For the longest time, I was extremely curious to try 6.5 mm cartridges, but I couldn’t find them anywhere. I heard through the grapevine that this was due to an ammo shortage. Fortunately, they are more prevalent these days, so I decided to give them the proverbial Pepsi challenge.
I was more than impressed with the long range results. This caliber is a real flyer. But before you run out and buy them in bulk, let’s talk a bit about how Creedmoor differs from Grendel and what makes this caliber so remarkable.
The first thing that should be addressed here is what you might call “false advertising.” An actual 6.5 mm bullet would measure out to .256 in diameter, but that’s not the case with these bullets. On the contrary, they are elongated .264 caliber rounds.
Although it might seem shady to call it 6.5 when it’s really not, that’s all well and good because these bullets have powerful ballistic coefficiencies. They have high starting velocities which result in flatter trajectories.
So how do 6.5 Creedmoor and 6.5 Grendel compare and contrast with one another? Let’s take a closer look.
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As I’m sure most of our readers already know, 6.5 Creedmoor has been around for quite some time (2008, to be exact) and it’s garnered some reputation as a formidable cartridge. But it wasn’t immediately popular since long range shooting wasn’t really a thing back in the day.
Now that long range shooting has caught on with the competitive shooting crowd, the Creedmoor name has been cemented in the public consciousness. This year’s Rock Lake Range Precision Steel Challenge, a national points-race event in St. John, Washington, saw 85 long range shooters from all over the US competing.
I got interested in 6.5 cartridges because I love long range shooting and wanted to know if the hype was legit. Sure enough, it is and I’m really digging the experience.
When chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor and using a decent long range scope, I’ve been able to shoot a group at over 200 yards which measured out to around four-tenths of an inch. What’s more, at 500 yards, a five-shot group measured out to an incredible 2.5 inches.
The only part of 6.5 Creedmoor that’s kind of a myth is the whole 1000 yards thing. You’d be hard pressed to find a single shooter who could get up to fire past 600 yards. But that’s not really an issue for most of us since people don’t generally reside in an environment where it would even be practical to fire at something that’s more than 500 yards away.
That being said, it is easy to see why the military has been looking into 6.5 Creedmoor since it would seem to be ideal for sniper applications. Is it? Eh, not really. On the contrary, I would argue that 5.56 rounds like the 77 grain OTM best the 6.5 in terms of overall performance.
As a deer hunter, I can tell you that 6.5 Grendel is a badass round. At 100 grain, the 6.5 Grendel reaches 2,745 fps and at 130 grain, you get a dependable 2,400 fps.
With a base body diameter of .439 inches, it’s a real shredder. Depending upon the powder type, this case can burn around 25 to 30 grains of powder. That’s significantly less consumption than the 6.5 Creedmoor which is somewhere around 39 to 48 grains.
The fps on the Grendel should make it a hunter’s best friend as it hauls at least 1,000 fps at 300 yards which is twice as much as the vast majority of deer hunters fire these days.
1,000 fps is basically the gold standard for bagging a whitetail. In this way, the Grendel is a great option for varmint hunting, predator hunting and precision target shooting.
Creedmoor vs Grendel—How are They Similar?
They’re really not. In fact, they are completely different cartridges. The 6.5 Creedmoor is based on .308 Win while the 6.5 Grendel is based on the Russian military’s 7.69×39 case.
To compare Creedmoor and Grendel would be like comparing peaches and watermelons. The Creedmoor is the watermelon in this scenario, designed for large frame (AR10/308AR) whereas the Grendel is designed for small frame (AR-15).
Creedmoor vs Grendel—How are They Different?
It should be obvious by now—they’re different in virtually every way. 6.5 Creedmoor is 300 fps faster than Grendel. It’s far better for reaching .300 Win mag distances.
On the other hand, the Grendel is better for longer practical ranges when compared to its predecessor the 5.56 NATO.
While 6.5 Grendel has achieved what it set out to, namely giving big game hunters pinpoint precision with the AR platform, the 6.5 Creedmoor has delivered a projectile with balls-out accuracy when chambered in the smaller short-action platform.
With the Grendel, you can expect to see small and steady groups in the .35 range while the Creedmoor will produce tighter groups at longer ranges (approximately .4 to .6 MOA). And handloads diminish those groups.
