It thinks it can it thinks it can it thinks it can…
If you were writing a childrens’ book about deer hunting cartridges, the little 6.5 Grendel would play the roll of the Little Engine That Could. This is our smallest 6.5 centerfire. It’s case measures just 1.516 inches base to mouth. Even with a long, high B.C. bullet seated, overall length is just 2.26 inches. With a 123-grain bullet seated, the Grendel’s water capacity is 30-grains, about 7 grains less than the 30-30 Winchester, some 17 grains less water capacity than the 6.5 Creedmoor, 20 grains less than the 243 Winchester.
Despite all these short comings, the 6.5 Grendel has been proven again and again to topple large deer in a single bound.
Say hello to super Grendel, the little .264 that can. And does. Without slapping you or anyone else upside the head.
Don’t Kick the 6.5 Grendel (cause it won’t kick you)
Reduced recoil is a major selling point of the 6.5 Grendel. Ballistic performance — not so much. But more than good enough. In an 8-pound rifle a full-house 123-grain load will churn up 8.8 f-p of recoil energy moving 8 fps back into your shoulder. That’s about a pound less kick than a 243 Winchester driving a 95-grain bullet. Zero that 123-gr. .264 bullet 3 inches high at 125 yards and it won’t drop more than 3 inches until about 265 yards. At that distance it’ll still be carrying 1,250 f-p of energy. It remains super sonic to about 1,200 yards, faster than the excellent, 155-grain Hornady ELD-Match in a 308 Winchester.
Runt of the 6.5mm Litter
Compared to some of its bigger 6.5mm cousins, the Grendel is the runt of the litter. Even the old military 6.5 Jap, 6.5 Carcano, and 6.5×54 Mannlicher-Schoenauer hold more powder. But like many runts, the 6.5 Grendel punches above its weight class.
Many use the benchmark of 1,000 foot-pounds kinetic energy in a bullet as the minimum for really good terminal performance on deer-sized game with proper placement of an expanding hunting bullet. The Grendel delivers this at 400 yards with a little 123-grain bullet launched at 2,580 fps from the muzzle. That’s the top speed Hornady claims for one of its factory loads. Handloaders may or may not be able to match it, but should be capable of hitting 2,500 fps from a 20-inch, certainly a 22-inch barrel.
The Little Cartridge that Could — Ron Spomer Outdoors is written by Ron Spomer for www.ronspomeroutdoors.com