A shooter engages four targets with the 18-inch MSTN upper, shown here with an Aimpoint M2 optic in a LaRue Tactical mount. The muzzle device is the MSTN QC compensator.
I tested the Hornady ammunition in three 6.8 SPC rifles: the Stag Model 5, the Barrett M468, and a custom MSTN upper. To determine the baseline performance, I shot it through an Oehler model 35P chronograph. Between the two 16-inch and the one 18-inch upper, the ammunition clocked at 2518 to 2564 feet per second (fps). The standard deviation was less than 10 fps in each case, an indicator of consistent ammunition.
To test the accuracy of the Hornady ammunition, I shot a series of five-shot groups through each upper, from bags on a cement bench at 100 meters. The wind was five to 15 miles-per-hour, and unfortunately the Barrett upper had to be tested in different conditions from the other two uppers. The accuracy across the different uppers was consistent, with the best group from each about 1.0 MOA. The average group size was about a minute and a half across.
A compact bolt-action chambered in 6.8 SPC can make a good hunting or short-range precision rifle for law enforcement. I had a friend of mine shoot the Hornady ammunition through his Remington LTR. Its 20-inch barrel gained approximately 50 fps over the 18-inch upper. Accuracy through the Nikon Tactical 4-16x50mm scope was slightly better than the AR-15 uppers at 0.88 MOA center to center.
At the end of the day, the three rifles ran flawlessly on the Hornady ammunition. Starting properly lubed, none of them required cleaning throughout the exercise.
Though it took Hornady just over a year to bring their 6.8 SPC ammunition to market, that development time was well-spent. The 110-grain OTM ammunition was designed around the end-users' requests for a consistent load that would function with 100 percent reliability in all rifles and provide improved terminal performance. When asked if any new loadings are in the works, Wayne Holt said that Hornady is willing to develop them if there is market demand.