6.5 Grendel: Faxon 20" Heavy or Brownells (Satern) 18"/24"?

Winny94

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  • Nov 19, 2013
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    I'm debating b/w a Faxon 20" heavy barrel 5r barrel and the Brownells 18" or 24" barrel. (I have a giftcard, so choices are confined to Brownells). Does anyone have experience w/ either or both? This will be a "do-all" rifle i.e. I have a range out to 800 I would like to ring steel with and 1x or 2x a year it may go out antelope/deer, coyote hunting. I would be very happy w/ a .75 MOA rifle, but I need it to be MOA at least. Im not looking for a featherweight rifle, but handy would be nice.

    Thanks for any insight
     

    hdrolling

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    Sep 29, 2017
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    I just built a 20" 6.5 grendel with a faxon barrel, I've only shot it once so far but it was less than impressive. I'm hoping it just needs a few more rounds to break the barrel in, I only have about 80 rds of Horandy black 123 gr so far and just picked up another 60 today. I plan to go out this weekend and shoot some more if the weather works out.

    I'm going to give it until the 500 rd mark and if it hasn't improved I'm going to just spend the big money on Better barrel. If I was in your shoes and you had to buy now, I would get the Satern. Or use your card and a little out of pocket and get an even better barrel.

    oogf by hd_rolling, on Flickr
     

    BCP

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  • Dec 4, 2008
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    Brownells comes with a headspaced bolt for 300 bucks, that's not a bad deal IMHO

    Ballistic advantage offers 6.5 grendel barrels but don't think it includes a headspaced bolt

    Not a big fan of Faxon, other people like them YMMV
     

    padom

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    Smokyred

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    JSE Surplus has Wilson 20" barrels on sale. Every Wilson I own hammers. They have non fluted, fluted and nitrided and all come with a matching bolt. I grabbed the fluted one a few days ago.


    http://www.jsesurplus.com/wilsonarms...utedstr-1.aspx


    http://www.jsesurplus.com/wilsonarms...hedbolt-1.aspx

    http://www.jsesurplus.com/wilsonarms...tchedbolt.aspx

    Wilson 18" 6.5G barrels appear to be on sale as well HERE, and they seem to include a bolt/carrier as opposed to just a bolt.

    Dave
     
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    Niles Coyote

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  • Aug 13, 2007
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    Satern 6.5G's were at one time considered among the best..is that not the case anymore..??

    While not a Grendel, I love my 16" Satern/Brownells 450 bushmaster barrel. Easily under MOA with Hornady factory ammo and handloads at 100 yards.

    I agree with the poster above, 18" makes a great all purpose length. I have a 16, 18 and 20 and my 18 is the favorite of the three. If I could change one thing about it, I'd change the gas length from rifle to intermediate.
     
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    Laseredge

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  • Feb 10, 2011
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    Satern 6.5G's were at one time considered among the best..is that not the case anymore..??

    I’ve had Satern cut rifled 6.5G barrels which cost @$600 that were incredible sub 3/4 moa barrels, and I’ve had Satern button fifled 6.5G barrels which cost @$300 that were totally Meh, 1-1.25 moa barrels. So yes, and no. I think the Brownells and Midway barrels are the button barrels.
     

    Forgetful Coyote

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    While not a Grendel, I love my 16" Satern/Brownells 450 bushmaster barrel. Easily under MOA with Hornady factory ammo and handloads at 100 yards.

    I agree with the poster above, 18" makes a great all purpose length. I have a 16, 18 and 20 and my 18 is the favorite of the three. If I could change one thing about it, I'd change the gas length from rifle to intermediate.

    Why do ya say you want IL instead of rifle, if ya don't mind my asking?
     

    Niles Coyote

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  • Aug 13, 2007
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    Why do ya say you want IL instead of rifle, if ya don't mind my asking?

    Don't mind you asking at all. ;)

    I have an awesome load, best I've ever seen in the Grendel, both in groups on paper at 100 and on steel stretching all the way out to 1000. Low ES and SD too. Thing is, it uses AR-Comp and for what ever reason when I put my 18" JP barreled AR together it shot great. But it did require a wide open gas on my SLR gas block. After around 1000 rounds give or take a hundred it started short cycling. Cleaned everything to include putting a brand new gas tube and Gas block on and changing my gas rings on the bolt. Still would not reliably cycle.

    It also has never worked 100% (cycling) in my 20" bartlein, though I think if I played with my recoil spring weight I could get it there... All this made me mad as hell, so I bought a 16" Ballistic advantage with mid gas and it works fine in that except that barrel walks when you put more than a handful of shots down range. Its a great light weight barrel for hunting but not if you want to stop by the range for an hour or two of LR steel ringing on small plates while discharging 50-100 rounds.

    For what ever reason AR-Comp works great in over gassed guns but must not produce the port pressure most other powders do. When I tuned a load in my 20" 308 using Varget and then tried AR-Comp I also found I needed to open up the Gas block a bit to get it to cycle. In my Factory 16" DPMS carbine gas 308 barrel (DPMS needs to be spanked for using carbine gas in a 308, just sayin'), AR-Comp is like gold there too, anything else and you start seeing major over gas indications on the spent cases before seeing any meaningful velocity. In the Grendel AR-Comp is magical, super wide node around 26.8 grains under any 123ish bullet. I have yet to find anything close to that using IMR8208 or H4895. 8208 has pissed me off, I'll have a good load on paper one day and shoot the same load a week later under conditions that have not changed much and it prints like a bad load... though it has never come close to the one hole groups I've seen with AR-Comp.

