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6.5 Grendel and friends (courtesy

You wait all year to buy ammo in a popular caliber and BANG! another caliber becomes popular while you’re waiting. This time it’s 6.5 Grendel. Wikipedia tells us “the 6.5mm Grendel design goal was to create an effective 200-800 yard AR-15 magazine length loaded cartridge for the AR-15 platform that evoked Anglo-Saxon epic poetry when fired surpassed the performance of the native 5.56 NATO / 223 Remington cartridge.” Et voila! The Hannah Montana of AR cartridges offers a flatter trajectory and greater terminal energy at extended ranges than either the 5.56 or 7.62.” And all you gotta do to take out deer and varmints with 6.5 Grendel up to 800 yards: change the bolt and barrel, load the ammo in a 6.5 Grendel mag, find the critters, take aim and pull the trigger. Underground Tactical started selling their 6.5 Grendel AR bolt yesterday ($79.95). Complete rifles and 6.5 uppers are flying out the door, too. Luckily, good quality 6.5 ammo’s easily available at about a buck a pop. For now.

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    • It has been in my expericence that if you ask about a 7.26×39 bolt action the general response is that it would suck. Follow that with ‘Well, how good is a .30-30?’ and there are no disparaging remarks. Ballistically the two are not much different.

      I love this guys post on the concept of a 7.62×39 rifle.×39.html#!/2008/10/america-needs-bolt-action-762×39.html

      I have read his first book and am working on his second.

      • He was talking about the bolt that goes inside of a bolt carrier that goes inside of an AR, not a bolt action. Think, before you drink, before you drive me crazy. Great dissertation on a question that was not asked.

      • Convert an old clunker Lee-Enfield. The bore diameter is correct. The chamber is almost perfectly profiled, except for the length. Remove the barrel, cut off the threaded portion. Cut new threads. Headspacing is now set up. Bolt head needs to modded to accomodate the rimless cartridge and an insert needed for the magazine. Or just modify an existing AK magazine.

    • The Grendel is a nice round, prefer it to the 6.8 or the .300 blackout. Would love to see some real ammo selection arrive on the scene for it without resorting to reloading.

    • I wouldn’t call 300 BLK useless, only problem is it does something the 7.62×39 has been doing for a long time (I know it was originaly made for AR parts compatibility). I do prefer 6.5 though.

    • I did laugh when they said “the new .300 BLK.” 6.5 Grendel has been around for years. However, .300 BLK is NOT worthless. I can buy a $300 barrel for my LMT MRP, and in two minutes I have a harder hitting home defense round that feeds reliably in an AR-15 (unlike 7.62×39 with its tapered case) and is still a viable 100-200 yard gun. I am not really sure where the hate comes from. Same mags, same bolt, hits hard, gets a full powder burn in a 10″ barrel. What’s not to love?

      • “Harder hitting”? Not really. The terminal effect are not significantly different.

        The cartridge is a gimmick. Nobody cared when .300 Whisper and .30 Remington AR did essentially the exact same thing (never mind the fact that .300 Whisper is nearly identical) and nobody cared. This comes out with some snazzy marketing and it is a gift from the heavens.

        • At home defense distances, I would much rather be making .30 cal sized holes out of my AR. I know 5.56 works great and I am not a detractor, I just think heavier bullets are preferred (same reason my AR has 75 gr hollow points). Would you also argue that 7.62×39 isn’t harder hitting at close range? Because they are very similar and you can’t make one argument without the other.

        • If you believe it’s “just another cartridge,” you are clearly unaware of the design intent and specific advantages that .300blk brings to the AR platform. It is ingenious.

        • 5.56 can totally be harder hitting than 7.62×39 close up. Lighter but faster bullet can be more devastating if it fragments reliably while still ensuring good enough penetration. I don’t know about .300 AAC, but 7.62×39 does not have a reputation for reliable fragmentation.

      • Then why bother with the 300 blackout as you could buy a 50 Beowulf barrel, change the bolt, and then you’d really have improved power for home defense plus hit out to that same distance you listed.

        Boutique round vs Boutique round

        • 1) Capacity – 300BLK holds 30rnds in a 30rnds AR-15 magazine. 50B holds 8 I think.
          2) Part commonality – 50B requires a new bolt AND a new barrel, 300BLK just needs a new barrel.
          3) Components commonality. 300BLK is a reloader’s wet dream. Same cases your 5.56 uses (necked down), same bullets your 30cal guns use.
          4) Suppressor-ready – 300BLK was designed to cycle reliably over a WIDE range of bullet weights from 110gr to 240gr. This makes it an EXCELLENT subsonic suppressor host, while at the same time you can hard 30-30 supersonic ballistics by just changing the magazine.
          5) Made for short barrels – I don’t know the optimal barrel length for 50B, but 300BLK has more energy from a 10″ barrel than 5.56 does from a 16″ barrel. It makes an EXCELLENT SBR/AR-Pistol cartridge in addition to the other advantages listed above.

          Is it a niche caliber? I guess you could say that – it fills about 4 niches that 5.56 and 7.62×39 can’t, and it does them all at the same time.

  1. Think I’ll stick with 5.56/223. Although I’m looking at getting a 300blk sbr. Didnt 6.5 become popular like 3 or 4 years ago?

    • Not exactly popular because the 6.5 was proprietary. I believe it just went the way of SAAMI, though so ammo availability and choices should grow.

  2. I keep hoping one of the “newly discovered” AR calibers will stick around and become reasonably priced. I want to build a 2nd AR-15 eventually, but I really don’t care about having a 2nd one in 5.56. (I already have an upper and lower.)

  3. I have had AR in 6.5 Grendel with a match Shilen barrel for a few years now. It’s excellent coyote medicine. It’s some of the best fun I’ve had reloading too. Lot’s of versatility.

  4. There is a lot more extra stuff you have to buy to switch over to 6.5 than with 300. With 300 you only need to change the barrel and can convert one rifle out of your AR Stable much more easily.

  5. The Grendel is like the young relative who lives in his mommies basement for years. Everyone seems surprised when one day he walks out into the sunshine with the cure to cancer or the next Angry Birds app.

