WPA Steel Case 6.5 Grendel Ammo

It seems like WPA and Alexander Arms have been working on a steel case 6.5 Grendel forever. When it was finally released about a year ago, the steel case 6.5 Grendel was hard to find. Alexander Arms told me that when they received a shipment, it usually sold out in 2 days. Recently that all had changed, the WPA steel case 6.5 Grendel is now more common.

So, what’s so good about the steel case 6.5 Grendel ammo? For a starter, it only costs 30 cents a round. Its 100 gr FMJ BT projectile has good terminal ballistics. It has mild felt recoil even when firing from a short barrel. It has an effective range up to 700 meters with good wind resistance. It’s optimized for the shorter carbine barrel lengths. The accuracy is better than the Russian made steel case 5.56mm ammo.


I tested the new 100 gr WPA steel cased 6.5 Grendel on three AR-15s chambered in the 6.5 Grendel. Two of those had 18-in and 16-in stainless steel buttoned barrels with mid-length gas systems, and the last one has a now discontinued 14.5-in chrome-lined Alexander Arms barrel with carbine length gas system.

Muzzle Velocity:
18-in barrel:       2578.8 fps Avg.
16-in barrel:       2552.1 fps Avg.
14.5-in barrel:    2433.8 fps Avg.

18-in and 16-in barrel: 1.5-1.6 inch 5-shot group avg at 100 yds.
14.5-in barrel: 1.8-2.1 inch 5-shot group avg at 100 yds.

Optic used: Zeiss Conquest DL 3-12x50mm with ADM SPR mount.
AR-15 Lower used for the testings has these components:
Geissele G2S 2-stage match trigger
Vltor EMod A5 Stock system
Magpul MOE+ pistol grip
Atlas V8 bipod



The cross section of the steel cased 6.5 Grendel round. Besides the steel case, it also shows its 100 grain FMJ BT projectile with bi-metal jacket, lead core and a fairly large cavity at the tip.


One of the main factors in making the 6.5 Grendel affordable is the use of the steel case and it’s loaded by the Barnaul ammunition plant in Russia. During development, Alexander Arms found the lacquer coating is better for the job than the newer polymer coating found on the majority of the WPA ammo.


During my field testing, I found the steel cased 6.5 Grendel ammo uses a clean burning powder. Which is a surprise for Russian manufactured ammo. Later, that I have found out the powder that it uses is actually made in Belgium and specially blended just for the 6.5 Grendel.



WPA is also the importer of the new Vepr rifle chambered in the 6.5 Grendel caliber. The Russian made Vepr rifle is based on the AK action in a sporting configuration.



The Vepr 6.5 Grendel comes with a 10-round polymer magazine.



A highly modified Vepr 6.5 Grendel custom built by Definitive Arms (DA) in St. Petersburg, Florida. This DA rifle features their signature magazine conversion that takes 6.5 Grendel AR-15 magazines.

Writer and gear editor with articles published in major gun publications. A five year combat veteran of the US Marine Corps, Tim is also part of Point & Shoot Media Works, a producer of photography, video and web media for the firearms and shooting sport industry. Tim’s direct contact: Tyan.TFB -at- gmail.com


  • Patrick Karmel Shamsuddoha

    that is a good looking vepr at the bottom

    • ostiariusalpha

      It sure is. I would be on one of those like white on rice if it came with that 6.5 Grendel AK style mag, but the AR magwell conversion is tempting.

      • Rick5555

        The AR mag conversion is done very well. It’s made of aluminum and very sturdy. I got one of the first Definitive Arms AK, that’s shoots 5.56 and takes AR mags. I was surprised they didn’t take off so fast. I figured, it would sell like hot cakes. Considering, people who already have a bunch of STANG mags and 5.56. But wanting an AK. It’s the reason I went with the DA, AK in 5.56. I didn’t want to invest in a bunch of new mags and ammo. Eventually, I went with a traditional AK. The AK in 5.56 shoot really nice. Not as accurate as a typical AR. However, recoil impulse is the same as an AK. Chase (owner of DA) does some awesome work. And not a whole lot of attention is thrown his way…in regard to what the smaller companies are doing. Chase is quite talented and I anticipate him bring plenty of new stuff to the table. Never shot a 6.5. I am quite curious too. With ammo being so reasonable now. I just might have to look into a purchase soon.

      • Timothy G. Yan

        That’s a one off for the media event. But, if you can talk DA in to building you one, I am sure you could ask them to leave out the magwell conversion.

        • Steve Truffer

          Magwell aside, It looks totally user doable. Magpul furniture swap, brake, siderail, and optic.

  • El Duderino

    I really need to build an 18″ AR in 6.5. Like, now.

    • thedonn007

      26 fps is not worth the extra 2 inches . I would go with a 16″ barrel.

      • El Duderino

        Most of the nice bolt + barrel combos I have seen are for 18″ or 24″.

  • VeriAeq

    Why not Wolf 6.8? hmm. May have to build a 6.5 in 18 or 20?

  • “Its 100 gr FMJ BT projectile has good terminal ballistics.”

    That is one claim I would like to see proof of.

    • Dracon1201

      What proof are you looking for? Or are you just being your usual skeptical self?

      • It’s a pretty typical lead-cored, mild steel-jacketed FMJ… i.e., a kind of round known for its low cost, not its superb terminal effect.

        • John

          There are some photos online in a forum; search for “6.5 Grendel Steel Case vs. Hog”. Gel shot from David Fortier shows yaw after 3″ with temp. cavity of the sort that impresses Dr. Roberts. Think of a scaled up Russian 5.45 7N6 with its hollow nose cavity.

          • I wish I were more credulous of Fortier as a source, especially regarding the 6.5 Grendel.

            I am guessing this is the gel test you’re talking about?


            That looks decent, I suppose.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Right, so it has good, not great, terminal performance like most long FMJs; as Timothy wrote. Meaning it’s more than just a plinking round, though not terribly much more when looking at actual expanding tip bullets. In the pig hunt that John mentions, the OP stated that the animal stumbled along for another 40 yds; not exactly a DRD, but who knows what difference a “better” design would have had with the same wound path?

            Anyways, pic of the dead hog for the interested:

          • Timothy G. Yan

            It’s good for 30 cents +/- per round. If you really want to use the 6.5G for hunting. I would recommend get something that’s specifically made for that like the brass case AA or Hornady SST ammo.

          • ostiariusalpha

            I do use my Grendel for hunting, typically with factory SST loads. They’ve worked perfectly fine for every shot I’ve taken. Nothing has ever scampered off after taking a hit from one.

          • I guess I sounded like I was challenging Tim, so mea culpa. Really, I just wanted to see what he was referencing, and I think now I have. So thanks, guys.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Hey, you have every right to ask for evidence to a claim. If we all just let every assertion go by without question the whole firearms industry would be nothing but Bro-science. Personally, I’d like to see some further pictures of more game harvested with these bullets to get a better idea of how the perform, including less than optimal wounds (which are inevitable with any bullet design).

          • Timothy G. Yan

            No worry, I have photo of gel test and wounds channel on games but I don’t have the permission yet to use those.

        • Dracon1201

          Yes… It’s steel cased plinking ammo… I don’t know what you’re looking for…

          • Not sure what your concern is. In the article, Tim says it has good terminal ballistics, which is something I’d like to see proof of.

