The 6.5mm cartridge family has existed since 1894 when Norweigan and Swedish forces discovered 6.5x55mm Swedish Mauser rounds. Designed in 1891, the Swedish-Norwegian Rifle Commission began work to determine the optimal caliber for military service weapons, testing several sizes, including 8mm, 7.5mm and 7mm until they reached consensus on the 6.5mm, which performed best. Two years later in 1893, another commission would be formed to determine cartridge case measurements, eventually settling on an overall design that has been in use for over one hundred years and counting.
The Swedish Mauser is highly rated today, and its popularity has been fueled by the emergence of other rounds in the 6.5mm family including the 6.5 Grendel and the 6.5 Creedmoor. The two 6.5 mm rounds are popular among competitive shooters who treasure precise, powerful cartridges with little or no recoil. The round is also popular among hunters who want a smaller and less expensive round to take down big game.
In many ways, the Creedmoor and the Grendel edge out their closest competitor, the .308 Win. While its clear that the Grendel and the Creedmoor are better than the .308 Win, gun aficionados remain indecisive as to which round is better.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at both rounds separately before we settle the 6.5 Grendel vs 6.5 Creedmoor debate once and for all.
The 6.5mm Grendel
This AR-15 round has been in the ammo market for about 15 years. It is a hunter’s favorite thanks to its precision, power, and low recoil. With an outstanding base body diameter of 0.439 inches, the 6.5mm Grendel is a real shredder.
It burns about 25 to 30 grains of powder, depending on the type of powder used. This is a remarkably low powder consumption compared to the Creedmoor, which burns about 39 to 48 grains.
Despite its low powder consumption, it delivers outstanding bullet velocity. At 100 grains, the Grendel offers dependable velocity of about 2745 fps. This is way more than the 1000fps gold standard for knocking down a whitetail. So if you are an avid hunter, you know what to look for.
In terms of accuracy, the Grendel edges most of the cartridges in today’s ammo market. It has the ability to hit targets 800 yards away without any significant loss in precision and velocity. This makes the 6.5mm Grendel round perfect for distance challenges in shooting competitions as well as for hunters who prefer taking shots at game from further away.
What’s more, it can fit in a standard 5.56x45mm mag, turning a 30-round magazine into a 20-round one.
The 6.5mm Creedmoor
Since it entered the market in 2008, the Creedmoor has gained the reputation for being a formidable round. However, it wasn’t as popular back in the day as long-range shooting hadn’t picked up as much as it has today.
With competitive long range shooting in full force today, the 6.5mm Creedmoor has cemented its place in the hearts of many long-range shooters. Quite often, it has been lauded as a fast cartridge with incredible range.
The diameter of the Creedmoor’s case head is .473 inches, while the case length is 1.920 inches. The whole cartridge is 2.825 inches long. The .905 difference between the cartridge length and case length allows the 140-grain rounds to extend from the case instead of the sitting deep inside it, which would eat up the powder space.
The Creedmoor performs at its absolute best between 700 and 1000 yards. The long range combined with the bullet’s low wind drift, makes it a perfect choice for the U.S. military. The armed forces are currently considering switching to the 6.55mm Creedmoor long range ammo. This shows just how exemplary the cartridge is when it comes to long-range shooting. After all, if it's good enough for the U.S. military, it's good enough for civilian hunters and competitive shooters.
6.5 Grendel vs 6.5 Creedmoor
These two rounds are different in on every merit. While the Grendel offers hunters unrivaled accuracy in the AR platform, the 6.5 Creedmore delivers pinpoint precision in a small-action platform.
When it comes to bullet velocity, the 6.5 Creedmoor takes the day. It is 300 fps faster than the 6.5 Grendel. However, it produces more recoil than the Grendel.
It is also heavier than its counterpart cartridge. If you stack the two types of ammo in two separate barrels of the same size, the Creedmoor barrel will outweigh its Grendel counterpart by at least 2 pounds.
In terms of cost, Grendel fans get an upper hand. This is especially true if you prefer to assemble your ammo at home. To build a Grendel cartridge, you only need a bolt carrier group, a barrel, and ammunition. On the other hand, to assemble a Creedmoor cartridge, you need a .308 set up.
Additionally, the two types of cartridges have different sizes. Creedmoor rounds are significantly longer than Grendel ammo. Also, the casing diameter is bigger in Creedmoor than in Grendel.
Lastly, the two rounds differ when it comes to powder consumption. As mentioned earlier, Grendel bullets consume lower amounts of powder grain compared to Creedmoor rounds.
So, 6.5 Grendel vs 6.5 Creedmoor: Which Round is Better?
The answer to this question depends on your gun usage. For a typical hunter, nothing beats cheap rounds with pinpoint precision and more variety. This makes Grendel the perfect round for hunting.
For competitive shooters, 6.5 Creedmoor is the better cartridge of the duo. It may be more expensive, but the longer range and outstanding clearance make up for the extra cost.
Both 6.5mm variants perform well in the field and have a lot to offer hunters and competition shooters. And it's likely the ammunition will continue to evolve as designs are tweaked for optimal performance. Deciding which round is best for you may be easy, but may also take some experimentation. Overall, it comes down to personal preference based on a variety of factors.
So, the choice is yours!