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6.5 Grendel vs. .243 Winchester - hmmm

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Newtosavage, Nov 20, 2018.

  1. Newtosavage

    Newtosavage Member

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    Now that I'm loading for a 6.5 Grendel, I came across some data that created one of those "huh, would you look at that" moments for me...

    Looking at the Hornady ballistics chart, the downrange energy of a 123 grain SST from the 6.5 Grendel and the 100 grain Interlock from the .243 are nearly identical. That really surprised me. I've loaded for .243 for years and always liked the caliber - especially for our little TX deer. I just didn't realize until now that the 6.5 Grendel out of my 22" bolt gun was so darn close in performance.

    https://press.hornady.com/assets/pcthumbs/tmp/1410994454-2017-Standard-Ballistics-Chart.pdf
     
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  2. adcoch1

    adcoch1 Member

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    It was the similarity to a few really good deer calibers that got me into the 6.5 Grendel, I now have two rifles and neither has been fired yet! But my excuse is just being out of the hospital and needing a new range since my old one closed. I think the Grendel has a place, and should use powder a bit more efficiently than some old standbys...
     
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  3. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    The Grendel is a very capable cartridge, so don't take the following as pure derision, but the comparison you've referenced isn't very appropriate to classify the 243win against the Grendel. For cartridges in the same pressure class, there's no replacement for displacement, and the 243win will chug about 33% more powder than the Grendel, and given a fair comparison, the results at range will show it.

    That Hornady chart is comparing a relatively low velocity 243win load, with a blunt nose cup and core bullet with a BC of .410G1 against a relatively potent 6.5 Grendel load with a poly tipped bullet running a .510G1 BC. It's not much to ask a 243win to push a 100grn bullet over 3,000fps, but the Hornady Interlock load only runs a stated 2,960, and that round tipped Interlock sheds velocity like a tequila laced sorority girl. Comparatively, the 123 SST is about as slippery as a 123 can get for a Grendel bullet. Also, consider the basis for your comparison - Kinetic Energy. As a bullet sheds velocity, it loses KE even faster - a bullet which loses 10% of it's muzzle velocity has lost ~20% of its Kinetic Energy. Two things will help a bullet hang onto KE downrange - higher contribution by bullet weight than velocity, and high ballistic coefficient to hang onto what little velocity it had.

    Give the 243win a high BC bullet, say, the 108 ELD-M, which will run a .536G1 and leave the station about 2950 without breaking a sweat - at 500yrds, it's sitting on 1100 ft.lbs. Kinetic Energy, to the 123 SST Grendel's 889 ft.lbs. (referencing the hornady 6 creed 108 ELD data and the linked pdf above for the Grendel).

    Here's another visual perspective comparing a 105grn berger Hybrid at 2950fps in a 6 creed (similar specs to that 243win load) against a 6.5 Grendel running the 123 ELD's at 2500. These targets were shot at 875yrds, note the difference in impact splash size. The 6mm Creed is pushing a lot more paint than the 6.5 Grendel. One of these targets swung happily on the chains to indicate impact, one of them wobbled slightly upon impact - you might guess which is which.

    40060914895_71f0ac9fa7_z.jpg

    I love the Grendel, so again, don't misconstrue ballistic facts as Haterade, but facts is facts, the Grendel is capable, but she ain't a 243win.
     
  4. adcoch1

    adcoch1 Member

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    Nice visual Varmenterror! The thing for me was what is happening at 200-300 yards on an animal with common loadings. I will be loading for the Grendel, and don't have a 243, so when I had to choose a light, flatter shooting, low recoil rifle that my kids will most likely hunt with, I went for the Grendel. You are correct though, this is very much a case of good enough for the job, not a real apples to apples comparison.
     
