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Old July 20, 2018, 11:26 AM   #1
TrueBlue711
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6.5 Grendel for hunting

Has anybody used 6.5 Grendel for hunting? How do you like it? What kind/size of game are you going after with it?

I'm looking at getting a 6.5 Gren upper for my AR for hunting purposes. The lower is a lightweight build, which would be great for carrying around on the hunt.
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Old July 20, 2018, 11:46 AM   #2
T. O'Heir
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Hornady says it's a deer cartridge with their 123 grain SST bullet. 1193 ft-lbs at 300 yards isn't horrible. Drops 8.7" with a 200 yard zero though. Then like a brick past 300 just like most cartridges.
Lots of discussion of the assorted forums. Most saying it's a deer sized game and varmint cartridge.
Likely has more to do with how accurate it is out of your AR. Minute of Deer is 2 to 3 inch groups at 100. Consistency is more important than group size.
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Old July 20, 2018, 05:41 PM   #3
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Pretty much all of my hunting is with a Grendel. Folks will hunt just about everything up to black bear and elk with Grendel. I have killed several hundred hogs with my Grendel, out to 360 yards and 300 lbs in size.

I think it is outstanding. There are plenty of good calibers out there.

If you reload, there are a LOT of 6.5 bullets out there that you can use. A lot of folks like the traditional hunting bullets, decent expanders. For hogs, I like the Hornady SST 123 gr. or the Speer TNT 90 gr. varmint round loaded by Federal. If you don't want your bullets coming apart and polluting the meat, then I would suggest something like Accubond LR or a monolithic such as Barnes or Cavity Back.

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Old July 20, 2018, 07:44 PM   #4
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Lots of rifles and a few pistols have dispatched elephants, but that's a stunt, and certainly not recommended by anyone of basic intelligence..

All that said to clear the air, the Grendel should be a decent deer and antelope rifle, and of course a shot behind the shoulder on an elk at 100 or so yards would work, but I wouldn't recommend it unless I had no other choice..Ive killed too many elk with the 25-35 Win and 250-3000 Savage to use them today because the elk of today are a different breed of cat, longer range shots, late evening shots, and seems to be a lack of snow on these early hunts, so that's been a game changer and elk rifles begin with about the .308 Win. and 30-06, and I really like the .338 Win or 300s today..

I see the Grendel and its ilk a small step behind the 250-3000 and 257 Robts for deer etc..and that speaks well of it..I have used my 6x45 on deer and antelope and found it to be an excellent 200 yard killer of such game on broadside shots only..Caliber is secondary IMO, bullet construction and proper bullet placement rule.
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Old July 20, 2018, 08:09 PM   #5
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I started into the 6.5's using the Creedmore in both an AR and a Ruger bolt, but when I started using the Grendel, I have never looked back. I have shot a number of hogs using the Grendel with outstanding results, and some were pretty large guys. I prefer the 123 SST bullet as it seems to get the job done and it will probably end up getting used on a whitetail as well this season. I see a lot more plus's with this caliber than minus's.
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Old July 20, 2018, 08:42 PM   #6
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I'd have no issues using it on a deer or similar sized game. It'll probably work just fine on larger game as well as long as you keep it in the kill zone and the range reasonable, but it isn't what I'd choose first when reaching into my safe. I'm glad to see that it's becoming more mainstream.
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Old July 20, 2018, 09:10 PM   #7
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Lots of rifles and a few pistols have dispatched elephants, but that's a stunt, and certainly not recommended by anyone of basic intelligence..
There are lots of things that people have said couldn't be done. Until someone proved them wrong. There are too many dead animals bigger than deer killed by the Grendel to call it a stunt.

The SST is a soft bullet and probably ideal for deer size game. For bigger stuff there is no reason why a tougher bullet wouldn't work. And at surprisingly long range. Modern bullets are game changers.

A 100 gr Barnes TTX started at 2700 fps still has enough speed to expand at 300 yards and would at least match 270 penetration at that range with conventional 130's. Lots of bear and elk killed by 270's since 1925.

