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Thread: Looking for advice - 6.5 Grendel AR upper or .243 Win Savage model 11?

  1. #1
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    Looking for advice - 6.5 Grendel AR upper or .243 Win Savage model 11?


    Hey guys - this probably seems like a silly question, but bear with me.

    I've been wanting to dip my toes into some medium-range / precision shooting (my club has a 300-yard range and another nearby range has a 600-yard range). My natural inclination was to go with a platform I'm very familiar with, the AR15, and pick up a 6.5 Grendel upper for it.

    HOWEVER, I then realized that I already have a Savage model 11 in .243 Win sitting in my safe that's been there for probably 15 or more years. It was a rifle I bought to introduce my kids to shooting when they were younger. It wasn't anything special - just a package deal that I picked up from Bass Pro. It has a mossy oak camo stock and cheap Simmons 3-9x40 matching scope and a thin (standard?) profile barrel. It does have the accu-trigger, which I always liked.

    My question: should I go with the 6.5 Grendel upper for the AR or am I better off putting a little money into the Savage in the form of a new stock (not a fan of what's on there now) and some decent glass? I'm not looking for 1-hole groups at 300 yards, but I definitely want something with good accuracy. Is the thin-profile barrel going to be a weakness or am I overthinking it?

    I'll be reloading as soon as components are available again (I reload my handgun calibers, but haven't reloaded rifle in many years, so I don't have any components or tooling for it).

    I appreciate your opinions. It's a new area for me, as I've spent most of my shooting experience with handguns, PCCs, or AR/Tavor platforms.

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    I would stick with the 243. It beats the Grendel in every way. The 243 WAS, IS & will always BE an awesome cartridge! Do yourself a favor & keep your ARs 223.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hoback View Post
    I would stick with the 243. It beats the Grendel in every way. The 243 WAS, IS & will always BE an awesome cartridge! Do yourself a favor & keep your ARs 223.
    Thanks Dave. I appreciate your input. Is the thin-profile barrel going to be any sort of limiting factor for me on the model 11? I'm not sure if the heat soak or vibrations are going to be something that will have a significant impact on it for bench shooting. Also, any suggestions of what I might want to look at to provide any improvements to the model 11 or my shooting experience with it would be appreciated. As I said, this is kind of a new area of shooting for me.

    Brian
    -Brian

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    Basic Member GaCop's Avatar
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    I had the misfortune of owning a 6.5 Grendel AR. Accuracy was never one of it's strong points. 1.5" was the best I could ever get out of mine with various bullets and powder combinations. My 243 would walk all over the AR Grendel. Now, the Grendel in a short action bolt action might be interesting.
    Vietnam Vet, Jun 66 - Dec 67

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    We also have a cheep crappy savage package 110, 243.
    It was bought for my Daughter when she started hunting.
    It has a 3X9 Bushnell and what ever barrel comes with it.
    Turned out way to big and heavy for her small frame. She killed a lot of deer, antelope, coyotes, and Prairie dogs, but did not like it.
    So I used it for years. I put a 4X12 Redfield and pillar bedded the Barrel. Then worked on loads.
    It may be the most accurate gun I have for a 1/3 the price. It took a LOT of work to get the load JUST right very little changes made a huge difference. NOW off a bench 300 yards is nothing to be well under an inch group, with 75gr Barnes tsx bullets. We push them at MAX with varget.
    For hunting we found a 85 gr Speer lead tip is the best and off shooting sticks 300 group is around 1.5 inch, not moa but inch! I have personally killed cow elk and bear with it with one shot.
    I would save some $$$ and use the savage.
    All that said we JUST added two Howa 6.5 Grendel to our stable, one a youth 20" and the other a 22". We are still braking in the barrels but it's looking very promising.



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    Quote Originally Posted by GaCop View Post
    I had the misfortune of owning a 6.5 Grendel AR. Accuracy was never one of it's strong points. 1.5" was the best I could ever get out of mine with various bullets and powder combinations. My 243 would walk all over the AR Grendel. Now, the Grendel in a short action bolt action might be interesting.
    Interesting, GaCop. Thanks for the feedback. I know that, in general, a bolt gun is going to be more inherently accurate than a gas gun, but I would expect better than 1.5 MOA out of a decent upper. Something for me to think about...

