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6.8 SPC, .308 Winchester

Should I Use 6.8 SPC Or .308 Win?

Today We Are Going To Compare 6.8 SPC And .308 Winchester.

It certainly feels like there are new rounds on the market every year that do the same things as the old rounds on the shelf. So we’ll see what the differences between the two rounds are and what tasks they are best used for.

Every round has a special niche it was designed for and a few extra areas where it excels. However there is a lot of overlap as you get to newer cartridges and bullet designs. With that in mind let’s look at 6.8 SPC and .308 Winchester

6.8 SPC and .308 Winchester Overview

To better understand how each of these rounds differ from each other we first need to understand their base specifications, origins, pros, and cons. After that we can more easily see their differences.

6.8 SPC (Special Purpose Cartridge)

The 6.8 SPC, also known as the 6.8 Remington Special Purpose Cartridge, is the newer of the two rounds. Its original purpose was to provide better terminal ballistics than 5.56 in shorter barrels while still maintaining some compatibility with baseline military M4 infrastructure.

Essentially it was designed with similar goals to .300 Blackout. However, 6.8 SPC’s development originally occurred in the 2002-2004 time period while .300 Blackout was developed later in 2009.

Instead of using a .30-caliber projectile like .300 Blackout, the 6.8 SPC uses 0.277 projectiles which makes it similar to .270 Winchester. The major difference being that the 6.8 SPC has a lower powder charge.

This difference makes it easier to put into semi-automatic (AR-15) actions since it is all together shorter than .270 Winchester. The 6.8 SPC is also better than 5.56 when it comes to bullet weights and overall effectiveness.


  • Bullet Diameter: 0.277 inches

  • Bullet Weights: 85-115 grains

  • Neck Diameter: 0.306 inches

  • Case Length: 1.687 inches

  • Overall Length: 2.260 inches

  • Max SAAMI Pressure: 55,000 PSI


The 6.8 SPC is best used as a hunting round and a handloading project. This comes from its relatively stable speeds across multiple barrel lengths and its boutique nature in the market. The relative lack of support for 6.8 SPC means that there will be a lot of opportunities to make your own loads.


The 6.8 SPC is a great alternative to 5.56 rounds with better performance while maintaining a similar bullet drop. The heavier rounds will perform more consistently on medium game, like deer and boars, while still functioning in an AR-15-style platform.

It is roughly the same price as .308 but doesn’t have the normal allure that .308 has, potentially helping with ammunition availability until the supply dwindles.


While there are good benefits and multiple sources for 6.8 SPC, it still remains a more boutique item. Barrels and special muzzle devices are needed for your rifle and while most online retailers will have some on hand, your local supply chain may not be able to furnish 6.8 rounds.

If you do not plan on building up your own handloading infrastructure around 6.8 SPC, you may find that sustaining the round will be harder than other options.

.308 Winchester:

The oldest of these two rounds, .308 Winchester is the civilian version of 7.62×51 NATO. This round was the result of better propellants after the Second World War, garnering roughly similar performance to standard .30-06 but in a smaller footprint.

It became a major player in everything from hunting and long range shooting to military and police uses around the world. The .308 Winchester is one of the most common rounds on the market and features a wide variety of standard and specialty loads.

This popularity makes it one of the primary options for everything .30-caliber, especially on the civilian side of things.


  • Bullet Diameter: 0.308 inches

  • Bullet Weights: 110-190 grains

  • Neck Diameter: 0.3433 inches

  • Case Length: 2.015 inches

  • Overall Length: 2.8 inches

  • Max SAAMI Pressure: 62,000 PSI


The .308 is something of a jack-of-all-trades. It provides very good penetration and can deal with intermediate barriers better than 5.56 and other smaller calibers. The round is a great entry level option for precision shooting and one of the standard calibers for hunting most game.

The only real limitation of the round is its maximum distance and larger recoil when compared to intermediate cartridges.


The benefits of .308 is that it is largely available in most locations, and comes in a variety of different loads for almost any situation. It can be easily stockpiled, bolt action and semi-automatic rifles can use the round, and your choice of projectiles is very broad.


Since it is such a common round it is in high demand. If ammunition shortages occur, it may be the first to disappear during panic buys while still being one of the primary rounds manufactured. Additionally, if you have any range restrictions, .308 is more likely to tear up range backstops and steel targets on shorter gun ranges. This can limit your ability to go and train with your preferred round.

So What’s The Difference?

The differences between 6.8 SPC and .308 Winchester come down to bullet size, availability, and overall support.

First off, there is a clear difference in the size of each of these projectiles. The 6.8 is .277 inches in diameter and the .308 is .308 inches in diameter. This makes them very similar in size but with different bullet cross sections that are optimized for different things.

The 6.8 SPC will be very consistent when it comes to velocity, since it was originally designed for shorter barrels. This makes it a great option if you want to tinker with your barrel lengths without worry about a significant loss in feet-per-second.

The .308 offers a more tailored experience depending on how much you want to spend on the rounds. Specialty projectiles and higher pressure tolerances make the .308 round great for those individuals who want to squeeze the most accuracy out of a commonly available round.

Another major difference will be handloading rounds. If you are planning on handloading, the availability issues go away for both rounds. However there is more load data available for .308 and much more to discover with 6.8 SPC.

The final difference is support. Not necessarily of the rounds, but of the rifles that use them. You are more likely to encounter a .308 rifle than you are a 6.8 SPC. This means the spare parts needed to keep the guns running will also favor the .308 cartridge.

However, if you are already geared towards 6.8 SPC, many of these potential issues disappear since the community surrounding 6.8 SPC is more than helpful when it comes to improving the cartridge. The technical support of 6.8 is arguably better than .308 since it has less casual fans.

Either way, both are good hunting rounds that offer better performance than 5.56 and more interaction regarding customization and refinement. Whichever you choose, you should be ready to buy into the supporting infrastructure that will keep you shooting for years to come.