6.5 Grendel vs 6.5 Creedmoor: Long Range Showdown

6.5 Grendel vs 6.5 Creedmoor
September 14, 2021 Edited March 17, 2023 16901 view(s)
6.5 Grendel vs 6.5 Creedmoor: Long Range Showdown

New cartridges are always something cool to talk about but scary to spend money on, but when new cartridges have been out for over 15 years -- are they still new?

These once-new, now-standard cartridges have a lot in common but finding what is right for you might take some more learning.

We have you covered with the history, ballistics, and practical application of both 6.5 Grendel and 6.5 Creedmoor!



6.5 Grendel

6.5 Grendel Rifle Shooting

Invented by Bill Alexander of Alexander Arms (same guy that created the .50 Beowulf) and named for the monster that attacks Beowulf’s (from the poem by the same name) mead hall, the 6.5 Grendel is a simple attempt to build a cartridge that is basically just more powerful than 5.56 NATO without sacrificing too much in terms of recoil and ammo capacity.

Bill did a great job and invented an awesome cartridge… but then things got strange.

Kind of like with the .50 Beowulf, Alexander Arms held a trademark on Grendel and didn’t want to share. To get around this, Les Baer slightly modified the barrel and bolts they sold.

And then for reasons that I honestly don’t understand, the Les Baer version started to be called “Type 1” while the Alexander Arms version was called “Type 2”

This has lead people to think that maybe Type 1 is the real one… it isn’t.

Thankfully, Alexander Arms got with the times and submitted 6.5 Grendel to SAAMI for approval -- to get approval from SAAMI, Alexander Arms also gave up their trademark.

This is awesome for us shooters since the Type 2 Grendel is the better, stronger, version. While there are still Type 1 bolts floating around out there, they are pretty rare.

Bear Creek Arsenal exclusively uses the Type 2 6.5 Grendel barrels and bolts.


6.5 Creedmoor

6.5 Creedmoor Bench Rest Shooting

Unlike 6.5 Grendel, the 6.5 Creedmoor was designed as a competition cartridge right from the start.

Dave Emary and Dennis DeMille of Hornady Manufacturing wanted a better competition cartridge than the .308 Winchester. And since they worked for a huge ammo company, they decided to build one.

The new cartridge needed less recoil, less wind drift, and a flatter trajectory than the old .308 Winchester and that’s exactly what they created.

Hitting the market in 2008 the 6.5 Creedmoor has been a huge success right from the start and has won a lot of competitions.

Since then, it’s largely been supplanted with the top shooters with smaller 6mm cartridges like the 6mm Creedmoor, 6 Dasher, and most recently the 6 GT.

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great cartridge… because it is. Period. What the 6.5 Creedmoor still brings to the table is just how easy it is to work with.

From reloading to learning to finding ammo for it, everything about it is just easy for shooters to handle.

And it’s pretty good on game animals also making the cross-over from competition to hunting simply for shooters.

In short -- 6.5 Creedmoor isn’t the most cutting-edge specialized round that it started out as, but it is still an outstanding jack of all trades.



Because both 6.5 Grendel and 6.5 Creedmoor use the same bullets but in different weight ranges, their ballistics in match ammo is similar -- like brothers.

But at the same time, Creedmoor with having so much more case capacity and using heavier/longer bullets still has a powerful advantage.

There are lots of great factory ammo options for both cartridges, but I’m going to stick with Hornady ammo for these ballistics since that makes things a little easier and keeps it apples to apples.

6.5 Creedmoor vs 6.5 Grendel Ballistics

Looking at 6.5 Creedmoor 147gr Hornady ELD-M it has roughly 80-inches less drop at 1,000 yards than comparable .308 Winchester does and about 100-inches less drop than 6.5 Grendel.

But Grendel is still supersonic at 1,000 yards, although barely at 1200-ish FPS.

Creedmoor still has legs at 1,000 yards moving at a respectable 1,550-ish FPS.

Inside of 400 yards both 6.5 Creedmoor and 6.5 Grendel give almost the same drop staying within 6-inches of each other.

Past 400 yards though and 6.5 Creedmoor starts to pull ahead quickly as the flatter shooting cartridge.

