6.5mm Grendel now SAAMI cartridge. AK rifles chambered in 6.5mm coming soon.

I was very pleased to hear the news that the 6.5mm Grendel has been accepted by SAAMI and that Alexander Arms has agreed to released their trademark on the name “6.5mm Grendel”. Hornady submitted the cartridge to SAAMI last year but the application was rejected because Alexander Arms refused to relinquish the trademark. Now anyone can manufacture 6.5mm Grendel guns and ammunition without paying royalties to Alexander Arms.

The 6.5mm Grendel was developed Arne Brennan but the name was later trademarked by Bill Alexander of Alexander Arms. The trademark was controversial and has led a few companies to produce almost-the-same-but-not-quite cartridges such as the .264 LBC-AR. The royalties demanded by Alexander Arms put many companies off from producing guns chambered in it. Now that it is free, I expect the Grendel will now make great gains in popularity.

Also announced is that Wolf will be producing steel cased 6.5mm Grendel ammunition and is in talk with Izhmash and Molot to produce 6.5mm Grendel chambered Vepr and Saiga rifles. The 6.5mm Grendel uses the same case head dimensions as its ancestor the 7.62x39mm, so it should be easy to chamber an Ak-47-derivative in it.

[ Many thanks to Matt for emailing in the tip. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Andy from West Haven

    This is indeed great news. I love the 6.5 and prefer it to the 6.8

    Nothing against the latter. It’s a great round. I just think the 6.5 Grendel is superior at longer ranges.

    I do wish that one or the other would get adopted by our forces but I know that’s not going to happen anytime soon (if ever). 5.56 is logistically superior.

    • andy:

      short range, long range, … , makes no difference. whatever the trajectory, whatever the ballistics, the distance to target must be known, and the rifles sights adjusted accordingly, and aimed accordingly.

      in short, ballistic charts do not establish the field utility of a cartridge, and neither do things such as ballistic coefficients and the like determine whether or not a cartridge is any good.

      i favor the 6.8mm remington spc. personally, i think the 6.5mm grendel and the 6.8mm remington are just about functionally equivalent, with the remington round probably designed a little more suitably to shoot in the ar-15 platform, in terms of feeding and extraction and the like.

      the 6.5mm caliber bullet does have some advantages in terms of very long range shooting and a marginal superiority against wind at distance. the 6.8mm bullet has better terminal effect, or so it would seem in tests by remington and socom.

      i have written extensively on the two rounds in comparison, and concluded that “… you can cover the two cartridges with a napkin …”, (or words to that effect, it has been a while).

      the fact is, the 6.8mm is a bigger case, and shoots comparable bullets faster, offsetting the 6.5mm grendel’s “ballistic superiority” well past 450 yards or so. it is designed to function better in an ar-15 platform.

      that seems pretty evident to me.

      it is also evident that one cartridge will not do anything the other cartridge is readily able to perform, with comparable bullet weights.

      and, the fact remains, either cartridge has to be aimed to a know distance to have field utility.

      john jay
      milton freewater, oregon usa

      p.s. query to 6.5mm fans. why not just take the 6.8mm remington spc, and neck it down to 6.5mm bore diameter. best of both worlds, in your view?

  • Maigo

    The higher powered, more accurate round you know and love now in a less powerful, less accurate steel casing. lol

    • Bryan S.

      Less powered, mainly because some wolf tends to be underloaded, but less accurate steel casing?

      Casing doent have much to do with accuracy, until you get down to single hole long distance shooting.

      • Maigo

        It does when Wolf makes it

      • Matt G.

        The point of steel cases ammo is to allow a shooter more trigger time for less money to practice and acquaint himself with the caliber. No one is going to be shooting matches with steel cased wolf.

        It should be mentioned that the steel cased ammo is going to be made by Barnaul for wolf. Barnaul is the factory that makes Brown/Silver bear, which is the highest regarded steel ammo. I won’t shoot wolf ammo because it rusts way too easily and that causes failures to extract. But I shoot brown bear all day long. If it wasn’t for that stuff I’d be forced to shoot much less frequently.

    • Frank

      If you’re talking about the wolf ammo, that’s made in Serbia with brass cases.

      • Matt G.

