Hornady, one of America’s top quality ammunition manufacturers, has had success with their BLACK line of ammunition geared towards MSR platforms for a number of years. I’ve had great luck with their 7.62×39 loading, as well as with their excellent BLACK SBR 5.56 offering. Recently, I purchased some of the Hornady BLACK 6.5 Grendel 123gr ELD Match loads to try out. I have a compact 16″ barrel medium game rifle chambered in 6.5 Grendel, so I’m always on the lookout for different ammunition to try out in this gun. Let’s see how the Hornady BLACK 6.5 Grendel did.
Hornady @ TFB:
- Hornady BLACK 6.5 Grendel 123gr ELD Match
- Product #81528
- Bullet type: Heat shield tipped BTHP
- BC: .506 G1, .255 G7
- MV as measured w a 24″ test barrel: 2580fps
- 20 rounds/box
Hornady BLACK 6.5 Grendel
The test platform used was a 16″, 1/8 twist barrel .264 LBC upper receiver from Les Baer Custom, fitted with a Harris bipod. I purchased this way back when the licensing of the 6.5 Grendel name was not yet released from Alexander Arms, and therefore, Les basically cloned the cartridge with a few minor tweaks as the “.264 LBC-AR”. The lower used was a POF P-415 with a Timney Trigger and Magpul furniture.
I configured this rifle for medium range pronghorn hunting with a Swarovski Optik 1.7-10×42 Z6 scope, and it has always proven to be a pretty accurate platform for the 6.5 Grendel/.264 LBC-AR. Al magazines used were 6.5 Grendel optimized mags from Alexander Arms
I headed to the range with several boxes of Hornady BLACK 6.5 Grendel. The ammunition loaded excellently into the 6.5 Grendel magazines without issue. Once loaded, I fired a few initial shots to dial in the round precisely at 100 yards, and then proceeded to fire a series of 5 shot groups as well as chronograph the rounds using a LabRadar.
Accuracy was measured center to center, all groups were 5 rounds at 100 yards, with a bipod front and bag rear support. Accuracy was extremely good, with the smallest group being .245″, and the largest being .325″!
Velocities out of the 16″ barrel were predictably lower than with the 24″ test barrel, at an average of 2460fps. Velocities were extremely consistent, however, with an SD of only 9.4. This consistency certainly translated into the accuracy of the round. For comparison’s sake, the Alexander Arms 130gr load averages 2211fps out of the same 16″ barrel.
The Grendel at Range
Stretching out to medium range distances, the accuracy of the Hornady BLACK 6.5 Grendel just kept on coming. Hits at 300, 400, and 500 yards were ridiculously easy. The rifle was able to ring a 6″ plate at 458 yards, no problem. At 800 yards, somewhat considered as the max range for 6.5 Grendel, the Hornady BLACK ammunition went 10/10. As far as reliability goes, I had not one misfire in the 3 boxes that I tried out (this being 2021 and all).
The Hornady BLACK 6.5 Grendel 123gr ELD Match loads delivered all the quality and consistency one has come to expect from Hornady. If you are looking to punch very small groups in paper or ring steel with the 6.5 Grendel, I can highly recommend this accurate and consistent ammunition without reservation. If you are looking for a hunting bullet, the ELD Match will serve in a pinch, but Hornady makes a 123gr boat-tailed SST load in 6.5 Grendel with near identical ballistics that will perform all the better for that purpose.
For more information, please visit Hornady.
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