    The Grendel has been one superb offering for the AR platform. Other sites (to remain nameless) have been beating the 300 blackout (or whatever his clients want to push this week) like a drum. Everyone needs to run out and buy a Blackout upper ! No, everyone doesn’t.

      • worked on me, thanks to Nick and others, I’ve built a Blackout AR pistol, its fun and sweet and I get a lot of satisfaction converting 5.56 brass, its a hands on process that for me is quite enjoyable.

        • +1
          300BLK is a reloader’s/Suppressor owner’s wet dream. 6.5Grendel is a hunter’s/long range shooter’s.

          Don’t like it? Don’t buy it. Personally I plan on having both. I have a 8″ 300BLK as my truck gun, and I’m working up a 6.5G upper for a cheap (compared to a dedicated bolt gun) long range gun. Both go places the other can’t.

    • It just so happened that Grendel did live with his mom. And Hrothgar was surprised when Grendel came out and wrecked his mead-hall.

  6. Or you can run a med-heavy 1/7 20″ 5.56 barrel and .77 gr boat tails and get the same effective range.

    • Yes, because .223 is “effective” out at those ranges… It has problems dropping people at 200 yds.

      • I Disagree. Don’t believe every hysterical post you read on the internet. A lot of those ARFCOMers and posters are call of duty kids still living in their parents’ basements and eating cheese wiz. 5.56 (yes, to include 62gr M855) can and does reliably kill human targets at 200 and even 300 meters. It’s not a laser beam, but if you score 1-2 hits on a guy there is an extremely good change that he’ll go down. However, it’s at the ranges that the Grendel shines (400-800 meters) that 5.56 runs out of gas. Sure, you can get hits but terminal performance will be lousy.

        • Try the MK262 and MK318 rounds the terminal ballistics of those rounds are awesome, even out to and past 600 yards. And my experience is out a 10in with those, so a full size barrel is even going to do better.

        • MK262 and MK318 are both excellent rounds, but neither will ever see widespread issue to military forces, since neither are compliant with the Hague Conventions. And they still do not outperform a 6.5 Grendel in an equivalent loading.

        • Paladin, you know the Marine Corps has adopted the MK318 for use right. Its not limited to just SOCOM. And neither round violates the Hague conventions according to military lawyers,(due to neither round being designed to expand, they just do as a byproduct of their design) and the US actually didn’t sign the Hague conventions either.

    • Find me a 5.56 that will stay supersonic to 1200 yards and we can talk about it having equivalent performance.

        • If you read the post I was replying to you would know that it is. 11B3B4 claimed that 5.56 could achieve similar effective range with a 77gr MK262 load. That is simply not the case. MK262 goes trans-sonic at 850yds. A 144gr 6.5 Grendel load goes trans-sonic at 1300yds. The 6.5 Grendel has more energy at 1000yds than the MK262 has at 500.

          Read the actual thread before you start complaining about the topic.

        • I love 5.56 but Paladin is correct. Stating that 5.56 and 6.5 Grendel are equivalent does not do justice to 6.5 grendel. A more apt comparison would be 6.5 and 7.62×51.

    • I see a lot of 77gr Mk.262 go downrange throughout the year, and it’s a great load in the .223 Wylde chambered AR15. Sucks at barrier defeat, hard to register on steel at distance in the wind, but still a great load for terminal performance on soft targets.

      Grendel wind drift is much less, especially when you look at the BC’s. You’re in the mid .3__’s with 77gr SMK, and over .5__ with the 123gr 6.5mm pills. You have to step up to a 175gr SMK in the .308 to get close to a 123gr SMK, A-MAX, or Scenar in the Grendel, all of which are .510 or higher.

      With some of the new powders on the market, you can take the 16″ Grendel carbine to 2550fps easily without blowing past the relatively low SAAMI MAP, but with 40-60% of the recoil of the .308 Win.

      The Grendel would make an insane DM/SASS cartridge. Better trajectory and wind drift than even the 175gr SMK from a carbine, with 10,000 less psi, much lighter gun that you can actually shoot positions with, less recoil, less muzzle climb, faster follow-up and impact assessment for follow-up with the reticle after a 1st-round register. Better barrier defeat due to SD, lighter soldier’s load.

      Then put it in an LMG with a 130gr in the mid .5__ BC range, and prepare to overmatch the PKM, SVD, and any 7.62 NATO Machine Gun, but with less recoil, lighter soldier’s load, smaller ammunition carrying footprint, etc. There’s a guy who is working on a Mk46 Grendel as we speak, and that will literally introduce a new class of LMG that has never existed before:

      * Squad-level LMG with GPMG performance

    • The ammo is absolutely not a fad, its been around since 2004 and there is a steadily growing user base – I don’t think you are quite up to speed on the state of the 6.5 Grendel’s popularity 😉

    • While I am not a 6.5 Grendel devotee (“Grendel” name Copyright Bill Alexander… who traveled back in time to sue the Dane who wrote Beowulf for multiple copyright infringements and will take your lousy ass to court for even measuring his casing with calipers), it is not a fad round. It’s been around for a long time. I even considered building a 6.5 Grendel AR three of four years ago. In their own ways, none of the “fad rounds” from a few years ago turned out to be fads. They all still have devoted followings and growing user bases. 6.8, 6.5G, .50 Beo and now 300 BLK are all going strong.

  7. 300 Blackout is primarily a sub-sonic platform, hence the name “Blackout” or “Whisper”. The Grendel fits between the 223 and 308 in a A/R platform. They each have their uses, but I think optimum is 300 blackout for CQB, 223 for lighter mid-range, and 308 for the longer ranges. If you don’t or cant’ spring for a 308 rifle then Grendel is a good alternative for 800 yds or less.

    • I never quite got why a round was needed between 5.56 and 308. I totally get the 300 blackout for suppressed CQB, but with the availability of 308 ammo and accessories, not to mention AR selection, why is Grendel needed?

      • Because we can?

        Need is how the anti’s frame firearm questions. Need has nothing to do with the caliber wars. Us Americans like individuality. I want a 6.5 because I can.

