1220 Sandy Shore Rd, Irving, TX 75063
+1 (210) 876-4317
Open hours: Mon - Fri
Top AR-15 Cartridges: The Ultimate Guide

Top AR-15 Cartridges, Are you ready to take your shooting game to the next level? Well, look no further because we’re about to dive into the world of the best AR-15 cartridges right now. Whether you’re a seasoned shooter or just starting out, choosing the right cartridge for your needs is crucial. It can make all the difference in terms of accuracy, stopping power, and overall performance.

There are several popular cartridges that enthusiasts swear by. From intermediate cartridges like NATO rounds to high-performance bullets with impressive muzzle energy, the options seem endless. But fear not! We’re here to help you navigate through this vast sea of choices.

Picture this: You’re out in the field during hunting season with your trusty Bushmaster or Remington AR-15 rifle. You spot a majestic whitetail deer in your sights. Now, would you want anything less than an excellent choice of ammunition? Of course not! That’s why selecting the perfect cartridge for your specific needs is paramount.

We’ll discuss everything from magazine compatibility and grain size to shot show highlights and new advancements in ammo technology. So sit back, relax, and get ready for some valuable insights into finding the best AR-15 cartridges on the market today.

Now let’s jump straight into this ammunition adventure!

Top AR-15 Cartridges


Top 13 Alternative AR Calibers (excluding 5.56 NATO):

Lesser-known AR calibers that pack a punch

If you’re an avid shooter, you’ve probably heard of the popular 5.56 NATO round commonly used in AR-15 rifles. However, there’s a whole world of alternative calibers out there that offer unique advantages and performance characteristics. 56 NATO.

.224 Valkyrie: Pushing boundaries with long-range precision

One remarkable alternative caliber gaining traction is the .224 Valkyrie. Developed by Federal Premium Ammunition, this wildcat cartridge offers exceptional long-range performance and accuracy for your AR platform. With its high ballistic coefficient and impressive muzzle velocity, the .224 Valkyrie delivers flatter trajectories and less wind drift compared to other calibers.

The benefits of using the .224 Valkyrie extend beyond its stellar ballistics. This cartridge allows shooters to engage targets at extended distances without sacrificing terminal performance or magazine capacity. Whether you’re a precision shooter or a hunter looking for increased range capabilities, the .224 Valkyrie is definitely worth considering.

6.8 SPC: Striking a balance between power and versatility

Another alternative caliber that has gained popularity among shooters is the 6.8 SPC (Special Purpose Cartridge). Originally developed for US military Special Operations Command (SOCOM), this round offers improved stopping power compared to the standard 5.56 NATO while still maintaining compatibility with existing AR-15 bolts and magazines.

The versatility of the 6.8 SPC makes it an attractive choice for various shooting applications. It excels in both close-quarters engagements and medium-range scenarios, making it ideal for home defense or hunting purposes in North America where larger game may be encountered.

Comparing ballistics and performance among different alternative calibers

It’s crucial to consider factors such as bullet weight, muzzle velocity, energy transfer, and recoil. Let’s take a closer look at how some of these alternative calibers stack up against each other:

  1. .224 Valkyrie: Offers long-range precision with high ballistic coefficients and reduced wind drift.

  2. 6.8 SPC: Provides improved stopping power compared to 5.56 NATO while maintaining compatibility with existing AR-15 components.

  3. .458 SOCOM: Designed for special operations use, this caliber delivers heavy-hitting power suitable for big game hunting.

These are just a few examples of the alternative calibers available for your AR platform. Each one has its own unique characteristics and advantages depending on your shooting needs.

Pros and Cons of .300 Blackout (.300 BLK):

Advantages of .300 Blackout for suppressed shooting

Suppressor enthusiasts rejoice, because the .300 Blackout (also known as .300 BLK or AAC Blackout) is a great option for those who enjoy shooting with a suppressor. One of the main advantages of this cartridge is its ability to perform exceptionally well when fired through a suppressor. The subsonic loads available for the .300 Blackout make it an ideal choice for those looking to reduce noise and recoil while maintaining accuracy.

