In every generation, there’s always this new rifle cartridge that come along and proceed shake the conventions and redefine the paradigm. In this case, it’s the 6.5 Creedmoor.
The 6.5mm cartridge is about as specific as you can get when it comes to design. It’s clearly aimed for long-range target shooting and the cartridge was designed particularly for long, sleek heavy-for-caliber bullets. Even after 1,200 yards, the caliber can still maintain its accuracy and travel at supersonic speeds.
The 6.5 Creedmoor is definitely a phenomenon in the firearms industry.
For today, we’ll be talking in-depth of the 6.5 Creedmoor caliber as well as review some of the best 6.5 Creedmoor rifles that money can buy.
The Advantages of the 6.5 Creedmoor Round
So why should you bother with the 6.5 Creedmoor? Here are some reasons that might just change your mind:
It’s Very Accurate
When shooting a 6.5 Creedmoor rifle, you’ll probably notice that it’s highly accurate. I am by no means that the best shot with a rifle but with the 6.5mm, I was able to put the very best 200-yard group I’ve ever shot. That’s only after playing with the rifle for about half an hour. At 300 yards, I also did just as well.
When shooting 6.5 Creedmoor rifles, one thing you’ll also notice is the laughably light recoil which only adds to its accuracy. On top of that, I was just having so much fun shooting the rifle. If only the ammo isn’t so expensive, I probably would have easily blown through a couple of ammo boxes.
It’s no wonder that the Creedmoor caught on quickly with precision shooters.
The biggest reason why most people bother with 6.5mm caliber is for the ballistic advantage, especially for long-range shooting.
The Creedmoor was designed in 2007 to improve long-range target performance for bolt action rifles. There’s not much energy on target but the minimal wind drift and elevation drop makes it an excellent choice.
Excellent at long-range
Again, it’s worth reiterating that the 6.5mm excels in long-range shooting.
At ranges beyond 800 years, this is where you’ll see the rifles really shine. The traditional .308 rifle starts to fall off at these ranges but not the 6.5 rifles.
In shorter distances, making the shot means fulfilling requirements such as proper sighting and trigger management. In long-range shooting, other requirements factor into one’s success which also puts pressure on the awareness of the shooter.
Rifle and Bullet Selection
When the 6.5 caliber is still pretty much new, both rifle and bullet selections were understandably limited. However, with the rising popularity of 6.5 Creedmoor rifles, more gun manufacturers are adopting the caliber. With more availability and options, it’s fair to expect that ammo will become more affordable as well.
As it stands, the flames of the 6.5 have certainly ignited the world of hunting – and that’s a good thing, especially for long-range and precision shooters.
Reviewing the Best 6.5 Creedmoor Rifles
Below are some of my top picks when it comes to the best rifle for hunting.
Mossberg Patriot Predator
Browning X-Bolt Western Hunter
Nosler M48 Long-Range Rifle
Savage Arms MSR10 long-range
Bergara B-14 HMR
Browning X-Bolt Target McMillian
Savage Arms Model 10 GRS
Fluted, Threaded 5/8" X 24 TPI
None (Pic Rail)
Let’s start with the best value 6.5mm rifle.
When it comes to both accuracy and shooter interface, the Mossberg Patriot Predator ranks highly on our list. This gun just gets it done in terms of getting on the game and hitting the target. It’s also very well made and lightweight. The rifle is a good choice if you’re hunting small game such as coyotes but I could imagine working well against larger game animals in North America as well.
But perhaps the best feature of the Predator is the price. At less than $450, it’s basically a steal considering the performance you’ll get. This is a great rifle to consider if you plan to get your first 6.5mm, thanks to the reasonably low price.
1 x 4-Round
If you demand top-tier accuracy, the Browning X-Bolt Western Hunter is highly recommended.
The rifle’s barrel has been triple-checked for straightness and air-gauged to ensure consistency through the bore. The short 60° bolt lift is also great for doing fast cycles and allowing the user to work quickly without letting the scope get in the way.
The adjustable, three-level Feather Trigger is also standout because it gives crisp and clean pull without the creep or overtravel. The gun also gives minimal recoil, thanks to its proprietary recoil pad.
As you can see from the price, the Nosler M48 Long-Range Rifle was designed for the most serious hunters and target shooters.
The M48 is among the fastest 6.5mm cartridges in the history of the caliber. And it’s even made more impressive by achieving the feat with a beltless case. The rifle’s action is machined from a solid steel which drives up the gun’s ruggedness. This is a must if you’re going to handle that tack driving accuracy.
