New kid in the line up 6.5 Grendel.

1Shot

Handloader
Dec 5, 2008
1,435
3
I got bit by the 6.5 Grendel bug in the AR-15 platform a few months ago. Plans are for using it as a deer hunting rig for mainly under 250 yards. I saw where I could get a 20" barrel complete upper that included everything shipped for about $350.00. It is a Bear Creek Arsenal brand. I got it with 100 rounds Hornady 123 SST ammo, loading dies, magazines and scope mounts etc. to be ready to do what needed to get it running and feed it. I put it on a Bushmaster lower with a 3 lb CMC trigger. Long story short it turned out to be a monster. Would not shoot better than 5" groups at 100 yards. Took me 3 weeks to get BCA to respond to me so I could get a pick up slip to send it back to them for repair. I believe the muzzle was off line making the crown off line because looking through the flash hider I could see chatter marks on the muzzle. Sent it back and received it back within 10 days. There was no explanation as to what they did but I can tell they just replaced the barrel. In the time that I was trying to get in touch with them and getting it sent and back I decided that since I already had all the loading stuff etc. I would just live a little and build me a 6.5 Grendel upper with a good barrel. I got a OdenWorks 18" barrel kit which comes with complete bolt carrier group, tunable gas block and gas tube for $439. I ran into a real deal on Anderson stripped lowers $53 out the door and stripped upper $44 and got a POF 3.5lb trigger for $139 and a Stngr.usa 15" free float tube $124.99 and Kaw Valley linear comp $39.99 and parts to complete lower and upper including a magpull Mo stock for around $150. I put it all together and because of weather had not been able to go to the range to shoot either of the rifles. Thursday it warmed up and stopped raining but the wind was blowing constant 15 - 20 mph with 25+ gust but I could not stand it any longer and took off to the range. I had loaded up some rounds with Sierra 100 HP, 120 PH, 120 Nos.BT, 123 SST mainly with some middle of the road powder charges except for the 123 SST which I did to see if they were OK in both rifles. I did a 28 gr and a Max 28.5 gr IMR 8208 load with the 123 SST. Did not have to touch the tuning on the Oden gas block because it ran perfectly from the get go with the factory Hornady 123 SST. Got both on paper at 100 yards. Proceeded to do the suggested break in from Oden, fire 5 clean for 20 rounds. The Oden barrel is SS hand lapped and guaranteed 1 moa. First shot from clean bore was 1 1/2" high and left of the next 4 shots which went just under 1". I knew it was going to be a shooter. The worst group was with 120 BT with 27.6 IMR 8208 and it went 1 1/2" and take into count this included a clean bore shot. All the other loads went under 3/4" including the clean bore shot in a hurricane. Can't wait to do some real load work up on a good day.
Now the BCA was a whole different story. With the Hornady 123 SST it shot better than the first barrel about 4" groups but I do not know if it was a fluke or what but I had two rounds each containing 120 Sierra PH and Nos. BT left from what I was shooting in the Oden. The BCA put the 120 Sierra PH rounds touching and the BTs were 1" apart. From what I have been reading the BCAs just need to have 50+ rounds put through them to slick up the bore before they settle down and start shooting. I also had two rounds left with the two loads for the 123 SST that the Oden put both loads 3/4" group. I fired them in the BCA and they shot about like the factory ammo did. I am beginning to think that this rifle just does not like 123 SST bullets. I am going to do a load work up with 120 Sierra PH and Nos. BT and 130 HP Sierra GK with CFE-223 and IMR 8208 with the Hornady cases and CCI 450 primers and head to the range with my chrno the next day it is good weather and I can get away from work. If I can't get the BCA barrel to shoot reasonably I am going to put a 20" Oden barrel on it. The barrel will be the only thing I will need since everything else on the upper will work with the new barrel.
 

Dwh7271

Handloader
Nov 18, 2013
2,461
0
Man, you've been working.
Neat write up.
Sounds like cool rifles.
Might want to try some 123 Scenars. That's what Alexander used building up the Grendel.
 

