DocTacDad Reviews Wolf 6.5 Grendel Steel Cased Ammunition

Nathaniel F
by Nathaniel F

One of the more interesting developments in the ammunition world from the past few years has been the growing interest in Russia for the 6.5 Grendel cartridge. Kalashnikov Concern’s new AK-12 rifle is rumored to have a 6.5mm variant, and the CIP standardized a Russian round in 2013 that appears to be a variant of the 6.5 Grendel designed to function in 7.62mm AK magazines. Most significantly for the US market, however, has been the production of inexpensive steel-cased 6.5 Grendel ammunition, marketed under the Wolf Performance Ammunition brand. This ammunition offers the 6.5 Grendel shooter a relatively inexpensive (approx. $0.35-$0.40 per round), plentiful source of ammunition to feed their rifles. The introduction of this ammunition has caused a modest resurgence in popularity for the Alexander Arms cartridge, so it’s worth a closer look at what this ammunition can and can’t do, as the video by DocTacDad does in the video below:

Most people will be interested in the accuracy the ammunition is capable of; in Doc’s review, it shoots groups a bit less than 3 MOA, which is standard for this kind of ammunition. Doc also takes the rounds apart, so viewers can see the fine ball powder the round is loaded with, as well as the cupronickel-clad steel jacketed lead-cored bullet, and its recessed base (an unusual feature for Western projectiles, but very common with Russian bullets).

DocTacDad has also covered his experiences with the 6.5 Grendel chambering in general in previous videos, embedded below:

Nathaniel F
Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. He can be reached via email at

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  • Bill Alexander Bill Alexander on Aug 26, 2015

    To get the best accuracy out of this type of ammunition requires that the rifling type is set up for the jacket construction. This usually means that you should use a regular style rifling. The target types with canted transitions between the land and groove or polygonal riflings do not do so well in wringing accuracy from the steel cased ammunition. The projectile will slip in the chamber throat unless engaged rather abruptly. Such an effect may be observed in the 5.56 caliber. M855 requires the same approach and it is not infrequent to see very sub standard accuracy from what may otherwise be regarded as a match barrel.

    I believe the readers who see the utility of this caliber in a bolt action weapon may be a little more happy following next years SHOT show. We (Alexander Arms) do not manufacture a bolt action weapon and our scale would make such a unit prohibitively expensive.

    To comment on the perception regarding bolts which seems to rear its head frequently on the internet. The caliber, including the steel cased variant runs with operating pressures that are well inside the fatigue limits of the weapon assuming one designs and manufactures said weapon correctly. Correct bolts are very far from a 5.56 unit opened up, both in structure and also geometry.

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    • Mark Mark on Aug 31, 2015

      @Winter One could offer the same silly "one person" conspiracy theory to explain the appearance of multiple fan boys—"one person" with multiple screen names and multiple ISPs posting on multiple forums to vindicate the Grendel bolts, magazines, and AA customer service.

      We heard the same kind of denials and blame-shifting with the Glock KABOOM problem and the Rem 700 trigger body count. The Grendel problems are real and not yet solved.

  • Dan Hermann Dan Hermann on Aug 29, 2015

    If you want to see a fun video. search youtube for 6.5 Grendel on Steel II. You can see the trace of the bullet and then splash on target at 300 and 400 yards. You can hear it on 500 but can't see it.