Longish range ar caliber

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by mountain_man, Jan 28, 2020.

  1. mountain_man

    mountain_man Member

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    I had a chance to shoot a 6.5 Creedmoor at 600 yards recently, and have been bit by the bug to shoot at that distance(possibly out to 1000 at some point) and I would like to do it on an ar15 platform. I currently have a 16 inch 1:9 556 upper. I can't shoot the heavy long range bullets out of it, as it won't stabilize.

    I have been on the fence whether I should look into another faster twist and longer barrel 223 or if I should go for a 6.5 grendel, 224 valkyrie, or something else all together.
     
  2. adcoch1

    adcoch1 Member

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    I bought a 6.5 grendel barrel to try it out but haven't put an optic on the upper yet. If paper punching or prairie dogging is the goal I'd be looking at the valkrie or a 26" fast twist 223...
     
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  3. JeeperCreeper

    JeeperCreeper Member

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    Grendel. I have one. It's cool.

    Went with Atheris Rifle Company. I'll keep recommending them until they are popular.

    I would skip Valkyrie just because of the internet gossip as I have no experience.

    But you can always try your 5.56 at long range and see how it goes.
     
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  4. LoonWulf
    • Contributing Member

    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    Grendel here as well.
    I shot mine to 400 expecting first round hits on stuff down to about 6" and usually make 2nd or 3rd round hits a ways out farther.
     
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  5. js8588

    js8588 Member

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    Grendel
     
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  6. farmerboy78

    farmerboy78 Member

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    I have had both. Both, will perform different tasks. The only one I miss is the grendel. To me it's a more rounded cartridge that can be used for hunting and target shooting.
     
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  7. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I've shot out to 600 with 8 twist 223's and 50 gr bullets, was able to keep 3/4 MOA. They were 22" barrel bolt rifles however. So I know 223 is good for at least 600 even in your rifle, you don't have to shoot the longer heavier bullets until you get past 600.

    I don't pretend to be an expert at this, but while the 6.5 Grendel is going to be better, I don't see it as a game changer. If you want to shoot at 1000 I think you'll be a lot happier with something that will take the 6.5 CM round. Or something similar. The Grendel is a better option for hunting at moderate ranges. It still won't handle bullets heavy enough to have the high BC's you need for real long range shooting.
     
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  8. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    6.5 Grendel if you do not reload. 243 LBC/6mmAR if you do reload (6mm Grendel variants).

    The Valkyrie is only marginally better than a 223/5.56. What a 223/5.56 can do at 1150 when port fed, the Valkyrie can do at 1300 from the mag with the 80-90’s. If you’re shooting the 77’s, forget it, 100yrds difference and both feed from the mag. It’s not as much of a step up in performance as the Grendels, but it IS a step up in cost and big step down in availability.

    The Grendel cartridges offer massive advantages at 1,000 yards over the 5.56/223. It’s absolutely true that a 223/5.56 can easily play at 600 without much issue, but things become exceptionally challenging around 800, and almost laughable at 1100 compared to the 6.5 Grendel or 6mm versions. It goes without saying, the extra ~20% case capacity for the Grendel over the 223/5.56 is a big advantage in terms of what can be done with these rounds, and the extra bullet weight isn’t trivial in terms of fighting wind and impact indication. Paper games at 1,000 yards is tough with any cartridge unless you have target cams, but even with steel targets, you’re talking about a LOT more vulnerability to wind on the little 22cal bullets compared to the 6 and 6.5mm pills. None of the AR cartridges will hit a big steel target hard enough to really rock the boat like a standard short action cartridge, but the small 22cal pills, especially anything mag fed, won’t give indication at range nearly as much as the 6mm or 6.5 Grendel. A 77 SMK or 73 ELD in a 7 twist 24” barrel will get you to 1,000, but you’ll have a lot more headaches than with a Grendel.

