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Confirmed: US Army Ditching 5.56mm for 6.8mm in New Weapon Systems

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After months of rumors, the U.S. Army confirmed its Next Generation Squad Weapons (NGSW) will adopt the 6.8mm.

The caliber switch from the current 5.56mm applies to the upcoming M4 carbine and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon replacements.

Details on the 6.8mm Switch

In a Prototype Opportunity Notice posted on Fed Biz Opps, U.S. Army Contracting Command calls for “two weapon variants and a common cartridge for both weapons, utilizing Government provided 6.8 millimeter projectiles.”

Again, those two variants apply to both replacements in the ongoing NGSW program. The first replacement is the NGSW-Rifle (NGSW-R), which will succeed the current M4/M4A1 Carbine.

The second variant refers to the NGSW-Automatic Rifle (NGSAR), a replacement for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) in the Automatic Rifleman Role in Brigade Combat Teams (BCT).

This is a change from the initial plan, which, according to the Army Times, “was to first develop the NGSAR and then allow its advancements to inform the development of the M4 replacement, the NGSW-R.”

Posted on Oct. 4, the PON notes a 27-month development period, suggesting a winner could be selected at some point in 2021.

Why 6.8mm?

Various reports state the U.S. Army had been looking for an “intermediate caliber” in between the 5.56mm and 7.62mm.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to effectiveness in the field.

“We’re looking to reach out around 600 meters and have lethal effects even if the target is protected by body armor,” Col. Geoffrey A. Norman, force development division chief at Army HQ, told Task & Purpose in May 2017. “We need to have lethal effects against protected targets and we need to have requirements for long-range lethality in places like Afghanistan, where you’re fighting from mountaintop to mountaintop over extended ranges.”

NGSAR Candidates Confirmed

The U.S. Army confirmed in July that five companies have already been selected to produce six prototypes for the NGSAR program.

The companies include SIG Sauer, FN America, Textron Systems, General Dynamics and PCP Tactical. FN is submitting two variants.

The post Confirmed: US Army Ditching 5.56mm for 6.8mm in New Weapon Systems appeared first on Tactical Life Gun Magazine: Gun News and Gun Reviews.

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The 6.5 Creedmoor has the flattest shooting ballistics trajectory out of all of these except for the 7mm and not much difference between the two.  The 6.8 SPC is slightly flatter shooting than the 5.56 but not by much.  The 6.5 Creedmoor is far better in the trajectory catagory but the 6.8 SPC is only 40 percent heavier than the 5.56 whereas the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge is 87 percent heavier than the 5.56 Nato.  So the 6.8 SPC would be a little flatter shooting, heavier hitting and a soldier can carry 47 percent more of it than they could of the 6.5 Creedmoor.  Ounces equals pounds so the weight difference is probably the deciding factor in choosing the 6.8 SPC over the 6.5 Creedmoor.

 

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Looks like the .308 is pretty close to the 6.5 out to about 300 yards.  Both are great rounds, though.  I am not likely to attempt a shot beyond 300 yards/meters.   A guy could carry more 6.8's than 7.62x51's, because they're smaller, and depending on grain size, are just as hard hitting.  When do they plan to officially adopt this caliber?   I have nothing chambered in 6.8, so I may end up making a trade.  Until then, I've gotta' be content with my 7.62's.

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20 minutes ago, Max said:

Looks like the .308 is pretty close to the 6.5 out to about 300 yards.  Both are great rounds, though.  I am not likely to attempt a shot beyond 300 yards/meters.   A guy could carry more 6.8's than 7.62x51's, because they're smaller, and depending on grain size, are just as hard hitting.  When do they plan to officially adopt this caliber?   I have nothing chambered in 6.8, so I may end up making a trade.  Until then, I've gotta' be content with my 7.62's.

I'm keeping an eye out on this topic.  I'm going to get a 6.8 to add to my "collection" if it goes full military adoption.  I'll still keep the AR 15 though, .223 is going to be around and popular for some time to come still.  

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I'm gonna keep my M-4 too cause' I agree that the 5.56 will most likely continue in the game for a long time to come, but I am going to eventually acquire something like a 6.8.

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On 10/24/2018 at 8:34 PM, Ripcannon said:

well just when i was looking to jump from my .308 im glad i didnt 

Same here!  Besides, I still like the powerful 7.62mm round, along with the range you can get with it.

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23 hours ago, Max said:

Looks like the .308 is pretty close to the 6.5 out to about 300 yards.  Both are great rounds, though.  I am not likely to attempt a shot beyond 300 yards/meters.   A guy could carry more 6.8's than 7.62x51's, because they're smaller, and depending on grain size, are just as hard hitting.  When do they plan to officially adopt this caliber?   I have nothing chambered in 6.8, so I may end up making a trade.  Until then, I've gotta' be content with my 7.62's.

