"5.56 is Dead."

Had an interesting conversation tonight about 5.56 with a buddy of mine. Guy is super smart and has every firearm under the sun. He said: “5.56 is dead. If inside of 200 yards, use 300BLK. Over 200 yards, go with .260, 6.5 or .308.”

Obviously, 5.56 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, but I did find it an interesting point. You guys agree or disagree?


I dont think it’s dead, it’s just so common that it’s not in the spotlight anymore. I personally love everything about the caliber but I do understand his point of view. It does what it’s designed to do and it’s so abundant and cheap that it’s hard to break away from. The combination of being lightweight, accurate, relatively cheap, and having manageable recoil is hard to beat.


Ammo cost, availability and the millions of civilian ARs will keep it around for a while. Military is developing that new 6.8 round but if not done right it could be another expensive DOA project. Design by committee is a recipe for disaster.

In my opinion and it might not be a popular one, 6.8 SPC II is the round that NATO should have adopted for their infantry issue carbines. Better performance and knock-down power out of shorter barrels at longer ranges compared to 5.56. It is better in every way. Plus, I’d take a 6.8 SPC over 308 all day long. Extra weight of 308 plus the extra weight of the ammo is a killer whether you’re hunting game or enemy combatants. Not to mention the case design of the 6.8 is so good that Federal chose it for the .224 Valkyrie which I love to shoot. The casing is also the advantage over a round like the 6.5 Grendel. The case also allows for thicker webbing between the lugs of the bolt which is huge when it comes to durability. Take a look at the extra brass in the base of the casing of the 6.8:


I’m not an expert on 300BLK but from all that I’ve read and been told by people who know more than I do, it is now simply the best cartridge for SMG style weapons. Pistol caliber rounds just can’t keep up. They’re quiet, made for short barrels and can reach out a bit when needed. I am really curious about penetration though. Is that a limitation of 300 blackout? From what I understand, it is velocity that you’re looking for when trying to penetrate barriers. And if that is the case then 300 BLK actually might not be the best “do everything within 200 yards” round. 95gr 6.8 SPC factory loads are leaving the muzzle at up to 2900 fps. Maybe someone can chime in here to educate me on this issue of penetration.

The 6.5 Creedmoor is definitely the way to go for large platform and it’s performance can justify the extra weight of the rifle and ammo. I think this is pretty well established.

So the question here seems to be, do we need something between the 300 BLK and 6.5 Creedmoor. If the 300 BLK lacks lethality through barriers then it could be that to cover all scenarios, we still need: SMGs in 300BLK, M4 style carbines in (maybe in 6.8) and a long range semi-auto solution in 6.5 Creedmoor.

Good topic and I’m very much looking forward to being educated on any false assumptions I’m making here.

Here is a great interview done by our very own @jburton talking to the man, the myth the legend, Mr. Chuck Pressburg about some of these points: https://www.arbuildjunkie.com/5-56-vs-7-62-chuck-pressburg/

I’ve never been fond of the round but it’s near universal availability and price will keep it alive for the foreseeable future. Other calibers based on the 5.56 case that share BCG’s and mags are a good thing for me. I shoot an AR chambered in Wilson Combat’s 300HAM’R. Converting 5.56 range brass is easy and cheap. It’s sub moa and exceeds 30-30 ballistics. Since I figure most of the shots I take will be under 300 yards my need for 7.62 has diminished. All I have in that caliber anymore is an M1A SOCOM. I load Speer 125 gr TNT and Speer 150gr SPBT interchangeably between my 300HAM’R and M1A. Prior to getting my HAM’R 5.56 was in fact dead (to me) and I didn’t have enough interest 300BLK to bother with building either. Now I can justify building a couple of uppers to keep around just in case. Ironically this may help keep 5.56 alive.

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Just getting into the build aspect of the ar. Bought a 300blk upper from a bud of mine just to have a bit more umph than a .556 and a semi automatic for hog hunting. Question being which upper would be the logical progression?

