The General Purpose Off Duty AR: Which caliber?

Well, I'm pretty high-drag low-speed so take if for what it's worth.  They are all capable and probably fairly equal to 200 yards when it comes to blasting deer/paper/people with quality ammo.  Limiting it to these three, the Grendel excels at 500-1000 yards with using longer barrels.  The Blackout fills the PDW niche especially in the SBR/suppressed config.  The 6.8 can be suppressed and can be tweaked to the +500 yard stuff.  But given your 16" / 200 yard / kill critter requirements, the 6.8 would be my choice.  I never really understood people that SBR the Grendel or went with 16" Blackouts (in AR's).  I guess I posted twice so that's my $.04 cents.

"These are the rules. Everybody fights, nobody quits. If you don't do your job I'll kill you myself."

 

Joined: 04/01/2004     Location:  Twin Cities, MN

Twice now I’ve heard/read here about longer barrels for 6.5G. How long are we talking 20”, 24”? Would 18” be consider long for 6.5G? I ask because my carbine has a nominally 16” barrel but with my BCM comp on it it’s effectively in terms of maneuverability 17”. So 18” to me doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch but would an 18” barrel give the 6.5G enough length to get the most out of the round at longer distances?

Mojo/Mark
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Vincent from "Collateral"
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Joined: 9/30/09
Location: Northern Nevada (Reno/Sparks)

I can't give you exact figures off the top of my head, but I went with 20".  I wanted the ability (don't know if I'll ever have the opportunity) to shoot to 1000 yds.  Some Grendel guys, that are going longer ranges, said 20" was the minimum FOR THAT PURPOSE and 22" or 24" being more popular.  Now, there was a sale on the 20" at the time so that was part of it.  I also got one of those VG6 (?) brakes with is another 2 or 3" on top of that.  As I said, I'm a 6.8 fan; I still feel a little bit dirty for even buying a 6.5

"These are the rules. Everybody fights, nobody quits. If you don't do your job I'll kill you myself."

 

Joined: 04/01/2004     Location:  Twin Cities, MN

LIGHTSCOUT, thanks. I would probably never have the opportunity let alone ability to go 1000.  There is one place near me that stretches that far but it’s so remote and hard to get to and find that the few guys who use it leave their steel targets permanently set up. I think I’d be good to go with 18” for all of my possible uses. 

Mojo/Mark
__________________________
Yo homey, is that my briefcase...?
Vincent from "Collateral"
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You want the good life, you break your back, you snap your fingers, you snap your neck... Prong/Demon Hunter

Joined: 9/30/09
Location: Northern Nevada (Reno/Sparks)

Lighter is generally better for my purposes.

For working guidelines, I want the rifle with optic, sling and suppressor at or under 8.5 lbs..

Optic can be Aimpoint T1/2, ACOG TA-11 or a light weight variable. I want the optic to weight 12 oz. or less with mount.

One thing I am keeping in mind with this is that this a daily shooter- like a daily driver car, I am willing to give up some performance in exchange for other things.

People keep tossing around 1k like it is cool. In the same breath they talk about how there are no ranges or public land within hours that offer that distance. So, why build capability into a rifle that will not only never get used, but will likely compromise some other aspects of the rifle?

I live, work and recreate in Montana. It is a wide open state with broad vistas and not many trees, especially where I am. Due to microtopography, it is rare to find unobstructed shots over 500 yards, and often shots are less than 200 yards with the average probably being close to or less than 100 yards.

I use a 2-7x on several rifles. The only time I zoom to 7x is for very small targets in obscured locations. Usually, the power is set to 4x when running around on the 900 Ranger.

When I go for a walk, it will often be 3-4 miles in. This drives me towards a lighter rifle.


In my typical stomping grounds, I will travel through brushy creek bottoms, across steep talus and scree slopes,  and through some mixed stands of juniper, fir, pine, and lodgepole. This drives me towards a shorter barrel, and a well designed removable sling.  

