Choosing the Best Scope for 6.5 Grendel

best scope for 6.5 grendel

Looking for the best 6.5 Grendel scope? Great, because that’s what we are here to talk about. The good news is that selecting a great scope for your 6.5 Grendel is easier than you might think. 

We’re going to cover a few of my favorite scopes for the 6.5 Grendel, but first we’re going to talk about the round, then a little about the firearms that shoot it.

Big Size, Low Recoil

It’s easy to confuse the 6.5 Grendel with the 6.5 Creedmoor, but the two ammo types are much more different than the similar names would imply. They were developed for different reasons, serve different purposes, and are compatible with different rifles. Both can be great for hunting, though.

A good way to understand the difference between these two 6.5mm cartridges is to compare them to the .223 Remington and .308 Winchester rounds. 6.5 Creedmoor was designed to be a better round for competition shooting. 

It is more accurate and has less bullet drop than a .308, making it a much better round for shots over 400-500 yards.

best 6.5 grendel scope

The 6.5 Grendel, however, was designed by Hornady to have a few distinct advantages over the .223 Remington, but still be compatible with the AR-15 platform

The idea was to create a round small enough that an AR-15 could be chambered in it, had similar recoil to the .223 Remington, but was more powerful - ideally powerful enough for hunting big game.

The 6.5 Grendel is the same length as the .223 Remington, but fatter and with a larger projectile. 

What’s great about the design of the 6.5 Grendel is that it’s a more powerful round but has recoil that is very similar to the .223 Remington, so an AR-15 chambered in 6.5 Grendel will feel a lot like one chambered in 5.56mm but is a more powerful round.

The Rifles that Shoot 6.5 Grendel

As you might expect based on its development...

Most 6.5 Grendel Rifles are AR Variants

This is important to keep in mind because it helps you understand what you’ll be mounting a scope onto. It’s likely that you’ll have a flat top with a rail (most likely a Picatinny). You’ll be working with a Modern Sporting Rifle or tactical rifle as opposed to something more classic.

The 6.5 Grendel was designed specifically for high accuracy from 200-800 yards, which gives it a distinct advantage over the .223 Remington, because the smaller round typically tops out at under 600 yards.

So if you’re a big fan of the design, barrel length, and low recoil of the AR platform but want a round that’s going to pack more punch and give better accuracy over longer distances, you may consider the 6.5 Grendel.

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

BEST FOR MEDIUM RANGE

The Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32

The Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 2-7x
  • Length: 11.3 in
BEST FOR DURABILITY

The Burris 4.5-14x42 FullField II

The Burris 4.5-14x42 FullField II 

  • Diameter: 42mm
  • Magnification: 4.5-14x
  • Length: 13.8 in
BEST FOR CLEAR IMAGE

The Leupold VX-3i 4.5-14x50mm Riflescope

The Leupold VX-3i 4.5-14x50mm Riflescope

  • Diameter: 50mm
  • Magnification: 4.5-14x
  • Length: 12.2 in
BEST FOR HUNTING

Bushnell Optics 1-4x24mm Drop Zone Reticle

Bushnell Optics 1-4x24mm Drop Zone Reticle 

  • Diameter: 24mm
  • Magnification: 1-4x
  • Length: 9.4in
BEST FOR CLOSE RANGE

Barska 1-4x28mm Mil Dot Reticle Riflescope

Barska 1-4x28mm Mil Dot Reticle Riflescope

  • Diameter: 28mm
  • Magnification: 1-4x
  • Length: 10in
BEST FOR HUNTING

Athlon Optics Neos 4-12x40 Side Focus 

Athlon Optics Neos 4-12x40 Side Focus 

  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Magnification: 4-12x
  • Length: 12.56 in
BEST FOR ACCURACY

The Primary Arms 4-14x44mm Riflescope

Primary Arms 4-14x44mm Riflescope

  • Diameter: 44mm
  • Magnification: 4-14x
  • Length: 13 in
BEST FOR LONG RANGE

Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 4-16x44

Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 4-16x44

  • Diameter: 44mm
  • Magnification: 4-16x
  • Length: 13.3 in

Scope Considerations for the 6.5 Grendel

So, with all this information, what does it all mean for when you’re looking for a scope to go with your 6.5 Grendel?