    I'd love to try a 18" IL barrel to see if it would work, pretty sure it would since a rifle length is almost there.

    That's it in a nut shell. I'm in love with a powder and don't want to switch, LOL.
     

    bobke

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  • Sep 17, 2010
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    Niles
    That’s a great post, and a view into the alchemy of handloading for gas guns that those who don’t roll their own will ever fully understand. And even those of us that do, don’t entirely absorb the variables of burn rates and gas length. Problem solving usually elsewhere and powder/gas relationships dealt with using AGB’s and moving on, when root cause is elsewhere. Padom did a pretty extensive test with 123 class bullets in 6.5CM AR using AR Comp a couple of months back and had same high praise for ARC and it’s characteristics in 6.5. I lean pretty hard on CFE in Grendel in 18”/IL Lilja, 18” RL JP, 20” Bartlein RL and cut rifle 24” RL Satern, but have ARC on bench to work with when looking at options. Appreciate the deeper dive on ARC.
     

    Strykervet

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  • Jun 5, 2011
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    I have a Lilja 11.5" Grendel I haven't fired yet but expect good things from.

    But to more accurately answer your question, I have a Satern bbl., I bought it from Mr. Satern back when a barrel order didn't take ten years (still waited 2 years on it!). IF you can find a cut rifle Satern barrel (they carry but don't make a cheaper button rifled barrel, Liberty IIRC?) and it fits your setup, get it. My 20" Grendel is by FAR my most accurate rifle, capable of consistent .33MOA groups. It's a true badass.

    IMO, there's no substitute for a properly made barrel with cut rifling. I'd get the Satern if available but also know the other high end cut rifle makers are just as good. Lilja is a button rifled barrel, but generally considered a high end barrel on par with many cut rifled barrels. At the end of the day, you need the best barrel you can get for an AR since so much of the system depends on that one part.

     

    PhOnEpHrEaK

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    Jun 2, 2006
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    Hopefully I’m not too late. These were all shot yesterday from my Faxon 20” Grendel. These are 2” dots. Two five shot groups, and a ten round group.
     

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    LRRPF52

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    Don't mind you asking at all. ;)

    I have an awesome load, best I've ever seen in the Grendel, both in groups on paper at 100 and on steel stretching all the way out to 1000. Low ES and SD too. Thing is, it uses AR-Comp and for what ever reason when I put my 18" JP barreled AR together it shot great. But it did require a wide open gas on my SLR gas block. After around 1000 rounds give or take a hundred it started short cycling. Cleaned everything to include putting a brand new gas tube and Gas block on and changing my gas rings on the bolt. Still would not reliably cycle.

    It also has never worked 100% (cycling) in my 20" bartlein, though I think if I played with my recoil spring weight I could get it there... All this made me mad as hell, so I bought a 16" Ballistic advantage with mid gas and it works fine in that except that barrel walks when you put more than a handful of shots down range. Its a great light weight barrel for hunting but not if you want to stop by the range for an hour or two of LR steel ringing on small plates while discharging 50-100 rounds.

    For what ever reason AR-Comp works great in over gassed guns but must not produce the port pressure most other powders do. When I tuned a load in my 20" 308 using Varget and then tried AR-Comp I also found I needed to open up the Gas block a bit to get it to cycle. In my Factory 16" DPMS carbine gas 308 barrel (DPMS needs to be spanked for using carbine gas in a 308, just sayin'), AR-Comp is like gold there too, anything else and you start seeing major over gas indications on the spent cases before seeing any meaningful velocity. In the Grendel AR-Comp is magical, super wide node around 26.8 grains under any 123ish bullet. I have yet to find anything close to that using IMR8208 or H4895. 8208 has pissed me off, I'll have a good load on paper one day and shoot the same load a week later under conditions that have not changed much and it prints like a bad load... though it has never come close to the one hole groups I've seen with AR-Comp.

    I'd love to try a 18" IL barrel to see if it would work, pretty sure it would since a rifle length is almost there.

    That's it in a nut shell. I'm in love with a powder and don't want to switch, LOL.

    AR Comp and 8208XBR are faster burning powders that will gas the gun more reliably with shorter gas system lengths or larger ports in the Grendel. The AR15 in .222 Remington Special/5.56x45 was engineered around the same type of small extruded powder, one of which was 8208M, and this works very well with 20" RLGS .224 bored guns with a ~25gr case capacity.

    8208XBR has worked very well for me with 100gr Nosler Ballistic Tips, to the point where you really can't get too much in the case it seems under a 100gr bullet. Even with a compressed load, Hodgdon's found that they still only hit 49,300psi under a 100gr NBT in their piezoelectric testing of Grendel.

    Under a 123gr in Grendel, you'll hit a wall really quick around 28.5gr of 8208XBR, but is has one of the tightest SDs. AR Comp seems to be even better for SDs, and is specifically engineered to tighten temp sensitivity into negligible ESs. Accurate Shooter stated that AR-Comp was a reformulation of RL-15, but I would like to see something definitive from the powder manufacturer before assuming data is interchangeable.

    What I've seen is that your slower-burning ball powders like AA2520, BL-C(2), and CFE223 will hit the gas port much harder than 8208XBR. 8208 feels like a swift punt of the bullet out the barrel, whereas CFE223 feels like a "wallop" recoil impulse.

    I'm considering switching over from CFE223 to 8208 or AR Comp for my shorter MLGS Lilja 318 barreled Grendel, but I'm getting 10rd groups into 1 MOA at 100yds and 6rd groups into .8 MOA at 1000yds with my current CFE223 load under 123gr AMAX.