August 01, 2022
By Joseph von Benedikt
Just a year ago Browning and Winchester’s collaborative new 6.8 Western cartridge hit the scene. What’s its current status in the hunting and shooting world? Surviving? Thriving? Failing?
Even if I had access to sales records of 6.8 Western ammo and rifles (which I don’t), those records would be biased and skewed, thanks to the current drought of supplies for all things shooting. Instead, let’s take a subjective look at the cartridge and it’s positioning. The first sign that things are well in the 6.8 Western world is that nearly everybody’s aware of it. Some shooters may scoff and call it an answer to an un-asked question, but hey, they’re talking about it.
In part this is due to the sizable splash the cartridge made in shooting and hunting media. Every outdoor news venue with a toe in the western hunting scene covered it. Why? Partly because of good marketing strategy by Browning and Winchester. Partly because it’s interesting.
Being smack dab between the 6.5 PRC and the 7mm Rem. Mag. in recoil but providing ballistic and terminal performance nearer “Seven-Mag” level, it’s not just interesting, it’s darned interesting. Savvy gun scribes cottoned on early, and continue to promote the cartridge because it’s a good round.
It helps, of course, that the 6.8 Western is a .270-diameter cartridge, and thus is endowed with historic hunting cool factor. However, it’s worth noting that only one .270 cartridge has ever succeeded, and that was in large part thanks to Jack O’Connor’s enthusiastic discipleship. The .270 Weatherby Magnum, .270 WSM, 6.8 SPC, and others never got a significant toehold on the market. Time will tell, but early indications are that the 6.8 Western will stick. I can tell you this: If Mr. O’Connor was alive today, he’d be a fan.