New cartridges are not so novel these days. It seems as though a new round comes out every few months now. But how can devoted marksmen tell the difference between a keeper and something that is nothing but hype?
First, let’s be honest with ourselves. Almost everything is hyped up to some degree or another. As consumers, we’ve learned to wade through that hype and find where metal meets the meat. A lot of the marketing for new ammo these days is just rebranding an older idea with a new twist. When it comes to bullets, sometimes that literally means a new “twist.”
So let’s take a look at a new cartridge and separate the sales pitch from the hard facts.
Meet the Precision 6mm GT
The 6mm GT, or 6 GT as it is often called, was a collaborative effort between two gentlemen with legendary experience in the realm of precision rifle shooting. George Gardner of GA Precision and Tom Jacobs of Vapor Trail Bullets combined their collective knowledge to dream up the perfect cartridge for competitive rifle shooting.
The new round offers shooters some of the best attributes possible for precision shooting. Velocity is not always everything, but the 6mm GT provides ample speed for its size. Bullets of the typical 105- to 115-grain match weight easily attain 3,000 fps and more. These speeds are achieved with modest charges of Varget powder. Between 34 and 35 grains is all it takes due to the very efficient case design.
The 35-degree shoulder of the 6mm GT helps it feed flawlessly and without modification from most common magazine options like the AICS-pattern mags. The GT also uses a small primer pocket, which many believe creates a stronger, more rigid case head. This translates into durability and strength, allowing you to reload the cases with additional life expectancy. Loaded ammunition is available from Hornady and a few custom shops.
Why Another 6mm?
There are already so many great cartridges, including many 6mm/.243-caliber rounds, so why the GT? The 6mm Creedmoor and it’s smaller siblings like the 6mm Dasher, BR, and BRX offer all kinds of options to shooters. That’s not to mention the older ones like the 6mm Remington or the hugely popular .243 Winchester. But the GT offers more powder capacity than the smaller cases and more velocity.
It does this very efficiently without increasing recoil like you would see shooting similar loads in the Creedmoor and larger cases. This brings added value by increasing barrel life and shooting performance. With top-quality components available for the GT, extremely consistent velocities make the cartridge a shoo-in for precision rifle competition.
Diving Into the 6mm GT
I decided that I needed to dig into the GT. So after doing some research, I started ordering the parts. First, I got a reamer from Alpha Munitions that was designed for the additional freebore needed for those slender and long match bullets that are 107 or more grains. I planned on shooting the GT from my Desert Tech SRS M2, so I ordered a K&P blank barrel from my gunsmith. It was a 1:7 twist barrel that would end up being 24 inches long, helically fluted, and threaded. Yes, I was absolutely going to run muzzle attachments.
The GT uses a standard .473 bolt face. So I already had a bolt to use ,and a few dummy rounds cycled flawlessly through the SRS’s short-action magazines. Once finished, I installed the barrel extension on the breach of the barrel and fitted a Patriot Valley Arms Jet Blast muzzle brake to the front. One of the main reasons competitors shoot 6mm cartridges is the low recoil. When you add a big brake like I did, the recoil all but disappears.
I was so excited to start shooting the GT rifle. I had a pile of test ammo already loaded and ready to hit the range when I brought it home. I’d heard the GT likes a few hundred rounds for break-in, so I went with something cheap and easy.
Some Hornady 75-grain V-Max bullets loaded to a mild 3,050 fps would be my first test batch to get the rifle zeroed and see the initial results. I quickly stumbled into a sub-half-MOA group with that first load. I wasted no time taking the rifle into my mountain haunts to search out one of my favorite opponents, the high-country marmots. The 6mm GT did an incredible number on dozens of chucks, and the accuracy and predictable recoil impulse made shooting them seem almost too easy. I was completely hooked, but I was just getting started.
As soon as I returned home from my varmint hunting, I found out I was offered a spot in an advanced law enforcement precision rifle course from Bruiser Industries. I leapt at the chance and hastily loaded 300 rounds of a new pet load of Hornady 105-grain BTHPs. Again, with little to no load development, the 105s shot half MOA or better groups. For four days in the southern California heat, we trained on advanced shooting techniques, position building, and everything else that LE snipers would want to know.
Shooting at ranges from 100 yards all the way out to 1,400 yards was part of the curriculum, and the 6mm GT went the distance for all of it. The accuracy was everything I needed to make good hits when I did my part. Plus, when compared to the .308 rifles most of the other attendees were shooting, my gun barely moved when firing. With sweat-stained clothes and a dust-covered rifle, I had built complete confidence in both the cartridge and the rifle.
The Hornady Precision Rifle Challenge
Not long after I got home, I was also offered a position in the Hornady Precision Rifle Challenge, one of the greatest precision rifle shooting matches in the country. Despite my confidence, I knew it would be humbling to shoot alongside some of the best shooters in the country. Nevertheless, I stayed up until midnight loading another 300 rounds of ammo. At 4 a.m. the next morning, I headed up the road towards the match.
There I was, meeting both George and Tom, not to mention hundreds of other great people. I’ll spare you the shame of my performance, but I will tell you how the rifle performed. Other than a few dust-induced magazine issues, the SRS M2 and 6mm GT worked like a perfectly tuned machine. I can say with every confidence that when I missed, it was because I miscalled the wind or wasn’t solid enough. But when I was on target, boy did we sing a beautiful melody together.
The GT did excellent in the strong winds, blowing across the range and smacking the targets with great authority. The recoil was easily managed, allowing me to spot my own hits and misses and making corrections easy. The match was a great experience, and I relearned a bunch of things I’d forgotten long ago.
WHAT’S LEFT TO SAY?
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am absolutely enamored with this setup. I don’t think I’m able to come up with a downside to the 6mm GT. It is easy to load. It’s very accurate, soft shooting, and an excellent performer. Plus, it has nothing but the best support and components available for it.
It’s no wonder this cartridge enjoys such a cult following in the precision rifle community. I love a good shooting match, but I am a hunter at heart. So you can bet I will be taking this rifle hunting this fall. All the same things that make this an excellent match gun also make it great for other shooting practices. In my part of the country, the deer have to worry about coyotes, cougars, and me. But come this fall, they’ll also have to hide from the 6mm GT.