designed in 2003 by designer Bill Alexander and Janne Pohjoispaa. The cartridge was initially created because they wanted a STANAG magazine-length cartridge for the AR-15. It is now an official SAAMI cartridge.

Are 6mm ARC and 243 Win the same thing?

No, but they do utilize the same diameter bullets. It is important to remember they don’t share the same case or loading specifications and are not interchangeable.

What is the case capacity of 6mm ARC?

2.20 cm3

Kat Ainsworth Stevens is a long-time outdoor writer, official OGC (Original Gun Cognoscenti), and author of Handgun Hunting: a Comprehensive Guide to Choosing and Using the Right Firearms for Big and Small Game. Der Teufel Katze has written for a number of industry publications (print and online) and edited some of the others, so chances are you've seen or read her work before, somewhere. A woman of eclectic background and habits, Kat has been carrying concealed for over two decades, used to be a farrier, and worked for a long time in emergency veterinary medicine. She prefers big bores, enjoys K9 Search & Rescue, and has a Master's Degree in Pitiless Snarkastic Delivery.

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