The Hornady 6mm ARC cartridge released back in June, to much fanfare, and for good reason. Designed for the AR-15 platform, it redefines long-range capability in a small-frame semi-automatic rifle system.

Shooting the Hornady 6mm ARC

At the 2020 Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous we got the opportunity to send some rounds downrange with Hornady’s new cartridge. And the ARC lived up to the hype. It should come to no surprise an unnamed DOD unit selected the 6mm ARC for its Multipurpose Combat Rifle program.

“This cartridge was designed specifically for a group within the DoD,” said Hornady’s Neal Emery. “The beauty of it is, is maximizing what can be done in an AR-15 platform without having to go up to the larger AR-10 platform, which of course are heavier, and the quantities that fit the magazine are lower, et cetera.”

Coming up with new cartridges for the vaunted AR-15 is certainly nothing new. An entire industry of innovation and design revolves around America’s rifle. But the ARC breaks new ground.

“So what we’ve done is, basically, maximize what we can fit within an AR-15 magazine with a long-range bullet in 6mm, that doesn’t have to be shoved way down into the cartridge case, robbing it of powder capacity, where we can utilize really long, high BC bullets, that work well from close range to far range but still say in that smaller AR-15 platform,” Emery said.

The 6mm ARC comes in three different factory loadings. Hornady Black loads a 105-grain BTHP Black bullet. It pushes 2,750 fps at the muzzle. The Match 6mm ARC sends a 108-grain ELD Match bullet at 2,750 fps. This load will no doubt find favor with long-range competitors running gas guns. Finally, hunters get the Precision Hunter 6mm ARC. It sends a 103-grain ELD-X bullet at 2,800 fps.

The 6mm ARC is very likely here to stay. It arguably outperforms the .308 Win. in a .223-sized platform, the long-time Holy Grail search for cartridges. For even more information, please visit

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