6.5 Grendel & 6.5 Creedmoor: More Power for Your AR-15


While hunters and shooters in Europe adopted the 6.5 caliber over a century ago, it has taken much longer for that caliber to become popular in North America. The 6.5mm bore is becoming increasingly popular among Americans for its numerous advantages.

The two most widely adopted 6.5mm cartridges in the United States are the 6.5 Grendel and the 6.5 Creedmoor. Even though they have similar names and use the same diameter of bullets, that is almost where their similarities end. Each cartridge was designed with different priorities in mind. The 6.5 Creedmoor was designed to accomplish one task, while the 6.5 Grendel was designed to achieve another job.

I will review the pros and cons of the 6.5 Grendel vs. 6.5 Creedmoor so you can discern which would suit your needs.

6.5 Grendel vs 6.5 Creedmoor: History

The 6.5 Grendel was designed to provide more stopping power than the 5.56 NATO. In contrast, the 6.5 Creedmoor was created to provide more precision and accuracy than the .308 Winchester. The 6.5 Grendel and 6.5 Creedmoor cartridges have different histories depending on the firearm they are used in. The .223 Remington and AR-15 are typically used with the 6.5 Grendel, while the .308 Winchester is used with the 6.5 Creedmoor.

We will begin with the 6.5 Grendel since it was introduced first.

The M-16 rifle and 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge had problems when first used in Vietnam. Still, changes to the rifle and ammunition fixed most of the issues. Many people were still trying to determine how effective the small cartridge would be.

During the last few decades of the 20th century, civilian hunters and the military adopted the AR-15 rifle and the .223 Remington cartridge. This was due to concerns that the rifles and ammunition previously used needed improvement for the task. The .223 Remington was initially designed for target shooting and predator/varmint hunting but developed a reputation for poor performance on deer-sized games.

Although the AR-15 was not initially popular in the United States, it offered several advantages to shooters, which led to its eventual popularity. More potent cartridges than the.223 Remington were created by designers, but they were still compatible with AR-15 rifles. Additional cartridges on this list include the.450 Bushmaster,.458 SOCOM,.300 Blackout, 6.8 Remington SPC (also called the 6.8 SPC), and the.50 Beowulf.

Bill Alexander designed the 6.5 Grendel in 2002 to fill the same need as the .50 Beowulf. Alexander developed a successful and effective cartridge that performs well in AR platforms because the 6.5mm PPC case is related to the.220 Russian and the 7.62x39mm cartridges.

The 6.5 Grendel cartridge is more powerful than the .223 Remington, making it an excellent choice for shooters and hunters who want a bit more power in their AR-15s.

The 6.5 Creedmoor was developed by Dave Emary and Dennis DeMille of Hornady Manufacturing with the goal of competition shooting. They sought to create a cartridge that would be accurate with less recoil and wind drift, as well as having a flatter trajectory than the .308 Winchester which had been dominating competitive shooting for some time.

They aimed to shoot .264″ bullets in mind and modified a .30 Thompson Center (.30 TC) case to do so. In other words, the cartridge was designed to use propellants in the 4350 class, which have a relatively large case capacity. This design could also hold longer and heavier bullets with a high ballistic coefficient without protruding into the powder column. Additionally, the cartridge could still fit into a short action magazine.

The new cartridge, compared to the.308 Winchester, had less recoil, a flatter trajectory, and higher resistance to wind drift, just as Mary and DeMille had hoped. The 6.5 Creedmoor was unveiled in 2008 and was named after the Creedmoor Matches. It was an instant success with competition shooters.

More and more people appreciate the advantages of the cartridge, so the 6.5 Creedmoor is also gaining widespread acceptance for big game hunting.

6.5 Grendel vs. 6.5 Creedmoor: Cartridge Sizes?

It’s crucial to consider several factors, including size, rim diameter, and ammo capacity, when selecting which 6.5 cartridge is the best option for your needs. The 6.5 Grendel was created to fit into an AR-15 with a case that is 2.26 inches long, whereas the 6.5 Creedmoor needs a rifle that can hold a round the size of a.308 Winchester, which is 2.825 inches long.

Additionally, the 6.5 Creedmoor has a rim diameter of.473 inches compared to the.308 Winchester’s.441 inches, allowing it to handle more ammo and have higher maximum average pressures than the 6.5 Grendel. Ultimately, either of these cartridges may be a good fit for your needs based on your intended use and preferences; nonetheless, it’s essential to consider all factors before making your purchase selection to ensure that you receive exactly what you’re looking for from your firearm setup.

6.5 Creedmoor vs 6.5 Grendel Ballistics

When contrasting the two rounds, keep in mind that the 6.5 Grendel was created to perform better than the.223 Remington from an AR-15 while the 6.5 Creedmoor was created to specifically outperform the.308 Winchester. There is a significant difference in performance between the 6.5 Grendel and 6.5 Creedmoor, just as there is between the

.223 Remington and the .308 Winchester.

A 6.5 Creedmoor load will have 8-11″ less bullet drop at 500 yards than a 6.5 Grendel load and will retain approximately 20-50% more energy down range. At 200 yards, the 143gr 6.5 Creedmoor load impressively outperforms the 6.5 Grendel in terms of energy. So while the Creedmoor is better at long ranges, the difference is not as significant at shorter ranges.

Importance of Magazines

After multiple instances where my magazine failed to function properly, my local FFL advised me that it is imperative to use high-quality magazines.

I always have a couple of extra magazines for each of my guns from various manufacturers.  Having a lot on hand will be beneficial even though they are fair, especially if there is another big shortage, like in 2013. 

