6.5 Creedmoor: Cartridge Profile

The 6.5 Creedmoor is a popular short-action rifle cartridge. It is well-known for its light recoil, accuracy, and ballistic efficiency.

Basic Stats & Specs

Date Originated: 2007
Designed By: Hornady
Bullet Diameter: 0.264″ (6.5mm)
Cartridge Overall Length: 2.825″
Parent Case: 0.30″ TC
Maximum Pressure: 62,000 psi

Backfire’s Hunting Power Rating

What is this?

Our proprietary formula ranks rifles on a scale of 0 - 100 to analyze its killing power. Included in the formula is frontal area of the bullet, speed at several common hunting distances, bullet weight, and sectional density.

30.3

Backfire’s Real Recoil Rating

What is this?

We track average rifle weight in each caliber, and a percentage of popular rifles using a muzzle break in each caliber, to make our composite score of recoil energy and velocity more accurate. A score under 50 is unlikely to make an average adult shooter flinch.

2,813 FPS

Muzzle Velocity

What is this?

We track average rifle weight in each caliber, and a percentage of popular rifles using a muzzle break in each caliber, to make our composite score of recoil energy and velocity more accurate. A score under 50 is unlikely to make an average adult shooter flinch.

6.5 Creedmoor Trajectory and Velocity

Distance Drop Velocity
Muzzle +1.5″ 2,813 fps
100 Yards 0″ 2,769 fps
200 Yards -3.6″ 2,485 fps
300 Yards -13.4″ 2,332 fps
400 Yards -30.2″ 2,185 fps
500 Yards -55.6″ 1,858 fps
600 Yards -91.3″ 1,697 fps
700 Yards -139.9″ 1,550 fps
800 Yards -203.9″ 1,419 fps
900 Yards -286.5″ 1,306 fps
1,000 Yards -391.4″ 1,211 fps

6.5 Creedmoor Energy and Flight Time

Distance Energy (FPE) Flight Time (Seconds)
Muzzle 2,284 0″
100 Yards 2,215 0.11″
200 Yards 1,783 0.23″
300 Yards 1,570 0.36″
400 Yards 1,378 0.49″
500 Yards 997 0.66″
600 Yards 832 0.83″
700 Yards 694 1.03″
800 Yards 581 1.24″
900 Yards 492 1.47″
1,000 Yards 424 1.72″

2,328 Shots of Barrel Life

The 6.5 Creedmoor has a barrel life of 2,180 shots, which is better than 58% of other rifle cartridges. 
We determine barrel life from our proprietary and accurate formula, but your load and barrel quality affect barrel life.

$1.39 Per Cartridge on Average

Across different brands and loads from various online and physical stores, the average current cost per shot for 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition is $1.39 in the United States.  The average price per box of ammunition is $27.74.

6

#2 in Bolt-Action Popularity

9.73% of all new bolt-action rifles are available in a 6.5 Creedmoor chambering.  It is the second most popular bolt-action rifle caliber on the market.  Consequently, shooters can easily find rifles and ammunition.

$1.60 Real Cost Per Shot

While the cost of each cartridge is just $1.39, if you factor into the cost of a shot the barrel life and how expensive it is to replace a 6.5 Creedmoor barrel, the average cost per shot becomes $1.60, which is low for centerfire rifle.

Taylor's Knockout Factor

What is this?

This early 1900s formula accounts for bullet weight, caliber, and velocity to estimate killing power. It fails to account for frontal area and long-range ballistics. A .243 scores 9.9 on this scale, and a .300 win mag scores 24.07

Backfire's Ballistic Efficiency Rating

What is this?

Our proprietary formula ranks cartridges ability to shoot a heavy projectile quickly while using the least amount of powder. The scale is 0 (not efficient) to 100 (perfectly efficient).

Muzzle Mathematic Stress (N/m2)

What is this?

Mathematic stress gives an idea of how much force is placed on each square millimeter of area that the bullet will contact when it initially hits an animal. It is a helpful indicator of penetration.

Bullet Frontal Area (mm2)

What is this?

Bullet frontal area is the surface area of the projectile when placed facing toward the measurer. It shows how much area will be impacted when a bullet hits.

Mule Deer and Whitetail Deer

The 6.5 Creedmoor is an ideal deer hunting cartridge for shots up to 485 yards away.  It is quickly becoming the most popular cartridge in the deer woods. The 6.5 Creedmoor slows down below 2,000 fps at approximately 485 yards, which can result in a bullet not expanding reliably, so keep shots within that range.

Elk

The 6.5 Creedmoor can be used to successfully kill elk, but closer distances and favorable shot angles are recommended due to its frontal surface area and moderate speed, which reduce damage and penetration.  Some hunting guides report the 6.5 Creedmoor wounds more elk than any other caliber.