        Yes. Lou is making the brass cased ammo for wolf. The FMJ loading is supposed to be pretty decent but I’ve heard the soft point loading is not great.

      • Matt G.

        PPU not Lou*

      • If you are refering to a Wolf Gold product from Prvi Partisan, that would be good stuff. I’ve been happy with any Prvi Partisan ammo I’ve used.

  • GreenPlease

    Wow! This was unexpected. I was just getting ready for an SPR build. The proprietary nature of the 6.5 had me concentrating on a 5.56 build with heavier bullets in mind. Now that 6.5 open to all manufacturers I guess I’ll go that route. Sweet!

  • Rev. Clint

    ive seen a 6.5 grendel AK before in a magazine. It was pretty accurate and hit about the same as a standard ak

  • Jimbo50

    I’ve been ignoring the 6.5 exactly because of those licensing and copyright issued. That was b……. Now I’ll finally get an AR in 6.5 Grendel. Hooah!

  • 18D

    This is awesome. Hopefully we’ll be able to get more guns and more ammo now, and actually be able to find it somewhere. The Grendel is the best AR15 cartridge on the market. 123 grain bullet with as much energy at the muzzle as the 6.8 SPC is truly effective out to 1,000 and gets there with no problem. What more could you ask for?

  • drewogatory

    Finally. I have 2 AR uppers and a custom 26″ heavy barrel Mini 30 (I know, I know but it shoots .75 moa) chambered in 6.5 Grendel. Even though I load my own, it will be interesting to see what loadings the big boys come up with. I load it with everything from 90 grain TNTs up through 147 gr bthps , usually over Varget and get great results with almost all bullet weights. I a huge 6.5 fan in general, shooting and loading for Grendel, .260 Remington, .264 Win Mag and 6.5 x55 just to name a few.

    • foxtrot

      I have been kicking around a 6.5mm build for a while, how does the 6.5 gren compare to .260, 6.5 creedmore and the like? Are there any advantages of a 6.5mm vs 7mm?

      • Andrew (European Correspondent)

        6.5 Grendel does not compare with .260 Rem or 6.5 Creedmoor. The only reason to go with 6.5 Grendel is if you want to, or are forced to, use the AR-15 magazine well. If you have the ability to use a short action bolt rifle or an AR-10/SR-25 pattern semi-auto, far more capable calibers are open to you.

      • old_guy

        The AR magazine should have been changed when they went to the A2. Modern materials have resolved most of the problems but it is still a lousy mag design. From the poor feed angle to imprecise location of the next-to-feed round at the top of the magazine the AR family of rifles and carbines have never had a reliable magazine. It should have been changed long ago.

  • Andrew (European Correspondent)

    This will only matter if better quality magazines are made – and even then, I think the sun has been setting on the 6.5 Grendel for a while.

  • Buster charlie

    Well, this is good news…. But its kind of hard to get excited about new magazines when .300 BLK uses standard bolt and magazines. I guess the ballistics are better tho…

  • G2

    Ah, the powers of the free market. With 300 Blackout gaining popularity and the introduction of the .264 LBC, Alexander Arms finally made the right choice to let the trademark go so the 6.5 Grendel will remain relevant. Everybody wins!

  • Lance

    Too bad they arnt making mil spc AKs in 6.5mm I hope they come out with some soon. However theirs not much of a huge advantage over 7.62x39mm for civilian shooters so this not too much of a BIG point to this other than re-loadable ammo.

    • theunsuspecting

      There is a huge difference between 7.62×39 and 6.5 grendel, 6.5 grendel has more kinetic energy past 300 yards than 7.62 NATO

  • Jay

    I do not see any of the military from the US, other than the SF guys, using any other cartridge than 5.56. That is because of NATO. If they US changed rounds, or guns, that messes with the whole concept of a one world military. So the government will not change its current ways even if people are dissatisfied with their kit.

    6.8 SPC is good for shorter barrels and shorter ranges. 6.5mm is good for 16″/+ barrels and longer ranges. Totally different usages.

    • RH

      The thing is, the US has demanded that the rest of NATO conform to its cartridge of choice twice already. 7.62×51 was declared NATO standard in the fifties, primarily because the US refused to use anything else, and only about ten years later we switched to 5.56 as a standard rifle cartridge, and toyed again with adopting a new cartridge with the ACR project in the mid-eighties.
      I think that if it was in our best interest to change, from an economical, logistical, or tactical reason, we would do it anyway, and NATO would just have to change with us, or just deal with the added logistics.

