This is a list of the best 6.5 Creedmoor rifle options on the market. The 6.5 Creedmoor is the hottest thing on the market currently at the time of the writing of this article. There are a lot of good reasons for this, and the cartridge is an impressive moderate and long-range option.
A few introductory notes:
The 6.5 Creedmoor is not the 6.5 Grendel. It is not the 6mm Creedmoor and it is not the 6.5 PRC. These are all different cartridges. That may be clear to a majority of readers, but there does seem to be some confusion after one cartridge takes off with substantially similar cartridges being released afterwards. Never shoot anything in a firearm that it is not chambered for or built to handle.
Now that there is some obvious information out there, why are there so many imposters and followers for the 6.5 Creedmoor? Because it’s quite accurate; selling out everywhere and has long-term potential from a new cartridge on the mainstream market. While it is possible that the above cartridges may all become popular, it’s unlikely they will overcome the success of the 6.5 Creedmoor.
Already there is so much industry support by major manufacturers and so much market saturation that this load, and the associated firearms, ammunition variants and accessories are not going anywhere anytime soon.
So what makes the 6.5 Creedmoor so interesting and capable? It’s got long-range performance, a super flat trajectory and significant ballistic value at ranges that make sense for precision shooters both in civilian and in military and law enforcement situations. While this is not an article about the ballistics of the cartridge, it may be important to add a few basic concepts about the capabilities of the load.
Suffice it to say, if you are here looking at the best 6.5 Creedmoor rifles, you are already familiar enough with the potential of the round for your needs. Nevertheless, here is some basic information:
It is essentially a replacement for .308 for many military and law enforcement needs and has ties to the cartridge case (via the .30 TC). The tests used for the USSOCOM 2017 tests in looking to replace the 7.62x51mm (essentially a .308 Winchester), showed that the hit probability of the 6.5 CM was double that of the 7.62 NATO round at 1000 meters.
The velocity is substantially similar to the .300 Win Mag, though with a lighter weight bullet. You can see between 2700 fps (143 grain) and 3100 (120 grain) at the muzzle and 2200 ft. lbs. energy (143 grain) and 2450 ft. lbs. energy (120 grain). Multiple popular loads exist between these grain weights.
One important piece about the the interest towards the 6.5 Creedmoor, is the ability to relatively easily retrofit the rifles to the “new” cartridge for military firearms. For consumers, the technical data, and the marketing and press surrounding this USSOCOM testing done in 2017 was enough of a catalyst to increase the desire to own the platform.
From the perspective of someone who is considering the round, it is an affordable to shoot, easy to understand, moderate to long-range rifle cartridge that can be shot easily from normally sized firearms without excessive recoil and has sub ½ MOA accuracy potential with the right setup. This is an impressive option, especially given the cost to shoot the .308 and other larger rounds, and the generally inferior accuracy of these bigger more expensive rounds.
In the following list we will highlight a handful of precision rifles that are chambered in the 6.5 Creedmoor. In it, we feel you will find the best 6.5 Creedmoor rifles on the market.
Best 6.5 Creedmoor Rifle
Henry Long Ranger Lever-Action Rifle
You wouldn’t expect to get sub MOA accuracy out of a lever action rifle; certainly not with 800 yard potential. With the long history of the .45-70 and the .30-30, each of which rarely boasts better than 2.5 MOA accuracy, it simply doesn’t make a lot of sense to expect that type of accuracy is possible.
Browning has a few lever guns that offer higher accuracy cartridges, but even they don’t have the inherent accuracy of this gun in the format of a lever action rifle. That makes this option very interesting, it has fast follow up shots; great durability and clean, classic looks. The 22 inch barrel length won’t get you out to the extreme distances of the 6.5 Creedmoor, but it will likely get you out to 500-600 with MOA; and 700+ without too much difficulty.
The general barrel length to coax the maximum accuracy from the 6.5 CM is 24″ or 26″, but that doesn’t mean this gun isn’t loaded with a ton of utility.
