Hornady Announces a New Contender in the Caliber Wars: 6mm ARC

Hornady Manufacturing, widely regarded as one of the top ammo companies in the industry, has made quite a splash with their June 3, 2020 announcement. TFB recently hinted at a new SAAMI accepted cartridge, and now it’s here. Meet Hornady’s newest player: the 6mm ARC, or Advanced Rifle Cartridge. Purpose-built to optimize the capabilities of AR-platform firearms, the basic idea behind this new caliber is an attempt to find the sweet spot between the smaller traditional 5.56 NATO/.223 Rem, which is sometimes criticized for being perhaps a bit anemic, and larger calibers like .308 Win, which can raise issues such as increased weight and felt recoil with decreased mag capacity. With the 6ARC, Hornady believes they have landed on that happy medium – claiming that it “does what much larger cartridges can and everything that smaller cartridges can’t”, and “delivers optimum all-range performance and barrel life”. Hornady’s official press release reads as follows.

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[SHOT 2020] New 27 Nosler Cartridge Joins the Nosler Family of Cartridges

At SHOT Show 2020, Nosler announced a new .270 caliber addition to their cartridge family – the 27 Nosler. In their press release, Nosler describes this cartridge as an offering “that redefines performance as radically now as the 270 Winchester did upon its introduction in 1925“.

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5.6x60mm Experimental Soviet Cartridge

In this article, we’ll take a look at an experimental Soviet cartridge (5.6x60mm) and an interesting technological failure of the manufacturing process. This article is based on one written by Nikolay Dvoryaninov, a renown Russian ammunition and firearms expert. Dvoryaninov’s article was published in Kalashnikov Gun Magazine.

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[SHOT 2018] Federal's .224 Valkyrie Hits the Ground Running – 4 Years in the Making

What did we see at Range Day? Valkyries, Valkyries everywhere. Federal’s pint-sized long distance runner has already outstripped the market purchase of its direct competitors in the high performance AR-15 market, testified to by the sheer number of .224 Valkyrie rifles peppered across the booths and stalls of Range Day ’18.

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Army Chief of Staff Milley Says Next Rifle Will Have Much More Range, Be More Accurate Than M4 Carbine

At an AUSA breakfast conference yesterday, US Army Chief of Staff General Mark Milley gave us a hint at exactly what the US Army’s next rifle could look like, and the focus was on extended range capability. The rifle, Milley said, will give a 10x improvement in capability through the type of ammunition, optics, and degree of chamber pressure specific to it, with the aim of providing the soldier a weapon with much more accuracy and range than the current M4 Carbine. Milley also clarified that the term “10x” was not intended to be a precise measurement of the capability growth, but rather a term indicating significant improvement. The new rifle will come as part of an effort that also includes new artillery, tanks, aircraft, and virtual reality training facilities, Milley said.

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PICRA Family of Cartridges from Czech Republic

Browsing through the CIP cartridge standards while doing a research, I noticed several cartridges named PICRA. The name was unknown to me and apparently, it is unknown to many others too. So I thought why don’t I do a little research to find out who has designed these cartridges? It was a matter of simple web search to find that company’s website. It turns out, that there is more than a couple of cartridges developed by them. In this article, we’ll learn about the PICRA company and take a brief look at their cartridges.

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M855A1 EPR Officially Adopted By US Marine Corps

The United States Marine Corps has finally officially announced its adoption of the 5.56mm M855A1 EPR round, developed in the late 2000s by the US Army, marking an important step towards ammunition commonality between the two services. Until now, the USMC has officially only used the legacy M855 round, and to a more limited extent the SOCOM-developed Mk. 318 SOST round, refusing to adopt the US Army’s new M855A1. The Marine Corps Times reports that the Corps’ Combat Development Command has begun procuring the round for stockpiles, with its official adoption coming in 2018:

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.224 VALKYRIE Barrels Released by JP Enterprises

Those eagerly awaiting the market for the new .224 Valkyrie round have something to celebrate. Gunmaker JP Enterprises recently announced that they are now offering three different barrels for the new cartridge, in 20″ light, 20″ medium, and 22″ medium contours. All three barrels use the somewhat unusual “extra long” gas system, which is two inches longer than the standard “rifle length” gas system normally used with 20″ barrels. The longer gas system coupled with large diameter port settings reportedly increase dwell time while reducing the port pressure. More details on the barrels are available via a review from Recoil.

