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#6367974 - 07/13/16 12:10 PM 6.5 Grendel as a hunting cartridge
charlesb Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 1499
Loc: West Texas mountains
Today I was thinking about new cartridges that aren't really so new, in that their ballistics are similar to much older European sporting rounds. - Like the 6.5 Creedmoor and the 260 Remington in the light of the much older 6.5x55 Swede and 6.5x57 Mauser.

Digging around a bit, I discovered that the 6.5 Grendel is very close to being a ballistic twin to the venerable 6.5x54 Mannlicher, once one of the most popular sporting cartridges on the continent. Kilimanjaro Bell preferred this cartridge for medium game in Africa, but parted ways with it when the ammunition available to him at the time turned out to be unreliable. It is said that he used long, heavy 160 grain solids to dispatch more than a few elephants, something that nobody would recommend today, assuming that it was legal to do so.

Most 6.5 Grendel rounds are shot through AR-15s today, generally limiting the length and weight of bullets to 129 grain or less. In a bolt action gun, this limitation does not necessarily apply, as long as the magazine and throat are generous enough.

Here are some velocities I found listed around the web. The similarities strike me as being greater than the differences.
Mannlicher                                      Grendel

85grn    2327                                   2780
100 grn  2788                                   2500-2750
120 grn  2400-2600                              2300-2520
140 grn  2250-2330                              ?

I have heard the 6.5x54 M-S described as the European equivalent of the 30-30 Winchester in the US. - It is traditionally used in light, handy firearms for deer and pigs, usually with open sights. This 16.5 inch barreled M-S in 6.5x54 sporterized from a Greek military rifle is a good example:

Reading about this has me looking forward to the Howa 1500 Mini action in 6.5 Grendel even more than I already had. - Especially as rumor has it that Boyds will be supplying aftermarket stocks for the mini Howa.

It may soon be possible to put together a modern version of the elegant, lightweight carbine pictured above, that will perform almost exactly the same. I can tell you from personal experience that the MS carbine pictured is a joy to carry and shoot.

We can expect the same from a Mini-Howa in 6.5 Grendel.

Edited by charlesb (07/13/16 12:39 PM)
Kind regards, charlesb

#6368041 - 07/13/16 01:17 PM Re: 6.5 Grendel as a hunting cartridge [Re: charlesb]
ChadTRG42 Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 09/16/09
Posts: 12871
Loc: Lewisville, TX
Plus, most speeds listed are in an AR barrel. Going to a bolt gun, you are looking to gain about 100 fps over the AR speeds. I think it would be a very good caliber for basic hunting.

I think 2200 to 2250 would be an achievable speed in a gas gun, and 2300 in a bolt gun with a 140.

Also, the Gredel is rated at 52K psi. In a quality bolt gun, you can raise pressures up more, and gain more speed.

QuickLoad predicts a 140 grain VLD at 2250 fps in an 18" barrel. Go to a 22" barrel, and that jumps to 2330 fps at 53K psi. Raise the pressure to 60K psi, and speeds go up another 100 fps to 2430 fps. 140 VLD at 2400-2430 fps in a 22" Grendel sounds nice! (and this is at normal bullet seating depth. You could seat it out further, gain some powder capacity, lower pressures a little and pick up some more speed!)

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#6368088 - 07/13/16 02:18 PM Re: 6.5 Grendel as a hunting cartridge [Re: charlesb]
kmon1 Online   content

Registered: 09/27/06
Posts: 23126
Loc: Texas
Effectiveness on game is very good for such a small cartridge and at velocities where a cup and core bullet works great. I have a load for the 22 inch barrel Grendel bolt action that runs a 123gr SST at 2650fps, worked up to 2700fps but that is where sticky bolt lift started.

If you want to see some good write ups for the Grendel used in hunting and lots of data from its use in AR-15s get volume II of the Grendel book. Volume II is geared toward hunting. They are available at

I have used the Grendel on hogs, deer and coyotes so far all have been one shot kills with bullet placement in lungs or high shoulder shots and one coyote from the rear. Shots range from 70 yards to 237.

Young lady got her elk at 390 yards with a Grendel. She shot it 3 times but I think the bull was dead from the first shot and just didn't know it yet. Game to the size of moose have been taken with the Grendel cartridge but even the fanatics for the cartridge tend to agree that is big for the little round

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#6368261 - 07/13/16 05:20 PM Re: 6.5 Grendel as a hunting cartridge [Re: charlesb]
specialed309 Offline

Registered: 01/24/16
Posts: 142
Interesting write up and comparison.
Not a fan of published data, usually a little higher then actual average production. It's a good starting point.
If i was to get a 6.5 in bolt action it would be Creedmore.

#6368381 - 07/13/16 07:16 PM Re: 6.5 Grendel as a hunting cartridge [Re: charlesb]
Sneaky Offline
The "Grouch"

Registered: 10/22/12
Posts: 18840
Loc: Winters
The numbers on paper appealed to me, so I killed several critters with one. I was not disappointed.

#6368423 - 07/13/16 07:55 PM Re: 6.5 Grendel as a hunting cartridge [Re: charlesb]
charlesb Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 1499
Loc: West Texas mountains
There is a long and productive hunting record for the 6.5 Grendel's ballistic twin, the 6.5x54 Mannlicher.

Whatever the 6.5x54 will do, so will the 6.5 Grendel. - There's no need for us to re-discover the wheel.

Getting past the limitations of the AR platform with a bolt gun will bring the performance of the two even closer as we start to utilize heavier bullets for the excellent penetration that they offer, even at 6.5 Grendel velocities. - All with moderate recoil that will encourage us to use light, great-handling rifles similar to the M-S carbine pictured above.

Edited by charlesb (07/13/16 07:58 PM)
Kind regards, charlesb

#6368531 - 07/13/16 09:57 PM Re: 6.5 Grendel as a hunting cartridge [Re: charlesb]
wtjim Online   content

Registered: 07/18/12
Posts: 626
I love my 6.5 G. It is my 90% go to hunting round. Kills way better than ballistics suggest...

#6368552 - 07/13/16 10:28 PM Re: 6.5 Grendel as a hunting cartridge [Re: charlesb]
boonee Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 01/09/11
Posts: 2188
Loc: Mesquite/Canton
My 6.5 Grendel is my "go to" hunting rifle. For the past several years it has not failed to drop everything I put the crosshair on! Bucks,does,hogs,coyotes, and a crow that ran off a nice buck! Right now it has my night vision setup on it.When we were drawing several state hunts (a few years back) I always carried my Grendel and my Beowulf, that way I had any distance covered!
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#6368869 - 07/14/16 10:01 AM Re: 6.5 Grendel as a hunting cartridge [Re: charlesb]
30378 Offline

Registered: 02/14/09
Posts: 2850
Loc: Deer Park, Tx.
The Grendel is a fine ctg for hunting. I would keep my shots within 300yds and choose the proper projectile for the type of game you are hunting. 120gr Ballistic Tips have been my favorite for Texas hunting.
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