I seriously thought about it, but in an AR rifle you'd be looking at a near 10 lb rifle scoped. I can shoot 143's in a 6.5 CM at the same speed as 100's in the Grendel. In a rifle 2-3 lbs lighter and more accurate. And I don't see the point of the Grendel in a bolt gun when I can get the Creedmoor in the same size and weight rifle. I do have better options, but have no issue with those who want to use it.
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Old July 20, 2018, 09:34 PM   #8
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My DPMS Overwatch is the most accurate rifle I've ever owned. With the first handloads, it shot .3" 5 shot groups with 123 SST at 2450fps.
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Old July 21, 2018, 06:02 AM   #9
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I hope to find out this fall. I have doubts the 6.5G is "better" than my proven 6.8 but only way to know is in the field. As far as actually shooting, the 6.8 is far more "user friendly", has more ammo options, and has been quite acceptable for suppressor use.
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Old July 21, 2018, 09:06 AM   #10
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I have made quite a few 6.5Gs now and a lot of 6.8 SPCs. I have killed antelope and deer with both. Not a lot of difference that I can see. I have seen a bit faster kills from the 6.8 as a rule, but not so much as to say it's "way better" and the 6.5 out-flies the 6.8 after about 300 yards. The 6.8 gives better performance then the 6.5 in short barrels, and the 6.5 wins the contest from long barrels. So I think of the 6.8 as the 'carbine round" and the 6.5 as the "rifle round"
The "Magic bullet" for the 6.5 is the 125 gr Nosler Partition.

I have sold my 6.5Gs now but I kept a 6.8 SPC rifle and a 6.8 SPC carbine.
Why?

I have a good 25-06 and a few 270s, some 30-06s, and a 300H&H so I don't have a reason to own a 6.5G. But that's just me. If I didn't already have the long range rifle class 100% covered, I might have kept the 6.5 and sold the 6.8s.

I live and hunt in Wyoming, where the talk is always about "long shots" but it's just that..........talk.
In the last 24 years the longest shots I have made on ANY big game animals have been 1 elk at 400 (shot with my 270) and one antelope at 425 (Also killed with my 270)
I have made 3 shots on game, (all antelope) with my 6.8SPCs at around 350, and all were one shot kills.
Most of my kills have been at 175 yards and less with both the 6.5 G and the 6.8 SPCs. I now have enough kills with both shells to have a good idea what to expect.

The advice I would give to anyone thinking about either cartridge is simple.
Use bullets made to hold together. In either one, if you shoot a bullet that will exit every time, you will have no problem killing game with them. The effective range of either cartridge is not all that far as compared to larger "bolt action shells" like the 25-06, 6.5X55, 270 Winchester, 7X57 or 7MM Mag. So don't fall for the tripe of how well the 6.5G does at 700 or 900 yards. Yes they can be very accurate out that far....but that's not the issue. BC is fine, but the long rage bullets made in the 6.5MM size are not going to start out all that fast, and even with their good shape, they still slow down as they go forward.

Neither cartridge should be used on game by an ethical hunter when the range will cause the bullet to impact at speeds of 1500 FPS or slower. A 357 magnum with a 140 grain bullet out of a 4 inch revolver shot at 50 yards is as good (or better) then a 6.5MM 130 grain or a .277 120 grain at the same speeds.

Those who worship their cartridges will make all kinds of claims about their long range performance, but simple math of 7th grade level will show the truth of the matter.

The truth is that both the 6.5G and the 6.8 SPC are what is known as "intermediate cartridges" and were designed to fit in AR-15 magazines.
Both are wonderful shells. But neither is a 270 Winchester or a 300 mag. Don't try to use them on game as if they were.

From 2 yards to 400 yards they are both good deer guns. Neither is a good choice for 500 or 600 yard deer shooting.

As a side line, I believe have have proven to myself, that any hunter worthy of the title never needs to shoot past 500 meters at an unwounded game animal anyway.
I don't condemn it because I used to do it myself, and I did it very well, but I guess I grew up and came to my senses.