    • Rick5555

      Nathaniel, a bit off topic here. So, I apologize in advance. I just assembled (built) a AR-15, SBR, with a 10.5″ barrel. I put a KAK Industries muzzle device on it. The kind that’s huge and puts the concussion forward of the shooter. Sorry can’t think of its proper name at this time. My question to you or anyone else willing to answer is: Q: How Is the recoil? Is it more or less the same as a 16″ barrel AR? Or should I anticipate more recoil? I’ve only fired and SBR configured like mine once. And only 30 rounds. I honestly can’t recall what it was like. My expectations are, the recoil impulse will be more. Yes, the SBR is legal. Got the lower, and then did the form BS. Upon approval, I assembled the rifle. Was a fun project. I use quality components in every part. Using a Radical Firearms Barrel, which is 4150 CMV with a 1/7 TR. Radical Firearms is a relatively new company out of Houston, TX. However, I’ve heard they put together some nice stuff. Figured I would try their barrel out. Man, it’s such a good for buyers in the firearm industry. That might be a good article to write about. Using comparisons from when things we’re expensive to current prices. As well as, quality, etc. Just a suggestion………………………………………………………..
      If anyone answers my question…I want to thank you advance. If you reside by me. You’re welcomed to fire my FN-FNC…which is an awesome firearm. Happy Holidays to Everyone. And have a Safe New Year.
      Dr. Rick. S,

      • Rick,

        The felt recoil of your SBR will probably depend on the exact configuration. Things like the buffer, muzzle brake, weight, etc will all affect felt recoil.

        Having said that, I’d caution against putting “too much” brake on a practical 5.56mm gun, as I’ve seen configurations where the builder was trying to completely eliminate recoil, and ended up putting on a muzzle brake so obnoxious that it made the gun more unpleasant to shoot, not less.



    • Iksnilol

      Comrade, use brain – not heart. Look at the cavity in the tip. That’s miore generous than M67 (which is known for good terminal effect).

      Having seen that cavity, I am convinced that round has some good terminal effect.

      Wonder if you can use AK mags with the 6.5 Grendel?

      • What’s wrong with me wanting to see a gel test or two? Just because something has a nose cavity doesn’t mean it will perform well.

        No, AK mags will not work with the 6.5 Grendel. Not well, anyway.

        • Iksnilol

          Don’t get me wrong, I love gel tests. I am just saying you can safely hypothesize that it has good performance.

          • Methinks the myth of the M67 Yugo FMJ has been enhanced somewhat. It performs better than M43, that’s true, but M43 is one of the poorest terminal performers you can find in rifle calibers.

          • Iksnilol

            I’ve seen war footage (that you won’t find on YT) which convinced me. I remember my neighbour saying once “you can hear that’s chinese ammo, softer pops. Also crappy effect on people” then he’d show the scars he got from being hit with the aforementioned ammo. No vitals hit, icepick wound.

            Those hit with M67 had worse days. Closer family of mine was hit. hospital for several months.

          • Um, don’t get me wrong, getting hit with a rifle is no picnic, but the more technical question of how a round’s terminal ballistics compares to its stablemates is entirely aside from that.

        • Iksnilol

          Also, I was thinking 5.56 AK mags or something.

  • Mister Thomas

    Sweet! … Edit* ” I found the steel cased 6.5 Grendel ammo uses a clean burning powder. Which is a surprise for Russian manufactured ammo.” – Even more so!

  • George

    That’s great for my 6.5G, but I shoot the 6.8 more.
    Ditto on the 6.8 steel case. Tula started that project and then abandoned it after the Newtown ammo scare. How about it WPA? You’d sell a metric &h!t ton of the stuff. Anywhere from 90 to 110 grain to start.

  • A Fascist Corgi

    I’m a huge fan of the 6.5 Grendel. I’ve yet to see anyone make a convincing argument against the 6.5 Grendel being the best overall assault rifle cartridge in the world. You get better close range stopping power than the 5.56x45mm and better long range accuracy and stopping power as well. The only minor downsides that I can think of is that a 6.5 Grendel magazine that’s the same size as a 30-round 5.56x45mm STANAG magazine holds 4 less rounds, and you get a slight increase in recoil.

    • Try these on for size:







      Much of those articles handle more general arguments than the 6.5 Grendel directly, but most of what I wrote is still applicable to that round. One thing I mention is that the 6.5 Grendel case doesn’t have very much length, making lead-free bullets, especially lead-free tracers, problematic. Below is an image of a 107gr lead-free tracer in a 6.5 Grendel case; note how extensively it protrudes into the case body:


      Lead-free rounds are here to stay, like them or not, which puts the Grendel at a disadvantage.

      Another thing to mention which I talk about more generally in the posts above is that the 6.5 Grendel weighs about 50% more than 5.56mm (depending on exact bullet weight used). This is an extremely significant consideration for military use.

      And here’s Hognose weighing in, too:


      This doesn’t mean I don’t like the Grendel; I actually have some of the ammunition sitting next to me as I type this, and I hope to do some testing at some point in the future with a 6.5 Grendel upper. At the very least, the 6.5 Grendel is better, ballistically speaking, than the 6.8 SPC, but the ballistic advantages it offers vs. 5.56mm are of more nebulous value than its proponents realize, I think, whereas its penalties in the weight department are very real and easy to characterize.

      • Lolinski

        Maybe the Grendel would be better for DMRs and MGs?

        I think that 6.5 Grendel is better than 7.62×51. Though not really a replacement for 5.56z

        • I think it’s worth remembering that there are a lot of different things military cartridges are optimized for. In a couple of cases that come to mind, military organizations shunned smaller caliber projectiles in favor of .30 caliber rounds because the larger caliber AP projectiles were shown to have better penetration of armor.

          The 6.5 Grendel is optimized to do a few things well, with small size. That is, to shoot mid-weight lead-cored OTMs at moderate velocity with good accuracy and as short a package as possible. In some configurations, it has very good retained energy for its size (although it’s worth keeping in mind that Alexander Arms’ ballistic tables for the round are completely worthless, as they’ve been dramatically exaggerated). The 6.5 Grendel was not optimized to be a military cartridge. Many people, including David Fortier, believe that the 6.5 Grendel is “the best” military round out there, but in general they are only examining the round based on its external ballistics (and, probably, those ballistics were handed to them by AA), and ignoring actual performance, i.e. what a military customer would take a close look at. This isn’t to say the Grendel has poor performance; I honestly don’t really know, but there’s an assumption that if the 6.5 Grendel retains 300 ft-lbs energy at a kilometer and the 7.62 NATO retains 300 ft-lbs at a kilometer, then the 6.5 Grendel is just as good. This ignores that energy, while a component of effectiveness, for sure, is not the whole story.

          I don’t claim to know whether the 6.5 Grendel is a “good” or “bad” military cartridge, though it has some disadvantages to both the 5.56 and 7.62 that I am aware of. If it were adopted, it probably would be neither tragedy nor triumph. Small arms cartridges just do not matter that much in modern warfare.

          • Paul White

            That last line really sums it up. Barring extremely dumb decisions (say, switching to a 9mm SMG as main issue rifle) it just does not matter that much, so why do it?

          • iksnilol

            Hmm, what about going for 5.7×28?

            I mean, it weighs half that of 5.56. Make 100 round quadstack mags for it and BOOM! 5.56 is a goner. Screw it, make a 5.7mm beltfed with an ammo backpack. Carry 500 rounds and fire them through a downscaled Stoner LMG (fed by the aforementioned ammo backpack). Imagine all that firepower and logistics advantage (no magazines to ship, which means even more ammo can be shipped :O )

            NOTE: I am not serious at all, maybe a few drinks later it would seem like a good idea.