When utilizing subsonic ammunition, the .300 Blackout offers a whisper-quiet shooting experience. This makes it perfect for situations where stealth is key, such as hunting or home defense scenarios. The reduced muzzle blast and recoil also contribute to improved control and follow-up shots, allowing shooters to maintain better accuracy.

Furthermore, the versatility of the .300 Blackout cannot be overlooked. It can be fired through both semi-automatic rifles and bolt-action platforms, providing options for shooters with different preferences. This adaptability allows users to choose from a wide range of firearms chambered in .300 Blackout without compromising performance.

Limitations of .300 Blackout in long-range engagements

While the .300 Blackout has numerous advantages, it does have some limitations. Due to its design as a shorter-range cartridge optimized for use in suppressed firearms, it falls short compared to other cartridges specifically designed for long-range precision shooting.

The ballistics of the .300 Blackout are optimized for shorter distances, typically up to 200 yards. Beyond that range, bullet drop becomes more pronounced and wind drift can significantly affect accuracy. Therefore, if you’re planning on engaging targets at extended ranges or participating in precision rifle competitions, other cartridges like the 6.5 Creedmoor or .308 Winchester may be better suited for your needs.

Considerations when choosing .300 Blackout over other cartridges

When deciding whether to choose the .300 Blackout over other cartridges, there are several factors to consider. One of the main considerations is the intended purpose of your firearm. If you primarily plan on using it for close-quarters engagements or shooting with a suppressor, then the .300 Blackout is an excellent choice due to its advantages in those scenarios.

Another factor to consider is ammunition availability and cost. While the popularity of the .300 Blackout has grown significantly in recent years, it may still be more challenging to find a wide variety of ammunition options compared to more established cartridges like 5.56 NATO or .308 Winchester. The cost per round for .300 Blackout ammunition can be higher than some other popular cartridges.

It’s also worth noting that if you already own firearms chambered in other calibers, such as 5.56 NATO or .223 Remington, transitioning to the .300 Blackout may require additional investment in new barrels or complete upper receivers. This consideration should be taken into account when evaluating whether the benefits of the .300 Blackout outweigh any potential drawbacks.

Ballistic Comparisons: Commercial Loads, Cartridge Ballistic Chart

Understanding their ballistic performance is crucial. Analyzing various commercial loads available for popular AR cartridges and comparing bullet drop, velocity, and energy across different loads can provide valuable insights into their real-world performance.

Exploring Commercial Loads

Commercial loads offer a wide range of options. Different manufacturers produce cartridges with varying characteristics, making it essential to examine their ballistic performance before making a choice.

One important aspect to consider is the weight of the bullet or grain bullets used in each load. The weight directly affects factors such as muzzle velocity and kinetic energy. For instance, lighter bullets typically result in higher velocities but may sacrifice terminal ballistics compared to heavier projectiles.

Diameter bullets also play a significant role in determining the trajectory of the bullet. Bullets with larger diameters tend to have more resistance against wind drift and may maintain a flatter trajectory over longer distances.

To illustrate this further, let’s take a look at two popular AR-15 cartridges: .223 Remington (5.56x45mm NATO) and 6.8 SPC (Special Purpose Cartridge). Wilson Combat offers commercial loads for both these cartridges that are worth examining.

Wilson Combat’s .223 Remington Load

Wilson Combat’s .223 Remington load utilizes a 55-grain bullet that achieves impressive muzzle velocities reaching around 3,100 feet per second (fps). This high velocity translates into excellent long-range capabilities while still maintaining accuracy at medium distances.

With its flat trajectory and reliable performance, Wilson Combat’s .223 Remington load is well-suited for varmint hunting or target shooting scenarios where precision matters most. The combination of velocity and bullet design ensures consistent results, making it a favorite among AR-15 enthusiasts.

