6.5 Grendel vs 450 Bushmaster

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6.5 grendel vs 450 bushmaster

The AR-15 rifle offers a lot of advantages for shooters in the United States. This has made this rifle a popular one for shooting and hunting. 

Due to this reason, several designers have made cartridges specifically to suit an AR-15 platform. Both the cartridges that this article is going to compare were designed for an AR-15 platform. While a 450 Bushmaster is a well-known and dependable cartridge that has gained popularity among shooters over time, a 6.5 Grendel has not been able to get that kind of popularity.

6.5 Grendel vs 450 Bushmaster: History

With the rise in the popularity of 6.6mm cartridges in the past decade, 6.5 Grendel became one of the most widely adopted 6.5 mm cartridges in the United States. 

However, it was developed much earlier. Many were unsatisfied with the performance of a 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge combination with the M-16 Rifle during the Vietnam war. These problems were solved temporarily with certain modifications. But doubts about the stopping power if the small cartridge were still there.

Similarly, hunters were also dissatisfied with the performance of the .223 Remington combination with the AR-15. While it was good for predator hunting and target shooting, this combination didn’t work for deer-sized games. 

Now, designers could not get rid of an AR-15 platform because of its popularity among shooters and its advantages. Now, designers wanted to create a cartridge that was more in power than a .223 Remington but would function on an AR platform. Or a cartridge that could achieve ballistics of .308 

Bill Alexander then accomplished this task. He designed 6.5 Grendel in 2002. It was created by modifying a 6.5mm PPC case. It was a success as it was as efficient as it had more power than a .223 Remington and functioned well on an AR platform. Despite fulfilling its original purpose of making, the 6.5 Grendel could not gain popularity among shooters and hunters. 

A 450 Bushmaster is among very few larger bore cartridges that are used on an AR-15. The story of Bushmaster also begins when shooters became dissatisfied with the stopping power of a. 223 Remington and wanted to make a cartridge with more power in the military and civilians alike. When civilian shooters and hunters started taking interest in an AR-15 and. 233 Remington cartridge. Deer hunters became weary of the. 223 Remington cartridge due to its lack of effectiveness in the deer-sized game. With all these concerns, Jeff Cooper gave his idea of a Thumper rifle. A thumper rifle was the one that was semi-automatic, with a larger diameter caliber, one that was able to take down the target in one shot at 250 yards. Tim LeGendre made the first larger diameter cartridge of LeMag Firearms. They built a .45 Professional with a .45 caliber cartridge and a reduced .284 Winchester case.

Later, Bushmaster went to Hornady manufacturers and collaborated with them to create their thumper cartridge. With some modifications, the new 450 Bushmaster was created.

Hence, the history of both cartridges tells us that they have a similar origin.

Size Comparison

Both 450 Bushmaster and 6.5 Grendel have similar overall lengths, i.e., 2.26 inches. As both these cartridges were explicitly made to be adjusted on an AR-15 platform, they have the maximum length an AR-15 can house. However, the case length of the 450 Bushmaster is more extensive than 6.5 Grendel. 

The rim diameter of a Bushmaster is much more than the 6.5 Grendel. The .473 rim diameter of a Bushmaster is similar to other popular cartridges such as .308 and .270 Winchester. On the other hand, the rim diameter of a 6.5 Grendel is .441. More diameter of the rim means that a 450 Bushmaster has more case capacity than a 6.5 Grendel. With a larger case capacity, a 45 Bushmaster can accommodate heavier bullets. The range of weight of a 450 bushmaster bullet is between 158 gr. Gram to 300. Between this range, the 250-grain bullet is mostly used with a 450 bushmaster. On the other hand, a 6.5 Grendel uses a 123-grain bullet.

Both 6.5 Grendel and 450 Bushmaster use bullets with different diameters: .452″ for 450 Bushmaster and .264″ for 6.5 Grendel. 

Finally, a 450 Bushmaster is loaded at a maximum pressure of 38500 psi and 6.5 Grendel at 52000 psi.

6.5 Grendel vs 450 Bushmaster: Specifications 

6.5 Grendel450 Bushmaster 
Bullet Diameter.264’’.452”
Case Length 1.52’’1.700
Overall Length 2.262.26”
Rim Diameter.441.473
Case Capacity35g59g 
Maximum Pressure52000 psi38500 psi

450 Bushmaster vs 6.5 Grendel: Ballistics Comparison

Muzzle Velocity2200 fps2580 fps
Muzzle Energy 2687 ft-lbs1818 ft-lbs
100 Yards
+2.0”, 1868 ft-lbs+2.2”, 1581 ft-lbs
200 Yards
-5.1”, 1274 ft-Ibs0”, 1376 ft-lbs
300 Yards
(Trajectory + Energy)
-27.4”, 874 ft-lbs-9.2”, 1189

The 450 Bushmaster throws heavier bullets with a larger diameter than the 6.5 Grendel, and it has more muzzle energy than the 6.5 Grendel. However, the 6.5 Grendel has more velocity, due to which it has a flatter trajectory and retains more kinetic energy at long ranges. A 6.5 Grendel has less power, less recoil, and is resistant to wind drift. 

The larger diameter bullets of 450 Bushmaster allow it to have better penetration power than the 6.5 Grendel. 

Also read: 450 Bushmaster vs 458 Socom


A 450 Bushmaster is known for more recoil. Due to heavy recoil, it is not recommended for young and new shooters. On the other hand, a 6.5 Grendel has less recoil. This is one advantage of a 6.5 Grendel, as recoil can be an important consideration for many people. 

What is it good for?

A 6.5 Grendel is a pretty accurate cartridge for medium-range deer hunting. It can also be used for personal protection for those who use an AR-15. It can also be used for competitive shooting. 

A 450 Bushmaster is good for medium-sized games and can also be used for target shooting.

Also Read: 338 federal vs 450 bushmaster


1. Which companies manufacture a 6.5 Grendel?

The following companies manufacture a 6.5 Grendel. 

  • ACME Machine
  • Atheris Rifle Company
  • Grendel Hunter
  • Palmetto State Armory
  • Sanders Armory Corp. 

2. What is the effective range of a 450 Bushmaster?

The effective range of a 450 Bushmaster is about 250-300 yards.

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Hannah Anderson is a gun enthusiast. She developed a knack for guns and ammunition when as a teenager she started accompanying her grandfather to his hunting ventures. Now, she shares her passion and immense knowledge on the subject with the readers.

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