With those sorts of parameters, I would be inclined to stick with 5.56, with something like Winchester RA556B, Barnes TSX, or maybe Black Hills 77gr OTM, or a combination of all three to make sure you always have what you need. I guess .300BO or 6.8 would also work, but you would have to weigh the pros and cons that have already been discussed in this thread.

For an optic, I would look at one of the new Bushnell Tactical Elite 1-6.5x that they showed at SHOT earlier this year. They are a true 1x, with a very bright red dot at 1x, that is very close to a RDS in use, but a very usable 6.5x for looking at the longer stuff you mentioned, and not as expensive as a Short Dot.

Keep the barrel at 16" if you have a rifle, or go shorter, if you have a pistol lower, to avoid any issues when traveling. If you really want it compact for storage, stick on a Law Tactical folder, and maybe even one of those Cry Havoc barrel attachments the Airforce is using.

A Magpul CTR on the rifle, or a SB Tactical SOB and tube on the pistol. Geissele MLOK handguard, but not too long, to keep the weight on the front end down, and freefloat the barrel, maybe a Faxon lightweight midlength. OSS suppressor with the appropriate muzzle device. BFG VCAS sling, padded, for carrying comfort with QD swivels, or maybe a RED on the front attachment point.

Regards.

Mark

Formerly known as ML

For me, if I was to be in CONUS rather than the Nanny State here - 

my vote would be for 5.56mm (with T1) and maybe another upper in 6.8mm (with a 1-4x variable) if I had the budget later. 

 

I keep thinking that when/if I ever get a better (higher paying) job than what I’m doing at the moment (or my forearm project takes off) then I’d seriously look at re-barreling something like a Ruger Scout to 6.8mm. 

=======================
Forward!
Where we are, where we belong, where we should be.

  

Location: Back in Bris-Vegas, wondering at the bright lights of the big smoke

Here's my latest 6.8; just can't resist the urge to mess with it!  My goal building this was to keep the weight down and use it for deer hunting.  As pictured, it comes in at 7lb 5.5oz.  I find it very comfortable to lug around the woods all day and it performs well at the ranges I need it to for WI deer (10' to 150yds or so).  Unfortunately, the scope mount isn't QD so I didn't take it off to weigh it, nor did I have an ACOG to substitute.  That and I don't own a suppressor so take it for what it's worth.  As mentioned, I loved the SSA 110gr TSX tac loads, but those are pretty hard to find now.  There are a ton of other loads out there that function well.  Recently, significant amounts of Federal XM68GD has hit the market (supposedly overrun for foreign military contract).  Reading some reviews, that load with the 90gr Gold Dot is producing some excellent accuracy and terminal effects.  I still have a pile of handloads with that bullet that perform very well in this rifle.

"These are the rules. Everybody fights, nobody quits. If you don't do your job I'll kill you myself."

 

Joined: 04/01/2004     Location:  Twin Cities, MN

If I were to do it again, I'd go with a 300 BO.

CMT billet upper, CMT handguard, Wilson combat 16" lightweight barrel (mid length), WC 3 prong flash hider in 30 cal. This is sitting in pieces right now, but I did have it together at one time. I went the 6.8 route because I intended to reload, and .277 bullets are readily available (relative). With a PRI 10 round magazine, I was having issues with the last round popping out of the magazine, and the bolt would lock open with the last round just floating in the upper. This was with American Eagle FMJ.

Ultimately I would like to put it back, and put a Triji 1-4 with a German style reticle on top.

If you have to fight, fight like the third monkey trying to get on Noah's Ark, and brother, it's starting to rain.

