Bill Alexander Leaves Alexander Arms

6.5 Grendel

Bill Alexander, the founder and chief engineer at Alexander Arms, left the company to take a new position within the defense industry according to a statement released by Alexander Arms. There is no word yet on where Alexander will now be employed.

Alexander immigrated to the United States from the United Kingdom where he was an armorer with numerous weapon and cartridge designs to his credit. In the US, Alexander created the Alexander Arms company and introduced a number of new things to the shooting public. One of his most known is the .50 Beowulf cartridge. Alexander also had an important role in the development of the 6.5 Grendel cartridge.

Both the Beowulf and Grendel cartridges were designed for the AR-15 pattern rifle. The Beowulf uses a heavy .50 caliber projectile for good penetration making it a reliable choice for taking hog in brush. The cartridge uses a straight wall case with rebated rim that is based on the 50 AE case. The rim has a .445″ rim to match the 7.62×39 case.

While the Beowulf is good for short to medium ranges, Alexander designed the Grendel to reach out a bit farther. This round uses the 7.62×39 as a parent case, though necked down with a blown out shoulder. The longer bullets used in these cartridges provide good accuracy at longer ranges making them suitable for target shooting and small game hunting.

Wherever Alexander is now, I hope the shooting community will continue to benefit from his innovation.

Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is


  • 48conkli

    my biggest question is anything going to happen to the company and my supply of 50 beowulf ammo. Also will this cause the 50 beowulf to be less propriety as bill has had it been.

    • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

      From what I have gathered, while he can innovate a product pretty well, his marketing strategies are less than effective; so now that the product is already made, he can get out of the way and let it sell.

    • lucusloc

      Maybe now that Bill is gone the BEO will gets its SAMII spec. . .

      • LilWolfy

        Who is going to take it to SAAMI? You have to be a member of SAAMI to submit, otherwise they’d be buried with every gunsmith’s wildcat request.

        Hornady took Grendel to SAAMI with Bill’s help. You think they’re going to take .50 Beowulf to SAAMI when they already have .450 Bushmaster?

        • Craig Black

          They only to Grendel to SAAMi because of the 264LBC

          • LilWolfy

            Just when I thought people couldn’t get anymore wrong about 6.5 Grendel, I see this.

    • Audie Bakerson

      If they’re smart they’ll be focusing on magazine sales to Canada.

    • Justin

      I just started reloading for the Beowulf. I got tired of waiting on AA. Starline Brass is the ones that make it for them so I just got on the list and only had to wait 4 months for 200 pieces. it took AA over 11 months to notify me that the magazines I ordered were back in stock but they needed another CC number as mine had expired.
      About the only ammo I would order is the Solid Brass Spitzer as I can’t find a Bullet to reload for that everything, else I can reload it cheaper and much faster myself.

  • RSG

    He was also instrumental in designing the 300whisper to 300blk.

    • Alex Brown

      Wasn’t he supposed to bring low-cost ammo to us? Reprogram the projectile manufacturers into building 30 caliber pistol bullets and whatnot? What we got was another example of $1 per round training ammo.

      • RSG

        He also said he solved 300blk subsonic expanding ammo. And that was the last he ever spoke about 300blk. I wish him luck.

        • LilWolfy

          Bill has worked on 300 Blackout dating back to when it was 300 Whisper, before most of the market even knew what it was and the AAC name change. His intent was to make affordable subs that expand, and market them at accessible prices. That ammunition is a reality. He wasn’t in control of pricing, so any assumption of the pricing to him is misplaced.

  • BattleshipGrey

    Hopefully 6.5 Grendel will prosper more now that he’s left. I don’t know him personally but I have read that his personality has hindered more widespread sales.

    • ostiariusalpha

      It was actually the owner whom Bill sold the company to that most people in-the-know attribute the AA difficulties toward. Apparently he wanted more licensing fees and such, while Bill wanted SAAMI registration so more people would use his cartridge designs.

      • BattleshipGrey

        Thanks for setting me straight.

      • Worm

        Yes, SAAMI the 6.5 grendel and no he didn’t want the 50 beowulf SAAMI.

        • ostiariusalpha

          That has more to do with Hornady backing them on the SAAMI registration (which is pretty expensive actually) of the 6.5 Grendel. It’s the lack of backing, not a lack of willingness.

    • LilWolfy

      Nothing could be further from the truth. The legwork he put in to make Grendel not only a SAAAMi cartridge, but the 7 years of back and forth with Barnaul to make steel case a reality lies in direct evidence against anyone making these types of assertions.

