AR Cartridge for Hunting

Stinky Coyote

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I was following everything said here with a nod… up till the SPC reference where you compared a 110g load to the 123g “G” load. Given a modern SPC II chamber with a 120g SST (or 115g gold dot- what I use)… the ballistics at 300 is basically the same with the SPC or “G” out of 16-20” barrels, respectively.

The SPC may actually have the energy edge by a hair with the 120g, but it’s not worth debating when we have ballistic calculators that continue to show that well past 250 yards… same size bullet in same length barrels stay VERY close to each other. Neither is falling on its face at that distance apples to apples.

Again, not starting an argument here! If you wish to hunt past 500 yards with a Grendel, cool. I want to build one for coyotes for that purpose. But for 300 yards out (deer and pigs in my case), in a 16” barrel, using heavier bullets… flip a coin. They will both be neck and neck factory or reloaded- speed and energy.

On bullets… I never liked the lighter bullets for hunting deer or pigs either. Then when we SPC guys got the 120 SST, lots of pig hunters went to them as they do knock them down good. But they are not a bonded bullet and make a mess. As I EAT my pigs I hunt, I MUCH prefer the Federal Gold Dot 115g which opens up very well (AND holds together extremely well at ANY range, going through bone or flesh making clean kills). Nice mushroomed bullet I usually don’t find (on all but the largest pigs), most go through and leave a good blood trail (I also rarely need to follow). 👌
the 120 does look a lot closer than the 110, sd of .22 is better than the .20 of the 110 but still a significant loss compared to the .25 of the 123 6.5

the 40,000' view of it was for me looking at the spc it was 20th century ballistics still, adequate class 2 game sd and pretty typical sub .5 bc (.37 for the 110) and it launched with less velocity to boot, so why I say The Grendel takes it to a different level is it applies 21st century spec, we have class 3 game sd, .5 or better bc and it also had a bit more powder behind it, it effectively gets another 160 yards range potential while delivering a bullet that goes deeper and carrying more energy, anything with .37 bc falls on it's face or maybe I should have better termed it as '20th century ballistics'? anyway using 95% of rated velocity on the 110 6.8 goes 2422 fps mv (1433 ft/lbs me), 390 yards is 1700 fps with 706 ft/lbs and deer size game penetration potentials with that .2 sd, the 6.5 123 at 95% spec launch is 2451 fps (1641 ft/ls me) and at 550 yards gets to 1700 fps with 790 ft/lbs carrying class 3 game penetration potential with that .25 sd. that to me is 21st century performance levels from similar powder burned, that's another level altogether both in flight and terminally

that's why I was into the 6.8 at first because it came out first commercially but I could not ignore the Grendel's 21st century efficiency and it was inevitable that I would end up there, flexibility goes up, and I didn't discuss wind advantage either...the 6.8 needs 4 moa at 390 yards to fight a 10mph cross wind, the 6.5 needs the same at 550 so wind isn't a thought inside 400 for most shots from a 6.5, just nudge the crosshair into it a couple inches really but better stay on fur as these bullets are pretty dang slippery, it's easy to hold 20th century wind hold habits in your head out there, gotta recalibrate the brain to 21st century wind holds ;)

having said all that, the 120 gr 6.8 would narrow this gap, likely middling between these two examples here but still solid 20th century performance while 21st century performance(efficiency) available, I don't like the tougher construction bullet choices in these little micro burners so the 110 would be my choice in 6.8 and I'm a factory ammo guy so that's what I'll discuss always, but if factory 120 Bt's or eld-m available that's what I'd be using as a 6.8 spc guy to close that gap, I can see why the 120 sst would be popular!, I want the rapid expansion design, the 6.5 gives me that with easy to find factory ammo in the Hornady Black, no reloading necessary to get the peak performance from the cartridge available, I dig that a lot, being able to play peak ballistics with all factory gear AND ammo used to be only for a custom gun(twist) reloader guys, so this is a big deal for a bunch of us who don't take the firearms game that deeply on the gear side, some of us are into way too many other things to also be into that too or just don't want things that aren't off the shelf

inside 300 yards not likely to be able to tell much between a lot of these options, we are discussing 25-30 grains of powder burned and .243-.277" pills from 103-123 gr after all ;)

these are magnums compared to those .223 77gr tmk's lol

one other quick view looking at that is, at 400 yards while the 6.8 is falling on it's face for deer size game...I'll have not a second thought of sending that 123gr 6.5 into a broadside elk or moose, next level
 
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amassi

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Call it tissue or whatever, but every source I’ve seen describes that layer as being up to a couple inches thick. Most called it a shield. Gristle maybe? It’s said to be on boars. Would seem to be something one would consider in bullet selection.

Are you saying that it does not exist, is not a concern, does not create a noticeable impediment to a softer bullet, or what?
If you're concerned with it, you can always shoot them in the noggin; they don't have helmets

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Castle Rock

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Mar 28, 2020
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Call it tissue or whatever, but every source I’ve seen describes that layer as being up to a couple inches thick. Most called it a shield. Gristle maybe? It’s said to be on boars. Would seem to be something one would consider in bullet selection.

