Developed by Hornady in 2007 and released in 2008 the 6.5 Creedmoor has made a splash in the hunting community. This cartridge is known for its mild recoil and very efficient bullet designs. Bullet designs for the 6.5 Creedmoor vary and when looking for the best bullet to take on Whitetail Deer your choices are abundant.
Jacketed bullets such as the Hornady ELD-X and Nosler Accubond will be a perfect match when pursuing Whitetail Deer. The expansion that these jacketed bullets offer as well as their high efficiency will make for quick and humane harvests with your 6.5 Creedmoor against Whitetail Deer.
The options available to hunters when choosing ammunition best suited for hunting whitetail deer with their 6.5 Creedmoor is exceptional. With different bullet designs and weights, it can be confusing to choose what will work the best for your setup. Even though you may not be a hand loader you can still get quality ammunition with the highest of quality components factory-made for your 6.5 Creedmoor setup.
Factory Ammo and Hand Loaders
Upon impact with its target hunting bullets begin deforming and expanding. This is what transfers energy into the animal from the bullet. When selecting the ideal ammo for your caliber, cartridge, and game animal your choices will impact the efficiency of the bullet as well as the harvest of the animal.
In the case of the 6.5 Creedmoor, the cartridge and caliber are paired nicely for whitetail hunters.
Hunters looking for manufactured ammunition should look for a jacketed round that has good velocity and a polymer tip to help increase in flight efficienty and controlled expansion upon impact. Factory manufactured ammunition such as the Hornady Superformance is a good option for the 6.5 Creedmoor and pairs well against whitetail deer. Superformance ammunition tipped off with a 129 grain SST from Hornady will be a deadly combination.
Hornady’s Superformance ammunition will cost you around $65.00 CAD depending on price fluctuation.
For hunters looking to use premium factory ammunition look for Hornady’s Precision Hunter. These cartridges use Hornady’s ELD-X bullets that have gained a high reputation over the last couple of years. These cartridges will be tipped with an ELD-X that comes in at 143 grains. Because of their higher ballistic coefficient (BC) these bullets hold their velocity extremely well and with the added weight penetration will not be an issue against whitetail deer.
Hornady’s Precision Hunter ammunition will cost you around $62.00 CAD depending on price fluctuation.
Hunters looking for a more inexpensive way to harvest their game can look for brands such as Herter’s and Winchester. Though many of these less expensive options will not take advantage of the higher BC bullets. This will not affect the ability to effectively harvest whitetail deer with your 6.5 Creedmoor at a modest range of 150 – 200 yards.
Herter’s and Winchester ammunition runs a price of $25.00 and $38.00 CAD depending on price fluctuation.
Other manufactured ammunition on the market that has high-quality components would be Federal Premium Terminal Ascent and Nosler’s Trophy Grade line of ammunition. The Federal ammunition is tipped with Federal’s Terminal Ascent bullet coming in at 130 grains. Nosler’s Trophy Grade ammunition is tipped with Nosler’s Accubond Long Range bullet coming in at 129 grains.
Federals Premium Terminal Ascent ammunition will run a cost of $70.00 CAD depending on price fluctuation.
Nosler Trophy Grade ammunition will cost you a high price of $92.00 CAD depending on price fluctuation.
Handloading for your 6.5 Creedmoor will allow you to pick and choose endlessly for your preferred setup. Hand loaders will have the advantage of tuning the ammunition they make to the rifle for unmatched accuracy and velocities.
Always be sure to follow proper hand loading procedures to ensure safe loads that wont damage your firearm or yourself. Always follow manufacturer suggested volumes and be cautious when approaching maximum loads.
When it comes to bullet selection for hand loaders I would recommend a high BC bullet with a reasonable mass of around 140 grains. Besides the ELD-X or Accubond Long Range I would recommend trying Siarra’s Tipped Game King.
6.5 Creedmoor against Whitetail Deer
The 6.5 Creedmoor has been discussed time and time again about the viability of the caliber and cartridge combination when targeting large-boned animals such as elk. In this case, most hunters will agree that the 6.5 Creedmoor doesn’t hold enough energy to reliably and ethically harvest elk unless some serious self-imposed restrictions are followed.
Fortunately for the 6.5 Creedmoor in this case Whitetail Deer do not have anywhere near the same bone density as elk. This allows for a large selection of ammunition that hunters can choose to better suite their desired hunting style.
However, the skeletal structure of the animal and furthermore the shot angle should still be taken into consideration. The front shoulder of the animal should be avoided in almost all scenarios due to the unpredictability of hitting the shoulder joint. Though the 6.5 Creedmoor will have the energy required at standard ranges (300 yards and less) to penetrate a high shoulder shot.
The Recommended minimum energy requirement for harvesting animals that compare to that of a whitetail is around the 1100 FT-LB range. Keeping in mind that most ammunition requires at least 2000 FPS in order to initiate proper expansion (with some exceptions reducing that to 1800FPS) the 6.5 Creedmoor can extend out beyond conventional hunting distances out to a range of 500 yards in some instances.
