The 6.5 Creedmoor round has become quite a popular centerfire rifle cartridge commonly used for precision rifle shooting, hunting, and specific law enforcement and military mission sets.
6.5 Creedmoor is best known for its reduced recoil for a cartridge that is capable of hunting deer-sized game and used in long-range shooting competitions where a lighter recoil gives you a slight edge.
While the 6.5 Creedmoor saw initial strong support when it was released in 2007 by Hornady, it did not immediately become a commercial success like it is today. The round sat relatively stagnant on shelves for several years until it exploded back into the industry in 2016 and 2017.
The 6.5 Creedmoor is a very capable cartridge as long as you understand its limits.
So let’s dive into what makes 6.5 Creedmoor so great and how it compares to old-school 308 Winchester round.
6.5 Creedmoor Ballistics
The 6.5 Creedmoor Ballistic Coefficients are some of the best for long distance shooting. The high ballistic coefficients of the 6.5 Creedmoor mean the bullets move through the air much more efficiently, which helps them maintain velocity, reduce drop, and buck the wind.
Less bullet drop and wind drift at distance translate to more margin of error if you misjudge the range estimation or wind call. Terminal ballistics are on par as the 6.5 Creedmoor packs an impressive velocity on target.
The following 6.5 Creedmoor ballistics chart is for Winchester Match 140gr BTHP.
|Velocity (fps)||Energy (Ft. Pounds)||Bullet Drop (inches)||Ballistic Coefficient (G1)||Ballistic Coefficient (G2)|
How does the 6.5 Creedmoor compare to other similar loads such as 308 Winchester?
The 6.5 Creedmoor was designed to go toe-to-toe with the 308 Winchester in long-range competitions. The 308 Winchester is a very common caliber, so lets take a look at how the 6.5 Creedmoor holds up against the popular 308 NATO military round.
6.5 Creedmoor vs 308
When it comes to shooting out past 500 yards, the two calibers that cannot be ignored are 6.5 Creedmoor and 308 Winchester.
308 Winchester has been a go-to round in the long-range shooting community since its inception over 60 years ago. I’ve personally seen Marine Corps Snipers consistently and effectively engage targets at 1,000 yards with 308 Win, but nowadays the 6.5 Creedmoor simply outperforms it in almost every way at those distances.
Many die-hard old-school shooters refer to 308 Winchester as “Gods Caliber" and refer to the newer 6.5 Creedmoor as the “hipster cartridge".
Despite what they say, 6.5 Creedmoor is a natural progression in ballistics technology and a more modern cartridge with improved performance on many levels when you start reaching out to 800 yards and beyond.
6.5 Creedmoor vs 308 Ballistics
The 6.5 Creedmoor sees roughly 13" less wind drift at 1,000 yards in a 10 MPH crosswind than 308 Winchester. These are two of the most accurate rounds in existence for distance shooting. However, at extreme long-range, the edge goes to the 6.5 Creedmoor.
Not only does the 6.5 Creedmoor shoot flatter than 308 Winchester, but it also produces a lighter recoil, making it much easier to shoot for longer periods of time.
The following table shows two popular hunting rounds for 6.5 Creedmoor and 308 Winchester. Here is where they stand at the 500-yard mark.
|Ammo||Velocity (fps)||Bullet Drop (inches)||Wind Drift (5mph full value crosswind)||Ballistic Coefficient (G7)|
|Berger Classic Hunter (135gr Hunter Hybrid Bullet) 6.5 Creedmoor||1954||56.8 inches||8.3 inches||.303|
|Berger Classic Hunter (168gr Hunter Hybrid Bullet) 308 Winchester||1824||60.5 inches||10.4 inches||.251|
6.5 Creedmoor vs 308 for Hunting
6.5 Creedmoor is a very capable round for long-distance shooters, but the question still remains if it is capable to be used as a hunting round.
Let’s take a look at how 6.5 Creedmoor compares to 308 Winchester in hunting applications.
Many whitetail deer and comparably sized game have been killed with the 308 Winchester round that it’s hard to argue how great it is for hunting. It’s simply got more time on target than 6.5 Creedmoor.
However, 6.5 Creedmoor is so popular right now, that the number of deer-sized game that are being harvested with 6.5 Creedmoor is stacking up. Out to 700 yards and beyond, 6.5 Creedmoor will put down deer and antelope.
The 308 Winchester has been a long-time favorite of hog hunters due to the fact that it will put down an overly aggressive hog fast. With more and more AR platforms now chambered in 308 Winchester, makes it a very popular round to use.
However, rifle manufacturers have been increasing their production of AR-style rifles chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. What makes the 6.5 Creedmoor so great is that it’s a short action round perfect for the AR platform. The big-game-sized projectile and lower felt recoil have been causing a surge in the purchase of 6.5 Creedmoor chambered rifles.
Here’s where the battle between 6.5 Creedmoor and 308 Winchester gets ugly; ethically harvesting Elk.
The combined velocity and energy out to 700 yards is plenty enough to ethically harvest an Elk. The other side of that equation is that you do your part as the shooter and put the bullet where it’s supposed to go.
Here’s proof that 6.5 Creedmoor is certainly viable for elk hunting.
Best 6.5 Creedmoor Rifle | Maxim Defense MD:11
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