Hunting ammo we see basically the same thing, out to 400 yards and 6.5 Grendel sits neck and neck with 6.5 Creedmoor -- but after that, Creedmoor is clearly the flatter shooting cartridge.

6.5 Grendel vs 6.5 Creedmoor Hunting

However, keep in mind that even though their trajectory is very similar -- Creedmoor delivers a lot more energy on target at all ranges.

At the muzzle 6.5 Creedmoor has about 600 ft.lbf more energy and at 400 yards Creedmoor still has about 400 ft.lbf more.


Bolt-Action or AR?

Both Creedmoor and Grendel can be found in bolt-rifles and in ARs.

For an AR, the Grendel will fit in a standard AR-15 but Creedmoor needs the AR-10 action length.

If you want to build an AR-10 in 6.5 Creedmoor, it’s easy. It’s a standard AR-10, just with a different barrel. The bolt,bolt carrier, and magazines are the standard .308 versions. [And as always a 6.5 Creedmoor complete upper will do the trick too, allowing you to shoot a new caliber out of the box with no tools.]

Grendel in an AR is not as easy, but still pretty easy. 6.5 Grendel needs a barrel, bolt, and new magazines… kind of. [You can also buy a 6.5 Grendel upper that will fit perfectly on your standard 5.56 lower and open you up to hunting and long range shooting opportunities with just popping 2 pins.]

Personally, I’ve forgotten my Grendel magazines at home a number of times and made do with 5.56 Mags just fine, but at a lower capacity. Real 6.5 Grendel mags are better for reliability, but 5.56 NATO mags work in a pinch.

The bolt we talked about a little already, make sure to get a bolt that matches the barrel. Generally, this means type 2, but make sure to read the manufacturer’s description just to be sure.

As for bolt-action rifles, 6.5 Creedmoor is an absolute standard and basically, every manufacturer offers it. Grendel can be harder to find, but there are some mini-actions out there.

It might seem kind of silly to use Grendel in a bolt-rifle, but it has some cool advantages. If you’re shooting at mid-ranges and want a super light, easy, and handy rifle that packs more punch than 5.56 NATO can, 6.5 Grendel is great.

For a hog rifle, a medium deer rifle, or a sheep rifle -- 6.5 Grendel has a lot of things going for it.

6.5 Grendel vs 6.5 Creedmoor Applications


Practical Applications


Grendel and Creedmoor are solid options for hunting, depending on what you’re hunting.

6.5 Creedmoor is more power, period. It’s moving faster and carries more weight.

This means bigger game and longer ranges, but don’t get fooled -- shooting game at long ranges isn’t easy, make sure you temper the range of the cartridge with your personal skill.

Going with the old maxim of 1,000-ft.lbs being required for a good deer cartridge; in a perfect world, Creedmoor can take deer at over 700 yards.

Grendel on the other hand is more like a 400-yard cartridge.

That’s still pretty awesome for such a compact and easy-to-use cartridge. With recoil being so light and actions so small, Grendel makes for a real contender for mountain or stalking hunts.



In the last few years anything 6.5mm has been largely replaced by 6mm options when it comes to the top end of the competition, but you’ll still see a lot of 6.5mm cartridges at most matches.

Why? Because of 6.5 Creedmoor, mostly. It’s highly accessible, factory ammo is great, and it’s really forgiving for people learning the fundamentals of long range precision shooting.

If you’re interested in PRS, NRL, or F-Class and have a 6.5 Creedmoor rifle -- get out there and give it a try!

Grendel though… sure, you can use it. But it’s not common. There aren’t many people that shoot in the gas rifle division normally so you might be the only one at your match, but you’ll still be in for a good time with a cartridge that can at least finish the match.


Long Range Precision Shooting

Both are outstanding. For plinking or learning the discipline, you can’t go wrong with either option. Though, Creedmoor will edge out Grendel simply because it’s easier to work with at long ranges and it’s a lot easier to tune in a load for.

I’ve shot Creedmoor past 1,000 yards and Grendel to 800 yards. Both are a lot of fun and teach you a lot without being overwhelming.


One of These Cartridges Might Be Haunted…

I feel compelled to mention that Grendel can be… weird. Spooky even. Definitely not haunted though, I hope.