It is a specialized cartridge, the 6.5 Grendel. I think highly of its abilities. Demand for this cartridge is lower compared to other cartridges like the 5.56 and the 7.62 NATO. While they’re still available, I suggest getting your 6.5 Grendel a few premium mags. I prefer to have at least 6-10 high-quality magazines per magazine-fed rifle.

Parts of the Magazine


The part of the magazine where the ammunition rests. The follower is pushed upwards by the spring. Which enables the follower to push the rounds up and into the magazine. The tension of the spring will always push the follower upwards to feed rounds into the chamber consistently.

Regarding the 6.5 Grendel vs 6.5 Creedmoor debate, the follower is an important consideration. The Grendel uses a polymer follower while the Creedmoor uses a steel follower. The polymer follower is lighter and more flexible than the steel one, which can be beneficial for feeding rounds into the chamber more consistently. However, the steel follower is more durable


The spring helps push the follower up so that you can feed rounds into your AR. A properly working spring is critical for consistently feeding your AR cartridges. A magazine with a heavy-duty, heat-tempered spring is a good choice.

When selecting a spring for your AR15 magazines, you should consider the type of ammunition you are using. A standard-weight spring is sufficient if you are using standard .223/5.56 NATO rounds. However, suppose you use heavier rounds such as 6.5 Grendel or 6.5 Creedmoor. In that case, you must use a heavier-duty spring to ensure reliable feeding and ejection of the rounds. It is important to note that some aftermarket springs may not be compatible with certain firearms, so it is best to check with the manufacturer before purchasing any springs for your AR15 magazines. 

 Floor Plate

The floor plate is the bottom plate of the magazine that connects to the spring. It forces the follower upwards at all times.

The floor plate is a vital magazine component, as it helps keep the rounds in place and allows them to feed properly. The floor plate should be considered when choosing between 6.5 Grendel and 6.5 Creedmoor cartridges.

The 6.5 Grendel has a shorter case length than the 6.5 Creedmoor, which means that the floor plate must be shorter to accommodate the shorter rounds. The 6.5 Creedmoor has a longer case length, requiring a longer floor plate to ensure proper feeding and ejection of the rounds.


The internal components of the magazine are encased in a metal or polymer shell. The magazine contains the cartridges that are fed into the gun. The magazine’s section, which the reader directly handles, is responsible for the mag’s general performance. When choosing a material for your project, you must consider its ability to withstand the elements. A magazine that needs to be made better will get dented and misshapen when dropped and can cause problems with loading later.

Buyer’s Guide for the Best 6.5 Magazines

Build Material

Most AR-15 magazines are sheathed with metal or aluminum alloy. 6061-T6 aluminum is commonly in use as it is sturdy, or a combination of both aluminum and polymer may be employed. Synthetic material is usually a more beneficial choice than steel or aluminum for shell structure because it is lighter and more adjustable. It can handle sizeable volumes of shots for an inexpensive rate.

Build Quality

A good magazine has a high-quality metal spring and metal followers. This text discusses ensuring that the rounds will feed into the firing chamber. One way to do this is by using a magazine. Some premium options include a stainless steel spring with a polymer or aluminum anti-tilt follower. This is to ensure that your ammunition is appropriately aligned and ready to fire when you need it. These magazines are more expensive, but you will get a durable magazine that will last for a long time.

Ease of Ejection

Although it might be overlooked, you must guarantee your magazine has effortless ejection from your AR. In a shootout, the last thing you need is to struggle to swap your magazine. This can be prevented by frequently practicing changing magazines so it can be done instinctively. If you activate the mag-release button on a magazine, it should come out simply.

The mag should fall out of the AR without any help or problems.


Dropping a magazine can misalign the cartridges and potentially introduce debris, leading to problems while firing.

A quality magazine will be level on a flat surface, possess a surface that grips, or have ridges across the body that prevent slipping. The camera’s formation makes it uncomplicated to keep steady, even in tough climatic conditions. If you typically don gloves when filming, search for a magazine with further grooves. This will furnish you with more expanse to grasp when replacing your magazine.

Other Important Factors


Highgrade magazines are designed to provide reliable feeding of rounds into the gun, and one of the most important features they offer is anti-tilt technology. This technology prevents rounds from jamming and ensures they are fed into the gun correctly. This is especially important when it comes to 6.5 cartridges like the Grendel and Creedmoor, as these cartridges require precise loading in order

Corrosion Resistant Coating

Consistent use in the field will cause wear and tear on your magazine–to keep your AR-15 running optimally, and it’s important to safeguard against surface erosion and corrosion. Rain or high humidity levels can cause rusting of magazines and guns.

Review Your State Laws

Adherence to all national, state, and local regulations is important. Exercise caution in your actions; for instance, some states, such as Illinois, New York, and California, have stringent gun control laws that apply to AR-style weapons.

In addition to controlling the gun, these regulations can confine the quantity of ammunition it can contain. Since 2000, acquiring or introducing large-capacity magazines in California has been prohibited. California has ascertained that something over 10 rounds is excessively large for an AR. 

How Many Magazines Is Too Many?

Regarding magazines, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how many is too many. It depends on your individual needs and preferences. For example, if you’re a competitive shooter, you may need more magazines than someone who uses a firearm for recreational shooting.

There is no downside to storing more magazines than you currently need. 

Captain Hunter is a seasoned hunting mentor with over 20 years of experience in the field. His passion began as a young man on trips with his father and grandfather in the Colorado mountains. Today, he shares his unmatched skills in survival, tracking, and marksmanship through his website CaptainHunter.com. When he's not volunteering with youth hunting programs, you can find Captain Hunter providing expert hunting tips, gear reviews, and answers to your most pressing questions. His decades of experience make him the trusted guide to help any outdoorsman master the sport.

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