djauofd

Beginner
Oct 30, 2017
129
0
1Shot":3pfbumre said:
I got bit by the 6.5 Grendel bug in the AR-15 platform a few months ago. Plans are for using it as a deer hunting rig for mainly under 250 yards. I saw where I could get a 20" barrel complete upper that included everything shipped for about $350.00. It is a Bear Creek Arsenal brand. I got it with 100 rounds Hornady 123 SST ammo, loading dies, magazines and scope mounts etc. to be ready to do what needed to get it running and feed it. I put it on a Bushmaster lower with a 3 lb CMC trigger. Long story short it turned out to be a monster. Would not shoot better than 5" groups at 100 yards. Took me 3 weeks to get BCA to respond to me so I could get a pick up slip to send it back to them for repair. I believe the muzzle was off line making the crown off line because looking through the flash hider I could see chatter marks on the muzzle. Sent it back and received it back within 10 days. There was no explanation as to what they did but I can tell they just replaced the barrel. In the time that I was trying to get in touch with them and getting it sent and back I decided that since I already had all the loading stuff etc. I would just live a little and build me a 6.5 Grendel upper with a good barrel. I got a OdenWorks 18" barrel kit which comes with complete bolt carrier group, tunable gas block and gas tube for $439. I ran into a real deal on Anderson stripped lowers $53 out the door and stripped upper $44 and got a POF 3.5lb trigger for $139 and a Stngr.usa 15" free float tube $124.99 and Kaw Valley linear comp $39.99 and parts to complete lower and upper including a magpull Mo stock for around $150. I put it all together and because of weather had not been able to go to the range to shoot either of the rifles. Thursday it warmed up and stopped raining but the wind was blowing constant 15 - 20 mph with 25+ gust but I could not stand it any longer and took off to the range. I had loaded up some rounds with Sierra 100 HP, 120 PH, 120 Nos.BT, 123 SST mainly with some middle of the road powder charges except for the 123 SST which I did to see if they were OK in both rifles. I did a 28 gr and a Max 28.5 gr IMR 8208 load with the 123 SST. Did not have to touch the tuning on the Oden gas block because it ran perfectly from the get go with the factory Hornady 123 SST. Got both on paper at 100 yards. Proceeded to do the suggested break in from Oden, fire 5 clean for 20 rounds. The Oden barrel is SS hand lapped and guaranteed 1 moa. First shot from clean bore was 1 1/2" high and left of the next 4 shots which went just under 1". I knew it was going to be a shooter. The worst group was with 120 BT with 27.6 IMR 8208 and it went 1 1/2" and take into count this included a clean bore shot. All the other loads went under 3/4" including the clean bore shot in a hurricane. Can't wait to do some real load work up on a good day.
Now the BCA was a whole different story. With the Hornady 123 SST it shot better than the first barrel about 4" groups but I do not know if it was a fluke or what but I had two rounds each containing 120 Sierra PH and Nos. BT left from what I was shooting in the Oden. The BCA put the 120 Sierra PH rounds touching and the BTs were 1" apart. From what I have been reading the BCAs just need to have 50+ rounds put through them to slick up the bore before they settle down and start shooting. I also had two rounds left with the two loads for the 123 SST that the Oden put both loads 3/4" group. I fired them in the BCA and they shot about like the factory ammo did. I am beginning to think that this rifle just does not like 123 SST bullets. I am going to do a load work up with 120 Sierra PH and Nos. BT and 130 HP Sierra GK with CFE-223 and IMR 8208 with the Hornady cases and CCI 450 primers and head to the range with my chrno the next day it is good weather and I can get away from work. If I can't get the BCA barrel to shoot reasonably I am going to put a 20" Oden barrel on it. The barrel will be the only thing I will need since everything else on the upper will work with the new barrel.
I have a 20 Black hole weaponry 1x8 twist 264 LBC. It shoots factory Hornady 123 gr SST ' S light out. Sub moa

Sent from my SM-T530NU using Tapatalk
 

1Shot

Handloader
Dec 5, 2008
1,435
3
If I was just going to be punching paper I would get some 123 Scenars because I have heard good reports about them but I am setting up for deer hunting with them and want a game bullet. I know the 120 Ballistic tip and the 120 Sierra Pro Hunter are great game bullets because I have killed a pile of deer with them in 6.5x55 and with my buddies 260 Rem. I just need to do a work up to see what powder combo the rifles want with these bullets. I hope to be able to run them 2450+ fps accurately.
 

hunter24605

Handloader
Apr 30, 2016
1,175
397
You should have a real shooter with the Odin when you get it dialed in! A fella I shoot with loads the 107 grain Sierra Tipped Match King with N135 and it shoots fantastically itty-bitty little holes. Not especially helpful to you for a hunting round, but thought I'd throw it out there. I have no idea about his barrel maker or twist, just that it's a 20" I have 2 BCA 5.56 and they are good for what I needed them for; two matching soda can busters. They are just barely MOA shooters, usually about 1.25 MOA with 55 Hndy FMJ and 25.3 gr of TAC. Nothing great, but for the price I'm happy with them. I caught them on clearance at Primary Arms for $45.
 

