Peter Jones takes a closer look at the new kid on the block, the 6XC from Norma.

Those that saw my discussions in a recent film with Freddie Nesbitt, may recall our discussing a lesser known calibre, the 6mm XC. Having heard Freddie’s ringing endorsement of this relatively new calibre it was time here at 'County Deer Stalking' that we took a closer look.6mm XC

(Above: We discuss the 6XC in our recent film. 'Calibres for Deer'. To watch the film follow this link to our Training Films page: training-films)

Like many stalkers, my first calibre was the .243 Winchester, I will always have huge affection for this calibre, by virtue of its long standing reputation for being manageable and kind to the shooter, it will undoubtedly remain popular both in my mind and in the mind of many others for years to come. However there comes a moment in the life of many great calibres when they must yield to the ballistic advances of younger superior alternatives, the arrival of the 6mm XC is one such event.  

Norma 6XCDeveloped specifically for NRA High Power match shooting Champion David Tubb, the 6XC has been touted as amongst the most accurate long-range calibres in the world.

Why do I mention the .243 in the same breath as the 6mmXC? Well the reason is, not only do they both use a 6mm bullet, but the 6XC, originated from the 6mmX, which in turn resulted from chambering a barrel using a .243 Winchester reamer held 0.132 inches short of its intended depth.

With its abundant target shooting credentials, in terms of accuracy, there can be few better calibres than the 6XC. Velocities are in fact comparable to those of the .243 Winchester, however barrel life is much better due to the fact that the 6XC requires around seven grains less powder.

But enough of this techno babble! What most readers simply want to know is; what is this calibre like as a hunting round? Well this is where it gets interesting, if we continue to draw a parallel with the .243 we can see why the 6XC is superior.

Crucially the 243 was originally intended as a varmint round, for use with bullets weighing less than 100 grains. Conversely the 6mmXC was designed specifically for using bullets in excess of 100 grains. Why is this important? Well if you only hunt the smaller deer species this is not a problem, however when hunting heavier game 100 grains is often considered the minimum bullet weight. Indeed in Scotland to shoot all species of deer it is the legal minimum.

The 6XC is therefore through design, more effective with heavier bullets than the .243 and so for hunters, and indeed long range target shooters who require bullet stability at long ranges, the heavier bullet is king.  

As for performance, well here the 6XC and the 243 are remarkably similar. Loaded with Norma’s 100 grain Oryx bullet, muzzle velocity is 2953 fps and energy 1937 ft/lbs. This is more or less identical to the .243 ballistics (2960 fps and 1945 ft/lbs Federal Power Shok 100 grain) however advocates of the .243 must concede the improved, all important accuracy, of this new round, and when one further takes into account the 6XC’s appetite for heavier bullets, it is clear that there is a new kid on the block.  

A word of caution: ‘availability’. In the UK the 6XC is scarce to say the least. So if you are a lover of the lighter calibres and are considering an alternative to the default choice of the .243...then think on.

Typical 6mm XC Ballistics (100 grain bullet)

Muzzle Energy: 1937 ft/lbs                                                                   Muzzle Velocity: 2953 fps 

For more on Rifle Calibres follow this link: rifle-calibres

Alternatively if you'd like to read more about the .243 then click here: 243-winchester



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