Best 6.5 Creedmoor Rifles – Top 5 Best 6.5 Creedmoor Rifles Review

With the early development of the 6.5 Creedmoor round by Hornady ammunition, I made a prediction in print that this cartridge would end up being Americas new 30-30 cartridge.

What I meant by that statement was it would gain such popularity that the 6.5 Creedmoor would mirror the acceptance of the old and very popular winchester 30-30.  At the time i took some heat for that statement from my brothers in the field of gun writing, but I am here to say I was right, and currently the 6.5 Creedmoor is among the hottest sellers in rifles across the country today.

Why did I see this and others did not? It is because I have live and hunted a very long time on this planet, and growing up in Minnesota then hunting the deep Minnesota north woods for some 60 years. I would see the old WW II military 6.5 Swede using only one bullet offering by Norma shoot deer right up to massive 200 plus pound swamp bucks, and the hunter that knew how to shoot never tracked that deer a single yard.

Because the 6.5 bullet as designed for the Sweden and Creedmoor carries a long central body the bullet packs some outstanding game stopping power by way of some very uniform and controlled kinetic energy. When the bullet works that is one thing, but when Hornady took on this cartridge caliber and bullet design then added the increased ballistics performance in the projectiles BC, ( ballistics coefficient, ) the whole deal was a game changer, and hunters and target shooters alike now had a new and very effective cartridge to take to the range and into the field.

Rifles That Perform Well With The 6.5 Creedmoor

Based on two factory rounds as offered by Hornady the 120 grain  and 140 grain ELD Match bullets, I have real time live fire tested about 20 bolt action rifles chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor to date. The first rifle I ever shot in the new cartridge was one of the new at the time Ruger Precision rifles as a Gen I design. This rifle was the very first one sent into the state of South Dakota and I had it sending rounds down range a full six months before the second rifle arrived for retail sales in the big box sporting goods stores.

  1   Ruger 6.5 Creedmoor Chassis Rifle In The Precision Series 

Currently the Precision is a design that has undergone three design changes, while none of it is world shaking the new rifle on the gun shop display rack today is a bit different from my original rifle. The difference as I see it is that my rifle that has been shooting warm and cold steel targets for over four years to date has gained hard nosed real time performance proof that I will share with you at this time.

The Ruger chassis rifle is an all metal rifle that has a desing that camedirectly fom bench rest compettive shooting systems. These rifle resemble the Ar 15 platform to some degree because they use fully adjustable butt stocks, tube style hand guards that free floats the gun barrel, and even the receivers are much like save for the auto loading system on the AR 15 versus the bolt action design of the basic chassis rifle.

Ruger rifle carries no shop around the industry add on parts. The compete rifle is built by Ruger  in house and it carries the notorious Ruger logo stamped across the receiver, butt stock, and firearm section of the rifle. The receiver design is one that makes use of an AI ( Accuracy International ) box style magazine but set into a fully Ruger design receiver magazine well as designed by this company.  No tack on generic parts are used anyplace on the rifle. The bolt and bolt shroud are designed by Ruger and the rotation lug bolt as matched to the threaded button forged barrel makes for a very accurate rifle overall.

Shooting live fire in real time has illustrates that this rifle is clearly capable of sending 120 through 140 grain Hornady ELD bullets well out to 1400 yards with extreme accuracy.  The rifle has been applied to varmints and steel targets ranging  from 1000 through 1400 yards. Shooting this rifle by this writer has consisted of testing firing events covering almost three years.

Th folding style stock if Ruger design and also the butt stock adjustments for both comb hight and length makes the rifle total adaptable regardless of the shooters body type. The rifle is a one gun fits all system.

  2   Browning X-bolt

From the development of the Browning A bolt has come the upgraded design now offered by Browning Arms in the X Bolt. I have shot the A model for several years as set up with the Leupold MARK V rifle scope. This rifle is a stone dead accuracy master to 1400 yards on any give day.  With the background of the A Bolt being the actual birth of this rifle series, the new X Bolt carries the same advanced pedigree, but now a half dozen years later.

X Bolt rifles in 6.5 Creedmoor like all Brownings make use of a cartridge specific twist rate. That rate in the 6.5 Creedmoor is 1 in 7 inch. This twist will allow the sue of lighter bullets and move to a bit heavier without sacrificing accuracy. The rifle is built as a heavy sporter meaning the stainless steel fluted pipe retains some added material that will aid in cooling, harmonics control, and overall strength.