Wilson Combat’s 6.8 SPC Load

Moving on to the 6.8 SPC cartridge, Wilson Combat offers a load specifically designed for medium-sized game hunting. This load features a heavier 110-grain bullet, providing increased stopping power compared to lighter projectiles.

While the muzzle velocity of this load is slightly lower than that of the .223 Remington at around 2,600 fps, its larger bullet diameter and higher grain count compensate for it. The 6.8 SPC load delivers excellent terminal ballistics, making it an ideal choice for hunters targeting deer or similar-sized game.

Comparing Ballistic Performance

To better understand how different loads perform in real-world scenarios, utilizing a cartridge ballistic chart can be immensely helpful. Such charts provide detailed information about bullet drop, velocity, and energy at various distances.

When comparing the ballistic performance of different loads using a chart, you can easily identify how they stack up against each other in terms of accuracy and effectiveness. For instance, you may find that certain loads maintain their velocity better over long distances or exhibit less bullet drop compared to others.

By studying these charts and considering factors like muzzle velocity and projectile characteristics (such as weight and diameter), you can make informed decisions about which commercial loads are best suited for your specific shooting needs.

Best AR-15 Calibers for the Money in 2023:

Affordable Powerhouses

Cost-effectiveness is a key consideration. After all, nobody wants to break the bank just to enjoy a day at the range or defend their home. So let’s lock and load, shall we?

Highlighting cost-effective options without compromising performance

When searching for the best AR-15 cartridge, striking a balance between price and performance is crucial. One standout option that checks these boxes is the 5.56x45mm NATO round. Widely available and relatively inexpensive compared to other calibers, it has been trusted by military forces around the world for decades.

The 5.56 round offers excellent accuracy and manageable recoil, making it suitable for various shooting applications such as target practice or home defense. Its versatility extends to its compatibility with a wide range of barrel lengths and twist rates, allowing shooters to customize their AR-15s according to their preferences.

Another cost-effective choice worth considering is the .300 AAC Blackout (7.62x35mm). This caliber provides exceptional stopping power while maintaining compatibility with standard AR-15 magazines and bolt carriers. It’s particularly renowned for its suppressed capabilities, making it an ideal option for those seeking a quieter shooting experience without sacrificing performance.

Evaluating affordability versus effectiveness for different AR calibers

While affordability is important, it shouldn’t overshadow effectiveness when selecting an AR-15 caliber. The .308 Winchester (7.62x51mm NATO) stands out as a powerhouse in terms of raw stopping power and long-range capabilities. Although ammunition costs may be higher than some other options on our list, its performance justifies the investment.

The .308 Winchester is renowned for its accuracy, making it a favorite among precision shooters and hunters. Its ability to deliver consistent results at extended distances makes it an excellent choice for those who value long-range shooting. If you’re looking to take your AR-15 to the next level and engage targets at greater distances, this caliber should be on your radar.

For those seeking a balance between power and affordability, the 6.5 Grendel is a compelling option. This cartridge offers impressive ballistic performance while maintaining compatibility with standard AR-15 magazines. With its moderate recoil and excellent accuracy, the 6.5 Grendel excels in both target shooting and hunting scenarios.

Recommendations based on current market prices and availability

When considering the best AR-15 cartridges for the money in 2023, it’s essential to factor in current market prices and availability. While certain calibers may offer exceptional performance, their scarcity or inflated costs can quickly diminish their appeal.

To ensure you get the most bang for your buck, we recommend keeping an eye on popular calibers like the 5.56x45mm NATO and .300 AAC Blackout due to their widespread availability and reasonable pricing. These options allow you to enjoy shooting without burning through your wallet.

However, if you’re willing to invest a bit more for superior performance, consider exploring rounds like the .308 Winchester or 6.5 Grendel. While they may come with a higher price tag, their capabilities make them well worth considering for enthusiasts who demand top-tier performance from their firearms.

Best AR Cartridges for Long Range Shooting:

Choosing the right cartridge is crucial. The best AR-15 cartridges for long-range shooting provide exceptional accuracy and performance at extended distances.

