August 15th, 2022
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Interesting Cartridge Comparisons from Brownells
Brownells is a well-known retailer of guns, gun parts, tools, accessories, ammo, and pretty much everything gun related. Brownells has a very active video production department that releases new “how-to” and product information videos every week. These videos offer helpful advice on gun cleaning/maintenance, reloading, as well as selecting/assembling components for various kinds of rifles. There now over 1000 videos on the Brownells YouTube Channel, this really is a remarkable resource.
One of our favorite regular Brownells video features are the Quick Tip Cartridge Comparisons. Brownells tech staffers look at a pair of cartridge types and reveal the noteworthy differences. Here are three recent Cartridge Comparison videos from Brownells.
6.5 Creedmoor vs. .260 Remington
Brownells Gun Tech Caleb Savant compares and contrasts the 6.5 Creedmoor rifle cartridge with the older .260 Remington. Both cartridges are often loaded to nearly the same overall length (OAL), but with more of the bullet inside the neck for the .260 Rem. The .260 Remington is basically a .308 Winchester necked down to 6.5mm (.264?). The 6.5 Creedmoor has a shorter case, with a more modern 30-degree shoulder angle. With the same cartridge OAL, that can make it possible to load longer-ogive, higher-BC bullets. However, with a long-freebore chamber, the .260 Rem can certainly run any high-BC 6.5mm bullet made.
The .260 Remington can, theoretically, generate a bit more velocity at the muzzle because its longer case holds a bit more powder. However, with high-quality Lapua brass, in the real world, the 6.5 Creedmoor comes pretty darn close to .260 Rem performance with any given bullet weight. Moreover, the 6.5 Creedmoor is available with small primer pocket brass from Lapua. This brass may give a higher number of reloading cycles before case-head expansion becomes a problem. For the hunter, both choices are good, but the older .260 Rem may feed a bit better from a magazine, given the .260’s case taper and longer body. Overall, we favor the 6.5 Creedmoor for its versatility and efficiency, but the .260 Rem is a good cartridge too.
6.8 SPC vs. 6.5 Grendel
Brownells Gun Tech Caleb Savant compares two medium-caliber cartridges that can work in AR15-platform rifles: the 6.5 Grendel and the 6.8 SPC (aka 6.8mm Remington “Special Purpose Cartridge”). The 6.5 Grendel is typically loaded with a high-BC .264? bullet, while the 6.8 SPC has a larger-diameter .277? bullet. Both have the same 2.26? OAL as the AR-15’s standard .223 Remington / 5.56 NATO round. The big difference is the 6.5 Grendel’s faster velocity and flatter trajectory. With the same bullet weight, Brownells says the 6.5 Grendel will be about 100 fps faster than the 6.8 SPC. Given a 100-yard zero, the 6.5 Grendel will drop about 8.5? at 300 yards, while the 6.8 SPC will drop 10.5? at the same range. The 6.5 Grendel is probably a better choice for long-range targets, at least when loaded with a higher-BC bullet. A big difference is brass. You can get superb Lapua brass for the 6.5 Grendel. Not so for the 6.8 SPC, which really has never developed into a widely popular accuracy round.
7.62×51 NATO vs. .308 Winchester (Subtle differences)
Brownells Technician Caleb Savant talks about the .308 Winchester and 7.62x51mm NATO. Most shooters know that both rounds have the same external dimensions. In fact, the military 7.62×51 was developed from the civilian .308 Winchester. So… can they be used interchangeably? The 7.62×51 cartridge normally can be fired from any rifle chambered in .308 Winchester because the 7.62 is spec’d for a lower pressure than SAAMI max in the .308 Win. However, we have encountered some British and Austrian 7.62×51 NATO milsurp ammo that was VERY hot — more than a typical commercial .308 Win Load. Accordingly you should always be careful when shooting new 7.62×51 ammo in your rifles. Likewise you should be careful about shooting higher-pressure .308 Win in some 7.62 NATO rifles. The 7.62×51 NATO chamber is slightly longer, and the cartridge’s case is typically a bit thicker, so it will “flow” and expand into the extra space. NOTE: Some newer rifles with 7.62×51 NATO chambers ARE made to handle .308 Win ammo. Check the owner’s manual or contact your rifle’s manufacturer to find out for sure.
.44 Magnum vs. .45 Long Colt — Great Wheelgun Cartridges
Brownells Gun Tech Steve Ostrem does a quick compare-and-contrast of the .44 Magnum and .45 Long Colt — two of the most popular revolver cartriges. The .45 LC debuted in the 1870s, when the steel used in revolvers was much weaker than modern steel, so it’s typically loaded as a low-pressure cartridge. The .44 Magnum was developed in the 1950s specifically for hunting, and stronger modern gun steels meant revolvers could be built to handle its much greater pressures. Full-power commercial .44 Magnum ammunition tends to be easier to find. The .45 Colt you find at the gun store is loaded mildly so folks don’t blow up their vintage revolvers! BOTH cartridges are great for handloading because they have straight-wall cases and can handle a wide variety of powders and bullet weights. Dies, brass, and bullets are readily available for both. If you don’t handload but want a hunting revolver, .44 Magnum is the better choice, as there’s more FULL-power factory ammo available.
Tags: .308 Win, .44 Magnum, .45 Long Colt, 260 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.8 SPC, 7.62×51 NATO