6.5 Creedmoor – Rifle Caliber for Beginners

In Blog by Rich41 Comments

I’ve seen a lot of new shooters asking about which Precision Rifle Caliber to get started with, the easy answer…6.5 Creedmoor! People become interested in shooting long range but they are not sure where to start, and that’s understandable. There are quite a number of calibers to choose from and they each have areas they are better suited to than others and areas they aren’t so great for at all. This article is going to focus on the 6.5 Creedmoor and the reasons it’s an excellent caliber for the purposes of tactical rifle shooting!

308 Winchester - 175 Hollow Point Boat Tail (L), 6.5 Creedmoor - 123 Lapua Scenar (M), 338 Lapua Magnum - 285 Hollow Point Boat Tail

308 Winchester – 175 Hollow Point Boat Tail (L), 6.5 Creedmoor – 123 Lapua Scenar (M), 338 Lapua Magnum – 285 Hollow Point Boat Tail

6.5 Creedmoor Vs. 308 Winchester

I can’t even address this topic without discussing 308 Winchester, but not in the way you probably think. It’s very outpaced by the 6.5 Creedmoor but it was the standard for a long time. Around five years ago when I was getting into distance shooting that was the common recommendation, and to some extent it still is. 308 Winchester as a Precision Rifle Caliber is not a bad choice. However, the 6.5 Creedmoor is better. The components to set yourself up to handload ammunition are plentiful. Factory match grade ammunition is easily found and obtained at reasonable prices.

The 308 Winchester caliber is immensely popular and can be found in almost any gun shop or sporting goods store. However, that doesn’t necessarily make it the best choice available. There is a lot of discussion about ‘how far can that caliber reach’…which is somewhat misleading. While I frequently see people say that 308 Winchester is a fine Precision Rifle Caliber capable of 1000 yard shooting, that’s not really a realistic expectation of performance, especially for a new shooter.

Copper Creek - 003

Can you shoot to 1000 yards with a 308 Winchester? Absolutely. Farther? Sure, I’ve made hits to 1200 yards with a 308 Winchester. It still wouldn’t be my first choice for the task. If we are being realistic about performance, I think you should consider 308 Winchester an 800 yard caliber in experienced hands, and a 600 yard and under caliber in a new shooters hands. The wind has more to do with how accurately you can hit at distance than anything, and for new shooters the 308 Winchester can be challenging.

There are a lot of 308s out there with shorter barrels and guys are buying ammunition with 168gr and 175gr projectiles that aren’t the best performers. You can certainly load for maximum performance by choosing higher quality, more expensive, projectiles with higher Ballistic Coefficients or BCs and that will increase your odds of success. However, there are calibers out there that perform better out of the box and help reduce the steep grade of the learning curve that a new shooter has to deal with.

6.5 Creedmoor Barrel Life

Another reason I hear everybody beating the 308 Winchester drum as a choice for a Precision Rifle Caliber even over the 6.5 Creedmoor is the barrel life. Barrel life of the 308 Winchester is commonly regarded to be 5000+ rounds of accurate fire. People get that number in their heads and start discounting better performing calibers thinking that anything less than 5000 rounds will mean frequent and costly barrel changes and trips to the gunsmith. Well, that’s not really accurate either.

There was a time in my life when I was shooting at the range every week. I was attending at least one major match per year with a 300-500 round course of fire for the weekend. I was reloading constantly. I really thought I was shooting a lot. I looked at my log book to see how many rounds I had on my barrel, a cut rifled Rock Creek, to determine whether I was getting close to needing to rebarrel the rifle. You know what? I had only logged a little over 2000 rounds in just shy of two years of what I thought was heavy shooting. That’s the point.

People think they do or will shoot a lot more than they actually wind up doing in reality. Unless you are an instructor teaching classes weekly, or a rabid competitor that is shooting multiple matches a month, you just aren’t going to rack up the round count you probably assume you will. For those 2000 rounds I had logged on my rifle I would have to be logging more than 150 rounds a month to burn through that in a single year. Most matches that aren’t on a national scale have round counts around 50 shots.

See what I’m getting at? If you aren’t shooting 3 matches a month and logging 150-200 rounds average EVERY month…it’s going to take you longer than you think to burn up a barrel. So don’t get overly stressed about life expectancy of a barrel. Barrels should be looked at like powder and bullets, its a consumable commodity that requires periodic replacement. You have more to brag about if you’ve shot out and rebarreled your rifle a couple times than having the original barrel still on your gun.

6.5 Creedmoor Vs 308 Winchester Ballistics

Where I am going with all this? I think these days a new shooter interested in getting into long range shooting should take a hard look at the 6.5 Creedmoor as a Precision Rifle Caliber. The 6.5 Creedmoor is ballistically superior to the 308 Winchester. There is match grade factory ammo available at reasonable costs for the 6.5 Creedmoor. The 6.5 Creedmoor produces less recoil, and reloading components are every bit as plentiful as that of those for the 308 Winchester. Yes, you are looking at barrel life of 2000-3000 rounds depending on how hard you run the 6.5 Creedmoor, but remember what I mentioned earlier. It will take a lot more shooting than you are realistically going to do to achieve that round count. If you do manage to get there quickly, then you are probably either an amazingly busy competitor or professional who knows better than to gripe about rebarreling when accuracy drops off.

