WPA Steel Case 6.5 Grendel Ammo

Timothy G. Yan
by Timothy G. Yan

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.

Timothy G. Yan
Timothy G. Yan

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

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  • Just Sayin' Just Sayin' on Dec 23, 2015

    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).

  • LilWolfy LilWolfy on Jan 16, 2016

    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.