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6.5 Creedmoor vs 6.5 Grendel – Which One is Better?

6.5 Grendel vs 6.5 Creedmoor
Our team decided to challenge 6.5 Grendel vs 6.5 Creedmoor being the most prevalent 6.5mm cartridges that are said to be more powerful than the 223 cartridges in the United States today. We wanted to confirm if the hype about these two cartridges was legit, as most long-range hunters typically claim. In this all-out battle, is there a definite winner? Let’s find out.

Initially chambered in the cartridge of a 308 Win, the 6.5 Creedmoor ammo delivers a more incredible velocity, downrange performance, and is capable of shooting heavier because it has higher Ballistic Coefficients. In comparison, the 6.5 Grendel was based on the Russian military’s 7.69×39 case and is more suited to work on 800-yards and excels as a hard-hitting AR-15 option. While the other round is considerably shorter, the CM has a larger case capacity.

The 6.5 CM cartridge is 300 fps faster and is better for longer practical ranges than its predecessor, the 5.56 NATO. With the good 6.5 Grendel, you can expect to see small and steady groups in the 0.35 range, while the CM will produce tighter groups at longer ranges that are approximately .4 to .6 MOA.

Specification Chart

6.5 Grendel

  • Brand: Alexander Arms
  • Model: 6.5 Grendel
  • Bullet Size: 2.26 inches
  • Bullet Diameter: 0.264 in
  • Shell Case Length: 1.52 in
  • Energy (per 200 yards): 1,383 ft-lbs
  • Velocity (per 200 yards): 2,278 ft/s
  • Muzzle Energy: 1,658 ft-lbs
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,880 ft/s

6.5 Creedmoor

  • Brand: Hornady ELD-X
  • Model: 6.5 Creedmoor
  • Bullet Size: 2.825 inches
  • Bullet Diameter: 0.264 inches
  • Shell Case Length: 1.920 inches
  • Energy (per 200 yards): 1,308 ft.-Lbs
  • Velocity (per 200 yards): 2,030 Fps
  • Muzzle Energy: 2,315 ft-lbs
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,700 ft/s

How Are They Similar?

Some hunters claim that comparing the 6.5 Creedmoor vs 6.5 Grendel is like comparing apples to oranges because they differ in many things. But it is still worthy to note some similarities the 6.5 Grendel and the 6.5 CM ammo have for better comparison. Before delving into the differences between the 6.5 Grendel vs 6.5 Creedmoor, look at how similar these rounds are.

  • Effective in 20 to 22-inch barrels with 1:8 to 1:8.5”  twist rates. 
  • They share the same bullet diameter that can fit in an AR hunting rifle.
  • Both are chambered in 6.5 hunting rifles that are well-suited for hunting thin-skinned, small to medium game animals at short to moderate range.

Detailed Comparison

Price

The 6.5 CM is somewhat more expensive to shoot than the 6.5 Grendel, which has a cheaper ammo selection with almost the same accuracy, more power, and half the recoil than the 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition selection. So, if you just assembled your new 6.5 Grendel upper and are looking for an affordable round, the Grendel 6.5 cartridge is right for you.

For high-performing yet economical rounds, here’s our 270 and 308 Winchester comparison

Ballistics

Like most big game hunting blog reviews, our team tried to push 6.5 Grendel past the 1,000-yard mark as most shooters typically do with their AR 15 and AR 10 rifles. We learned that it only excels best at 800-yards, and it has a smaller case capacity and lighter bullet option compared to the 6.5 Creedmoor, which 6.5 Grendel falls short.

While it could stay supersonic out around 1,100 yards, the CM can accomplish the feat past 1,300 yards in AR 15 rifles. When loaded with the same 129-grain long-range bullet using the AR 15 platform, the 6.5 CM has an advantage in the long-range shooting because there is a difference of 500 fps in their muzzle velocity.

6.5 creedmoor ballistics

Purpose

If the large game at medium to long-distance shooting is part of your hunting plan, go with the 6.5 CM because the lighter Grendel bullet weights could limit the effective range for most AR 15 and AR 10 rifles. Compared to the 6.5 CM, we find the Grendel to be lighter and more effective at short distance shooting. Since the 6.5 CM uses heavier bullets with a higher sectional density, it could perform better at big game hunting with your AR 15 rifles. With proper goals in mind, you’ll never go wrong in choosing the best ammo for your rifle.