        • Timbo nailed it. A lot of tools in your garage aren’t “needed” but they do a specific job better than a tool that someone could argue was similar. We’re not building a Leatherman here, we want a safe toolbox full.

      • Compared with .308:

        – Lighter ammo weight
        – Greater ammo capacity
        – Can shoot from a lighter platform
        – Similar ballistics

        Compared with .556

        – Greater range
        – Heavier bullet, more energy behind it – more lethality

        Tom Beckstrand had a nice write up of the round in the latest edition of the annual Sniper magazine.

      • And correct me if I’m wrong – not really an AR expert – but doesn’t a 308 AR mean a different lower receiver(AR10)? Whereas the 6.5 Grendel you can use the same lower receiver (AR15) as your 5.56.

        So it’s easier to convert existing guns, or cheaper to make new ones.

      • Recoil and LR performance There is a reason guys shoot 6 mmbr instead of 30 BR cartridges. Same case but a world’s different level of recoil. The 6, 6.5, and 7 mm rounds have a slick BC for longer range effectiveness with the shooter taking a lesser beating than a 30 cal delivers. The 300 blackout flat based fat bullet just doesn’t fly as well or as far. I am a fan of 30 cals and shoot 30-06s, 30 BRs, 308 Win, while my fellow shooters are more than happy to be shooting 6 mmbrs, 204 rugers, 222 Rems, 218 Bees, and other mild recoilers.

      • Because it has performance similar to an AR-10 in an AR-15 sized package. The 6.5 also has superior exterior ballistics (wind drift, BC) to the average .308 used in a semi-auto platform. I have both (and a .300 Whisper) and really like the Grendel for precision shooting at 500-700 yards.

      • To answer that question, show us the AR-15 that is NOT an AR-10 but is in 7.62 nato… doesn’t exist, which answers the question.

        Also, most reviews I’ve seen show the 6.5 SURPASSING the 7.62 Nato, so the question almost becomes “why do we need a .308 or even an AR-10 anymore?”

  8. “Luckily, good quality 6.5 ammo’s easily available at about a buck a pop. For now.”

    Actually it is hardly available at all. Pops up now and then and is gone in an instant. That is the big drawback of the 6.5 Grendel – ammo availability (and high quality mags – the ASC stuff seems to be hit and miss depending on who you ask). Fantastic round though and I’m eager to shoot mine more.

      • I sure as hell don’t pay $1.00 per round for 9mm or .22LR….can you get 5.56 for $14.00 @ 50rds???

        • I don’t pay $1.00 per round out of my .308… With brass cased… I can get 5.56 for that much- I just did!

          You’re confusing boutique ammo for common rounds.

  9. Grendel Parent case -.220 Russian – Good luck finding that brass. Fail
    300 Blackout Parent case – 5.56/.223 – new and used shells readily available. Win

    • No, the 7.62 x 39 Fiocchi case (think WWB) works as a parent case. And since I already have a 7.62 x 39 AR, I have plenty of the stuff.

      No fail here

    • TFW someone doesn’t know what ELSE has a parent case of .220 Russian.


      Now then, finding brass for that? GL

      • Necking down a case is easy, but changing its taper isn’t just as easy. Given the radical difference in case taper between the Grendel and the 7.62×39, making Grendel cases out of 7.62×39 cases is not realistic.

    • Grendel brass manufacturers:

      * Lapua
      * Hornady
      * Nosler
      * Norma
      * PPU

      For reloaders that want to size and fire-form 7.62×39:
      * Insert laundry list

      For those that have .300 AAC, take it out in extreme cold and see what happens, like under 10 degrees F, and then report your results. Low volume flake powder pushing a very narrow velocity window equals short-stroke malfunction. It’s a boutique cartridge with extremely limited practical use in cold weather. You have to go supersonic at that point to cycle the gas system, and thereby throw out the main advantage of the cartridge. If you want a large bore, small frame subsonic, the Russians have been using one for decades now called the 9×39 in the VAL, and it actually works in extreme cold.

  10. The 6.5 Grendel provides performance much closer to 6.5x55mm Swedish Mauser cartridges. While the Grendel sacrifices a few hundred ft.lbs. of energy and (with some bullet weights) a bit of velocity, it does allow for fairly high sectional-density bullets. I’d find this caliber preferable to one optimized for suppressors rather than effectiveness and accuracy. There is no reason, though, that both alternatives can’t survive in the market.

  11. $1 per round? sure seems like panic prices. i’ll just keep w/the 223 where i can get it for 34 cents per round

    • That’s $1 a round for high end ammo, the stuff in the picture being Hornady Match. I find it unlikely that you’ll find Hornady Match at less than around $1 in any calibre. There is a world of difference between that and bulk or surplus ammunition.

      • The PPU 120gr MPT load was going for $13 a box before Sandy Hook. Hornady, Federal, Black Hills, etc. match .223 Rem and .308 are all priced at or higher than 6.5 Grendel Match from Hornady.

        There are at least 26 different factory loads for the 6.5 Grendel, and at least 12 of those are hunting loads, while the others are target. They are available from:

        * Alexander Arms
        * Hornady
        * Precision Firearms
        * Wolf (PPU)

  12. I always get 6.5 Grendel confused with 6.5 Creedmore. I’m no ballistics nerd, does anyone want to save me the time of googling it and wading through 5 million forum posts?

    • The 6.5 Grendel is an intermediate cartridge. It’s overall length is similar to the ones of 5.56×45, 5.45×39, 7.62×39 etc. It’s designed as a a replacement for these cartrdges. It has better external ballistics than all of the intermediate alternatives because of its large case capacity and high-BC 6.5mm bullets.

      The 6.5 Creedmoor is very similar to the .260 Remington, which in turn is a necked-down 7.62×51 cartridge using a 6.5mm bullet. The 6.5 Creedmoor is an improvement on this simple necked-down 7.62×51 by modifying the case to have a steeper shoulder angle (30 degrees) and less taper. The shoulder angle modification is most important because it has been proven that a steeper shoulder angle leads to less barrel wear.

