A History of AR Cartridges

.30 Remington AR

Remington, making an AR? Yes, the world is a new place. This is a modern hunting rifle, chambered in .30 Remington AR.

 

.30 Gremlin

Ok, just to go full circle, at the USPSA 2009 Multi-gun Championships, the USAMTU shooting team arrived with yet another new cartridge. First: Multi-gun? In the early days of 3-gun competition, we simply slapped together a match by putting up a handgun stage, a rifle stage and a shotgun stage. Later, we expanded by having multiple stages for each discipline. Well, that wasn’t adrenaline-inducing enough for some, so the stages got combined. In a Multi-gun match, you’ll have stages that require you use two or all three of the guns. Use a handgun to shoot the close targets, shoot empty or unload, pick up your rifle and shoot the far targets. That sort of thing.

Remington .30 AR

In the middle,the new Remington .30 for their AR. This is meant to be a deer hunting cartridge, not a long-range sniping cartridge.

The .30 Gremlin is the 6.5 Grendel necked up to .308, loaded with 125-grain bullets and boosted to make Major. All of a sudden,we have a .30 Major round that fits a standard AR-15 platform and doesn’t have to be chambered in an AR-10-sized rifle. Of course, the drawbacks are severe, and thus probably limited to competition, but you have to admire the ingenuity. Limiting it to a 125-grainbullet means no tumbling and no fragmentation. Of course, it is still a .308-inch bullet at Major, and as such a big step above the 7.62X39, which has always been the exemplar against which the 5.56 has been proven to “fail.”

Capacity is exactly the same as he 6.5 Grendel, and the Gremlinuses Grendel magazines.
Does this round have a future? Sure, as a competition round. For those who wish to shoot 3-gun or Multi-gun matches and want to shoot Major without going to a full-sized AR-10 based rifle or some other platform, it holds promise. Other than that, I doubt it.

30 Remington AR

The 30 Remington AR makes Major, too, but goes about it in a different manner. Starting with the case from the .450 Bushmaster, Remington necked it down to .308-inch, shortened it, and altered the rim diameter to make it non-compatible with .450 Bushmaster bolts and thus preclude someone from cobbling together a .30 Remington AR out of spare parts. The resulting cartridge feeds from an AR magazine, but it stacks singly, not staggered.

Remington Core-Lokt for the AR

The two loads Remington offered originally were both 123 grains: an FMJ for plinking/practice, and a Core-Lokt softpoint for hunting. Both listed at 2800 fps, out of a 20-inch barrel.

As a result, capacity is greatly reduced in the magazines, but that isn’t a problem Remington cares about. You see, the idea was to make the rifle a suitable deer hunting rifle, and one in .30 caliber, a bore size desired by many deer hunters.

The result is a case with the internal capacity of a .30-30, but since it operates at a higher chamber pressure than that lever gun cartridge, the .30 Rem AR offers greater velocity. Also, being magazine-fed, it uses pointed bullets instead of flatpoints or roundnose bullets like the .30-30.

For tactical or defensive use, the round offers nothing of interest. Capacity is low, performance is in an odd niche of weight and velocity, and the bullets aren’t of interest to the tacti-cool crowd. What it does, however, it does brilliantly: it offers the deer hunter who isn’t interested in tactical black guns a self-loading hunting rifle of more than deer-hunting performance, and what’s more, such a rifle comes from a maker who has no previous history in military guns. (At least not from the point of view of the deer-hunting crowd.)

If you show up in deer camp with an AR made by a big name military or tactical/defensive company, you’ll get stared at. But, the same rifle, with the name “Remington” on it, brings instant acceptance. Or, at the very least, cloaks you in respectability as you argue the virtues around the wood stove before Opening Day.

The rest of us? An interesting curiosity. Oh, when I first heard of the round, it was at a Remington seminar, and my question was “Aren’t you worried about shooters confusing it with the old .30 Remington round?”

The answer was no, they weren’t. They didn’t feel there were enough shooters who remembered it to cause a problem. So far, it seems they were right. A shame, since the old .30 Remington, in the Remington Models 8/81 and 14/141, was a very reliable deer-busting round – and a brainchild of the great John M. Browning, no less. To be so forgotten, by the very inventors of it…oh, the indignity!


More AR Information

AR-15 book collectionFind much more about AR ammunition and rifles in Gun Digest Book of the AR-15 Series Set. It contains all four volumes of AR-15 books from expert Patrick Sweeney.

Click here to get four AR-15 books in one bundle for 41% off retail (a really good deal!).

5 thoughts on “A History of AR Cartridges

  1. Diamondback

    Then there is the 6.8 SPC that delivers 90gr to 120gr bullets designed and engineered right to deliver 2 times the wound cavity of the 5.56 green tips and 77gr bullets. At 300yds and under it kills with authority with little recoil at 80% power of a 308 Win. But, since big industry did not design it in a research lab of their own, they let it die except for Hornady who was involved in the beginning.

  2. Diamondback

    Lets look at this:
    1. Remington wouldn’t keep the 450 bushmaster case making it- special and they own everthing.

    2. Remington didn’t advertise it or market at all

    3. A 30-30 can do what this does with a 20″ barrel / AK47 7.62×39 does 3/4 of it at $5 a box

    4. It has a 22″ barrel and costs $1000+ and then no reloading brass was released

    5. If it was necked down to 6.5mm it would be a winner, since it isn’t, it is a loser.

    Anyway you look at it Remington engineered a paperweight due to not releasing brass, etc.
    Remington gets an C+ for engineering and F+ for supporting and marketing it.

    If Remington had necked it down to 270 (0.277) to take advantage of all the 270 Win bullets or 6.5mm to take advantage of the 123 Amax and others Win/Win. Those calibers kill deer too and short and long range. But since Remington put their D team on it, it flopped miserably compared to just buying a 30 -30 Win with ammo for $300 from Chinamart and kill deer and hogs fine at 200yds and under – blue collar working man’s rifle. Even a bolt action Rem 700 ADL costs $350 and will kill with more fps and better hunting bullet selection at 1/3 the cost of the 30 Rem AR.

  3. gunslinger454

    There are a few other good AR15 rounds out there as well. As ‘theken101′ mentioned above, there is the .300 AAC Blackout which, if I’m not mistaken, is little more than a renamed & SAAMI approved version of the much older .300 Whisper wildcat round. Either one when loaded with a 110gr-115gr bullet basically replicates the ballistics of the 7.62x39mm round in a cartridge that is far more compatible with the AR15 platform, requiring only a new barrel.

    For the varmint hunters out there the .204 Ruger is a superb cartridge for sniping ground squirrels & prairie dogs, and, like the .300 Blackout, requires only a new barrel to work in an AR15. It’ll spit out a 32gr bullet at over 4,000fps and excels at exploding those prairie destroying little rodents at long range (as long as you can deal with the wind).

    One of the new cartridges that I find very interesting comes from Olympic Arms and was designed to exceed .308 Winchester ballistics in the AR15 platform. They call it the .300OSSM–Olympic Super Short Magnum–and it is essentially a Winchester Super Short Magnum case necked up to .30 caliber. Though magazine capacity is low, the cartridge holds a lot of promise for hunting & long range shooting with the AR15 platform.

    Then of course there’s the true big bores: the .450 Bushmaster, .458 Socom & .50 Beowulf. Any of the three will take any animal that walks on the North American continent, and they make dandy hog hunting rounds!

    My personal favorites are the .223/5.56, the 6.5 Grendel & the .458 Socom. The .300OSSM has also peaked my interest!

COMMENT