Identifying cartridges suitable for precision shooting at extended distances with an AR platform

To excel in long-range shooting, it’s essential to select a cartridge that possesses the necessary characteristics for precision and consistency. Several factors come into play when identifying cartridges suitable for this purpose:

  1. Bullet Weight: Opting for heavier bullets can enhance stability and reduce wind drift, allowing for more accurate shots at longer ranges. Bullets in the 69 to 77-grain range are popular choices among many shooters engaged in long-range target shooting.

  2. Velocity: Higher muzzle velocity contributes to flatter trajectories, reducing bullet drop over distance. This is particularly important when engaging targets beyond typical close range distances.

  3. External Ballistics: Consideration of external ballistics parameters such as ballistic coefficient (BC), sectional density (SD), and drag coefficients aids in selecting a cartridge that maintains energy and trajectory integrity over extended ranges.

Taking these factors into account, several cartridges stand out as excellent choices for long-range shooting with an AR platform.

Recommendations based on accuracy potential and wind resistance

  1. 6.5mm Creedmoor: Widely regarded as one of the best long-range cartridges available today, the 6.5mm Creedmoor offers superb accuracy potential due to its efficient design and moderate recoil. Its flat trajectory combined with excellent ballistic coefficients makes it a favorite among precision rifle shooters engaged in both target shooting and big game hunting.

  2. .224 Valkyrie: Developed specifically for long-range shooting with an AR-15 platform, the .224 Valkyrie delivers exceptional performance. With high muzzle velocity and excellent long-range ballistics, this cartridge provides impressive accuracy and minimal wind drift. It has become increasingly popular for both competitive shooting and varmint hunting.

  3. .308 Winchester: Although considered a classic cartridge, the .308 Winchester remains a reliable choice for long-range shooting with an AR-10 platform. Its versatility, wide availability of match-grade ammunition, and proven track record make it a go-to option for many shooters engaged in precision shooting or big game hunting.

  4. 6mm ARC (Advanced Rifle Cartridge): Developed by Hornady, the 6mm ARC is gaining popularity as an efficient cartridge for long-range shooting with its excellent ballistics and reduced recoil. This versatile round offers high accuracy potential while maintaining energy at extended ranges—an ideal choice for both target practice and hunting applications.

Best AR Cartridges for Home Defense

The Importance of Terminal Performance, Penetration, and Reduced Risk of Over-Penetration

The choice of ammunition is crucial. You want a cartridge that offers optimal terminal performance, ensuring that it stops a threat effectively. At the same time, you need to consider penetration and the risk of over-penetration, as you don’t want rounds passing through walls and potentially harming innocent bystanders or loved ones.

One popular choice for home defense applications is the 9mm cartridge. Known for its manageable recoil and widespread availability, the 9mm offers a good balance between stopping power and reduced risk of over-penetration. It delivers sufficient energy to neutralize an intruder while minimizing the chances of bullets penetrating multiple barriers.

Another option worth considering is the .45 ACP cartridge. Renowned for its stopping power, this larger caliber round can quickly incapacitate an assailant with fewer shots required. However, due to its increased bullet size and weight, there is a slightly higher risk of over-penetration compared to the 9mm. Therefore, proper shot placement becomes even more critical when using .45 ACP ammunition for home defense.

Factors to Consider: Recoil Control and Ammunition Capacity

In addition to terminal performance and penetration characteristics, other factors come into play when selecting cartridges for home defense with an AR platform. Recoil control is one such consideration. While some individuals may have no issues managing heavier recoiling cartridges like .45 ACP, others might find it challenging to maintain accuracy under stress.

For those who prioritize recoil control or are less experienced shooters, the 9mm cartridge provides an advantage. Its lighter recoil allows for faster follow-up shots and improved accuracy during high-stress situations. Moreover, many AR platforms chambered in 9mm offer reduced recoil systems or muzzle devices specifically designed to mitigate muzzle rise.

