Best 6.5 Grendel Barrel: Top 5

Imagine you’re out hunting for deer when you spot one about 350 yards out. You have a clear shot, and you’re lucky because you brought your 6.5 Grendel ammo for your AR-15.

If you stuck with the normal .223 shots, you wouldn’t be able to make this shot, but you know your weapon. So you take a breath and fire.

And miss.

When you get back to camp, your buddies point out the signs of wear on the barrel that caused you to miss the deer. It’s time for a new one.

Picking the best 6.5 Grendel barrel can be overwhelming, so we’ve helped by compiling our top 5 list. Read on for information on how to pick the right barrel and our reviews of the list below.

ProductOur RatingScenario
AR-15 CARBON FIBER 6.5 GRENDEL4.9/5Best Overall
AR-15 6.5 GRENDEL STAINLESS STEEL4.6/5Budget Friendly
AR-15 6.5 GRENDEL HEAVY PROFILE4.8/5Editors Pick
BROWNELLS AR-15/M16 6.5 GRENDEL4.7/5Alternative #1
CRITERION AR-15 6.5 GRENDEL HYBRID3.9/5Alternative #2

WHY REPLACE A RIFLE BARREL?

The main reason to replace a rifle barrel is that over time the accuracy of the firearm degrades due to how many times the barrel has been fired. The term for this in the gun world is “barrel life.”

The barrel life is calculated by the number of rounds it takes before the rifle’s accuracy is lessened by one minute of angle at 100 yards. To professional and precision shooters, this is really important. For average hunters, you can probably get away with up to three minutes of angle change.

Keep in mind, as well, that the average hunter doesn’t fire their gun as often either. Their barrel life will be extended over time because of this. When you notice your rifle isn’t shooting as accurately (and you’ve eliminated other reasons like a poorly sighted scope), it’s time to replace the barrel.

You may also want to consider replacing the barrel if you want optimal precision and accuracy with a specific type of ammo such as the Grendel 6.5. If you fire a certain type a lot, there are barrels designed specifically for the ammo (such as the ones on our list) that can result in tighter groupings and a longer barrel life.

FEATURES OF RIFLE BARRELS

If you don’t know a lot about rifle barrels and what to look for, that’s OK. We’ve got you covered. Below we go into detail on what to consider when picking the rifle barrel that’s best for you.

MATERIAL & COATING

Barrel material matters when it comes to the life, accuracy, and look of the barrel. Many people debate over and over what is the best material for a barrel. The material can affect how the gun fires because of how the vibrations interact with the barrel.

There is no clear “best” material. A lot of it comes down to the exact construction of the barrel, but stainless steel is one of the common and relied on. Here are some common barrel materials:

  • Blued steel
  • Stainless steel
  • Carbon fiber
  • Nickel
  • Titanium

On top of this, the barrel can be coated with chemicals to protect them from weather and corrosion. The military often coats them in chrome. This results in greater durability but less accuracy.

TWIST

The twist of the rifle may be the most important part of choosing a new rifle. You need to aim for the best balance of twist.

The twist in the barrel spins the bullet as it comes out. Quick spin or twist gives more range but less accuracy. Slow twist results in bullets that don’t go far and are unpredictable.

Because the 6.5 Grendel’s long-range accuracy goals, a twist close to 1 spin in 8 inches (1:8”) is recommended.

BARREL LIFE

If you’re changing your barrel because the old one wore out, you really don’t want to have to change it again quickly. You’re probably going to want one with a long barrel life. The same is true if you practice at the range a lot or shoot competitively.

If you only practice shooting occasionally and use your rifle mostly hunting, this may not need to be a top priority for you; this may be a feature you can give a little on for a lower price.

RIFLING CONFIGURATION

A barrel’s rifling configuration refers to how much and in what way the barrel is grooved. The grooving is what gives the bullet its twist.

How much of an impact does the configuration have? That’s up for debate. Some experts say the grooves are too shallow to make a big difference while others say the little difference it makes takes a good barrel and makes it a superior one.

There are many options to choose from; it’s up to you what you want. If it were me, I wouldn’t pay extra for a fancy configuration, but if all things were equal I may opt for something with a bit more in this department.