Materials are usually of higher quality when it comes to Creedmoor versus Grendel. Companies like Brownells tend to sell cheaper barrels for Grendel rifles which means you can expect to run into some trouble with their extractors and the tenuous headspaced bolts included.
If you want more dependability when it comes to Grendel bolt assemblies, your best bet is to go with Alexander Arms so that at least you’ll get some fundamental durability.
Both 6.5 Creedmoor and 6.5 Grendel are effective in 20 to 22 inch barrels with varying twist rates between 1:8 and 1:8.5”.
At the end of the day, both 6.5 Creedmoor and 6.5 Grendel are viable options for the avid shooter who needs an edge when it comes to competitive target shooting or big game hunting. One way to look at it is that the Creedmoor is the big brother of the Grendel, capable of efficacy at longer distances while the Grendel can provide similar performance at closer range.
No matter which you choose, you won’t be disappointed.
19 thoughts on “6.5 Creedmoor vs 6.5 Grendel—How Do They Compare?”
I would appreciate your comments on Grendel vs. Creedmoor. I have a custom built 6.5 Grendel with 22 inch barrel. At the time I had it built I was looking for a long range, low recoil, unlike my 308 M1A. As much as I see pages and pages on Creedmoor I often think I made the wrong choice. At the time very little was mentioned about Creedmoor. Did I make a mistake I? it is on a custom fit upper/lower, bull barrel golf ball pinged with 450 dibbits. super cooling effect. lower and upper so tight nothing rattles. first time on 500 yd range a 1/2 dollar covered 4 rnds. AR platform. why is the Creedmoor getting all of the hype and next to none for the Grendel? tell us about the good in the Grendel for Change. Or do I trash it?????????> In short sell for a worthless long gun that no one will write about????? Why should I keep it? Looking for personal reply to my email
BG. Kerns here I have both guns my Grendel is a 20 “stainless believe it or not I bought my upper and barrel from Palmetto Armory and it came with type 2 bolt and charging handle 1/8 twist ! I went cheap people said and I told them yes to see what problems I would have ! I have had no problems at all ejecting shell are just fine ! I have no problems hitting or making 650 yard shots ! My Creedmore is from the same company with a stainless steel barrel same twist just on a AR10 platform it is more accurate then my 308 cake with a 28 inch bull barrel at 800,900,1,000 yard shots . Now I could probably shoot farther the 1,000 yards but why would I for hunting ! I used to shoot long gun competition and yes I was a sniper in the military as well ! I would say if you like your Grendel keep it ,it really is a great round ! Now I did buy custom barrels for bought for when I shoot the original ones out ! But that hasn’t happen yet . I would say if you are not hunting past 650 to 700 stick with your Grendel !
do you want to sell it.?
if so, how much?
email me back channel please
Why worry about what they write or say. If your happy with the gun and it dose what you made it for, the hell with everyone else.
Grendel is cheaper to shoot, generally likes lower grain bullets, is better small AND large game, AND you can show your friends that you have a cooler caliber. People don’t write about it simply because it just didn’t take off luckily like the 6.5 creedmoor. People feel more comfortable with things that EVERYONE has. It’s fine to have a grendel. Be proud of it.
I bought a Alexander 20 inch Grendel seven years ago it has been a great gun. Considering how well the range works to over 1000 meters it’s quite impressive although I don’t generally shoot nearly that far. I have shot the Creedmoor a few times it works well but I like my Grendel better!
Generally the caliber of a cartridge is based on the bore size not the groove diameter. Grooves run .004 to .008 larger than the lands. Thus the .256 bore uses a .264 bullet.
Really glad i read this. I have a bca 20in grendel. Another guy is wanting to trade me a savage creedmore. My upper will shoot one ragged hole at 100yds. Mot bad for probably the cheapest barrel out there. Not either guns maximum range but my max effective range on game is 350/400yrds so im really gaining nothing in the trade and loosing a lot of firepower if its ever needed. And at the cost of heavier ammo. I would like to build a lighter weight 20in upper. Really want a 16in but going with 6.8spc on 16in
Ok lets think outside the barrel, what about a 7mm mag round thru a ar15 platform with a 22-24″ barrel? yea it would be a jaw breaker but what if? As for self-defense against a brown or grizzly bear ok anything less is overkill but competitive shooting could be interesting to see. other choices would be something like the .222 ya know.
