Review: Hornady 6mm ARC

“On paper,” said Quinlan, “the .224 Valkyrie is tit-for-tat with the ARC. But hunting and warfare isn’t paper. In some states you can’t legally hunt big game with a .22 caliber; 6mm is the minimum. The bigger ARC also has a larger splash signature. Plus, in a .22, you’re limited by its tiny diameter on how you can design that bullet. But 6mm is the turning point where you can design a bullet to do what you want it to.”

.223 Rem., 6 mm  ARC, .308 Win.

All told, the 6mm ARC’s case, proprietary (i.e., secretive) high-tech powders and 108-gr., 0.536-BC bullet results in a projectile still doing 1358 f.p.s. at 1,000 yds. for 442 ft.-lbs. of energy with 342″ of drop and a mere 83″ inches of deflection from a 10-m.p.h., 90-degree wind (out of a 24″ barrel). In the 103-gr. Precision Hunter ELD-X load, it’s touted at 2800 f.p.s. from a 24″ barrel. That equates to 1,793 ft.-lbs. of muzzle energy and 411 ft.-lbs. at 1,000 yds.

That’s incredible, especially when you look at 7.62×51 NATO and 5.56×45 NATO numbers—even when compared to the similar-profile ELD bullets in Hornady loads. Consider that a 73-gr. ELD bullet from a 5.56 starting at 2700 f.p.s. results in just 157 ft.-lbs. of energy at 1,000 yds. with 393″ of drop and 111″ of deflection; a 168-gr. ELD Match from a .308 Win. starting at 2700 f.p.s. results in 635 ft.-lbs. of energy, 363″ of drop and 89″ of deflection—but we all know combat soldiers don’t shoot ELD bullets.

More likely, they’d shoot 168-gr. BTHPs that result in 501 ft.-lbs. of energy at 1,000 yds, just 59 ft.-lbs. more than the 6mm ARC that can be fired from a platform weighing 30 percent less than the M1A or AR-10. The cartridge itself weighs 30 percent less, so soldiers can either carry more ammunition or the same amount with less burden. And it performs with only 9.9 ft.-lbs. of free recoil energy (from a 6-lb., 8-oz. 6mm ARC rifle) compared to 18.2 ft.-lbs. free recoil energy (from an 8-lb., .308 Win. rifle). Lighter ammunition, lighter guns and less recoil mean less fatigued, more accurate soldiers who can hit the enemy from distances further than the enemy can kill them.

But this, too, is all on paper. I recently received CMMG’s Resolute 300 Mk4 carbine chambered in 6mm ARC for real-world testing, and what follows is what I found.CMMG Resolute 300 and author The author piled up this 276-lb. boar with one shot from his CMMG Resolute 300 despite being forced to use a match bullet not intended for hunting.

ARC On The Range And Ranch

First off, the Resolute 300 is, much like most thin-to-medium-taper ARs, a joy to shoot and handle. At a hair under 6 lbs., 8 ozs., with a full-length aluminum M-Lok handguard and Magpul MOE grip, it feels like the lithe ARs we’ve come to love, yet it’s nicer than most. A crisp, 4-lb., 10-oz. trigger, ambidextrous charging handle, forged upper, custom-looking Bazooka Green Cerakote finish, a rifle-length gas tube and an innovative all-aluminum, yet comfortable, collapsible RipStock buttstock make it stand out among the crowd. Yet there is one main reason I love my particular Resolute: It’s chambered in 6mm ARC.

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