AR-15 deer hunting caliber learning

Discussion in 'Hunting, Fishing & Camping' started by Edwardteach72, Oct 14, 2018.

  1. Edwardteach72

    Edwardteach72 .308 Win

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    Ok I need @meketrefe again lol, in figured I could bait you into this by titling this something like "why the 300blk is the best deer round" but figure this was easier.


    So while I'm sticking with my Saiga 7.62x39 this season for deer, I am looking into rebuilding my AR for next season.

    So we know you are a 6.8spc ii fan, but why shouldn't I be looking at the 6.5 Grandal? Or any other of the other ar15 offerings? Or are there ones I could look at as well.

    I'm not looking to reload. Or some super obscure round (300hmr could be fun but meh)

    Again I'm not shooting more than 100-150yards and more like 75 .



    Really just trying to get knowledge, and you seem to be a dude that has it..

    (Also I just watched a video of Miltary Arms Channel taking an Axis buck with a 6.5 grendal)
     
  2. 1075tech

    1075tech .45 acp

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    At those ranges, I suspect almost any of the popular AR-15 calibers would be sufficient. And that would be fine if you always hunt the same area. But what about if you get invited to a new area? Suddenly you might have the opportunity to go 200, 300 yards.

    If I were to build an AR for hunting, I would go Grendel. Even with my 16" barreled Grendels, an SST will provide reliable expansion to 375 yards at my elevation (350 ASL). My next build is going to be an 18" and likely set up for the 90 gr TNT.
     
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  3. Edwardteach72

    Edwardteach72 .308 Win

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    See this is where I am looking to get learnded.

    While I do want to keep this gun as light and compact as possible (thinking 14" barrel with pinned muzzle device for a 16" or just a standard non threaded 16" barrel)

    Everything I seem to run across is leading me to 6.8 spc ii (2? Idk) or the 6.5 grendel without having to bump up to an AR-10 lower

    Any advantages of one over the other with the 6.5 or 6.8 (factory off the shelf ammo)
     
  4. 1075tech

    1075tech .45 acp

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    I don't know about 6.8 availability. Where are you located? Thruway in Walden just started carrying Grendel in the Federal Fusion. Cheap steel case can be had from Collector in Hopewell.

    I order all of mine online.

    For factory Grendel, there is Hornady SST (123gr), Hornady Black (123gr), Federal Fusion (120gr), Federal American Eagle 90gr TNT and 120gr OTM, Wolf steel case (100gr), as well as loadings by Alexander Arms and Precision Firearms. Hornady is also producing it in their American Gunner line but it's only available in Sportsman Wharehouse I believe.

    Price per round will range from $0.25 for steel case to over $1 for the Federal OTM.
     
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  5. Edwardteach72

    Edwardteach72 .308 Win

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    I can handle that kind of price and don't mind if I need to order online. Local shops to me are 2, then there is Dicks/field so no unless super last resort.

    But it would be nice for something that I'd be able to take out to 300yrds if the opportunity came up
     
  6. JamieZ

    JamieZ .357 mag

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    6.5 Grendel 24" barrel 90gr Speer, FT/s 2880, Energy 1658 ft-lb

    6.8 SPC 16" barrel 90gr Speer, FT/s 2900, Energy 1780 ft-lb

    This is just the shit I researched in the last 2 minutes. Its not a huge difference but it makes me glad I went with the 6.8,,,,,, Shorter barrel with better velocity and energy.
     
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  7. gun_slinger_boy

    gun_slinger_boy 6.5 Creedmoor

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    Only 100-150 yards? 300 BLK.
     
  8. JamieZ

    JamieZ .357 mag

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    300BLK 90 gr Barnes,,Test Barrel 24",, 2,550 ft/s,,,, Energy 1,300 ft⋅lb

    My impression after building one. Took it to the range sighted it in at 100yds, then setup target at 200yds and was seriously not impressed with how far the round dropped. Took it out deer hunting the following week and saw nothing. Took it home and put it on gunbroker.

    I think its a shitty ass caliber. No velocity and no energy. Good for inside buildings when shooting sub-sonic loads under a suppressor.
     