      • Thanks! So basically 6.5 Grendel = necked down 5.56x45mm and 6.5 Creedmore = necked down 7.62x51mm? I know that is oversimplifying the difference. Are the Grendel and Creedmore proprietary brass or can a reloader with proper dyes and whatnot reload from more commonly available brass?

        • No. The 6.5 Grendel is actually based on the .220 Russian, itself a necked-down 7.62x39MM.

          He was discussing similar 6.5MM calibers. The .260 Remington is a necked-down 7.62x51MM. The 6.5 Creedmoor is it own animal, though it could fit into standard-length actions as used by the 7.62x51MM.

        • What Excedrine said. 6.5 Grendel’s only thing in common with the 5.56×45 is that they’re similar in length, so they could be fired from similar length actions (for example, an AR-15). Its case is indeed .220 Russian which is a necked-down 7.62×39. However, both the .220 Russian and the 7.62×39 have extremely tapered cases, while the 6.5 Grendel has very little taper, the result of this being that it has larger capacity, which, in turn, along with the very aerodynamic 6.5mm bullets gives the Grendel its very flat trajectory. All of this makes the 6.5 Grendel a somewhat fatter cartridge compared to other intermediate cartridges, which means somewhat less ammo capacity (26 rounds fit in a standard 30 round mag) that has a very flat bullet trajectory.

          Bottom line for 6.5 Grendel: somewhat fatter cartridges than 5.56×45, roughly the same length as 5.56×45, heavier bullet than 5.56×45, much flatter trajectory than 5.56×45.

          As for 6.5 Creedmoor, I was, indeed, describing the Creedmoor by comparison with the 7.62×51. It is a different beast when you don’t have the whole context, but when think about necking-down 7.62×51 to a 6.5mm bullet, that’s a relatively simple step. That gives you .260 Rem. From there, Hornady went and improved that whole package by increasing the shoulder angle and decreasing the taper, thus creating the 6.5 Creedmoor.

          Bottom line for 6.5 Creedmoor: an improved necked-down 7.62×51, roughly the same length as 7.62×51, lighter bullet than the 7.62×51, much flatter trajectory than 7.62×51.

        • Also, 6.5 Grendel specs were released by Alexander Arms and the cartridge was standardized by SAAMI in 2011. You can get brass from Lapua, Hornady and Prvi Partizan (off the top of my head) but it may be available from others too.

          As for 6.5 Creedmoor, from what I know, Hornady didn’t release their official specs, so it’s stil a wildcat. The only available brass that I know of is from Hornady.

    • 6.5 Creedmoor is Hornady’s answer to the .260 Remington and 6.5×47 Lapua. The Creedmoor is actually a necked down 30TC, which was Hornady’s answer to the .308, but with more efficient burning of the powder column like a 7.5×55 Schmidt & Rubin with the 30 degree shoulder.

      Think of the Grendel as an AK cartridge, with more case capacity, necked down to shoot spears instead of footballs, and thereby more than tripling the effective range of the cartridge.

      16″ AK effective range: 300m
      16″ Grendel effective range: 1000m

      Both with 123gr bullets. BC is king when it comes to retained energy and staying supersonic longer.

  13. 6.5 Grendel, the greatest new caliber ever created for the AR platform! It’s better than whatever you shoot! Just like the 300Blk, and the 6.8 spc, and the 30 Remington AR, and the 458 socom, and the 25-45 sharps, and the 25WSSM, and the 50 Beowulf….

    There are others but, I will only mention these “newest and greatest” AR flavors because I own uppers in all of the above calibers. I will admit though, I don’t take ammo availability into account when I choose a caliber as I reload for a living. 99% of the time, when I’m headed to the range, my 300blk SBR gets first dibs.

  14. I know this is going to rub a lot of Grendel fanboys (and fangirls!) the wrong way, but it’s not the end-all, be-all silver savior from on-high that I’ve heard it touted as.

    Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: 6.5 Grendel is not easily available. Not even in the slightest.

    Now let’s get into the meat and potatoes of the discussion: ballistics. When you are actually fair in your comparisons, when talking about match loadings for both rounds, the 6.5 Grendel doesn’t even begin to touch the 7.62MM — especially with loads like the M118LR (or their factory clones). Not even when you load the Grendel to the gills and top it with a 123-grain Scenar (even out of a 24″ barrel). Literally the only advantage the Grendel has at that point is a flatter trajectory and an overall (slightly) lighter system. It doesn’t carry nearly as much energy at any range (not even out to 1,000 meters, much less beyond that), and doesn’t even have better sectional density so it won’t penetrate as well, either.

    You can dope both rounds on any reasonably accurate ballistic software, inputting current weather conditions if you like, and see that this is exactly the case. The math doesn’t lie.

    Then, there’s the magazines. There aren’t any true 30-round capacity magazines out there for it, and to get them you would be forced to blow out the mag well even more than LWRC did for their new SIX8 platform due to the size of the case (which is actually fatter than the 6.8 SPC).

    (Speaking of which, I’m still wondering when LWRC is going to make public the TDP for their SIX8 like they said they would. I’m putting my money on next SHOT Show at the earliest.)

    Oh, and don’t bother going SBR with it. There are better cartridges out there for that.

    If I had to choose an odd-ball caliber, at the present moment it would probably be .300 BLK. It’s still more available and more affordable (thought not by a whole lot it seems) than either the 6.5 G or the 6.8 SPC, and there aren’t any proprietary lowers or magazines to worry about, either.

    After that, it would be the 6.8 SPC. Why? ‘Dem P-mags, brah. ‘Nuff said. It’s more available, though certainly not any cheaper, than the 6.5 G.

    • High BC usually means deep penetration. That is why the various 6.5mm cartridges are legal to hunt moose with in Norway.

      • You’ve got ballistic coefficient confused with sectional density, as the latter actually determines how far a bullet will penetrate with a given impact energy.

        • At least you compare apples-to-apples when you compare the 6.5 Grendel to military M118LR. Both can use the Sierra MatchKing; doesn’t get any more head-to-head than that. I suggest you re-run the numbers. The 65G stays with M118LR all the way out to 1000 yards then, except for energy, beats it in trajectory and wind drift. I base this on a 65G load of a 123 SMK (BC .510) @ 2650 fps in a 24″ barrel vs. a M118LR load of a 175 SMK (BC .496) @ 2600 fps in a 24″ bbl using JBL Ballistics calculator. You may disagree with my inputs, but then you’d have to justify different numbers to objective observers. Give it some thought.