I’ve spoken with a lot of hard-core 6.5 Grendel shooters and something that nearly all of us have run into is that some loadings, either hand loaded or factory bought, will just not group.

For example, my 6.5 Grendel rifle is a sub-MOA rifle using Hornady Black 123gr ammo. But with Hornady SST 123gr ammo it shoots 5 MOA. I have no explanation why.

And this isn’t just me, I know several other excellent shooters who have the same issue. But weirdly, we have the issue with different ammo.

Your rifle will like the ammo that it likes, that is normal. But it will also really hate some ammo. If that happens to you, just know that you’re not alone and you should try other loadings.

6.5 Creedmoor vs 6.5 Grendel ammo


Final Thoughts

My love for 6.5 Creedmoor isn’t going away any time soon, as evidenced by the fact that I have an AR-10 and no less than 4-bolt rifles all chambered in it.

But 6.5 Grendel has a place in my safe also and I love taking an AR-15 out to 1,000 yards.

Grendel has proven to be a great long range shooter and an awesome rifle for coyotes of all sizes.

I think there will be a long future for both cartridges as we see better bullets and more rifles offered in both of these 6.5mm kings.

[We would like to extend a huge thank you to David Lane for his work on this article! Be sure to leave a comment before you go and check out our other helpful guides like 6.5 Creedmoor vs 308 and our guide to AR Pistols.]

Shop AR-15 6.5 Grendel Uppers and AR-10 6.5 Creedmoor Uppers at bearcreekarsenal.com!


