Les Baer Custom has cloned the 6.5mm Grendel and named their creation the .264 LBC-AR. So why would Les Baer, who were well known for producing quality licensed 6.5mm Grendel AR-15 rifles, start competing with Alexander Arms? Let me tell you why.
Back in the late 90s Arne Brennan developed a 6.5mm wildcat cartridge based on the 6mm PPC (a cartridge with a well earned reputation as a highly accurate benchrest cartridge). This first generation cartridge spawned a stable of almost identical and, in fact, compatible cartridges. These include the 6.5mm PPCX, 6.5mm BPC and 6.5mm CSS.
Bill Alexander then worked with Arne Brennan to develop a finetuned version of his cartridge for the AR-15 platform. The result was the 6.5mm Grendel. Bill’s company, Alexander Arms, trademarked the name and so no firearm company can use the Grendel name without paying royalties to AA. This is significantly different to the vast majority of cartridges, such as the .223 Rem. or .375 H&H, which do not require royalties.
Back in 2006 the majority stake in Alexander Arms was bought by investment Venturecross Capital. Bill Alexander now owns just 31% of Alexander Arms. An industry source tells me that a couple of years ago Les Baer had an altercation with the new owner of AA. Because of this, Les and his legal team researched the trademark claims and concluded that AA only owned the name, not the cartridge design.
Les then cloned the 6.5mm Grendel and named it the.264 LBC-AR. The LBC-AR differs slightly from the Grendel in that it has a .295 neck (as used by the 6.5mm CSS) and a 1 degree throat angle (as used by the 6.5mm PPCX).
I contacted Les Baer Custom and they confirmed that the .264 LBC-AR and 6.5mm Grendel are fully compatible. It was telling in their communications with me that they fastidiously avoided actually using the word “Grendel”. I have not doubt that their legal team is not going to give AA any excuse to take them to court!
The current .264 LBC-AR on the market is loaded by Black Hills using brass made by Hornady. Hornady is apparently developing a SuperPerformance load for the .264.
The 6.5mm Grendel has a large following. Many would like to see it adopted as by the US Military for the next-generation carbine. Each new commercially produced clone of the 6.5mm Grendel makes it that much harder for AA to profit from the military adoption of a 6.5mm PPC-derived cartridge. It will be interesting to hear what AA think of the LBC-AR. I ask them for a comment but they declined to reply to my request. I have it on good authority that the LBC-AR is not be the mystery 6.5mm cartridge that the Remington / Bushmaster ACR will chamber, my money still is on a necked down version of the .30 RAR.