New AR: Top-End Performance With The CMMG MkW ANVIL XLR2

New AR: Top-End Performance With The CMMG MkW ANVIL XLR2

Decked out to perform, CMMG's new MkW ANVIL XLR2 looks to milk the most out of the 6.5 Grendel.

How the new MkW ANVIL XLR2 is decked out:

  • The MkW ANVIL XLR2 comes outfitted with a 22-inch barrel with a rifle-length gas system.
  • It has a 1:8 twist to stabilize bullets between 90 and 130 grains.
  • A Geissele Automatics SSA 2-stage trigger comes standard in the 6.5 Grendel.
  • The MkW ANVIL XLR2 also boasts a fully adjustable Magpul PRS stock.
  • Currently, CMMG lists the MkW ANVIL XLR2 at $3,000.

As has happened to everything with a trigger and a rifled bore in recent years, the 6.5 Creedmoor craze has swept the AR world. But for a knowledgeable subsection of black rifle shooters, the 6.5 is nothing new to the platform. The 6.5 Grendel predates the Creedmoor by three years and unlike the newer cartridge, it was designed with the semi-automatic rifle in mind.


Pickings for the Bill Alexander and Janne Pohjoispää designe have been slim in recent years, a maker here and there, But CMMG changed this in a big way in recent months. The Missouri gunmaker unleashed a slew of 6.5 options in its beefy ANVIL line of rifles near the end of 2017. And it has continued to fill the Grendel niche, recently releasing a top-shelf model — the MkW ANVIL XLR2.

Designed to milk the most out of the ballistically-talented intermediate cartridge, the rifle is configured to help the 6.5 reach is full potential. In addition to a 22-inch medium taper barrel with a rifle-length gas system and 1:8 twist (ideal for bullets 90 to 130 grains), the MkW ANVIL XLR2 boasts the features that should get precision shooters looking semi-auto’s direction. In particular, with a Geissele Automatics SSA 2-stage Trigger and a fully adjustable Magpul PRS stock, the rifle should provide plenty of punch, perhaps even beyond 800 yards.

“The 6.5 Grendel is a great round. It has very minimal recoil. It is also flat shooting out to 500 yards and beyond,” said Chris Reinkemeyer, CEO of CMMG. “It's great for hunting medium-sized game such as deer and pigs, and best of all, you can find ammo for it that is relatively inexpensive. In building the ANVIL XLR2 with a 22-inch barrel, along with some of our other finest components, we designed this rifle to help shooters achieve the best possible results with this caliber.”

The ANVIL system itself should help the 6.5 Grendel excel. Originally chambered for the mammoth .458 SOCOM, the midsized AR platform is built around a modified AR-10-sized frame with a shortened upper receiver. Additionally, ANVILs have a much sturdier bolt design, what CMMG calls a Powerbolt, which negates the need to mill out, thus weaken a standard AR-15 bolt.

Some other notables of the MkW ANVIL XLR2 include a Magpul Moe Pistol grip, ambidextrous CMMG charging handle and safety selector, CMMG's SV Muzzle Brake and the company’s KeyMod RKM15 hand guard. CMMG currently has the MkW ANVIL XLR2 listed at $3,000.

For more information on the MkW ANVIL XLR2 please visit:


Caliber: 6.5 Grendel
Barrel: 22″, 1:8 Twist, Medium Taper, 416SS SBN
Muzzle: CMMG SV Muzzle Brake, Threaded 5/8-24
Hand Guard: CMMG RKM15 KeyMod
Upper Receiver: Billet 7075-T6 AL Mid-Size
Lower Receiver: Billet 7075-T6 AL Mid-Size
Trigger: Geissele SSA 2-Stage Trigger
Furniture: Magpul MOE Pistol Grip & PRS Stock, CMMG's Ambidextrous Charging Handle and Safety Selector
Gas Port Location: Rifle Length
Weight: 10.5 lbs (Unloaded)
Length: 43″ (Stock Collapsed)
MSRP: $2,299.95

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Elwood Shelton is the Digital Editor for Gun Digest. He lives in Colorado and has provided coverage on a vast spectrum of topics for GD for more than a decade. Before that, he was an award-winning sports and outdoors reporter for a number of newspapers across the Rocky Mountains. His experience has consisted of covering the spread of chronic wasting disease into the Western Slope of Colorado to the state’s ranching for wildlife programs. His passion for shooting began at a young age, fostered on pheasant hunts with his father. Since then, he has become an accomplished handloader, long-range shooter and avid hunter—particularly mule deer and any low-down, dirty varmint that comes into his crosshairs. He is a regular contributor to Gun Digest Magazine and has contributed to various books on guns and shooting, most recently Lever-Actions: A Tribute to the All-American Rifle.


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