The pairing of a pillar-bedded Manners MCS-T carbon-fiber stock with the Timney trigger truly makes for a special package. The barrel is Cerakoted and the rifle guarantees 1-MOA accuracy. This is about as high-end as you can get.
Matte black hardcoat anodized receiver and Melonite QPQ barrel
1:8" 5R Right-hand
When we heard that Savage Arms decided to make AR-type rifles, we were naturally skeptical. However, the Savage Arms MSR10 long-range Rifle has turned us into a believer.
This rifle comes with the Blackhawk’s Blaze two-stage trigger which performed excellently during our tests. I consider myself to be quite a trigger snob but I never felt the urge to replace this one, it’s really that good. At 100 yards, this 6.5 Creedmoor rifle proved to be capable of top-accuracy. The MSR 10 is most certainly a sub-MOA rifle.
This AR outing from Savage Arms might seem like a strange decision but the company delivered with this one. This might not be the best 6.5 rifle for your money but Savage has managed to wrap it in a very usable package that it has to be experienced.
Tan Molded Synthetic with Aluminum Mini-Chassis
B14 Series HMR Hunting/Match Rifle B14S352
During the last couple of years, Bergara has certainly been in the zone. They produced another award-winning rifle with the Bergara B-14 HMR Bolt Action Rifle.
This tactical-hunting hybrid is a tack-driver with plenty of awesome features to offer.
Considering the price point, this is a surprisingly accurate rifle. While there are some scatters when you shoot more than 5 shots and not allowing the gun to cool, the accuracy is still very impressive. Also, we have experienced no reliability problems, so this is a gun that should last you a long time.
In terms of ergonomics, the rifle allows expansive customization options although it can be on the heavy side. This reminds me of a Remington 700 style / based action which is definitely not a bad thing.
McMillan A3-5 w/Adjustable Comb, A-Tacs LE Camouflage
X-Bolt Target McMillan A3-5, 035426291
Now, here’s another high-end Creedmoor and this time, it’s from Browning.
During our tests, the Browning X-Bolt Target McMillian was definitely a joy to shoot. The rifle is built on Browning’s X-Bolt action and comes equipped with a 28-inch bull barrel and nestled in McMillian’s superior A3-5 stock. The combination of these parts really adds to the premium feel of the package.
However, the rifle has a heft which makes it less ideal for hunting. Also, the capacity is also quite limited which really hurts its versatility. Now, that won’t be a problem if only the price tag is not this steep.
But still, this is a powerful rifle that will let you take out targets in the next zip code. If you’re a Browning fan, it’s hard to pass up on this one.
Matte Black GRS Adjustable
42.5 - 44 inches
10 GRS w/AccuTrigger 22590
We have another entry from Savage Arms, and this time it’s the Savage Arms Model 10 GRS.
The Savage rifles are known for their being tack drivers and affordable at the same time. With the 10 GRS, it’s safe to say that the company has gone above and beyond.
While the actions and button-rifled barrels of the gun are worth the praise, the real star here is the stock. The fiberglass-reinforced nylon GRS provides the much-needed ruggedness that is instrumental in promoting accuracy and intuitiveness. The stock also comes with a fully adjustable cheek riser which is very simple to operate.
Other key features include the 5/8-24 threading for muzzle attachment and flush cup sling loops.
Will You Shoot 6.5 Creedmoor Rifles?
And that wraps up our list of the top-rated rifles that can chamber the very popular 6.5mm.
You can say that the 6.5mm is the rifle cartridge equivalent of the New England Patriots – it keeps on winning so it bounds to gain an absurd amount of hate. Many of the skeptics and haters are probably just tired of all the Creedmoor chatter.
So is the 6.5 Creedmore round the undisputed best? To tell you the honest truth, it’s not!
It has its fair share of weaknesses that can be a deal-breaker for most people. However, there are also many reasons why it’s currently the hot topic. It’s highly efficient, offers minimal recoil, and is a beast when to comes to long-distance shooting.
Hopefully, we have managed to shed some light on this much-maligned round. If you are planning to get one, be sure to check out our list of the best 6.5 Creedmoor rifles that you can find in the wild.
So what do you think of the Creedmoor cartridge? Is it indeed a super cartridge with a cape? Or is it just all hype? We’d love to get a discussion going so feel free to write on our comment section.
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