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  5. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    @adcoch1 - there was a “what to get for kids?” thread recently where I shared my affinity for the 6.5 Grendel for said use - or even for adults. The more deer I kill, the more I feel like the .243win should be the MIDDLE GROUND of whitetail cartridges, not the minimum, so lighter cartridges like the Grendel are well within the responsible & ethical envelope. I took my buck last year with a Grendel, might do so again this season. I also bought another 6.5 Grendel barrel to build an upper for my son (now 5) to use for his first deer next year.
     
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  6. Newtosavage

    Newtosavage Member

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    Varminterror, I appreciate your comments. I will say, I'm a .243 fan for deer hunting. I was just taking the two most common factory loads for either caliber - as most folks will choose one or the other of those. What's interesting to me is that the last time I loaded .243, I used the 100 grain Interlock SP as it ended up being the most accurate bullet from that particular Tikka (now owned by my good friend).

    IMO, this further illustrates just how close the 6.5G is to the .243 - with only 211 ft. lbs. less at 500 yards when the Grendel factory load is up against a .243 custom hand load. I suppose the next step would be to compare that custom .243 load against a custom 6.5G load with a higher BC bullet like the 129 Accubond LR, and see how the numbers shake out.

    For all practical purposes - using factory ammo - it's probably a wash given common hunting situations for deer-sized game.

    I will get the chance to test that later this week on deer and pigs, and intend to report back. ;)
     
  7. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I agree. Especially if we're talking about those twisted to shoot bullets heavier than 100 gr.
     
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  8. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    The Grendel can push the 129 NABLR to about 2550-2575, with a BC of .530 (I haven't trued this). Whereas the 243win will push a 105 Hybrid with a .536 BC (call that even) to 3050 - neither of these are primer flattening, abusive loads. The Grendel will run 1,899 ft.lbs. at the muzzle, 946 ft.lbs. at 500. The 243win will be 2,168 ft.lbs. at the muzzle, and retain 1147 ft.lbs. at 500. "Enough is enough," but the 243win has 21% more "enough" at 500, and 15% more "enough" at the muzzle. Comparatively, a 150grn 30-06 load running 2950 at the muzzle (like the Winchester Ballistic Silvertip load I used for about 15yrs), with a .435G1 BC has 2898 ft.lbs. at the muzzle, and 1290 ft.lbs. at 500, only 12% greater than the 243win - so to say the Grendel is "close" to the 243 with a 200ft.lbs. span, 20% difference, is to also say the 243win is "close" to the 30-06, even closer than the 243 & Grendel, which almost any hunter can appreciate just doesn't hold water.

    Don't get me wrong, the Grendel will kill big deer at responsible hunting distances, without making many accommodations - like what might apply for hunting with a 223rem, but as I said above, a 243win, it ain't.

    This is what I knocked down last year with a Grendel, for those who like to criticize steel shooters, as if we don't know what venison tastes like just because we spend all summer practicing with our rifles on targets.

    25058129078_b9047ea07f_z.jpg

    25070111488_562c808047_z.jpg

    38941720601_77c05fdcf5_z.jpg

    spZAnGz.gif
     
  9. Newtosavage

    Newtosavage Member

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    Excellent information. Nope, I'm not saying the 6.5 Grendel is equal to the .243, but it's not as far off as I first thought - which I guess is my point.

    Not surprised at how much energy the '06 loses at 500 yards at all actually. Those short .30's really have pedestrian BC's and therefore downrange ballistics. It's the reason my elk rifle is a 7mm-08 and not a .308 or '06. ;)

    Well I'm all loaded up and it's off to the range tomorrow afternoon. I'm pretty excited for a good session!
     
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  10. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    FWIW;
    Compare the 190gr AccuBond in the ‘06 with RL17 or MRP. (Nosler Reloading Guide #8).
    Same SD, BC as the 140gr 6.5.
    ‘06 with 190gr gets same velocity as 6.5Creed with a 140. More energy the whole way to ground impact.
    Again, you have to compare apples to apples, not apples to oranges.
    The benefit of the 6.5’s are new designs incorporating new technologies.
    The .308win was more efficient due to new powder technology and improved chamber and throat designs. The 6mm and 6.5’creeds take that to the next level using even less powder for less heat and recoil.

