Skip to main content

6mm Creedmoor vs. 6.5 Creedmoor: Cartridge Clash

The 6mm Creedmoor with its lower recoil and flatter, more forgiving trajectory faces off against the 6.5 Creedmoor with its better ballistics and wind-bucking ability.

6mm Creedmoor vs. 6.5 Creedmoor: Cartridge Clash

6mm Creedmoor vs. 6.5 Creedmoor: Cartridge Clash (RifleShooter photo) 

The 6.5 Creedmoor was developed in 2007 by Hornady’s Dave Emary and Dennis DeMille, and it created a stir in the centerfire rifle cartridge world unlike anything in living memory. It has a neck design that handles high ballistic coefficient bullets without robbing case capacity and an overall length (OAL) that works in short-action bolt guns and AR-10 rifles.

6mm Creedmoor vs. 6.5 Creedmoor: Cartridge Clash

In 2010, John Snow of Outdoor Life set out to build a custom precision rifle chambered for a wildcat cartridge. He enlisted the help of George Gardner at GA Precision, and the 6mm Creedmoor was born by necking down the 6.5 Creedmoor. Soon, the cartridge became extremely popular with competitive shooters, eclipsing its parent cartridge as the most popular in the Precision Rifle Series (PRS).

In the Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor, you have the 143-grain ELD-X (G1 BC .625) and the 147-grain ELD Match (.697); the 6mm Creedmoor has a 103-grain ELD-X (.512) and 108-grain ELD Match (.536). While high ballistic coefficients are important to the success of both Creedmoor rounds, there are other factors at play. The 6.5 Creedmoor’s 147-grain ELD Match load velocity spec is 2,695 feet per second (fps). The 6mm Creedmoor 108-grain ELD Match is 2,960 fps. With barrels of equal lengths and a 200-yard zero, the 6.5 ELD Match bullet drops 6 inches more at 500 yards than the 6mm ELD Match. At 1,000 yards, the 6.5 drops 23 inches more than the 6mm.

Wind drift is a different story. At 1,000 yards, the 6mm Creedmoor drifts about a foot more than the 6.5 load when fired into a 90-degree, 10-mph crosswind at 1,500 feet elevation. Why? Wind has a greater impact on the lighter, lower BC bullets at long range. The 6mm Creedmoor starts out considerably faster than the 6.5 Creedmoor, but at 700 yards, the two post identical velocities according to Hornady figures. After that, the 6.5 Creedmoor bullet moves faster. Vertical drop is easier to accurately measure and account for than wind, especially at great distances, so the 6.5 Creedmoor load gives you a much greater margin of error in terms of wind drift.

Neither of these rounds is punchy, but the 6.5 Creedmoor does produce a bit more recoil than the 6mm Creedmoor—just enough that calling your shots with the 6mm is easier than with the 6.5 in same-weight rifles. That’s why the 6mm Creedmoor is so popular among long-range competitors. Both Creedmoors make good hunting rounds for deer-size game, and both are accurate in most guns. I have hunted a variety of game with a 6.5 Creedmoor and have found the round to be highly effective. I don’t know that it’s any more lethal than the scads of other cartridges that came before it, but the 6.5 Creedmoor has two big advantages. It doesn’t produce much recoil or muzzle blast, and the tight design specs typically lead to smaller groups.

The 6mm Creedmoor produces less recoil, which makes it even more pleasant to shoot. In 2019, I shot a massive whitetail buck in Saskatchewan at 120 yards with a 90-grain GMX bullet from my 6mm Creedmoor. The buck collapsed after the bullet passed behind the left front leg and broke the right shoulder.

The 6.5 Creedmoor is better suited to hunting caribou, mule deer and bear because of its additional energy, although I stop short of calling it an ideal elk cartridge. The 6mm Creedmoor is a more logical choice for varmints at long ranges.

The 6.5 beats the 6mm in terms of rifle availability, and that goes for ammo, too. There are currently about four times as many factory loads for the 6.5 Creedmoor as the 6mm Creedmoor. Regardless of which you choose, though, you’ll likely be highly satisfied. Both of these rounds are exceptionally versatile and pleasant to shoot.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Scott Rupp gets a chance to talk to Aaron Oelger about a few new products from Hodgdon and why reloading store shelves are empty.

Hodgdon Reloading

Beth Shimanski of Savage introduces their all new straight-pull rifle. With an Accu-Fit stock and left hand adjustable bolt, this rifle is a perfect choice for anyone!

Savage Impulse

RifleShooter Magazine editor Scott Rupp breaks down all the features of the Mossberg Patriot Predator rifle chambered in 6.5 PRC.

Mossberg Patriot Predator 6.5 PRC Rifle Review

Introduced in 1965 with the .444 Marlin cartridge, the Model 444 was the most powerful lever action of its day.

Marlin Model 1895 in .444 Marlin

J. Scott Rupp takes a first look at the Springfield M1A Loaded rifle chambered in the popular 6.5 Creedmoor.

Review: Springfield Armory M1A Loaded Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor

If looking to acquire an automated powder-charge dispensing unit to speed up precision reloading, don't judge the RCBS ChargeMaster Lite powder scale and dispenser by its name; the Little Green machine packs a heavy-weight punch with speed and accuracy.

RCBS ChargeMaster Lite Review: Not 'Lite' on Ability

The new Sako Finnlight II sports an innovative stock and Cerakote metal paired with the terrific 85 action.

RS Sako Finnlight II

The Remington Model Seven is ready, willing and able to handle just about any task.

Remington Model Seven SS HS Bolt-Action Rifle Review

RifleShooter Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the RifleShooter App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Rifle Shooter stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All RifleShooter subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now