Almost perfect. I decided to go ahead and make
that statement right off the bat. No need to keep you in
suspense until the end of this review. However, most Gunblast
readers already know that I am a fan of the 6.5mm
Grendel cartridge, and of Alexander Arms rifles.
It has been about three and one-half years since I first pulled
the trigger on a Grendel rifle, and it was love at first shot.
The 6.5mm Grendel cartridge is a wonderfully efficient little
round, designed from the inception to work perfectly through the
action of an AR-15 rifle. The AR-15, properly executed, is a
superbly accurate rifle, and is very easy to shoot well. It is a
comfortable rifle to fire, with the recoil coming straight back,
and with a pistol grip that is angled and placed for maximum
comfort and control. The Grendel cartridge is a product of the
fertile mind of Bill Alexander. Bill is a perfectionist
when it comes to rifle design and development, and he really
knows his stuff. Bill would, if time permitted, happily talk
with you all day about rifles; not just his rifles, but any
rifle design ever built. Unlike some in the firearms industry
that develop a product and unload it upon the shooting public
with little thought or attention to detail, Bill Alexander has
slowly eased the 6.5 Grendel onto the market, holding back on
production and licensing of the cartridge until everything was
just right. He kept me waiting in severe pain for almost two
years to get my Grendel. Since that early time in the life of
the Grendel cartridge, Alexander Arms has increased production
of the rifles and ammunition, and now offers several variations
of the 6.5mm Grendel rifle. Every Grendel that I have fired has
been wonderfully accurate, and this latest variation is no
The Grendel rifle shown here is the lightest
weight rifle offered by Alexander Arms. Weighing in on my scale
at a svelte five pounds, eleven ounces with an empty magazine in
place, this little carbine is a delight to carry, and comes to
the shoulder seemingly without thought or effort, like a good
English bird gun. The stainless steel barrel is heavily fluted.
It measures .857 inch behind the gas block, and .651 from there
to the integral flash suppressor, which is stepped down to just
.535 inch. The total barrel length is only sixteen inches,
including the integral flash suppressor, with an effective
rifled barrel of only fourteen and one-half inches. The barrel
is free-floated within the very thin-walled but rigid handguard,
which is ventilated using a series of thirty-seven approximately
three-eighths inch diameter holes. The upper and lower receiver
halves are tightly fitted, and finished in a matte black. The
upper receiver is of the flattop variety with an integral
Picatinny rail, and has both a shell deflector and forward
assist. Controls are typical AR, and easy to use. The Vltor
buttstock is adjustable for length, and is very easy to
manipulate and comfortable to use.
The new rifle came with a ten-shot magazine, but
twenty-six round magazines are available.
I test fired the Grendel using factory
ammunition from Alexander Arms and also the new brass-cased,
boxer primed Wolf Gold MRT ammo, in addition to my
favorite whitetail handload. Since I will be inundated with
emails asking for the load recipe, it uses the Nosler 100
grain Ballistic Tip bullet loaded atop 29.5 grains of Hodgdon
H-322 powder with a Remington number 7 ½ primer. The
overall length measures 2.242 inches. I chronographed the
various ammo to see how much velocity loss there would be from
the short barrel, compared to the velocity that I get from my
own Grendel that wears a 19.2 inch tube. That is a difference of
4.7 inches of effective barrel, discounting the integral flash
suppressor portion of the sixteen inch barrel of this
lightweight Grendel. Velocities are listed in the chart below,
and are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Velocity readings were
taken at a distance of twelve feet from the muzzle. The weather
was typical Tennessee August weather, eighty-nine degrees and
high humidity. However, I have a covered shooting position with
a ceiling fan, so shooting the Grendel was an enjoyable chore.
Accuracy was very good, with group sizes listed in inches or
fractions thereof, fired at a distance of one hundred yards.
