Effective range for 6.5 Grendel?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by brewer12345, Jan 12, 2022.

  1. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    What is a realistic effective range for deer with 6.5 Grendel? I'd probably be working with the 123 grain Hornady SSTs and a 20" barrel on an AR platform if I go down this rabbit hole.
     
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  2. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    I don't have one, but I would say about 300 yards assuming you are up to making hits that far. It will shoot much farther than that, but you will be dropping below 2000 fps somewhere between 300 and 350 yards
     
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  3. IdaD

    IdaD Member

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    I doubt that bullet would still be going 2000 fps at 300 yards out of a 20" barrel, but that's probably still a good ballpark number for max range on a deer. Maybe 250 if you're a little more conservative.

    Any of the AR platform calibers have some limitations in hunting applications relative to even fairly light calibers chambered in bolt guns.
     
  4. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    PerryHubbling Jan. 12, 2022 04.02 PM.jpg
     
  5. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    Yeah, when I look at the ballistics of the factory Hornady SST it looks on paper like 1000 ft lb out to around 400 yards. The trouble is that I have no experience shooting such a diminutive bullet at game, so I really have no idea whether the 1000 ft lb number equals real world clean kills. If we are talking about 250 yards, that isn't much farther than the 200 yards I would go for with a 350 Legend, so it isn't worth the trouble. If it really is a 400 yard deer cartridge, that is another story.
     
  6. Steve in Allentown

    Steve in Allentown Member

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    Effective range requires a definition so comparisons can be made between calibers. The definition I use for hunting cartridges is the distance at which the energy of the round drops below 1,000 ft lbs. Using the chart above for a 123gr bullet with a muzzle velocity of 2500 fps I'd be comfortable shooting a deer that was at almost 400 yards.

    In comparison, a 6.8 SPC cartridge with a 120gr bullet handloaded to 2500 fps is lethal deer medicine at 300 yards and I wouldn't take a shot past that distance because of my rule about having 1,000 ft lbs of energy on target.

    This definition is just a rough guide and is in no way definitive.
     
  7. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    The grendel was designed to stay supersonic to 1200 yards, where it outperformed the 7.62x51 and 5.56 on standard body armor.

    As others have said, for "effective" range i would say about 400 yards on a 250lb creature. Effective range in my definition would be 100% reliable takedown on the quarry in question.

    I love the grendel, it does what it was designed to do perfectly. Mine is an AR with a Satern 24" barrel.
     
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  8. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    I am not sure what you consider to be a "clean" kill, but I will try to address this anyway.

    The 1000 ft lb (and more) number does not equal real world clean kills. Plenty of people hunt with less powerful calibers and do just fine. The 1000 ft lbs is just some arbitrary number somebody came up with at some point that now has become sort of ingrained as the magical threshold point when there is no magical threshold, though more energy certainly is usually better than less energy, if you are looking for a side to err on, right?

    All other things being equal (which they rarely ever are), as you drop in caliber size and energy on target, several things come into play including smaller holes, less bullet expansion, less tissue damage, and less chance for getting the benefit of hydrostatic shock to bring down an animal immediately with a non-direct CNS shot. Non-CNS larger holes tend to result in animals bleeding out more or suffocating faster than smaller holes. Larger holes with greater damage have a greater likelihood of damaging vital structures that potentially would be missed by smaller holes. With smaller and less powerful calibers, your need for shooting precision increases in order to make 'clean' kills.

    So another factor comes into play. This is bullet performance. How much will a given bullet expand and penetrate to damage tissue and how quickly does this happen? I would happily take a good expanding Grendel round over a non-expanding .308 round, for example, even though the .308 is a larger caliber impact with more energy on target than the Grendel at the same distance.

    While I am not a big believer in "energy" except where it relates to bullet performance, some people think energy is what kills and put a lot of stock into energy figures. I am not here to debate whether or not energy kills as I am not trying to change you way of thinking, but if you think energy on target is important, be careful how you evaluate this. There is a particular YouTuber that makes a big deal about how much energy was delivered to the target when he talks about his bullets. "Energy delivered to the target" is made based in a calculation of bullet weight, muzzle velocity, and distance of the target from the muzzle. However, where this guy has a problem is that he fails to understand the difference between bullets that arrive with X energy and stay within the target (depositing or dumping all their X energy) and bullets that arrive with X energy and zip right through the target (X - Energy bullet exited with). So if you are an energy guy, you don't want bullets zipping right through.

