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6.5 Grendel VS 308 Winchester

If we’re relying on history, the .308 Winchester cartridge would be in a glorified position compared to the 6.5 Grendel. The .308 played a crucial role during the war and has the undeniable respect of military vets, but does it even compare to newer cartridges like the 6.5 Grendel? 

We’ll find out in this 308 Winchester VS 6.5 Grendel comparison:

6.5 Grendel or 308 Winchester?

While the .308 is a well-loved cartridge by many military vets and shooters, the 6.5 Grendel is a more modern product with better aerodynamics and precision in a lightweight package.

The 6.5 Grendel is perfect for hunting, target shooting, and combat. Its high Ballistic Coefficiency, shorter barrel length, better wind resistance, and low recoil are the best features of this cartridge.

The .308 Winchester is ideal for military use, police use, and it’s quite powerful for hunting purposes too. It’s a highly-acclaimed cartridge for more than a century, and despite its shortcomings compared to the 6.5 Grendel, it’s pretty versatile and is still popular among many shooters.

Features Comparison: 6.5 Grendel Versus .308 Winchester

Ammo Weight

This might seem inconsequential to some, but it’s worth mentioning that the 6.5 Grendel ammunition is smaller and weighs less compared to the .308 ammo. 

If you’re a frequent hunter, you would appreciate the lighter weight of the Grendel in times when hunts would only permit a limited weight. Plus, if you’re on a long hunt, you won’t fatigue as much and you would also have more rounds for a given weight.

Weight and Balance

Similar to the 450 Bushmaster and the 458 SOCOM, the 6.5 Grendel is perfectly designed for the standard-sized AR-15 rifle, which is definitely lighter than the .308 AR. Even with the same barrel length, the AR-15 is also shorter. 

We won’t mince words here, and our easy conclusion is that the 6.5 Grendel beats the .308 when it comes to weight and balance.

You can also find out which between the .45 ACP and the .40 SW wins in this category.

Recoil

Another important aspect that shooters look at is the recoil. When the force of the bullet is strong as it leaves the barrel, this will affect the accuracy of the shot. Re-acquisition will be slow as well because it will require more effort on the shooter’s part.

Obviously, a heavier recoil will also fatigue the shooter faster.

close-up of man's profile while holding rifle

In this aspect, the recoil of the 6.5 Grendel is less than the .308. This means that when you use the Grendel, you will have more attention to shot placement. And if you’re shooting in close quarters, a lighter recoil helps in quick and accurate shots as well.

In comparison, the recoil of the .308 is double that of the 6.5 Grendel. This may ruin the shot for you, even if you have perfect aim. If you’re just learning how to fire a rifle [1], the high recoil would tire you faster and may hinder you from getting in more practice.

Terminal Ballistics

Now, this is where the 6.5 Grendel vs 308 debate reaches its biggest difference. The two cartridges are very different when it comes to their sectional density, which is essentially how “long and thin” or “short and fat” a bullet is. This affects their terminal ballistics.

Basically, the 6.5 Grendel is the long and thin bullet, while the 308 is the short and fat one. Because the 6.5 Grendel is lighter and smaller, it penetrates your target better than something with a poor sectional density like the 308.

When we actually tested both cartridges for ballistics, their velocity is almost the same. The 308 does start out faster by 100fps, but the results remain the same because the 6.5 Grendel is more aerodynamic.

That said, you wouldn’t experience much of a difference when you try both the 6.5 Grendel and the 308 in long-range shooting. For close range shooting, we also compared the 5.7 VS 9mm here.

Barrel Length

Generally speaking, a shorter barrel bears more accuracy than a longer barrel. Shorter ones are also easier to balance and maneuver, so it’s something that many shooters consider as well. 

As mentioned, the 6.5 Grendel is more aerodynamic. It gains its velocity fast, similar to the SPC, and this is revealed in our ballistics test, too.

If you’re looking at long-range hunting, the .308 would need to have a longer barrel for it to reach the required velocity for expansion. In a 16.5-inch .308, a similar bullet type would have a muzzle velocity of 2,387 fps. But in a 160-inch 6.5 Grendel, a cartridge of the same type has a muzzle velocity of 2,580 fps. 

And if you use a .308 with a short barrel, the sound can be deafening. So for more practical reasons, we choose the 6.5 Grendel as the cartridge with a decisive advantage.

Power

When it comes to hunting, both the 6.5 Grendel and the .308 are worthy competitors. For the 6.5 Grendel, its high sectional density serves it well. It’s great for longer ranges and for bigger game such as deer and elk.

It also penetrates the animal’s cavity better, which is important for ethical reasons. You want that “bang-flop” shot when hunting, so you don’t give the animal an agonizing death. 

photo of man holding rifle

Still, we can’t deny the power that the .308 possesses when it comes to hunting. Many hunters love the .308 for its larger size, and it’s indeed a powerful hunting weapon. Like the 6.5 Grendel, the .308 can handle larger game, but you can also use it for smaller game without the overkill.

We also compared the 6.5 Grendel against the 223 Remington.

Price

A .308 is usually more expensive than the 6.5 Grendel, so we tip the hat to Grendel when it comes to price. The 6.5 Grendel is similar in price to the 224 Valkyrie.

But just because it’s cheaper doesn’t mean it’s not a well-performing cartridge. As you’ve seen throughout this comparison and review, the 6.5 Grendel has many advantages compared to the .308.

And with the benefits of this cartridge, it would definitely give you better value.

Overall Winner: 6.5 Grendel

All things considered, the 6.5 Grendel beats the .308 Winchester. It offers better aerodynamics, less recoil, and good balance at an affordable price. Even if the heaviness of the .308 is an advantage in hunting, the 6.5 Grendel is better for long-range shooting and taking down big game.

Learn more about other kinds of ammo by reading our 6.5 Creedmoor VS 7mm-08 Remington article, next!

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