Thursday, November 26, 2009

6.5 Grendel Anyone?

I have not always been a huge fan of the other calibers for AR15's, mostly because of the lack of ammo availability.

That said, of all of the other popular AR15 calibers outside of .223/5.56, I have always liked the 6.5 Grendel the best. It's quite a bit bigger and heavier than the 5.56.

Here you can see how it compares to the two most common NATO rifle rounds, (from left to right) the 7.62, 6.5, and the 5.56, courtesy of

It was designed by Alexander Arms to fill the gap between these two rounds, giving the AR15 more long range capability than the 5.56, with a light recoil.

Recently, my brother built up a 6.5 Grendel AR15 for his wife and kids to use while hunting Elk near their home in Idaho. The AR15 is just a better platform for them to use, with the accuracy combined with the adjustable stock, etc...

This season his wife drew a Bull Elk tag close to where they live. They got out to an area where they had seen Elk previously and she was able to get a beautiful shot from about 50 yards away. This bull did not take another step and dropped after being hit with a handloaded 125gr Nosler Partition.

Although the 6.5 Grendel may be a bit on the small side for Elk and requires good judgment and shot placement for a clean kill, you can clearly see that it did it's job here as good as anything.

I recommend taking a close look at this cartridge if you are needing something with some better range in an AR15 platform. It's not just a good hunting round.

That said, I would highly recommend that you reload for this round as ammo is very tough to get a hold of.

Here is a close up of the rifle in the building process, which started out as a 5.56, but was later converted by swapping out the 5.56 barrel with a 20" fluted Sabre Defense 6.5 Grendel Barrel. The camo job was done with a two part epoxy paint with hardener very similar if not identical to Duracoat made by Sherwin-Williams called Polane T.

1 comment:

An Armed Citizen said...

I am never impressed by the 6.5 or 6.8, and on closer examination the two rounds (and the 5.56) are not as different as the fanboys would have you believe.

Some interesting data that 65grendel doesn't tell you:

They compared a fairly mediocre, non-optimal factory load for 6.8spc and another mediocre ballistic performer for 5.56 (despite being a SMK, the 77gr has an inferior ballistic coefficient to hornady's TAP offerings, compare .356 SMK to a .405 hornady.)

Secondly, they used one of the best TARGET bullets Sierra puts out. Sierra screams to the skies to NOT use these in hunting applications (and, one would assume, self defense) due to shallow wound profiles and inconsistent fragmentation. Not suitable for use against bad guys or animals.

All of this adds up to a difference that is much more hype than reality. In reality, the range difference at which 5.56, 6.5 grendel and 6.8spc all become difficult to use well on game animals or humans within about 50m of each other.

Now, for some applications, you just want or need a bigger bullet. Then by all means go with something bigger. But I don't see either 6.5 grendel or 6.8spc are distinctly superior to the 5.56 except in very specialized situations.

I have reams of data on the subject if you're ever interested.