Black Bear

The 6.5 Creedmoor is an adequate cartridge for hunting black bear as long as shots are taken within 500 yards.  Black Bear have heavy shoulder bones, so use a heavy bullet of at least 140 grains and a controlled-expansion bullet, but most hunters report the 6.5 Creedmoor as performing well on black bear.

Grizzly Bear

The 6.5 Creedmoor should not be used to hunt grizzly bear.  Grizzly and brown bears commonly weigh over 500 pounds, which requires a deep penetrating bullet and tremendous power.  While 6.5 Creedmoor cartridges have been used to kill grizzly bears in defensive situations, it is far from ideal.

Moose

The 6.5 Creedmoor can be used for moose hunting, but most experts would recommend a slightly more powerful cartridge.  For shots under 300 yards with a heavy controlled-expansion bullet, the 6.5 Creedmoor can kill moose successfully when shot angles are ideal.

Hog

The 6.5 Creedmoor is a perfect cartridge for hunting hogs.  While some hunters use smaller calibers for hogs and make precise head shots, a hog has dense shoulder bones, so a more powerful firearm such as the 6.5 Creedmoor is recommended for body shots.

Mountain Lion

The 6.5 Creedmoor is an excellent cartridge for hunting mountain lion up to 485 yards away.  Mountain lion are not a particularly hardy species and shots are usually made fairly close, so any rifle capable of hunting deer works well for hunting mountain lion.

Coyote

The 6.5 Creedmoor can kill a coyote instantly, but most loads cause significant fur damage.  Coyote hunters generally prefer lighter cartridges such as a 22-250; however, selecting a controlled-expansion bullet like the Nosler Partition or Barnes LRX may preserve the fur somewhat.

Theoretical Free Recoil (Assumes 9 lbs gun)

Theoretical Recoil Velocity (Assumes 9 lbs gun)

Free Recoil as Typically Configured (Uses our data on average gun weight for this caliber)

Recoil Velocity as Typically Configured (Uses our data on average gun weight for this caliber)

Backfire's Real Recoil Rating

What is this?

Ballistic efficiency is a cartridge's ability to move a heavy bullet quickly while using the least amount of powder. Backfire's efficiency rating is a scale from 0 to 100 with lower scores being less efficient than higher scores. We consider a score above 45 to be an efficient cartridge.

A Look at Recoil

The 6.5 Creedmoor is a very mild recoiling cartridge.  It produces 11.02 foot pounds of free recoil and 8.88 foot pounds of recoil velocity, which is low enough for even many youth shooters to easily manage. The recoil on a 6.5 Creedmoor is 16% less than a .280 Remington, and only 12% more than a .243 Winchester.

A Look at Efficiency

The 6.5 Creedmor is in the 72nd percentile for cartridge efficiency among other bolt-action rifle calibers.  It is a very efficient cartridge. It scores almost identical marks to the .308 in terms of efficiency, despite the obvious differences in caliber and bullet weights between those two cartridges.

FAQ

If you have questions about the 6.5mm Creedmoor cartridge, we’d be happy to help! Whether you call it the 6 5, 6.5 Creed, 6.5 CM, 6.5 CRDMR, or just the 6.5 Creedmoor, we’re passionate about this new cartridge.  Here are a few answers to the most common questions.

Is the 6.5 Creedmoor short action?

The 6.5 Creedmoor is a short-action caliber.  The overall length of a 6.5mm Creedmoor cartridge is 2.825″ which roughly fits into a standard short action of 2.8″ long. 

What is the 6.5 Creedmoor equivalent to?

The 6.5 Creedmoor uses a 0.264″ caliber bullet, which compares by size to a .260 Remington; however, it competes more commonly with the .308 Win and 6.5 PRC as precision rifle cartridges, as well as the .270 Win for hunting.

What is the effective range of the 6.5 Creedmoor?

With an average load, the 6.5mm Creedmoor bullet slows down to 2,000 feet per second at 485 yards.  Since 2,000 feet per second is required for many bullets to properly expand, 500 yards the maximum effective range.

Can 6.5 Creedmoor shoot 6.5 PRC?

The 6.5 Creedmoor rifle cannot shoot a 6.5 PRC cartridge.  Although the cartridges are the same caliber, the dimensions and maximum pressures of the rifles are different.

Can a 6.5 Creedmoor shoot a mile?

A 6.5mm Creedmoor bullet can easily travel a mile.  At 1,760 yards (one mile), a shooter would have to adjust up 79.33 MOA with a 130 grain Hornady Match bullet.  However, extreme long distance shooters generally prefer magnum cartridges for shooting a mile.

Why is the 6.5 Creedmoor so popular?

The 6.5 Creedmoor wasn’t immediately popular when it was first released in 2008, but it eventually exploded in popularity due to its inherent accuracy, mild recoil, and efficiency.  It is especially popular with precision rifle shooters and deer hunters who appreciate its long-range capabilities without punishing recoil.