The Stepchild of the 6.5mm Game


The 6.5 Grendel

Are you already into the Modern Sporting Rifle game, but looking for something a little more powerful, more versatile, and something that is an all around useful round? Maybe you want something that you can hunt with, protect the home with and use for all around moderate distance shooting. The 6.5 Grendel may be a rifle worth your consideration.

The History

The 6.5 Grendel or 6.5x39mm was a joint venture from Bill Alexander, Arne Brennan and Laupa ballistician Janne Pohjoispää. It was designed to be a 200-800 yard round, to be fired out of the AR-15 platform. The cartridge was first unveiled at the Blackwater training center in 2003, where when fired it remained supersonic out to 1200 yards. 

Right in the Middle

The Grendel seems to fit in right between the .308 Wichester and the .223 Remington. It is a very versatile cartridge that lets you get .308 Win ballistics but still keeping the AR-15 platform. The 6.5mm bullet is a sweet spot for ballistic coefficient, bucking the wind, and you can get ammo from lightweight for varmint hunting up to heavier loads for larger game.  Ammo can be had from 90 grains all the way up to 140 grains in just about every bullet configuration. With the popular rise of the Creedmoor round, components have been easier to find, and with far more choices. You can still get the performance of a .308 Winchester, from 200 to 800 yards while having a lighter more compact package, with less recoil. The recoil on a .308 is about 20lbs of felt force driving back to the shooter. While the recoil force of a 6.5 Grendel is around 9lbs. I think there is a lot to be said about that for new or younger shooters that want to use the AR platform to hunt. The AR-15 is lighter and while using the 6.5 Grendel they are less likely to develop a flinch. The muzzle velocity for the .308 is around 2600 fps where the Grendel is  2580 fps. That is not a huge difference, especially when you figure in muzzle energy. This is where it gets a little complicated, the .308 has a larger bullet with more surface area and its muzzle energy is 2,627 foot pounds of force. The 6.5 Grendel is weighs in at around 1,820 foot pounds of force. This is where the case dimension of the .308 wins out, it just plainly holds more powder to force a larger bullet down range. 

 Will it Perform?

In my personal experience, hunting with the 6.5 Grendel has been an incredible round; I even built one for my daughter. This rifle was built with the idea of to keeping it as light as possible, while still having enough knock down power to make an ethical clean harvest. To date, my 14 year old daughter has killed 2 whitetail deer, 1 nice black bear, and enough wild hogs to fill 5 freezers. We hunt in the mountains of Southeast Tennessee so I had a lot of factors I needed to figure in when building the rifle including weight, accuracy, capacity and lethality; it has proven to be functional in accomplishing the task at hand. 

It Might Be The Ticket? 

The 6.5 Grendel is a viable round for someone that wants to get into hunting and already has an AR-15 platform. With a simple upper and BCG change you are ready to go. It has similar ballistics as a .308 to moderate range and wins hands down over the .223/556 round. In today’s time everyone likes modularity and simplicity, this is why I personally love the 6.5 Grendel. If you surf the web you can find different manufacturers of complete uppers or if you want to piece one together you can do that as well. So if you’re looking for something a little different or if you have a new shooter that is small in stature this just might be your ticket. 

I personally have a 6.5 Grendel in a pistol configuration that rides with me a lot of times in my truck while scouting for deer, coyotes running turkeys and or personal protection while back in the mountains. The big drawback to the Grendel is ammo.  You can find a lot of the Russian made steel ammo, but every now and then you can find American made hunting round in brass.

Is this round better than the others? Maybe, maybe not. It is just another tool to consider adding to your toolbox.  If you run the numbers you may find that it actually fills a need and maybe we can get a new trend of shooters using this stepchild of the 6.5mm shooting world. 

Join the discussion

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