Four rounds of this potent cartridge and a gorgeous blued metal with walnut stock aesthetic means you can count on this rifle to be your go-to in just about any scenario for big game hunting in any conditions in North America, up to about elk sized game. You can take Moose and Caribou with the 6.5 Creedmoor, but it may not give you some of the grain weight that you would want for trouble free hunting on animals with heavier bone structure.
It is a very utilitarian rifle though, with the ability to load down the cartridge and move into small game as well, especially with depredation in mind.
Bear in mind, this 700+ yard rifle is a 7 lb. firearm that has an overall length of 42.5 inches. It is a beautiful design and has functioned well since its recent release. There is an included recoil pad and a 6-lug bolt which helps with the durability and accuracy. The sling swivels are in place and the magazine is removable.
This is an aluminum receiver and all other parts are steel or walnut hardwood.
- Exceptional lever action rifle accuracy
- Good price point considering the excellent build quality
- Novel recent release
- Aluminum receiver may not have the durability you desire long-term if you shoot high volume
This is best for
Anyone who wants a multipurpose hunting rifle in a proven cartridge for long range and needs legitimate accuracy.
Tikka T3x TAC A1 Bolt-Action Rifle
Finding a rifle as accurate at the price point as this Tikka rifle is hard to do. This is a legitimately 1200 meter gun. You can expect to be spot on for small and medium game at unheard of distances.
This is a special rifle for the money, and few owners would say anything that is negative about it, because it’s a well-refined, accurate firearm that performs well. The feature set is also quite impressive for a bolt action; and while it’s not the fastest second shot rifle, it is a smooth and reliable platform.
The full top rail offers the ability to mount any optic, or even inline specialty optics. The stock is exceptionally adjustable, and the overall chassis is very rigid. The muzzle brake is very effective, even if the 6.5 Creedmoor isn’t particularly recoil heavy. The sweet spot for the 6.5 CM is 24 or 26 inches, with 26 inches almost always representing overkill. This is a heavy barrel with a 24inch length.
It is a tack driver. This rifle has better than MOA accuracy, easily. There is a 10 round magazine capacity and the rifle weighs in at 11.2 lbs. Heavy, but not impossible to handle easily, this is a rifle that can be counted on for realistic shots beyond 800 meters.
The chassis features MLOK on a modular, removable handguard. There is an AR pistol grip and smart access to the safety. The ergonomics are great and can be enhanced because the stock, grip and handguard can all be replaced with any aftermarket AR parts for those areas.
The trigger group is a two-stage adjustable; and is nice and crisp. The bolt is also smooth and very nicely tuned. It features a 75 degree throw and two face lugs.
The resulting ability to upgrade the fit of the rifle and the accuracy that is inherently part of the build makes this, perhaps the best value in the market for a factory “off-the-shelf” rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor.
- Great precision engineering and accuracy on target
- Good brand to work with
- Great innovation in the pipeline and a lot of innovation featured in this buildout
- Super easy to customize
- Best value for money considering capabilities
- Still kind of pricey, even if it is a best in class
This is best for
A shooter who needs to get legitimate 1200 meter accuracy and also needs to put their stamp on their rifle. For the money, this is the finest rifle you can buy in 6.5 Creedmoor for a bolt action that can be customized easily.
Thompson/Center Performance Center LRR Bolt-Action Rifle
Thompson Center doesn’t get nearly the praise they should. They manufacture innovative, but simple, exceptionally well-built firearms. This is a further improvement on the rifle, being a custom center job. It features some unique and interesting innovations and specifications.
The price is very nice for the value you are getting out of the rifle. It’s built around a 3-lug bolt and a very sturdy receiver and aluminum monolithic chassis. The barrel is something special, especially given the pricing. It is a 5R rifled barrel that is 24 inches in length and is fluted for rigidity and cooling; and features a huge outside profile. It’s a stout offering.
