6.5 Grendel vs 6.5 Creedmoor
Ballistics Performance of 6.5 Grendel vs 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridges
While the 6.5 Grendel and the 6.5 Creedmoor both have the same bullet diameter, there are significant differences between the two cartridges. The 6.5 Grendel has gained popularity with the AR-15 platform, while the 6.5 Creedmoor shoots flatter over longer distances. While both will do well within 300 yards for small to medium game, they have very different applications outside of this core commonality.
The following ballistics tables show a side by side comparison of the 6.5 Grendel vs 6.5 Creedmoor based on bullet weight and various performance metrics including velocity, energy, usage and recoil.
6.5 grendel 123 gr vs 6.5 creedmoor 120 gr Cartridge Comparison Table.
|6.5 Grendel||6.5 Creedmoor|
|Bullet Velocity (Muzzle)||2,580 ft/s||3,050 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 100 yds||2,410 ft/s||2,850 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 200 yds||2,246 ft/s||2,659 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 300 yds||2,088 ft/s||2,476 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 400 yds||1,937 ft/s||2,300 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 500 yds||1,791 ft/s||2,132 ft/s|
|Bullet Energy (Muzzle)||1,818 ft⋅lb||2,479 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 100 yds||1,585 ft⋅lb||2,164 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 200 yds||1,377 ft⋅lb||1,884 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 300 yds||1,191 ft⋅lb||1,634 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 400 yds||1,025 ft⋅lb||1,410 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 500 yds||876 ft⋅lb||1,211 ft⋅lb|
|Usage @ 0 yds||Large Game||Toughest Game|
|Usage @ 100 yds||Large Game||Toughest Game|
|Usage @ 200 yds||Medium Game||Large Game|
|Usage @ 300 yds||Medium Game||Large Game|
|Usage @ 400 yds||Medium Game||Medium Game|
|Usage @ 500 yds||Medium Game||Medium Game|
|Recoil Energy||7.9 ft-lbs||9.1 ft-lbs|
|Recoil Velocity||8.0 fps||8.2 fps|
|*Cartridge ballistics, usage and recoil figures takend from Sportsman's Warehouse rifle ballistics and rifle recoil tables. Recoil score based on weighted average of recoil energy and recoil velocity normalized between 1 and 10.|
The 6.5 Creedmoor has the advantage over the 6.5 Grendel when it comes to velocity. At shorter distances, the difference is certainly there, but not huge: out of the muzzle, the 6.5 Creedmoor moves 470 ft/s faster than the 6.5 Creedmoor. Even up to 500 yards, the 6.5 Creedmoor is running just 341 ft/s faster than the 6.5 Grendel.
The difference in velocity becomes more crucial as we get out to farther distances. If you’ll be shooting past 1,000 yards, the 6.5 Creedmoor starts to become essential. The Grendel is supersonic out to 1,100 yards, but the Creedmoor will stay supersonic past 1,300 yards.
The 6.5 Creedmoor can significantly outperform the 6.5 Grendel when it comes to ballistics. This is due in part to its larger case capacity: more powder means more oomph right out of the muzzle. As seen on the chart, the 6.5 Creedmoor has just as much energy at 200 yards as the 6.5 Grendel does when it is first fired. While our comparison chart directly compares two bullets of similar weights, the 6.5 Creedmoor has enough of an advantage that it can also fire a heavier bullet with greater energy than a lighter 6.5 Grendel.
The 6.5 Creedmoor and the 6.5 Grendel are pretty evenly matched inside of 300 yards. The 6.5 Creedmoor has .7” of wind drift at 100 yards, while the 6.5 Grendel has .8”; at 300 yards, the Creedmoor has 6.6” to the Grendel’s 6.9”. If you will be shooting inside of 300 yards, there is essentially no difference between the cartridges.
Past the 300 yard mark, however, we start to see a greater discrepancy. Since the 6.5 Creedmoor is shot with significantly more energy, it also maintains a flatter trajectory over longer distances. At 500 yards, the 6.5 Creedmoor sees about 8-11” less bullet drop than the 6.5 Grendel does.
The two cartridges are much more similar in terms of wind drift, which measures how far a bullet travels in response to a 10 mph crosswind. At 100 yards, the 6.5 Grendel will drift .8”, while the 6.5 Creedmoor will drift .7”; and out at 500 yards, we’re still seeing a small difference, with the 6.5 Grendel drifting 20.7” and the 6.5 Creedmoor drifting 19.7”.
The 6.5 Grendel offers a good bit less recoil than the 6.5 Creedmoor. Of course, perceived recoil will vary by shooter and by rifle, but we are seeing a lower recoil energy and score for the 6.5 Grendel. Still, the 6.5 Creedmoor is known for having a mild recoil for a big game cartridge – both of these are on the friendlier side of powerful calibers. The difference in recoil will make a particularly big difference for those planning to shoot a large number of rounds in a day, or newer shooters whose accuracy will be affected by the recoil.
The 6.5 Creedmoor is generally available in more factory options than the 6.5 Grendel. However, the 6.5 Grendel has been seeing more and more options lately, especially as it is used by some Eastern European military outfits. This has also led to less expensive Russian and Serbian ammunitions manufacturers providing cheaper ammunition for the 6.5 Grendel. By contrast, the 6.5 Creedmoor is a more expensive ammunition, especially for shooters who go through large amounts of ammunition.
Handloaders can also find a good selection of reloading components thanks to the .264” bullets, which are shared by many other popular calibers.
While both these cartridges use the same diameter, the 6.5 Grendel is significantly shorter than the 6.5 Creedmoor. The 6.5 Grendel was initially designed for the AR-15, and the bullet length is thus shorter to be compatible with this platform. The 6.5 Creedmoor also has a slightly larger rim diameter (.473” compared to .441”). These differences mean that the 6.5 Creedmoor has a considerably larger case capacity, and thus has a higher maximum pressure when loading.
We’ve seen that the 6.5 Creedmoor outstrips the 6.5 Grendel in most capacities. So why do people continue to buy the 6.5 Grendel? The answer is primarily in the rifles that shoot each of these calibers. The 6.5 Grendel was developed specifically for the AR-15. The 6.5 Creedmoor is primarily found chambered in bolt action rifles, though some AR-10 models are compatible with it. The AR-10 is generally not favored over the AR-15, since it is longer and heavier without significant improvements in performance. For shooters looking to use their AR-15s, the 6.5 Grendel is clearly the choice.
Which Caliber is Best?
The 6.5 Grendel and 6.5 Creedmoor both have an important place in the market. If you’ll be shooting small to medium game inside of 300 yards, the rounds are highly comparable, though the velocity and ballistic advantage does go to the Creedmoor. If you’ll be shooting longer ranges and especially over 1,000 yards, the 6.5 Creedmoor has a distinct advantage. If you’re looking for lighter recoil and a caliber compatible with the AR-15 platform, the 6.5 Grendel is the choice for you.
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