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January 17th, 2021

Sunday GunDay: 6.8 Western — New Cartridge, New Rifles

6.8 Western cartridge winchester browning hunting .277 WSM

Winchester and Browning have introduced the new 6.8 Western, a new .277-caliber cartridge designed for long-range hunting. The new 6.8 Western is a high-capacity cartridge with a modern 35-degree shoulder, optimized for a conventional short action. The 6.8 Western is VERY similar to the existing .270 WSM. It shares the same 0.535″ rim diameter, and the same 0.277″ bullet diameter, however the 6.8 Western’s case length is slightly shorter. The .270 WSM has a 2.100″ case length, while the new 6.8 Western has a 2.020″ length. That’s just 80 thousandths shorter. Both cartridges, the 6.8 Western and .270 WSM, share a 35° shoulder, so in fact, the 6.8 Western is VERY close to the existing .270 WSM, just .080″ short. With a 1:8″ twist, the 6.8 Western should be able to shoot bullets up to 175 grains.

6.8 Western cartridge winchester browning hunting .277 WSM
CLICK HERE for full 6.8 Western SAAMI Drawing.

In designing this new cartridge, Winchester wanted WSM performance in a slightly shorter case: “The key feature… was to shorten up that shoulder, shorten up the OAL of the cartridge so we could get longer, sleeker, heavy-for-caliber bullets to really drive the G1 BC higher and higher, to get the flattest possible trajectory.” Winchester claims that the 6.8 Western is the “largest [cartridge] on the market to fit into lighter, short-action rifles like the Winchester Model 70, Winchester XBR, and Browning X-Bolt Pro”. That’s a bit deceptive, since the .300 WSM, with a 0.2100″ case length, will fit in many of those rifles with most bullets. Oh well — there’s always some marketing hype.

6.8 Western cartridge winchester browning hunting .277 WSM

6.8 Western cartridge winchester browning hunting .277 WSM

6.8 Western — High-BC Bullets, Good Knock-Down Power, Tolerable Recoil
What is the real advantage of the new 6.8 Western? Fundamentally it can be loaded with heavier, higher-BC bullets than a 6.5 PRC, while having less recoil than a .300 WSM (with most bullets). (But the same can be said of the older .270 WSM.) WideOpenSpaces.com states that with the 6.8 Western “recoil is much lower than the .300 Win Mag, .300 PRC, and the .300 WSM cartridge. At the same time, the 6.8 is said to deliver more energy to the target than a 6.5 PRC [or] 6.5 Creedmoor[.]” Winchester is even claiming more downrange energy than a 7mm Remington Magnum.

This video, with lots of field footage, explains the main features of the new 6.8 Western:

This video has great cartridge illustrations, with 3D Animations and comparative energy tables:

“When people think of the perfect long-range rifle cartridge, they want many key features — good precision, flat trajectory, large down-range energy, and manageable recoil.” — Keith Masinelli, Winchester

6.8 Western cartridge winchester browning hunting .277 WSM

This video shows loaded ammo. Direct comparison with .270 WSM at 8:55 minute time mark.

Why Develop a New Hunting Cartridge So Similar to the .270 WSM?
With interest in long-range hunting growing rapidly, engineers at Winchester and Browning sought a solution that could offer magnum performance with a modern high-BC projectile, yet chamber in a short action rifle for shorter bolt-throw and less weight. The 6.8 Western was “designed to be capable in any big-game hunting scenario and a great fit for those who enjoy long-range target shooting”. For the 6.8 Western, the designers basically shortened the .270 WSM case to allow for longer bullets (with the same cartridge OAL limits), and possibly make the case a bit more efficient.

6.8 Western cartridge winchester browning hunting .277 WSM

The First 6.8 Western Rifles from Browning and Winchester

Browning X-Bolt Pro in 6.8 Western
6.8 Western cartridge winchester browning X-Bolt Pro hunting .277 WSM

Browning will release a light-weight, X-Bolt Pro rifle chambered for the 6.8 Western. This will have a 26″ barrel with 1:7.5″-twist, so it should be able to shoot all the high-BC .277-caliber bullets. With a carbon-reinforced stock, this rifle is relatively light-weight — just 6 lbs., 12 ounces before optics. The rifle has a 3-lug bolt with 60° bolt lift. Trigger adjusts from 3-6 pounds, fine for a hunting rifle. According to Wide Open Spaces, the barrel and receiver are finished with Tungsten Cerakote to protect the rig in harsh weather conditions. On Browning’s website, the Browning X-Bolt in 6.8 Western has a $2,469.99 MSRP. At that price, it may make more sense to buy a used X-Bolt rifle and re-barrel it.