        • @John — I went by the muzzle velocity data published by Alexander Arms and I used JBM’s calculator, too. I used each projectile’s more accurate G7 coefficients, though, and even with the 123-grain Scenar (.263 BC) @ 2,620 FPS in the local weather conditions here (33F, 29.84 in., 0 wind, 87% HUM.) is super-sonic to 950. The 175-grain SMK (.243 BC) @ 2,650 will stay super-sonic to around 900. I conceded the flatter trajectory as par for the course, but the M118LR carries with it at least 55% more energy at all ranges. Even adding in a 15 mph wind, the difference in windage is about 3/4 MOA at 600, which isn’t much of a difference when it’s 8.25 for the 6.5 G and 9 for the 7.62. There is even less than .2 MOA difference between the two in elevation when zeroed at 600, and less than 2 MOA at 1K from 600.

          The main advantage of the 6.5 G, then, is a lighter platform with very soft recoil, considering that even 24″ velocities yield just 1,875 FPE at the muzzle. 😉

    • Indeed.

      The 6.5 can throw 120 grain pills with impressive ballistic coefficients and subsequent sectional density. The 123 grain Lapua Scenar has a G1 BC of .547 off the top of my head. However, the 6.5 does not surpass the 7.62 x 51 in energy. It doesn’t beat the 6.8 SPC Spec II either (at least until the advantage of the superior BC past 300-400 yards or so).

      Although brass and bullets are available, there aren’t many factory loads on the market. A gunbroker / ammo bot / ammo seek search will confirm that assertion. Mags outside of Alexandrer Arms aren’t readily available either. The cartridges shape is also a little odd, which affects magazine geometry. The case itself is a bit fatter than the 6.8, which is fatter than a 5.56 case.

      The 6.5 is cool alternate AR caliber, but one must separate the market hype from the truth just like everything else. I think it would make a great designated marksmen / over watch / short to medium range sniper round. Its like a 6.8 SPC, except more efficient at long range and harder to find.

      • @Accur81

        The differences in sectional density between the 6.5 G and 6.8 SPC are negligible. In barrels up to 16″, the 6.8 SPC rules the roost as far as intermediate cartridges go (yes even over the venerable AK). Only at 16″ does it even begin to give up ground to the 6.5 G. When Silver State Armory was still making 6.8 ammo, before they were apparently purchased by Nosler, they had a 140-grain Berger VLD loading that matched the 6.5’s 123-grain Scenar from a 16″ tube all the way out to 1K. The bullet weights for both is virtually identical as well, with anywhere between 85 – 140 grains for the 6.8 and 90 – 145 grains for the 6.5 G. You would need at least a 20″ barrel for the 6.5 G to see a truly remarkable difference between the two.

        The 6.8 SPC II is better for smaller rifles and likely more terminally effective to 500. The 6.5 G is the one you would want for an interim DMR beyond that because of its very mild recoil and retained velocity.

        Each cartridge has its place.

    • Forget 24″ barrels, because they are impractical for both DM’s, Snipers, and hunters unless you’re just sitting static. Let’s go 16″ barrels for both, and don’t even use the higher BC 123gr Scenar, go with a 123gr SMK, A-MAX, or Nosler Custom Competition. At no point does the 175gr SMK have 50% more energy than the Grendel.

      Muzzle: 16″ Grendel has 83% of the energy of the 175gr SMK from a 7.62 16″ Carbine
      400yds: 16″ Grendel has 85% of the energy of the 175gr
      1000yds: 16″ Grendel still has 82% of the energy
      Recoil is at least 40% less, wind drift is better, trajectory is better. Gun and ammo are lighter, more capacity. Faster follow-up, and barrier defeat will be better with Grendel due to SD plus impact speed.

      Don’t bother SBR’ing a Grendel? Does 2500fps from a 10.5″ barrel with a 100gr Berger get your attention? The 14.5″ Grendel with 123gr is still supersonic at 1000yds with 59F temp at seal level. At the lowest point in Afghanistan, it would be supersonic to 1100yds at 59F. Factory Hornady A-MAX Match clocks 2420fps from a 14.5″ Saber Defense Grendel carbine.

      After all those years humping that beastly M24, I feel truly cheated. I could have had an M4A1 chambered in Grendel, with better practical performance, and still be able to fight at CQB ranges, which you simply can’t do with a bolt-action target rifle with a Palma profile barrel.

      • Considering that you can still get ~2,500 FPS out of a 14.7″ .308 (the limited edition LWRC REPR ‘Mjolnir’ has such a barrel length) with a 175-grain SMK, from factory ammo no less, the 7.62MM will always have significantly more energy behind it. Not only that, but the SD for the SMK (.264) is still better than the Scenar (.252) as well.

        The actual retained velocity and energy at 1,000 yards are as follows:

        From 2,500 FPS: 175-grain .308 SMK (.243 G7 BC) @ 1,137 FPS with 502 FPE

        From 2,420 FPS: 123-grain .264 Scenar (.263 G7 BC) @ 1,166 FPS with 371 FPE

        At no point does the Grendel have 82% of the energy retained by the 7.62.

        Recoil is not 40% less, either.

        And this is crunching the numbers for 3,422 feet, which is the same altitude at Musa Qala — the same place where Corporal of Horse Craig Harrison bagged two dirtbags (with two consecutive shots!) at a whopping 2,701 yards. I even left everything else the same as ICAO conditions which probably doesn’t even fit the weather conditions for the time of year that that particular record was set, those being: 59 F, 0% HUM. and no wind. (0% humidity is impossible by the way, even in the Atakama Desert, and higher humidity actually decreases air density as water vapor is less dense than air.) Literally the only way that the 6.5 G can stay super-sonic to 1K out of anything less than an 18″ barrel, regardless of the projectile, is at higher altitude.