For short-range hunting, check out this 30-30 vs 45-70 cartridge article here

Trajectory

When we tested out both rounds in the shooting range, we noticed that the significantly bigger case capacity of the 6.5 CM could push a heavier bullet at a faster muzzle velocity than the Grendel. This obviously gives the CM the edge in terms of trajectory and kinetic energy. The 6.5 CM loads have eight up to 11 inches less bullet drop at 500 yards and retain approximately 20-50% more energy downrange than Grendel loads.

Indeed, the 143-grain 6.5 CM load has more energy at 200 yards than the same Grendel load at the muzzle. Although the gap in performance between the rounds is marginal at ranges inside 300 yards, the 6.5 CM still has a definite advantage in performance at all practical ranges.

Accuracy

6.5 creedmoor accuracy

Like the 6.8 SPC, the 6.5 Creedmoor was designed for precision and competition shooting and can shoot quite long and aerodynamic bullets. Simultaneously, the other cartridge has also been extensively used in the hands of competition shooters and has an advantage in the recoil department, which could be a significant factor in gaining accuracy.

When our team tested out the 6.5 Grendel and 6.5 Creedmoor loads in the shooting range inside 300 yards, we learned that the Grendel has an edge. But for more extended range, we’d lean more towards the 6.5 Creedmoor where using high BC bullets becomes more critical. With this, we claim that 6.5 Creedmoor and 6.5 Grendel have excellent accuracy.

Long Distance Shooting

The 6.5 Creedmoor has better ballistics inside of 300 yards than the 6.5 Grendel ballistics, although the difference between them is much smaller at a closer range. Having a flatter trajectory and more wind drift resistance, the 6.5 Creedmoor is much better in the long-distance shooting.

When we compared these rounds after a few shots using the same bullet grain weight, we confirmed that CM performs best at long-distance shooting than the 6.5 Grendel cartridge. A few yards could always mean a thing when you are into long-range hunting, so we decided to give this point to the Creedmoor.

Check out another long-distance ammo in this 38 Super vs 9mm Luger article here

Loading Type

Both ammo released a wide array of ammo selection to gain widespread acceptance in the hunting world. The 6.5 Creedmoor cartridges have an advantage in bullet selection because it has more factory choices than in 6.5 Grendel ammo. The 6.5 CM typically uses bullet weights in the 95-160 grain range, with 120gr, 129gr, 140gr, and 143gr bullets, while the 6.5 Grendel hunting rifle uses lighter bullet weights and tops out around 130 grains, with 120-grain and 123-grain bullets being the most popular.

Bullet Weights

While both cartridges utilize .264 inches bullets, the 6.5 CM was specifically designed to utilize the longest and heaviest bullets available.

Although the 6.5 CM has heavier bullet weights than the competing round, it is more resistant to wind and has a flatter trajectory.

With this, the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge takes another win.

6.5 creedmoor weight

Recoil

Recoil-wise, the 6.5 CM is certainly a mild-mannered shooter, but it’s nothing compared to the Grendel because it has about 30-40% less free recoil energy than the Creedmoor loads. That’s saying something because the 6.5 CM is also known for having a very mild recoil.Although they use the same bullet diameter, the Creedmoor shoots the same bullet weight 300-400 fps faster. The Creedmoor is loaded to a higher pressure and uses a longer case. For these reasons, the 6.5 Creedmoor hunting rifle recoils more.

6.5 Grendel Pros & Cons

PROS

CONS

6.5 Creedmoor Pros & Cons

PROS

CONS

Our Pick Between 6.5 Creedmoor & 6.5 Grendel is...

Between 6.5 Creedmoor vs 6.5 Grendel, we pick the 6.5 Creedmoor because it performs better in target and precision shooting. It has a longer practical effective range and stands head and shoulders above the 6.5 Grendel for precision long-range shooting. Pushing it out to 1,200 yards or more in a precision rifle is plausible. The 6.5 CM also has higher Ballistic Coefficients, a flatter trajectory, and better wind resistance.

6.5 creedmoor

Our #1 Recommendation

6.5 Creedmoor

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