Copper Creek - 6.5 Creedmoor 123 AMAX

Copper Creek – 6.5 Creedmoor 123 AMAX

Lets talk some ballistics. At 750 yards, at a Density Altitude of 6000ft (I live in Colorado), a 308 Winchester firing 175gr Sierra Matchkings at 2650fps will be running about 162 inches of drop, and 47 inches of wind drift. A 6.5 Creedmoor firing a 140gr AMAX at 2850fps will produce 131 inches of drop, and 30 inches of drift. That’s just shy of 3ft flatter shooting, and a foot and a half less wind drift at the same range. Those are pretty common numbers with common factory ammunition.You can get even better performance hand loading. On top of all that, the 6.5 Creedmoor will out shoot the 308 Winchester with less recoil. That makes it easier for shooters with less than perfect skillsets able to stay on target easier and follow up their shots more expediently.

There are other Precision Rifle Calibers that are quite common and often recommended. 260 Remington was very popular as the 6.5mm Calibers were gaining traction as contenders for a Precision Rifle Caliber. However, factory 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition from Hornady is plentiful and reasonably priced. Not so much with 260 Remington. 243 Winchester and other 6mm calibers will outperform the 6.5mm cartridges, but the difference is less significant than between 308 and the 6.5s. The barrel life also tends to drop off a bit and quality factory ammunition is not as easily obtained.

Wrapping Up

The 6.5mm and 6mm calibers are extremely popular these days when considering a Precision Rifle Caliber. The problem with recommending a 308 Winchester these days is that you essentially set up the newer shooter for a really humbling experience. On top of the handicap they possess with regard to experience and their shooting skill set, you are now suggesting they start going to matches to try and have fun competing against a field dominated by flatter shooting, faster flying, ballistically superior cartridges. Unless you shoot like Mark Walhberg in Shooter, you just flat aren’t going to be able to compete. That contributes to some of the daunting feelings that newer shooters have to deal with. We were all new to this sport once and overcoming a lack of skills and experience is trial enough, lets not start off handicapped by our gear as well, especially when better choices like the 6.5 Creedmoor exist.

Owner and Proprietor of AccuracyTech, LLC. Rich is a Firearms Enthusiast, Precision Rifle Competitor, and Writer. He is committed to bringing readers quality reviews and articles related to the Precision Shooting Sports. If you have any questions for him, please use the contact form on the site.

Comments

  1. First I want to say thanks for your service as a Law Enforcement Officer. Second, I’ve been working overseas for the last 4 years but have been reading everything I can about Precision Long Range Shooting. I’ve been following your blog and Precision Rifle Blog and reading AARs on competitions. I can’t wait to get back and shoot the Sniper’s Hide and some Precision Rifle Series competitions. Before I was assigned OCONUS I had only shot in Snipercraft’s Training Event and it wet my whistle and demonstrated what great comradery exists in the community. I appreciate the efforts made by all of you. To my question. Do you or any of the readers that are engaged foresee, maybe it has been entertained and I’ve missed it, a move towards classes or categories? For example .308 as a category and the flatter shooters placed in their own. Where pistol shooting (International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC)/United States Practical Shooting Confederation (USPSA) categorized by power factor maybe long range rifle shooting could consider categorizing by maybe trajectory. I don’t know what would be best but I’m sure you all with more knowledge than I about long guns, calibers and ballistics could come up with a fair and equitable system that would allow the apples vs apples type of fairness to be brought to the sport. I’m not saying it’s unfair now heck I’m stuck here drooling about shooting a match with my only rifle competitions being three years at Snipercraft! I’m also not saying that heads up competition isn’t great but it become an arms race in the ‘80s in the early days of the USPSA and priced a lot of good people out of the sport. Just something for consideration. I wish you all the best and hope to be there competing next spring!

    1. Author

      It already exists to some degree. PRS matches have a few different classes but they don’t have anything to do with ballistics, unfortunately.

      Individual matches, SHC for sure, sometimes track, separate, and reward 308 shooters. A while back Frank Galli of SH had proposed the very thing you are. His idea was to separate classes by muzzle velocity.

      I think as the sport grows, and the field widens with more competitors that additional classes are likely. Right now, if you aren’t shooting a 6mm or 6.5mm you just aren’t going to be competitive, which is a shame.

      This sport intimidates newer shooters and the ballistic advantages held by open shooters competing against the guy with the hunting rifle is part of the reason. I hope we see a muzzle velocity based class system but for now, it’s head to head!

      Thanks for reading and stay safe over there!

    1. Author

      Make sure you purchase one from a reputable manufacturer. I’d recommend Krieger for cut rifled (~$600) barrels, Criterion for button rifled (~$400) barrels.