    It’s also true to say a 6.5 Creedmoor is a better choice for long range shooting than a Grendel, but you’re starting the “a little more is a little better” game. The Grendel is cozy at 1200 yards, and will get there with 30% less powder, two pounds less rifle, and about 2/3 as much recoil. Buying or building a long range AR-15 will also typically cost $500 Less than building a similarly kitted AR-10. If a guy is “serious” about long range shooting, defining that as 1,000 yards, then the 6.5 creed isn’t the best choice either, nor is a gas gun, whether AR-15 or AR-10 sized, so this discussion is really around defining what brings you joy. With the objective of casually plinking at 1,000 yards with an AR, then I would pick an AR-15 over a 10, and would use a 6mm or 6.5 Grendel to do it (and I actually do exactly this). If 1760 is on your horizon, then an AR-10 in 6 or 6.5 Creedmoor might make sense. But for 1200 yard and shorter plinking, the extra horsepower of the Creedmoor case isn’t worth the extra baggage.

    So yeah, 6 or 6.5 Grendel, depending upon whether you reload or not.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2020
  9. mountain_man

    mountain_man Member

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    thanks for taking the time to post this, it helps a lot. I am not doing any competitions or anything like that. I have 600 yards on my property and a range is supposed to be opening in the next few months near me that can support a thousand yards. My primary purpose since I have never really shot this far is to just have fun shooting steel targets. I would like over time to be able to hit moa sized targets out to 600 at home and eventually out to 1000.

    I know people do it with a 223 but just starting out I think that could use all of the help I can get. I did try my ar out to 400 ish and with the light breeze wasn't real happy with it. I know any bullet will be affected by wind, but I saw how much it moved at 400 and think i may be better off with a different cartridge. I am really itching to get a new upper, hence the reason that I am not wanting to go with anything outside of the ar15 family and I don't reload so the 6.5 grendel sounds like my best option.
    Next question. What barrel length should I be looking for on the grendel. I see 18 inch seems to be the most common, or do I need to shoot for a longer barrel. I don't know enough about the grendel ballistics to make that call
     
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  10. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Personally, given the primary task of 600-1000 yard shooting, I would build a 20-22” rifle. Calibrating this: I would not build an 18”, but might build a 24”. Lots of folks talk about 16” and 18” Grendels because “there’s not much difference in velocity by adding length.” But there IS a difference, about 25fps/inch, so adding 4” gives you an extra 90-100fps which isn’t insignificant for these rounds in this pursuit.

    My latest 6.5 Grendel I built for myself a few years ago was a 20”, which wasn’t a bad length, but I’d go back to 22-24” for my next one. My new 243LBC (6 Grendel) is 24” (roughly equivalent bore volume to a 20” 6.5 Grendel), and some days I wish it were 26” (22” 6.5mm bore equivalent) just as some days I wished my 20” 6.5 Grendel were 22-24”.

    My latest 20” 6.5 Grendel, built with the same primary intent you’ve discussed - casual shooting 600-1200 yards in my backyard range.

    495B6F9A-BDF4-4DCD-A8DC-061D03157F85.jpeg
     
  11. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Revisiting your current rifle, however, since I feel remiss recommending a new upper/rifle while your current rig should/could/might work for most of your needs - while I can’t say what YOUR 1:9” 16” 223/5.56 AR-15 can accomplish, nor can I say what YOU can accomplish with it, a 1:9” 16” 5.56 carbine capable of sub-moa 100yrd accuracy should be able to stabilize the 69 SMK and 73 ELD-m and shoot 600yrds with a smile on its face. Having 600yrds at home and 1000 nearby might change things a little - I shoot a lot more at home than I do driving elsewhere. A 6.5 Creed Ruger American or Precision Rifle for 1,000 yard shooting and a new bullet or barrel if necessary for your current carbine would cost less than the 6.5 Grendel AR I pictured above.
     
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  12. horsemen61

    horsemen61 Member

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    6.5 Grendel
     
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  13. stownsend

    stownsend Member

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    I will add another vote for the 6.5 Grendel. I purchased a 20" upper from Sanders Armory.
    Grendel Upper.jpg
     
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  14. BrocLuno

    BrocLuno Member

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    As an aside, the optic is receiver mounted and the barrel is clamped on by the barrel nut. There is room for heat expansion and minute flex in there with a AR. If I were building an AR rifle to shoot long range (relatively), I'd spend a good bit of time making sure barrel to receiver fit is TIGHT and dead on. I'd prolly try to find a heavy'ish forged upper and have the it faced. The barrel would be critical. Adjustable gas block, etc. I'd prolly go SS, but I'm sure that's debatable ... More than 20" for me also :)

    Geissele Super 42 Spring in the buffer to eliminate harmonics, and I dunno about fire control group preferences, but it's pretty critical too ... Point being there a lot to think about here, in addition to cartridge/bullet ...