Increasing energy of the 6.5 Creedmoor.
In some instances, hunters can increase the energy produced out of a cartridge rather simply. The standard length of a hunting rifles barrel is 24 inches in length so when you go to buy your next rifle look for one that at a minimum meets this length. Although, if you’re able to find a rifle with a barrel length of 26inches you will increase your muzzle velocity up to 20 or even 30 FPS per inch added.
Increasing barrel length when purchasing a new rifle is the easiest way of gaining a little extra edge out of a cartridge. However, hand loaders will have the ability with a chronograph to better see these changes in velocity when doing a load workup in their personal rifles.
Remember to always follow the manufactures recommendations when hand loading and always us the proper safety equipment when developing your own ammunition.
If you are for whatever reason not feeling completely confident in your 6.5 Creedmoors capability of harvesting a whitetail deer then consider moving towards a deeper penetrating bullet.
Solid copper core bullets or mono-metal bullets such as Barns LRX and Hornady’s GMX bullets can give you a little extra edge if you feel the need for a little extra penetration. Though not completely necessary these solid bullets will in general help to increase your bullets penetration while potentially slightly reducing the energy transfer from the bullet into the animal.
Remember, bullets kill with energy transfer. For this reason, pass-throughs with bullets mean you are leaving potential kinetic energy in the bullet. The perfect characteristic of a bullet in my experience is one that is going to be able to penetrate bone and expand within the chest cavity.
The best place to find your expanded bullet is on the back side just under the hide of the animal. This means all kinetic energy from the bullet has been transferred into the animal.
Perfect 6.5 Creedmoor Setup For Whitetail Deer.
Being a mild recoiling rifle many youth and recoil sensitive hunters will find the 6.5 Creedmoor a superb choice for one of north America’s most sought-after game animals that being the Whitetail Deer.
Though mild recoil is preferred on the shoulder an added benefit of low felt recoil is the ability to stay on target while still looking through your optic. This will make any necessary follow-up shots much easier and faster.
If you are looking to purchase your own 6.5 Creedmoor for whitetail deer I would recommend a rifle with at minimum the standard 24-inch barrel. If at all possible increasing the barrel length by even 2 inches will help increase the velocity of your bullet and make the cartridge all the more effective.
Fore added barrel length in factory rifles look for key words such as “long range” these barrels are usually longer such as the Browning X-Bolt Hells Canyon Long-Range rifle that sports the 26 inch barrel.
Optics is alway a very subjective opinion that more often then not boils down more to your preference. Just keep in mind glass clarity and field of view when looking to purchase good hunting optics. Exposed elevation and windage turrets will also be of benefit for anyone looking to take longer shots and need to compensate for bullet drop.
For ammunition I personally hand load. Though even if I did not make my own cartridges I would go with the Hornady’s Precision Hunter ammunition. This reason is purely for the ELD-X bullets. Coming in at 143 grains and a staggering .314 G7 ballistic coefficient these bullets fly efficiently and with the added weight of 143 grains they will penetrate whitetail with no issue.
With this rifle set up, I would personally set a maximum effective distance of 500 yards. At this distance, the ELD-X bullet will be traveling at a velocity of 2015 FPS and carry 1289 FT-LB of energy. This blends nicely with the recommended energy for whitetail sized game while being well within the 1800 FPS expansion requirement for ELD-X bullets.
I would furthermore put a personal restriction on shot angle and placement starting at 300 yards. Inside the threshold of 300 yards, the velocity is 2275 FPS and the energy is 1644 FT-LB. This is more than acceptable for high shoulder shots where the bone is more than likely to be encountered. Beyond the 300 yard restriction, I will be looking for a perfect broadside shot with a point of impact just behind the shoulder.
The 6.5 Creedmoor hits all of the marks when looking for a good whitetail cartridge and caliber combination. With the efficiency of high ballistic coefficient (BC) bullets, hunters should look to use ammunition that takes advantage of this trait when making their choice for this year’s whitetail hunt.
Jacketed bullets will allow for a large amount of expansion and energy transfer and therefore should be the preferred bullet design for your 6.5 Creedmoor against whitetail deer.
The capable range of the 6.5 Creedmoor is a respectable 500 yards with quality ammunition. If you want to check your bullet’s energy at any particular range all you need to do is get the muzzle velocity from a chronograph and use a ballistic calculator in order to determine your bullet’s kinetic energy at any particular range.
Ballistic calculators are abundant on the App Store and also through online searches. Look for the G7 ballistic calculator online or Hornady’s ballistic calculator in the App Store.
You don’t need to be a hand loader in order to take advantage of quality components for your 6.5 Creedmoor. Factory ammunition today has many options available to hunters that will have the best of components.
The 6.5 Creedmoor has developed a tarnished reputation for some hunters. Though in most cases the 6.5 Creedmoor will outperform many standard short-action cartridges. The pairing of the 6.5 Creedmoor for Whitetail hunters will be a long-lasting legacy. Be sure to take advantage of the high ballistic coefficient bullets and the 6.5 Creedmoor will not disappoint.