Shooting at game at ranges longer then 500 meters is silly. You are an exceptionally poor hunter if you can't get closer then that, and the only one you are actually impressing is yourself and others who are also trying to one-up you, but the ones that really pay attention to such things are the anti-gun and anti hunting crowd, many of whom vote and force their ill-conceived ideas on us all. Hits at long range from super accurate rifles that don't kill within a few seconds result in loss of game and feed the agenda of the "antis" everywhere.

At those ranges you have 2 problems.

#1 A light blood trail (or none) because the bullets will not often exit the game.

#2 You need to go to within a few feet or yards of the hit to track an animal. Trying to go to the exact spot of the hit when that spot of 600-1200 yards away is very difficult and sometimes impossible. Game sometimes will just fall when hit at those ranges, but sometimes it doesn't. Often if we are honest with our selves.

All of us have seen deer run when hit with "standard size rounds" at even 100 yards. Is it even remotely reasonable to believe that your game will never run if you hit them at 600 or farther?

So I have no hesitation at all recommending a 6.5G or a 6.8 SPC as a deer rifle, they should not be asked to do things that they mathematically they cannot do as well as a larger cartridge.

Living in Wyoming as I do, and usually killing 4-6 head of game every year, (some years even more, and sometimes in other states as well as in Wyoming) I can say that in my deer and antelope hunting I have not once had a case in which I would have been in need of a more powerful cartridge. NONE of my shots in the last 24 years have been longer then 425 on ANYTHING, and by far most have been much closer.

Last edited by Wyosmith; July 21, 2018 at 09:21 AM.
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Old July 21, 2018, 09:38 AM   #11
ligonierbill
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Us old farts have another problem with long, long shots. By the time we get our old bones over there, the coyotes will eat it.
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Old July 21, 2018, 09:45 AM   #12
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I'd have no issues using it on a deer or similar sized game. It'll probably work just fine on larger game as well as long as you keep it in the kill zone and the range reasonable,
And so many folks don't understand this and will just automatically claim a caliber not capable.

If you know what you are doing, a lot of calibers are very useful beyond their LCD rule of thumb standards, which are not hard and fast rules by any stretch. The problem isn't the caliber of the gun, but the caliber of skill level of the hunter. There is no actual math on what will kill effectively, just artificial standards put forth. Some of the standards seem reasonable. Some seem to change over time, which is interesting.

Quote:
Shooting at game at ranges longer then 500 meters is silly.
I think it was JohnKSa who brought up the issue of animal movement distance during the course of flight time in a TFL discussion several years ago. The point was a good one. In short, an animal can move itself out of the way of the bullet or certainly move far enough that the bullet will not impact anywhere near the kill zone (much less a particular spot) during the from which the brain sends the signal to pull the trigger until the bullet impacts the prey. Starting the clock as I described, you are still looking at somewhere around 3/4 of a second for even for long range calibers and an animal can do a lot of moving in that period of time. So the bullet may go exactly where the hunter was shooting, only the prey target intended impact zone is no longer at that location when the bullet arrives.
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Old July 22, 2018, 04:18 PM   #13
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I used my 6.5 Grendel to kill my first buck. I used the 123 SST at 2450fps and shot him at 35 yards. Blood trail was amazing he ran about 75 yards. I had no problem at all with the bullet performance and had no issues finding him. I do tend to use my 6.8 SPC more over the 6.5 Grendel now because bullet selection is alot better and at the ranges I shoot ~150 yards or less the Grendel just doesn't offer any advantage. I like my 100gr Accubond @ 2780 over the 123 SST at 2450. But my Grendel is here to stay and my daughter will likely use it on her first hunt.
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Old July 22, 2018, 08:54 PM   #14
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Wyosmith,
Is a 24" that much better than a 20" for the 6.5G? I'm considering adding another 6.5G with a longer barrel than the 18" I already have.
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Old July 22, 2018, 11:06 PM   #15
Wyosmith
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Well "that much better" would be a mater of opinion.

The 6.5 G picks up about 16-20 FPS per inch from 20 to 24 inches. So "that much" is a prospective.