          • Jwedel1231

            I think that 5.7×28 would be a great pistol/rear echelon rifle replacement.

          • iksnilol

            I’d prefer saboted 7.62×25 Tokarev, but that’s just me. I’ve always liked that cartridge.

          • Paul White

            Not worth the cost, even if it is just marginally better. It isn’t like this would be free.

          • ostiariusalpha

            All kidding aside, the current standard intermediate rounds (5.54×39, 5.56×45) are optimal in effective range and ammo capacity for realistic engagement distances that militaries use small arms at. The rifle as a basic weapon becomes less effective than artillery and dedicated machine guns at greater distances, which is an extension of Nathaniel’s argument for why the military isn’t going to try to turn every infantryman into a part-time designated marksman with an extended performance round like the Grendel chambered in an accurized firearm for their standard issue.

          • Clearly, DMs have a certain value to the modern military. Beyond meeting their requirements, you have to ask yourself “if I am adding a pound here, what else could I be carrying that would be more useful than slightly more effective small arms ammunition?”, because the infantry platoon has only about ~50 human power to carry stuff with on dismount.

            I’ve done this math for a lot of different combinations and caliber configurations, and it never turns out very favorably for having heavier but more powerful small arms ammunition. Now, maybe if that ammunition was arbitrarily lighter (plastic-cased gets you closer, but even it has tighter limits than most people assume), then you could issue however powerful of a round you wanted, but within the brass-cased paradigm it’s not worth the weight to go to something heavier.

      • A Fascist Corgi

        Your weight argument doesn’t really make sense since the 6.5 Grendel magazines hold 4 less rounds. The smaller magazine capacity offsets the increased weight of the bullets.

        As to lead-free bullets being longer, can’t that be offset by using a more powerful powder? Wasn’t that the solution to the M855A1 having a longer bullet than the M855?

        The blog entries that you linked are mostly centered around arguing against an all-purpose cartridge that could replace both the 5.56×45 and the 7.62×51. Just to be clear, that isn’t what I was arguing. What I wrote is that I personally think that the 6.5 Grendel is best overall assault rifle cartridge. And by that I meant that it should only replace the 5.56×45 as the standard round used by NATO assault rifles. As to the 7.62×51 round, I’d personally prefer something like the 6.5 Creedmoor since it has a superior ballistic coefficient.

        • If the magazines hold less rounds per magazine, then you need more magazines to hold the same number of rounds, which exacerbates the weight issue, instead of alleviating it.

          For example, 210 rounds (7 magazines) of 5.56mm in magazines weighs 7.284 pounds. 208 rounds (8 magazines) of 6.5 Grendel in magazines weighs 10.134 pounds.

          Re: Lead-free. It’s not apples-to-apples. 5.56mm has a much smaller bullet volume to case volume ratio than 6.5 Grendel. Moving from a lead bullet like M855 to a lead-free one like M855A1 consumes roughly an additional 2% of the internal volume of a 5.56mm case. Going from a leaded bullet to a lead-free bullet in the 6.5 Grendel is costing you an additional 8-15% of your internal volume, depending on the exact construction of the bullets in question. In other words, it’s eating up case capacity in a cartridge that is already short on it. Add a lead-free tracer requirement to the mix, and the reduction in available capacity becomes even more absurd.

          If you read the posts I linked, you’ll find a lot of arguments that apply to the 6.5 Grendel just fine.

          • A Fascist Corgi

            You’re assuming that a soldier would carry more magazines in order to have the same amount of rounds rather than just carrying less rounds. When carrying the same amount of magazines, the weight difference would barely be noticeable.

            I also don’t know why you keep insisting on making the point that lead-free bullets are supposedly a problem for the 6.5 Grendel cartridge since they already exist and work fine. And your point that lead-free bullets are “here to stay” doesn’t really make sense since most NATO countries don’t use them.

          • Yeah, I’m assuming a standard combat load will remain a standard combat load, since, y’know, the web gear and stuff all remains the same. But fine, if we do it another way, 7 magazines (210 rounds) of 5.56mm weighs 7.284 lbs. 6 magazines (156 rounds) of 6.5 Grendel weighs 7.601 lbs. So you lose 56 rounds (2 magazines’ worth), while adding a third of a pound.

            The additional weight might not seem like a lot to you, but consider that the combat load of a soldier can only be so great, and that there’s a lot more useful crap the soldier can be carrying than small arms ammunition, such as grenades. Or these things.

            Lead-free bullets are here to stay. The US Army has committed to them, the USMC has committed to them, and nobody in NATO is going to adopt a new caliber if the US doesn’t, first. Neither the US Army nor the USMC is going to adopt a new lead-cored round. Sorry, charlie.

            Fact is, that bullet construction is a lot more important than caliber, retained energy, and other such stats. M855 has not so great bullet construction. M855A1 has excellent bullet construction. Why give up two magazines, or add the weight of six 40mm grenades when the terminal ballistics shortcomings of 5.56mm (which were overstated to begin with) have already been addressed by a new round that weighs exactly the same as the existing one?

            Add in the difficulties involved in designing lead-free tracers for the Grendel, its loading sensitivity (meaning you have to run your ammunition manufacturing machines more slowly; they had the exact same problem with .30 Light Rifle FAT1E1 case, which is why they switched from the 30 degree shoulder to the 20 degree shoulder for FAT1E3, which became 7.62 NATO), wide case head (greatly increasing bolt thrust, which artificially limits pressure, and you can’t just arbitrarily strengthen the bolt on an AR-15 to compensate), and you’ve got a total non-starter of a military cartridge.

            That doesn’t mean it’s “bad”, but I see a lot of Grendel fans cry “woe” that the military doesn’t just adopt the cartridge, since it’s so obvious to them that it’s better, but whenever anyone points out its shortcomings, they’re just dismissed.

            Well, you got your answers.

          • BillC

            Daaaaannnggg, A Fascist Corgi is gonna feel that burn well into the new year.

          • A Fascist Corgi

            How did you come to your figures on the weight of a fully loaded 6.5 Grendel magazine? Did you weigh one that you own on a scale? Did you look it up? Your figures seem off to me since I’ve handled a fully loaded 6.5 Grendel magazine, and I honestly didn’t notice a difference in weight compared to a fully loaded 5.56×45 magazine.

            I also never argued that a soldier should change the number of magazines that he’s carrying, just that he’d have 4 less rounds per magazine. So, if a standard combat load is 6 mags in a vest + 1 in the rifle, then the round count difference between the 6.5 Grendel and the 5.56×45 would would be 28 rounds, not 56.

            As to your argument that lead-free rounds are here to stay since the U.S. military has already committed to them, that argument could be used against replacing any “good enough” piece of equipment that the U.S. military is using. It’s simply a lazy and cheap excuse not to optimize our equipment.

          • Timothy G. Yan

            Btw, modern tracers does need much space for its slowing burning chemical. It’s possible to make tracers bullet the same size as standard FMJ projectile. It’s just the US .mil doesn’t want to change it.

          • Tim, I think you’re mistaken about that. The Army has a program going on right now to try to perfect a duty-ready low profile non-pyrotechnic tracer. If that program succeeds, then hoo boyee, that would be a major improvement above and beyond any new caliber.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Oh ho! So you have the solution right there! Just load your MilGren with 118gr M855A1/M80A1 type bullets and use the OWL construction to keep the tracers a reasonable size. Simplicity itself! All problems solved, no need for further discussion about quibbles like ammo capacity or consistency in huge ammo lots. LOL!