  • Jay

    Too late.

  • zeonxavier

    I would love to have a VZ-58 or even an AK chambered in an accurate 6.5, as long as it could be made to fit in standard magazines for those weapons.

    Does the 6.5 Grendel even fit in common magazines as designed?

  • Matt G.

    I expect to see quite a few companies release 6.5 barrels here before long, Since it doesn’t hurt them any now that the trademarks gone and sammi specs are available.

    Oh and I’ll be expecting my finders fee in the mail steve, thanks! 😀

    • Andrew (European Correspondent)

      Companies that really wanted to do that did so under another name – 6.5 LBC-AR, 6.5 Sporter, etc.

      It is consumer demand that drives increased production.

  • hawk

    Do you have proof that royalties were required? It’s been repeatedly asserted that AA did not charge royalties to mfg’s, but did require a licensing agreement not to modify the chamber, etc.

    I’ve heard it stated as fact by key players enough that if AA really did charge royalties I feel sure there would have been a lawsuit.

    There are many reasons companies changed their position on collaboration with Alexander Arms, but royalties was never publicly stated as one of those reason to my knowledge.

    If you do not know AA demanded royalties for sure you should not state it in the article. Can you provide a source?

  • subase

    The increasing demand for SBR’s is why this new cartridge is becoming more popular. The muzzle blast of 5.56 in short barrels is just too much.

  • David Fortier

    You got the part right about SAAMI accepting the 6.5mm Grendel, from my post on AR15.com, but Arne Brennan did not design the 6.5mm Grendel. He was working on a 6.5mm PPC. Bill Alexander and Lapua designed the Grendel and it is very visibly different from the cartridge Arne was working with. Simple fact.

    What royalties did Alexander Arms demand? Zip…….

    Nice picture, who took it?

  • starmetal

    As usual the Alexander Arms troll, David Fortier, misconstrues the real truth to tarnish Arne Brennan. The reals truth is Arne Brennan’s cartridge was more then 75% of what the final adopted cartridge that came out as the 6.5 Grendel. Bill Alexander didn’t have much going for him on a 6.5 cartridge until Arne and he were put together. Then it was submitted to Lapua to make brass for it. Their engineer there made few minor changes like pushing the chamber forward and blowing the case out some. Most the changes were to facilitate easier manufacture of the case.

    The 6.5 Grendel getting SAAMI yes is a good thing, but it’s too little too late. Bill Alexander should have done this early on in AA’s history. He and his company have alienated so many in the industry that I’d highly doubt you’ll see and big name companies produce a rifle for it. The gun industry is suffering in this bad economy more so then rest of the country and they sure aren’t going to invest in producing a new rifle because of that and also because the sales of the 6.5 Grendel don’t warrant it. Don’t forget the proprietary items on the rifle such as the bolt, the barrel extension, and the magazine would initially cost them more then what would be worth while to make even as few as 200 6.5 Grendels. Why, for example, would anyone in the Freedom Group, make a 6.5 Grendel when Remington, who is part of the group, won’t even field a 6.8 Remington.

    • Andy from West Haven

      Well that’s certainly an opinion.

    • David Fortier

      Joe, No one is trying to tarnish Arne’s reputation or take away from his work on the 6.5mm PPC. But you are being dishonest in saying he designed the 6.5mm Grendel cartridge. His cartridge is noticeably different from the 6.5mm Grendel. Lapua based the Grendel on the .220 Russian case and both Janne P from Lapua and Bill Alexander designed the case we have today. That is simple fact. They increased case capacity, thickened the neck for use in auto-loading rifles and tweaked the case to reduce production losses.
      Here is a pic of a Grendel (L), Arnes design (center) and a 6.5×39 (R).

      Will any companies pick up the Grendel now? Or is it ‘too late’ as you espouse? Seems that one major manufacturer of Cold Hammer Forged barrels in the US has already grabbed it now that they have a SAAMI print….who follows we will have to watch and see.

      All that hate isn’t good for your blood pressure Joe.