    Some people definitely want entry AND exit holes to promote good bleeding out that more readily produces blood trails. Maybe this is what you like and then you don't want a bullet that dumps all the energy inside the animal because there will only be an entry hole, right?

    I don't have a lot of experience with Grendel Hornady SST 123 gr. beyond 250 yards, but inside 250 yards, the poorest performance just seems to be good (although irregular) expansion much like a softpoint and the best performance seems to be as a deep penetrating frangible round. I have had these rounds often overpenetrate (exit) hogs up to 225 lbs on a broadside shoulder shot (distances inside 200 yards) but the bullets have usually fragmented along the way and only part of the bullet is exiting.

    What I would consider to be a clean kill is any kill that results in a DRT (dropped dead where it was hit) CNS shot, either by direct damage to the upper central nervous system (bullet impacting upper spinal cord, brain, brain stem) or indirectly (Upper CNS damage produced by hydraulic and/or hydrostatic shock where the bullet does not directly damage those tissues). The Grendel has only what I would consider to be a limited ability to deliver indirect CNS hydrostatic shock kills on large game. Heavier, higher velocity rounds tend to do a better job with this. Only rarely will I get a hydrostatic shock kill on a hog where the bullet impacts vertically lower down in the chest cavity, nowhere near the spine, and yet the hog drops dead in place. I tend to get a lot more of what look like indirect hydraulic kills where the bullet passes next to the upper spine where the wound channel includes the spine, but there is no actually bullet impact damage to the spine.
     
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  9. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    Heh, my last three deer have been killed with 54 and 58 caliber round balls, so most of my recent experience has been with big, slow moving projectiles that do not have impressive energy stats on paper (but they make a big, freaking hole and generally penetrate like crazy). I reference 1000 ft lb because that seems to be what people use as a rule of thumb with modern, fast moving bullets. I am thinking about the Grendel because some of the places I hunt deer are very wide open spaces where distances can be on the long side. A 30-06 will do the job if need be, but I was thinking that a handier, lower recoiling rifle would be a nice option. I'd say a clean kill is one in which the deer doesn't run more than 100 yards or so.

    Can't say I much care about an exit wound. I've had deer that did most of their bleeding internally and expired plenty quickly. I don't hunt the super thick stuff and can track well enough to find a downed deer with a scant blood trail. I just don't want them running too far after a boiler room shot.
     
  10. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    Actually, now that I look around I would be more interested in working with the 125 grain Partitions, not that I think they would be easy to find. They need 1800 FPS for expansion which is probably where I would cut it off range-wise.
     
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  11. Armorer 101

    Armorer 101 Member

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    I also have a 6.5 Grendel and ended up with four 6.8s, by a mistake, was given two 6.8 barrels….. 6.8 in a 1-11.5 twist is a waste of time, only shoots 90 gr bullets, yea….
    My Grendel with 120 SMKs at a BC of .421, the 123 SST is .422 will do 2,588 fps with 2015 BR. The Grendel really is a 4-500 yard deer cartridge with the SST design, soft spire point front, solid rear, and its high BC. With a 6.5 bullet the general 30 cal mind set of 165 to 180 g bullets simply does not apply, especially where the deer are fairly small, like here in FL.

    Just talked to a fellow that had his son shoot a deer with his Grendel bolt gun at 150 yards with the 123 SST, blew the heart out the back side. DRT.
     
  12. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    I am in Colorado where the deer can be huskier, but I generally only seem to get doe tags. That means they tend to run about 150 pounds on the hoof, not well over 200 like the bucks. When I chase elk it is 30-06 with 165 Partitions.
     
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  13. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    There’s an article out there from maybe 10yrs ago in which the author took an elk at 750yrds with a Grendel…

    I wouldn’t hesitate, given sufficient support to send the shot on point, to send a Grendel pill out to 500 on deer. I’ve sent it out there several times on coyotes, the results would keep me happy on deer as well.
     
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  14. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    I didn't know they made a partition in that size. I could get into the idea of taking deer with that or a 120 gr gold dot.
     
  15. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    I recently finished up some testing of 125 gr. Partitions on hogs. Grendel muzzle velocity is about mid range in their expansion envelope. When I was able to recover the bullets, I found that they had not expanded fully (not peeled back fully), but generally worked as described. Penetration was from 13" to 24" with the latter being on lengthwise shots. I had one bullet that failed to expand, it was on a hog shot multiple times and so I could not control for what the bullet hit or even which trajectory it took through the hog.

