As some of you may have remembered (if you're very long-time readers) I had a yen to build a .300 Whisper AR. I had the lower (a Superior Arms) all put together, complete with MagPul M93B stock. I had a Leupold CQ/T scope on an ARMS throw-lever base all ready to mount on it. I ordered the .300 Fireball (nee Whisper) upper from Olympic...
Last week, after evicting yet another spider from its dusty magwell, I figured it was time to slap an upper of some sort on the completed lower, even if only temporarily as a means of keeping arachnids from taking up residence inside. I was considering one of the ultra-swoopy GG&G Dominator uppers we have at the shop, but a phone call changed my mind.
It was Wednesday morning and I was making my weekly call to one of my biggest distributors. We'd just sold our last case of Wolf .223, and the stock of Federal XM193 was running low, so I figured it was time to replenish the bulk AR fodder at the shop.
"So, Larry, do y'all have any XM855?"
"No, we're all out. Sorry!"
"How 'bout XM193?"
"Federal American Eagle? Winchester Q3131?"
"I have 10,000 boxes of the American Eagle on order, but I'm out of both."
"So, basically, what you're telling me is that y'all don't have any cheap .223 in the house."
"I'm afraid that's about right."
Now, I have enough bulk 5.56 at home to resupply Task Force Ranger, but suppose I didn't? Suppose I'd unwisely shot up my stockpiles and needed to buy more? I'd be stuck buying premium .223, which runs $15-$20 (or more) a box.
You know what else costs about that, at least when bought by the box? That's right: 6.8mm SPC. And I can get all the bulk 6.8 ball ammo I want right now, and I can get it by the case lot.
And there is a DPMS 6.8mm AP4 flat top upper at work.
Well, scratch that... There was a DPMS 6.8mm AP4 flat top upper at work, because now it's pinned to my lower, with the CQ/T parked atop it.
The cartridge has always seemed a good idea to me, delivering a pretty good wallop while requiring minimal changes to the existing AR platform, and with Hornady and Remington both loading ammo, availability is good right now. (This also gives me an excellent excuse to pick up a 6.8 barrel for my Encore.) Since the lower required no modifications to work with the upper, when my .300 Whisper upper finally arrives (or should I decide to pick up another .223 upper) I can switch it out with two push-pins and not have to worry about the hammers, buffers, and mag blocks that make having a dedicated pistol-caliber lower almost a necessity.
So there you go. Only about two years after they hit the shelves, I've finally got a 6.8, and almost by accident at that. Who knows? If ammo prices and availability trends keep going like they have for the past two years, I may be converting my other 5.56 AR to the caliber before long as well...