Ammunition capacity is another relevant factor. In a potentially life-threatening situation, having an ample supply of rounds can be crucial. The 9mm cartridge often provides higher ammunition capacity compared to larger calibers like .45 ACP. This means more rounds readily available without the need for frequent reloading, which can be advantageous in scenarios where multiple threats or extended engagements are encountered.

Best Big Bore AR Cartridges for Security:

Enhanced Stopping Power with Big Bore Cartridges

Having the right firepower can make all the difference. That’s why many firearms enthusiasts are turning to big bore cartridges like .458 SOCOM or .50 Beowulf for their AR platforms. These larger caliber options offer enhanced stopping power, giving you the confidence and peace of mind you need in critical situations.

The Advantages of Big Bore Cartridges in Security

Big bore cartridges excel in security applications due to their ability to deliver devastating impact on targets. When faced with a threat, the last thing you want is a round that lacks stopping power. With big bore cartridges, you can be sure that your shots will have a significant impact, incapacitating potential assailants effectively.

These cartridges often offer larger wound channels compared to standard calibers. This means that they create more damage upon impact, increasing the chances of quickly neutralizing an attacker. In high-stress situations where split-second decisions matter, having this advantage can be crucial.

Considerations for Security: Magazine Capacity, Recoil Management, and Ammunition Availability

While big bore cartridges provide undeniable benefits in terms of stopping power, there are other factors to consider when choosing the best option for your security needs. Let’s take a closer look at three essential considerations: magazine capacity, recoil management, and ammunition availability.

  1. Magazine Capacity:

    • One concern with big bore cartridges is their impact on magazine capacity. Due to their larger size and increased bullet diameter, these rounds tend to occupy more space within magazines.

    • However, advancements in firearm technology have allowed manufacturers to design magazines capable of accommodating big bore rounds without sacrificing capacity significantly.

    • It’s important to choose an AR platform that offers reliable and high-capacity magazines specifically designed for big bore cartridges.

  2. Recoil Management:

    • Big bore cartridges generate substantial recoil due to their increased power and bullet weight. Managing recoil is crucial for accuracy and follow-up shots, especially in fast-paced security scenarios.

    • To mitigate the effects of recoil, consider investing in a firearm with effective recoil management features such as muzzle brakes or adjustable gas systems.

    • Using proper shooting techniques, such as a firm grip and stance, can help you maintain control over your firearm when firing big bore rounds.

  3. Ammunition Availability:

    • As with any cartridge, ammunition availability is an important consideration for security purposes. You need to ensure a reliable supply of ammunition for practice sessions and potential emergencies.

    • While big bore cartridges may not be as widely available as more common calibers like 5.56 NATO or 9mm, their popularity has grown significantly in recent years.

    • Many reputable manufacturers now produce big bore ammunition, making it easier to find reliable sources both online and at local gun stores.

Best Multipurpose AR Hunting Cartridge:

Having the right cartridge can make all the difference. Whether you’re pursuing varmints or deer, choosing the best hunting cartridge for your AR rifle is essential. Based on their effectiveness across different hunting scenarios, here are our recommendations for the best multipurpose AR hunting cartridges right now.

Varmint Hunting: .223 Remington

If you’re looking to take down pesky varmints like coyotes or groundhogs, the .223 Remington is a top choice. This popular cartridge offers excellent accuracy and flat trajectory, making it ideal for shooting small targets at longer distances. With its high velocity and low recoil, the .223 Remington allows for quick follow-up shots when dealing with multiple varmints.

The lightweight bullets commonly used in .223 Remington cartridges are designed to fragment upon impact, causing devastating damage to varmint targets while minimizing the risk of over-penetration. This makes it a safer option when hunting in areas with nearby structures or livestock.

Not only is the .223 Remington an effective choice for varmint hunting due to its ballistic properties, but it’s also widely available and relatively affordable compared to other cartridges. Its versatility makes it a go-to option for hunters who want a reliable round that can handle both small game and larger targets if necessary.

