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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So what are your thoughts on it? It seems to have passed the flash-in-the-pan novelty fad point and has gained true acceptance. I keep hearing lots of good things about its performance both for general target shooting and as a hunting cartridge, but most of it revolves around the STANAG/AR compatibility and better terminal energy "at range" than competing cartridges, particularly the 5.56 and 300 BLK, putting it in the middle between 5.56 and 7.62 NATO.

But there seem to be some people who don't like it. Apparently it's not just a barrel swap; it needs a bolt specifically for it and maybe the bolt might break more frequently than a 5.56 bolt. And of course, 5.56 (and 300 BLK as well as 5.56 NATO) is way more available. And you can't fit quite as many into a STANAG magazine; it fits 2 or 3 fewer rounds.

So on the pro-side, the claims are
  • It's compatible with the MSR15 platform
  • Very accurate
  • Has broad application between target shooting, competitive (3-Gun), and hunting
  • Has better energy at distance than the most common competitors that fit the MSR15 platform
The downsides claimed are
  • More of a boutique ammo which is harder to find
  • Different bolt
  • Questions about bolt longevity
  • Lower magazine capacity
I'm just noodling this around in my head. It looks like, on paper at least, that the 6.5 Grendel has real advantages. But are they advantage enough to outweigh the apparent negatives or is it just "looks good on paper?" I mean, it has a little more energy at 100 yards and a lot more energy at 500. But how often is anyone likely to be shooting at 500 yards? A 200 or 300 yard hunting shot isn't out of the question but 500 yard shots are more for plains states or mountain-side-to-mountain-side hunting and people usually choose something other an an MSR for that kind of hunting anyway.

What are your thoughts? Would you buy/build an AR in 5.6 Grendel? Would you choose one over a standard 5.56 chambered AR? Why?

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 
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At the start of the most recent/current ammo drought, I was able to find 6.5 Grendel ammo locally, compared to Rem 6.8spc2, 300blk, 5.56 and 308. And it is coming back now in more places, albeit at higher prices than a year ago. I was able to finish my 12" Grendel build very recently, here is the thread for it New project to slowly build upon.. AR pistol.

Just FYI, there is a chamber/cartridge which is almost identical to the Grendel, but has some differences.. .264 LBC (Les Baer Customs).. and the chambering is called type 1.. same as X39 bolt, with .125 bolt face depth . . For the barrel, you want "Grendel SAAMI" chamber, and 0.136 bolt face depth. This means bolt itself will be a little longer than the standard AR bolt, in order to keep firing pin the same length.
Edited, the breaking bolts are more common with using .125 bolt face depth bolts versus .136 bolt face depth. The .125 is termed Type 1, the .136 is termed Type 2. Using Type 1 in a SAAMI Grendel chamber=bad idea with overpressure.. using Type 2 in .264LBC or Type 1 barrels may work but leaves gap and lose accuracy. In other words, match the bolt to the chamber.

Magazines, you really need specific mags; since the rounds stacks into a sharper curve than 5.56. CPD Duramags is one good option in steel, E-Lander I hear are awesome, ASC might be good if you stick with 5-10rds, AA mags should be good to go. I have 10rd ASC and Duramags, they use blue followers. I also have 20rd CPD Duramags, they have a much sharper curve and steeper bottom plate than a 5.56.
 

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The 6.5 Grendel is a good round. Kind of a bigger brother to the 22 PPC and 6mm PPC. The x39 case has proven itself to be accurate. I think you have some misconceptions though. Forget about STANAG. The 6.5 Grendel just will not work reliably out of a 5.56 magazine. Of course the bolt is different. I don’t know about longer, just never thought about it, but the face is certainly deeper. (Grendel II) Makes it stronger, but the bolt is still a wear item. Have not had to use it yet, but I keep a spare. (no different than my 5.56 bolts, keep spare of them too)

The Grendel is hampered by shorter barrels. It needs the longer barrels to get the velocity up to where it needs to be, especially with the heavier 123 grain bullets. Forget about bullets that are heavier, I often shoot even lighter bully’s. My MSR has a 20" barrel, glad I did not go any shorter. My Predator has a 22" barrel. It’s better. I have been using mostly 107 grain bullets in my Grendel. Was able to get dome of the Sierra 105 grain varmint bullets and have been using them on groundhogs this summer. Explosive! Will not be using them on deer.
 

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To add to my above, no doubt the 6.5 Grendel will reach out. I can shoot to 600 yards at the farm, I have shot the 6.5 Grendel out to the 500 yard mark a lot. To be honest though, it does not go with me to my Beanfield stand for whitetail. That is when the 280 Remington or 25-06 comes out. I consider the 6.t Grendel optimal out to around 300 yards for my purposes.
 
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In my AO, Grendel ammo was harder to find than 300 BO. It takes more dedicated AR parts. It’s not designed to be suppressed. So I went Black Out, barrel swap was all it took.

I think it’s a good round, if you reload it’s even better. But you kind of need to be all in on it. But unlike a 7.62x39 AR, which has the same parts requirement, there isn’t (wasn’t) any cheap ammo, nor many other gun options to share ammo with.