      The important thing is a good, concentric chamber. The cheapest option is not the best. If you’re going to spend money on a semi auto, spend a bunch on the barrel.

  2. 6.5 Creedmoor – I agree with all you have written. My disclaimer: a relatively new shooter, no competitive experience; just interested in developing the skills needed to shoot accurately (if not precisely) out to 5 or 600 yards. The introduction of the Ruger Precision Rifle gave me the hope of entering the arena at a cost I could afford. Shooting at an indoor 100 yard range, with just over 200 rounds through the barrel, here’s my take on it all:
    The RPR in this caliber is better at its job than I am at mine! I am already able to make sub-MOA 5 shot groups with it almost routinely. That’s shooting on a Harris bipod and using a Vortex Razor Gen II 4.5-27×56 scope. My best group to date was 5 shots in an oblong hole with a group size of .45-inch center-to-center.
    You mentioned match quality ammo available and it is, although limited to 4 manufacturers that I know of at this time: Hornady, Winchester (140gr), Prime (130gr) and Nosler (140gr). Hornady seems to have the widest range of bullet weights to choose from, and has just introduced their ELD-X round with an advertised BC of G1: .625, G7 .315. That’s a better BC than their flat shooting 140grain load. Nosler sells bullets for reloading in weights from 100 to 142 grains.
    I’ve been shooting the 120grain Hornady A-MAX loads with good results and besides good looking groups on targets, the numbers on paper look very good. I used a MagnetoSpeed V3 to measure 60 rounds fired last week with the results that out of the 24-inch barrel I got an average speed of 2902 fps at the muzzle (Hornady advertises 2910 fps). The standard deviation from that 2902 fps was 13.3 fps. My understanding is that that consistency is close to what you’d expect of hand loads. Once I run through the 120 grain supply, I’ll be switching to 140s – I have a couple of hundred of both the Winchester Match loads and the Hornady A-MAX in that weight. I’m going to be very interested in seeing how the ELD-X (143 grains) shoots in the wind and at ranges beyond 300 or 400 yards.
    I suppose I should touch on recoil also – I have a muzzle brake on the rifle, the Gen II Little Bastard from American Precision Arms – and there just isn’t any noticeable recoil. After shooting those 60 rounds I mentioned there was not even the slightest soreness, bruising or other signs I’d spent two hours at the bench. It’s as fun to shoot as my CZ-455 in .22LR. Louder, but just as much fun.
    And I’ll hit on some of the highlights of the cost of getting into this arena:
    Ruger Precision Rifle: $1150 with tax
    Vortex Scope: $2499 + $150 for Vortex High Precision mounting rings
    Harris bipod setup $146
    Muzzle Brake: $160
    That’s $4,105 to get it ready to set on a bench.
    Now, toss in things like a good quality case to carry it in, a bench rest, a spotting scope setup, a chrony for measuring your load’s speeds, range finder, Kestler ballistics kit and such as that and the total tab for me was right at $7,700 for everything I could even think I might need from my meager start at 100 yards indoors to my goal of 500 yards plus. Now if I’d gone with something like a rifle from Accuracy International and maybe a high end Schmidt & Bender scope and it might have doubled that! For those as unschooled as I was when I started all of this, a top of the line S&B scope will run your a nudge over $4,000 by itself. But I’ll “settle” for the Vortex Razor HD Gen II – clear, solid (but heavy at 3 pounds) and with a lifetime warranty that goes with the name on the scope, not the name of the person requesting any needed repairs.

    Have fun, shoot safely.

    1. Author

      That’s great! Sounds like you’ve caught the long range bug! That’s an impressive monetary commitment you made early on.

      For the folks still reading about all this, there are some places to save money getting started in this sport. J’s choices were top of the line in several areas. If you can afford good gear, what they say is true…”Buy once, cry once!”

      1. When I started BR (admittedly, a different game), I could not afford a new rifle so I bought used from our club gunsmith. Before I wore that gun outI was club champ and passed it on to my wife and she became club champ. I then bought a used rifle from Bruno and again became club champ. We then bought a used rifle from Bob White at Shooters Corner and my wife won money at the Super Shoot. My point is a new shooter can get a lot of experience b4 laying out what is now a huge amount of money for new. What counts more is good counsel from other shooters at your range or matches and a lot of hard work.
        J Millington

  3. If I may, I’d like to follow up a little with some info about available factory 6.5CM ammunition. Disclaimer: your YMMV – every rifle has its preferences for bullets (heck, I went through over 500 rounds just to choose the ‘right’ .22LR for my CZ-455). At this time, I’ve put 660 rounds through the Ruger Precision Rifle factory barrel.
    First off – we are still looking at just 4 companies offering 6.5CM: Hornady, Winchester, Nosler and Prime. I haven’t shot any from Nosler yet.
    Second – it appears that my rifle prefers a lighter bullet, and I know of one other person with the same rifle who feels that way about theirs – better groups at same ranges with 120gr than with 140gr.
    Quite frankly the Winchester 140 Match just doesn’t seem in the same league with the loads I tried from Hornady and Prime. Part of this might be the fact that it’s one of the heavy bullets that my rifle seems a bit unhappy with; but the chrony results add weight to my opinion:
    The Winchester (only offered in the 1 load using a MatchKing bullet I believe) has a published MV of 2910 fps. Measuring 51 shots, here are the V3 chrony results:
    Minimum: 2727
    Maximum: 2909
    Average: 2809 (101 fps below published)
    That’s an ‘Extreme spread’ (ES) of 182fps,
    with a Standard Deviation (SD) of 63.2 fps.