Reticle Design

To maximize the value of the round, you’ll want a reticle that properly facilitates long-range shooting. In addition, if you’re getting a scope that has a BDC reticle, it will be easiest if you can get one that has markings for the 6.5 Grendel, since they will be different from any other caliber. 

Options for those scopes are limited, so you may need to get a reticle with a different BDC and just practice compensating.

Recoil, Wear, and Tear

Since the recoil on a 6.5 Grendel is about the same as on a 5.56mm NATO, you don’t need to look specifically at scopes rated for higher calibers. Right there you can save money and open up a lot of different scope models.

Magnification

The core principle behind choosing magnification still applies here, and that is to choose the right range for the type of shooting you’re going to be doing. 

That said, if you’re shooting in this round it’s entirely possible that you’ll try to make some longer shots, and you’ll want a scope that has enough magnification to allow you to do that. I would generally recommend variable magnification to maximize versatility.

This is why we did not include a red dot on this list. Depending on what you’re doing, a red dot might work great, but we felt that the 6.5 Grendel offers such versatility that an optic paired with it should be able to maximize it.

The AR-15 Platform

Considering you’ll most likely have an adjustable stock, a long rail, and the ability to mount a vertical grip, you won’t need to be as picky about eye relief and eye box, because you have a lot of options to adjust your shooting position beyond the scope itself. 

You still want to get something that’s comfortable for you, but you have a bit more flexibility.

Without further ado, let’s jump right in to these different options and see which one is best for you.

1. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Rifle Scope

best scope for 6.5 grendel

This is a very popular hunting rifle scope that covers a fairly standard range of magnification for hunting or range shooting. You get magnification from 2x-7x and a 32mm objective lens diameter, which should give you a bright picture. 

You have three reticle options to choose from: Vortex’s Dead-Hold BDC, the V-Plex, and the V-Brite Illuminated reticles.

The magnification range is fine, and the reticle is on the second focal plane which makes it appropriate for the shorter range that would match the magnification. 

What really makes this scope a great fit for the 6.5 Grendel, though, are the three different reticle options: Dead-Hold BDC, V-Plex, and V-Brite Illuminated.

The Dead-Hold BDC reticle tries to address the problem I mentioned above about needing a scope with a BDC reticle for your exact round. The Dead-Hold BDC comes with set lines and instructions on how to calculate drop and distance for your specific cartridge and adjust for it on the fly. 

This means with practice you could use this for your 6.5 Grendel as easily as your .223.

best 6.5 grendel scope

The V-Plex is a more minimalist, hunting-style reticle, with just a standard duplex reticle in the middle and thicker lines as they get further out. 

You may prefer this reticle if you’re going to be using it for hunting since a lot of hunting will take place at shorter distances anyway and the BDC ladder just clutters up your sight picture.

best optic for 6.5 grendel

The V-Brite Illuminated is very similar to the V-Plex, but adds an illuminated red dot in the center of the reticle. This can be handy in lighting conditions where the V-Plex is hard to see, and may be the right reticle for you.

best scope for 6.5 grendel ar

The Crossfire II has everything you would expect from a high-quality scope: .25 MOA turret adjustments, waterproofing, fogproofing, and shockproofing. 

You can get the Crossfire II with different magnification levels as well, so if the 2-7x isn’t the right range for what you need you can most likely find one that fits for you.

I haven’t personally used the Crossfire II, but it’s hard to argue with over 3,000 ratings on Amazon with a 4.7 average. It has long eye relief and claims to have an ultra-forgiving eye box, which makes it a great fit for the 6.5 Grendel.

