It seems like Alexander Arms has been working on a steel case 6.5mm Grendel load forever. When it was finally released about a year ago, the steel case 6.5mm Grendel was initially incredibly hard to find. Alexander Arms told me that when they received a shipment, it usually sold out in 2 days! Recently that has changed, and the Wolf Performance Ammunition (WPA) steel case 6.5mm Grendel is now more common.
So, what’s so good about the steel case 6.5mm Grendel ammo? For starters, it only costs 22 cents a round. Its 100 grain FMJ-BT projectile has a rapid yaw cycle providing good terminal ballistics, and it has mild felt recoil even when firing from a short barrel. It has an effective range of up to 700 meters with good wind resistance. It’s optimized for the shorter carbine barrel lengths. Plus the accuracy is better than the Russian made steel case 5.56mm ammo.
I tested the new 100 grain WPA steel cased 6.5 Grendel in three AR-15s chambered in 6.5mm Grendel. Two of those had 18-inch and 16-inch stainless steel button rifled barrels with mid-length gas systems, and the last one has a now discontinued 14.5-inch chrome-lined Alexander Arms barrel with carbine length gas system.
18-in barrel: 2578.8 fps Avg.
16-in barrel: 2552.1 fps Avg.
14.5-in barrel: 2433.8 fps Avg.
18-in and 16-in barrel: 1.6 inch 5-shot group avg at 100 yds.
14.5-in barrel: 1.9-2.1 inch 5-shot group avg at 100 yds.
Optic used: Zeiss Conquest DL 3-12x50mm with ADM SPR mount.
AR-15 Lower used for the testings has these components:
– Geissele G2S 2-stage match trigger
– Vltor EMod A5 Stock system
– Magpul MOE+ pistol grip
– Atlas V8 bipod
The cross section of the steel cased 6.5 Grendel round. Besides the steel case, also note the 100 grain FMJ-BT projectile with bi-metal jacket, lead core and a fairly large air cavity in the tip similar to a 5.45mm 7N6.
One of the main factors in making the 6.5mm Grendel affordable is the use of the steel case and it’s loaded by the Barnaul ammunition plant in Russia. During development, Alexander Arms found the lacquer coating to be better for the job than the newer polymer coating found on the majority of WPA ammunition.
During my field testing, I found the steel cased 6.5mm Grendel ammo uses a very clean burning powder, which is a surprise for Russian manufactured ammo. Later, I found out the powder is actually made in Belgium and specially blended just for the 6.5mm Grendel.
A highly modified Vepr 6.5 Grendel custom built by Definitive Arms (DA) in St. Petersburg, Florida. This DA rifle features their signature magazine conversion that takes 6.5 Grendel AR-15 magazines. The optic is a Hi-Lux CMR4 1-4x24mm tactical scope mounted on a RS Regulate AK side mount. We shot this out to 600 yards with easy hits on steel torso plates.