Is the 6.5 Grendel the perfect 250 yard hunting round?

| November 21, 2023
A Versatile AR15 Rifle
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

There are plenty of nay-sayers for the AR15 pattern rifle, or modern sporting rifle, but give a modern sporting rifle chambered in 6.5 Grendel to your smaller framed wife for her deer or antelope hunt, and she’ll love the lower recoil of the round, and lighter weight of the rifle platform. She’ll never wince, and if she can hold steady, she shouldn’t miss within 250 yards.

This is precisely how our recent 6.5 Grendel AR15 upper build was used. A few weeks prior to my wife’s antelope hunt she expressed concerns about making a stalk then a shot with her current, heavy, higher recoiling hunting rifle. We ended up mounting her hunting scope on the 6.5 Grendel upper, sighted it in, and had her take a few shots prior to her hunt at the range. Her confidence was immediately bolstered by the AR, and in her words “it has almost no recoil”. She took that confidence to the field, and dropped her antelope buck on opening morning with a single well placed and devastating shot. Read about her 2023 antelope hunt here.

6.5 Grendel Exit Wound

The devastation of the 6.5 Grendel on an antelope is obvious.

Sure, if you feel good about toting a beast of a rifle and some combination of skills, ego, or stupidity allow you to confidently take 600+ yard shots on animals, then this isn’t an impressive rifle build to you. However, for those looking at an accurate, light weight, ergonomic, easy to transport, easy to use, and relatively economical medium game and short to medium range hunting rifle, then this is the perfect build.


When zeroed to 200 yards the typical 123 grain Grendel bullet will rise from the muzzle about 1.9 inches, before dropping 3.7 inches at 250 yards and about 9 inches at 300 yards. Essentially, that means a shot aiming at the center of the boiler room, or an 8 inch kill zone, will drop an animal at any range under 250 yards with nearly 1300 foot pounds of energy.

Combining longer shots with an app, or just knowing your hold over with your specific rifle scope, and it could be an adequate rifle for 400 to 450 yard shots on medium sized animals like mule deer and antelope. Energy drops under 1000 foot pounds between 400 and 425 feet, and you can anticipate a drop of about 24 to 26 inches in that range, but again that is plenty for deer and antelope.

The 6.5 Grendel round is exceptionally accurate as it maintains supersonic stability at 1000 yards, although energy at that point is only a few hundred pounds, and is more suited to target shooting or coyotes.

6.5 Grendel Ammo

Hornady Black 6.5 Grendel Ammo.


Off the shelf 6.5 Grendel ammunition is on par with most common hunting rounds and is very accurate. You don’t have to get into precision hand loading to get a consistent performing round at the range and in the field.

More and more bullet options have become available, and the supply has become more abundant in the last year, post COVID ammo shitstorm.


The ballistics of the 6.5 Grendel 123 grain bullet are not more impressive than many typical hunting rifles you may carry, but the AR platform elevates the practical nature of this round. Our AR15 style rifle includes an adjustable shoulder stock, which allows my wife to get a proper eye relief, and me to get mine when I am using it. The lighter weight platform is an advantage for carrying, and multiple sling styles and location mounts make stalking an easier task than with traditional rifle slings.

So Many Optic Options

There are a plethora of optics options when it comes to the modern sporting rifle platform.

A forend can be customized with extra grip, forend stops and indexers, and even co-witnessed or canted iron sights to increase the ergonomics and short range usability of the rifle. Most AR barrels are also threaded, so adding a compensator or muzzle brake is easy. By comparison, many affordable hunting rifles still don’t have threaded barrels or iron sights, nor do they have adjustable stocks. The picatinny rail is integrated into the AR upper, meaning you’ll have a wide range of mounting options, and depending on the style of handguard, which do to its design does not place stress on the barrel like a cheap plastic stock might under stress, you’ll also have the opportunity to mount a scope or optics more forward than the upper receiver if needed.


If you already own a modern sporting rifle, you can swap uppers from predator and home defense uppers chambered in 223 or 5.56, to a 6.5 upper for hunting. A budget 6.5 upper can be purchased for as little as 250 bucks, and a higher quality build will put you back about half a grand or more. We also suggest putting a better trigger in your lower regardless of whether or not you plan to hunt, which will add between 100 and 300 bucks, and a good hunting scope like the Monstrum Cantilever Picatinny Scope Mount, and be sure to select the model that matches your scope tube diameter. (Either 30mm or 1 inch)

Also, in the world of hunting optics, there is always good, better, and best. We love all of our Vortex and Maven optics, but understand they can be cost prohibitive. Companies like Monstrum offer a good alternative to more expensive scopes, like the Monstrum G3 3-18x50 FFP Rifle Scope, which gets you in the realm of first focal plane scopes with optics that match the practical 250 yard hunting range of the Grendel setup we’ve suggested quite well.