          • For the record, 118gr is ridiculously long for a lead-free EPR-style bullet in .264″ caliber.

          • ostiariusalpha

            M855A1 is only 10% longer than M855 and they’re both 62gr. I’d imagine a 118gr lead-free projectile would be less than 20% longer than than the “normal” 123gr bullet that the Grendel deals with.

          • I’ve mocked up lead-free EPRs in that weight class in SolidWorks before, and they are quite long. Keep in mind too that those lead 123gr OTM bullets are pretty long for the Grendel already.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Interesting. What kind of ogives did you use for your model? What would it’s projected G7 BC look like?

          • BC is really difficult to estimate accurately, but I typically have used very long ogives in my models for the highest ballistic coefficient.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Of course. What would be the point of putting up with the increased weight and lower capacity of a Grendel EPR round if it didn’t have considerably greater supersonic range over the M855A1? I also wonder, how might the small surface gap between the jacket and penetrator affect the BC?

          • According to my sources, the gap doesn’t really change the boundary layer, so I guess it doesn’t have much effect. I don’t actually know, though.

          • Bronezhilet

            Less than one percent.

            At 820 m/s the M855A1 with gap has a 0.87% higher BC than an M855A1 without a gap. At 700 m/s the difference drops to 0.24%.

          • I think you meant to say “lower”.

          • Corgi, as I mentioned previously the weight figures for 6.5 Grendel are from ammunition that I own that I have weighed. The magazine weight was simply the weight of an empty USGI 5.56mm magazine; a Grendel mag would be essentially the same in weight. To me, this trumps how heavy the magazine felt in your hand.

            And the weight difference between the two would be 1.58lbs, or the weight of 3 40mm grenades per rifleman. That’s a lot of grenades.

            How is saying that the US Army just replaced its ammunition type and therefore isn’t likely to change to a completely new one is just a cheap excuse?

            They’re not impossible to make, they’re impossible to make while matching the performance touted by Alexander Arms and 6.5 Grendel proponents, and while working with existing AR-15s (which is the whole point of the cartridge). What good is a tracer for a long range cartridge that doesn’t hit where the non-tracers do?

            Here, have a peak at my SolidWorks folder, which is where I’m getting my perspective from:


          • ostiariusalpha

            Eh… actually, the Grendel mags tend to be lighter (and flimsier) than the steel STANAG. That’s why a decent number of Grendelers wouldn’t mind if someone made a Grendel mag for the Six8 magwell, so that sturdier steel mags with improved feed lip geometry would be possible.

          • iksnilol

            STANAG mags are aluminum, are they not? Only steel STANAG mags I know of the are HK ones.

          • Yes, I am sure ostarius misspoke.

          • ostiariusalpha

            That would be mistyped. And, no, STANAG 4179 is a dimensional standard, not a material one. Any steel magazine that matches the STAndard AGreement dimensions is a STANAG magazine.

          • If we’re going to get that pedantic, there is no STANAG for magazines, I had assumed you meant USGI magazines, which are aluminum.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Oh, this isn’t even half as pedantic as I can get! LOL!

            For instance, there is no USGI magazine: that is just a colloquialism that usually refers to the 30-round aluminum body magazine. It’s actual official designation is NSN 1005-00-921-5004; the NSN stands for NATO Stock Number, or sometimes National Stock Number (it’s also called 8448670 in official documents after the government arsenal part number, and there are a few contractor specific part numbers that get in the mix also). But there’s also NSN 1005-00-056-2237 (P/N 8448680), which is the 20-round aluminum magazine. And, not to forget, NSN 1005-01-561-7200 (P/N 13021412), the new aluminum magazine with the anti-tilt follower. The fly in your argument’s ointment though is NSN 1005-01-373-2775 (P/N 965047470), a stainless steel body magazine that has been issued in the U.S. supply system since 1993; this is what most steel body commercial mags are dimensionally modeled on. It isn’t as common as the aluminum mags, but it isn’t entirely rare either; it’s certainly just as USGI as the aluminum mags. As STANAG 4179 is a NATO draft agreement, countries in the organization other than the U.S. can also get their magazines recognized as STANAG compliant; such as NSN 1005-01-520-5992, the HK steel mag that iksnilol already referred to.

            Yes, STANAG 4179 may only be a draft agreement, but it still gets used. And it is indeed about magazine compatibility. STANAG 4179, simply put, specifies that compliant magazines must be dimensionally and functionally compatible with the M16 magwell.

          • Hahahah, excellent!

          • ostiariusalpha

            ? Aw, shucks! Thanks, but still not as masterful a marshalling of facts as your 6mm Lee article; that was a masterpiece.

          • Anyway, aren’t most Grendel mags aluminum? I’m assuming a magazine analogous to the normal GI pattern but with reduced strengthening ribs and a different follower.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Nope, I’ve only ever seen steel. The aluminum plates are too thick to work for we Grendelers’ “jimmied” cartridge.

          • So then the weight discrepancy is probably slightly worse for the Grendel, judging by the stainless 5.56 magazine I own.

            If anyone has any actual weight figures for a 6.5 Grendel mag, BTW, I’d be much obliged.

          • ostiariusalpha

            I’ll weigh one of mine, and get back to you.

          • Fantastic. Do you only have steel, or aluminum as well?

          • ostiariusalpha

            I also have some steel 5.56 mags, I don’t truck with aluminum mags though.

          • Which brand/type are your Grendel mags? I’d be interested to see the weight of the AA 24 round steel mags.

          • ostiariusalpha

            I just have ASC, but any new mags I get will probably be the E-Landers.

          • Do the ASCs not work well?

          • ostiariusalpha

            They work fine… after you polish the feed lips and coat the interior with dry-film lube. Not exactly a ringing affirmation of their potential for military adoption, I know.

          • Timothy G. Yan

            I have both the ASC aluminum mag and the newer E-Lander made steel magazine. I could get you the loaded weights of both.

          • Hi Timothy;

            Thank you. Empty weights are much, much preferred, as I can then calculate loaded weight with no trouble once I have the empty mag weight. If you want to weigh those magazines, I’d be much obliged!

          • ostiariusalpha

            Alright, so the weight of my empty 10-round ASC Grendel mags are pretty consistent at 3.295 oz, the 15-round mags are 4.1 oz, and the one 25-round mag I have is 7.435 oz.

          • So, for the record, I was using .113 kg as the weight of 26-round 6.5 Grendel mag.

            Your 25-round mags weigh .211 kg. 🙂

          • ostiariusalpha

            Pfff, kilograms… commie pinko.

          • That means 208 rounds of 6.5 Grendel weighs 11.859 pounds, versus 7.284 pounds for 210 rounds of 5.56.

            Not that flattering for the Grendel…

          • ostiariusalpha

            With the 26 rounds I just weighed (0.6225 oz/round), it comes out more like 10.334 pounds. Still doesn’t change your point though.

          • Right, to roughly equal the number of rounds.

            You could do the same number of rounds, the same weight, or the same number of magazines. Same point, regardless.

          • A Fascist Corgi

            If the 6.5 Grendel was more popular, then I’m pretty sure that a company like Magpul or Lancer would come out with reliable magazines that weigh the same as their 5.56×45 magazines (give or take an ounce).

            Anywho, I sort of agree with you that the Grendel has some minor design flaws due to the fact that it was forced to fit into an AR-15, even though I still think that it’s superior to the 5.56×45.

