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6.5 Grendel VS 223 Remington

The 6.5 Grendel and the 223 Remington are commonly used by many shooters, but there has been a long-standing battle about which one is better. However, the truth may not always be what you see on paper.

So, we took matters into our own hands and tested the 6.5 Grendel vs 223 Remington to find out.

6.5 Grendel

6.5 Advantages

  • Long-range
  • Higher Ballistic Coefficiency
  • Ideal for hunting deer-sized game
  • Better wind resistance
  • Better barrier penetration
223 Remington

223 Advantages

  • Good accuracy
  • Superb performance in Close Quarter Battles
  • Great for plinking
  • Ideal for small game hunting
  • Cheaper price

Features of Both Cartridges

Overview

The choice between the 6.5 Grendel and 223 depends on the purpose you’re using it for. 

Are you going into combat? Do you need a short-range, medium-range, or a long-range cartridge? Do you want to hunt? (There are others like the 450 Bushmaster and the 458 SOCOM that are also good for this purpose) Or do you just want to plink at the range?

Although the 6.5 Grendel is a great cartridge, the 223 is perfect if you just want accurate ammo to plink at the range. You’ll spend far less without harming your accuracy, but remember to get yourself a decent 223/5.56 rifle.

The advantage of 223 is that it’s much cheaper than the 6.5 Grendel. You’re not cutting a hole in your pocket when you throw a lead downrange with a 223 even if you reload. 

Still, it’s important to mention that the 6.5 Grendel is better when it comes to longer-range shooting at above 300 yards. The Grendel shoots in the wind easier because the bullets have a higher Ballistic coefficient. But if you’re just shooting at 100 yards, then the 223 does the job nicely.

Alternatively, we also compared the 6.5 Grendel against the 308 Winchester.

Ballistics

In this aspect, we must say that the 6.5 Grendel trumps the 223 in many ways. That’s because it has a higher sectional density and in turn, a higher ballistic coefficient. It also turns out to be the case when the 6.5 Grendel is pitted against the 5.56.

To give you a quick recap of what these terms mean, the sectional density refers to how “short and fat” or “long and thin” a bullet is. As for the term “ballistic coefficient”, it’s just a measure of how aerodynamic a bullet is.

Obviously, a bullet that’s longer and thinner would be more aerodynamic than shorter and fatter bullets. As such, a bullet with a higher sectional density would have a higher ballistic coefficient as well. 

Going back to our comparison of the 6.5 Grendel vs 223, the 6.5 has a better BC. The BC of 223 bullets is about .400, while 6.5 bullets are around the range of .510. At these numbers, the 6.5 Grendel bullets will be easier to shoot in long ranges and will drift less in the wind.

So if you want a bullet that flies straight and pierces deeper, the 6.5 Grendel is the better choice.

woman with orange cap carrying a rifle in the woods

Terminal Performance

The 223 can be great or dreadful depending on the ammo you pick. In short, it performs amazing if you have good ammo, but terrible if you have bad ammo.

That’s how it is with the 6.5 Grendel as well. You have to pick good ammo for the right purpose, whether it’s game hunting, combat, or target shooting [1].

However, one thing that many shooters are confused about is the “Stopping Power” or the “Knock Down Power” of a bullet. These can’t really be measured, and the terminal performance of a cartridge is not related to kinetic energy as well. 

Energy is just the ability to do work. It has nothing to do with how lethal a bullet really is. Now that’s some truth for you.

Hunting

You can use both the 6.5 Grendel or the .223 cartridges on smaller game. It doesn’t really matter because they can both kill once they penetrate the heart or lung area. 

But on bigger game like deer or elk, the 223 would be too small. Don’t get us wrong, it can kill deer. However, we would not recommend doing so because this bullet is too small to promise a quick death for the animal.

For ethical hunting reasons, using a 6.5 Grendel would be better for deer-sized game. A 223 would work, but it may not penetrate deep enough, giving the animal a slow and painful death.

On a similar note, we also pitted the 7mm-08 Remington VS 6.5 Creedmoor when it comes to hunting.

close-up of hand holding a rifle

Combat

The 223 is definitely lethal for close-quarters battles, particularly because of its low recoil. But remember, you would need to choose good ammo.

However, the thing that turns off many shooters with the 223 cartridge is that it performs poorly when faced with barriers. If there are no barriers, then that’s great. 

But of course, combat scenarios would highly likely have barriers and other obstacles. You try to shoot a soldier, they would hide for cover. That’s just a fact unless there’s literally nowhere to hide. 

So while the 223 is great when used with good ammo, that can’t solve the deflection problem when you shoot things like glass. Even if you have a perfect aim, you might have to shoot a few times before you hit your target.

As for the 6.5 Grendel, it’s not necessarily made for combat as it’s designed for hunting. However, this gives it an edge when it comes to range and barrier penetration.

So when you compare the 223 vs 6.5 Grendel in terms of combative purposes, the latter would be the better one because it can penetrate barriers better and it’s great for long-range shooting.

Conclusion: 6.5 Grendel or 223 Remington?

In the battle of 6.5 Grendel vs 223, there’s no clear winner because they each have their advantages in different scenarios.

6.5 Grendel is ideal for hunting, combat, and precision target shooting. Albeit more expensive, it has better wind resistance, a higher Ballistic Coefficiency, and is ideal for long ranges. See how it fares against the 6.8 SPC here.

6.5 Grendel

223 is great for close quarter battles, varmint hunting, and practice shooting. It’s a much cheaper cartridge as well. So while it doesn’t have very good penetration due to its lower sectional density, it’s a cheap cartridge that does the job.

223 Remington

Want to know how other ammos perform against each other? We also compared the .40 SW VS .45 ACP which you can read about, next!

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