Grinding is an indispensable phase in the gear production chain as it allows very stringent requirements characteristic of the automotive sector to be satisfied. The main goal of this finishing process is to ensure compliance with the surface integrity and dimensional tolerance specifications of the product. A single-grain grinding FEM model has been implemented to predict grinding load values based on real grain geometry using a set of Johnson & Cook coefficients able to represent the flow stress curve of a typical gear case-hardened steel 27MnCr5. Grain geometry acquired through computed tomography was imported into three-dimensional process simulation software DEFORM-3D. As the use of real grain geometry leads to time-consuming simulations, an equivalent defined geometry grain was implemented to compare the cutting behavior and calculate maximum force values through real contact area analysis under the same process parameters. Calculated loads were subsequently compared with experimental results, showing good agreement with a maximum percentage difference less than 13% for two different grain geometries. Grinding force measurements were performed in a single-grain configuration on a CNC surface grinding machine adopting a wheel speed of 384 rad/s, a feed rate of 8.6 mm/s and a depth of cut of 0.1 mm.