At Backfire, we’ve tested most of the current production factory bolt-action rifles on the market. It means we do a lot of accuracy testing. We’ve seen huge variations in accuracy between ammo brands, and thought it’d be helpful to share what we’ve seen to be most accurate across a large swath of rifles.
Hornady 147-Grain ELD-M
This is one of the most accurate loads on the market. It’s tried and true, and constantly leaving shooters in awe. Hornady’s ELD line of bullets is considered the most precisely made, and the flattest shooting for any specific caliber.
The 147-grain ELD-M bullet has a sectional density of .301 and a G1 Ballistic Coefficient of .697, which is arguably the highest ballistic coefficient of any 6.5 Creedmoor bullet. One manufacturer had touted higher, but that fell under high scrutiny and proven inflated.
The bullet is dopler tested and has consistently the best Balistic coefficient out to 800-yards. formerly, Hornady touted their A-max bullet, but the ELD-M bullet line has a bullet surface that remains more uniform and consistent while flying through the air.
Ballistic tip ammo and the older aluminum-tipped A-max both get marred as the point deteriorates in flight. That’s where the ELD-M ammo comes into play. Yes, it has a fantastic ballistic coefficient. It also has a very smooth jacket and an ultra-precise tip that resists deformation in flight.
Enough about the bullet, hows about the rest of the load? Hornady uses some of the most uniform brass you can find. their primers are awesome, and it’s loaded with a powder that has very little temperature fluctuation. It shoots about the same in summer and winter.
This is the ammo that experienced shooters tend to reach for first. It’s pretty much the benchmark for the performance of the 6.5 Creemore. It’s by far the most popular choice for long-distance shooting with a 6.5 Creemore. People are constantly amazed at what this bullet can do.
It’s rare to see a gun that won’t shoot 1 moa (1.05 inches at 100 yards) with this ammo. Skilled benchrest shooters generally group half-minute of angle with this load; sometimes a bit more or a bit less.
This bullet has more downrange energy than you will find really anywhere else with any other bullet option. It has been used for hunting, but it’s really not designed for it. I’ve seen the results of it working, but it tends to yaw in a target and not penetrate deeply.
Hornady 143-Grain ELD-X (Precision Hunter)
|Hornady 143 ELD-X||100-yards||200-yards||300-yards||400-yards||500-yards||600-yards|
This is arguably the most accurate hunting bullet in 6.5 Creedmoor. It’s designed for long-range hunting and operates well past 600-yards for deer. The ELD-X is sort of king of the hill when it comes to hunting loads for the 6.5 Creedmoor.
It has a unique ballistic tip that allows much less air pressure damage than any other design. It expands very well, especially past 400-yards. The whole point of ELD-X bullets is to work past 400-yards. Upon impact, the ballistic tip drives into the bullet, starting expansion at low-velocity distances.
According to Hornady, the ELD-X bullets have a velocity threshold of 1600 fps. Any velocity above that will give a flawless expansion of the bullet. Depending on your rifle, that should fall somewhere between 800 and 900-yards. At that distance, you still have over 800 ft/lbs of energy, which is enough for deer.
The ELD-X has a slightly lower ballistic coefficient, so it will have a tiny bit more drop and give a smidge more to the wind. As far as accuracy goes, it’s on par with the ELD-M. This ammo usually groups under a minute of angle when shooting from a bench.
Its ballistic coefficient is .625, as tested by doplar. That’s lower than the ELD-M, but it’s still incredibly high. anything over .600 is an extremely high ballistic coefficient value.
Norma BondStrike Extreme 143-grain
|BondStrike Extreeme 143-grain||100-yards||200-yards||300-yards||400-yards||500-yards||600-yards|
This ammo is a solid choice for long-range hunting, and it’s a pretty accurate one too. Although not too common, Norma is a well-renowned maker of high-quality loads and is known for top-end reliability and accuracy. Its ballistic coefficient is .629, so it’s definitely in the long-range category.
Norma focuses on building a well-rounded bullet, with a very sturdy bonded jacket. The jacket itself is fairly thin at the front, but it’s bonded incredibly well to the lead core which minimizes lead fragmentation and maximizes retained wait for deeper penetration.
The BondStrike Extreme is very similar to the ELD-X. It’s got a high ballistic coefficient, a very smooth uniform copper jacket, and the jacket is thinner near the tip for improved expansion at low velocities. It also has a ballistic (polymer) tip.
I don’t know for sure if it’s a softer polymer tip, but my suspicion is that it’s not as heat resistant as the Hornady ELD tip. That’s because it tends to have a bit less accuracy than Hornady. It’s not really a drastic difference, but it tends to group closer to 1 moa, or just under from what I’ve seen.
Still, that’s not bad at all. And it may shoot much better in your gun. This one can be a little picky. It works well in most guns, really well in some, and not so good in a few. It can also be pricey. But, with the current ammo shortage, if you see it, you may want to give it a try.
Norma ammo seems to be crafted more for high-end rifles. At least that’s my experience. It’s a very popular choice for professional long-range shooting competitions. It’s probably going to shoot well in your rifle. I’d have no concerns about giving it a try.
Berger 140-grain Hybrid
|Berger 140-grain Hybrid||100-yards||200-yards||300-yards||400-yards||500-yards||600-yards|
Berger is an amazing bullet manufacturer and they have exceptional ammo. The Berger Hybrid is a target load, popular in competition. It’s often one of the top performers at international competitions. Its ballistic coefficient is .607. It’s lower than some but still impressive.