    Even the barrel nut and free-float system will impact accuracy because it focuses spurious energies at that critical receiver/barrel joint ... I'm sure the rifle can be built in the desired cartridge, but some planning needs to be worked up too :D
     
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  15. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Point of design clarification here: There’s a lot less force happening in an AR upper receiver than in a bolt action receiver. The cartridge firing generates pressure in the chamber, including rearward bolt thrust. The bolt locking lugs bear against the barrel extension, not against the receiver, such the force of the bolt thrust is not acting on the receiver, but rather it is encased in the steel trap of the barrel, extension, and bolt.

    Shimming the circumference of the barrel to tightly fit the receiver, or “gluing” the barrel permanently into the upper is never a bad idea, but relatively speaking, the flexing pressure the shooter applies to the receiver by loading against the bipod or tensioning a sling can be greater than that applied to the receiver by the firing cartridge.
     
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  16. rdnktrkr

    rdnktrkr Member

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    I built a 6.5 grendel with a 24"barrel and enjoy it to 300yrds, I've not tried it at longer distance yet but it shoots better than my 20" 556 AR. Ammo runs a little high, between $17 and $24 a box, but reloading brings the price down. I've had better luck with 120gr and 123gr but I'm going to try the 129gr again when we go shoot longer distance.
    Look into a lapping tool for your upper, I've done 2 older ARs and I feel it helped them so now I just do it when new. The drop in triggers are nice but I think some are too light for a hunting rifle, my Grendel has a 4.5lb and that is light. The scope is 4-12 and I think I need more scope for 1000yrds and more, my 50BMG has a 6-24 that I know it works to 1200yrds.
     
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  17. BrocLuno

    BrocLuno Member

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    I agree. The firing sequence it not hard on upper receiver. But any upward or sideways pressure put on the fore-end will move POI relative to cross-hairs...

    Upper receivers are cheap. Facing tool is around $30. I'd just glue the barrel/extension/receiver together during assembly to minimize flex not felt by the rail and scope bases :)
     
  18. <*(((><

    <*(((>< Member

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    I lap all my AR uppers, takes literally 5 minutes
     
  19. Mk-211

    Mk-211 Member

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    If you want something different, check out the 7mm Valkyrie. You get all the power and accuracy that you're looking for and it fits into an AR-15 lower.

    www.7mmvalkyrie.com
     
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  20. Random 8

    Random 8 Member

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    Being a non-reloader, I would suggest you stick with 5.56 caliber and a 1:8 twist in a 20" or longer tube. It will do the job well to 600, and with the 75 or 77s it will stretch it's legs to 1000, but is admittedly a bit marginal at this distance.

    The ballistics of the 6.5 Grendel are superior for the purpose, this is not in dispute. What you will find, is that the cost of ammunition will become a limiting factor to your trigger time which is vital to becoming good at any type of shooting, especially learning wind, position and trigger control on distant targets. With the 1:8 twist, you can shoot cheap 55 grain ammo for shorter range practice, I would suggest one of the loadings available with the 75 Hornady BTHP for general long range shooting, some of them are fairly inexpensive. Spend your $$$ on small accuracy and optics upgrades and ammunition, and if this kind of shooting sticks with you, you may wish to enter the reloading game before taking the plunge into 6,5s. Reloaded, you can also make some gains in the 5.56 round with the VLD heavies single loaded vs factory mag-length compatible loadings.
     
  21. illinoisburt

    illinoisburt Member

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    I would suggest you go with a longer heavy barreled 6.5 Grendel to get the better ballistic coefficient and improved wind drift for your 600 yard range. From what I have heard, the cheap wolf 6.5 grendel ammo is actually fairly good and would provide plenty of inexpensive practice at around the same price as 223/556.
     
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