Deer Hunting: 6.5mm Creedmoor

For those seeking a dependable cartridge capable of taking down deer-sized game with precision and efficiency, look no further than the 6.5mm Creedmoor. This relatively new cartridge has gained immense popularity among hunters due to its exceptional long-range accuracy and impressive terminal ballistics.

The 6.5mm Creedmoor delivers a perfect balance between manageable recoil and effective stopping power. Its sleek, high ballistic coefficient bullets retain energy and velocity over longer distances, ensuring reliable performance even at extended ranges. This makes it an excellent choice for hunters who prefer taking shots from a distance or in open terrain.

With its superior accuracy and impressive knockdown power, the 6.5mm Creedmoor has become a favorite among deer hunters across the country. Its versatility extends beyond deer hunting, making it suitable for other game as well.

Multipurpose Hunting: .308 Winchester

When versatility is your primary concern, the .308 Winchester stands out as one of the best all-around hunting cartridges available today. With a long history of success in various hunting scenarios, this cartridge offers excellent performance across different game types and shooting conditions.

The .308 Winchester delivers substantial energy upon impact, making it highly effective for medium to large-sized game such as deer, elk, or hogs. Its wide range of bullet options allows hunters to choose between controlled expansion rounds for larger animals or lighter varmint-style bullets when pursuing smaller game.

In addition to its effectiveness on different targets, the .308 Winchester boasts widespread availability and affordability. This accessibility ensures that hunters can easily find ammunition no matter where they’re located.

Whether you’re planning a deer hunt or varmint control operation, having the best AR hunting cartridge is crucial for success in the field. Consider your specific needs and preferences when selecting a cartridge but keep in mind that these recommendations – .223 Remington for varmints, 6.5mm Creedmoor for deer hunting, and .308 Winchester for multipurpose use – are among the top choices available right now.

So load up your AR rifle with one of these cartridges and head out into nature with confidence knowing you’ve equipped yourself with some of the best options out there! Happy hunting!

Note: The information provided here is based on current trends and popular choices among hunters. It’s always important to check local regulations and consult with experienced hunters or professionals before selecting a hunting cartridge for your specific needs.

Best Pistol Calibers for AR Pistols:

Exploring the Powerhouses: 9mm and .45 ACP

Two powerhouses immediately come to mind: 9mm and .45 ACP. These popular calibers have been widely adopted by law enforcement agencies, military units, and civilian shooters alike. Let’s dive into the ballistics and terminal performance of these calibers to help you make an informed decision.

9mm: The Versatile Performer

The 9mm is a versatile caliber that has gained immense popularity in recent years. It offers a good balance between recoil control, magazine capacity, and terminal performance. With advancements in ammunition technology, modern 9mm loads can deliver impressive stopping power while maintaining manageable recoil.

One of the key advantages of using 9mm in an AR pistol platform is its compatibility with standard AR magazines. This means you can utilize existing magazines without any modifications or additional expenses. The availability and affordability of 9mm ammunition make it an attractive choice for both training and self-defense purposes.

In terms of ballistics, the 9mm typically fires lighter bullets at higher velocities compared to other pistol calibers. This results in flatter trajectories and less recoil when shooting rapidly. While it may not possess the same sheer stopping power as larger calibers, shot placement becomes even more crucial with the smaller projectiles.

.45 ACP: The Heavy Hitter

If you’re after raw stopping power, look no further than .45 ACP. Known for its larger bullet diameter and heavier projectiles, this caliber packs a serious punch. The .45 ACP has long been favored by those who prioritize maximum knockdown power over other factors.

When fired from an AR pistol platform, .45 ACP rounds offer excellent close-quarters effectiveness due to their energy transfer and larger wound channels. However, it’s important to note that the .45 ACP typically has a lower magazine capacity compared to 9mm, which may be a consideration for some shooters.