    This video won't play here because it is an 18 and over video because it shows necropsy stuff, but it was my final Grendal 125 gr. Partition video.
     
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  16. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    I take it you would rather use SSTs or something else?

    I lean toward partitions just because they are great in 30-06, but perhaps Grendel isn't the best application.
     
  17. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    I don't think the 125 gr. Partition is the best fit for the Grendel, but it isn't a bad fit. I have certainly tried worse hunting rounds. I hope to be trying the 100 gr. Partitions in the near future.

    I am not eating the meat, so I like a bullet that does a lot of destruction. My favorites are ...
    Hornady SST 123 gr.
    Federal Speer TNT 90 gr.
    Druid Hill Armory loaded Maker Rex 110 gr. (all copper)
    Precision Firearms loaded Berger VLD-Hunting 130 gr.

    All of these bullets tend to come apart, often very impressively. The SST is just a good, common standard. The Federal Speer TNT 90 gr. is a 'varmint' round that works very well on hogs out to 200 yards or so with a higher velocity, flatter trajectory, and often total or near total destruction of the bullet in the process. The Maker Rex bullets also come apart and create a goodly amount of havoc and are non-lead. If I have to go to a non-lead bullet, this will be my choice (at this time, anyway). The Berger VLD-Hunting 130 did NOT perform as advertised (enter, expand violently, dump all energy inside the body, not exit). Instead it tended to create large, exceptionally nasty wound channels with lots of pieces left behind and exit wounds. It was a good penetrator. What I didn't like about it was that the velocity was lower (heavier bullet) and the trajectory not as flat. When PF was making these, they were fairly expensive compared to getting Hornady or Federal Speer TNT.

    Of course, my likes or dislikes are not at the expense of somebody else's preferred bullets. It simply all depends on what sort of performance you are looking for. Quite likely if I was hunting, I would end up shooting Speer Gold Dot 120s. They are a consistent performing softpoint round with good weight retention and generally holding together well. They are also fairly inexpensive.
     
  18. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    Thanks. I tend to like bullets that hold together and retain the bulk of their weight since I am eating what I shoot. The Gold dots sound like the ticket. Maybe interlocks or interbonds as well in the 120s weight range.
     
  19. mshootnit

    mshootnit Member

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    900 ft. lbs. of energy is a noteworthy ethical standard for deer hunting with rifles, and it is a legal standard in at least one state as well. The Grendel so outfitted, holds 900 ft. lbs. to just beyond 400 yds.
    If the shooting is to be done in the field without scope adjustment then we should consider Max Point Blank Range, which for the Grendel so outfitted, is 293 yds given a generous 9" target zone.
    So is it adequate? Yes.
    With the GrendeI I would consider 300 yds to be max range for deer in general terms. I would be prepared for a follow up shot at that range. Deer do vary quite a bit in size a d presentations can vary as well, along with environmental conditions. Wind, diurnal lift etc.
    6.8 SPC holds right there with the Grendel actually having a little more energy until around 300 yds. 243 Winchester also has a little more energy at ranges where most deer are taken. I consider the Grendel/SPC/X39 to be sort of the minimum practical level for general deer hunting. The 5.56 can produce spectacular short range kills or even good kills to 275 yds with the right bullet and shot placement. For example, a stiff handloaded 60 gr. Partition out of a 22" barrel.
     
  20. Wolfshead

    Wolfshead Member

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    Very interested in this one.
    I’ve been thinking Grendel for a bit.
     
  21. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    Unfortunately this seems to be a cartridge where brass is rare as hen's teeth.
     
  22. BigBlue 94

    BigBlue 94 Member

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    I got in on grendel early and have a decent stock. But yeah, i rarely see anything grendel lately. Brownells did have some wolf classic steel case ammo a couple weeks ago.

    Not 100% sure but it might be able to be formed from X39 cases.
     
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  23. brewer12345

    brewer12345 Member

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    I think the impending end of Russian steel case imports has made brass scarce. Starline still catalogues it, so I imagine it will be around for the long term, it just may be a while before I can source brass if I go this route. Its not like I don't have a 30-06 that can reach out farther and with a lot more power if necessary. I am just thinking about the next 20 years of hunting as I get older and need to temper the recoil of my shooting and hunting after the first run in with shoulder trouble.
     
  24. HowieG

    HowieG Member

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    You served with 67th Armor?
     
  25. Steve in Allentown

    Steve in Allentown Member

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    Most affirm. Specifically 2nd Battalion during the 70s and 80s at Hood with 2AD.
     
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