    Hornady 120 gr A-MAX: possibly the best bullets I’ve put through this barrel, it gave me the tightest 5-shot group I was able to make at 100 yards so far: .45 inches. Here are the measured numbers from 80 shots:
    Published MV: 2810 fps
    Minimum: 2850
    Maximum: 2926
    Average: 2898 (12 fps below published)
    ES: 76
    SD: 16.4 (roughly 1/4 of the SD of the Winchesters)

    Hornady 140 gr A-MAX (now replaced with the 140 grain ELD-M). Overall the groups were better than with the Winchester 140, but for me and this rifle, not as good as I get with a lighter bullet. My V3 was down for a while and I didn’t capture numbers for the A-MAX bullets, but generally I’d say the best groups I got with them were closer to 1 MOA than to 1/2 MOA at 100 yards. But I did get some stats for the new 140 grain ELD-M which I was able to shoot 1 MOA with also – these are from 40 shots (2 boxes) of the Hornady 140gr ELD-M
    Published MV: 2710 fps
    Minimum: 2731
    Maximum: 2791
    Average: 2766 (55 fps above published)
    ES: 60
    SD: 14.4 fps

    I decided I’d try something in between 120 and 140 grains – Hornady has a 129gr with their SST bullet that I almost gave a try, but decided to look at the Prime 130 gr Match+ bullets instead since they were advertised as a match round. A little about the pedigree on this cartridge: I spoke with the folks at Prime and was told that they use a Norma Diamond Line bullet – this was obviously not right when I looked at them: the Diamond Line is a moly coated bullet and these were not – I suspect it is actually the uncoated version of that bullet, the Norma Golden Target. It’s a HPBT with Norma saying it has a BC of .548, while the Prime site says .583. That .583 number is backed up by some posts around the web. I was able to get a 3-shot group at 100 yards that measured 0.18″ max center to center with them. Prime also told me that the brass is from Lapua and the cartridges are loaded by RUAG for them.
    And the chrony numbers for 80 shots look pretty darned good also:
    Published MV: 2851 fps
    Minimum: 2826
    Maximum: 2897
    Average: 2859 (8 fps above published)
    ES: 71
    SD: 18.7
    Note that in one outing where I shot 2 boxes from the same case (I bought 2 cases after the first 2 test boxes) I actually got an average of 2852 fps – 1 fps off of published with an SD of 16.8.

    So there you have the numbers that I’ve seen out of the Ruger’s factory 24″ barrel with a Little Bastard Gen II brake on it.

    Availability: Right now anything with 6.5CM is tough to get; rifles, caliber specific accessories for the rifles and match grade factory loads (Bartlein just told me there’s a 4-6 month lead time for a barrel blank in 6.5CM). The Hornady 120gr A-MAX seem to be relatively plentiful, but 140gr Hornady A-MAX seem to be completely gone, and their new 140gr ELD-M goes almost as soon as put up for sale. The 143gr Hornady ELD-X (Precision Hunter) has just begun showing up on shelves and it’s a bit pricy ($1.50-$1.60 per round plus shipping) and is almost instantly sold out when it does appear. For comparison, the Prime 130gr runs about $1.27/round plus shipping, and the Hornady 120 gr A-MAX can be had for under $1.15/round plus shipping).

    It’d really be great if there was more competition in the market for ‘precision’ loads, I can only hope that someone like Cor-Bon or even Aguila and others decide to take a ride on the 6.5CM match round wagon. Some may ask “why not load your own?” – and unfortunately I don’t have the space to set it up, and since I’m an apartment dweller, there’s a safety issue to consider in keeping gun powder here, bad enough that there’s a few thousand rounds of 6.5CM, .223 Rem, and cargo ship-loads of pistol ammo in the place :).

      1. Here’s an interesting update on a barrel change and its results. I ordered a fluted heavy target barrel from Criterion and I ordered it with their own muzzle brake (drilled directly into the barrel, not a screw-on type brake – kind of surprised me since now I’ve got a barrel with no threading for a suppressor oh well…)
        I’d put about 1555 rounds through the original barrel and while I think it had lots of precision shots left in it, I decided to go ahead and get the barrel swapped out (along with putting a Seekins Precision handguard on it). Just got it back on Sep 1 and finally got to zeroing the scope for the new barrel today. So, to date the barrel has a whopping 61 rounds through it. The barrel seems excellent – I shot 3-shot groups to get an idea of scope adjustments made, and I literally had one group of 3 go through the same hole! Another group had 2 through an enlarged hole with the 3rd shot about 1/4-inch to the left of those 2. Once I was satisfied I was zeroed well enough for the day (I plan on fine tuning with cold bore shots over the next few weeks) I shot 3 5-shot groups and all three were near the tight-end of my own shooting abilities: one .441 MOA group, a .736 MOA group and a .774 MOA group. All shot off a bipod with sandbag at 100 yards indoors. I have high hopes for this setup, obviously.

