Homeland Security shooters are dumping .308 for this long-range round
INDIANAPOLIS ― The Department of Homeland Security plans to get rid of all its 7.62mm NATO, or .308 caliber, long-range rifle ammunition and replace it with an intermediate caliber that Special Operations snipers will field next year — the 6.5mm Creedmoor.
Speaking Monday during a panel at the National Defense Industrial Association Armament Systems Symposium here, Devin Patterson, a DHS engineer, told the audience that the switch would give their “tactical observers,” civilian speak for snipers, a more accurate round for their sensitive security missions.
And because the dimensions of the cartridge are not drastically different, the change mostly involves just a barrel change.
“It’s an easy swap,” Patterson said.
“Law enforcement ruled out .260 Remington right off the bat,” Patterson said.
That’s because with the 6.5mm, they can continue to use the same NATO-spec magazines that are in use with the 7.62mm.
While Special Operations Command snipers have also adopted the same caliber, cartridge configurations could be somewhat different because of DHS mission-specific concerns.
They are evaluating a hybrid of open-tip match ammunition with improved hunting round technology.
The key, he said, is for their shooters to avoid “overpenetration.”
“Current [open-tip match] rounds don’t meet these requirements,” he said.
As both DHS and SOCOM snipers make the switch to 6.5mm, the regular Army is developing its own weapon and cartridge configuration.
That project, under the Next Generation Squad Rifle umbrella, is likely to end the military’s use of 5.56mm ammunition, a round that’s been controversial since it was first adopted by the Pentagon more than half a century ago.
Much of their testing has fallen within that range but isn’t likely to produce a prototype weapon for testing for another two years.
Thanks for the article.
As I’ve often observed, professionals like government “operators” are no less subject to getting caught up in the latest fads than private individuals—and often more so. The 6.5 Creedmoor (and I have a rifle chambered for the cartridge) is no better for close to intermediate range sniper operations than the venerable 308 Winchester, and the latter has far more ammunition options. If they’re concerned about the “over-penetration” bogeyman, 308 shooters are hardly limited to open tip match bullets. Anyone in DHS who believes that hasn’t been paying attention. To cite just a couple of examples, Hornady’s 155 and 168 grain A-MAX TAP loads that are very accurate and expand very rapidly have been available for many years now and enjoy strong favor among police snipers.
The 6.5 Creedmoor is indeed better for long distance engagements, but what’s the chance that a DHS sniper will ever be shooting someone at 900 yards? A shooter spending his own money and wanting to win competitions will choose equipment based on what is best for his purposes, whereas when it’s taxpayer money, all that matters is if someone can convince his bosses that all the cool kids are using it.
But despite my cynicism, this is good in that such movements will help development of weapons and loads for the cartridge.
“I can’t give you brains, but I can give you a diploma.”
— The Wizard of Oz
My thoughts exactly.
The 6.5CM fad has been around for 11yrs. How much longer does the 6.5CM have to be around before it's no longer a fad?
This cool kid has moved over to the 6mm fad. 6.5's are so 2013
I have been considering 6.5 for my Bighorn action. Suppose it might stick around.
The primary DHS consumers of the new setup will be USSS. Their shooters might train for longer-range shots, but in their normal working "bubble," 300 or less. Also, it's unlikely, IMO, that the sudden need for 6.5 is being driven by the guys who are actually shooting.
I'm skeptical of change for the sake of change.
Yeah, the American Rifleman article of a few months ago pointed that out, and the author sort of raised the same question. Why now?
But fads don’t necessarily begin at the same time something is introduced; look at tattoos: people have been introducing foreign materials into their bodies by jabbing themselves with sharp objects for thousands of years, but the fad of its being the mainstream thing to do in this country only dates back a relatively short time. I can hardly wait until the cool thing is filing one’s front teeth to points; bones or other stuff through the nose is so 2000.
Added: “Fad” is probably the wrong word. A fad is something that people do without good reason and that will usually fade as quickly as it became popular; collecting Beanie Babies comes to mind. “Bandwagon” is perhaps a better way of describing the move to 6.5 CM, and can very well be warranted (although I’m skeptical that it is in this case). Law enforcement—and military—snipers adopted (and have been saddled with) the 308 Winchester for decades because of all the factors that went into developing the 7.62mm NATO round. I have long believed that there were better bullet calibers for military use than .30, and it seems that now we’re finally moving in that direction.
“I can’t give you brains, but I can give you a diploma.”
— The Wizard of Oz
|Knows too little |
about too much
YEP. The typical range at which these guy have to make a money shot, 308 is fine.