            If it was up to me, the U.S. military would replace the M4 with something like an FN SCAR that was chambered in a modified version of the 6.5 Grendel round that was slightly narrower and about a half an inch longer in overall length. That would make the case less awkward looking and allow you to shove even more powder into the case.

            And just to preemptively debunk some of the criticisms of this change (like an increase in cost and weight), America is the richest country in the world. We can afford to replace the M4. All of the money that we’re wasting on illegal immigrants or in foreign aid to countries like Israel and Pakistan could be used to replace the M4 and the 5.56×45.

          • Magpul has come out with magazines for the 6.8 SPC… For the Six8 platform only. They have not come out with 6.8 SPC magazines for standard AR-15 magwells, because the sidewalls of the magazines would have to be too thin because of the wider 10.7mm case head (vs. 5.56’s 9.6mm). 6.5 Grendel has an 11.3mm case head, which means this problem is even more severe. That is why you do not see polymer 6.5 Grendel magazines.

            You are now literally describing a Williams-style GPC… A concept that I’ve extensively discussed:







            Why bother replacing 5.56mm with a totally new round that’s 50% heavier, if we’ve already made major improvements to both the 5.56mm and 7.62mm cartridges? You describe a round that’s every bit as long as 7.62 NATO, which would require the adoption of something like a SCAR-H, a rifle that’s 2 full pounds heavier than the existing M4, even while having a lightweight contour barrel (this just after the Army has switched to the SOCOM profile barrel for extra heat resistance in their carbines).

            How does it make sense to make all of these sacrifices to achieve better performance at ranges beyond 500m, where virtually no soldier with these rifles is combat effective, regardless of the caliber of rifle they are using? How does it make sense to add weight to the squad in the form of rifles and ammunition, when you could instead be packing any number of additional weapons that are much, much more effective? Keep in mind that the infantryman today is more overburdened than he’s ever been, already.

            Switching to a larger rifle caliber doesn’t make much sense, no matter how badly you want it to happen. Use that weight for more effective weapons elsewhere.

          • A Fascist Corgi

            Huh? The 7.62×51 is even wider than the 6.5 Grendel, and Magpul makes polymer magazines for it that work fine.

            The reason why the U.S. military should replace the 5.56×45 round with the 6.5 Grendel is obvious. The 5.56×45 has insufficient stopping power and long range performance, and the 7.62×51 goes too far in the opposite direction with an actual significant increase in weight, size, and recoil (although I’d still personally choose the 7.62×51 over the 5.56×45). That’s why the 6.5 Grendel makes sense since it’s the best round (that I’m aware of) that fits between the 5.56×45 and the 7.62×51. And the main reason why rifles chambered in 7.62×51 tend to be a bit heavier than rifles chambered in 5.56×45 is because of the significant increase in energy that the 7.62×51 round creates. Since the modified version of the 6.5 Grendel round that I’m envisioning would still fall between the two, then so would the overall weight of the rifle (ideally around 7.5 pounds). And the FN SCAR-H doesn’t weigh 2 pounds more than the M4. It’s more like a 1 and a half pounds (and by the way, soldiers all over the world carry assault rifles that weigh about the same). And since the 7.62×51 is a lot less reliant on barrel length than the 5.56×45 (another design flaw with your precious round. Not to mention that the SCAR platform is also much more suited than the M4 for the use of short barrels and suppressors. It’s also a lot more durable and easy to clean. And it also has a much smoother recoil impulse), then you could probably get away with using a short barrel version of the SCAR-H.

            And the 6.5 Grendel isn’t only superior to the 5.56×45 at 500 yards, it’s superior at every distance. It’s even superior to the 7.62×51 at 1,000 rounds. Which is insane since it’s a much smaller round. That’s a testament to the superb ballistic coefficient of the 6.5 caliber.

            As to why the U.S. military should adopt a new standard-issue assault rifle and cartridge, it’s because the assault rifle is still the best general purpose weapon to put into the hands of soldiers. Sure, different weapon platforms have their niche, but the assault rifle still reigns supreme as a general purpose weapon. And since that’s the case, then the benefits of optimizing that weapon are obvious. Using your logic, we shouldn’t even bother trying to improve the M-16 and should have just left it as it is in its original form. But since you’re obviously an AR-15 fanboy, you don’t apply the same criticisms to your pet rifle and cartridge that you’re applying to the SCAR and the 6.5 Grendel.

          • Um, yes, they make polymer magazines for the SR-25. Totally different magwell dimensions.

            P2: Again, you’re making that error we talked about above where you ascribe terminal performance characteristics of one load to an entire caliber. As for range, I fail to see how the US Army infantry rifle cartridge does not have enough range when most soldiers cannot hit targets even out to half of 5.56’s maximum effective range. This is something I hear over and over again from people involved in US Army small arms development.

            You’re describing a round as long as 7.62 NATO, but the rifle (based on a SCAR) is going to magically be lighter, because… Because you want it to. Not terribly compelling.

            Oh really, now? Here’s FN’s page on the SCAR-H 13″ bbl version, with an unloaded weight of 8.14 pounds without magazine. How much does an M4 weigh? Well here’s my 6920 on the scale, not exactly an M4, since it has an almost 2″ longer barrel, but it’ll have to do:


            A USGI sling weighs 0.114 kg, so that’s an unloaded weight of 2.926 kg, or 6.437 pounds, for a gun with over 3″ more barrel and a heavier barrel profile. What’s cool is that we can even calculate from this the weight of an M4A1 Carbine (minus the full auto sear, but that’s trivial) by using Andrew Tuohy’s AR-15 weight calculator. The link on his page has expired, but the calculator has been preserved here.

            My rifle has a 16″ M4-profile barrel, so we just take the stock values, change the barrel to that one, and calculate weight. Then we change the barrel to a 14.5″ SOCOM-profile, and do the same. The difference turns out to be 0.1 pound. So that gives us a loaded rifle weight of 6.537 pounds. The fact that I have MOE handguards on mine apparently doesn’t matter, as those weigh basically the same as USGI handguards.

            Now, the M4 does get equipped in the field with the KAC M4 RAS, which adds a bit more weight, but that will be replaced with a lightweight rail as part of the M4A1+ upgrade program.

            So weight differential between the two is about 1.6 pounds… For an M4 with a 14.5″ 0.850″ SOCOM-profile barrel, versus a SCAR-H with a 13″ pencil-profile barrel. So no, not more like a pound.

            RE: Barrel length and 5.56, both M855A1 and Mk. 318 are designed specifically for 14.5″ barrels. So once again, you’ve made the same error of ascribing the characteristics of one round (M855, which was designed for 20″ barrels) to an entire caliber. You should probably stop doing that.

            RE: SCAR is more durable, better for suppressors, short barrels, easier to clean, farts out golden nuggets from its muzzle brake, solves world hunger, creates world peace. Says who? FN’s marketing team? You know there’s been a considerable amount of complaints that the SCAR’s stock is fragile, right? As for being easier to clean, well, it runs a little cleaner, but it’s not any easier to clean, since it still uses the same locking lug/barrel extension arrangement as the AR-15.

            RE: 6.5 Grendel is superior at every distance. Says what study? The 6.5 Grendel produces more energy for a given distance, sure, but again, we come back to the problem of more energy not necessarily being that important. The characteristics of the actual bullet are more important.

            Last paragraph: I think you’re confusing the rifle being the primary weapon of the infantry with it being the greatest inducer of casualties to the enemy. It’s not.

