.264 LBC-AR: A Grendel clone
Les Baer Custom has cloned the 6.5mm Grendel and named their creation the .264 LBC-AR. So why would Les Baer, who were well known for producing quality licensed 6.5mm Grendel AR-15 rifles, start competing with Alexander Arms? Let me tell you why.
Back in the late 90s Arne Brennan developed a 6.5mm wildcat cartridge based on the 6mm PPC (a cartridge with a well earned reputation as a highly accurate benchrest cartridge). This first generation cartridge spawned a stable of almost identical and, in fact, compatible cartridges. These include the 6.5mm PPCX, 6.5mm BPC and 6.5mm CSS.
Bill Alexander then worked with Arne Brennan to develop a fine tuned version of his cartridge for the AR-15 platform. The result was the 6.5mm Grendel. Bill's company, Alexander Arms, trademarked the name and so no firearm company can use the Grendel name without paying royalties to AA. This is significantly different to the vast majority of cartridges, such as the .223 Rem. or .375 H&H, which do not require royalties.
Back in 2006 the majority stake in Alexander Arms was bought by investment Venture Cross Capital. Bill Alexander now owns just 31% of Alexander Arms. An industry source tells me that a couple of years ago Les Baer had an altercation with the new owner of AA. Because of this Les and his legal team research the trademark claims and concluded that AA only owned the name, not the cartridge design.
Les then cloned the 6.5mm Grendel and named it the.264 LBC-AR. The LBC-AR differs slightly from the Grendel in that it has a .295 neck (as used by the 6.5mm CSS) and a 1 degree throat angle (as used by the 6.5mm PPCX).
I contacted Les Baer Custom and they confirmed that the .264 LBC-AR and 6.5mm Grendel are fully compatible. It was telling in their communications with me that they fastidiously avoided actually using the word "Grendel". I have not doubt that their legal team is not going to give AA any excuse to take them to court!
The current .264 LBC-AR on the market is loaded by Black Hills using brass made by Hornady. Hornady is apparently developing a Super Performance load for the .264.
The 6.5mm Grendel has a large following. Many would like to see it adopted as by the US Military for the next-generation carbine. Each new commercially produced clone of the 6.5mm Grendel makes it that much harder for AA to profit from the military adoption of a 6.5mm PPC-derived cartridge. It will be interesting to hear what AA think of the LBC-AR. I ask them for a comment but they declined to reply to my request. I have it on good authority that the LBC-AR is not be the mystery 6.5mm cartridge that the Remington / Bushmaster ACR will chamber, my money still is on a necked down version of the .30 RAR.
Bushmaster ACR in A-TACS Camo
Remington is NOT developing a 6.5mm round
Why is Remington developing another 6.5mm cartridge for the ACR?
Bushmaster ACR review
This is like the VHS vs. BETA wars for recording tape dominance...Propriety isn't good when you have such fierce and varied performers on the 6 and 6.5mm cartridges...Rigby pulled the same stunt with the 7x57 Mauser and the .275 Rigby and Les Baer just did the same thing...WAY TO GO LES BAER!!!
It must really pain Bill Alexander, especially now that he can't even make any decisions within his old company--31% shares...
Now, we may some movement on this cartridge instead of the stagnant morass that it had sunk into...Is it the best out there--not even close but it is way up the ladder from the rest and comparing it to the Remington 6.8 SPC isn't fair as they're not the same diameter .264 vs .270...Which one will win the AR Platform cartridge War--I'd say Remington just because they really marketed their round to the public where Alexander kept it to very few and select makers/dealers with more emphasis for BR, F-Class and Palma rifles as well as the AR platform...When it's eight or ten makers/dealers to one it's hard to compete against those odds, not impossible, just hard...Thing could also go to someone we've never heard of with a super duper new designer cartridge in .257 or .260 Fliegelhundt Kurtz or some such...
With Les Baer going this route we'll see a lot more action generated for the cartridge just as the .264 LBC instead of 6.5 Grendel...It performs the same, that's all I'd care about and they are/do...
I'm really happy to see this finally come to a head but there still is one who has to be convinced -- DOD and that could take years and it has many times in the past re weapons or cartridges/calibres!!!