As for range...it will shoot far. So will most anything in an AR. But compared to the 7.62x39, in the Grendel you have 50-100” less drop at 600 yards. That’s a big deal. In comparison, the 5.56 is about 12” less drop than the Grendel, making it theoretically easier to shoot, but with (possibly) less terminal effect.

Of course, Grendel will carry more energy further down range. Which can be a big deal, depending on targets, bullet construction, etc.

Personally, for me, it wasn’t worth it.
 
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The reasons I chose the 6.5 Grendel in the end for a 12" AR pistol project... even with the loss of velocity compared to the much longer barrels... it still outperformed .300BLK at longer ranges with 123gr bullets. Granted, it probably will do worse with heavier bullets like @greg_r alluded to, but... I don't reload at the moment, no space for it.. I buy ammo. Currently whats available locally are in 123gr from Hornady, with Wolf being 100gr.

Granted, its much the same performance as the Remington 6.8 SPC2 but the ammo for that weren't available locally before the ammo drought started.

No one offered carbine gas 11.5-12" barrels for ARs in calibers other than 5.56, 6.5 and 6.8. The .300blk, .450 bushmaster, and other AR length calibers all were on pistol gas lengths, and I wanted a specific retro Commando look/feel in a good thumping caliber other than 5.56. My next AR project is likely going to go back to 5.56 or I could stay with 6.5 Grendel and go 20" A4 with A2 solid stock, just to see how big a difference it makes.

For my specific purposes, 6.5 Grendel beat out 6.8 SPC2 for the given barrel and gas length, ammo availability, and was a wash for parts for either caliber. I do not foresee myself hunting at ranges longer than 300 yards in the Oregon forests; although reports from the 6.5 Grendel forum indicate that with the 12"/carbine gas length, using good optics they were able to hit steel plates at 600 yards.
 

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Adding. Reports for 12" 6.5 with 123gr seems to average 2240 FPS, whereas for 24", published is 2580-2590 fps... but reports for 16-18" Grendel barrels indicate with 123gr bullets, people are getting 2450-2490 fps... so it looks like from 12"-16", biggest gains in fps per barrel inch, while from 16" to 24", gains are getting smaller per barrel inch (diminishing returns).

Alot of this is from the 6.5 grendel forum, as well as published data from Hornady, who tests with 24" barrels.
 

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A compressed charge of Benchmark sends the 107 grain Sierra over the chronograph at a bit better than 2550 FPS from the 22" predator, and will best 2460 from the 20" MSR. Around 35 FPS per inch of barrel. H335 will yield another 20 FPS or so.

As a comparison, the 300 BLK with a 16" barrel pushes the 110 grain bullet to almost the same velocity as the 20" Grendel using a compressed charge of Lil’Gun powder. And close to 2300 FPS with a max load of CFE BLK.

As far as factory rounds? Seems to me that the 300 BLK and 6.5 Grendel are about equally available in my area. But I don’t buy factory. All my 300 BLK has been made from 223 brass, 6.5 Grendel from 7.62x39 brass.

Never shot a 12.5" Grendel, but here is some data from Hornady’s ballistic calculator using a 123 grain bullet. A bit better than a 16" 300 BLK I say.

73508
 

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I don't re load and I don't hunt, but I do own 2 different AR's chambered in 6.5 grendel. One with a 16" barrel and the other with a 20" barrel. I haven't had an opportunity to shoot them side by side to compare yet, but I do really enjoy shooting them. Very accurate and very reliable. Both are type II.
I feel like the grendel is more close to somewhere btwn .300bo and 7.62x39. Actually, I use AR47 mags from C products and they run great with the grendel and are much cheaper than mags dedicated to 6.5 grendel.
 

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According to Hornady's chart you showed, it looks like there'a a roughly 20-21" drop from a 100yd zero at 300 yards; not a bad thing... aim at top of humanoid head, it'll be a gutshot roughly. That's with a 100yd zero though. I wonder if a 200yd zero would help... hm. Academic it all is... a varmint rodent (nutria for example), coyote, maybe a deer is likely what I'd be hunting first with the 6.5. Hogs probably if we have a feral hog problem.. cougars is more a concern around here as there are far more than what the ODFW is willing to admit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
As a comparison, the 300 BLK with a 16" barrel pushes the 110 grain bullet to almost the same velocity as the 20" Grendel using a compressed charge of Lil’Gun powder. And close to 2300 FPS with a max load of CFE BLK.
I bought some Lil'Gun when I couldn't find CFE BLK (my go-to) but haven't even opened to canister to try it. It's basically for emergencies. I see lots of people saying that you get better velocities but I also see lots of people claiming that it burned up their chambers. They say that it burns way hotter; an effect of the double-base formulation or something. What's your experience? CFE BLK or Lil'Gun being the <cough> "better" option?

Anyway, I've got a can of it stuck on my shelf "just in case."

Peace favor your sword,
Kirk
 

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I have noticed no adverse effects.

Lil'Gun is my go-to for 22 Hornet and 460 Bushmaster. And 410 shotgun of course. Not my primary in 300 BLK, but it may be in thee 350 Legend. We will see.

I have heard the stories, but take them with a grain of salt. But then again, i dont do mad dumps or load it in any magnum pistol rounds either. At one time i had quit using it althogether.
 
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