The 5R rifling may not be familiar to everyone reading this and the value can be substantial. It has a 5-groove build, with a chamfered edge to each of the lands. This can lead to better in-field multi-shot accuracy because the bore is slicker after multiple shots; but it can also lead to better cleaning of the barrel and easier maintenance. The jury is still out on whether of not the rifling pattern is better for accuracy over the course of the life of a barrel, versus other options.
That said, it is exceptionally accurate either way. The Thompson is one of only a handful of guns to utilize this expensive rifling pattern. The svelte and simple chassis does feature a slimline MLOK fore end and the rifle utilizes the Accuracy International style magazines with a 10-round capacity.
The rear stock is adjustable, and the top rail allows for quite a few larger optics to be mounted there is a bottom rail for mounting accessories and the rifle comes from factory with a Caldwell bipod. The trigger group is set to break cleanly at 2.5 – 3.5 lbs. and it is a well-made overall rifle that is conducive to hitting targets well past 800 yards. The gun is made to a specification that’s right around MOA accuracy. It weighs in at 11 lbs.
- Unexpectedly good quality
- Great accuracy for the money
- Interesting way to get into the monolithic chassis game
- Needs an optic
This is best for
Shooters who are already familiar with the T/C name and understands the value proposition. Shooter’s who have no need for a gun with iron sights but do need exceptional accuracy and top tier build quality at a good price point.
Christensen Arms Ridgeline Bolt-Action Rifles
Christensen Arms guarantees sub MOA accuracy on their rifles. They are also famous for building hybrid rifles that utilize best features from several different guns. An example is: they use an M-16 style extractor on a traditional bolt action because it’s tougher and proven to be super reliable in a semi-auto and offers easy part replacement.
They are also utilizing a carbon fiber wrapped barrel in this rifle, which lightens the overall weight of the gun (6.3 lbs. for the 6.5 Creedmoor), by improving rigidity with a non-metallic replacement. The barrel has extremely good rigidity because of the torsional strength of the carbon fiber. It ensures the internal thinner metal barrel can maintain the durability and strength that is necessary. It is also a 26-inch barrel, on a sub 7 lbs. gun. That’s incredible.
The barrel is also a match grade free floated barrel with match chambers and mates with a two-lug bolt that is nitride and built to impressive specifications both from a durability perspective and a fit and tolerance perspective. The resulting smoothness of the bolt action is amazing.
The factory rifle is bedded. While on its face that isn’t particularly innovative or rare, there are plenty of companies that do that now, especially in the high-end bolt action space. But, the level of bedding and the pillar additions make the bedding job more than an afterthought. It is a legitimately engineered bedding job that contributes to the overall value of the gun and certainly to the accuracy.
The entire feature set is geared towards accuracy and weight reduction – two things that all tactical/precision shooters can appreciate. The trigger is a match grade 2.5-3.5 lbs. trigger that breaks cleanly and the bolt features flutes to add rigidity, keep cooling surface area high and make the bolt lighter weight.
There is a radial muzzle brake that tames the recoil nicely in tandem with the recoil pad from factory. Sling swivels are placed perfectly from factory for a day in the field and the bolt is amazingly smooth and features a simple, elegant swing that puts a premium on the quick, smooth return to battery.
- Barrel is amazing
- Gun is built with the best accuracy and tolerance related features highlighted
- Lightweight for the accuracy
This is best for
Anything where you need to maintain mobility and accuracy in extreme conditions where you cannot miss a shot, but also cannot afford to carry a 12 lbs. rifle.
Wilson Combat – AR-10 Recon Tactical Rifle
An AR-platform rifle that offers the ultimate in accuracy from factory from a proven producer that has a tactical slant. The merits and accomplishments of the Wilson Combat team are undisputed, even if there are some reasons to believe that the premium price point may also have a heavy influence from brand name.