Brownings are all drilled and tapped for scope bases and rings. The X Bolt long range retains the Picatinny rail ( sold as an add on part ) which allows for some flexibility when selecting scope bases and rings. These rails are necessary for long range shooting and using the 20 m.o.a. through 40 m.o.a. is suggested when shooting one mile plus steel target events ( 2000 yards )  

The rifles composite stock is the advance target style with full adjustments applied to the comb and length of pull. The sharp drop at the pistol grip section makes for sold control when pulling for the long shot on a small distant target.  Double sling and bi-pod studs aid in tacking on assisting shooting systems.

The solid three lug rotating bolt head makes for a solid lockup and produces good head space and accuracy.  The trigger on this rifle is target grade with a smooth let off. Barrel is set up with muzzle break. Also adaptable for suppressed operation.

  3   Ruger Hawkeye Predator 6.5 Creedmoor 

Ruger Predator Hawkeye 6.5 Creedmoor

When working here at Ballistics Research & Development we shoot a pair of Ruger rifles. One is suppressed and the other is carrying the standard muzzle crown. Both rifles have been thoroughly field tested and hunted for prairie dogs, rock chucks, and coyote here in western South Dakota. The rifle as offered by Ruger is a perfect match to the 6.5 Creedmoor in that it retains a medium heavy stainless steel barrel, and straight forward class target style stock.

Test shooting against steel and warm targets has been pressed to 1000 yards, with consistent kills on prarire dogs to 600 yards with ease. The Ruger makes use of a Mauser action and a long extractor. This is the most solid action in current use throughout the industry. Accuracy has been outstanding as the rifle with shoot ½ m.o.a to 100 yards, and hold that figure to 600 and 100 yards respectively.

Trigger control on this rifle is very good as applied to its two stage adjustable target trigger. The stock is laminated ‘Green Mountain’ built, and has the feel of a target rifle turned varmint rig. The rifle makes use of a hinged solid steel floorplate ( stainless,)  and it is flush with the trigger guard. Mauser style controls as in the safety and bolt handel make for a user friendly rifle at all levels. In terms of the 6.5 Creedmoor the Ruger Hawkeye is an outstanding choice among hunters or target shooters alike.

  4   Winchester Xpr 6.5 Creedmoor 

Author Winchester XPR in the field. Very nice rifle and a good working mans price

The Winchester XPR Sporter is a rifle that lack facy stoks, over dressed bolt handles and shafts, and other adornments that have nothing to do with takeing game anamials down for the dinner table. Howeer that being stated this rifle in my hands during the 2018 deer season as chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor help make a 540 yard running shot on a big trophy whitetail that came in as number one all time in terms of my best long range shot on game.

The major areas of interest on this rifle is the trigger which has zero slack, is a design that is Winchesters and fool proof are over travel and a heavy left off. In effect, this is one outstanding trigger much like those used on bench rest rifles.

Secondly this rifle makes use of a very massive bolt that is made from one piece chromoly steel stock that has been special heat treated for strength. The bolt retains three massive locking lugs for super strength, and runs smooth, lacking any binding what so ever. In effect, the action on this XPR is quick to the hand, the balance is very good, and pointing qualities spot on. I was able to hold my deer in the cross hairs as it ran all out at the previously indicate range in my Leupold MARK 5 with ease.  The flat shooting 6.5 Creedmoor made for an easy hold over regrading bullet drop that was quite shallow, and as a result of the equipment in hand, and professional spotting by my parter, the event was very successful.

The receiver on this rifle is again chromoly. and once piece machined to tight CNC tolerances.  The ejection point is over sized for both ejection of spent rounds, and also fast in terms of reloading.  Everything about the rifle is hunter friendly right down to the realistic and functional polymer stock.

Also of interest is the fact that this rifle is very affordable when compaired to most of the other 6.5’s on the market. In effect, you're getting a great deal of rifle for the money in the Winchester XPR

Author with trophy whitetail long range harvested with 6.5 Creedmoor and Winchester XPR

Winchester 6.5 Creedmoor, 142 Grain. ( Outstanding deer bullet. )

  5   kimber Model 84M Classic

As the final rifle in my suggestion list of 6.5 Creedmoor application, I want ot turn to the Kimber line of rifles. Here is a rifle that is very well made, carries a long standing reputation for accuracy and reliability regardless of where or how it is being used, and general fit and craftsmanship are its high grade walnut sock to the tightly fitted hinged magazine well to the bolt fit is far above average.  The action on this rifle is Mauser with the traditional and very strong claw extractor, that makes this a rifle in a small class of an almost real Mauser all by itself.