    Quote Originally Posted by 8mm RUM View Post

    We also have a cheep crappy savage package 110, 243.
    It was bought for my Daughter when she started hunting.
    It has a 3X9 Bushnell and what ever barrel comes with it.
    Turned out way to big and heavy for her small frame. She killed a lot of deer, antelope, coyotes, and Prairie dogs, but did not like it.
    So I used it for years. I put a 4X12 Redfield and pillar bedded the Barrel. Then worked on loads.
    It may be the most accurate gun I have for a 1/3 the price. It took a LOT of work to get the load JUST right very little changes made a huge difference. NOW off a bench 300 yards is nothing to be well under an inch group, with 75gr Barnes tsx bullets. We push them at MAX with varget.
    For hunting we found a 85 gr Speer lead tip is the best and off shooting sticks 300 group is around 1.5 inch, not moa but inch! I have personally killed cow elk and bear with it with one shot.
    I would save some $$$ and use the savage.
    All that said we JUST added two Howa 6.5 Grendel to our stable, one a youth 20" and the other a 22". We are still braking in the barrels but it's looking very promising.
    I'm starting to think that I'm going to try the same approach. It does seem like a waste to not give the Savage a fair go, especially since it's already in my safe. :D

    Man, I can't wait to see primers back in stock anywhere. Fortunately, other components can still be found if you keep looking, but I haven't seen a single primer in months (and don't currently reload rifle, so I don't have any inventory of primers or powder for them). Looking forward to working up handloads for whichever direction I end up going, but I'll have to settle for factory ammo for now...
    -Brian

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    Well, Savage hasn’t really done the 243Win much favor. Not for the reloader anyway. Too slow a twist. Your sporter barrel Model 11 will run well as it sits though. Won’t be able to take advantage of the heaviest, very high BC bullets offered in the 6mm/.243 kingdom. But it won’t dampen your enjoyment. I would play around with it. DEFINITELY reload, as you mentioned. There are things you can do to enhance what you have now for very little cost. Bedding the barrel is always beneficial. And setting up the trigger. You’ll find mixed feelings on the Accutrigger. I love them, and actually perform trigger jobs FREE OF CHARGE to members here. Also invest in quality glass. Of course the old saying...”spend as much as you can afford”. Some people think that means keep saving until you can afford a $2000+++ scope. (Like that’s an option for us all) I am NOT part of that camp. These few things will give you a competent shooter indeed.

    Then, if you find you are “bitten”...you can look into a more accurate barrel swap & all the little things we do to tweak our actions in a build. The Savage is still about the cheapest rifle “Build” that can yield a rig more accurate that 99.99% of shooters. My bench gun is a Savage Model 10 Action that started life in .243Win. I rebarreled for 260Rem & did a complete build in a chassis. It’s FAR more accurate than I could ever was.

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    The AccuTrigger is one of the things that I really like about the rifle. I'm generally not a fan of the whole trigger safety thing, but the blade doesn't feel intrusive to me in this case. As far as glass goes, it's unlikely you're going to find a $1000+ scope on one of my rifles anytime soon. I'm a fan of the Vortex Diamondback 4-16x44 FFP. It's not the same as a top-shelf NightForce, but I'm pleased with the one I have on another rifle.

    I don't mind building a rifle out over time, based on growing skills and desires (it's part of the fun, right?) - I just want to make sure I'm starting with good bones. It sounds like the Model 11 won't do me any disservice in that area.
    -Brian

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    The Diamondback is good glass for the money.

    Not at all! It certainly won’t do you disservice. This is what I pull from my Pelican case for bench duty.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hoback View Post
    The Diamondback is good glass for the money.

    Not at all! It certainly won’t do you disservice. This is what I pull from my Pelican case for bench duty.

    Man, that's really nice!
    -Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hoback View Post
    The Diamondback is good glass for the money.

    Not at all! It certainly won’t do you disservice. This is what I pull from my Pelican case for bench duty.


    Gorgeous! What chassis is that?

    Sent from my SM-A205U using Tapatalk

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    Appreciate that. Just one way to go with these. I have less than $2K in this whole setup, including the original rifle. They have a very high cost effectiveness to performance ratio

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    Quote Originally Posted by 7kings View Post
    Man, that's really nice!
    Brian, tried sending you a PM. You need to Activate your personal messages in “Settings”.