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Scope

The price of The Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 varies, so check the latest price at

Want to know more about best vortex scopes? Check out our guide.

2. Burris FullField II 4.5-14x42 Ballistic Plex Reticle Scope

6.5 grendel scope

The Burris is nice because it has a zoom range up to 14x for hunting at longer ranges and what I would consider to be a pretty big objective lens diameter. Not the largest one in the world, but plenty big, and we all know that size does matter.

What’s cool about the Burris rifle scope is how they have designed the magnification ring and eyepiece; they’ve turned it into one solid piece, which makes it easier to seal and thus prevent leaks. 

If you’ve used the original FullField, Burris has made a lot of improvements with the FullField II, and has a BDC reticle similar to the one on the Crossfire II that you can use in compensating shots on the fly.

You have a multi-coated lens, you have .25 MOA turret adjustment clicks for windage and elevation, and 3.1-3.8 inches of eye relief. 

It’s waterproof, shockproof, and fogproof, and has a matte black finish. This scope does not have an illuminated reticle and is over 13 inches long, which may make it a bit ungainly to mount depending on your setup.

If you’re not familiar with Burris rifle scope, they have their “Forever Warranty”, which is, “Burris will repair or replace your optic if it is damaged or defective...No repair or replacement charge, no warranty card needed, no receipt needed, no questions asked.”

It’s a warranty that is unmatched in the riflescope world, and is automatically transferred to future owners. The warranty follows the scope forever.

The Burris 4.5-14x42 FullField II

The price of The Burris 4.5-14x42 FullField II varies, so check the latest price at

Check out our detailed Burris fullfield II review for more similar options.

3. Leupold VX-3i 4.5-14x50mm Riflescope

6.5 grendel bdc scope

The VX-3i is a great option to compare side by side with the Burris. I love Leupold optics and have been so impressed by them in general, so forgive me if this comes across as a little salesy, but they are absolutely worth the money.

You’ve got the same magnification range as the Burris riflescope, but with an even larger objective lens diameter of 50mm. 

You’ve got the same .25 MOA turret adjustment clicks and even a similar matte black finish. It’s waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof (like most scopes), and is made with 6061-T6 aircraft quality aluminum.

Leupold scopes are designed for rugged use. They are rated for temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit and as high as 160 degrees Fahrenheit. 

They also test each of their models on the Punisher, which is a recoil simulation machine with roughly 3x the recoil of a typical .308 rifle. Each model must survive a minimum of 5,000 impacts before it can be approved for sale.

But wait, there’s more!

The VX-3i comes with Twilight Max, which (despite its name) is the 2nd best version of Leupold’s Twilight light management system. 

Twilight Max’s light transmission will give you ~ 20 minutes of extra shooting time at sunrise and sunset, as well as keep your image as clear and sharp as possible in bright sunlight by controlling what wavelengths of light is allowed to pass through the lenses.

Twilight Max is fantastic for shooting in low light conditions. Don’t expect it to perform like night vision, though.

The Leupold VX-3i 4.5-14x50mm

The price of The Leupold VX-3i 4.5-14x50mm varies, so check the latest price at

4. Bushnell Optics 1-4x24mm Drop Zone Reticle Riflescope

scope for 6.5 grendel

This is a good scope for shooting at shorter distances. This scope was designed from the ground up for the .223 Remington, which makes it a great (albeit not perfect) option for the 6.5 Grendel as well. 

The only thing that makes it less-than-perfect for the Grendel is that it only goes up to 4x magnification, which means you can’t take full advantage of the strengths of the round.

That said, if you’re shooting at closer distances anyway, then this will work better than any of the other scopes we’ve talked about so far, since this one opens up all the way to one power.

If you’re interested in using an AR-15 for home defense but want a round with more stopping power, the 6.5 Grendel is a great way to go, and this scope pairs wonderfully in that scenario.