LightScout posted:

Here's my latest 6.8; just can't resist the urge to mess with it!  My goal building this was to keep the weight down and use it for deer hunting.  As pictured, it comes in at 7lb 5.5oz.  I find it very comfortable to lug around the woods all day and it performs well at the ranges I need it to for WI deer (10' to 150yds or so).  Unfortunately, the scope mount isn't QD so I didn't take it off to weigh it, nor did I have an ACOG to substitute.  That and I don't own a suppressor so take it for what it's worth.  As mentioned, I loved the SSA 110gr TSX tac loads, but those are pretty hard to find now.  There are a ton of other loads out there that function well.  Recently, significant amounts of Federal XM68GD has hit the market (supposedly overrun for foreign military contract).  Reading some reviews, that load with the 90gr Gold Dot is producing some excellent accuracy and terminal effects.  I still have a pile of handloads with that bullet that perform very well in this rifle.

What glass do have on it?

"Experience is directly proportional to the amount of equipment broken"

Longeye posted:

I use a 2-7x on several rifles. The only time I zoom to 7x is for very small targets in obscured locations. Usually, the power is set to 4x when running around on the 900 Ranger.

When I go for a walk, it will often be 3-4 miles in. This drives me towards a lighter rifle.  

In east Tennessee, shots over 100 yards are rare.  I bought a Palmetto Armory 6.8 16" pencil barrel upper and use a 2-7x scope on it.  Seems like a good compromise of power and weight.  Took a while to find ammo it liked, but it works well.  I plan to use it for this fall's deer hunts.

FN posted:

What glass do have on it?

Leupold VX-R 2-7x33.  30mm tube, Firedot reticle.  Actually had an ACOG on it previously but my eyes are getting worse and I wanted a bit more mag range. 2x is fine up close; I don't get all hot and bothered over "it's not a true 1x blah blah blah" and the 7x is enough when at range or when I need to PID a critter.  It is surprisingly light, as is the Aero mount; although not quick release.  Again, the intended use for this is hunting deer and not ISIS so I did make some compromises.  Like no BUIS; if something happens and the scope isn't useable then I'm out a deer tag with isn't the end of the world.

"These are the rules. Everybody fights, nobody quits. If you don't do your job I'll kill you myself."

 

Joined: 04/01/2004     Location:  Twin Cities, MN

It seems that all the smaller cases, 6.8, 6.5G and the 7.62x39  shoot a 120gr bullet in the 2400 to 2600 fps range, I may be wrong on this it has been sometime since I looked.  

That makes me think on game at 200yds or so there is going to be similar results with similarly constructed bullets.   

Mojo's idea of a 7.62x39 AR brings things back to the 94 30-30 idea and with cheap plentiful ammo and components.  

Now if someone made some 10rnd  or so mags that were reliable instead of those monstrous 30rnd curved things that would make it awkward to lug.

 

MWL posted:

For an optic, I would look at one of the new Bushnell Tactical Elite 1-6.5x that they showed at SHOT earlier this year. They are a true 1x, with a very bright red dot at 1x, that is very close to a RDS in use, but a very usable 6.5x for looking at the longer stuff you mentioned, and not as expensive as a Short Dot.



On the 6.8uppper, I've got one of the couple year old Bushnell Tactical Elite 1-6.5s. The dot is pretty bright as is the semi-circle around it. It works well for the hunting role I bought it for. 

Participation does not equal Proficiency - Mike Pannone. Re-stated "Participation in one area does not equal Proficiency in another!"

 

Joined: November 2002

stray round posted:

It seems that all the smaller cases, 6.8, 6.5G and the 7.62x39  shoot a 120gr bullet in the 2400 to 2600 fps range, I may be wrong on this it has been sometime since I looked.  

That makes me think on game at 200yds or so there is going to be similar results with similarly constructed bullets.   

Mojo's idea of a 7.62x39 AR brings things back to the 94 30-30 idea and with cheap plentiful ammo and components.  

Now if someone made some 10rnd  or so mags that were reliable instead of those monstrous 30rnd curved things that would make it awkward to lug.