The action on the Kimber is aluminum piller bedded, and the barrel is fully free floated. The rifle shoots, and you can take that to the bank.

I shot this rifle under hard testing in South Dakota for two summers and a season of coyote hunting. Not once was there an issue with this rifle, and the only problem I had is that I allowed myself to sell it to a good friend. Bad idea as I miss the rifle a whole lot. 

Conclusion

As a part of this review are sugesting 6.5 Creedmoor chambered rifles. It should be noted that as of this mast mojth May 2020 the US Army has announced that the 6.5 Creedmoore is being selected as the new squad level small arms weapon cartridge as applied to a totaly redesigned service rifle.

The Army was looking for a light weight low recoil round to replace the 5.56 / .223 Rem, and  7.62 /308 as an extended range sniper and sharpshooter round. The 6.5 Creedmoor has been given production marching orders and the project is now underway.

What this all means in that the 6.5 Creedmoor being now military is a sealed deal I terms of a long lasting cartridge among hunters, target shooters, and load developers for many years to come. You could say it is fast becoming the new 21 century 30-30 Winchester in terms of overall acceptance.

2 thoughts on “Best 6.5 Creedmoor Rifles – Top 5 Best 6.5 Creedmoor Rifles Review”

  1. Avatar

    I have seen more .308 lovers talking crap about the 6.5 than i have 6.5 lovers talking crap about .308. Im a 6.5 fan but im also a huge fan of the .30-06 as well as the .30-30. The people that glorify .308 and call the creedmoor the needmoor is why i get a negative opinion of it. I base my argument off of actual evidence and cases that have legitimately happened and have been documented. In my honest opinion the 6.5 makes a person a better shot and i am more than happy to explain why. First and most important is recoil, it just doesnt kick hard at all which makes for a more confident shot for some and a more steady trigger pull since youre not worried about that thump into the shoulder. Secondly is its just a more accurate round overall. The .308 hits a little harder up close compared to the 6.5 but the 6.5 is still just as capable of a devastating impact and in fact it is more capable at a closer distance than you mentioned. A bullet traveling at 2,200fps or faster delivers a massive cavitation from what i assume is the bullet dragging air into the body cavity on impact, under 2,200fps and you dont see much of that. According to a chart i seen .308 drops below 2,200fps at around 300 yards and according to my strelok app the 6.5 doesnt drop below 2,200fps until 400 yards and delivers a 1251lb ft of energy so it delivers that massive damage from cavotation a full 100 yards further and although 300 yards sounds like a lot i have a 250 yard rifle range in my yard and its not much with a good scope. I dont think the 6.5 is the best at everything but i feel like 99% of the people that talk bad about the 6.5 creedmoor see a short action and have no idea what theyre talking about and think small cartridge small damage and that couldnt be further from the truth. I guess i will leave with this bit of info, army sniper robert terkla made a comment during cleaning one of his guns that if he could only take keep or have one rifle hed choose his 6.5, not .308 or 300win but a 6.5. If an army sniper says he prefers it over most other rounds, listen.

    1. Avatar

      .308 has been around a long time and extensively used by the military and by hunters. You can’t realistically expect people who have been using the .308 for 20-50 years to easily jump on the new cartridge bandwagon, regardless of capabilities. I agree that the creed has many benefits including efficiency and low recoil and I may get a 6.5 creed some day. I would also like to get a lighter rifle and the creed would fit well in this rifle. But 300 yards is a long shot for most people. In PA where i hunt often, more shots are taken at 100 yds. So looking at stats out at 400 yards really doesn’t apply to a good portion of every day hunters. Yes, some people who hunt in western states may shoot this far, but i would want a a bigger and faster bullet combo for long range and bigger critters. I’m a 30 year veteran, so not going to argue with a sniper, but if i had to pick only one cartridge for all use it would not be the .308 or the 6.5 creed. I doubt we have anyone reading this that owns only one rifle. Gotta go i think there’s a new rifle in 6.5 creed i have to get for Santa. 🙂

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