The drop zone reticle is set for .223, so it won’t be as useful for 6.5 Grendel right out of the box, but a day at the range testing the bullet drop at different distances and where they hit on the reticle can solve that problem. This Bushnell riflescope is highly durable and made of an aluminum alloy and sealed.

6.5 grendel scope

The target adjustment turrets are capped and have .1 mil adjustments. For using the BDC for .223 rounds, Bushnell recommends you sight in the rifle at 100 yards. 

This should line up the BDC correctly with an aimpoint at every hundred yards up to 500. This will be different for the 6.5 Grendel, but still usable as long as you calculate the actual distance that each dot becomes the aim point.

The reticle is on the second focal plane, so to get consistent results using the BDC ladder you should have the scope at the maximum magnification, which you likely would for long-distance shots anway.

This scope on an AR-15 chambered in 6.5 Grendel could make one of the ultimate prepper rifle.

It works for home defense scenarios since it goes down to one power, has good stopping power and could even be used for hunting, and with magnification up to 4x you have flexibility to use it in a variety of emergency scenarios.

Bushnell Optics 1-4x24mm

The price of Bushnell Optics 1-4x24mm Drop Zone Reticle Drop Zone  varies, so check the latest price at

5. Barska 1-4x28mm Mil Dot Reticle Riflescope

best scope for 6.5 grendel ar

The Barska hits a similar niche as the Bushnell, with the 1-4x magnification making it perfect for the same scenarios as the Bushnell, but with some differences in design that will make it a better choice for some and worse choice for others.

The Barska has an illuminated mil dot reticle, which looks like this:

6.5 grendel scope

With practice, a mil-dot reticle scope can help you hit moving targets, which would make the Barska potentially better for both hunting and home defense. The mil-dot is also nice because it can double as a BDC ladder that is a standard amount you can compare to the ballistics of the round you’re using.

1 mil is 36” (3 feet) at 1000 yards, and 3.6 inches at 100 yards. The dots are spaced 1 mil apart on the reticle, so all you have to do is look up the bullet drop for the 6.5 Grendel at the distances you are interested in and apply that to the mil-dot reticle. 

It can be quicker to learn how much you need to compensate on longer shots using a mil-dot reticle than a BDC ladder designed for a different cartridge.

The adjustment clicks on your windage and elevation turrets are .5 MOA, which is not as precise as the Bushnell, but close enough that you most likely won’t notice until you are out past 100 yards. The Barska isn’t reviewed quite as well as the Bushnell, but still doing great at 4.2 out of 5.

Barska 1-4x28mm Mil Dot

The price of Barska 1-4x28mm Mil Dot  varies, so check the latest price at

6. Athlon Optics Neos 4-12x40 Side Focus Riflescope

With a 4-12x magnification range, this is another option to consider if you want to maximize the improved accuracy at distance that the 6.5 Grendel offers over the .223 Remington. 

You can get either the illuminated or non-illuminated version of the Neos depending on your preference, and with a 40mm objective lens diameter, you’ll have good light transmission and clarity.

It’s worth discussing the inclusion of side focus on the Neos. Side focus is a great feature when you’re shooting at long range. It will help bring your target into sharper focus and eliminate parallax at the distance you’re currently shooting.

Parallax refers to how objects closer to you seem to move faster than objects farther away. In the case of a riflescope, parallax is usually referring to the reticle moving at a different rate than the target. 

best 6.5 grendel scope

You can adjust this with the side focus knob on the Neos to improve your own ability to shoot accurately and precisely at longer distances.

Side focus knobs are sometimes called parallax adjustment knobs, and you’d be surprised at how many scopes don’t actually have them. 

Granted, if you’re locked into your shooting position and you’re moving in perfect unison with your rifle, you won’t experience any parallax, and that should be the goal of any aspiring hunter.

That said, there is still a place for side focus knobs, not only for beginners, but for experienced shooters who are generally placing their shots at around the same distance.