Are you saying that it does not exist, is not a concern, does not create a noticeable impediment to a softer bullet, or what?
Bullets don’t care, they just do their thing
 

Mike D Texas

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May 16, 2021
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161
I’ve never even heard of a grendel getting above 2550fps.. the 6mm ARC is supposed to be way faster than that.. interested to see some real world speed though

I’m getting 2565 in my 20” Howa mini with 123 ELDM hand loads.


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Tahoe1305

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I’m getting 2565 in my 20” Howa mini with 123 ELDM hand loads.


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Have the Grendel II chamber ( slightly longer but also a good chunk of factory offerings) and I’m getting about 2700 with 123 SST out of a 20” and 2600 from 129 ABLR.

I can’t see ARC competing especially with hunting like bullets in the energy and BC category.

The target bullets are appealing.

Not to compete, but to agree that it’s way easy to get above 2600 with the Grendel.

Mine likes CFE223 for speed.

FWIW, factory 123 ELDM shot at 2619fps for reference. Barrel is Grendel hunter.
 
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Mike D Texas

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May 16, 2021
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Have the Grendel II chamber ( slightly longer but also a good chunk of factory offerings) and I’m getting about 2700 with 123 SST out of a 20” and 2600 from 129 ABLR.

I can’t see ARC competing especially with hunting like bullets in the energy and BC category.

The target bullets are appealing.

Not to compete, but to agree that it’s way easy to get above 2600 with the Grendel.

Mine likes CFE223 for speed.

FWIW, factory 123 ELDM shot at 2619fps for reference. Barrel is Grendel hunter.

I’ve not pushed them any harder although I’m sure I could. They run slightly slower in my AR15 that has a Bartlein 20” barrel. But I’m convinced that barrel is slow because I used to run an 18” Alexander barrel with 100 grain TTSX bullets over 2800fps.

Factory 123 ELDM black rounds only run 2490 for me.


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Zappaman

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the 120 does look a lot closer than the 110, sd of .22 is better than the .20 of the 110 but still a significant loss compared to the .25 of the 123 6.5

the 40,000' view of it was for me looking at the spc it was 20th century ballistics still, adequate class 2 game sd and pretty typical sub .5 bc (.37 for the 110) and it launched with less velocity to boot, so why I say The Grendel takes it to a different level is it applies 21st century spec, we have class 3 game sd, .5 or better bc and it also had a bit more powder behind it, it effectively gets another 160 yards range potential while delivering a bullet that goes deeper and carrying more energy, anything with .37 bc falls on it's face or maybe I should have better termed it as '20th century ballistics'? anyway using 95% of rated velocity on the 110 6.8 goes 2422 fps mv (1433 ft/lbs me), 390 yards is 1700 fps with 706 ft/lbs and deer size game penetration potentials with that .2 sd, the 6.5 123 at 95% spec launch is 2451 fps (1641 ft/ls me) and at 550 yards gets to 1700 fps with 790 ft/lbs carrying class 3 game penetration potential with that .25 sd. that to me is 21st century performance levels from similar powder burned, that's another level altogether both in flight and terminally

that's why I was into the 6.8 at first because it came out first commercially but I could not ignore the Grendel's 21st century efficiency and it was inevitable that I would end up there, flexibility goes up, and I didn't discuss wind advantage either...the 6.8 needs 4 moa at 390 yards to fight a 10mph cross wind, the 6.5 needs the same at 550 so wind isn't a thought inside 400 for most shots from a 6.5, just nudge the crosshair into it a couple inches really but better stay on fur as these bullets are pretty dang slippery, it's easy to hold 20th century wind hold habits in your head out there, gotta recalibrate the brain to 21st century wind holds ;)

having said all that, the 120 gr 6.8 would narrow this gap, likely middling between these two examples here but still solid 20th century performance while 21st century performance(efficiency) available, I don't like the tougher construction bullet choices in these little micro burners so the 110 would be my choice in 6.8 and I'm a factory ammo guy so that's what I'll discuss always, but if factory 120 Bt's or eld-m available that's what I'd be using as a 6.8 spc guy to close that gap, I can see why the 120 sst would be popular!, I want the rapid expansion design, the 6.5 gives me that with easy to find factory ammo in the Hornady Black, no reloading necessary to get the peak performance from the cartridge available, I dig that a lot, being able to play peak ballistics with all factory gear AND ammo used to be only for a custom gun(twist) reloader guys, so this is a big deal for a bunch of us who don't take the firearms game that deeply on the gear side, some of us are into way too many other things to also be into that too or just don't want things that aren't off the shelf

inside 300 yards not likely to be able to tell much between a lot of these options, we are discussing 25-30 grains of powder burned and .243-.277" pills from 103-123 gr after all ;)

these are magnums compared to those .223 77gr tmk's lol

one other quick view looking at that is, at 400 yards while the 6.8 is falling on it's face for deer size game...I'll have not a second thought of sending that 123gr 6.5 into a broadside elk or moose, next level
My “21st century” loads out of my 6.8 SPC II (hand loaded) 115g Gold dots hold all the energy needed to meet (and exceed) any “G” load out to that range given the same bullet and barrel length.