The three most common configurations:

  • Cut
  • Button
  • Broach

LENGTH

The length of the barrel is important as well. In general, the longer the barrel the better for long-range shooting. When the barrel has more length to contain the energy created when the firing pin hits the primer, the bullet is shot forward more energy and velocity.

With the 6.5 Grendel designed especially for longer ranger shooting (300-400 yards), you’ll probably want to look for a longer barrel. Too long, though, and the barrel won’t be easy to carry, and you may sacrifice some shorter range accuracy.

For comparison, the standard AR-15 barrels fall between 14.5” and 16”. You may want to consider something a little longer if the long range is important to you.

PRICE

Barrels are one of the key parts of a rifle. As such, they can end up costing quite a bit, but you generally get a lot for that price.

If price is a concern for you, don’t be afraid to check out all the barrels on our list. We cover a range of prices to help you find the right product for you. Just keep in mind what you need and don’t need from the features above.

REVIEW OF THE BEST 6.5 GRENDEL BARRELS

best 6.5 grendel barrel

Below we have the break downs of the best 6.5 Grendel barrels. Each one may be right for someone depending on what they need. Keep the features above in mind as you read on.

BROWNELLS PREMIUM BARRELS AR-15 6.5 GRENDEL

Brownells premium barrel is specifically designed for the 6.5 Grendel as are the rest on our list. This medium-priced model is a step up from cheaper barrels, but it still manages to get the job done with some nice elements.

The barrel features a 5R button rifling which offers reliable accuracy. With a twist ratio of 1:8”, you know you’re getting a good range and accuracy balance.

The stainless steel barrel is standard for barrels and offers good durability and protection from the weather. The addition of the gas system supports the AR-15s purpose in being a fast with light recoil semi-automatic.

Brownells offers this barrel in 18” and 24” lengths. This is much longer than the standard barrel sizes, which is good. It adds to the 6.5 Grendel’s long-range specialty. If you plan on using the rifle for short and long range you may want to go for the 18” one.

Brownells believes in their product and guarantees this rifle barrel for life. Here’s what the user experience comes down to:

Positives Recap for This Product

  • Looks good
  • Good cost for quality ratio
  • Adds accuracy at long range (some report up to 500 yards)
  • High-quality materials
  • Company offers great customer support

Negatives Recap for This Product

  •  Requires some extra fitting to fit certain AR-15s
  • The gas system may be too large

BSF BARRELS AR-15 CARBON FIBER 6.5 GRENDEL RIFLE GAS SYSTEM

BSF Barrels made this barrel for the 6.5 Grendel ammo to be the king of it surveys. They packed this product with so many features and design elements the high price may only make you wince a little.

The barrel is constructed out of a steel sleeve wrapped with carbon fiber. The steel gives it great strength and durability while the addition of carbon fiber balances shock absorption and lighter weight.

Another interesting design element is the air pocket between the carbon and the steel. The air lets the heat from firing dissipate quicker which preserves the barrel life. There are also vents along the side of the barrel to let the heat escape even more.

The twist for this barrel is 1:8” which provides a good balance of long range and accuracy. It comes in 18” and 20” lengths for long range shooting. The barrels are fitted for rifle length gas systems, but that is sold separately.

Customers reported the following on using the BSF Barrels product:

Positives Recap for This Product

  • Very lightweight
  • Improved accuracy
  • Looks great with tactical style
  • Cool to touch even after a lot of shooting
  • Great fir and design

Negatives Recap for This Product

  • High price

BROWNELLS AR-15 6.5 GRENDEL STAINLESS STEEL

This is the Brownells more affordable barrel for the 6.5 Grendel ammo. Several of the features are the same as the premium barrels from before.

Again we see the 5R button rifling that provides consistent shooting and accuracy. The 1:8” twist is standard for longer range rifles.

The stainless steel material is still solid and comes in 18” and 24” options like before. This provides some choice in how you like to shoot. The 18” barrel is more for those who need to shoot close and long range. When you pick 24”, you’re placing more of an emphasis on its range.

The main difference is in the contouring. This model features no special shaping of the barrel. Without this extra engineering, it’s a little more vulnerable to a heavier weight, too much heat, and less consistent accuracy.