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My recommendation would be take a look at a quality 6.5 Creedmoor upper eventually. My last build was an 8” 300blk…my next long term purchase is an eventual KAC SR-25 in 6.5 Creedmoor, whenever that gets released


Sorry,newbie here just trying to learn the ropes. I just finished my first build (with some help) in 6.5 Grendel and was wondering why no one seems to be showing it any Love here.

Being new to scoping AR’s I found that the charging handle was often blocked by the objective. Not cool. I got a Bear Creek Arsenal side charging upper. I like it better even without the scope.

6.5 Grendel is a more mature long range small platform cartridge compared to the .224. More reloading data available, more factory ammo, more bullets, more barrels. In theory the .224 has the potential to surpass the Grendel for long range small platform shooting but it isn’t there yet.

I got love for the Grendel :facepunch:


The average AR owner is gonna buy an AR15 in 5.56. That’s all they will ever own and given the sheer number of AR’s chambered in 5.56 will keep the demand high for generations to come. The cost difference in 300blk compared to 5.56 will steer a lot of people away from it. I think it’s basically going to be a caliber for hobbyists. I imagine everybody here’s first AR was a 5.56. Until you start looking into building or buying multiple AR’s do you start looking into different calibers. 300blk is definitely the go to caliber for pistol, sbr, and suppressed builds and as the demand goes up the price will go down making it even more practical to own. It will definitely be relevant for the foreseeable future but I think new AR owners will continue to gravitate towards 5.56/.223. In a shtf situation your much more likely to find 5.56/.223 ammunition which is a huge factor for prepers. A lot of people are buying AR’s not to hunt or to sport shoot but for self preservation in a shtf scenario. Those type of owners care less about the characteristics of the round and more about the availability and cost of ammunition. They are also less likely to have rifles of multiple caliber. They will stick with 5.56/.223.

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I love the Grendel and I own 5 of them, but it was designed more for hunting than self defense. Like the 6.8 spc, the Grendel needs a heavier bolt, and mag specifically made for that cartridge like the LWRCI six8, if it is going to be used for a self defense. Ballisticaly, it is much better than the 6.8spc, but either one are great cartridges. The advantages of the 300 BO is the lower muzzle blast and softer recoil with shorter barrels compared to the 6.5 Grendel and 6.8spc. Every cartridge has strengths and weaknesses, so pick the cartridge that will fit your needs the best.

Makes sense and hunting is exactly why I chose the Grendel,coyotes in specific are something I’ve been wanting to get into in my area. I purchased another Grendel in the Ruger American predator just to have a bolt action as well.

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I agree with many here, .223/5.56 cost, availability, and overall sufficiency makes it very popular.
A buddy let me shoot his Ruger Precision Rifle chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor at 100 yards recently, it was fast and accurate. Many buddies shoot .308. Both of those rounds, as everyone knows are 3-5 times the cost of .223. The .223 round fits my budget.

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I disagree. In a free state, rife with capitalism, we have choices. We can go down the street to a firearms emporium and revel with abandon in designer weapons and cartridges.
In the real world, when world events turn civilized nations on their ears, and supply chains dissolve, as brand names become unimportant, you will still be able to secure large quantities of certain calibers in any part of the world.
.300 AAC Blackout and 6.5 Creedmore will not be on the menu.
5.56 Nato and 7.62x39 com-bloc will be best sellers, followed by 7.62x51 Nato and 7.62x54r.
9mm, .45 ACP, etc.

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I’m not so sure 300 AAC won’t be on the menu. There won’t be as much of it but it’s becoming more common and cheaper. The fact that it and 300HAM’R are based on easily resized .223 brass makes an argument for pulling the bullets and powder out of .308 and using half the powder and the bullet in 300HAM’R or 300AAC. I have a few thousand rounds of clean resized brass. I’m not forsaking 7.62NATO but but if the truth be told I wouldn’t trust my M1A SOCOM to hit the broad side of a barn at 200yds while my 300HAM’R has grouped well out to 500yds.