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Winchester Will Make 6.8mm Ammo for US Military’s New NGSW Rifle

Winchester NGSW
(July 24, 2017) Lt. Cmdr. Candice Lastie, assistant supply officer assigned to Coastal Riverine Group (CRG) 1, fires an M4 carbine during small arms live fire qualification exercise as part of security reaction force basic (SRF-B) training conducted by CRG 1 training and evaluation unit. CRG provides a core capability to defend designated high value assets throughout the green and blue-water environment and providing deployable Adaptive Force Packages (AFP) worldwide in an integrated, joint and combined theater of operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Boatswain’s Mate Nelson Doromal/Released)

Winchester to Produce 6.8mm Ammunition for the Next Generation Squad Weapons: The U.S. Army still has to make its final selection for the firearm that will eventually replace the M4A1 carbine and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, but recently it was announced that Winchester, the largest manufacturer of small-caliber ammunition for the U.S. military, will be producing the 6.8mm ammunition for the Next Generational Squad Weapons (NGSW) program.

According to the U.S. Army, the NGSW program is currently in a competitive prototyping iteration with three vendors for weapons and ammunition, including Sig Sauer, General Dynamics – OTS, and Textron Systems; as well as two vendors for fire control, Vortex Optics and L3Harris. The competitive prototyping has included prototype testing, which was meant to serve as a “diagnostic test” to inform the weapon and ammunition vendors on their current performance. The program has been met with delays due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

New Winchester Ammunition Contract For NGSW

Despite those past delays, it seems that the program is back on track as Winchester announced that the U.S. Army has awarded the company a total of $20 million in cost-plus and firm-fixed-price contracts related to ammunition development, manufacturing facility requirements analysis and production capacity planning for the 6.8mm NGSW program.

“Winchester is honored to have been selected by the U.S. Army to execute NGSW program activities at Lake City,” said Brett Flaugher, president of Winchester Ammunition. “The NGSW program represents our military’s significant investment in the future U.S. warfighter, and the work being performed under these contracts is the genesis for generations of NGSW programs to come.”

Winchester, which was founded in 1866 and is currently owned by the Olin Corporation, is the world’s largest small caliber ammunition enterprise. Work on the U.S. Army contract will be performed at the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant (LCAAP) in Independence, Missouri, the United States’ only government-owned, contractor-operated small caliber ammunition production facility.

The 3,935-acre facility was originally established by Remington Arms in 1941, and is now part of the U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command. The government-owned plant provides small caliber military ammunition for both training and combat purposes, and also serves as a national test center for ammunition performance and weapons firing.

LCAAP has been operated by Winchester Ammunition since October 2020 under an $8 billion contract, which had an initial term of seven years and could be extended by the U.S. Army for up to three additional years. Winchester had previously held the contract to manage and operate LCAAP from 1985 to 2001. From 2001 until 2020, Alliant Technosystems ran the facilities.

Last month, Winchester was also awarded an additional $13 million contract for the development of a manufacturing process for the 7.62-millimeter NATO cartridge. Winchester Ammunition manufactures every caliber of small arms cartridges used by the military, including 5.56-millimeter, 7.62-millimeter, .50-caliber and 20-millimeter loads.

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers and websites. He regularly writes about military small arms, and is the author of several books on military headgear including A Gallery of Military Headdress, which is available on Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes.

Written By

Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.



  1. Maggot

    January 9, 2022 at 1:56 pm

    Is the 6.8 SPC?

  2. JP Ford

    January 9, 2022 at 2:46 pm

    No, these 6.8 cartridges were developed specifically for these rifles, though inspired from the 6.8 SPC and other cartridges. There are two remaining competitors for the NGSW, with Textron and their 6.8 incased round no longer in the competition. General Dynamics and Sig Sauer remain. GD’s bullpup rifle offers a 6.8mm round with a polymer casing and steel primer housing. Sig Sauer offers a brass casing with steel primer housing. The DoD plans on selecting the winner by the end of Janauary 2022 and fielding the first units by this coming Fall.

    This article and several like it on 19FortyFive have been a little late or out of sequence. They had already reported that Vortex won the competition for the next gen optic. The initial contract is for 250k optics over the next ten years, which I would imagine gets revised and expanded if the optic fields well.

    Task & Purpose have been following these competitions closely. Their YouTube channel is pretty good too. Their YouTube host has actually shot each weapon system and used one one of the optics. You should check it out.

  3. Ray Bell

    January 10, 2022 at 4:35 pm

    It would be nice if it was the 6.8 Western.

  4. Douglas Lax

    January 10, 2022 at 5:47 pm

    I understand that the General Dynamics program has been assumed by True Velocity Ammo along with its acquisition, Lonestar Weapons?

  5. Ray sims

    January 11, 2022 at 9:11 am

    Should use a 7.62X39

  6. IAC.

    January 15, 2022 at 7:57 am

    The new Round is 6.8×51.
    It’s practically a modernized .280 British round that the US forced England to abandon in the early 50s; in favor of the 7.62×51 cartridge.
    IOWs, the US is moving away from Assault Rifles & Cartridges,and readopting Battle Rifles etc; apparently to counter our enemies’ next-gen Body Armor.

  7. Ed

    January 15, 2022 at 8:04 pm

    This round will have more terminal velocity and energy than the 7.62 Nato, it will be flatter shooting, better at armor penetration, lighter, and with less recoil.

    And God no. The 7.62 x 39? C’mon man. If we were going to stay with an AR-15 chambered round, we’d go to the 6mm ARC which has more energy, a flatter curve, better Armor protection, is lighter and with less recoil.

    If Remington hadn’t screwed up the chamber size the first time around, the 6.8 spc would be hot. Instead, it had to be fixed, is not the spec II chamber and companies won’t load the round to the velocity it’s capable of. Reloading is key, hopefully the new 6.8 round can be too.

  8. Robert Rhea

    February 2, 2022 at 6:20 pm

    DOD never fails to underachieve. Why re-invent a cartridge when the 6.8
    Grendel does it all. The round is lighter, handier, recoils less, uses
    common AR-15 parts, and the ammo weighs less. Plus it will drive a 123-grain flatter and with less wind drift than a 7.62×51 175-grain M118LR sniper load.

    My 16-inch Grendel is extremely accurate. Making rapid hits on multiple
    targets is easy out to 600 yards. At one point I fired three rounds of
    Hornady’s 123-grain A-Max load in four seconds. All three dropped into
    just four inches at 600 yards. Four five-shot groups with this load
    averaged a respectable 4.5 inches at 600 yards.

    Adopting the 6.8 Grendel means 80% less tax dollars spent on a new, viable
    round on an M4 platform. Modular is what it’s all about. So, wake up fools
    at DOD. Get your head out of your ass.

    • TA

      April 24, 2022 at 6:25 pm

      Robert Rhea-

      There is no such cartridge as a “6.8 Grendel”. There is a 6.5 Grendel, but it has been evaluated before and was not accepted for several reasons.

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