  • neckbone

    I heard it’s for a company that is pushing the 6.8 spc round.

    • Jared Vynn

      I hope not, that cartridge just seems like a dead end.

    • Ebby123

      Lol. Awesome bait. *waits for 6.8SPC/6.5Grendel flame war to start*

      • Jared Vynn

        Here’s my 2¢ to get the ball rolling, 6.5 grendel at least uses a common bolt face.

        • iksnilol

          And doesn’t use retarded 6.8mm bullets.

    • Quasimofo

      Some people just want to watch the world burn…

  • Gotta be weird leaving the company that bears your name.

  • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

    Good news. He certainly seems to know how to design a good product, but he is less than ideal at marketing it. Since its already designed and now that he is out of the way maybe it will sell better.

    • LilWolfy

      AA has stayed behind the demand throughout ups and slumps, no matter what the market is doing. They sold rifles and uppers all day long with Bill there. People who attribute any kind of negative market assumptions (which aren’t reality) to Bill simply don’t know what’s going on.

  • glenn cheney

    Sorting through the tea leaves, sounds to me like ol’ Bill has been “augmented” to interface with the military intentions to arm troops with effective 7.62×51 power, range, without the weight, recoil.
    6.5 Grendel and Creedmore Imo, fill both needs without weight. The Type I vs. Type II bolt face has not helped the design, but looks like Type II is going to be the industry norm, by looking at companies other than Alexander Arms.
    I heard a year ago, the 6.5 BC’s were going to carry the day. Nostler just released their new bullets in 6.5 weights with scary BC’s.
    Adding Mr. Alexander to the mix in the lab indicates some serious development is underway.
    Just sayin…
    The money these days is in CONTRACTING…Everyone I know, is a multi-millionaire and can’t spend the money fast enough, like Fl. Rep. Desantis, suddenly more visible recently, and a mil-contractor, with intelligence contacts.
    The industry is playing with 7.62×39 cases, not 5.56 or 7.62×51.
    The manufacturers in Florida are turning out AK’s, not M4’s. Arms sales are humming.
    Lots more to this story than is or will be revealed, for a while anyway.

    • FF

      Hahaha no, 6.5 Grendel is too slow, has low KE/mm², really low steel penetration, less mag capacity, and EXTREMLY shallow case angles that prevent any use in military automatic weapons. It has high recoil for its low performance. Also in therms of BC, noone cares about some high bc leadcore bullets, they have no use for the military. Also get extremly slow (even worse trajectory and supersonic range).
      Also the bold thrust is stupid high (similar pressure but much more base area), also thin locking lugs.
      6.5 Grendel is an absolute no go for any military standartisation.

      FAR better cartridges exist already and are developed.

      • glenn cheney

        Atlanta based vets, have developed a monolithic bolt, best design breakthrough I’ve seen in, forever.
        Never know what is in the works.
        I kill pigs at 600 yards plus, you’re 6.5 is too slow, no knockdown power fown range is not the opinion of those in decision making positions.
        6.5 Grendel will replace the venerable 5.56, the Creedmore will replace the 7.62×51.
        I put my money on this in March of 2016….Looks like we’ll soon see what hatches from the egg won’t we?

        • FF

          6.5 Grendel is a JOKE for military standartisation, and fully unacceptable.

          You have no idea about advanced aerodynamics and ballistics, and what technology is coming. Reality doesnt change for you.

          Have a great day.

        • iksnilol

          Doubt 5.56 will get replaced, but replacing 308 with Creedmoore would make sense.

        • James Wilson

          This was my take as well. Anyone who says the Grendel is slow with poor ballistics never owned/shot one. Yeah, 556 is fast…out of a 18+ inch barrel and the BC on even the 77 grainers is a joke.

          Grendel (or 6.5 USA or something similar) is the future. So, basically the same load the Scandinavians used in WWI in a more compact form-factor.

      • jimbo

        “It has high recoil for its low performance.”

        6.5 Grendel has high recoil? Have you ever shot a Grendel? This one sentence calls into question everything else you are saying.

      • iksnilol



      • glenn cheney

        Slow? No energy? Europe must be on that hash oil again….

      • LilWolfy

        Maybe the 855A1 existing 6.5 Grendel load that smokes NATO CRISAT standard at 400m from a 14.5″ M4 should be downloaded to fit your claims…

        You should also call up the Serbs and tell them it won’t work in their new line of rifles, let alone everyone that has been having success with it for years now. Working pressure is lower than 5.56, so bolt thrust was addressed from the start.

