By Captain D.
July 15, 2008
Usually, a police agency does not spend a lot of time utilizing unusual calibers or cartridges in its rifles for animal control. My town, which is a first ring suburb of a major mid-west city, is in an area known for record class whitetail deer. To protect my administration, I will not identify myself or the location. My department has allowed me to cull three problem whitetail deer with my 6.8 Remington SPC (6.8x43mm Remington SPC a.k.a. 6.8 SPC) chambered custom bolt gun. From that brief experience, I have been able to formulate a few opinions on its suitability as a patrol cartridge. In addition to being an avid prairie dog shooter, I have also hunted big game in several states from New York to Montana to Texas and have taken over thirty-five head of big game in South Africa and Namibia.
The 6.8 Rem. SPC bullets used to date on all three deer have been Hornady’s factory loaded 110gr V-max load that measured right at 2600fps from my 20” barreled custom rifle. The unique thing about this bullet is that it is designed for varmints and a starting velocity of over 3000fps. By starting out much slower than its original design, it performs much like a standard Sierra GameKing or Hornady Interlock bullet and gave through and through penetration on all three animals.
The first deer, a 140 pound yearling buck, was shot at…
90 yards broadside. The through-and-through shot left a half dollar sized exit wound and the animal took two leaps and piled up with a perfect heart shot. The second two shots were very unique. The first of these two was on a very large doe, which dressed out at nearly 170 pounds. The animal dropped in its tracks from a heart shot at 85 yards. The yearling that was with it ran off only to return to investigate (within mere moments) why its mother was seemingly sleeping. I did not even remove the gun from my shoulder. That yearling doe was felled in place with a high shoulder shot at the same distance. Both of those shots were through-and-through and left half dollar sized exit wounds.
The internal damage to all three of these animals was similar to what you would see when you shoot a prairie dog with a high velocity cartridge. Massive internal organ damage, excessive hemorrhaging and bone fragments everywhere. Yet surprisingly, the bullets all exited. The only other bullet I have seen do that much internal damage is the 55gr Trophy Bonded Bear Claw when fired into Pronghorn antelopes in Montana, and they have always exited from my .223 Rem. bolt guns also.
Would I recommend the 6.8 Rem. SPC for duty or military use? Based on my limited experience with the 6.8 SPC and having been involved in using .223 Remington rifles in Montana on a major deer cull operation in the late 1990’s, I would say absolutely. I have fired hundreds of thousands of 7.62 NATO rounds from attack helicopters and will always love that cartridge for Mini-Gun or sniper rifle use. But in an AR-15/M16 rifle/carbine package, my first choice would be the 6.8 SPC, since it provides a big punch in a compact package with which most operators and departmental trainers are already familiar.