“The 6.8 Western cartridge brings a new perspective to long-range hunting and shooting,” said Ryan Godderidge, Senior VP of Sales, Marketing, and Firearms for Browning. “It provides magnum-level performance in our short action rifles, giving the shooter highly effective down-range energy, even at longer ranges, while allowing for a lighter-weight platform.”

Winchester Model 70 in 6.8 Western
6.8 Western cartridge winchester browning X-Bolt Pro hunting .277 WSM

Winchester will release a Model 70 chambered for the 6.8 Western. It will have a 24″ stainless barrel, stainless action with 3-round hinged floor-plate internal magazine. Wide Open Spaces reports: “Right now, it appears the Model 70 Extreme Weather MB is the first 6.8 Western that will roll off their factory floors. The stock is composite with a Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad. At 44.25″ overall, this rifle is shorter than the Browning X-Bolts, but weighs slightly more at seven pounds even.” Listed MSRP is $1,599.99 for this new 6.8 Western Model 70.

6.8 Western cartridge winchester browning hunting .277 WSM


CLICK HERE for Outdoor Life 6.8 Western article.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, New Product, News 8 Comments »
November 20th, 2020

New SAAMI Cartridges: 277 SIG FURY, 6.5 WBY RPM, 6.8 Western

.277 SIG Fury saami cartridge specification 80000 psi

The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, Inc., (SAAMI), has announced the acceptance of three (3) new cartridges for SAAMI standardization: 1) 277 SIG FURY; 2) 6.5 Weatherby Rebated Precision Magnum (WBY RPM); 3) 6.8 Western. While the 277 SIG FURY was developed originally for the U.S. Military, it should serve well for hunters, as will the new 6.5 Weatherby RPM and 6.8 Western. SAAMI has standardized the dimensions, max pressures, and load specs for all these three new cartridges.

277 SIG FURY from SIG Sauer

Developed by SIG SAUER for the U.S. Military, the 277 SIG FURY boasts a SAAMI maximum average pressure of 80,000 psi, driving a 135-grain bullet to 3,000+ fps. That 80K PSI pressure is WAY higher than almost all other cartridge types. To achieve these high pressures, the 277 FURY uses a hybrid case with a brass body and harder alloy metal case head. This design allows the cartridge to run very high pressures. Dan Horner of SIG Sauer told us: “When the handloaders get hold of this brass, it will be a game-changer for sure”. We envision this cartridge could be necked down to 6.5 mm and it would dramatically out-perform the 6.5 Creedmoor. And yes the official name of the cartridge is all caps “277 SIG FURY”.

LINK: 277 SIG FURY official SAAMI Cartridge and Chamber Diagram (PDF)

.277 SIG Fury saami cartridge specfication 80000 psi

.277 SIG Fury saami cartridge specfication 80000 psi

6.5 Weatherby Rebated Precision Magnum

Developed by Weatherby, the 6.5 Weatherby Rebated Precision Magnum (WBY RPM) was introduced with a maximum average pressure of 65,000 psi, with a 140-grain bullet traveling at a velocity of 3,075 fps. The 6.5 WBY RPM offers signficantly higher velocities that most other 6.5mm cartridges, including the 6.5-284 and .265 Win Mag. SEE 6.5 Cartridge Comparison Table

LINK: 6.5 Weatherby RPM official SAAMI Cartridge and Chamber Diagram (PDF)

6.5 weatherby rebated precision magnum cartridge WBY RPM SAAMI

6.8 Western from Winchester

Developed by Olin Winchester, the 6.8 Western was introduced with a maximum average pressure of 65,000 psi, with a .277-caliber 175-grain bullet traveling at a velocity of 2,840 fps. A shorter variant of the Winchester Short Magnum (WSM) family, the new cartridge appears to be about .090″ shorter than the .270 WSM. It has the same 35-degree shoulder angle as the .270 WSM.

LINK: 6.8 Western official SAAMI Cartridge and Chamber Diagram (PDF)

6.8 western rebated precision magnum cartridge western .270 wsm SAAMI

For additional information on these new cartridge designs and other recently accepted cartridge and chamber designs, visit SAAMI.org.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, News, Tech Tip 9 Comments »