  9. Carlos Hathcock

    Carlos Hathcock .308 Win

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    I wish I could use my 6.5 but dont hunt in counties outside Erie.
     
  10. JamieZ

    JamieZ .357 mag

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    Cant use rifle during deer season in Erie?
     
  11. Carlos Hathcock

    Carlos Hathcock .308 Win

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    No sir. I actually hunt a friends property about 500 yds from Chatauqua county. Sucks.
     
  12. JamieZ

    JamieZ .357 mag

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    Same thing here in Monroe County,,I live in Churchville. 5 minutes away where I grew up in Bergen which is in Genesee County is where I hunt, so I'm lucky enough to be able to use a rifle. They just changed the law a few years back.
     
  13. 1075tech

    1075tech .45 acp

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    300 was designed as a CQ suppressed round. And that's where it's good.

    6.8 will have higher muzzle velocities and energy. It's when you get to distance that the 6.5 overtakes it.

    The Speer TNT 90gr has been proven a killer on Texas hogs out of the Grendel but I'm not sure about using them on whitetail here. Maybe I'll test that next year. This year will be the federal fusion.
     
  14. Carlos Hathcock

    Carlos Hathcock .308 Win

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    Everything I've heard about the 6.5 on "deer" sized game has been positive.
     
  15. 1075tech

    1075tech .45 acp

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    It's been used on deer, black bear, hogs, and elk. Maybe even a moose. And few years back, Adam Lilja ( from the barrel maker family) took a deer at, I believe, 502 yards
     
  16. ManrisFrack

    ManrisFrack .357 mag

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    You want a 14.5" AR-15 to hunt with? Go 6.8. It gives you more power per inch of barrel. It also has more viable hunting bullets, loaded in factory ammo, from 85gr all the way up to 120gr including Federal Fusions at 90gr and 115gr. It's killed deer, pigs, black bear, elk (5x5 bull at 372 yards), caribou, aoudad, axis and probably more. Go look at both calibers on TargetSportsUSA - 13 different choices for 6.8SPC and 4 for 6.5 Grendel.

    6.8 SPC and 6.5 Grendel are pretty close in terms of ballistics. Grendel starts slower and less powerful but, with one or two of the higher BC bullets, it will surpass the 6.8 SPC after 200 yards or so. If you compare 90gr TNTs from both calibers, the 6.8 wins hands down because the BC of both bullets is crap and the 6.8 throws 'em faster.

    Grendel has the edge in blasting ammo cost because it's based on the x39 case. It's a relatively small tooling change for anyone that makes steel x39 and that's the only reason Grendel has steel while 6.8 doesn't. But who knows what will happen with the Army looking at a 6.8. Even if it's not the SPC round, there will probably be dirt cheap bullets to be had. In the aftermath of Federal's overseas military contracts XM68GD was going for less than $0.50/rd - yes, GD stands for Gold Dot. Factory ammo loaded with a premium, bonded bullet that has taken thousands of deer and pigs for $0.50/rd. If the US starts using that round outside of SF no one will care about the garbage steel cased for Grendel.

    The 6.8 SPC has pulled a huge following with hunters without any significant industry hype or advertising. When's the last time you saw positive press or sales emails/flyers for the 6.8? It just doesn't happen. Still, people find 6.8 SPC, use it and stick with it because it works and works well.
     
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  17. Edwardteach72

    Edwardteach72 .308 Win

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    All awesome info. This is the video that got me thinking about the grendel




    But if the 6.8 is going to get me something better all around hmmmmm. I guess the barrel length I'm looking for is going to limit the 6.5 more than the 6.8
     
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  18. meketrefe

    meketrefe .338 Win Mag

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    It doesn't matter what range, a good a versatile round is a good and versatile round.
    The 6.8SPCII leads the pack in terms of hunting power at any ranges and with any size barrel, again when referring to the easy AR15 calibers that are also cost effective.

    The 6.5Grendel is also great but it works best with the longer barres. It can also hunt pretty nicely but for a compact carbine the 6.8 will produce more output. A different story is if you want to consolidate calibers because you have a 6.5mm already and maybe one day you want to reload for both. Same applies to the 6.8 that is popular with people who have 270 bullets.