      • hawk

        My understanding is that AA did come up with the Grendel name. And was within rights to trademark it. Don’t agree? Just check out some of the other trademarks: Fireball, PPC, Jet (all by RP), Blackout (Was AAC, now is RP)

        Which is ironic as 300 AAC Blackout is a clone of the 300 Whisper, just a name change to bypass the Whisper trademark.

        The issue with Grendel was not the trademark, the only barrier SAAMI saw was allowing unrestricted use of the name in Ammo production & rifle marking.

        The only thing which has changed is that AA dropped the license requirement to use the name which was the issue with SAAMI.

        This may or may not have been a good idea, there is a very long history in the firearms industry of stolen intellectual property, attempts like trademarking to try to protect it, etc.

        Someone needs to research their articles better, this one and the earlier grendel clone article both seem to pull heavily from wikipedia, which itself has been edited to reflect the anti AA views. (Even uses links to the anti AA forum beyond556 as reference).

        Just stick to the facts, there is enough news here without trying to villainize anyone.

      • old_guy

        “Joe, No one is trying to tarnish Arne’s reputation or take away from his work on the 6.5mm PPC. But you are being dishonest in saying he designed the 6.5mm Grendel cartridge. His cartridge is noticeably different from the 6.5mm Grendel. Lapua based the Grendel on the .220 Russian case and both Janne P from Lapua and Bill Alexander designed the case we have today. That is simple fact. They increased case capacity, thickened the neck for use in auto-loading rifles and tweaked the case to reduce production losses.
        Here is a pic of a Grendel (L), Arnes design (center) and a 6.5×39 (R).”

        David Fortier, et al,

        The entire family of PPC cartridges were based on the .220 Russian which was in turn based upon the 7.62x39mm Kalashnikov cartridge.

        I’d say that Kalashnikov, a severely wounded tank mechanic, (who is still alive I believe) designed a pretty decent cartridge (and rifle) while he was recovering. And I find it fascinating that all of the family of Kalashnikov cartridges are inherently accurate in spite of their case taper. I’d venture a guess that Lapua opted for a sharper shoulder in the hopes of better headspacing as well as greater powder capacity. That tradeoff means long bullets don’t get quite as much neck support as some would like. That said, the entire family burns powder very efficiently and aren’t that picky with regard to powder choice. Certainly more than can be said for some other cartridges derived from military cartridges. The Fireball is picky as hell.

        Regardless of who did what with regard to some aspect of the cartridges which have been derived from the original 7.62x39mm Soviet military cartridge I personally think that Mr. Kalashnikov could be mentioned — at least occasionally. He produced a assault weapon and cartridge that literally define “World Class.” Any one of the family is certainly as good or better than anything based on some other cartridge, within their respective ballistics class. I find it hard to argue with results.

        I have few complaints regarding JD Jones efforts with regard to his copyright (and he has both copyright and trademark rights to “Whisper”.) He did a huge amount of development on the concept of subsonic cartridges only matched by the Finns and all out of his own pocket. Credit where credit is due. I’m delighted that the .300 Whisper is SAAMI and I’ve been shooting it for longer than I care to admit. Same with Alexander — if he hadn’t kept pushing the concept of the 6.5 Grendel it would likely have died. Alexander had help — you betcha. So did Kalashnikov, from the same Nazis that wounded him on the battlefield; he paid attention to their StG 44 and built a superior weapon based upon a superior Nazi weapon. But Kalashnikov’s cartridge was truly brilliant, arguably more so than the AK-47 and that’s saying something.

        ’nuff said

    • Iceman

      Even if that is true, 75% of the development of penicillin would mean that it was still growing on bread!

      Others had worked on the 6.5 PPC prior to Arne, and no one brought it to any commercial success. Arne’s cartridge was never what became the Grendel. It was PPC brass necked to 6.5 mm. The shoulder was different, the neck was longer.

      Essentially, Bill Alexander and Janne P. did to Arne’s 6.5 PPC what P.O. Ackley had done to lots of cartridges before. From the pictures it is apparent that they at least moved the shoulder and changed the neck length. We call those cartridges “Ackley Improved” though Ackley often changed the shoulder angle as well, not always an improvement.