            Calling me an “AR-15 fanboy” doesn’t do anything to make your arguments any less leaky or change the data and analysis that I’ve presented. And, anyway, I’m an avowed Lee-Enfield fanboy, get your facts straight.

          • A Fascist Corgi

            What exactly about the 6.5 Grendel round supposedly makes it impossible to design a light weight magazine for it?

            As to your persistent arguments that U.S. soldiers have terrible aim and that combat engagements beyond 200 yards supposedly rarely ever happen, and therefore caring about bullet performance beyond 200 yards is completely pointless… I don’t know what to say other than I completely disagree with your line of reasoning. I guess that I’m just being unrealistic when I think that our soldiers should be able to reliably shoot targets beyond 200 yards.

            As to my dream round and assault, I don’t have exact measurements written down somewhere. I just want it to be chambered in 6.5 and to be between the 5.56×45 and the 7.62×51. It doesn’t seem that unrealistic to me for FN to make a SCAR that’s chambered for this round and weighs around 7.5 pounds.

          • Given that they have shallower reinforcing ridges, sure, but I don’t have a 26-round 6.5 Grendel magazine on hand.

            I get a little bit of a chuckle at the idea that we should adopt the 6.5 Grendel with a new set of magwell dimensions…. So we’d be replacing the whole rifle, at that point. With a new rifle. In a round that makes substantial compromises to fit in existing magwells.

            It goes without saying that that does not make any sense… Unless what one really wants is just for their pet round to get adopted, details be damned.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Not just shallower ridges, the steel sheets it’s made of are actually thinner than your average 5.56 mag. They nitride the steel to improve rigidity, but there’s only so much you can make up for. Still, they work more than well enough and are still tougher than aluminum STANAG mags. It’s mostly the feed lip geometry that could be optimized with a slightly larger magazine, and nobody would mind a little more durability.

            I’m not a booster for military adoption of the Grendel, but yeah, it would be an entirely different rifle; essentially an AR-15+ design. The ammo would have some back compatibility, obviously, but then you might get the slighty different magazines mixed up that won’t work with each platform. I would consider the AR-15+ to be a boutique civilian rifle for those that want to push performance on a variety of intermediate length cartridges.

          • A Fascist Corgi

            There are no “substantial compromises”. You get 4 fewer rounds per magazine and a slight increase in recoil; which is obviously completely offset by the actual substantial increase in stopping power and long range accuracy.

          • Oh please, 6.5 Grendel has been jimmied all to hell to fit inside an AR-15’s OAL, don’t pretend it hasn’t.

          • A Fascist Corgi

            Well, I’ll just assume that your weight measurements are accurate (even though I honestly don’t believe that they are) and that a 26-round 6.5 Grendel magazine weighs about 3 to 4 ounces more than a 30-round 5.56×45 magazine. To me, that’s no big deal. A soldier wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. I mean, tons of U.S. soldiers preferred to carry PMAGs over STANAG magazines even though PMAGs weigh between 1 to 2 ounces more.

            How are lead-free bullets more effective than lead rounds?

            And are you really claiming that the M855A1 is best 5.56×45 round that’s ever been invented?

          • Do you believe me now?


            A quarter pound of weight per magazine (with reduced magazine capacity!) is absolutely a huge deal. Of course, it’s very obvious at this point that you’ll make any excuse for the 6.5 Grendel, so of course it’s not a huge deal, because if it was a huge deal then that would reflect poorly on your favorite round.

            Lead-free bullets are more effective because lead is an extremely poor material to make high velocity bullets from because of its low ductility and hardness.

            No, but it is far and away the best general purpose 5.56mm round that’s ever been invented and made in large quantities.

          • Just Sayin’

            You don’t need as many rounds ’cause the enemy would stay down when you hit him with the Grendel.

            (that’s why 6.5 Grendel is much preferred over 5.56×45 by deer and hog hunters)

          • iksnilol

            Most rounds miss. Otherwise we’d only really need a 30 rounder or two.

          • From my article “The New Caliber Mafia”:

            “X. “Stowed kills”

            Ex. If it takes 3 hits to put down a Taliban Fighter, are you saving weight over a cartridge that takes one hit to do so? I think not.This is the way I have seen the term “stowed kills” used in small arms circles (it is used in a completely different way when talking about AFVs): the speaker describes (explicitly or implicitly) some sort of modifying coefficient to ammunition. e.g., it has been argued that 6.8 SPC is 3.5 times effective as 5.56, and weighs 40% more, therefore it is overall 2.5 times as efficient as 5.56.

            I argue that this is nonsense. The reason being that very few rounds fired from infantry rifles ever hit their intended targets. Most infantrymen who’ve seen combat have not shot directly at another person very many times at all. I would hazard a guess that the number of enemies hit by ammunition fired from rifles in combat per combat veteran rifleman is decidedly in the single digits, and may even be less than one (I’m being extremely generous here, given figures from past wars). The number of rounds expended per combat veteran rifleman, however is assuredly much higher, probably in the triple digits bare minimum.

            Let’s go with some ballpark figures. Say the average combat veteran rifleman expends 5,000 rounds of ammunition over his combined tours of duty, and hits and at least wounds 2 enemies in that time. That means, if he was using a 5.56mm rifle, he would have expended 60 kilograms worth of ammunition, only a few tens of grams of which had any physical affect on the target at all. Nearly 5,000 rounds he expended, minus the ones fired that hit their targets, produced exactly zero kills. Only a handful of cartridges were directly responsible for taking the enemy out of action, so even if a more poorly-performing caliber is used which requires a soldier to fire many more rounds to incapacitate a target, that fraction of the total rounds expended over that soldier’s tours in terms of weight is still very small. This will be true regardless of whether the cartridge is 5.56mm, 7.62mm, or anything else. Therefore, “stowed kills” as it is typically used in the context of infantry rifles, is not a useful metric.”

            Further, your assertion that 6.5 Grendel is the cartridge of choice for hog and deer hunters, err, needs a citation. Now, in some states, 5.56mm is not legal for deer hunting due to its bore diameter because of laws that predate its existence, but the vast majority of hog hunt recordings I’ve seen have been with pretty standard AR-15s in 5.56mm. 5.56mm is less common as a deer round, sure, but I’d be very surprised if you provided data proving it was less common than 6.5 Grendel.

          • A Fascist Corgi

            The 5.56×45 is not ideally suited for our current jihadist enemy. They don’t really have a logistical infrastructure to bog down with wounded soldiers. They like to harass our soldiers from long distance or blow them up with suicide bombs (including in cars). For that type of enemy, you need a cartridge that hits harder, has better barrier penetration, and better long range accuracy – like the 6.5 Grendel.

            As to suppressive fire, it’s only 4 fewer rounds per magazine and you get superior stopping power and accuracy.

          • Here’s a list of myths you’re indulging:

            1. 5.56mm was designed to wound, not to kill – absolutely false.

            2. Most people load 28 rounds in their magazine – hasn’t been true since Vietnam, and doesn’t change the fact that 5.56mm is a much lighter cartridge than 6.5 Grendel.

            3. Soldiers need a round that allows them to hit targets at very long ranges – most soldiers cannot shoot beyond 200m, and the few that can certainly cannot shoot out beyond the effective range of 5.56mm, with extremely rare exceptions.

            I address two of these myths in the articles I posted above that you did not read.

            Your argument at this point has come down to “but you’re just an AR-15/5.56mm fanboy, so I’m going to dismiss everything you say out of hand”, which doesn’t reflect well on the 6.5 Grendel camp’s ability to handle measured criticism.