1Shot

Handloader
Dec 5, 2008
1,435
3
It was beautiful yesterday so I took off to the range with the Grendel's. I discovered that the BCA barrel upper HATES 123 Hornady SST bullets. Does not matter if it is the factory ammo or a handload it shoots terrible. I did find out that the more I shoot this on the better it is getting. I have been reading that others have had to shoot up to 100 rounds to get these barrels to settle down and start shooting decent. I did find that it is showing a liking to this load. 120 Sierra Pro Hunter, Hornady case, CCI 450, 28.5 IMR 8208, COAL 2.250 and crimped with a Lee Factory Crimp Die. Right now it is averaging 1 1/2" @ 100 yards.
Now with the Oden Works barrel build it LOVES the above load. The first two shots cut each other but then I got on the trigger a little and pulled shot 3 a tad left. I then put shots 4 & 5 into the same hold as shot 2. 5 shot groups outside to outside was .924 - .264 = .638 but the 4 shot group outside to outside was .408 - .264= .144 . Average velocity out of the 18" barrel was 2532 fps with ES 38 and SD 14. I think this will do a good job on deer out to 300 yards of so. I have not hit the sweet spot with 120 Nosler BT yet. I really want to get them to shoot because I have a bunch and I know how well a game bullet they are. I also hope to give the 100 BT a try when I can find some.
 

jason miller

Handloader
Sep 4, 2012
292
0
Dwh7271":2c2qo5bk said:
Wonder what it would do with the 125 PT?


My Howa Grendel does over 2600 with 123's and over 2500 with 129's from its 20" barrel. I would assume a 125 PT would land somewhere in there. A 100 PT at 2800+ might be even better.
 

gerry

Ammo Smith
Mar 1, 2007
6,117
10
jason miller":1zv2hci0 said:
Dwh7271":1zv2hci0 said:
Wonder what it would do with the 125 PT?


My Howa Grendel does over 2600 with 123's and over 2500 with 129's from its 20" barrel. I would assume a 125 PT would land somewhere in there. A 100 PT at 2800+ might be even better.

I could never get the 100 gr PT to shoot well in a couple 260's for some odd reason but it is a tough little pill, I bet it would be fantastic in the 6.5 Grendel. The funny thing was even though it didn't shoot well in the 260's I tried the 100 gr PT shot quite well in my now departed 264 WM with a long throat, go figure........
 

1Shot

Handloader
Dec 5, 2008
1,435
3
From what I have been reading on different forums out of the Grendel the 100 BT works really well on 90 to 175 lb deer, which is usually the size where I hunt, out to 300 yards give or take a few yards. As to the Partition's I have never really gotten great accuracy out of them like I can with the BT plus I can get a lot more BTs for the price of partitions. I would like to try some 129 AccuBond long range also but around $50 a box of 100 is a bit stiff compared to the 120 Sierra's that I could get 200 for the same price.
 

1Shot

Handloader
Dec 5, 2008
1,435
3
Weather has warmed up and I got time to go to the range again yesterday with the Grendel's. Did not shoot very much with the Oden barrel rifle because I am settled with how it shoots with 120 Sierra Pro Hunter. I did find that you can use too much crimp on the rounds though. When I applied a full Lee Factory Crimp, meaning having the crimping fingers completely close when setting up the die caused the bug hole shooting group to open up to just a touch over 1". With about half that much crimp the tight groups return.
I shot the Bear Creek Arsenal upper the most trying to find something it will shoot. I am finding that the more that I shoot this one the better accuracy gets. I guess it just needs to be shot a bunch to slick up the bore before it settles down. Because the throat is a bit longer in it than the Oden I experimented some with seating depth with the 120 Sierra PH. I know that I should have not changed two things in the load but I did. I seated the bullet closer to the lands making it the same jump as would be in the Oden barrel plus I switched from CCI 450 to CCI BR-4 primers. Group went from 1 1/2" down to 1" and I can live with that. It is doing average 2575 fps from the 20" barrel. I also found that 28 grs IMR 8208 with 120 Nosler BT with CCI 450 primers shoots about 1 1/4" groups at average 2545 fps so next time out I am going to give CCI BR-4 primers a try. But right now I would feel alright about deer hunting with either load because where I plan on using these rifles my shots will not be over 200 yards with most under 150 yards. I also got some 130 Sierra Game King BTHP bullets and LVR powder to give a try soon.
 

Dougfir

Beginner
Mar 2, 2018
74
0
When I was looking for a kids rifle, I looked at the Howa mini in this chambering. Seems like it would be a great deer round for younger kids. In the end, I got a great deal on a .308, so went with that. I just load it down for the kids, for now.
 
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