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Looking in to my next AR upper build. I have a .556 16” upper right now with a decent scope. But 556 has its limits on one shot stops and the scope while is great it does fog up when changing climates (ie hot to cold). I have been kicking around the idea of building a new upper for it. Something in a “truck gun” category, iron sights 200 yards and in. I can’t hunt deer with a rifle so just coyotes and other varmints are all I would be shooting now. But would like to use it on a hog hunt as well in the future.

I don’t reload or plan to start.
I want to use it on my current rifle lower so 16” barrel
Can’t have a suppressor either in this state so that’s out as well.

Calibers I’m considering
300 black out
6.8
7.62x39
450 bushmaster.

Cost of ammo and availability are pretty big factors for me. Mostly a availability. I had a 25/06 loved that gun but never could find ammo for it.
 

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The only non 5.56 calibers I am interested in are:
.224 Valkyrie and .50 Beowulf. Maybe .458 SOCOM. I handload so ammo cost is not much of an issue. Component costs for a build in the .458 or .50 are however.

All three of those will work fine on hogs. Really, the variety of guns for hog hunting is vast. I have seen everything from .17HMR to .50 Beo used down here. I just use my Blackhawk 45 Colt myself. Since the variety of guns for hogs is so vast, it is jokingly used as an excuse to justify purchases. I have heard many guys exclaim, and have done so myself, "Well, I can always use it for hogs!".
 

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I would go with 7.62x39 based on what you say.
 
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I would go with 7.62x39 based on what you say.
I don't necessarily disagree, BUT it seems (with a couple of exceptions) that AR's in x39 are problematic at best (especially those running on a standard AR lower)....from the list, I'd either go with 6.8 or 300 BO which ever is more available around the OP
 

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I don't necessarily disagree, BUT it seems (with a couple of exceptions) that AR's in x39 are problematic at best (especially those running on a standard AR lower)....from the list, I'd either go with 6.8 or 300 BO which ever is more available around the OP
Agreed on the x39’s. The word on the street is not good on those, never has been. One that functions is very rare and a freak of nature. 300 BO is only worth a look, IMHO, if you’re gonna sling a can on it. 6.8 is my vote.

I hate to be one of those guys that suggest an option that you didn’t list, but a quality AR10 in 308 seems like a useful, working man’s rifle. The 6.8 hasn’t rendered the 308 as obsolete as some would have us believe. 308 has been doin it a long long time.
 

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I've had a number of 7.62x39 AR's. The problem I always ran into is the Magazine. Now If you order like a Palmetto or one of the ones that take actual AK mags that's one thing. And in all honesty just go buy an AK.

300 Black out I have 4 of them. They can do quiet a bit, but I don't think they are all they are cracked up to be unless your running a PDW gun. 6mmx45mm is actually a pretty interesting caliber but you need to reload for it. I would say 6.8 SPC would be my next caliber but ammo is very expensive and limited in bullet weights.

With modern bullet technology, such as Barnes solid copper bullets and trophy bonded bear claw bullet the 5.56 will do a lot of things across a wide spectrum. I have shot deer at 200 yards with 70 grain solid copper and the deer drops. 77 OTM bullets are always a fan favorite, IMHO 69 grain is kind of that bullet that can due just about anything.
 

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The .223/5.56 should be more than ample for "coyotes and other varmints," but if you're just looking for more oomph, look at the 6.5 Grendel. Barrels/uppers are readily available, as is ammo. Add a Grendel bolt/BCG and a few mags and you're good to go.
 

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5.56 works very well at one stop shots on coyotes, 2 legged predators, and even hogs ...with the proper ammo! OTOH, if you are talking deer, elk, etc I would lean towards the .30 cal choices. Have you considered a scout type bolt action rifle in 7.62? That would be a solid choice for anything that walks in the lower 48. Just my .02 worth!
 
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Personally, if I were not going to reload, I would stick with 5.56 and just buy more effective ammo and plan on double-tapping. Or get a binary trigger while they are still legal. Two hits with of 5.56 would beat one hit with any of those others and 5.56 is generally going to be more available.

The real answer would be an AR-10.
 

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Let's not forget OP is looking at an AR-15 upper build, not a new rifle of some other make. One big advantage of the AR-15 is it's like the old Thompson Contender--swap barrels and you have a different gun. Some calibers may require different BCGs and/or magazines to match the different caliber barrel, but there is a wide selection of calibers available that do not require any "mods" to the basic AR lower or upper.

And then again, one can get a little crazy and opt for a non-SAAMI wildcat like the 6mm Mongoose, a converted 5.56 round, but reloading is a must for that.

Mongoose case on left-
cases.jpg

Mongoose2.jpg
 

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One shot stops, the holy grail of self defense, and quite elusive. Based on Greg Ellifritz's study on the effectiveness of handgun calibers, I doubt the effectiveness of rifle calibers are quite similar, no significant difference between calibers. Rifles, as a group, are already much more effective than handguns in stopping a threat. Unfortunately, the link to the Youtube page is now private.
 

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If you're not reloading, you'll pay dearly for those "designer" rounds. 7.62x39 wins on cost and availability, at the price of reliability in a standard AR lower. Beyond that, of the rounds listed by the OP the only one I've seen in the gun stores here in the East Valley (Phx area) is .300 BO. .450 Bushhamster may as well be a unicorn!
 

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I don't necessarily disagree, BUT it seems (with a couple of exceptions) that AR's in x39 are problematic at best (especially those running on a standard AR lower)....from the list, I'd either go with 6.8 or 300 BO which ever is more available around the OP
Maybe so but there are good ones. Based on the criteria he listed, in my opinion all the other calibers are ruled out.
 
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Switch from AR15 to AR10 308 would be far more versatile and in the right build fairly trim in the weight department. PSA 12.5” pistol would make a dandy truck gun.
 

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I have been contemplating this exact thing for a couple weeks now. I've come to the conclusion to just get an AR10 instead of converting to a different round. It's more expensive but I'd rather have 2 functional guns than 1 gun and a different upper.
 

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From the list of options you are considering, I would go with the 6.8. You will get more range out of it. I would also throw out the 6.5 Grendel for consideration as well. I built one a few years ago and it is a tack driver. I can typically get .5 MOA groups out of it, but if I take my time, I can get it down to .25 MOA. It shoots better than any of my bolt guns which has led to a great deal of frustration in my bolt guns.
 

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As has been mentioned the Grendel was not listed. I own all of the ones you mentioned plus. And my go to is the Grendel. I have hunted everything from black bear to pronghorn with it. It has never missed a step. View attachment 307070 Plus I own a AR10 in 308 and 6.5 Creedmoore. My Grendel is still my go to.
 
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