          • A Fascist Corgi

            I’m pretty sure that loading your AR-15 magazines with only 28 rounds is still the norm. I’m not saying that this design flaw rules out the AR-15 as a suitable assault rifle, but since you felt the need to nitpick the Grendel’s magazine capacity (because you’re desperately looking for reasons to bash the Grendel), it still exposes your lack of consistency. If the Grendel carrying 4 fewer rounds per magazine supposedly makes it unsuitable for combat, then the M4 holding 2 fewer rounds per magazine should also make it unsuitable for combat. But of course it doesn’t though because it honestly isn’t a big deal. And again, a couple ounces per magazine simply isn’t noticeable when you’re actually handling a Grendel magazine.

            I’m subscribed to a bunch of “war porn” channels on YouTube, and I see a ton of videos of people shooting at each other from extremely far away. Yet you act as if this rarely ever happens.

          • When did I ever say that it was the Grendel’s lower magazine capacity that was the problem? It’s the ammunition being heavier that’s the problem; I’ve been very clear about that.

            “A couple of ounces per magazine” – when soldiers are already overburdened and there are much better things you could be using that weight for.

            So, I just want to make what you’ve claimed clear. We need a rifle cartridge designed for maximum retained energy at ranges beyond 800 meters because you watched some videos taken with a GoPro where people were shooting at each other from “extremely far away”. So how far away was it, exactly? How were you able to make range estimations from a picture as distorted as that from an on-body camera?

          • A Fascist Corgi

            Oh noes. My loadout (possibly) weighs 2 to 3 pounds more. I’m so immobile now. Screw having 50,000+ foot-pounds of energy more in my ammo loadout and improved long range performance. It’s not worth the trade-off…

          • Also, let’s keep in mind here what your actual position is:

            “I’ve yet to see anyone make a convincing argument against the 6.5 Grendel being the best overall assault rifle cartridge in the world.”

            And you call me a 5.56 fanboy!

          • A Fascist Corgi

            Yeah, and? I still haven’t changed my mind. And at least I’m upfront about my biases, unlike you.

          • G.K.

            Wow, it’s almost like deer and hog aren’t the same as enemy combatants and even if they were, you wouldn’t use the same type of bullet style on them as you would for military purposes (and you couldn’t even if you wanted to due to the Hague.)

            Or that people tend to stay down just fine with a properly placed hit from 5.56mm because the term “stopping power” is usually bullshit.

      • Paul White

        Depends on the use case; for us recreational shooters who don’t need to worry about shipping millions of rounds of it, or lugging a full combat load, the extra wieght isn’t a big deal; I think it’s certainly a better hunting round for mid sized game, and it should be better for long range shooting.

        But that is a wholly different use case than the military.

        • Right, I was addressing military use specifically.

    • BrandonAKsALot

      While I really like the Grendel, shoe horning a cartridge to work in the AR just rarely works well. You end up with a niche use cartridge or something that’s maybe marginally better than the 5.56. Heavier projectiles is the way to go and the military has already begun this path. Otherwise to make it worth while, the whole gun would have to be reengineered to work with a cartridge that isn’t limited by the ARs current dimensions. That’s expensive with, realistically, little benefit currently. Also, stopping power isn’t a real thing. It’s not a quantifiable value. It’s marketing.

      I’m agreeing with Nathaniel too much lately. What’s happening?! My life is out of control!

      • A Fascist Corgi

        I agree that trying to make new rounds fit into the existing M4 platform is stupid. I’d personally like to see both a new assault rifle and a new cartridge adopted by the U.S. military. But having said that, I’ve yet to see an assault rifle cartridge that’s better than the 6.5 Grendel. I’m sure that a superior general purpose assault rifle cartridge has already been invented, I’m just not aware of it.

        But are you really trying to argue that the .50 BMG having more stopping power than the .22 LR is a myth?

        • Jwedel1231

          Don’t put too much faith in hunters. A lot of hunters don’t understand anything beyond “big animals get big bullets, small animals get small bullets”.

        • You seem to be using ballistic performance as the singular criterion for making this determination. Therefore, I will suggest an alternative far, far superior to the 6.5 Grendel: 14.5x114mm.

          • A Fascist Corgi

            Welp, using your arguments against the 6.5 Grendel, U.S. soldiers should be carrying the FN P90 since small arms are supposedly meaningless in modern warfare. Not to mention the weight that would be saved and the massive increase in round capacity. And since modern soldiers supposedly never need to shoot past 200 yards, then the 5.7×28 should be sufficient.

          • Seriously, does Alexander Arms throw in a script with every 6.5 upper purchase?

            It seems like every single time I bring up the 6.5’s weight disadvantage, I hear OH YEAH WELL THEN I GUESS YOU THINK THE MILITARY SHOULD JUST USE 5.7×28/.22LR/2.7mm KOLIBRI?

            Here’s a newsflash for you: 5.56mm meets the military’s requirements for an infantry rifle cartridge. 5.7mm does not. If that changes for some reason, then sure, I guess 5.7mm would make a dandy little buzzgun round.

          • A Fascist Corgi

            Oh noes. My loadout weighs 2 pounds more. I’m so immobile now.

          • If you’re not worried about grams, let alone ounces or pounds, you’re not seriously thinking about what’s best for the infantry.

            But it looks like I’ve reached the limit of your abilities, anyway.

          • A Fascist Corgi

            The only reason I edited my post is because I was responding to two of your comments at the same time and I accidentally posted my first reply to the wrong comment, and because I was distracted by my girlfriend. I posted my reply before I was finished writing what I wanted to say. I wasn’t expecting you to respond to my comment 5 minutes after I posted it.

            What’s best for the infantry is defeating their enemies and accomplishing their goals. A couple of pounds is not going to make or break a mission, but having superior stopping power and better long range performance might.

            I also find it extremely hard to believe that anyone could brush off being hit with a .50 BMG. And just because combatants can react in all kinds of surprising ways to being shot, that doesn’t mean that it’s pointless to go with a round that’s more powerful than the 5.56×45. I don’t care what you say, differences in foot-pounds of energy matters. Just because a weaker bullet might have a better design than a more powerful bullet, that doesn’t mean that it’s stupid to upgrade to that more powerful bullet. If you brought that improved design of the weaker bullet to the more powerful bullet, then the gap in performance between the 2 rounds would still exist and still matter. And speaking of probability, you have a better chance of hitting your target (at any range) when you’re using the 6.5 Grendel over the 5.56×45.

            As to your argument that sticking with the 5.56×45 (and the M4) is good for our soldier’s bodies, their bodies are already getting screwed up with what they’re carrying now. The only way to really change that is to dramatically reduce the weight of their equipment. A couple of pounds is not going to make a difference in this regard.

        • BrandonAKsALot

          I agree the Grendel has attributes that are superior to the 5.56, but it’s not significant enough from a military standard to switch.

          I’m saying stopping power is not a thing. It is a made up buzz term used for marketing and has no actual meaningful use. Quantifiable terms like energy, velocity, etc are useful. Stopping power is for people who like to say a single shot from a .45acp will knock someone on their butt. Personally, I think capacity is far more important and bore size, but that’s like, my opinion man.

        • 5.56mm is better in that it’s lighter and shoots flatter and has less recoil.

          But you’re happy to ignore all those advantages.