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One Hot Antelope Hunting Tip to Harvest Speedgoats!!

| November 21, 2023
Antelope Harvested
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

After 3 separate stalks, on 3 different bucks, my wife harvested on the opening day of the antelope season 2023. While there are a lot of factors that go into antelope hunting, and I’ll touch on those in a bit, there is one good tip for antelope hunting that applies to most big game hunting in general.

What Not to Do

While it’s meant to be funny and sound like trash YouTube video clickbait, it’s also very true. Don’t be a lazy ass.

I frequently see hunters park a car, only to walk 25 feet from a parked vehicle, spook an animal from a couple hundred yards away, and push them to a distance they are unable to shoot or unwilling to pursue. The opening morning was no exception to this sad, sloppy, and lazy tactic of roadside hunting, while my wife and I made the effort to manifest success.

Antelope hunting in Wyoming offers hunters an opportunity to glass long distances from dirt roads, and cover a lot of ground in the vast and open spaces of our state. However, with such vast open distances to find antelope and clear lines of sight, they are almost equally aware of you as you are of them. A vehicle stopping in the distance is an instant red flag for antelope. Simply stopping a vehicle in sight of antelope, even five hundred yards away, is often enough to get them up and moving.

The best approach we’ve found to hunting antelope is to drive beyond a hill or into a depression where your vehicle is out of sight, before stopping. Get out quietly, and execute a plan on stealthily getting closer to the antelope you intend to shoot. Be mindful of wind, and any other animals that might spook and alert your target to your presence.

Also, private and public lands aren’t always indicated, so be aware of where you are, use an app like OnX Maps, and make sure you aren’t accidentally hunting on private property that isn’t marked.

The Hunt

The first good looking buck we saw on opening morning was near private property, and by the time I had dropped my wife off at a good point to start her approach, the buck had already made its way to the edge of unfenced private property. When she came up on it at less than 60 yards, it was too close to private property to risk shooting it, only to have it run onto private property before expiring. So she practiced self control that I’d like to think all hunters would practice, and returned to the truck.

We continued driving on dirt roads, and saw a few more nice looking bucks. The best shooter bucks were on private property, so we continued our search until we saw a decent buck and parked beyond its sight, so that my wife could get her second stalk going. With the wind in her favor, she followed a depression then got within 100 yards of it, just in time to see it spook when 2 other vehicles stopped hundreds of yards away in the opposite direction. The vehicles stopped in plain sight of the antelope, then hunters proceeded to hop out and glass from next to their vehicles as it took off.

A few moments later, one of those vehicles stopped and talked to me as I held my 10 month old and hung out at the truck, still completely unaware that they busted my wife’s stalk with their poor tactics, and further adding “it seems like they are all pretty long shots”. While being good at taking long shots can be helpful hunting antelope, so can putting a little leg work in, as my wife had already proven, by getting within very comfortable shooting distances to two decent bucks.

With my wife somewhat irritated by other hunters, compounded by a baby now a little fussy from car rides and an irregular morning schedule riding dirt roads in the truck, she suggested we scrap it for the day. I suggested we keep trying and if nothing seems like a great opportunity, we won’t make the effort. Ten minutes later we spotted a very distant group of antelope with a poor road heading in the general direction. I decided to follow it since it closed a significant amount of distance before it veered away from the group of antelope to an opposite side of a cluster of small hills. Without stopping, we spotted a decent buck before placing the truck well out of sight.

The wind was generally in my wife’s favor as she stealthily approached them from the opposite side of the hills. After a couple hundred yards she was slightly disoriented by cattle she had used as a waypoint, when she discovered even more cattle. Unsure of her precise position and distance from the antelope she climbed a hill before being spotted by a doe. Immediately freezing, she waited until the doe didn’t perceive her as a threat, then continued stalking a bit further to the side of the group of antelope where she had last seen a buck.

She climbed back up to the ridge of the hill, but as soon as her head cleared sagebrush she was made by her target buck. It spooked and ran to about 150 yards before pausing broadside and looking back at her, giving her the perfect chance to take a shot from an AR15 chambered in 6.5 Grendel.

Antelope on The MainFrame

Antelope on The MainFrame

Hearing the shot from the vehicle, me and my 10 month old approached to get a vantage in the event an animal needed to be pursued and recovered. I watched five does run a few hundred yards, pause then run another few hundred yards before dropping out of sight. I never saw anything drop, but continued to the location of the shot to find my wife looking for a buck. Minutes later, we found her buck, it had collapsed into a depression in the landscape, only a few yards from where it had been shot. We immediately worked at field dressing, then carrying it to the truck before returning home to start the process of butchering.

Final Thoughts

Roadside hunters may get lucky once in a while, but I prefer to stay positive in the face of frustrating hurdles, to be diligent about formulating a plan of approach, and to make a real effort in order to manifest success. We wrapped up the opening morning at 10:45 am with an antelope in the bed of the truck, and the majority of the weekend left to take care of other tasks. In most cases, just like many things in life, hunting will give back what you put into it. While you can get lucky roadside hunting, it is just better not to be lazy and put in a little bit of effort.

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