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September 15, 2021
This is a great article that just plain makes sense! I enjoyed reading it. Thank You
fred lee
September 15, 2021
I love 6.5 in grendel and creedmoor thanks this is great
September 15, 2021
great article! Was looking to build a 20" 6.5 Grendel in the AR platform. Maybe a barrel will go an sale soon!
September 15, 2021
Love my Grendel. Shot the best group of my life with it. The part about liking or not liking loads is true. One load produced "buckshot" patterns @ 50 yds. My pet load will shoot 1/4" 3 shot groups @ 100. Both 123 grain bullets. Weird is right. But keep at it, it's worth it. No need for a .308 with this rifle in hand.
Thomas Stehlar
September 15, 2021
Great article, I've had my Creedmore for over 10 years and with Hornady 147 gr. it is a tack driver. I'm really looking forward to the day I get a Grendel.
Jim Drago
September 17, 2021
Thanks for a clear, concise, and very readable article.
Jason Martin, Capt J
September 18, 2021
I have 2 6.5 grendels,both bca g2 uppers one with a 16"heavy barrel &one with a12" faxon barrel &both are tack drivers&have taken deer& hogs out to 350yds with devastating effect!but at 200yds the bca barrel is about a inch tighter than the faxon&best load for both 123gr am. gunner,but is very accurate with almost everything-even 100gr wolf,want a Creedmoor but can't justify the price for ammo compared to. 308, grendel is expensive enough if you don't handload!Capt J
Jason Martin
March 10, 2024
I now have 7 BCA &,2 Alexander arms 6.5 grendels & aHowa bolt action in 6.5 grendel. And now have a BCA AR10 & a Aero Precision AR10 in 6.5 Creedmoor & a Ruger Precision Rifle 6.5 Creedmoor & while both the Grendel & Creedmoor are both tack drivers it just depends on how far you want to shoot? Under 600yds- 6.5 Grendel! Out to a mile- 6.5 Creedmoor! I've taken shots out to 1200yds with my BCA 6.5 Creedmoor 22" lightweight barrel upper!"over 1500yds with my Aero 24" heavy barrel & a mile with the RPR with a 26" heavy barrel- All with Arken optics!But the Grendel is no slouch either! I have a BCA 20" fluted 6.5 grendel G2 upper on a BCA billet lower that I've won a couple local PRS contests in the 1000 yd gas gun division! It really upsets these guys with $3,000-$5,000 dollar rigs& my BCA 6.5 grendel with a Arken sh4 6x24x50 cost less than $1500& shoots 1" groups @300 yds with Wolf 100g steel! With quality ammo it shoots tighter groups than that @600yds& dime size groups @ 300! And for deer & hogs, it's hard to beat a grendel! I shoot 130eldm's with all my grendel uppers from 10.5 " 12.5",16" 18"20"& my new BCA 24" 6.5 grendel barrel- just built haven't fired yet! But obviously I love the 6.5! Whether short or long they're both super accurate & insane knockdown power! Keep up the fantastic work BCA! Capt J
September 21, 2021
I have several of both and have used them for all my Deer and hog hunting for the past almost 10 years now and would not use anything else. Creedmoor has the 600yd plus edge for what I do but Grendel is a perfect Whitetail for all ages.
Ed Keck
September 23, 2021
Great article. Very informative. I’ve been trying to justify a 6.5 Grendel for some time now.
Bill Camp
September 23, 2021
For myself knew nothing about the Grendel or Creedmoor ,this article is the perfect 101 for dummies, thanks
October 6, 2021
I have both cartridges, and for Father’s Day me and my son built a, A.R. 10 chambered in a 6.5 Creedmoor. I am currently up to two precision rifles chambered 6.5 Creedmoor and one A.R. 10 of the same caliber. But it’s funny how the article mention about the 6.5 Grendel and how it will not group because, I was wondering was it the arrow or was it the Indian.
Jerry Smith
October 17, 2021
Great article very informative. I was wondering how the two rounds stood up against each other and this answered my question. Just built my 6.5 Grendel AR-15 and I’m still looking at what scope I want to mount on it. Can’t wait to take it out and dial it in.
Raudel Contreras
February 3, 2023
Great Review Very Informative...
Roderick Saxton
February 3, 2023
I have a new Ruger Predator in 6.5 Creedmoor. I also recently built a left side charging 20" 6.5 Grendel AR. I like both.
February 3, 2023
Great informative article. Answered all my questions. Thanks
Leonard wood
February 3, 2023
Should put these up against .243 Winchester. As good or better in real world use...750 Yds. or less..
Calvin Walsh
March 10, 2024
As an old prairie dog shooter, I know the 243 lacks the ability to shoot a lot without eroding out the lands and losing accuracy, which is why most good long range dog shooters go to the 6 MM Remington. The barrels last longer. The 243 is an outstanding deer hunting round, but leave it home if you go to a big prairie dog town and shoot 3-5 hundred rodents a day. My 223 Remington 788 went past 20,000 rounds over 35 years and still shot good, but the chamber developed a bulge. It is hard to compare target calibers to hunting calibers. They both have their place.
February 3, 2023
Nice, how about a 6mm ARC comparison. Has all the 6.5 Grendel attributes and more. Loaded with the 115gr DTAS rebated BT it out performs both 6.5s Best thing I like is I can reform that Grendel brass into 6mm ARC