        Velocity at 1K for the 123-grain Scenar, at 2,420 FPS from a 14.5″ barrel, is actually 1,072 FPS at sea level by the way, having gone sub-sonic at 950.

        Though you’re right that the .308 will not have 55% more energy than the 6.5 G (under those particular conditions anyway), you’re still not going to get better barrier defeat because you still have a good bit less energy and a lower sectional density.

        It would have been slightly worse had I gone for the 123-grain SMK for the Grendel (which yields 1,154 FPS with 364 FPE by the way).

        Digressing back to the SBR question, just about all of the available bullets up to and including 100 grains for botique cartridges like the 6.8 SPC (.277-cal) , for example, and the 6.5 G (.264-cal) are flat-based Spitzers with BCs and SDs that are quite similar. You usually only see boat-tails for either caliber on bullets of 100-grains and up. FYI: Berger doesn’t even make a 100-grain, .264-caliber bullet. At least not anymore they don’t. Nosler does, though, and it’s a real beauty! Consider also that the 6.8 SPC can get greater velocity in any barrel length with any bullet weight.

        How does a 95-grain Barnes TTSX at 2,800 out of a 10.5″ barrel grab you?

        How about a 90-grain Federal Gold Dot at 2,450 out of an 8.5″ LWRC UCIW sound to you?

        Or what about an 85-grain Barnes TSX rocketing out of 8″ LWRC PSD at 2,670?

        Mind you, this is with factory Silver State Armory (before they were bought out by Nosler anyway) and Federal ammo.

        I defy any 6.5 G to match that. Even handloads. (Surprise: they won’t.)

        Like I’ve been saying all along, the only advantage that the Grendel has over full-power rifle rounds like the 7.62MM NATO is lighter rifle and lighter ammo. That’s all she wrote.

        Where the Grendel actually shines is against other intermediate cartirdges, beyond 500 meters, and especially in barrels 16″ or longer with its sleeker bullets and milder recoil.

  15. 6.5G is the DeLorean of the gun world. An awesome product that simply failed to garner the critical mass needed for a viable future, despite its superiority to market comparables. I would love to put a 6.5G upper together, but I am stopped by the lack of support and ammo.

    • My thoughts exactly. I’m hoping the 6.8 doesn’t have a similar fate. Maybe I’ll pick up a 300 BLK upper one of these days.

      • Word. But then, it WAS a Chrysler, famous for excessive weight, weak transmissions and anemic 6 bangers.

    • Market support has only been growing for the Grendel. It’s really the only high-performance intermediate cartridge that fits in the AR15 that even has SAAMI approval.

      Even after the insane manner in which Remington forked over the 6.8 SPC with the SAAMI submission, and the greatest attempts of cottage industry shops to fix the dangerous chamber of the original SAAMI spec in the 6.8, there is still a dimensional error in the SPC II chamber drawings, as pointed out by one of the main supporters of the 6.8, AR Performance.

      Hornady doesn’t sell out of their 123gr A-MAX and 123gr SST because they run small batches, they literally can’t keep up.

      Nosler and Normal didn’t get on board as brass manufacturers because they thought it would be fun, they did it because of demand.

      The two largest firearms pars distributors in the world didn’t start offering Grendel barrel/bolt combos because they thought it was cool, they did it to meet demand.

      The thing the Grendel has in droves that neither 6.8 SPC nor 300 BLK have, is a true multi-use firearm cartridge system for both hunting and intermediate to long range target work, with commonly available loads that will do both affordably.

      Sure, the 6.8 SPC II with correct SPC II chamber variation with the correct twist with a good barrel with the $49-$51 dollar a box (just projectiles, not loaded ammo) 130gr Berger Classic Hunter has a BC that is almost what a 123gr Grendel’s is, and about matches what a Grendel will do with the lower BC 129gr SST for external ballistics, but you pay almost twice as much for components, and won’t have the terminal performance of the SST. That is the closest hand load right now from the 6.8 SPC II or DMR/ARP chamber that will match the 129gr SST factory loaded ammo.

      On top of that, you need to push the 6.8 SPC II into much higher pressures to get it to go there, while the Grendel stays at the SAAMI MAP of 50,000psi, which is very enticing for industry lawyers who work feverishly to keep their companies away from catastrophic failures. Right now, there are at least two recognized pressure MAP’s for the 6.8 SAAMI at 55,000psi, and 58,000psi for the SPC II. Try explaining that to a legal department. Remington did a number on the 6.8, and it was a travesty of colossal ignorance if you ask me. Then to top it off with large rifle primers in the brass?

      A lot of people look at muzzle velocities because it’s difficult to run ballistic programs, or at least it used to be before there were dozens of them available for your smart phone. Now you can plug in that .510 BC 123gr and see how the other offerings on the market loose their gas really fast, which those of us who were switched on to 6.5mm knew long ago when we started ditching .30 cals like cheap suits in the competitive long-range arena.

      The Grendel really offers an affordable, light-recoiling, multiple-use AR15 that serves extremely well as a medium and even large game slayer, while also being a fun steel-ringer as far as your wind-doping skills will take you. For me, I found out that it was 500yds farther than I thought with my16″ Grendel, which will group well on IPSC sils out to 1200yds up here in the mountains in the summer.

      • Well said. I’m clearly not the only one into ballistics. The 6.8 has brass is made with both large rifle primers and small rifle primers. The Spec II does run hot to get that much power out of a small case.

      • Market support for the Grendel has been relatively subdued since it’s inception. The 6.8 SPC also has SAAMI approval, and it is every bit the equal of the Grendel as far as raw performance is concerned.

        Do you have actual production numbers from Hornady to tell you which bullets have been produced and sold more? No.

        Do you have actualy production numbers from Nosler and Norma to tell you which caliber’s brass casings have been produced and sold more? I don’t see any.

        Can you definitely pin down the actual sales numbers for the “two largest parts suppliers in the world” for Grendel conversion parts? I doubt you have them

        The thing that the both the 6.8 SPC and .300 Blackout have over the Grendel is that not only are they actually just as versatile as the 6.5 Grendel, is more options.

