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Is the 6.5 Grendel a True Long Range Hunting Cartridge?

Is the 6.5 Grendel a True Long Range Hunting Cartridge?

By John Johnston

There has been a lot written about this round but I just had that urge to try it out myself. This article has been an ongoing project for well over a year and as you read on, you will understand why. The goal of the 6.5 Grendel cartridge was to provide AR15 shooters a round that could be used in that framework that would be more accurate and effective at ranges up to 800 yards. Using the tried and trued 6mm PPC case necked up to 6.5 and tweaked a little, the 6.5 Grendel was born.

Is the 6.5 Grendel a True Long Range Hunting Cartridge?

There were quite a few shooters and engineers who were involved in the development of this round but Bill Alexander was the one who commercialized the round. Originally just chambered in Alexander Arms rifles, the popularity grew. For those of us who are not fans of the AR platform, the only way to get a bolt action in the 6.5 Grendel was to find an action chambered for the 7.62x39 round and have it re-barreled and chamber to the 6.5 Grendel.

That left me with the option to have a bolt action rifle custom made or use the Thompson Center Encore and get a custom barrel made by Bullberry. I have had a great relationship with the folks at Thompson Center for years but not since S&W took over the brand and moved operations to Massachusetts. I had never had any dealings with Bullberry but I knew they had a great reputation for what they could do with an Encore.

It took a long time to get the frame and stocks from T/C. When they arrived the first thing I noticed was the parts seemed better finished and fit tighter. I ordered the Encore Pro Hunter in blue for no other reason than to be different.

Is the 6.5 Grendel a True Long Range Hunting Cartridge?

Placing my order from Bullberry was the next step. Over the phone I ordered a 24 inch barrel with a 1-9 twist, drilled and tapped for their 20 MOA scope base, which was installed. Since they use a hanger system, they highly suggested I order their Rynite forearm to fit the hanger. While I was at it, I requested a 2-2 1/4 pound trigger job. After I sent in the frame and put down a deposit, all I had to do was wait. The rifle showed up well before the scheduled date.

Is the 6.5 Grendel a True Long Range Hunting Cartridge?

As I assembled the rifle for the first time I noticed the action was tighter than my previous dealings with the Encore. I mounted a 4x16 Vortex Viper on the 20MOA base. I have found the Viper to be a very good mid range priced hunting scope and perfect for this test.

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