February 3, 2023
Love the article. I only wish 6.5 Grendel ammo was as easy to buy as 6.5 Creedmore. Thankfully, I have a nice pile of 7.62x39 brass, and I'm able to form my own. You just gotta remember you can't use a maximum charge, and it takes large rifle primers. I've shot sub-moa groups out to 600 yds, with my BCA 20" barrel Grendel, using these cases, so I'm happy.
patrick j chauncey
February 3, 2023
Thank you very much for this informative article regarding these calibers. I've been saving for an AR and this information helped me choose the 6.5 creedmore rather than the 308
Calvin Walsh
March 10, 2024
The 308 and 6.5 Creed are both very capable 600 yard guns. In 308 I would be shooting a 168 Gr bullet and in the 6.5 I shoot a 140. I have shot a lot of both. Both are good!
February 4, 2023
Every article comparing the 6.5 Grendel with another cartridge uses 120-123 grain projectiles. I would love to see an article using 95-107 grain projectiles going up against the 6mm ARC and creedmoor. The comparative results would be much better for the Grendel. Personally, I think that it has a lot to do with making excuses to justify another rifle or loading to have something more to sell. The same thing happens when comparing a 45ACP to other rounds. They will use the same old 230gr and slower projectile vs. a much faster 9mm running on max. I say compare the 45ACP using a fast 185gr and maximum speed where the ft/lbs energy is over 600. It is superior to the 9mm.
George Perry
June 23, 2023
Great article. Thanks
Donald cottam
June 23, 2023
I love the Grendel in the AR platform it simply works exactly as intended and mine loves the SST . And hits like a freight train???? Question: when you talk about the load ghost did you figure this out before or after BCA’s recall or barrel replacement issues for the Grendel ? My first 6.5 g was a complete BCA upper from Midsouth shooter’s, so I purchased another from BCA and it was the same way , the Haunting explains my issues ???? and makes me feel better (Ego). Great article I’m glad I took the time.
Ralph Hernandez
June 23, 2023
Nice, easy to read article. clear and concise. Five years ago I settled on the 6.5 Grendel and enjoy reloading and experimenting with bullets ranging from 100 to 140 grain. Even the heavy bullets, though falling faster, have the amazing potential to group almost one minute of angle at 250 yards from a 20 inch barrel.
Steve Sacco
June 23, 2023
Good article. Explained everything I need to know about these two calibers, .. especially since I just acquired my first Grendel. Thank You, Again.
David Larsen
June 23, 2023
Another great article. I love comparisons between similar rounds. A friend introduced me to the grendel as a deer rifle option for my kids. A little research later and I had one ordered from BCA. I took 3 deer with it that year. Yet to get a coyote, though. I probably won't shoot past 350 yards with it, so this is a perfect round for me.
June 23, 2023
The mead hall actually belonged to King Rothgar. Beowulf was the geet hero he hired to rid it of Grendel. My favorite saga and a great round named after it.
John Pennell
June 23, 2023
Currently building two Creedmores one bolt the other AR .Anxious to get these rifles put together and go to the range. Also own three Grendels meeting some hard core guys that only shoot Grendel. All of these ARs will shoot sub minute five shot groups at 100yds. The only thing I have heard negative, was from a gunstore clerk who told me the Grendel was a dead cartridge. That is OK I have been shooting so called dead cartridges all my life. Thanks for the great article.
June 23, 2023
I have the grendel. Ammo is impossible to find and too expensive. Loading supplies are non existent. Right now it’s just a long black paperweight. Eventually it may be fun to have.
Paul Migliaccio
June 23, 2023
Main difference between the two cartridges is availability. Creedmoor can be found on dealer shelves while Grendal is not and must be special ordered if possible; at least in my state.
David Vance
June 23, 2023
I purchased a Grendel upper from you in 2020, and have thoroughly enjoyed it for taking coyotes. I too noticed that it has a specific taste for certain loads. With 90 gr. Nosler Varmageddons it is pure death on coyotes, dropping them as if they were pole axed. As an added bonus I found that 90 gr. Speer TNT's hit to the same POI as the Noslers, which is great for switching between coyote bullets and hog bullets. The Grendel isn't anything special in one sense, but yet is quite impressive in another. I like it. Thanks for building a good upper that didn't break my wallet.
June 23, 2023
Good article Dave. I have both and purchased the grendel upper from BCA. Still working on the load. But recently shot a 100 yard 5 shot group of .737. If I through out the one flyer it would be a .378 group. It's a 20 inch heavy barrel. So not bad. I wanted a 24" but couldn't find it at the time.
Edwin Mccoy
June 23, 2023
I have Creedmoor and at-10 308 love both 6.5 to reach out and 308 for a little closer, good impact
Jay Smith
