.223 vs 6.5 Grendel – What’s the Better Option?

6.5 grendel vs 223
Alfred Mendoza

The 6.5 Grendel vs 223 Remington ammo showdown has always been a hot topic for AR-15 enthusiasts. With their almost comparable ballistics and AR-15 compatibility, it’s no wonder the competitive rounds are being compared side by side. But other than their Ballistic Coefficients, what other features do they differ from one another?

One significant difference between the 6.5 Grendel and the 223 Remington is that the 6.5 Grendel shoots in the wind easier since its bullets have a higher Ballistic coefficient. At the same time, the 223 Remington does a pretty reliable job at 100 yards because it was designed for close-quarter combat with the low recoil.

To claim that Alexander Arms created and mass-produced the 6.5 Grendel to surpass the performance of the native 5.56 mm NATO/ 223 Remington cartridges created the buzz of comparison between the native ammo vs the newer one.

With the 6.5 Grendel sporting a shorter, larger diameter case for higher powder volume while allowing space for long, streamlined, and higher ballistic coefficient (BC) bullets, is it enough to overthrow the reigning ammo for AR-15?

Specification Chart

6.5 Grendel

  • Brand: Hornady V-MAX
  • Model: 6.5 Grendel
  • Bullet Size: 2.26 inches
  • Bullet Diameter: 0.264 inches
  • Shell Case Length: 1.52 inches
  • Bullet Weight: 95 gr
  • Energy (per 200 yards): 1,612 ft-lbs
  • Velocity (per 200 yards): 2,764 fps
  • Muzzle Energy: 2,297 ft-lbs
  • Muzzle Velocity: 3,300 fps

223 Remington

  • Brand: Sierra MatchKing
  • Model: 223 Remington
  • Bullet Size: 2.26 inches
  • Bullet Diameter: 0.224 inches
  • Shell Case Length: 1.76 inches
  • Bullet Weight: 77 gr
  • Energy (per 200 yards): 869 ft-lbs
  • Velocity (per 200 yards): 2,255 fps
  • Muzzle Energy: 1,265 ft-lbs
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,720 fps

Detailed Comparison

Remington 223 vs 6.5 Trajectory

If we were to discuss the 6.5 Grendel vs 223 Remington’s ballistics, both ammo has about the same performance past 600 yards. Their bullet drops at 600 yards are pretty comparable, too, with a drift that’s about 25% less. But then, the Grendel has over twice the retained energy even at 600 – 700-yard range, while the 223 starts to drop considerably faster. With this, the 6.5 Grendel takes its first win having a flatter trajectory over the 223 Remington ammo.

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Bullet Weights

Heavier bullets mean more power and better penetration. In this category, the 6.

Grendel takes a winning streak against the 223 Rem because not only it offers ammunition with a heavier and larger diameter but also better penetration. 

Grendel also provides more power and more range than the Remington 223.

6.5 grendel bullet weight

6.5 Grendel & 223 Loading Type

The 6.5 Grendel offers factory-loaded ammunition with bullets ranging from 90 to 130 grains, while the 223 Remington has bullet weights ranging from 36 – 77 gr bullets. Since the 6.5 Grendel perceptibly offers a shorter bullet but with a larger diameter case for higher powder volume, streamlined, and has a higher ballistic coefficient (BC) compared to the 223 Remington, the 6.5 Grendel takes another win.

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While the Remington 223 doesn’t have an excellent penetration due to its lower sectional density, being a cheaper cartridge that still does the job is the most significant advantage of the 223 Remington against the 6.5 Grendel. Because of this, the 223 Remington becomes a great practice companion. It is also great in varmint hunting. With this, the 223 Remington finally snatched its first win against the 6.5 Grendel.

6.5 Grendel & 223 Remington Recoil

Because of its heavier bullet weight and diameter, the velocity of the 6.5 Grendel is lower than the 223 Remington. 

While the 223 is lethal for close-quarters battles, due to its low recoil, the Grendel 6.5 has double the recoil and slightly less capacity than the 223. 

With this, the 223 Remington takes another win.

6.5 grendel recoil

6.5 Grendel Pros & Cons



223 Remington Pros & Cons



6.5 Grendel or Remington 223? - The Winner is...

In this head to head comparison between the 6.5 Grendel vs 223 Remington, the winner is the 6.5 Grendel because albeit it is more expensive, it has better wind resistance, a higher Ballistic Coefficient, and is ideal for long ranges with better options of loading types than the 223 Remington. But for plinking and close-quarter battles, choosing to purchase the 223 Remington is also a good choice.

If you’re planning to buy a pistol for self-defense, take a look at our Walther PPQ and P99 comparison here.

Our #1 Recommendation

6.5 Grendel

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