That said, the gun in this overview is actually quite nice, even if it does cost $3,000. It’s still less expensive than a factory standard SCAR or HK AR. It is also probably a better value proposition if you need to be in the AR game with the 6.5 CM.
A two-tone concept that has a very clean aesthetic, this is a feature loaded gun. The rifle features a full flattop design with a ton of rail space for accessorizing. The match grade barrel is built on a mid-length gas system (direct impingement); and has a medium profile barrel that is proven to be accurate. The bolt mated to it is a NP3 coated carrier and bolt setup that is easy to maintain and is exceptionally smooth.
A four lbs. trigger pull, and a bulletproof design and spring setup means you get consistent performance and reliability from the trigger group. Of course if you don’t love the accessories already on the gun, you can change them out, with the standardized AR setup. The accessories from factory, however, are excellent choices, especially the grip and trigger guard; the buttstock and fore end are also very good quality.
- Simple for most users to understand thanks to the AR style build
- Built to Wilson standards which are much higher than most companies
- High quality factory components that are mated properly and built durably
- Still pricey for a factory gun
This is best for
Current AR users that want a factory proven platform that can deliver on the inherent accuracy of the 6.5 CM
Springfield Armory – M1A 6.5 Creedmoor 22″ BBL FDE/SS 11.4 LBS
Built like a tank, this is a gun that you won’t have to worry about for decades, with maybe a few replacement parts on hand. The platform of the M1A has been proven to be a durable, reliable, and heavy-duty rifle, and is capable of delivering very good semi-auto accuracy.
The main drawback is the weight. It’s about 11 and a half pounds in the specific configuration that is listed here. But that may not be a huge drawback for everyone. It’s an easy enough gun to wield in most long-range shooting situations, except for maybe hunting that requires long-range trekking to stalk game.
The follow up shots and ease of getting back on target thanks to exceptional recoil mitigation technologies (and heavy weight) are amazingly integrative for shooters who need the capability. Semi-auto is a game changer if you are doing things like depredation or tactical precision shooting.
While it’s not likely that many law enforcement and military units will move away from their existing options (say .308; 300WM; .338LP) even though the 6.5 CM is a compelling option ballistically. But for long-range hit probability and the ability to get a second shot on target in a second or less in most cases, this is a realistic option. We will soon see how far military and law enforcement go towards adapting this cartridge and rifles like these.
Everything about this gun is extremely overbuilt. It is made for durability and feels hefty, no matter what part you are examining. The stainless-steel air gauged barrel is accurate (this is very easily a 1.5 MOA rifle and usually much better than that), and things like the iron sights are even capable of improving your user experience and maintaining accuracy.
A well-built, well-engineered composite stock offers good ergonomics and solid fitment and some adjustability.
- Highly accurate
- Fast follow-up shots
- One of the most durable rifles on the planet
This is best for
Shooters in National match (note the caliber); hunters that need fast follow-up (like depredation); precision tactical shooters.
Finding the right 6.5 Creedmoor rifle shouldn’t be that hard, if you know what you are going to be using it for. We believe that one of these rifles would serve well for anyone who can actually utilize the accuracy that comes along with the 6.5CM and that these represent the most impressive builds across the board.
The 6.5 Creedmoor is a highly accurate load; the rifles that shoot it are built for that purpose and they are both capable of shooting targets at further than 800 yards/meters. Some significantly longer than that. That does not mean that all shooters will like the cartridge, or be able to shoot a 6.5 CM accurately – these are precision firearms that require significant skills and experience to shoot well with.
Our recommendation is that you start with the right firearm and shoot it. A lot. If you wish to be able to extract the most value out of the 6.5 CM, the rifles above are capable of doing that, given that you practice with them. A 1000-yard shot is impressive no matter what gun you do it with.
That all said, the best 6.5 Creedmoor rifle will be the one that fits your individual needs the closest and which matches your shooting style. We believe the bullet points and overview for each of these guns should allow you to find which one is the best 6.5 Creedmoor rifle for you.