If you have not heard of “Q,” frankly, where have you been? They are the company with the BEST named silencers in the firearms industry with options of the Trash Panda, Thunder Chicken and Erector just for some examples. The company who has the mantra of Live Q or Die does not just have extremely witty marketing, they also produce stellar products. Along those same lines of quality, they try to push the industry forward in new, innovative ways constantly. That innovative nature is personified through their “The Fix” rifle and its new caliber of 8.6 Creedmoor kicks it up another notch as well.
We were fortunate enough to steal some time away from the guys over at Q to get the low down on this new 8.6 Creedmoor cartridge. Specifically, we got ahold of Ethan Lessard, Vice President of Engineering. Through an e-mail exchange I was able to ask a few simple, but important questions on the 8.6 Creedmoor to get everyone filled in on this new and fairly mysterious cartridge.
Adam: It is my understanding that you spearheaded this new 8.6 Creedmoor cartridge with Q. Could you explain how this all came to fruition or what motivated it?
Ethan: We like hunting and we like the smallest lightest thing that will get the job done. Defining the job is the hard part. If you consider that very few shots on animals are taken over 300m, the arguments for long barrels start to fade.
I’ve been looking at 338 Federal since I was at AAC as an improvement in performance in shorter 308 sized guns at practical distances. This was back in 2009/2010 when CSASS was really starting to go to industry, and the number of shorter 7.62 gas guns coming to market was rapidly increasing.
338 Federal had the potential to provide the same advantages over 7.62 NATO as 300 AAC Blackout had over 5.56 NATO.
It uses the same magazines and bolts as the 308, so the development cycles for firearms companies will be short as with 300 BLK.
338 Federal’s main drawback for this role was in fitting the newer longer 285-300gr HPBT projectiles in a SR25 magazine, the case mouth overhangs the bearing diameter of the bullet. The 8.6 addresses this issue by going to a shorter case length with the Creedmoor parent case (30 TC originally). The Creedmoor has a lower body taper than the 338 Fed, so the supersonic loss is minimized.
Shorter Barrels are becoming more popular for handling and transport, and pistol braces now allow barrel length’s that make sense in 8.6 to be more widely adopted in the commercial market.
We now have the ability to make a 4lb gun that folds to 22″ that can take a white tail at 400m, or 200m at the same sound level as a compound bow.
We now have terminally performing subsonic bullets that make subsonic hunting practical.
Originally it was called 338 Creedmoor as we thought people would be more likely able to identify it (and all of the available projectiles for reloading, another one of 300 BLK’s reasons for initial popularity), but was later switched to metric to stay with the Creedmoor family naming convention.
Advantages over 308 Win/7.62 NATO (0 Meters – 350 Meters)
- Bigger bore diameter allows for higher muzzle velocities in shorter barrels (~2500 fps ~150gr from a 12.5″ barrel)
- Subsonic advantages
- Auto-loading compatible (subsonic gas will provide enough cycling energy)
- SAAMI Standard twist will be fast enough to stabilize the longest (heaviest) projectiles
- Velocity/energy at ranges over 350m
- Wide ammo availability
Adam: With the 8.6 Creedmoor being so new, could you give us a walk through of what are going to be popular grain weights, barrel lengths, twist rates and bullet tips you would like to see utilized by Hornady or Discreet Ballistics for boxed ammo?
Ethan: Supersonic: 130 Grain – 190 Grain
Subsonic: “~275 Grain – 350 Grain+
Twist rates are still being determined, but will most likely be faster than 1:5.
I don’t particularly care how the bullets are constructed as long as they allow the cartridge to feed, stabilize out of the muzzle, strong enough rotationally to withstand the high RPM from fast twist, are consistent enough to provide good dispersion, and perform on as expected on target (paper or animal). There are a few companies involved that take wildly different approaches to solving each of these issues and if all else is equal, I will take the cheapest one.
Adam: At the moment, we know you have The Fix available for us to enjoy the 8.6 Creedmoor. Are there specific other models we should look for in the future you can tell us about?
Ethan: We are still some time from completing this project but we have a list of companies that have committed to building products around the 8.6, and we are continuing to update them on progress. They can be in charge of when they release information on their own products.
Ethan was a wealth of information. A tremendous thank you to Ethan from Q for taking our questions and answering them so thoroughly as he did. To take myself from an inquiring newbie to feeling fairly well-versed on the 8.6 Creedmoor in three questions is incredible!
Look in the future for more TFB Exclusive content covering the 8.6 Creedmoor as we inch closer to seeing more ammunition and firearm companies making this cartridge!
To see this article and more, please visit: https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2018/08/20/tfb-exclusive-8-6-creedmoor/