        Now for my big surprise: Muzzle Velocity. I shot the Prime 130 grain Match+ cartridges which have a published MV of 2851 fps and my chrony readings for between 200 and 300 of those shows an average of 2859 fps out of the original 24-inch Ruger barrel. The Criterion barrel is a 26-inch barrel and while I expected maybe 50 fps increase, it turns out I got an average of 2947 fps from the 2 boxes I shot while zeroing the scope -88 fps above what I was getting out of the original RPR barrel. And yes, now I have to go revise my ballistics charts because of it and keep an eye for any major jump in MV after the barrel has a couple or three hundred more rounds through it. Since I invested in 10 cases of these cartridges once Prime got them back in stock, I’ve definitely got plenty for use for a good long while.

        Now if I could just hone my skills up to a point that this fine piece of equipment deserves to show off what it can really do, but for now guess I’ll have to settle for 1/2 to 3/4 MOA results on target.

        1. Author

          Excellent! I just tried my pet load from my Krieger in my Criterion barrel today on my AR10. 123gr Lapua Scenars @3005fps SD – 7fps…me likey

          I’m going to clean it and do a little accuracy testing next trip out.

          1. What make/model AR10 do you have? I’m thinking of getting a 6.5mm Creedmoor semi-auto and am looking hard at the GA Precision GAP-10 G2 (Seekins Precision upper & lower, Bartlein stainless 5R rifle with 1:8.2 twist and probably go with a 22 inch barrel) but I’m definitely open to other makes if they’ve proven to operate well in the field.
            I’ve often given thought of getting something in 7.62/.308 because of the advantages of that round over a 5.56/.223 (basically range and hitting power) if such a rifle is available in 6.5 CM you gain even more range and impact at extended ranges along with flatter trajectory & less wind effect at all ranges. The obvious drawbacks are lack of ready availability in the event of something like a Zombie Apocalypse and the expense of everyday use.

          2. Author

            It’s a home built rifle on a Mega Arms receiver/handguard set. You can’t go wrong with a GAP rifle.

  4. Correction to my previous post with chrony results.
    The published MV for the Hornady 120 grain A-MAX should have been 2910 fps, not 2810.

  5. J, regarding ammunition availability, have you taken a look at gunbot.net? I just looked and they have an extensive list of available 6.5CM ammunition.

    1. Evan, Appreciate the link. It’s not that there aren’t places to purchase 6.5CM, it is the lack of source manufacturers. I think right now at Gunbot, while there are numerous sources, there are only 3 makers listed: Hornady, Nosler and Winchester. I’d like to see more companies making them – competition is usually good for the consumer :). I know that Prime also has them, and just recently it looks like Federal/American Eagle has jumped into the 6.5CM arena.

  6. J.Latham, thanks for your detailed range report. I’m looking at buying a 6.5 Creedmoor rifle and I appreciate your well organized review.

    1. The 6.5mm Creedmoor is a helluva cartridge/bullet combination. You look at things like 6.5-284, 6.5×47, 6.5 Grendel and others going back to what was a very effective elephant rifle, the 6.5mm Mannlicher, 6.5’s have been around a long time and are very effective, and as noted earlier these days it seems if you aren’t using a 6 or 6.5mm bullet in precision competition, you’re handicapping yourself.
      Here are a couple of documents you might find interesting also. I did some small-sample (40 bullets of each) on several match loads available in 6.5 Creedmoor and the .pdf (Adobe Acrobat) document summarizes it all and the .xlsx (Excel file) has all of the raw data I gathered. I’ll give you the basic summary here: find one of these that your rifle likes and then look for the lowest price source for them: prices on all that I tried ran from about $1.25 each to just over $2.00 each, but there wasn’t a great difference in either on-target or in-gathered-stats. My personal choices at the end of it all were that I personally would choose the Prime 130 grain Match+ for my RPR (I bought 2,000 of them when they became available again this month) and the Hornady 143 grain ELD-X (Precision Hunter) for my Browning X-Bolt 6.5 Creedmoor; and the Hornady 120 grain A-MAX is still a great match choice at the expense of being more affected by wind than the heavier bullets.
      The links
      The summary write-up document
      http://www.mediafire.com/download/gk6zcccgx37bhk1/6.5CreedmoorTestReport.pdf
      The captured data used to compile the summary write-up
      http://www.mediafire.com/download/kkql529k6fpee8f/6.5CreedmoorTestResults.xlsx

      1. Author

        Sorry J, the spam filter grabbed you again! I will see if I can get it to do a better job making notifications so that doesn’t happen in the future.