My round of choice is the old 7.62x54r, in fmj, made by Winchester-Western.  Since I use a bolt-action rifle, I get almost perfect groupings at 550 yards, and solid groupings at 1000 yards (my MOS in the Army was 11bravo, as a sniper, so I'm used to long-range shooting).  At 300 yards, I'll knock a speck of dust off a gnat's nose (though the shock wave would likely kill the gnat!).

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Those M-N rounds are pretty darned powerful.  Russkies proved they were effective when using them against the Germans.  I like the Winchester 70 and the Rem. 700 in .308.

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1 hour ago, VTConcernedCitizen said:

Im sure the 6.8 is a great round, but how many 7.62x51 rounds are out there in NATO depots around the world

And another question:  When will the Army start parting with the new rounds to the general public, and how much will they cost?

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Will the 6.8 Remington be what the military uses, or will the military be using a different cartridge?

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1 hour ago, Whiskey6 said:

Will the 6.8 Remington be what the military uses, or will the military be using a different cartridge?

They are saying that it will be the 6.8 Remington SPC, not the best 6+mm ballistically  as seen above, but a compromise in larger round than 5.56, still a little lighter cartridge than the other 6mm+ with slightly better ballistics than the 5.56 Nato and being able to carry more ammo than the other 6mm+ rounds. 

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I am a gunsmith and the 6.8 Grendel is the cartridge they are going to! It is a 7.62 x 39 case necked down to 6.8 caliber!  The bad thing about the cartridge is that you can not use regular AR-15/M-4 magazines with it and put more than 15 rounds in it because the magazine lips spread out too far and will not go in the AR-15 receiver! The magazines are curved more like an AK-47 magazine. It would be good if they could somehow modify the receiver so that AK magazines would fit! I build one of these rifles that I deer hunt with and at 400 yards it drops a deer dead in its tracks and the exit hole is about 4 inches in diameter! At the end of the year in 2018 and thru February you could not find cheap ammo by wolf. The ammo usually sells for around $5.00 a box. The Honduran army adopted the 6.8 Grendel along with some other countries and they bought up tons of ammo, which caused a shortage. You can find it very plentiful now and if our military adopts it there will be more manufacturers that gear up and make it! If you plan on building a rifle in this caliber, you had better get the bolt and barrel now and magazines and stock up on the cheap wolf ammo, because they are the only company that is making cheap full metal jacket ammunition in that caliber! You can get the high dollar stuff from 10.00 to 20.00. This cartridge will probably knock the 224 Valkyrie out of the competition for a military contract unless they adopt it for a sniper cartridge because it is a lot flatter shooting and wind resistant at long ranges than the 6.8 Creedmoor! The 224 Valkyrie is a 6.8 spc case necked down to 224 caliber and uses the same bolt as the 6.6 spc!

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9 hours ago, Olderebel said:

I am a gunsmith and the 6.8 Grendel is the cartridge they are going to! It is a 7.62 x 39 case necked down to 6.8 caliber!  The bad thing about the cartridge is that you can not use regular AR-15/M-4 magazines with it and put more than 15 rounds in it because the magazine lips spread out too far and will not go in the AR-15 receiver! The magazines are curved more like an AK-47 magazine. It would be good if they could somehow modify the receiver so that AK magazines would fit! I build one of these rifles that I deer hunt with and at 400 yards it drops a deer dead in its tracks and the exit hole is about 4 inches in diameter! At the end of the year in 2018 and thru February you could not find cheap ammo by wolf. The ammo usually sells for around $5.00 a box. The Honduran army adopted the 6.8 Grendel along with some other countries and they bought up tons of ammo, which caused a shortage. You can find it very plentiful now and if our military adopts it there will be more manufacturers that gear up and make it! If you plan on building a rifle in this caliber, you had better get the bolt and barrel now and magazines and stock up on the cheap wolf ammo, because they are the only company that is making cheap full metal jacket ammunition in that caliber! You can get the high dollar stuff from 10.00 to 20.00. This cartridge will probably knock the 224 Valkyrie out of the competition for a military contract unless they adopt it for a sniper cartridge because it is a lot flatter shooting and wind resistant at long ranges than the 6.8 Creedmoor! The 224 Valkyrie is a 6.8 spc case necked down to 224 caliber and uses the same bolt as the 6.6 spc!

This does make more sense, it is a better cartridge over all.  Upon further reflection, the articles I quoted do seem to be speculative and I have been searching for confirmation of exactly what 6.8mm round has been chosen.  All I can find is that it will be 6.8mm but not anymore specific than that.  If anyone has links of more that two articles stating as fact what 6.8mm cartridge it is please post it here.

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