It just might be a first in the gun industry. For once, an ammunition manufacturer launched a new cartridge ahead of schedule and a firearms manufacturer launched the accompanying rifle early, too. That’s how the 6mm ARC and the San Tan Tactical STT-15 6ARC hit the market. And after shooting the rifle I can say they did well – and that I want one for an in-depth review.
The 6mm ARC as described by Hornady, its creator:
Tested, selected, and fielded by a specialized group within the U.S. DoD for its multipurpose combat rifle program, the versatile 6mm ARC does much of what larger cartridges can and everything that smaller cartridges can’t. Designed to meet the needs of the world’s toughest critics, the 6mm ARC utilizes efficient, high-BC bullets to deliver unprecedented performance from the AR-15 platform. Commercial 6mm ARC offerings will feature bullets selected to deliver ideal performance for hunting, match shooting, and personal protection applications.
Let’s get a couple of the obvious questions out of the way. According to the Hornady their 6mm ARC outdoes .223 Rem by a lot — not a big surprise — and, of course, outdoes .308 Win, too. They also say it’s a stronger long-range performer than 6.8 SPC.
The rep from San Tan said the new cartridge has a flatter trajectory and greater velocity than the .224 Valkyrie. Does all this mean the 6.5 Creedmoor fanbois may have some competition in the cartridge popularity contest market? Maybe.
Wouldn’t that be fun to watch play out?
There’s a list of manufacturers making 6mm ARC-chambered rifles but I got to shoot San Tan Tactical’s last week. One thing that appeals about this specific model is that Proof Research got in on it with one of their 18-inch carbon fiber barrels. But it’s also clear a lot of thought went into the specs of this rifle (see below).
The rifle the STT rep had along with him was the Black Multicam CERAKOTE version which is unsurprisingly a popular choice. Without a scope the rifle weighs under 7 lbs, making the final weight your choice depending on the scope you use.
The 6mm ARC ammunition fits in standard AR-15 mags which is nice considering the massive assortment of “look at this boutique round” mags I have in boxes in my gun room.
A full review of this rifle is definitely needed, but at first blush it appeared well-made, reliable, and accurate. The 3.5 lb. single-stage trigger has a clean, crisp break and short reset, the rifle itself is lightweight and shoulders comfortably, and I’d like to run it long-range and see what it can really do. I also want to break out the chronograph and compare it to some of the other popular and/or recent long-range cartridges.
I’m always a little leery of The Latest Hotness cartridges, but given the source — Hornady — I think this one is worth trying out at length. And if you’re wondering about STT — maybe you’ve never heard of them — they’re part of the CMC Triggers family, a manufacturer whose products I’ve liked for a long time.
Let’s hear it, guys. Predictions?
STT Lower Features:
1.38-inch Integrally Machined Magazine Well Flare
Ambidextrous Quick Attach Detach Sling Swivel Points with Anti-Rotation Stops
Ambidextrous Bolt Release
Ambidextrous Magazine Release
Bullet Pictogram Safety Selector Markings
Set Screw Trigger Creep Adjustment
Set Screw Upper Take Down Tension Adjustment
Shooter Ready Finger Reset
Oversized Winter Trigger Guard Perfect for Gloved Hands
Dowel Screw Assembly
Ultra-Grip Texture on All Controls
Weight: 9.4 ounces
STT Upper Features:
San Tan Tactical Truss Pockets for Increased Structural Rigidity
Cut from Single Billet 7075-T6 Aerospace Grade Aluminum
Fully Assembled with Forward Assist and Ejection Port Cover
Machined in T Markings for Easy Optic Relocation
Machined with M4 Feed Ramps
Machined to MIL-SPEC Standards
Interfaces with all AR15/M16/M4 Systems and Accessories
Compatible with Multiple Rails, Anti-Rotation Tabs and Pins
Compatible with All Known Battery Levers
No Roll Pin Design – Forward Assist Attaches via Threaded Dowel Pin
Weight: 8.2 ounces
STT-15-6ARC Rifle Features:
STT Suppressor Optimized Enhanced Bolt Carrier Group
STT 6ARC HPT MPI Bolt, Crane O-Ring Upgrade
Proof Research 18-inch Carbon Fiber 6ARC Barrel
CMC Triggers 3.5lb Single Stage Match Trigger
MagPul MOE plus Grip
MagPul CTR Stock
MagPul MBUS Pro
STT-15 16-inch MLOK Rail
Precision CNC Machined from Billet 7075-T6 Certified Aluminum
Proprietary special burnished bore that gives a compacted internal surface, resulting in a much smoother surface finish
Type 3, Class 2 deep black hard-coat anodized black
Features extended feed ramps
Ambidextrous Mag and Bolt Release Controls
CERAKOTE options available for an additional cost
Total weight: 6lbs, 13 oz
Complete Rifle MSRP: $2,895
Check it out here.