      Bill Alexander chose to protect the cartridge and chamber by trademarking it, about the only way to consistently protect what was essentially a wildcat from people creating the situation that the 6.8 is in today. The firearms world being what it is, some people dislike trademarks, but in the Grendels case, it seems to have worked, with Alexanders cartridge receiving SAAMI approval as he drew the design.

      This is a good thing for everyone, except those few who were pushing the LBC(even Les Baer no longer advertises it)/CSS/6.5 Sporter/6.5 etc……

  • Its long past time that the illegitimate tactic of trademarking cartridge names was staked in the firearms industry. (Something made worse by people like JD Jones who can’t even get the terminology correct, incorrectly calling his protection of the Whisper name “copyright” ).

    Its a pernicious practice that should be boycotted whenever attempted.

    • David Fortier

      If the Grendel had never been trademarked it likely would have spun off into numerous iterations with different chamber designs and it would have never been accepted by SAAMI………

      • Nonsense, David. The trademarking did nothing to hinder that. You know we have a long history of wildcatting cartridges and a long history of successfully commercializing into SAAMI standards the best of those wildcats.

    • Iceman

      So how do you propose that people who spend thousands and thousands of dollars to develop a cartridge appropriately protect their investment? Without trademarking, the Grendel would still be a wildcat. Arne did a significant amount of work on developing the 6.5 PPC, but others had tried it before, and had no real success in making it a viable commercial success.

  • Billy

    Does this mean 6.5 Grendal ACR???

  • starmetal

    David Fortier you’d make a good Democrat politician because you twist what people say to suit your needs. I did not say that Arne designed the 6.5 Grendel cartridge. How could he when it never existed until he, Bill Alexander, and Lapau got their heads together to design it? What I DID say was that Arne designed over 75% (or more) of it. I know you think I’m in Arne’s and Lothar Walther’s camp but I am not. I’m in my camp. My camp stands for honestly and truth. None of which you, and especially Bill Alexander, stand for. Bill has duped you and many others, but you all can’t see that. For those that refuse to believe that give a phone call to Dave Kiff at Pacific Tool and Gage, give a call to Les Baer, give a call to Lothar Walther, give a call to Shilen, give a call to Satern Barrels, get give a call to the old Sabre owners, give a call to Rock River Arms, give a call to Eran Bauer over in England, if you can find him talk to Paul Lietner Wise, the list goes on…but call them and bring up Bill Alexander and see what they say. Fortier is wrong about many things. I don’t hate the 6.5 Grendel cartridge. It’s a good round and I shoot it, albeit out of one of the so called clones, but it shoots the same ammo. Dave says I hate Bill Alexander. Well hate isn’t in my vocabulary because of my religious beliefs, but I strongly dislike Bill Alexanders fraudulent business acts in the past.

    Now one last time David, Arne did not designed the 6.5 Grendel cartridge, but he did way way way way way more on it then Bill and Lapua. Yes, it’s more then likely if the three didn’t come together that the cartridge would have never existed.

    • Andy from West Haven

      Hmmm, smells like sour grapes with a healthy dash of vendetta.

      That and you like to insult people and call them names. And how about some cheese to go with that whine? Seriously. I can picture you furiously typing and swearing. Perhaps the internet isn’t for you?

    • too true

      This sounds like ‘old Joe’.

      Who has continually ‘haunted’ the Grendel and other gun forums complaining and whining about Bill, the Grendel, and how everything isn’t done ‘his way’.

      Its becoming quite tiresome that you can’t attend other forums to enjoy the threads without his uncivil discourse, baiting and trolling.

      This will likely be my first and last post on this forum, as he will continue to destroy any enjoyment and there always seems to be insufficient moderation understanding of how he goes about his business of devisiveness.

  • root man

    Great news.
    Great round.

  • “Steve”

    Just a heads up — I’m going to run a story on the 6.5 Grendel SAAMI approval. FYI, a few years back, Arne Brennan provided a story to us on his 6.5 Grendel Rifle and the Cartridge. This included photos of the cutaway target. I believe these photos appeared for the first time on my site, though they may have originally been posted on the now-defunct http://www.65grendel.com

    Just didn’t want you to think that I was stealing your graphics. We ran these images a long time ago, with Arne’s permissions.