    But energy alone doesn’t kill game. It’s the terminal ballistics of the bullet. Most hunting bullets need at least 1,800fps to perform.

    Anecdotal: I was hunting elk in Wyoming with a resident buddy as my guide. We were glassing for elk, and spotted a bedded down muley buck with a remarkable rack. I had my Colt LtRifle in .30/06 with 180gr AB’s. 61.0gr RL22 for chrono’d 2,800+fps. I was sighted for 250yds. Laser said deer was at 360yds and was a 15deg down hill shot. I handed him the rifle and told him to hold on top of deer’s back. He fired! Shot impacted snow over the top of the deer’s back. I asked why he aimed so high. He said because it’s a .30/06! I must have pulled it!
    He couldn’t believe a Thirty Oh Six could shoot that flat. His only previous experience was with his grandfathers Remington 742 and 180gr Corlokt round nose, sighted in for 100yds.
    Seems a LOT of people have same misconceptions.
     
  11. Newtosavage

    Newtosavage Member

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    Indeed they do.

    After my time at the range this afternoon, my interest in .243's is now history. 2.4" group at 300 yards with the 6.5 Grendel 123 SST, still traveling over 2K fps. Yup. that otta' do it ;)
     
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  12. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    I agree @GooseGestapo - the 150grn example I used isn't a highly efficient round. But MOST hunters have experienced a 30-06 or 308 killing deer with 150's, as they used to be "all the rage." I'm throwing 178 ELD's out of my '06's these days after giving up on the 200's and 208's. But even an inefficient 150grn pill in the 30-06 hits a LOT harder than a 105 out of a 243win, and the gap between the 30-06 and 243win is twice as wide as that between the Grendel and 243.
     
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  13. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    What's your 243 shoot? Is this one of those - only accurate rifles are interesting - things? Or just interested in getting the job done with less?
     
  14. Newtosavage

    Newtosavage Member

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    Well, my good friend talked me out of my Tikka .243 a year ago. Ever since, I've been missing that rifle. Now, I have a perfectly good (better than good) Tikka 7mm-08 that has dropped deer with efficiency, but I find a one-gun solution a little boring for a guy who enjoys reloading.

    And yes, I'm squarely in the "only accurate rifles are interesting" camp. Especially for hunting rifles. I actually demand more accuracy from my hunting rifles because I've been on too many long tracking jobs in my life.

    Regarding your "hard hitting" comments... I was loading that .243 with 100 grain Interbond SP's while I had it. So that's where the surprise came from when I compared the 6.5's 123 grain SST's to those 100 grain interlocks. There just isn't that much difference.
     
  15. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Gotcha - I was assuming you owned a 243 also, makes more sense now that I realize you were considering a purchase.

    That 500yrd comparison is really an arrow racing a wiffle ball. Give both SST's, or give both blunt spire points, or consider them at 200 instead of 500, and things look very different. Those Interbond's are great killing bullets, but like many of their bretheren, cough Core-lokts, cough cough, Power Points, they just weren't made to do their work at 500.

    But what you just experienced is really a great analogy for a LOT of trends happening in the hunting world. Long action cartridges losing favor to short action cartridges, because a better bullet design gets the job done with less powder. Larger calibers losing popularity and smaller calibers gaining favor - again, because technology has improved the abilities of the bullets to deliver. More new hunting rifles being sold in 6.5 Creed than 7mm Rem Mag.... Or a guy dropping from a 7-08 to a 6.5 Grendel...
     
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  16. Newtosavage

    Newtosavage Member

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    Yup.

    But if even if you take the 95 grain SST in the .243, it doesn't do any better than the 123 SST in the 6.5 Grendel in terms of downrange energy.

    Along those lines of newer and better, I was floored by the selection of 6.5 CM factory ammo I saw at our small-town Wal-mart today, and just how CHEAP it was! Two of the boxes were under $20 and one was just $17!