TL Davis: “The Second Amendment is special, not because it protects guns, but because its violation signals a government with the intention to oppress its people…”
I have virtually identical precision bolt action rifles in 308 and 6.5 Creedmoor. Thousands of rounds through each rifle, with maybe 10 years behind the 308 and 7 years behind the 6.5. Many times in practice I shoot them side by side, at the same targets, under the same conditions.
The accuracy potential of both rifles is similar enough, although ultimately I give the 6.5 a .1" or so advantage at 100 yards. My 6.5 groups are more consistent, however. Flight ballistics (drop and drift) are pretty similar out to 250 yards, but by 300 yards the 6.5 has a noticeable hit percentage advantage on small targets.
The real advantage of a 6.5 is reduced recoil. Those of us who shoot where we must spot our own impacts, be ready for an immediate follow up shot with a corrected wind/elevation/hold, and often from less-than-optimal positions understand that a 308's recoil makes such situations more challenging. In this way a Creedmoor/6.5x47/260 is hands down better than a 308.
The 6mm bores (243/6x47/Creedmoor/Dasher/BRX) are even better than the 6.5s for recoil management.
There's no doubt that the 308 is a great cartridge -- one that can do a lot things quite well. But in this arena, the 6.5s can do it better.
|Frangas non Flectes|
Thanks for your post, fritz. I haven't shot a 6.5, but have logged plenty of time on .308 rifles. If you can get similar performance out of the round and effect on the target with noticeably less felt recoil, that is enough appeal to me right there. Cool kid factor be damned.
|The Unmanned Writer|
Sounds to me like the DHS has found a way to spend a lot more money while having a few individual's annual reviews include the phrase "updated the antiquated long-distance shooting equipment with a more accurate and universally accepted format" or something akin to that.
Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.
Help, I'm having premonitions of future flashbacks.
Only in an insane world are the sane considered insane.
Some people listen to the noise of the world,
And some people listen to the quiet.
I don't keep up with cool kid factors. That said, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to notice the increasing number of rifles being chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor and the steadily growing options for quality factory ammo.
When I began shooting Creedmoor in local and regional rifle competitions, the caliber was often considered the upstart that likely wouldn't last. It seemed to be viewed as the renegade for offering factory precision ammo at a reasonable price. At that time 6.5x47 Lapua was the "it" cartridge for a precision rifle, and the competent hand loaders were doing quite well with it. The cartridge market today might look a little different if 6.5x47 had been supported with non-Lapua factory ammo.
I suspect more than a few of Hornady's internal teams questioned the Creedmoor product line during those early years. Is the 6.5 Creedmoor the perfect chambering? Not at all, but it does many things quite well.
Based on talks with some old timers, it appears that at one time 308 had its own acceptance challenges. One I'm familiar with is how it was considered wimpy in comparison to the 30-06. Not big enough for even North American game, inadequate as a military round, stupid ass action is shorter than that we're used to for 30-06, and it's a damned NATO European POS ammo conspiracy being forced upon us 'Mericans.
Technology, systems, and procedures all evolve over time. Someday the 6.5 Creedmoor may be favored only by the luddites. I may still be shooting the 6.5 Creedmoor at that time. And I bet my 308 will be rechambered for some kind of 6mm/243 bore.
|Not really from Vienna|
I’m ignorant. Has Homeland Security ever shot anyone? Was the .308 inadequate?
Agreed. The 6mm is rapidly gaining mainstream acceptance with Hornady and a few others making factory ammunition.
I am not sure I understand this statement. The 260 Remington IS a 6.5mm round. Further the parent case of the 260 is the 308 Winchester. Why was it ruled out “immediately”? I have two rifles in 260 Remington and they use the same magazines as the 308 Winchester. What am I missing?
Made in Texas, in the good ole' U.S. of A.
You guys are missing the point:
6.5 CM can penetrate two ballistic plates duct taped to your back, whereas .308 cannot.
Therefore 6.5CM > .308. Even a mall ninja could figure that out.
The shorter case length/OAL of the 6.5CM was designed to be mag friendly, bolt and semi auto's. The longer case/OAL of the 260 with 130-140 weight bullet is not ideal. Besides the 260 is so 1997
Not only is it easier to stay on target with a lower recoiling caliber... we are all going to shoot a lower recoiling caliber better. Ya I know, we're all a bunch of tough sons a bitches.... but
|Chilihead and Barbeque Aficionado|
I would also like to know the answers to these questions. Sorry if they drift the thread a little.
2nd Amendment Defender - NRA member
The Second Amendment is not about hunting or sport shooting.
Homeland Security includes Border Patrol and Secret Service which are often involved in shootings. I even recall a 2005 incident when Air Marshals fatally shot a passenger at Miami International Airport.
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