      • iksnilol

        If I had a time machine I’d go back in time and force Stoner to make a longer magwell (in the direction of the barrel) and shorter magwell going downwards on the AR. So that we wouldn’t be restriced by the short OAL of the current version of 5.56.

        Imagine feeding hand feed only rounds through an AR mag. That’d be beautiful. Heavy and fast bullets, less compromise.

      • Heavier projectiles sound great until you remember that every gram of projectile weight you add is another gram added to the total weight of the cartridge.

        • BrandonAKsALot

          True, but you can reduce powder load some with heavier projectiles. It’s all about that balance son.

          • Powder is way, way lighter than the stuff bullets are made of. Consider that there’s about 1.7 grams of powder in a 5.56mm case, and reducing that even by 10% dramatically drops your velocity. In doing so, you saved less than 0.2 grams.

            Or, put another way, a 124gr 9mm round weighs almost exactly the same as 5.56mm. So that’s the degree to which you’d have to reduce powder charge and case volume to save weight with a heavier bullet.

          • BrandonAKsALot

            I didn’t mean that to come off like the powder could really compensate for much of the weight. Poor wording on my part. The balance comment was more of the give and take off necessary characteristics of the cartridge.

          • Oh, OK. All I’m saying is that increasing bullet weight is an expensive way to get more performance, weight-wise.

  • GaryOlson

    “Sporting configuration”.
    I always expect to see the firearm stock wrapped in Polo by Ralph Lauren, a manual which states “Gentlemen let the other shooter shoot first”, and includes a gin and tonic field kit.

  • BrandonAKsALot

    Barnaul makes excellent ammo. Their preferred powders are usually relatively clean and their ammo isn’t downloaded like Tula to make it cheaper. It’s the best for the price IMO. I’m glad they are sending lacquer coated again and that people are wising up to the stupid myths about it. Lacquer is good.

  • iksnilol

    Remember: You can actually reload steel case ammo, there’s plenty of how-to guides online.

    If you don’t want to bother with fireforming it might be useful. Especially if you don’t want to “waste” bullets, primers and powder by fireforming.

  • Harrison Jones

    Kinda cool with the DA VEPR! Hopefully 300AAC ammo will be coming soon!

  • Just Sayin’

    While I like the price of the 6.5 Grendel ammo by Wolf, I can only seem to get 3 MOA out of it (compared to 1 MOA shooting Hornaday SSTs).

  • ostiariusalpha

    A good, inexpensive CHF chrome-lined barrel would take the abuse pretty good. Though I don’t think I’d put these through my single cut-rifled Satern barrel, even for giggles.

  • iksnilol

    Eh, how much money you save with it you can buy a new barrel and still have left over for ammo.

    Lucky Gunner did a test. Most of the steel jacketed ammo wore on the barrel about as much as the regulars stuff.

    • Scott Wagner

      Uh, no. “At the end of the test, the chrome lining of the Wolf and Brown Bear barrels was almost gone from the throat forward, and the barrels had effectively become smoothbores, with the rifling near the muzzles acting only as a mild suggestion on the projectiles.”

      If you actually read the test, by 6k rounds the barrels that were firing bimetallic jackets were no longer stabalizing rounds at all, and could no longer be measured with an erosion gauge. Given that Prvi already makes a full copper jacketed grendel load in the wolf gold line, the use of a bimetallic jacket for this loading boggles the mind.

  • I never said anything about the rifle weight; I’ve talked only about the ammunition weight. There would be a substantial weight penalty (something like 40-60%) for switching to the 6.5 Grendel.

    If lead-free bullets are so great, why didn’t the US Army undertake a $32 million program to develop one to replace all their current 5.56mm and 7.62mm ammunition? Wait, they did, never mind.

    It can be done, but how heavy is that bullet going to be, and how much volume in the case are you willing to sacrifice? What happens when you need a lead-free pyrotechnic tracer? How much of your form factor and ballistic coefficient are you willing to sacrifice to have a shorter, heavier bullet? All these are important questions that I’ve investigated the answers to, but you don’t care what I have to say because it’s negative towards the 6.5 Grendel.

    • A Fascist Corgi

      Your weight arguments simply don’t hold up in the real world. Go shoot an AR-15 chambered in 6.5 Grendel. Then come back and tell me if you notice a significant weight difference compared to an AR-15 chambered in 5.56×45 (spoiler: you won’t be able to).

      From what I remember reading about the development of the M855A1, it was mostly driven by environmental activists.

      I’m not an expert on bullet design, but I’ve shot the 6.5 Grendel round and I know that it works great. Your attempts to nitpick it to death go against my real world experience with the cartridge. And all the U.S. military would have to further improve the cartridge is make it a little bit longer. That’s not an impossible feat. It can be done and it should be done since I’ve read numerous reports of U.S. soldiers complaining about the stopping power of the 5.56×45 round.

      • Paragraph 1: Once again, you have confused the weight of a loaded rifle with the weight of a combat load of ammunition in magazines. You also appear to be committing a completely new error, in that your argument rests on an assumption that all AR-15 configurations weigh exactly the same.

        P2: What you remember about M855A1 is completely wrong.

        I’ve shot a 6.5mm Grendel AR, too, and it was very good at ringing steel and punching paper, which I strongly suspect is all you’ve ever done with it, too. Maybe you’ve hunted with it, but I’ve hunted deer with the Mk. 318 SOST, and it works great, while weighing two-thirds as much.

        The concerns I’ve brought up aren’t nitpicks; they’re very serious issues. In your very first comment, you said “I’ve yet to see anyone make a convincing argument against the 6.5 Grendel being the best overall assault rifle cartridge in the world.” Maybe that’s because you dismiss any legitimate concerns about the round as being merely “nitpicks”.

        You’ve made an error characteristic of a small arms ammunition neophyte: Ascribing one set of terminal characteristics to each chambering. “5.56mm” is just a set of dimensions that defines ammunition that will fit and work safely in a 5.56mm chamber. There are many, many different rounds that work in this chamber. One of the most common is M855, and its parent SS109. Those two rounds have been proven to have inconsistent (not always poor, but inconsistent) terminal effects, something that it was also discovered applied to the vast majority of different kinds of small arms ammunition regardless of caliber. The result of the application of this research was both the M855A1 EPR and Mk. 318 SOST rounds, both of which substantially improve on the consistency and effectiveness of M855.

        So the problem you identify with M855 – which you’re erroneously ascribing to all 5.56mm ammunition – has largely been solved. Why do we need a larger, heavier round, then? Just because you read a David Fortier article once, and he said it was the bestest round ever?

  • A Fascist Corgi

    My negative opinion of the 5.56×45 round is primarily based on a comment made by a former special forces soldier turned war reporter who did tons of embedding with American and British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan (I don’t want to say his name since I don’t want to give him any publicity after he took a ton of money in donations from his supporters and flew off to Thailand). I asked him on his Facebook page back in 2011 what his experience was with the M4 and the 5.56×45. Both he and a U.S. Army general responded to my comment saying that the M4 was pretty reliable but that the 5.56×45 round didn’t have enough stopping power. The M855A1 round looks like it may have finally solved that problem, but I still think that the 6.5 Grendel is a superior round for the reasons that I already stated.

  • LilWolfy

    Excellent review really. Bill spent 7 years going back and forth with the Russians to iron out all the details.

    This round has been used on ferral hogs with fast, lethal results, even with bad placement on a runner with a partial gut shot. Wound cavity appeared to be created by yawing effect.

    I’m not a big fan of AK’s, but that Definitive Arms VEPR looks sick.