Berger’s Hybrid bullet line uses a boattail hollow-point that’s insanely smooth, even, and well balanced, it’s probably the most well-balanced bullet on the market today.
Its claim to fame is the J4 Precision Jacket, which is the most concentric and precise jacket made. That helps the bullet to be incredibly well balanced and very stable in flight. They’ve decided to focus on building the best bullet body and let Hornady have the best bullet tip.
The name Hybrid comes from the fact that clashes together two styles of ogive, which ends in a nice compromise of balance and low drag. In other words, They do fancy things with the bullet to make it hold it’s energy better and work well in more scenarios.
As far as price, it’s not any more than most 6.5 Creedmoor ammo on the market. I think MSRP is around $43 a box right now. That’s not a bad price for good ammo. Berger recommends a minimum twist rate of 1:8, which is fairly standard on these high B.C. bullets.
Black Hills Gold 143-grain EDL-X
|Black Hills 143 ELD-X||100-yards||200-yards||300-yards||400-yards||500-yards||600-yards|
Black Hills is a highly reputable, high-end ammo manufacturer. They are world-leading in accurate and consistent ammunition. Black Hills Gold is no exception. Black Hills Gold is handcrafted and undergoes possibly the most rigorous quality control of any ammo manufacturers.
Quality control is what Black Hills excels at. In my opinion, no one else comes close with factory ammunition. That’s why Black Hills make the top-tier Ammo that the US military relies on. Not the regular M-4 stuff, but when they need a hit at 1000 yards, Black Hills is the one.
Yes, they use Hornady’s bullet. They decided that the ELD-X was the best bullet on the market, so why would they try to make their own version when they could just buy the original. They want to produce the most accurate ammo first and foremost.
Every single batch of Black Hills Gold ammo is put to the test and must perform below 1/2 moa to pass inspection. That’s a tough line to uphold. that’s probably why the ammo is more expensive than most options. But, in my opinion, it’s the best you can get.
The issue with Black Hills is that they aren’t as big as Hornady or Federal. They are easily sold out and the ammo is hard to find. also, when they need to increase production for the military, they will be putting less on the open market.
By the way, if you are remotely interested in pistol ammo, check out Black Hills Honey Badger line of ammo. It’s a new design that penetrates like an fmj and makes a hole like a hollow point. And it’s accurate.
Nosler Trophy Grade 142-Grain AccuBond Long Range
|Nosler 142-grain AccuBond||100-yards||200-yards||300-yards||400-yards||500-yards||600-yards|
This is another long-range hunting load. It uses Nosler’s proprietary AccuBond Long Range bullet. This one is one of the most pricey options. They use the highest-end components to make accurate ammo. It’s usually over $70/box, but many are willing to pay the nearly $4/bullet.
The only thing I can say bad about this ammo is that they seem to have inflated the ballistic coefficient a bit. The manufacturer claims a B.C. of .719, but some experts agree that if fairly calculated, it should be somewhere near .650 or so. It’s an ongoing argument with no real consensus.
Now, there are big variables in a ballistic coefficient and it depends on the specific gun it was shot out of, and on what distance it was measured at. Generally, manufacturers try and give you the most realistic average they can. The testing methods differ from company to company, which can yield different results.
Still, it’s a super performer for long-range hunting. This bullet has the lowest minimum velocity of any 6.5 Creedmore ammo I’ve seen yet. It will expand adequately at 1300 fps. If their published Ballistic coefficient is right, that puts the max distance right at about 1400-yards for deer.
Either way, this bullet has the furthest effective range of any other bullet design. And, the ammo is super accurate in most guns and if you want a true long-range, super-accurate load, this is it. While I’m on that train, I will mention that it may not work as well at or under 100-yards.
Sometimes the bullet has a tendency to fragment heavily at close range, because it’s going faster, and may not penetrate to its fullest extent. Even so, I’d be confident it’d still get the job done on a whitetail. They are pretty easy to kill.
Federal Premuim 130-grain TSX
|Federal 130-grain TSX||100-yards||200-yards||300-yards||400-yards||500-yards||600-yards|
This one is the oddball in the group. It’s an all-copper expanding bullet. Being all-copper, it has a low ballistic coefficient of .365, so it’s definitely not for long-range. It just has too much drop and wind play. Still, it’s a great option out to 400-yards.
This is the deepest penetrating bullet in 6.5 Creedmoor you can get. In fact, this style of bullet will out penetrate other expanding bullets every time. As the bullet expands, the copper peals back in leaves. each leaf has sharp edges that work to cut through tissue much more than lead.
Lead pushes through tough and muscle while the copper cuts its way through. The bullet experiences a lot less drag going through an animal, so it penetrates deeper. It also holds together better after striking heavy bone.
If you want to hunt animals bigger than deer with the 6.5 Creedmore, This is the type of bullet you need to shoot. It often penetrates nearly twice as much as lead-core hunting bullets. It’s a highly accurate tack driver of a round. The bullet is actually made by Barnes, but it’s loaded by Federal.
If you want the most accurate, and most effective bullet for hunting under 500-yards, this is it. Or at least something similar like Hornady’s all-copper GMX bullets. The 6.5 Creedmore GMX is actually a bit lighter and faster and is very popular with hog hunters.
All in all folks, the biggest point of accuracy is first, the shoulder behind the rifle, and second, the finger on the trigger. After that, the gun adds 20-percent and the bullet makes up the other 5-percent. Seventy-five percent of accuracy is you, and you can’t buy that in a store.