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The 6.5mm Grendel is an intermediate cartridge designed by Arne Brennan, Bill Alexander and Janne Pohjoispää as a low-recoil, high-accuracy cartridge specifically for the AR-15 platform at medium/long range. It is an improved variation of the 6.5mm PPC. Since its introduction, it has proven to be a versatile design and is now expanding out into other firearms including bolt-action rifles and the Kalashnikov system.
Development and history
The 6.5mm Grendel design goal was to create an effective 200–800 yard STANAG magazine-length cartridge for the AR-15 that surpassed the performance of the native 5.56mm NATO/.223 Remington cartridge. Constrained by the dimension of the magazines, the Grendel designers decided to use a shorter, larger diameter case for higher powder volume while allowing space for long, streamlined, high-ballistic coefficient (BC) bullets. Firing factory-loaded ammunition with bullets ranging from 90 to 129 grains (5.8 to 8.4 g), its muzzle velocity varies from 2,500 ft/s (760 m/s) with 129- and 130-grain (8.4 g) bullets to 2,900 ft/s (880 m/s) with 90 gr (5.8 g) bullets (similar in velocity to a 5.56 mm 77-grain (5.0 g) round). Depending on their case material and bullet, 6.5 Grendel cartridges weigh 14.7 to 17.8 grams (227 to 275 gr).
The case head diameter of the Grendel is the same as that of the .220 Russian, 7.62×39mm and 6.5mm PPC cases. This diameter is larger than the 5.56×45mm NATO, thereby necessitating the use of a non-standard AR-15 bolt. The increased case diameter results in a small reduction in the capacity of standard size M16/AR-15 magazines. A Grendel magazine with the same dimensions as a 30-round STANAG magazine will hold 26 rounds of 6.5mm Grendel ammunition.