    One thing about the grendel is that I would find a 264 LBC (les baers) chamber that is a better chamber than the grendel and fully compatible with the grendel. Also get quality barrels and bolt. Not all the bolts out there are strong enough and only a few makers are coming with stronger bolts. The best ones are produced by ARP and Young manufacturing. I have used both in the past and also use them in other wildcats like the 35 gunner and have put thousands of rounds some hot 220gr loads. I used the 7.62x39 bolt since I barreled myself but for a regular grendel you need to get the stupid grendel bolt that has
    a different size in the recess for the head. Best thing is to buy everything from a quality manufacturer.

    So that is another thing the 6.8 spcII is stronger and while the brass cannot take the heat of lapua brass one has to keep things civilized.
    At some point I would consider reloading even if it is a simple single stage for hunting ($100 investment) because you can get some pretty
    wicked loads in the 6.8 with once fired brass.

    Either one is fine for deer but also consider the huge assortment of hunting bullets in the 6.8 spc in 120gr and specially below.

    Also consider that with shorter barrels you get more performance from the 6.8 with the 18" size I consider ideal with massive speeds for anything.

    The grendel does better with longer barrels and perhaps longer bullets for long range. This doesn't mean is not good for the goal here but it also can
    be more problematic feeding and needs to be tuned while the 6.8 shoulder is design with military objective in mind so it chugs along without failures
    from day one.

    Both are good deer killers with good shots that is the most important thing. But with the hogs that are hardier animals the 6.8 seems to have a great
    track record using stouter bullets and high speeds.

    With all the said if you have the 7.62x39 you have an upper that is a hybrid chamber and rifling. This will allow you to reload down the road with 308
    caliber bullets and in the mean time you have some pretty good and inexpensive rounds for hunting. The 154gr spbt from Tula is very effective and
    unlike the blackout can actually put some speed on them so they are ideal for those distances with a lot more energy. It will never be a 30-30 or
    the others above but it is a great middle point between pistols & blackout and the others. Also later down the road with quality brass and 30 cal
    bullets you can pump it up a great deal, and also have the option of subsonic work as well although those guns should be dedicated for subsonic work like any other caliber so we avoid problems. I found the only way to have a gun that is very reliable with any sort of load in supersonic or subsonic is to have two gas blocks in tandem with the valves (like noveske) in place to totally altered the gassing system. This also applies to the whisper / blackout and
    other calibers.

    The "energy" is a relative thing. Killing power is a factor of ....

    -Speed on the target. Hydraulic shock tends to occur at 2100fps or more and that is why slow cartridges have to rely more in wounding alone.
    -Grain + speed = Momentum. Momentum is what get things nocked out, not the same as energy alone. Also known as power factor.
    -Section - Increases in diameter and how the bore displaces fluids and react to solids (bone) - Momentum and Sectional density is important.
    -Terminal design - This is probably the most important thing since we should be matching bullets to type of animal and weight and follow the manufactures recommendations and results form years of experience from honest, ethical hunters. Lots of bullets are advertised with a mininum impact speed of 1800 but in reality they work best between 2000 to 2200 feet, with exceptions. Interestingly most CNS induced shock is also at those speeds and not lower, that is why starting with decent speeds is so important. In the case of the 7.62x39 one can compensate that with more grain and softer SP metplat and why I suggested the 154gr above. Otherwise this is the first problem some pistol calibers, blackout and others face. If one cannot start with decent speeds then one is going to struggle to inject a decent speed in the target and it is not like we can say "Hey mr. deer come 50 yards closer".

    When we did the testing for some of the wildcats the first thing we looked for was enough speed on targets and then going through media and barrels of water at several ranges.

    Remember in youtube everything looks easier than it really is and people rarely post pics and videos of screw ups yet we have many.


    I you want shorter barrels the 6.8 (including pistols) is the ticket.

    Good luck brother.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2018
  19. meketrefe

    meketrefe .338 Win Mag

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    btw... I have the 95gr TTSX from barnes clocking at 2850 fps from a 18" upper. That is a brutal round in both deer and hogs.
    But for deer a 120gr sp at slower speeds will also work amazingly well.
    Of course the same 120gr will work very well from the grendel too.
     
