Hornady has done it again with a hot new cartridge, the 22 ARC (Advanced Rifle Cartridge). This new cartridge is an offshoot of the high-performing 6 ARC. If you know the history of cartridges, especially in the predator-hunting side of things, you know that fast .22 caliber rounds are all the rage. With expanding or fragmenting bullets that enter but do not exit the animal, the .22 leaves the pelt in better condition and is the way to go. We also want a super flat trajectory because sometimes ranging a target is just not an option. If we go back in time, we can find cartridges as early as the 1940s, like the 218 Donaldson Wasp or 219 Zipper, which pushed that .22 caliber as fast as possible. Then, all of a sudden, along comes the .22-250. It was a rimless case that pushed the .22 caliber to its limits. The only thing that could outshoot it in this cartridge was the 220 Swift, which pushed the limits a little too far for the bullets produced at that time.
Back to the topic at hand, the 22 ARC. Why the 22 ARC? Why now? Because just like our cartridges that have evolved with time, our bullets have, too. With such a big jump in bullet technology, running bullets heavy for their caliber or bullets with more bearing surface to try to get the most BC, some old cartridge designs were not up to the task. Let's look at another thing: if we can get 22-250 performance out of an AR15, that would be unreal. Well, lucky for us, that's exactly what the 22 ARC aims to do.
I can think of a few roles the 22 ARC would be great for. The first, as I mentioned before, is predator hunting. When we are talking about pushing a light bullet super-fast with a higher BC, which causes our projectile to fly flatter through the air, our zero range is a lot more accurate. Another thing that comes to mind would be a precision rifle for PRS or even a training rifle for PRS. I don't know about you, but I dabbled with .223 as a PRS cartridge, and it does exceptionally well with some of these new bullets. With .22 bullets going up to the 90-grain range, pushing those bullets to 2900 feet per second or better, it will run with any 6mm BR out there. These high BC .22 caliber bullets are super-efficient regarding drop and wind-bucking ability. The new 22 ARC design allows the shoulder to be pushed back further, making more room for these heavy caliber bullets. This is a home run in both your AR15 and your custom bolt action rifle.
Along with the 22 ARC launch, Hornady also announced their new ELD-VT bullet, a purpose-built projectile designed to excel in the varmint world. The ELD-VT "incorporates a unique hybrid design of a long-range, high B.C. match bullet with a slightly lighter [one] for caliber varmint bullet design," said Swerczek. Hornady engineers moved the center of gravity rearward in the ELD-VT bullet via a unique lead layout, creating a large air cavity in front of the lead. Doing so aids in bullet stability and instigates dramatic and instantaneous fragmentation upon impact, precisely what the die-hard predator hunter needs to optimize terminal performance and minimize pelt damage. Swerczek summed up the cartridge best when he said, "It's fast, it's flat, it's accurate, there is no recoil. It is fun in a box." For the hard-core, long-range varmint hunter, the days of not being able to kill coyotes hung up at 400+ yards are over.
BUILDING A BOLT ACTION 22 ARC
What do I think? It's going to be a great cartridge. I can think of two great rifles I could build with this cartridge. The first one will go back to my youth when I used to hunt coyotes and ground squirrels. For this build, I would use an MDT HNT26 chassis, a super lightweight carbon fiber and magnesium chassis that would be great for packing out in the fields. The HNT26 chassis is the complete package, with the folding stock and ARCA options, and weighs approx. 31oz. Next, I would pick a Zermatt Arms TL3 action. You all know I love this action for the availability of multiple cartridges or quick change pre-fit barrels. Now that we're talking about barrels, I recommend a CarbonSix carbon fiber barrel, probably the 18-inch one, to maximize its mobility with a suppressor. With the 18-inch barrel, we should get enough velocity to push any bullet we need as fast as we need to. I would pair it with a lightweight titanium suppressor and stick to a 3-18x lightweight scope. With case dimensions very similar to the 6 ARC, my 6MM ARC MDT METAL MAGAZINE would work great for it. What do you think about heading into the woods with a carbon fiber stock and a carbon fiber tripod? With this new fast 22 ARC cartridge, you would have a blast calling in coyotes, day or night.
MDT HNT26 Chassis System.
Now for my second build. I would start with the same action, the TL3 with the PPC bolt face. It's going to work great with the new 22 ARC. Next, I'd go with another pre-fit, let's go with Proof Research competition's contour stainless steel barrel to move that weight out toward the front and make a perfectly balanced rifle. Let's put it in the ultimate PRS chassis; you know what I'm talking about, the MDT ACC Elite. Let's go all out with this build and put a Zero Compromise Optic: ZC527 scope and a Triggertech Diamond two-stage. Then we can throw on an MDT Elite Muzzle Brake. Pair that with a PRS Ckye-Pod, and you have a podium-capable rifle.
MDT ACC ELITE Chassis System.
CALIBER RESOURCES FROM MDT
- Analysis: 6.5x47 and 6x47 Lapua
- The Carbon Ring
- A Look at Reduced Loads
- Analysis: .277 Sig Fury
- Is the 308 Winchester Still Relevant?
- Analysis: 6.5 Creedmoor
- Why All The Hate For The 30-06
- Loading 6MM ARC And .223 REMINGTON with A Dillon Progressive Press
- Hornady 6MM ARC For Competition
- Analysis: 6MM BR NORMA
- Fire Forming and Loading 223 AI
- Loading 6GT with Hodgdon H4350
- 270 Winchester and Colorado Elk
- 6mm GT Load Development
- Capable And Versatile: A Close Look at the 6.5X55 Swedish
- Analysis: .338 Lapua Magnum
- Analysis: 7MM PRC
- 280 AI: Merging Power and Precision
- 338 Lapua: A Journey
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I have 20+ years in the automotive industry- first managing shops in the northwest for over 13 years and now as a factory rep for Hunter Engineering. I love my family, my faith, and my firearms. I've shot competitively in the PRS southwest region for two years. I also compete in long-range AR-15 competitions at least once a month and am an avid reloader. I have written for Ballistic Magazine's 'Ballistic Best' precision rifle edition for two years. My other hobbies include photography, videography, woodworking, and knife-making. You can find me on Instagram @davidinthesun