  7. Im looking at buying my first rifle, and Ive been very interested in long range target shooting, so the 6.5 CM is the caliber i’m going after. The problem Im having is there aren’t too many options as to what rifle to but in that caliber. There are far more rifles made for the 260 Remington.

    Since they are the same caliber, can you shoot 6.5CM in a 260 rifle? It sounds dangerous, but if they are that similar?… Its my first rifle (go easy on me)

    Thanks!

    1. Author

      You can not shoot 6.5CM through a 260, Andy. I doubt it would chamber and if it did you’d likely blow up the gun and your face.

      If you want to purchase a 6.5CM my question would be what’s your budget? You can buy them prebuilt or buy parts and have them built for you by a Gunsmith.

  8. Hi Rich I am looking at the RPR 6.5. About 1300.00 before tax. Barrel length? Other choices under 2000.00? Would appreciate your thoughts. I just started reloading, a lot to learn. Been running 308. I would put that aside. Opinion on the Steiner t5xi5x25x56?

    1. Author

      I think they’re all 24″ barrels from the factory. If you get the Steiner make sure it’s one with the new turrets. I believe they have a logo on the newer ones.

      There were issues with the original run not tracking properly.

  9. So far, this is the most useful information I have found. Just ordered the RPR in 6.5 and just bought the Sig Tango6 3-18×44 MRAD to glass it. Really looking forward to getting it all put together and begin shooting. I have very limited long range experience but intend to compete when my skills start approaching that level. Fairly certain my equipment will always be far more accurate than I. What has me puzzled most is factory rounds for competing and scope rings and mount. This forum has answered much of my ammo questions but would like to know about the rings and mount? Also curious if there is a better bipod for this setup or are they all fairly similar?

  10. Just found this website and the information is very good. I am an experienced shooter, hunter, and have been doing my due dilligance in looking for a new rifle for long rage shooting, i am a disabled veteran on a limited budget so cost is a factor for me when it comes time to buy my new rifle and scope, i was thinking 260 rem because of brass, it can be made from 243 and 308 if ammo becomes hard to find again, but i like the 6.5CM slightly better, i looked at several 308’s as well, i don’t plan on shooting past 500 yards for now anyway, and i know the 308 is more than capable of being a fine caliber for that distance.
    Where i am having trouble is locateing a nice 6.5 in a left handed rifle, savage has thier flcp sr in 308 that i could rebarrel but thats more money than i want to spend, i also considered buying the action and building a rifle, but again, money puts a stop to that.
    I know the 6.5 outshines the 308 in all catagories, i have not really checked it against the 260 but don’t think i will go that route anyway, so my question, who makes a good left handed 6.5CM for long rage shooting??
    Thanks for your time
    Marcus

    1. Author

      I’m not sure, Marcus…not a Southpaw. I’d think you’d have the best luck with big names like Remington, Savage, Ruger Precision Rifle… etc. Hope you find one in lefty. All 3 of those calibers are fine for 500yds. I’d say go with 260 or 6.5 for future proofing.

    2. Assuming you’re looking for a rifle that you could get both hunting and long range shooting use from, I’d look at Browning or Savage – I mention those because I have rifles from both: Browning X-Bolt in 6.5 Creedmoor and Savage Axis in .223 Remington. Both are very accurate rifles. The drawback for long range shooting MIGHT be that these light weight rifles with thin barrels tend to ‘suffer’ from barrel heating if you put lots of rounds through them without time to cool down, as you might in competition. This heating can create a mirage issue when looking through the scope also. Their light weight also shows up a felt recoil. Shooting my Ruger Precision Rifle 6.5 CM is like shooting a .22LR all day – no felt recoil, but put a box or two through the Browning and my shoulder will remind me later on that I did a bit of target practice not too long ago :). ]
      If you’re looking at semi-automatics like the SR, just do a search for “6.5 Creedmoor semi-automatic” — a lot of manufacturers are jumping on that band wagon also. Some of the primo makers like Seekins Precision and G.A. Precision have match grade components (for example, the G.A. Precision that I have my eye on has a Bartlein barrel and Gisselle trigger – they also offer a 5% veteran’s discount, but the rifle MSRP’s for around 3,000-3600 depending on how you configure it).
      As American Rifleman put it recently, the 6.5 Creedmoor is an overnight success that was 10 years in the making. Even just 2 years ago there were maybe 2 or 3 sources of factory ammo, and damned few rifles to be found — with the recognition of the cartridge as both an outstanding hunting and target round, the availability of both ammo and rifles has bloomed like dandelions in the spring — and that’s a good thing for us!