While the recoil of .45 ACP is more pronounced, modern designs and recoil mitigation systems in AR pistols can help manage this aspect effectively. If you’re comfortable with the added kick and prioritize stopping power above all else, the .45 ACP might be your ideal choice.

Recommendations for Self-Defense or Close-Quarters Engagements

Choosing between 9mm and .45 ACP ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. Here are some recommendations based on different scenarios:

  1. Self-Defense: For most self-defense situations, where shot placement is crucial, the 9mm offers several advantages. Its higher magazine capacity allows for more rounds to be carried without sacrificing stopping power. The reduced recoil makes follow-up shots quicker and more accurate.

  2. Close-Quarters Engagements: In close-quarters scenarios where overpenetration becomes a concern, the .45 ACP’s heavier projectiles tend to have less risk of passing through walls or barriers. This can be particularly important in home defense situations where innocent bystanders may be present.

  3. Personal Preference: Ultimately, personal preference plays a significant role in choosing the best caliber for your AR pistol. Some shooters simply prefer the feel and handling characteristics of one caliber over another. It’s essential to spend time at the range with both calibers to determine which one suits you best.

Reloading and Availability of AR Calibers:

Reloading your own ammunition for specific AR calibers can offer several benefits. Not only does it provide you with the flexibility to customize your loads according to your shooting preferences, but it also allows you to save money in the long run. By reloading, you have control over factors such as bullet weight, powder charge, and primer choice, which can greatly impact the performance of your rounds.

One of the main advantages of reloading is that it enables you to experiment with different calibers. The AR platform supports a wide range of calibers, each offering unique characteristics suitable for various purposes. Whether you’re looking for low recoil for precision shooting or increased stopping power for hunting or self-defense, reloading allows you to tailor your ammunition to meet these specific needs.

However, it’s important to note that availability can be a challenge. Factors such as supply chain disruptions and increased demand have led to shortages of factory ammo for popular AR calibers. This is where reloading becomes even more advantageous as it ensures a steady supply of ammunition regardless of market conditions.

To maintain a reliable supply while reloading, sourcing components is crucial. Start by researching reputable suppliers who consistently provide high-quality brass casings, bullets, primers, and powders. It’s advisable to stock up on these components whenever possible so that you’re not caught off guard during periods of scarcity.

Another aspect worth considering is caliber conversions. If availability becomes an issue for a particular caliber due to limited supplies or price hikes, having the ability to convert your AR platform into another caliber can be invaluable. Many manufacturers offer conversion kits that allow easy swapping between different calibers without requiring additional guns or barrels.

Consider factors such as intended use and personal preference. Longer barrels generally provide better accuracy and velocity, making them suitable for long-range shooting. On the other hand, shorter barrels offer increased maneuverability and are ideal for close-quarters engagements.

In terms of availability, some AR calibers have a more abundant supply than others. For example, popular calibers like 5.56 NATO and .223 Remington tend to be widely available due to their widespread use in military and civilian applications. However, less common calibers like 6.5 Grendel or .458 SOCOM may require more effort to source reliably.

To ensure you always have access to ammunition, it’s wise to diversify your collection of AR mags. Different calibers often require specific magazines designed to accommodate their unique dimensions. By having a variety of magazines on hand, you can easily switch between different AR calibers without any compatibility issues.

The Best AR-15 Cartridges in 2023:

We will explore various alternative calibers, pros and cons of .300 Blackout, ballistic comparisons, the best calibers for different purposes such as long-range shooting, home defense, security, hunting, and AR pistols. We will also touch upon reloading and availability of these cartridges.

It’s important to consider your specific needs and preferences. Whether you’re looking for a versatile option that excels in multiple scenarios or a specialized caliber for a specific purpose, there are several factors to take into account.

To help you make an informed decision, let’s summarize some key points from each section:

Top 13 Alternative AR Calibers (excluding 5.56 NATO):

We have compiled a list of alternative AR calibers that offer unique characteristics and performance advantages over the standard 5.56 NATO round. These options include popular choices like .300 Blackout, 6.5 Grendel, and .224 Valkyrie.