June 23, 2023
Enjoyed the article I own both as well as the 6.5 PRC which is a great cartridge but gets meat on both ends
vic Jones
June 23, 2023
Awesome articles on two cartridges that I really enjoy and very well said . Shot alot of animals with the 6.5 Creedmoor with great results . New to loading and shooting the Grendel with a BCA upper and while a definite learning curve I'm actually excited with R & D range time with it finding out what it likes or doesn't in bullets and muzzle devices
Terry Bouwman
June 23, 2023
My son and me have your 6.5 Grendel. They are great to shoot and accurate. Great on wood chucks both have a hunting round loaded for them as well.
Terry Bouwman
June 23, 2023
My son and me have your 6.5 Grendel .Great uppers and shoot Great. Great on wood chucks with a 95 vmax. Both have hunting wood worked up for them have not gotten to hunt deer with them yet. Get one fun to shoot.
June 23, 2023
I have had bad luck trying to get my AR10 to work properly. Mostly feed/ejection issues. Therefore, my AR15 in 6.5 Grendel, that works everytime, is my choice.
June 24, 2023
Great article, My 30.06 has preferences for specific ammo as well. Chuck
John on the Blue Ridge
June 24, 2023
Shoot both calibers and both are phenomenal. Appreciate the authors point regarding the Grendel, it is temperamental. It likes what it likes and I've had similar results with what it doesn't. Have 4 Grendel uppers, 2 16 inch, 1 20 inch, and a 24 heavy straight tube. One that is used more than the rest combined is the fluted 16 inch BCA barreled upper coupled with a polymer lower. Carry gun on the farm and truck gun. Only shoot handloads for both calibers. 2 bolt guns in Creedmoor and I also prefer heavier 140+ bullets for them. I've had good luck with 140SST but like 143 and 147.
Doug M.
June 24, 2023
I have the Grendel (Atheris upper/Alexander lower) that shoots .332 and a Creedmore (Savage bolt) that shoots .457. Love both but the Grendel is my go to. Good article.
Nathaniel Edwards
June 24, 2023
Loved the article thank you for takeing the time to give a rundown on both the grendal and the creedmoor. I will be purchasing a 16inch Grendal the next time I buy. And of course it will be a BCA upper thanks agian
June 24, 2023
I built a Grendel many years ago. It was highly accurate. I shot many sub quarter inch , 100 yard groups with 129 grain Hornadys. last year I built a faxxon barreled Creedmore. I soon sold it because this old man got tired of lugging around the extra weight. The Grendel is good enough for southern whitetail and the occasional range visit.
Robert Washington Jr
June 24, 2023
Hi, with the recent changes to the brace/stock ruling on AR pistols, I'm was looking into changing my pistols to rifles and was looking at the 6.5 Grendel complete upper in a 16 inch, Ibut my problem is which one to get, I'm just doing some target practice but get excited that it can be used as a Hog rifle as I want to give that a try, what's a good barrel set up to get ?
Gary Majors
February 25, 2024
Building a Grendel now. Wish I had read this first because I was planning in using an old 5.45x39 (AR type) bolt I had laying around. Nope, have to get a type 2 bolt. Also magazines. Like the author stated standard 5.56 magazines will work but not very well. One more added expense. Anyway, I hear great things about the cartridge. I am eager to get it out to the range and see what it can do.
March 10, 2024
I love shooting my 6.5 Grendel. I have a 20 in heavy barrel. I want a shorter barrel for more plinking fun. I have not yet built a 6.5 Creedmoor.
Calvin Walsh
March 10, 2024
Great article! I have built several 6.5 Creedmoor Ar rifles for others and a couple for myself. I also have several 6.8 SPC rifles also for shorter range work like timber deer hunting and hog hunting. It is another great one. I have converted to these, from the 7 Mags, 243, 22-250 Etc. because these are target rounds, capable of thousands of rounds being fired without a loss of accuracy. As a competitive High power shooter, I learned the advantage of lots of practice without burning out the barrel.
Stacey Gleckler
March 10, 2024
1 thing to consider with 6.5 Grendel is barrel length and harmonics. 2 of My 18” 6.8 spc’s love 90gr TNT’s at 2900 fps but same load in buddies 16” bbl is 3-4 moa but his shoots Hornady 110 sst ammo under 1 moa where my 18” barrel patterns sst’s instead of groups????. Has a lot to do with barrel time harmonics ????????
Fredrick Williams
May 8, 2024
Thanks for the interesting information
Richard Hinton
May 8, 2024
Thank you for this great article. You answered nearly every question that I had.
James Johnson
June 15, 2024
Vary good article enjoyed reading. I don’t have a Creedmore but I do have a Grendel and i have just recently got into the 6.5 craze. I built a 6.5 grendel with a 18” stainless steel barrel. I reload my own bullets. The first bullets i tryed were 129gn interlocks they shot really good. Then I loaded some 123 gn sst to my surprise they shot great.I didn’t know what to expect after seeing other shooters having grouping problems with the SST but my barrel loves them.
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