09 April 2017

State Of The Alternates

Another fun filled installment of comparing the not-5.56 rounds for the AR...

Using availability at Midway as a proxy for popularity.

6.5 Grendel.

9 loadings from 3 manufacturers.  5 available, 1 you can back-order, 2 coming soon.

6.8 SPC

20 loadings from 7 manufacturers.  14 available, 3 you can back-order.

.300 AAC Blackout.

45 loadings from 17 manufacturers.  31 available, 7 you can back-order, 1 coming soon.

Grendel and SPC have perked up slightly from last time,  I think they've settled into their steady niche.

Blackout is thriving.  It remains to be seen if the persistent ka-boom problem of getting the ammo confused will have any effect in the long term on its popularity.  Magpul, it should be noted, now makes a dedicated .300 Blk PMAG that's visually and tactilely different from the 5.56 version. 


  1. .300 Blackout is the only one of those three that I have. I have an AR in 9x19 Parabellum, but of course it wouldn't be fair to measure its popularity by this method since it has been a ubiquitous pistol cartridge for 100+ years. FWIW, of those 6.8 SPC is the next one on my list... although it is sort of touch and go between that and maybe .458 SOCOM...

  2. Since it's always easy to ask someone else to do research you just haven't gotten to yourself, what do you think about any AR cartridge for long range shooting - like 600 yards or more?

    At SHOT this year, Nosler introduced their .22 Nosler for the AR platform. It's a 3300 fps round so it drops less over those distances. Takes the 6.8 SPC magazines, and a new barrel (of course), but the same BCG. I'm not sure if the bullet itself is the same size as the standard .223, but I think they are. I almost did went for it on the sale Midway had on uppers, but I'm just not in the mood to be the first adopter. I have too many scars from being an early adopter in computers.

    1. I was an early adopter of 6.8 SPC II. Back before .300 BLK, it sure looked like 6.8 was going to be THE alternate round.

      6.5 Grendel was designed with such long ranges in mind and I hear that if you spend the money on the good barrels and pay for good ammo it shoots out to 600m no problem.

      I've got no information on .22 Nosler... But I'll have a look.


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