Pros and Cons of .300 Blackout (.300 BLK):

The .300 Blackout cartridge has gained popularity due to its versatility and compatibility with existing AR-15 platforms. However, it’s essential to understand its pros and cons before making a decision. We’ve discussed factors such as ballistics performance, ammunition availability, suppressor use, and cost-effectiveness.

Ballistic Comparisons: Commercial Loads, Cartridge Ballistic Chart:

To further aid your decision-making process, we’ve provided ballistic comparisons between different commercial loads of various cartridges commonly used in AR-15 rifles. A detailed cartridge ballistic chart is also included to give you a comprehensive overview of their performance characteristics.

Best AR-15 Calibers for the Money in 2023:

If you’re looking for the best value for your money, we’ve identified the top AR-15 calibers that offer a balance between performance and affordability. These options will ensure you get the most bang for your buck without compromising on quality.

Best AR Cartridges for Long Range Shooting:

For those interested in long-range shooting, we have highlighted the cartridges that excel in this discipline. These options provide excellent accuracy and ballistic performance at extended distances, allowing you to push the limits of your shooting capabilities.

Best AR Cartridges for Home Defense:

Certain factors come into play such as over-penetration and stopping power. We’ve identified the best AR cartridges that strike a balance between effective self-defense and minimizing collateral damage within confined spaces.

Best Big Bore AR Cartridges for Security:

In situations where security is paramount, big bore AR cartridges offer increased stopping power and terminal ballistics. We’ve selected the top choices that provide enhanced security measures when needed.

Best Multipurpose AR Hunting Cartridge:

If you’re an avid hunter seeking a cartridge versatile enough to handle various game types, we’ve got you covered. Our selection of multipurpose AR hunting cartridges ensures optimal performance across different hunting scenarios.

Best Pistol Calibers for AR Pistols:

For owners of AR pistols, selecting an appropriate pistol caliber is crucial. We have evaluated various options and determined which ones deliver optimal performance and compatibility with these compact firearms.

Reloading and Availability of AR Calibers:

Reloading ammunition can be both cost-effective and rewarding. We discuss the reloading potential of different AR calibers along with their availability in today’s market to help you plan accordingly.

To conclude, choosing the best AR-15 cartridge depends on your specific requirements and intended use. By considering factors such as ballistics performance, purpose-driven characteristics, cost-effectiveness, reloading potential, and availability, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your needs.

Now that you have a better understanding of the best AR-15 cartridges in 2023, it’s time to take action. Evaluate your shooting preferences, consider the information provided, and select the cartridge that suits you best. Enhance your shooting experience with the right ammunition choice and enjoy optimal performance from your AR-15 rifle.


Q: Which AR caliber is best for long-range precision shooting?

A: For long-range precision shooting, calibers like 6.5 Creedmoor or .308 Winchester are popular choices due to their excellent ballistic performance and accuracy at extended distances.

Q: Are there any budget-friendly AR cartridges available?

A: Yes, several budget-friendly options exist such as .223 Remington or 7.62x39mm. These calibers offer decent performance while being more affordable compared to some specialized rounds.

Q: Can I use .300 Blackout for hunting?

A: Absolutely! The .300 Blackout is a versatile cartridge suitable for hunting various game sizes within its effective range. However, always check local regulations regarding caliber restrictions for specific game species.

Q: Is reloading ammunition worth considering for cost savings?

A: Reloading can be a cost-effective option in the long run if you shoot frequently. It allows you to customize loads according to your preferences while potentially reducing expenses associated with factory-made ammunition.

Q: What is the most common caliber used in AR-15 rifles?

A: The most common caliber used in AR-15 rifles is 5.56 NATO/.223 Remington due to its widespread availability, affordability, and versatility across different applications.

Note: Please remember to conduct thorough research and consult experts before making any purchasing decisions related to firearms or ammunition.

Open chat