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6.5MM Grendel


Standardized in 2003, the 6.5mm Grendel is intended for long-range target-shooting with the AR platform. Early tests showed best loads, using the best available bullets, would remain super-sonic beyond 1200 yards. Subsequent improvements in bullets extend that range significantly.

Formerly, maximum range with supersonic flight was a critical consideration in long-range shooting because many earlier high-BC bullets launched at high velocity lost stability while slowing to sub-sonic speed. Best modern bullets designed by Hornady and others generally remain stable while slowing through the transonic velocity regime and therefore the super-sonic issue is far less important.

But, even if the bullet does remain stable, the buffeting that occurs as it slows through the transonic regime (typically starting at about 1400 fps and ending at about 1100 fps), is apt to degrade accuracy to some degree; so, best accuracy is apt to occur before the bullet slows to about 1400 fps.



Having seen what Randy Arndt can do shooting his 6.5mm Grendel at long range, I am fully aware of its capabilities in the hands of an experienced marksman. While delivered energy is limited and this chambering is not what one would term flat shooting, with known target distance the results are impressive. It is easy to get on target and easy to place shots into a surprisingly small area.

When fired from a barrel longer than about 22 inches, the highest BC bullets available that will work in an AR chambered in 6.5 Grendel will usually require use of an adjustable gas block and perhaps a heavier than standard recoil buffer weight, or at least the latter. Such bullets have a significantly higher BC than any bullet feasible in the 6 ARC, so the Grendel makes up the muzzle velocity difference, about 200 fps, by the time these bullets have traveled about 1450 yards. Therefore, the Grendel delivers far more energy to distant targets.

In the hands of an experienced and competent marksman, the Grendel can do far more than the diminutive cartridge size would suggest to the uninitiated. In an age when the mantra of bigger-is-better still rings — when the memory of the effective standard chambering is deemed inadequate — and the magnum chambering replaces it — then the super-magnum replaces that — then the ultra-magnum replaces that — and then, finally(we can only pray) the asinine-magnum replaces that; it is refreshing to see shooters regain some semblance of sanity with the realization that precision shot placement always trumps any shot poorly placed, regardless of delivered energy, always!

The text associated with the cartridge description reflects opinions and conclusions of the author, M.L. (Mic) McPherson. Lee Precision and its employees do not necessarily either agree or disagree with any of his comments. We present these with due deference to his recognized expertise in the firearms field. His acumen extends to handloading and all aspects of ballistics - internal, external, and terminal.
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