      1. Thanks for the info, i have a lefty Savage model 12 in 223 that is a tack driver, it took a bit of playing before i found a load it really liked, none were terrible and several shot 1/2 moa at 100, made me a fan of Savage rifles for sure. I am not a huge fan of the axis models but they do have the 6.5CM in a left hand model, browning does as well, i had a 270 short mag in a x bolt lefty, but sold that and bought a tikka in the same caliber. I didn’t want to go with another AR style or the chasis bolt guns either, however Savage does have the 10BA lefty in the 6.5 and may be my only option for a bench gun, and from what i have read the chambers and actions are matched and tuned so should be really nice for what i am looking for, the FLCP SR in 308 might be what i end up with for now, they do make the same rifle in a right hand version that is the 6.5 so maybe have a left hand in the works. I just do not have 1200 or more in my budget for a match grade rifle right now.
        Thanks for all the help and info
        Marcus

      2. Sorry if that reply sounded negetive towards the axis or browning rifles, it was not meant to be, from past experience the browning is an excellent rifle, never shot or handled an axis but do love my model 12. I am almost 60 now and have been shooting/hunting since i was very young, so have shot plenty of right handed rifles as a lefty, still have a couple in the safe and am very comfortable shooting them, but as i have gotten older and there are more companies making left handed rifles i have gotten somewhat picky i guess, and if i am going to buy a new rifle i want a left handed model, hope that dosn’t sound snobish!! After shooting my first left hand bolt gun its hard to go back to reaching over the scope to jack another round into the chamber, not sure i am any faster with a left handed model but it does feel more natural.
        I have plenty of hunting rifles so plan on using the next one as a bench gun only, basically doing the same with my model 12, bench only, it is heavy for a 223 and i use an AR for varmint hunting.
        The 10BA savage makes in left hand could end up as my 6.5 if nothing else pops up soon, the FLCP SR in 308 is priced well and from what i have read is an accurate piece, just the wrong caliber, but i guess it wouldn’t hurt to have another 30 cal in the safe even though it is not as well suited and is outperformed by the 6.5 all day long. As a lefty sometimes we get left out for a while, but at least eventually someone will start building whats hot.

        1. I certainly didn’t take your comments as negative – simply an expression of your preferences and past experience. And that’s a lot of what this forum and others like it is all about – all ‘reviews’ help others in making their own decisions. In the end, it is your money being spent and it is you that needs to be pleased with the purchase — it’s not like any of us can buy-try-exchange-if-we-don’t-like-it — at least not unless we recently hit a lottery :).
          I’m thinking that reputable makers realize that we are expecting something extra out of 6.5 Creedmoors and are aiming at providing all the accuracy available at a given price range. This seems to extend to the factory loads also – a while back I tested 7 different loads in my Ruger Precision Rifle from 120 to 143 grain bullets, and was able to get 1-MOA or sub-MOA 5-shot-groups results at 100 yards with all of them.
          As for selecting ammo for any new rifle – I think we’re all aware that each rifle has its own preference and sometimes it takes shooting a variety of loads before finding ‘the one’ for a particular rifle. I know that for one .22LR (a CZ-455) that I purchased, I went through at least 15 different brands before determining what shot best out of it (an Aguilla load); and I found that generally my Ruger Precision Rifle preferred a lighter bullet – good groups with 120-130 grain bullets, but not as good with 140-143 grain bullets. Also, with the Browning X-Bolt, I just kind of made a decision that I would shoot the Hornady 143 grain ELD-X in it as a hunting round, and simply worked with it until I was satisfied that I consistently got sub-MOA cold-bore results with that load.

        2. Marcus, I’ve been looking around a bit and I realize how difficult it can be to figure out if a particular rifle is available in left-hand configuration or not. But in looking around I did find this at Cabela’s – a Savage 11/111 Trophy Hunter XP in 6.5 Creedmoor (model 22579) the left-hand Cabela SKU # is 04887245 and it comes with a Nikon BDC 3-9×40 scope for $529. 22-inch barrel, 7.25 pound gun (I assume that’s with the scope, but not sure).

          Yeah, it’s a Savage and I’ve almost always found that the scopes that come with these combo-deals aren’t all that great, but this might be a way to hit the ground running, so to speak, and buy you some time until you decide if you need a different scope.

          Couple of thoughts about this: with the 22 inch barrel, the muzzle velocity is probably going to be close to 100 fps less than printed on any given box of ammo but should still be enough to get you out to 1000 yards for target, and out to around 600 for ethical hunting. With a weight of only 7 1/4 pounds, you’ll feel it when you fire it, but it’s nothing like a .308 or 30-06. I would also expect the barrel to heat up fairly quickly when you put round-after-round through it as in a competition event. On my X-Bolt, I initially had one of those low-mounting Leupold scopes and had real problems with the heat mirage created after only 5-10 rounds through the barrel – swapping to the higher mounting Burris Eliminator III seems to have brought some relief to that issue – but again, for me that rifle is a hunting rifle, not a competition gun (that Burris scope is definitely not a competition scope, but reports are that it’s great on a hunt).