 

I’m still letting that 7.62x39 AR bug float around in my head. Mostly because I’m infinitely more familiar with the AR than the AK. 2 considerations keep me from doing it. 

1) I don’t want to drop $1200 on a complete gun (Mutant) from a maker who’s reputation is less than stellar and,

2)  I don’t want to drop significantly less cash on something cheap or second rate (PSA). 

Thats part of the reason I have the fascination with the 6.5G. I can get a good upper and just use my current lower so the initial dollar output is less. Or I could just buy an AK and get more familiar.  Yeah, I’m a cheap bastard. Apologies for the sort of off topic diversion. 

Mojo/Mark
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Yo homey, is that my briefcase...?
Vincent from "Collateral"
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You want the good life, you break your back, you snap your fingers, you snap your neck... Prong/Demon Hunter

Joined: 9/30/09
Location: Northern Nevada (Reno/Sparks)

Standard disclaimer - civ, not warfighter or LEO.

I agree with the comments regarding outrunning one's logistics headlights. 6.8SPC and 300BLK might be outstanding options depending on where you live and what you're doing, but you'll have to plan for it.

I'm going to keep it simple and stick with 5.56. It may not be the "best" round out there, but I can afford to train significantly more with it last I checked.

Don't get me wrong, I have the parts for a VSBR 300BLK upper - but I'm not in a hurry to build it. I barely have enough ammo to verify that it actually works and zero it, and I absolutely can not afford enough ammo to get properly acquainted with it. An 8.5" barrel with UCIW stock should be one hell of a package though.

Not quite in line with this thread, I'd consider picking up a proven performer in 308WIN. If I lived in an area where animals with 4 legs were a larger portion of my threat analysis, that is where I'd already be. Fuck bears.

I don't feel like I'm at a disadvantage with any of the Speer GDSP loadings. I currently have 55gr GDSPs - it is what I could get at the time. Now I'm seeing 62gr and 75gr available and at reasonable prices.

They are not Black Hills 180gr Nosler AccuBonds though. It doesn't help that the two guns I own which are chambered in .308WIN are frighteningly accurate with that round.

I don't know. My 5.56 guns are like an old pair of boots. They're comfortable, we've been through plenty of shit together, and they are always there for me. Transitioning over to a .308WIN would be kinda like hooking up with a dance instructor or hair dresser. It would cost a fortune to get in to and probably end in misery and divorce.

 

______________

"A pistol is what you carry when you do not expect a problem. If you expect a problem you can't avoid, and you are not taking a long gun, you are not very smart." - DM

 

Joined: 04Nov2007         Location: Indiana

I get that the OP wants to discuss calibers outside of 5.56mm. I also understand we each need to assess what our personal needs might be.  But for my needs, the 5.56mm with the appropriate ammunition can handle my off duty needs as well as it can handle my on duty needs. 

For me, the largest animal I seriously am in need of defense against would be dogs. I don't hunt as a sport. I live in a region of the Mid-West that consists of hills. Shots I may encounter would mostly be within 100 yards. Occasionally it could stretch out to 200 yards, but that would be the exception and not the norm.

My needs for an AR  when off duty are similar to my need for when I'm on duty, to whit, self defense against bad people with bad intent. So although the OP is wanting to discuss calibers outside of 5.56mm, the 5.56mm is in fact what I chose. My off duty AR is a clone to my on duty Patrol Rifle. A Daniel Defense V7lw with an Aimpoint T2 and a surefire scout. If I can ever decide on which pic to buy, I plan on putting a LPVO on my spare DDV7 (magnified optics are not an option for my Patrol Rifle) to replace the Aiming T1 that currently resides on the gun.

My issued duty ammunition is the Winchester 64 gr bonded 5.56mm load (RA556B). It also happens to be what I load in all of my AR's for a carry round. I've participated in and/or attended three ballistic workshops that we have hosted over the last few years, in which this round was tested. Seeing is believing, and I like the results I saw with the Winchester bonded round. 