If you are consistently shooting at roughly the same distance, especially if you have a need for fast target acquisition, then having parallax adjustment can help you lock in your shot at that distance faster.

Athlon Optics Neos 4-12x40

The price of Athlon Optics Neos 4-12x40  varies, so check the latest price at

7. Primary Arms 4-14x44mm Riflescope

best optic for 6.5 grendel

The specs may look basically the same as a few other scopes on this list, but this is the first FFP scope on this list (first focal plane). This means a few things. 

The main thing that it means is that it was designed with long distance shooting in mind. That doesn’t mean it’s the end-all, be-all of long range shooting, but it was designed to do it well.

Other than that one feature, most of what you see here will be comparable to the other options with a similar magnification range on this list. You’ve got a 30mm tube diameter, it’s fogproof, waterproof, and shockproof, and it has an anodized matte black finish.

There are plenty of differences to talk about, though. First is the 44mm objective lens diameter, which is tied for second place in size. Next, and this is a bit of a downside, it has a very narrow eye relief. 

You have less than .1 inch of space in which your eye can see the entire field of view through the scope. If you’re an experienced and highly disciplined shooter, then no problem.

6.5 grendel bdc scope

You have a mil-dot reticle (not the acss reticle), which makes the Primary Arms the only scope here with this much magnification and a mil-dot reticle, and side parallax adjustment knobs for keeping it easy to focus no matter what distance you’re shooting at. 

Your windage and elevation adjustments are .1 MIL, which is roughly ⅓ of an inch at 100 yards.

Keep in mind that the mil-dot design is going to behave differently on a first focal plane (FFP) reticle than it does on a second focal plane (SFP) reticle. 

When it’s on the first focal plane, the reticle will actually shrink and grow based on how much magnification you are applying. This makes the reticle act more like it’s actually part of the image you’re seeing.

Imagine you are getting your aim adjusted at a buck 100 yards away. At 4x magnification, your mil dots look pretty small, but when you zoom in to 10x, the mil dots will get bigger and will cover the exact same parts of the deer that they covered at 4x magnification. The deer got bigger and so did the dots.

It’s a great way to handle long-range shots, but it does take some getting used to.

Primary Arms 4-14x44mm

The price of The Primary Arms 4-14x44mm Riflescope varies, so check the latest price at

Want to know more about that? Check out the detailed Primary Arms 4-14x44mm Scope review.

8. Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 4-16x44 Rifle Scope

best 6.5 grendel scope

We saved the longest magnification setting for last! With a 16x maximum magnification, this will give you the most assistance for long-range shots based purely on the magnification range. The Viper is a fantastic lens with a lot of features that hunters specifically will appreciate.

The first cool feature is that it has a CRS zero stop, which will allow you to quickly return to zero after making elevation adjustments for a specific shooting scenario. 

This can be handy while target shooting but it really shines when hunting, since you may take the time to adjust for an uphill shot only to have your target dash away before you’re ready. If that happens you can get back to zero quickly.

Vortex also uses XR coatings to multi-coat their lenses, which allows better light transmission, and combined with the 44mm objective lens diameter, brightness on the Viper is fantastic. 

You can also choose between MOA and MRAD models, MRAD for quickly dialing in your shot and MOA reticle for making more precise adjustments.

You don’t get an illuminated reticle but the quality of the scope more than makes up for that, in my opinion.

Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 4-16x44

The price of Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 4-16x44 varies, so check the latest price at

If you are looking to know more details about that scope, then check out our detailed Vortex viper HST 4-16x44mm review

Parting Shots

6.5 Grendel gives you a lot of scope options. That’s one of the things that’s so great about the round; its low recoil and high accuracy over long distances make it a great fit for so many different scopes and configurations.

If you have experience with any of these scopes on a 6.5 Grendel, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

If you are looking for a best scope for 6.8 SPC rifle, then must check out our guide.

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