  20. meketrefe

    meketrefe .338 Win Mag

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    This is the Tula 154gr that is a very inexpensive and effective deer round.
    Just be careful becasue there are other 150gr loads out there that are not that great like golden tiger or something like that and they
    do not expand. I tested them years ago and forgot the name but I believe the tula is good to go for also very cheap.
    This is from a crappy AKM style. A 17-18"upper would be the ideal.

     
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  21. meketrefe

    meketrefe .338 Win Mag

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    This is a popular pig rifle, with the 6.8 harvesting them by the thousands.
    The LWRC has a very nice and proven track record with hogs that are very hard on the run.

     
  22. Carlos Hathcock

    Carlos Hathcock .308 Win

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    Those pigs are like giant rats.
     
  23. Edwardteach72

    Edwardteach72 .308 Win

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    Thanks guys. And whole @1075tech had some good arguments and my interest in the 6.5 has been peaked (I get excited about shit easily) and I will be look at maybe doing some future stuff with the 6.5.


    I am thinking for trying to go with a 14.5 pinned or a 16" barrel the 6.8 is going to be my choice (most likely 16").

    This isnt going to be much more than a dedicated hunting rifle, so I will be having a fixed magazine, looking at barrels and bolts right now (going to use my Aero Precision BCG that I bought for my 300blk)

    I see Brownells has a LWRC bolt on sale for $55 so that won't be to bad, then just the cost of a barrel and getting that put on. Also going to look at some 1-6x budget friendly glass, eventual build another nicer Aero Precision lower specifically for this (it will be a step above the PSA Afgan lower I currently have)
     
  24. JamieZ

    JamieZ .357 mag

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    Just an FYI, If you are going with the 6.8. I have a 16" barrel on mine but most of the research Ive done states the most preferred length for 6.8 is 18 inch. This obviously is recommended and liked due to velocity, getting the most out of a bullet. As far as difference between 16 and 18,,,,you wont even notice a difference carrying the rifle.

    Just a thought,,,,something I would consider if building another one.

    Right now I have a 16 and a 14.7. The 14.7 upper I plan on giving to the young neighbor across the street as a birthday gift come December. I pinned welded on a linear muzzle brake to make it 16. Basically giving the kid everything needed to put together a 6.8 except for the lower. He will even have the lower parts kit which I have laying around. He cant buy the lower till he turns 21.
     
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  25. Bullcreek_Strategic

    Bullcreek_Strategic .40 S&W NYGF Vendor

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    Do you have a suppressor for said 300blk? If not whats the point you wont be able to use the round to its designed and purpose driven potential.
     
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  26. Jaywmustang

    Jaywmustang .223 Rem

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    When I was looking for a big game caliber for my ar, I was going to go with the 458 socom.
     
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  27. turbobike

    turbobike .45 acp

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    Don't forget the 450 Bushmaster...almost 3000fpe (handloads)..more than a 308 at 100yds...
     
  28. gun_slinger_boy

    gun_slinger_boy 6.5 Creedmoor

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    Yes.
     
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  29. Willjr75

    Willjr75 .450/400 Nitro Ex U.S. Military

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    If you want to buy another caliber, magazines, bolt, ect, for 100 yards just because, get the 6.8.

    If not, use the 5.56 or 7.62x39 because you aren't going to gain much with the 6.8 within that short distance except a little more energy if keeping barrel lengths the same at 14.5 inches.

    If you want to rethink that AR pistol and use something handier and lighter with the short barrel, the .300 BO or 7.62x39 is the better choice. That handiness would be well worth the extra work to get a lower approved and put on your permit. You have a whole year to do it and once done, you'll be glad you did when you sport a 4.5 pound gun with a tiny barrel next year for hunting season.
     
  30. Edwardteach72

    Edwardteach72 .308 Win

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    I mean I could do both lol, new bolt in my bcg to 6.8, trade out the barrel (buddy of mine sounds interested in my 300blk barrel) and good to go to 6.8

    And keep working on finding a way to get the pistol
     
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