I installed a Lantac Dragon muzzle brake and an adjustable gas plug on my M1A; what a difference! Recoil was significantly reduced. I don’t have a way to specifically measure the reduction but I perceive it to be about 60% less and I love it. Couldn’t be happier.
I would like to see the Creedmoor round (firing a 125grain projectile) supplant the 7.62×51 NATO M80 Ball cartridge in the long-range, sniper/Medium MG capacity. The Grendel round (in a 123gr projo) can supplant the 5.56×45 NATO cartridge in the rifle/carbine role. These rounds appear to be tailor made for these roles. If not these two 6.5mm rounds, then the 6mm AR Turbo Imp cartridge, using a 105+ grain projo which is based on the Grendel/5.6×39 Russian round, to sub for the 5.56 NATO cartridge and the 7-08 cartridge pushing a 130 gr projo to supplant the 7.62 NATO. These four cartridges all have low recoil, lower weight than the 7.62 NATO, relatively longer distance with high accuracy. They are all four quite useful in the AR10/15 magazines and feed well in their respective receivers!
CZ released their Mod 527 (MTR) in 6.5 Grendel. Here you have a Mauser type extractor and a quality barrel in (almost) 26 inch, twist 9 !
5.56 a better round for the military? Who wrote this, a 12 year old?
A little older, but young at heart. Please tell me more why you disagree. We welcome opposing views, just hoping for a little more detail.
The claim the author made that 6.5 creedmoor being a 1000yd round is a myth, and is practically useless to anyone but the best shooters at 600 plus is confusing. I regularly shoot my 24” 6.5 creed Tikka out to 750yds at my local range. It’s as simple as dialing up 5-6ish mils depending on the brand/load and holding on the edge if there’s wind. In fact the whole reason why I bought 6.5mm rifle was to do so, and I’m a hardly an advanced marksman.
Him then claiming that 77grain 5.56 (which is a good load in its own right) a round designed for extending the range of the AR platform rifles and increasing accuracy/lethality over standard military ammo, is a more effective sniper round than 6.5mm creedmoor is straight up mind boggling. Especially when 6.5mm creedmoor recently got selected as the new sniper round of choice for select units, beating out other popular long range rounds like .260. Claims like this call veracity of the whole article into question and make it seem like they are basing their opinions off of anecdotes from friends and strangers on forums rather than hard data, or personal experience.
Saying 6.5cm is not capable past 600 yards is exposing a lack of experience. We shoot matches out to 1100 in West Texas winds and half the guys are shooting 6.5cm. I’ve shot and have seen many consistently shoot inside 1 moa at 1000.
At 600, on a calm day, you can do much better if the shooter does his part.
600 yards is crazy talk.
I realize this started in 2018. A lot has changed since then for both the Grendel and the Creedmoor. I absolutely love the Grendel and the Creedmoor and own and shoot both. Since I got a Sanders 6.5 Grendel upper, i have left the Creedmoor in the safe. Not because the Grendel is “better” or any other reason than that the Grendel is a blast to shoot in an AR15 platform. I can shoot it cheaper, and better,but I only shoot out to 500 yards. I put a high powered Trijicon scope vwith a top quality mount on it. The scope and mount cost me as much as the AR with a Hypertouch 24C trigger(amazing trigger), and the extras I have invested in like pins and a good stock and the Sanders match upper combined. But it shoots hole in hole at 100 and sub moa up to 500 yards with SST Hornady factory loads. Of course from bagswith a front rest. the grendel is a deer killing round and I have heard that a few Miles and a few Elk have been taken at moderate ranges under 150 yards. It, quite simply, is all I need for what I do, This Grendel does all i ask of it, and does it in an AR15 platform with factory loads. No doubt if I needed a longer range rifle with more energy, I’d take the Creedmoor. Just wish it would work in an AR15. BTW, the Creedmoor is a legitamate 1000 shooting round all day long.
There’s a video on YouTube that’s showing a young girl shoot a monster bull elk at either 390 or 395yds and it did very well, even at that range, that’s what made me get my 6.5 Grendel and cannot wait to get the opportunity to see the results myself
God Bless All