        More bullet weight selection. More ideal powder selection. More ammunition availability. More parts availability. The same or lower ammunition costs. Good standard-capacity magazines that actually work reliably — especially when suppressed.

        In order to get good magazines for the Grendel, since it does in fact have a dimensionally fatter case than the 6.8 SPC, you’d have to blown out the magwell more than was done for LWRC’s SIX8 series, which was quite a lot. Once you do that, you would also have to change the interior geometry of the upper as well to accomodate you’re now-geometically correct lower. Oh, and 30-round magazines for the Grendel would be longer and more tapered, too, all but precluding the use of standard AR-15 magazine pouches.

        Other that or you could wait for the AK-12 to come State-side and hope they offer it in 6.5 Grendel. Or maybe you could get a competent gunsmith to convert an existing AK-clone, if you’ve got the coin.

        If you can actually find any Grendel ammo — which is literally impossible right now in case you need another reminder — you will readily find an equivalent load in 6.8 SPC that is the same price or cheaper, and that you can actually have delivered to your doorstep in a reasonable amount of time without being backordered.

        You can push a .277-caliber 140-grain Noser Accubond, with a .256 G7 BC, at ~2,400 from a 14.5″ barrel and still be well under the 58,000 PSI MAP. Pitted against the vaunted .264-caliber 123 Lapua Scenar, with a .263 BC, at 2,420 from a 14.5″ barrel, the Accubond will still win in retained energy and will never be far enough behind in retained velocity to make it a real sticking point. In fact, there is never more than a 13% difference between the two in either category. For a 600-yard zero, there is less than a 1 MOA difference. Though, from there to 1K, the Grendel will drop about 21″ inches less. Worse yet for the Grendel is that the sectional density is lower for the Scenar: .252 vs. .261 for the Accubond. Even worse than that is that the Accubond is “barrier blind” and will actually have better terminal performance than the Scenar anyway in all cases. Not to mention that the 6.8 SPC does, has, and always will perform better than the Grendel out of SBRs, too. The only recourse to match the terminal effectiveness of the 6.8 SPC, then, is to select the less drag-resistant 123-grain Hornady SST or similar projectile — and it only does downhill from there.

        I’ve doped these rounds in JBM both at sea level under ICAO conditions and at Musa Qala (3,422 feet) out to 1,500 yards. The Grendel still loses every single time. It doesn’t even stay super-sonic to 1,000 yards, which is the rallying cry for the Grendel’s fanbase, regardless of the bullet selection out of anything less than an 18″ barrel unless you’re at a higher altitude. Again, the math doesn’t lie.

        Try actually doing an apples-to-apples comparison between bullet styles for a change, like I did between the vaunted 123-grain Scenar and the 175-grain SMK for the .308 — both out of carbine-length barrels and at real-world attainable velocities.

        The Grendel won’t do anything that 6.8 SPC can’t do, and literally the only thing that can be attributed to the Grendel is about 10% less recoil, if even that much. 6.8 SPC rifles, components and ammunition are still more plentiful, and can be had within the price range as the Grendel as well.

  16. I love the 6.5 Grendel, by far my favorite AR caliber.

    Here’s the problem, ammo is damn near impossible to find, and often the wait for a barrel is measured in YEARS. That’s right YEARS.

    MidwayUSA has had the AR Stoner barrels in for a month now, but those barrels are really hit and miss. Many are great, and many others are simply made wrong and the chamber is too short, and you can’t get a standard round into battery.

    I have one of those barrels and mine works, but building and shooting the 6.5 Grendel takes WORK. You have to hunt down ammo, you have to reload, you wait months fore bolts.

    I’ve been waiting for the Shilen with the match bolt for 14 months now. I may get it 2015.

      • I’m not sure the if that’s actually 6.5 Grendel.

        There are just so many lists I can be one. I’m still on 3 for 6.5 Grendel, and 458 SOCOM.

        If it works, I may have to try out that barrel.

        • It’s the same. There is plenty of information on it. Do your research. Les Bauer didn’t want to pay Bill Alexander so he created a cartridge that is virtually the same. And it’s about the only way to get a 6.5G barrel right now. And the BHW polygonal barrels have an excellent reputation. I wish they made Beowulf barrels too!

  17. I’m working on my own wildcat, the 6.65 Ralph. It fits exactly between the 6.5 Grendel and the 6.8 SPC, because why not. For example, when shooting an eight pointer at precisely 114.36 yards with a quartering wind of 12.2 mph from out of the west, the 6.65 Ralph is just the ticket.

    If the wind is out of the east, you can’t use the 6.65 Ralph. However, I’m solving that problem with the 6.65 Hplar, which spins in the opposite direction.

  18. It’s not hard to surpass the performance of 223/5.56 cartridges since they are at the bottom end of the class. I would take a 220 Swift or 22-250 over a 223/5.56 any day.

  19. Gee, that’s a lot of work to duplicate the ballistics of a century old .30-30. Yeah, I know….it uses pointy bullets.

    • Let us know when the .30-30 becomes rimless and fits in the same action length as the 5.56×45… and uses 10 grains of powder less while maintaining the same external ballistics… and weighs as little as the Grendel.

    • .30-30 ballistics? The .30-30 can’t hold water much farther than 150-200yds. Drops like a rock. Great little close-range medium game killer though.

      The Grendel will reach out to well over 3 or 4 times the .30-30’s range, and will buck the wind within closer hunting distances better than any other cartridge that fits in the AR15 action.

      Deer hunting duty…check
      Thick hog hide pass-throughs….check (multiple accounts of double-kills with one bullet)
      Predator duty….you’d be hard pressed to find a better factory cartridge that fires from the AR15 to hunt coyotes and wolves.
      Big game….check Hunters have been using premium bullets from the Grendel to kill Caribou, Elk, and even Moose. Some of the Elk and Caribou DRT’s have been at 400yds, with consecutive kills in 2-day periods, from skilled riflemen.

      And you can actually practice with it, and so can your kids, with no recoil penalty, so you can actually get good at hitting vital zones, unlike the magnums and their insane recoil that builds flinching in many shooters, and is out of the practical use for smaller framed individuals, like the ladies(who we really need to get more involved in hunting).