For my way of thinking, 80 FPS over the velocity of the 20 inch barrel is something I hold up against what I call "real world use". I ask myself, 'what animal, at what range, would an impact velocity with a .264" diameter bullets of 123 gains at impact velocity of (for example) 1800 FPS be inadequate, but 1880 would be fine'?

To me it means little of nothing.

Now when I chronographed the difference of the 6.5 Grendels with 16" barrels, and compare them to those with 22 and 24 inch barrels, I saw a far larger difference. About 200 to 250 FPS.

In the 16 inch guns I have seen a bit more velocity with the 6.8SPC with 115 and 120 grain bullets then I see with the 6.5G with bullets of similar weights, weights up to 125 grains. That's why I see the 6.8 as more of the "carbine round" and the 6.5 as the "rifle round".

This is just one man's experience. All loads are not known to me, with all bullets, in every barrel length, so others may see things a bit differently.

As I said in the above post, I have seen a bit more dramatic effect with the 6.8 then the 6.5 in killing game from about 15 yards to about 250 yards. From 250 to around 300 they seem equal. Past 300 the Grendel starts to walk away from the 6.8. Neither is vastly superior, and both are close to intermediate range rounds.

So you will not be disappointing at all with a 6.5G, but just understand it is not a 30-06 or 7MM Mag and can't ever be.

Personally I only shoot to 500 meters at any animal. So I see no huge real world difference between the 2 shells, and I doubt the 24" G would be noticeably more dramatic in it's game killing the a 6.5G shot from a 20" barrel.

Where we will see the bigger difference in killing power on game from the 6.5 or the 6.8 and let's say a 270 Winchester or a 30-06, is going to be against larger game, not longer ranges on deer.

I have broken both front shoulder bones and dropped elk several times with 308s 30-06s 270s, but I seriously doubt either the 6.5G or the 6.8 SPC would do that much damage on an elk. They would both kill the elk, so I will not say it's not able, but will not be as dramatic. The 125 grain 6.5MM Nosler partition and several 6.8 bullets from 110 to 120 grains I have used, would be "effective" I am sure, but I would not want to shoot the close shoulder bone with either one on a large bull. From experience i can assure you an elk can go a VERY long way with only one lung.
I would choose a larger gun. Not that you could not kill elk with a 6.5G, but for myself, why would I want to?
I have a 6.5X54, a 25-06, a few 270s, a few 308s, a few 30-06s, a 300m mag, an 8X57, a 9.3X57, a 9.3X62, a 375H&H and a 404 Jeffery.
So speaking only for myself, I see no reason I would take the 6.8 or the 6.5G elk hunting. But I would not say to anyone else they would not work. If you are not unethical in shooting farther then you can place a perfect shot, I am 100% sure the 2 shells would do fine.
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Old July 22, 2018, 11:36 PM   #16
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6.5 Grendel is roughly equal to the 7.62x39 and the 7.62x39 is a proven deer cartridge. I wouldn’t risk the suffering of a deer shot past 200 yards but that holds for the 30-30 too. It’ll be fine. Hunt on!
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Old July 23, 2018, 05:02 AM   #17
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I don't consider either 6.5 or 6.8 for use beyond 250 yards although many seem to be OK with longer ranges. I have a 25/06 for that purpose.
A velocity increase of close to 10% going from 18" to 24" seems to be a fair return for having that long barrel wanking around all the time if you expect to be shooting at longer range.
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Old July 23, 2018, 06:46 AM   #18
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Quote:
6.5 Grendel is roughly equal to the 7.62x39 and the 7.62x39 is a proven deer cartridge.
7.62x39 and .300 Blackout are roughly equal to one another. A Grendel bullet uses a thinner, longer bullet which means a much BC and higher sectional density. At similar velocities of similar weight projectiles, the Grendel will have a flatter trajectory and better penetration capability.
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Old July 24, 2018, 01:38 AM   #19
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Quote:
6.5 Grendel is roughly equal to the 7.62x39
Actually not really that closely at all. It would be closer to the 6.8 SPC that can’t use the longer bullets with a better BC like the 6.5mm.
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