    That sure didn't take long! Meanwhile, what I consider the ultimate all-around hunting caliber (7mm-08) still suffers from overpriced ammo and biased labels. It's pretty stunning to me that the .308 and .243 (and now 6.5 CM) enjoy so much popularity, but the best of them all in terms of all-around capability - the 7mm-08 - continues to be labeled as a gun for "youth and women." LOL That's just crazy.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2018
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  17. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    Yep, whether you like the cartridge or not the 6.5C is currently one of best choices on the market for hunting or target, simply because it has some of the best ammo available for it.
     
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  18. horsemen61

    horsemen61 Member

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  19. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    It’s really pretty straight forward - you’re comparing a ~3000fps load with a .355 BC to a ~2500fps load with a .500BC. So this is kinda proof of something I say a lot - you can’t outrun aerodynamics.

    That Interlock load you started with has a better ballistic coefficient than the 95 SST.

    Hornady made that 95 SST (and most of their 243win loads, it seems) with a short radius ogive to keep the bullet length down, to stabilize in some brands of rifles with a slow twist.
     
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  20. Ks5shooter

    Ks5shooter Member

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    I like my .243:thumbup::thumbup: don't see a need for the 6.5 IMHO IMG_1141.JPG
    IMG_1143.JPG
     
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  21. Newtosavage

    Newtosavage Member

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    Not sure what else to say. That's one factory load vs. another - same brand and bullet.

    I give.

    Now, something else I can't figure out is how the 123 grain 6.5 SST has a higher BC than the 129 grain 6.5 SST. That doesn't make sense.
     
  22. Newtosavage

    Newtosavage Member

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    I do know this - the two critters I shot with my 6.5 G this morning didn't really care that it wasn't a .243. Neither one took a step.
     
  23. horsey300

    horsey300 Member

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    Oddly the 123 is longer than the eldm, maybe that plays a part ;). But to interject, the 95 SST is a low BC bullet, it would be a more effective comparison if both were compared with ballistic tips or accubond loads (factory or hand loaded makes no difference as long as they're the same parameters) I know a howa 10 twist that doesn't love btips but likes the sst, profile, and length make a difference, swapping from a game king to an accubond (6mm 100-90) doesn't change the numbers too much but throw in a vld/gamechanger type and then things become more obvious. Similar to a slow twist 6-284 that can't handle the 95 btip, excels with flat bases (but they get to 500 yds fast mind you) and feeding it an 85 interbond, or 85 speer bthp and things change fast again. Apples to apples......the sst profile changes within its own cartridge with different weights, using it in another cartridge is sometimes an orange.
    If we're talking strictly hunting, then the 123 has an SD of .252, a 6mm is looking at a 103 for .249 and the BC is very acceptable. If SD needs to be closer, the 105 is .254, and the hunting vld is still pulling .545 bc. I've argued in favor of the Grendel, and I'm still a fan, but I'm not in agreement that it can step up with the bigger boys any more than I could say that the spc compares to the Creedmoor, 7-08, .270. (BTW spc fan as well for the record). Even the .224 Valk(or fast twist .22-250) takes a place in this standoff with appropriate 70 or 75 gr loads
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018
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  24. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    Well color me surprised. I was going to reply that you can get 243 ammo with just as good of ballistic coefficient as the Grendel bullet but I looked through all of the .243 factory ammo on midwayusa, and you actually can’t. The best factory 243 ammo I could find was in the .4 to .42 ballistic coefficient range. The 103 gr eld-x bullet is the best I could find for a hunting bullet at .512, but Hornady doesn’t factory load it.

    And all these years I’ve been listening to self righteous people drone on and on about how a 243 is better than my 25/06 because 25 caliber bullets are wiffle balls that fall out of the air. The 120 grain btsp’s I shoot in my 25-06 are .468 BC!!!
     
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  25. cdb1

    cdb1 Member

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    I will stick to my .243 and 6.5x55 simply because I like them.
     
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