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    Dave, didn't realize it was off by default. It's activated now.
    -Brian

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    Comparing a Grendel to a 243 is like comparing a 300 Blackout to a 30-06. The only thing wrong with the 243 is the shoulder shape that promotes brass flow, case stretching and throat erosion. Make it an 243 AI and end all those issues.

    About to build my third on a 28" Encore 243.

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    +1

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    Yeah, I think I'm convinced to invest a little in the Savage and see how it goes. I can always add a 6.5G upper later anyway.
    -Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by 99 K 30-30 View Post
    Comparing a Grendel to a 243 is like comparing a 300 Blackout to a 30-06. The only thing wrong with the 243 is the shoulder shape that promotes brass flow, case stretching and throat erosion. Make it an 243 AI and end all those issues.

    About to build my third on a 28" Encore 243.
    That’s a pretty good analogy. But maybe 300AAC to 308 Win a little more? Being the 243’s parent case and all.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by wbm View Post
    +1
    +2
    Vietnam Vet, Jun 66 - Dec 67

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    My experience . I bought a 243 axis 183.00 new put good glass on it and Boyd's stock 5/8" groups handloads 95 grain sst and tmk . Also shoots 58 gr V max in the 3's 3600 fps . I also have a palmetto state armory 6.5 Grendel . 18 " barrel ept trigger shoots sub moa hornady black and hand loads . The psa uppers are of great reputation . the Grendel is 800 yard capable even pushed to 1000 . about 300 max deer gun . Two totally different Guns calibers and uses . What you should get depends on goals . Grendel IMHO is the best you can get out of AR platform ballistically . 243 is one of the most versatile calibers ballistically . I don't think there is a mistake you could make in this decision . Ps now early issues in Grendel stuff in AR have been ironed out .

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    Quote Originally Posted by kingdombuilder View Post
    My experience . I bought a 243 axis 183.00 new put good glass on it and Boyd's stock 5/8" groups handloads 95 grain sst and tmk . Also shoots 58 gr V max in the 3's 3600 fps . I also have a palmetto state armory 6.5 Grendel . 18 " barrel ept trigger shoots sub moa hornady black and hand loads . The psa uppers are of great reputation . the Grendel is 800 yard capable even pushed to 1000 . about 300 max deer gun . Two totally different Guns calibers and uses . What you should get depends on goals . Grendel IMHO is the best you can get out of AR platform ballistically . 243 is one of the most versatile calibers ballistically . I don't think there is a mistake you could make in this decision . Ps now early issues in Grendel stuff in AR have been ironed out .
    I've long been a fan of PSA - their products have never treated me bad. That being said, I think I've made the decision to stick with the .243 I already have sitting in my safe for now and put some decent glass and a stock on it and have some fun with it. I'm sure I'll get around to putting together a 6.5G upper at some point, though.
    -Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by 7kings View Post
    Interesting, GaCop. Thanks for the feedback. I know that, in general, a bolt gun is going to be more inherently accurate than a gas gun, but I would expect better than 1.5 MOA out of a decent upper. Something for me to think about...



    I'm starting to think that I'm going to try the same approach. It does seem like a waste to not give the Savage a fair go, especially since it's already in my safe. :D

    Man, I can't wait to see primers back in stock anywhere. Fortunately, other components can still be found if you keep looking, but I haven't seen a single primer in months (and don't currently reload rifle, so I don't have any inventory of primers or powder for them). Looking forward to working up handloads for whichever direction I end up going, but I'll have to settle for factory ammo for now...
    I should have clarified my original posting, the 1.5" groups I got were at 200 yards. That's the best I could ever get the AR to do with Hornady Black Box or a number of different handloads. I ended up trading the AR for a new Ruger Blackhawk in 45 Colt.
    Vietnam Vet, Jun 66 - Dec 67

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    Quote Originally Posted by GaCop View Post
    I should have clarified my original posting, the 1.5" groups I got were at 200 yards. That's the best I could ever get the AR to do with Hornady Black Box or a number of different handloads. I ended up trading the AR for a new Ruger Blackhawk in 45 Colt.
    Oh, well .75 MOA from a rack-grade PSA barrel is pretty good, then. :)

    And good score on the Blackhawk - I've always loved those.
    -Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by 7kings View Post
    Oh, well .75 MOA from a rack-grade PSA barrel is pretty good, then. :)

    And good score on the Blackhawk - I've always loved those.
    The basic PSA barrels have been made in the past by DC Machine. I’ve used DC Machine barrels before & they were easily good for 1moa or better.

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