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Knockdown and Knockout: Comparing 6.5 Grendel vs 308 Rounds

For the forward-thinkers out there who also happen to love hunting, we understand that you’re always looking for ways to develop and make your sport more effective, ethical, and lethal …

Intro the 6.5 Grendel.

The 6.5mm Grendel (6.5×39mm) was developed as an intermediate cartridge specifically for the AR-15 platform. Designed by Bill Alexander, Janne Pohjoispää and Arne Brennan as a low recoil, high accuracy, 200-800 yard cartridge specifically for the AR-15 platform.

Built for practicality without the need of two systems, the rounds more closely resemble a .308 than a 5.56.

User Experience Differences Between the 6.5 Grendel vs 308

There are a few key distinctions between these two calibers.


Not only is the 6.5 Grendel able to work on an AR-15 platform - which keeps weight light and is cost effective to upgrade - it also answers other practical needs as a lower recoil weapons system.


The 6.5 Grendel recoil is similar to a 5.56 round’s recoil, which makes it more manageable for smaller-framed people to operate (be that a child, female, or vertically-challenged male).


The other benefit of a 6.5 Grendel as opposed to a 308 is how the ballistics of the round operate in such a compact and versatile weapon system. This is what makes it such a strong round for hunting. You can hunt deer with 5.56, but you’d be better off with the .308 … that is, until the 6.5 Grendel was born.

The 6.5 Grendel can drop anything from coyote to elk - and even bison - all while keeping good accuracy out to 800yds. It’s even possible to maintain high accuracy at even further distances depending on conditions and who’s squeezing the trigger.

Grendel VS 308 graphic 1

Technical Distinctions Between the 6.5 Grendel and 308

So let's get into some of the technical generalities of the 6.5 Grendel and 308 rounds (I know that sounds contradictory but hear me out):

The 6.5 Grendel, though slower out of the barrel, will actually surpass the velocity of a .308 round at 500+ yards. Check out Hornady’s 6.5 Grendel vs 308 ballistics below:

Grendel VS 308 graphic 2

Although the 6.5 Grendel has less kinetic energy (meaning less “stopping power”) in-flight, this fact also means that it is less likely to completely pass through the subject or animal being shot.

Thus, all the “stopping power” (energy) it does have is applied directly to the target, quickly inflicting the desired mortal wound.

We touched on the shooting platforms a little bit above and how you have the option to simply get a 6.5 Grendel upper for your already owned AR-15, saving some much-desired cash (so you can buy way more bullets from us!).

That said, you’ll also need to get a different bolt carrier group than your 5.56 one because the diameter of the 6.5 Grendel is larger than your 5.56/.223. If you plan on shooting out past a few hundred yards, you’ll want optics for your system too. To its credit, the optics designed for the .308 round does work well with 6.5 Grendel.

The Knock-Out Round

Now for the K/O (but not really).

If you want a spiffy new firearm that can:

  • Elevate your hunting game
  • Get the stopping-power of a larger round
  • And keep to an AR-15 platform (without getting put in the dirt because you’ll blow away with high winds)

Then check out the 6.5 Grendel rifles. The round has come a long way.

Heck, if you feel like splurging, get a complete AR-15 style 6.5 Grendel build, bolt gun, or AK platform build.

So, do we recommend plinking with this round? That’s up to you. It will cost more than your 5.56, but will you have fun hitting steel at 800yds or hunting mountain lion, elk or coyote with some serious firepower? Yes!

Happy Hunting.

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