    • I am running 16” because I don’t want to do the NFA stuff, though I would love to run a suppressed SBR.

  20. 6.5G has seemed like an interesting round with great potential and great ballistics. I will be building a 300BLK upper instead because it only takes a barrel swap to get into the game. While it is not a long range round I don’t mind. Most shots I may take won’t be more than 200-300 yards with the rifle, so I do not need the 400-800 capabilities.

  21. Everyone keep saying the 300 BLK is a short rage round 100-200 meters, It was Designed for that range but is fully capable of going out to past 1000 yards, pick the right bullet weight and know where to hold and it’ll get there. With a lot of misinformation people think at 200 yards it’ll drop like a stone and that’s not true. in Addition Each caliber 6.5, 6.8 and 300 BLK, was designed for different specs and uses.

    300 BLK- barrel
    6.5- barrel, bolt.
    6.8- barrel, bolt, magazine

  22. no 6.5 grendel is the old 300 blackout. also, stop hyping different calibers before they even become common. lets just keep saying 300 blk is the bomb until they start making it close to as cheap as 5.56.. then feel free to hype something new. until then no, no and no.

  23. On paper it’s an impressive cartridge for longer ranges and competition.

    I still have a preference for the 7mm /.270 as an all around hunting bullet. I believe someone makes an AR in 7mm-08, which for me would make a perfect North American hunting rifle. It’s also a really popular and readily available round.

    I was married to the .308 for the longest time until I realized I could get similar ballistics with a 7mm-08, with 20 percent less recoil. I always found my .308 hand loads quite punishing using my Remington 700 BDL. Accuracy is about the same (excellent) for both cartridges.

  24. Why 300 blackout is so awesome:

    1) Requires only a barrel change
    2) Can use almost *any* 308 bullet
    3) Supersonic and Subsonic data is readily available (which cycles firearm)
    4) Brass can be made easily from 223 cases
    5) Actually useful for AR pistols because velocities are designed around shorter barrel
    6) Next best thing replacing the MP5sd, giving about twice the energy
    7) You realistically can probably send it out to 600-700 yards with enough energy to cause damage supersonic if you reload.
    *Basically you aren’t getting completely tied in, great for reloaders, stupid at the moment for everyone else

    or you could stick with 6.8, 6.5, or anyone of the other hipster rounds and be stuck paying over
    a dollar/round, need new mags, weaker bolt, and a new barrel.

    Do any of you guys think you’ll be shooting to 300-500+ yards in a SHTF situation? Its pray and spray, protect the family, round the bend, and high tail it out of there


    All that said, I like the 300 BLK and am willing to accept its shortcomings due to its openness.
    I have no experience with these other rounds and I’m sure they serve their purpose somewhere.

    • Man, its seems more kool-aid drinker the more I read it… Point is, every design fits a specific purpose, even if that purpose is to be dynamic. No one-all, takes all.


    • I don’t understand why people keep trying to compare 6.5G and .300 BLK. Their design goals are completely different! One is trying to replicate 7.62×39 ballistics in an AR platform with as few changes to the firearm as possible, while also providing a superb platform for suppressors. Another is trying to get closer to 7.62×51 ballistics, especially on medium-long and long ranges, without all the bulk. Both are good at what they do, but they do different things.

      If I had enough cash on hand, I’d get both.

      Now, 6.5 Grendel vs 6.8 SPC, that’s more of an apples to apples flamewar. But 6.5 is clearly so much better that it’s basically over before it even begins… =P

  25. Another thing about the Grendel is that it does not feed nearly as reliably as .223 or .300. My AR platforms run it fairly well with only maybe 15% more misfeeds than .223, but I made the mistake of re barreling a Mini 30 and let’s just say that did not turn out to be the brightest idea I’ve ever had.

    • But Lars, you’ve got to pair things to evoke a response. If he simply said “hey, what da ya’ think of the 6.5 Grendel?” the answer would be “meh” or “yeah, if somebody gives me one.” The other sufficient premise to evoke responses might be “DHS to ban 6.5 Grendel AR’s!” in which they’d be even more quickly sold out. “I happen to know, from a reliable alcoholic friend in Izhevsk, that the Russians have just adopted 6.5 Grendel for their too-secret-to-name operatorish unit that makes Федеральная пограничная служба look like cub scouts….” Apologies to FPS Russia.

  26. I get better out of my 6.8.

    If you want a better everything round in 308, 6.8BLK take it.

    There will be a cartridge soon that does everything the anemic 300BLK does, only better…

  27. Is there a round that’s…..

    Larger than the 223,
    smaller than the 308,
    is flatter shooting than the 223,
    is lighter than 308,
    is equally good from 10″ barrels as it is from 20″ barrels,
    is suppressor friendly,
    utilizes AR15 lowers,
    can be used on anything from squirrels to moose and grizzly bears,
    and hits its target like a freight train?

    If so, the Military, every hunter, and weekend shooter would like to check it out.

  28. There has been a lot of talk about the upcoming cheap steel-cased Russian manufactured 6.5 Grendel ammo. If and when that happens, it would have a chance at becoming a very popular round (and maybe even surpassing .300 BLK).

    However, the talk about that has been going for 3.5 years now, and it’s always a year away…

    • Wolf has it listed on their website, but it is currently still vaporware. Barnaul were supposed to be the ones making it IIRC. We were also supposed to get Veprs and Saigas chambered in 6.5 to go along with it.

      I think what happened was that the huge rush on guns and ammo over the past two years got the 6.5 projects shelved so the Russians could meet the demand for the stuff they already produce.

  29. Good to see it’s finally coming back into the spotlight! I almost sold my Grendel last year because I could find ammo anywhere. Now it’s starting to pop up here and there for cheaper than it used to be. This round has 4 times the reach and that much more power than the .300… I guess people finally started to wise up.

  30. The cartridge you all are looking for already exists. It was chambered in the AR-15 back in 2008. But Remington didn’t support it. Ya, I’m talking about the .30 AR. You can use it for everything from varmints to moose using the right bullet and load. If you have a .223/5.56 and .30AR you got it 90% covered

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