I do reload, I can push my load beyond the ”G’s” max energy at 300 in a 16” barrel. But I wanted to keep it fair in my comments as both ORIGINAL chambers were about the same… for those who don’t reload.

Fact is, IF you reload the SPC II (the chamber being used the last 10 years), it’s pretty easy to exceed the “G” load in both speed and energy out to 600 yards with newer mags… in any barrel. This is because the Grendel is already maxed out from the factory, where the SPC II chamber gives more volume for higher velocities (energy), but one must reload to get there. But again… the factory loads put us on par if not reloading… in any century😋

I don’t hunt large game past 300 yards with my AR, and no amount of rhetoric changes the ballistic facts. These newer loads keep up with the “G” out to 600 yards actually. And… they retain more energy getting there.

This 10 yr argument has been flawed by the original SPC chamber Vs. the latter SPC II chamber that exceeds the former by a good margin. And the latter SPC II chamber is what most of us are shooting lately (in the current century).

Just sayinzall… 😉

ps. The Grendel II was “pushed” into existence by these same arguments and is another “step” up in the AR platform for sure… just like the SPC II was.
 
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Stinky Coyote

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SAMMI is the problem… everyone is shooting the newer chambers, but nobody sent a “check” to SAMMI.
agree they messed up the launch of it, hornady knows how to do it right in this department, I got the spec 2 on my custom asi mini but I guess not reloading wouldn't be able to peak things out, for these discussions I think best to discuss what's commerically available, I head to the factory ammo available and compare from there, safest way to go compare most of the time
 

Zappaman

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Eastern Kansas
So the inherent problem with talking “factory only” is that there is no clear definition of “factory”. Remember: BOTH of these cartridges have THREE chamber versions… which all come from “a factory” somewhere.

Although I don’t know the details on the Grendel (what chamber is shot most), I know I’ve read about THREE chambers for it. The 6.8 SPC I specification died out a LONG time ago too. We all shoot the type II and up (and have for 15 years now).

AFTER the first SAAMI chamber (that NOBODY shoots), the SPC II came along (which most people shoot with SPC I specified ammo from the “factory”). The SPC II’s main problem is factory ammo that is reduced for an old standard that is long dead. Used to be some better stuff for a while, then back to “spec I” (for the lawyers @ SAAMI).

So an ARP 6.8 SPC barrel (with an “improved” throat) = chamber #3 with Harrison’s “factory” barrel he makes is the latest for the SPC (love/hate the guy, don’t care— BUT he makes a modified type II barrel that shoots FASTER than the basic SPC II chamber). That said, I use a Green Mountain SPC II barrel myself.

So main point here is that MODERN barrels (despite factory ammo variances) from both these guns really do shoot the same factory stuff about the same… at PBR hunting distances (and out to 350 or so) given what I’ve read lately, and given similar ammo and barrel lengths (if you look at the middle of the bell curve here).

I chose the 6.8 mostly by chance, but appreciate that I can “improve” its performance quite a bit with newer barrels, (some) factory ammo, and definitely by reloading my own ammo. I’m sure there is a Grendel chamber that also can be improved with reloading too. But Grendel off the shelf ammo is (more) up to date with current chambers being sold lately; where with the latest 6.8 SPC ammo offerings… are (usually) not loaded to the SPC II spec (with some rare exceptions already noted).

I’ve read MANY, MANY hours on these two rifles over the last ten years and what I can tell you is that it’s extremely RARE to see a fair comparison between the two… due to all the white noise (falling out of what often becomes a pissing match).

And so… I feel when making comparisons, that we should be talking about what everyone is using today (and HOW they are using it). And with these two calibers, there really is no “standard” (especially on the SPC SIDE due to SAAMI‘s little “problem”- more Viagra please). BUT there sure are a LOT of assumptions! (on BOTH SIDES). Barrel length, SD, BC assumptions (driven in part by marketing) most often do not “translate” into a BETTER rifle in the field. One design does not “beat out” the other by much as many would have you think.

However, what I can say is that depending on the intended use, one CAN outshine the other BY A SMALL MARGIN with a tie in the middle (at about 350 yards) for the average gun and ammo out there today.

But it goes on, and keeps us talking about and buying more guns I guess😉

Merry Boxer Day…
 
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35remy

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Mar 12, 2022
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I have killed some hogs with the 6.5 Grendel, and I would feel comfortable taking a woods shot if the right whitetail popped out. I like reloading the Grendel and have been using 123SST lately. I also have killed hogs with my 300BLK pistol shooting 110TAC-TX super reloads, but would be reluctant to shoot a deer with it over 75 yards. For closer pig shots, hitting the right spot with my 220gr sub loads does just fine, and it is quiet with my can.
 

TomAZ

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Nov 13, 2018
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Arizona
Grendel will get the job done. Also, the Valkyrie is worth a look.


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