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US Army's NGSAR to Be Chambered for 6.8mm MAGNUM Round?

Is the US Army pushing for a new high-powered 6.Xmm caliber with their new NGSAR program? Recently, the listing for the NGSAR industry day in December was updated with a document describing in part the agenda of the second conference. Scheduled for 9:45 in the morning in the document is a 15 minute long presentation on “Ammunition Data – Surrogate Projectile and Specs”, presented by Todd Townsend, David Charowsky, and Mark Minisi. Minisi’s name may not be well-known, but it will be familiar to astute students of recent wound ballistics literature: It was Minisi who developed the finite element analysis-based tissue damage model, which has been refined over the past decade at ARDEC through PM Maneuver Ammunition Systems (PM-MAS). Mr. Townsend is also likely representing PM-MAS, now under the leadership of Colonel Hector Gonzalez

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LSAT Cased Telescoped Ammunition, and the Problem of Cookoff (Brief Thoughts 002 Follow Up)

In the comments section of my recent Brief Thoughts article regarding caseless ammunition, there was a discussion about whether the cookoff issues of caseless would also be problem for LSAT-style polymer cased telescoped ammunition. Based on conversations I have had with subject matter experts regarding polymer cased ammunition in general, I noted that a lower cookoff threshold is one of the challenges I would expect CT ammunition developers to face. However, after some back-and-forth in the comments, I decided to contact LSAT/CTSAS program officer Kori Phillips regarding this issue (as it was not something I covered in my three-part interview with her), and she kindly agreed to allow her comments on the matter to be published here on TFB. They are below:

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New Polymer Cased Ammunition Introduced by True Velocity

Texas company True Velocity, LLC, has released the first images of their advanced lightweight polymer composite cased ammunition design via Instagram. Training company BAT Defense sent out an image of what appear to be 12.7×108, .50 BMG, and 5.56mm rounds made by True Velocity, saying that the ammunition was originally developed to reduce the weight of ammunition carried by light helicopters (such as Littlebirds).

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"It'll Never Happen" – Until It Does! Caseless Ammunition, and Looking Back – Brief Thoughts 002

Caseless: The ammunition designer’s holy grail, and the engineer’s worst nightmare. It would obsolete the cartridge case overnight, resulting in cheaper, lighter, and more compact ammunition. Weapons would be able to carry 50, 60, or more rounds in slim, inexpensive magazines, and expel them at a rate of fire much higher than current weapons are capable of – not only because the ammunition is lighter and therefore more could be carried to feed such thirsty guns, but because the extraction and ejection cycles of the weapons themselves could be eliminated.

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The Home Team Advantage: Ammunition, Compatibility, and Why Change Is Bad

If we can make a round that is significantly better than the existing 5.56mm or 7.62mm ammunition, shouldn’t the military just bite the bullet and switch, to the benefit of the servicemen and women in harm’s way? What’s stopping the powers that be from making the incremental improvements that everyone knows are possible?

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9x39mm: AR-15 for Moose? [Modern Intermediate Calibers 026.2]

Previously, we compared the Russian 9x39mm subsonic sniper round to its Western counterparts, including the .300 AAC Blackout and the .45 ACP. As it stands now, the 9x39mm is a subsonic round only – no supersonic loads exist for it currently. But… What if they did?

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.300 Blackout vs. 9x39mm: Russia's Subsonic Brute [Modern Intermediate Calibers 026.1]

Today’s Modern Intermediate Calibers will handle something a little different. While virtually all rounds we have looked at so far were designed primarily for supersonic use, today we will be taking a gander at the Russian 9x39mm round – a dedicated suppressed caliber designed exclusively for the subsonic flight regime, with no supersonic option (yet) available. This begets a question, then: Is the 9x39mm truly an intermediate caliber? To answer this, we should consider a few facts about the 9×39: First, it was designed for carbines and rifles with cartridge overall lengths comparable to common intermediate calibers, like 5.56mm or 7.62×39. Second, it was designed to give substantially better performance than is possible with pistol rounds, including armor piercing effect above that which is normally possible with handgun rounds. Third, it is used more like an intermediate caliber than a pistol caliber, being issued with a whole host of sniper rifles, assault rifles, and other weapons comparable to any other intermediate caliber. Therefore, I would argue that it is an intermediate, albeit possibly the strangest one in common use.

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