See what the users have to say:

Positives Recap for This Product

  • Improves accuracy
  • Good construction
  • Affordable
  • Good customer service

Negatives Recap for This Product

  • Heavy
  • May require extra fitting

CRITERION BARRELS INC AR-15 6.5 GRENDEL HYBRID

This medium-priced barrel made by Criterion Barrels tries to balance long-range accuracy with easy-use and durability.

A standard stainless steel material is shaped with a Hybrid contour. This shaping makes the barrel lighter and cooler while still holding steady enough to fire with precision and accuracy.

The mid-length gas system on the 18” barrel helps with faster firing. Criterion doesn’t offer any other barrel lengths with the 6.5 Grendel fit, but they do offer you the choice of mid-length or rifle-length gas systems. Rifle length systems end up with less recoil but are a little heavier on the end.

The twist is still the optimal 1:8” which is standard for the 6.5 Grendel. This barrel is made in the USA. The user experience for the Criterion Barrels product boils down to this:

Positives Recap for This Product

  • Improves accuracy
  • Hybrid contour makes it great for all kinds of usage
  • Durable
  • Easy to install

Negatives Recap for This Product

  • No consistent complaints were found for this product

FAXON FIREARMS AR-15 6.5 GRENDEL HEAVY PROFILE

Faxon Firearms made their barrel at the middle-of-the-road for price, but the design is anything but mediocre. Many of the standard features for 6.5 Grendel barrels are on this barrel.

The rifling is a 5R button style to provide a nice 1:8” twist for long range accuracy and control. The stainless steel material is made in Ohio, but it does have the nice addition of a nitride coating for the inside and outside of the barrel to provide some corrosion protection.

You can pick from an 18” or a 20” barrel length based on your preference. The 18” uses a mid-length gas system while the 20” uses a rifle length system. That may help you pick one if you’re unsure because rifle length systems are generally considered as the better option.

The most interesting design choice of this barrel is the fluted contour. Fluting refers to grooves on the exterior of the barrel all or most of the way down its length.

These “flutes” remove some weight of the barrel. It brings more air into contact with the barrel and allows for quicker heating. This is especially useful for those of you who shoot competitively or like spending a lot of time at the range. 

Faxon’s 6.5 Grendel Barrel has given the following experiences when in use:

Positives Recap for This Product

  • Light for its size
  • Very accurate
  • Extra protection from the coating
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Good construction

Negatives Recap for This Product

  • No consistent complaints were found

COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS

If the 6.5 Grendel is so accurate, why doesn’t the military use it? – There are two reasons the military doesn’t use this ammo, and it has nothing to do with its effectiveness:

  1. The 5.56 mm are made at a higher volume, and that makes them cheaper.
  2. NATO has approved the 5.56 mm as the international standard. This stemmed from the post-WWII realization that having standardized military ammo makes it easier to share when working together in international conflicts.

Why is stainless steel so common in gun barrels? – To be brief, it’s the best combination of toughness and price. It resists corrosion better than most metals even when untreated.

Stainless steel absorbs and releases heat much more effectively than other materials as well. This is important in long rifle barrels (such as you see with 6.5 Grendel specific ones) because the energy is contained longer the barrels are in contact with the heat a lot more.

Is the AR-15 actually good for hunting? – For sure, it’s actually quite common. The gun is reliable and accurate. If you’re using the 6.5 Grendel with a specific barrel from our list, hunting is quite easy. Just because the media doesn’t show that side the semi-auto firearm doesn’t mean that it’s not for hunting.

If the weapon is good enough to be for military use (we have a civilian model, but still…), it should be good enough for hunting.

CONCLUSION

We hope you enjoyed reading about the best 6.5 Grendel barrels. Each one may be right for you, so you need to balance what you’re looking for with what each one offers.

If you’re having trouble deciding, I’d recommend the BSF Barrels 18” option. Though it may cost more, with all the design choices to bring down weight, increase cooling, and optimize durability and accuracy this barrel is going to last with a lot of use.

If the price still scares you, that’s OK. I’d go with the Faxon barrel after that. It’s more affordable, but the fluting contour still helps keep the barrel light, cool, and accurate.

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