  • rdsii64

    The Grendel round sounds like something that could prove interesing. Its still to early for me to invest any money in a rifle for this caliber yet. Time will tell though

  • Clarke

    I personally have never much cared for the AR platform. It is okay if kept very clean but tolerates bad conditions poorly. I’ve never shot a 6.8 but it appears to be a good cartridge which meets the design goals as intended. The 6.5 Grendel has a reputation which has been somewhat tarnished by legitimate efforts to recover development costs which were carried too far.

    For me the 6.5 Grendel seems to have the most efficient punch, less powder, and a lighter weight cartridge albeit not by much.

    This is a free country. If you don’t like the 6.5 Grendel and prefer the 6.8 SPC then by all means use the 6.8. Either one beats the hell out of the .223 which has been a worthless underpowered mimic of a cartridge for combat purposes since inception. The .223 was never intended for combat — it is a varmint cartridge. Personally I’d rather have an M1 .30 Carbine than an AR. My single .223 arm is a Galil. It can be depended upon to work when cold, hot, dirty, wet, stuffed with mud or sand and a ten year old can maintain it, just like the AK. And it even has a purpose-built bottle opener.

    Always remember that you cannot miss fast enough to win a gunfight. Gun control means First Round ON TARGET. I prefer enemies that I have knocked down to those which were able to dodge because of my poor gun control. Everything else is just conversation, not combat. When I am out in ‘the big grass’ I don’t want snappy patter, I want men around me that are equipped to kill the enemy and trained to pay attention and have that perfect balance of courage and fear to focus that attention on getting the job done and going home in one piece, preferably without punctures from boolits or sharp things.

    Stay safe guys. Check your six.

    All the best.

    • ooves

      It seems theres too much opinion about nothing that really matters. Yes preference is personal, but who cares about who designed what ,right? The fact of the matter is that the 6.5 Grendel is the most effective AR-15 compatible cartridge ever developed. It performs better overall in various situations than the rest. I did say “overall”.
      Because the “IC” competition made it impossible to submit a new carbine in a more capable caliber, I’ll give an opinion I think does matter, Sooner or later Russia or China will field a vastly superior assault rifle. Russian companies are already developing rifles to fire russian made Grendel ammo. Prototypes already show superior performance than standard AKs.( Both 7.62×39 & 5.45)
      Many armies are also considering new rifles for their regular units & especially for their special forces. Newer designs may not be vastly superior, but they still WILL BE BETTER than the M4/M16. Because American decision makers are not likely to adopt a better weapons system for general issue, foreign armies will likely see that as a reason not to follow American trends that they have in the past. Going their own way will seem more logical & an opportunity to have something better than the mighty Americans. The ARX-160, CZ Bren, even the Polish MSBS rifle are likely to have an impact in whats considered better modern assault rifles. But it won’t be long after that , that a better cartridge is better still. A choice they won’t have to think too hard about.
      The best has always been an American tradition, why stop now? I wonder what Patton would have to say?

  • dolf Goldsmith

    The 6.5mm Ggrendel, (and the 6.8 Rem) are actually re-inventions of the wheel. I well recall that the Brits came out, in 1947 or 48 with a 7mm cartridge, with intermediate length, and with a .440 approx base diameter. It was turned down as due to the smaller base, current US weapons could not be converted to use it. So, the Brits came out with the .280 which has a .470″ base this could have been used in the US M1 rifle and the BAR That was not accepted either due to the current US Chief of Ordnance, Rene Studler’s “gravelbelly” doctrine.

    The Brit 7mm program is almost unknown, but its just about the very cartridge that we are now “discovering”

    To give an idea of how unknown this program was, a miniscule number of cartridges from it have survived. I have only ever seen ONE example, and the owner has turned down offers of $ 500. and up for it from cartridge collectors.

    Dolf Goldsmith

  • Mark Cannaday

    Wow! Lots of thinly veiled hate in this piece for Mr Alexander. Unfortunately the facts get in the way of the statement “The 6.5mm Grendel was developed (by) Arne Brennan”. That is simply not a fact. Arne did develop a wildcat 6.5 based on PPC brass but it was far different than the 6.5 Grendel based on the 7.62×39.

    Props to Arne for getting the stone rolling down the hill but major props to Bill for polishing it into a gem.

    BTW: Bill has not relinquished the trademark to Grendel, just the license requirements. Then again…don’t let the facts get in the way of a good hit piece.