I recently bought a vacation/travel gun. I kept it simple and bought a DanielDefense V7 pistol with a Law Tactical folder in 5.56mm.  For my needs this works. 

 

 

 

Joined: 4-23-04                                          Location: SW Ohio

I dig the 5.56 and use 64 gr GD for a number of things. I also do my volume practice shooting with 5.56 and .22. But there are times when the 5.56 is not enough. I have seen it fail. Maybe the other cartridges would have as well, but a little extra performance in a rifle that will not see many rounds, but will be carried extensively seems like a good thing.

I like the ergonomics of the small frame AR. I like the idea that my pouches will accept 6.8, 6.5, or .300 BO mags as easily as my standard 5.56 mags. I like that it is easy to add a light or MFAL if I want to bust stuff after dark.

It may well be that I end up with a CZ 527 or a Rem M7 for my off duty bush bumming. If the planets align, I may even end up with a "Fix" from Live Q or die. But that thing is a months wages.

 

I am leaning toward 6.8 mostly because Daniel Defense offers a CHF barrel for it, and the other non 5.56 cartridges are not similarly supported.

Longeye posted:

I dig the 5.56 and use 64 gr GD for a number of things. I also do my volume practice shooting with 5.56 and .22. But there are times when the 5.56 is not enough. I have seen it fail. Maybe the other cartridges would have as well, but a little extra performance in a rifle that will not see many rounds, but will be carried extensively seems like a good thing.

I like the ergonomics of the small frame AR. I like the idea that my pouches will accept 6.8, 6.5, or .300 BO mags as easily as my standard 5.56 mags. I like that it is easy to add a light or MFAL if I want to bust stuff after dark.

It may well be that I end up with a CZ 527 or a Rem M7 for my off duty bush bumming. If the planets align, I may even end up with a "Fix" from Live Q or die. But that thing is a months wages.

 

I am leaning toward 6.8 mostly because Daniel Defense offers a CHF barrel for it, and the other non 5.56 cartridges are not similarly supported.

Ive looked at the CZ527 and know for sure that it’s available in 7.62x39. Not sure about 6,5,6.8, or 300BO. That is an option I’ve considered to satisfy my 6.5G  cravings, if it’s available.  

Mojo/Mark
__________________________
Yo homey, is that my briefcase...?
Vincent from "Collateral"
__________________________
You want the good life, you break your back, you snap your fingers, you snap your neck... Prong/Demon Hunter

Joined: 9/30/09
Location: Northern Nevada (Reno/Sparks)

MOJONIXON posted:
Longeye posted:

I dig the 5.56 and use 64 gr GD for a number of things. I also do my volume practice shooting with 5.56 and .22. But there are times when the 5.56 is not enough. I have seen it fail. Maybe the other cartridges would have as well, but a little extra performance in a rifle that will not see many rounds, but will be carried extensively seems like a good thing.

I like the ergonomics of the small frame AR. I like the idea that my pouches will accept 6.8, 6.5, or .300 BO mags as easily as my standard 5.56 mags. I like that it is easy to add a light or MFAL if I want to bust stuff after dark.

It may well be that I end up with a CZ 527 or a Rem M7 for my off duty bush bumming. If the planets align, I may even end up with a "Fix" from Live Q or die. But that thing is a months wages.

 

I am leaning toward 6.8 mostly because Daniel Defense offers a CHF barrel for it, and the other non 5.56 cartridges are not similarly supported.

Ive looked at the CZ527 and know for sure that it’s available in 7.62x39. Not sure about 6,5,6.8, or 300BO. That is an option I’ve considered to satisfy my 6.5G  cravings, if it’s available.  

You must have some super power with the gun companies.

http://cz-usa.com/product/cz-527-american/         in 6.5G

Looks like there are some 300BOs out there, too.

https://www.academy.com/shop/p...er-bolt-action-rifle

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