  11. Thanks Mr Latham, i have been looking for quite some time and was initially looking for a 308, and really liked the Savage FLCP SR, but after reading several reviews on that rifle, it sounds like Savage changed some things from the earlier models and its a crapshoot as to weather or not you end up with a great rifle or a so so rifle, thats when i started looking at different calibers, the 260 and the 6.5. I made my mind up and decided on the 6.5 and then ran into trouble finding a heavy barrel lefty, as i said i can get the 10BA savage in a lefty 6.5, very similar to the Ruger prs, not the most beautiful rifle in my opinion but more than likely what i will end up with unless Savage starts a run on the fcp 6.5 in a lefty, as they have that in a right hand rifle now. I will start socking a little more money in the fun account until i can order one.
    The model 11 is a nice rifle and as you said, probably a fine shooter, and i thought about buying one to use the action out of and change the barrel to one more suited for long range shooting, i have experienced the mirage effect as well while shooting a model 10 with a can on it, barrel heat made it impossibe to see out of the scope until it cooled down, now i am aware of what can happen, i don’t shoot more than a couple rounds at a time to keep heat down with that set up.
    As far as optics go, i was going to try an Athlon ffp scope, again because of price and warrenty, if it dosn’t work well i will not be out a huge amount of money, reviews are excellent for the most part, so with the Savage 10BA in 6.5 or the FLCP SR in 308 if i have to, and ffp scope, i should be okay for starting out in the long rage shooting game, if i really enjoy it i can step up, start saving, and buy or build better equipmemt.
    Thanks again for the info. My Savage model 12 is amazing rifle, once i saw what an accurate piece is capable of it got me thinking about longer range shooting, i do reload and enjoy it very much, it was a lot of fun working up a load for that and several other rifles. It was not as picky about ammo as some, like i said, several different brands of factory ammo shot sub moa, getting down to 1/4-3/8 inch groups at 100 was a little more work, but as i said a lot of fun.

  12. I am just getting interested in LR shooting (200-500 yards for now). I am shopping around and reading forums, and liking what I see about 7mm. Any input on that?
    I plan to mostly target shoot, maybe get into beginners comps some day, and would like to be able to take down deer or elk if I decide to try my hand at less cooperative targets in tougher conditions. My first stop at the local shop led me to the Remington 700 LR. I like the price ($699), and it’s been around a long while. Any others you might recommend? I don’t reload, so I’m looking for something that will reach out 500+ with factory ammo.
    I am not a big man; 5’8”, 155lbs, so I am putting thought into a gentler recoil, as well.
    I am learning a lot reading this forum, and I am hoping someone might have some more wisdom to pass down to me (gently; brand new to this, remember). Thanks. -Erik

    1. Author

      I don’t think you would be disappointed with either choice, Eric. Your ammo options will be better with the Creedmoor due to its popularity.

    2. Target shooting and hunting are pretty much 2 different sports, but you can start with one rifle to initially serve both roles; and that steers you to a hunting rifle where not only accuracy but weight factor in (who wants to lug a 40+ inch long, 15 pound rig way out into the boonies very often?). I have 2 rifles in 6.5 Creedmoor that I really like. For hunting I went with a Browning X-Bolt Stainless Stalker. Light weight and accurate, and a 6.5 CM should have the power to take a deer at say 750 yards if you dare take the shot. Might need to get in a little closer for an elk. Because this is a lightweight gun with a ‘sporting taper’ barrel, you’ll notice the recoil but it’s not anything that’s going to leave a mark – but if you run a box of ammo through it in one outing, you might have a little soreness for a day or so. That thin barrel is not well suited for competition where you would be putting lots of bullets downrange in a relatively short time – it heats up pretty quickly and can generate a lot of heat-mirage that’ll screw up your view through a scope. But my Browning is dead-on for cold-bore and follow-up shot, and that’s what I want when hunting.
      Now, if you want to take that Elk at 800 yards or beyond, begin thinking 300 Win Mag – and be prepared for a bit of a beating when you light one off :).
      By the way, perhaps because the 6.5 CM started off as a precision shooting round, it seems to be a very ‘easy’ round to put on target even for a relative novice out to around 400 yards. Just a couple of years ago you could only get factory loads from maybe 2 or 3 sources, but the tremendous recognition of the round as both a suitable precision round and hunting round has resulted in it becoming very easy to find with bullet weights from about 120 grains up to around 143 grains and with bullets specifically designed for target or hunting use (or even both – as Hornady claims with its 143 grain ELD-X ‘Precision Hunter’ loading – which it turned out my Browning likes very much).

  13. Erik,
    I am probably not the best person to answer your question here, however from recent experience with Remingtons service dept, i would avoid one of thier rifles right now. Don’t get me wrong, i have a 30-06 Rem 700 right handed, that has probably harvested more game and critters than all of my other rifles combined, but i have owned that gun for 35 plus years. I actually looked at a newer lefty model 700 varminter in 308, reviews are good on the gun itself, but customer service seems to be lacking right now, so i went with a Savage instead. Just my 2 cents on the subject, recoil in a 7mm mag can be a bit harsh as well, maybe look at a 6.5, if you are right handed there are lots to choose from.
    Marcus

  14. I like the 6.5 creedmore but what I don’t like is the cost of ammo. I can purchase a can of 7.2×51 or .308 at a better price. When will the cost of this ammo come down.

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