    • FF

      Btw, the projectiles BC’s are given in a static unit, this is completly wrong, theyr drag greatly increases at lower velocity, so they have less in a 6.5Grendel, and less at midrange. These numbers are a joke, theyr almost useless. It always depends on muzzle velocity and target distance, only such a bc is accurate.

      • glenn cheney

        Ok euromouth, stand downrange 1,000 METERS and I’ll send one of those useless Senar’s at you so you can catch it.
        Does that work?

      • LilWolfy

        Funny how when I use BC values and get hits within 4″ of POI at 1000yds. I know where you’re coming from, but high twist rate really maximizes BC. V0 is not the only factor in BC, and Grendel uses tight twist, to the point that a 16″ Grendel with 1/7.5″ twist smokes 24″ .308s with looser twists past 800yds in my experience. All that barrel length, rifle weight, recoil, and lower ammo load for nothing.

    • LilWolfy

      There is no such thing as “Type I” or “Type II” in relation to 6.5 Grendel. Those are terms internal to one company that spread in the aftermarket who didn’t know what the were doing with regard to bolt face depth and extractor rim thickness.

      There are Grendel bolts made from scratch to a certain spec with a specific alloy, with Grendel extractors made to a certain spec, with dimensions that are not able to be modified from a 5.56 bolt. The other companies that thought they knew what they were doing started seeing extractor failure, pierced primers, and bolt lug failure because they didn’t have competent engineering staff on hand who were well versed in creating a new pressure containment or mechanical feeding and extraction system for a new cartridge in the AR15. They figured they could tweak the wheel a little and everything would be fine, as demand mounted, and had a lot of failures as a result.

      After learning the lessons the hard way, they took a look at some actual Grendel bolts and extractors and started taking measurements, then said, “Ohhhhhhhh….”

  • Audie Bakerson

    In Canada 50 Beowulf is best known for its 10 round “pistol” magazines being able to hold 15 rounds of 5.56 in anything with a STANAG magwell.

    • El BAnDit0

      Sounds like it’s time for a parade. And some really reckless daredevil Swedish Fish eating competitions. To honor the magical trickery.

  • Just Say’n

    Bill’s a good guy, met him at SHOT. Extremely knowledgeable yet humble. More than willing to share a conversation about firearms, not condescending at all. Great sense of humor. The Ulfbehrt is pure genius, as is the 6.5 Grendel and other products he had a hand in creating. Can’t wait to see where he’s headed next, I’m sure it’ll be exciting.

    • glenn cheney

      No doubt, DOD knows what they are doing if they reach out to Dr. Von Bran of projectile propulsion science.
      He’s in there for a readon, and likely not for polymer casings.
      FF needs glasses.

  • mazkact

    New round development for defense. The new round hall be dubbed “6.8 Hrunting”

    was a sword given to Beowulf by Unferth in the ancient Old English epic
    poem Beowulf. Beowulf used it in battle against Grendel’s Mother.

  • Rogertc1

    I bought the Beowulf when it first came out way back in 2006. Had a 6 month wait for the upper and Ammo. No regrets. Bill must of took the opportunity to retire.

  • Cade Rarick

    Got the chance to chat with him about firearms design at the NRA meeting when it was in Indianapolis. Highlight of the show for me. I wish him luck wherever he lands.

  • LilWolfy

    Just a list of some of the projects Bill A. has worked on in the past:

    .224 Boz PDW cartridge for UK MoD
    .300 Whisper subsonic for military applications years before it was rebranded by AAC
    .50 Beowulf
    .221 Ghengis (the first 5.45×39 AR15 production rifles/uppers)
    6.5 Grendel – the most effective cartridge the AR15 is chambered for now with 47 factory loads on the market, including those from Federal, Hornady, and Wolf
    .338LM Ulfberht Semi-Auto Long Range Sniper System

    Aside from being the most knowledgeable engineer in the industry on the AR15 family of weapons, trained by Eugene Stoner when Bill was with UK MoD, he is one of the most experienced engineers/armorers on the MP5, as well as military armor systems (tanks, APCs), and anti-armor systems. Because of the work he has done with certain projects in NATO, he’s one of the few experts in modern and future small arms and military systems who can spend days talking to you in exquisite detail about everything from optics to metallurgy, with decades of lessons-learned woven into the discussion.

  • Insider

    He joined the Heckler and Koch team