Three shot groups were fired, allowing the rifle to cool a bit
between strings. Bullet weights are listed in grains. BT and SST
are polymer-tipped bullets from Nosler and Hornady,
respectively. MRT is a multi-purpose bullet loaded into the Wolf
Gold ammo. I am glad to see that Wolf has brought out this line
of high quality ammunition for the Grendel. It allows shooters
to practice using a quality round that is priced about the same
as .223 ammunition, but packing a considerably greater punch.
||Velocity (14.5" barrel)
||Velocity (19.2" barrel)
||Accuracy (14.5" barrel)
|Alexander Arms SST
|Wolf Gold MRT
|Handload Nosler BT
I had none of the Wolf ammo when I was
chronographing the 19.2 inch Grendel, so the velocity for it is
only listed for the lightweight gun. Velocity readings were very
respectable from the short barrel, due to the excellent
efficiency of the cartridge. Accuracy was very good with all
ammo tested, even the cheap Wolf ammo grouped with plenty of
accuracy for hunting. For accuracy testing, I mounted my Leupold
8.5 to 25 power Mark 4 scope. It has excellent resolution and
clarity, and allows me to shoot well. For plinking and general
rock busting, I used an Aimpoint red dot sight that is a
very rugged and reliable unit. The rheostat has twelve settings
for the intensity of the red dot, and the unit was quick and
easy to use.
Shooting the lightweight Grendel was a delight.
Even with the minimal weight, recoil is not a problem with the
Grendel. The Grendel was developed with long range accuracy and
power in mind, and that it delivers. I have fired my nineteen
inch Grendel on targets out past 1100 yards with great success,
and this little lightweight Grendel could serve that role as
well. However, as good as it would be for long range work, the
little carbine would be perfection as a hunting arm. Handling
better and faster than a lever action carbine, while carrying
the power and inherent accuracy to deliver precise shots at
several hundred yards, this is a very versatile little weapon.
It would be a near perfect walking varminter, taking vermin and
predators with ease. For a whitetail rifle, whether in the deep
woods or across open fields, I can think of nothing better,
especially if the hunter is afoot. Also, bearing in mind that
the AR-15 was developed as a fighting rifle, the 6.5mm Grendel
delivers a lot more power to the target, and does it at much
greater range and with superb accuracy. This lightweight Grendel
is much lighter and handier than most any 5.56mm AR-15 on the
market, but possesses greater power and accuracy. It would be an
outstanding choice for a close-quarters fighting rifle that
could double as a long range sniper. For those wanting more
power from a fighting rifle than the 5.56mm provides, the 6.5mm
Grendel is an excellent choice, and in my experience, greatly
outperforms the 6.8 SPC cartridge.
At the beginning of this review, I stated that
this ultra light 6.5mm Grendel was “almost perfect”, and it
is. Perfection can be achieved easily by ordering the rifle with
the optional Tactical Trigger as offered by Alexander Arms. I
have the Tactical Trigger in my personal Grendel, and it has
spoiled me shamelessly. It could just as well be named the
Target Trigger or Hunting Trigger, as it is superb in those
roles as well. While the standard trigger in this carbine is
better than most AR triggers, it measures four and
three-quarters pounds, with typical AR creep. The Tactical
Trigger is worth the extra price. For only about $185 extra, you
can achieve perfection in an AR-15. The Tactical Trigger is
money well spent, and will most likely make this lightweight
Grendel shoot even more accurately. This little carbine has it
all; light weight, accuracy, good looks, and power. It is easy
to shoot and a delight to handle. I highly recommend it.
For a look at the entire line of Alexander Arms
products, go to www.alexanderarms.com.
For the location of an Alexander Arms dealer
near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at www.lipseys.com.
NOTE: All load data posted on this
web site are for educational purposes only. Neither the author nor
GunBlast.com assume any responsibility for the use or misuse of this data.
The data indicated were arrived at using specialized equipment under
conditions not necessarily comparable to those encountered by the
potential user of this data. Always use data from respected loading
manuals and begin working up loads at least 10% below the loads indicated
in the source manual.
For a list of dealers where you can
buy this gun, go to:
The Laserlyte Kryptonyte Green Laser Boresighting Kit
is an invaluable bench tool.
For serious accuracy testing, the Leupold Mark 4
8.5-25x scope never fails to deliver the best a rifle
has to offer.
Wolf has added the 6.5 Grendel to its Gold Line
Whether using inexpensive factory ammo, premium
factory ammo, or handloads, the 6.5 Grendel is a real
Got something to say about this article? Want to agree (or
disagree) with it? Click the following link to go to the GUNBlast Feedback Page.