AR-15 Podcast 162 - The 6.5 Grendel and Why You Need It

Welcome to Episode #162 of the AR15 Podcast. On this episode we’re going to talk about the 6.5 Grendel and how it fits into your AR lineup.  

Network News:

NRA Show Listener Meet Up

Where:    Cardinal Hall of Fame Cafe

When:    Saturday May 21st at 7pm.

Jake tells us “If they can say "Ambidextrous" as well as I can I'll buy them a drink.”

What’s going on with us?




Reed’s Reaction

Marines ditch iron sights, consider new marksmanship training tables

Giveaway: New Frontier Armory 9mm Carbine

Main Topic: 6.5 Grendel


  • The 6.5 projectile has a long history in Europe
  • Common examples include 6.5x52mm Carcano, 6.5x54mm Mannlicher-Schoenauer, 6.5-284 Norma, and 6.5x57mm Mauser
  • Developed by Bill Alexander, Arne Brennan, and Janne Pohjoispää
  • The cartridge’s development begins with the Soviet 7.62x39
  • The cartridge was next modified for european competition by necking down the cartridge to the 220 Russian
  • The next evolution saw the shoulder of the case blown out to create the 22 PPC and the 6mm PPC
  • The designers started with the 6mm PPC and moved into 6.5mm projectiles
  • The final changes included expanding internal capacity by shifting the shoulder forward and the wall thickness in the neck and shoulder was increased
  • First unveiled in May of 2003, it was introduced in January 2004 at the SHOT Show

Commercially available AR’s Chambered for 6.5 Grendel

  • Alexander Arms
  • CORE Rifle Systems

Building your own 6.5 Grendel AR

  • Requires a nonstandard bolt and barrel
  • 26 rnd capacity in standard 30 round magazines
  • You are required to compromise on the matter of barrel length. Your rifle needs a heavier bullet in order to shorten the barrel, but due to the platform’s dimensions, you are limited to lighter bullets.
  • Barrels - Brownells, Shilen, AR-Stoner
  • JP Rifle bolt.

Ammunition: Manufactured and Reloaded

  • Alexander Arms trademarked the 6.5 Grendel.  It wasn’t until they released the trademark that the cartridge was allowed to become SAAMI standardized.
  • Before AA released the trademark, other companies chambered the round and re-labeled their chambers (i.e. the 264 LBC and 6.5 BPC).
  • Prvi Partizan, Wolf and Hornady produce 6.5 mm Grendel factory ammunition
  • 6.5mm bullets can generally range from 90-160 grains, the Grendel seems to stretch no further than 144 grain projectiles
  • Reloading Dies:  Redding, Lee, Hornady, Forster
  • Brass: Norma, Lapua, Hornady

Why do I want the 6.5 Grendel?

  • With its higher BC, it is still supersonic at 1200 yards
  • Superior external ballistics compared to the 7.62 NATO
  • Reliability in the platform
  • Superior ext’l and terminal ballistics compared to the state of the art
  • Pinnacle chambering for the platform
  • Perfect match as opposed to series of compromises
  • Flat shooting round
  • Half the felt recoil of a 7.62 Nato M80 ball
  • Very active online community -


John Marston:  Good afternoon AR15 Podcast. Long time listener, very infrequent poster. Just a small correction and the info posted on episode 161. In regards to the assault weapons ban one of the hosts listed Hawaii as one of those states. I live here and the AR15, SCAR, or AK47 are not banned. We can even own standard capacity magazines. However, we must register all our firearms, so not so free. Keep up the good work.

Tim:  Hello, Love the podcast! I've been an avid shooter since I could safely handle a rifle and a collector since I started working. My passion has always been military bolt guns and competing with them in "service rifle" type matches. I'm a machinist by trade and have been at it since I was a 17 year old apprentice (I'll be 48 in March).
I presently run the machine shop for an optical instrument company. Several companies you've interviewed are customers of ours.  I recently completed my first AR build and I'm kicking myself for not doing it sooner.  I'm a convert to the black rifle now, and have several other rifles in various stages of completion.
Now onto the clamp on gas blocks. I think you are selling that method a bit short, in fact it's a much better way of securing them than a dimpled set screw.  Think of how the fork tubes are secured to the front of a motorcycle, particularly a high flying motocross bike.  They're clamped. When properly machined the surface contact of a clamp on gas block is far superior than the set screw method. The set screw pushes on just two points, the set screw itself and the opposite side of the barrel.
Technically, the area of surface contact could be as little as 3-4 percent with set screws and as much as 95 percent with a clamp on block. For longer ranges those two pressure points would tend to mess with the mystical "barrel harmonics" much more than a block squeezing equally almost all the way around the barrel.
I know optics have been know to slip in a set of rings, but properly lapped and torqued scope rings are the strongest point in that situation, where as any "slippage" should be coming from where the rings contact the rail. Also. securing a clamp on gas block over a 3/4" barrel with a side wall thickness of over 1/4" lends itself to much greater torque than the thin walled aluminum tube of scope.
I know opinions are like "backsides". Everyone has one and they all stink :-)
But I'm taking 30 years of machining/engineering knowledge and putting it out there for anyone who may listen.
Thanks again guys, I love this podcast and have learned a lot from you all.

Tom G: Damn you guys are great enablers. I broke down and bought LWRC compact stock system for my SBR.  I will post updated pics when I have a chance. Thomas Gonzalez

Zane:  Gentlemen, Great show. One thing that I think worth bringing up is the purpose of the rifle can greatly change where to save money. I think a home defence gun, cops duty gun, a long range toy and a plinking toy should absolutely not save money in the same places. For example my HD gun has high quality buis and red dot. My hog/plinking gun doesn't even have buis and If the cheap optic goes down, oh well pack it up and head home. Keep up the good work.  Just a thought.

Nick: Hello gentlemen, I would like to extend a huge thank you for the amazing content you guys provide. Like many I started by buying off the shelf but as my black rifle disease continued to spread I began building my own. With help from many past episodes I've become more familiar with the platform. As I start my next build I would appreciate if you go in depth in the ar pistol world while maintaining a budget. Keep up the great work.

Charles:  Great podcast guys. I started listening back in Dec. And haven't stopped. In podcast 160 you mentioned iTunes problems. About three weeks ago the podcast stopped downloading on my Android player. Just figured you all took some time off. Yesterday I found a new link for your podcast in player FM. Maybe it's not just an apple issue. Keep the informative podcast and thanks!

Joseph T:  I have recently built a 6.5 grendel after previously building a .223 and a 6.8. I am a frequent deer, hog and exotic hunter here in TX and wanted to build the best all around hunting MSR I could without jumping up to .308. I had taken deer and hogs with both the .223 and 6.8 but wanted the range and knockdown power of the 6.5. My suggestion is in regards to a show about tuning with muzzle breaks, buffer springs and buffers to achieve the lowest recoil/ best action/ejection possible when stepping up to rounds such as the 6.5. I recently learned that there is a whole new world regarding these items that I had never even thought about.
Recently got the bug for black rifles again after a short hiatus. I have
been listening for about a year and love the show.