Comparison between the 6.5 Creedmoor vs .308 Winchester

6.5 Creedmoor is a relatively new rifle cartridge, but has been gaining a lot of popularity. Looking to compare this newer rifle cartridge with .308 Winchester - an extremely well respected rifle cartridge? Look no further. In this article, we will review both rifle cartridges in depth, and make comparisons between the two cartridges. The cartridges will be compared in terms of ballistics, price, weapons, and reloading ability, to highlight the differences between 6.5 Creedmoor vs .308 Winchester. Finally, we will give some recommendations when we prefer one round over the other.

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6.5 Creedmoor vs .308 Winchester: History

To start, we will talk about some of the basic history of both cartridges.

The .308 Winchester was developed over a half century ago, and is the baseline from which the NATO 7.62x51mm was derived. This round immediately gained popularity for its performance as a hunting round, and has maintained its popularity ever since. To this day, it is the most widely-used big game hunting round in the world. Due to the weight of the projectile and its likelihood to expand on contact, it is an extremely deadly round. Its popularity is only increased by the short case for short action rifles. This popularity is unquestioned, as 7.62 is still widely used in the military, and .308 is used by military and police snipers as well as big game hunters around the world.

6.5 Creedmoor is an extremely new round, having just been introduced in 2007 by Hornady. Hornady is pretty well known for making high quality ammunition and has developed a few widely used cartridges. Similar to .308 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor is designed for use in short action rifles. In a way, it’s almost a second cousin to the historical .308 Winchester. 6.5 Creedmoor was created as a slight change to a cartridge that was based on .308 Winchester. While 6.5 Creedmoor was originally created as a target round for long distances, it is becoming more popular for game hunting.

6.5 Creedmoor vs .308 Winchester: Ballistics

6.5 Creedmoor shoots a projectile that weighs around 120 grains at a muzzle velocity of approximately 3010 feet per second. At 500 yards, the velocity drops to around 2078 feet per second.

.308 Winchester projectiles weigh in the neighborhood of 150 grains, and are fired at a muzzle velocity of about 3000 feet per second. At 500 yards, the velocity has dropped much more significantly, down to around 1963 feet per second.

For both of these rounds, the velocity and weight will slightly vary based on the specific cartridge used. This one specific cartridge was selected to give a somewhat common ground to compare the ballistics of the two rounds.

As you can see, the projectile of the .308 Winchester weighs more than the projectile of the 6.5 Creedmoor. Initially, the muzzle velocity of the two rounds is extremely similar, however, as the distance increases, .308 Winchester rounds slow down at a faster rate. This is due to the weight and shape of the projectile. 6.5 Creedmoor is a little bit longer and thinner, which makes it more aerodynamic.

6.5 Creedmoor vs .308 Winchester: Price/Availability

Pricing between the two rounds is extremely similar. For comparison’s sake, we will look at both 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Winchester in American Whitetail Ammo made by Hornady and Federal Premium Gold Medal Berger ammunition.

For the American Whitetail, .308 Winchester comes in around $1.07/round (check it); 6.5 Creedmoor costs about the same at around $1.07/round (check it). Keep in mind that these prices may fluctuate in either direction, but the overarching theme is that the rounds are approximately the same price.

For the Federal Premium Gold Medal Berger, .308 Winchester costs around $1.47/round (check it), while 6.5 Creedmoor costs $1.57/round (check it). With this round, 6.5 Creedmoor is a good bit more expensive.

>> The Best Places to Buy Ammo Online

One thing to keep in mind is that American Whitetail is produced by Hornady, the company that developed 6.5 Creedmoor. As a result, they are likely able to produce the 6.5 Creedmoor round cheaper. While any number of specific rounds could be compared, the prices are generally quite similar between the two cartridges.

However, in terms of availability, there is no competition whatsoever. Due to the fact that .308 Winchester is so much older, the ammunition is much more widely available. A quick search of almost any website produces way more results for .308 Winchester ammunition.

6.5 Creedmoor vs .308 Winchester: Weapons

The available weapons more or less follow suit. There are hundreds of different .308 Winchester rifles available, while the options in 6.5 Creedmoor are somewhat limited.

As previously mentioned, 6.5 Creedmoor was originally designed to be a long distance range weapon. As a result, most of the first 6.5 Creedmoor rifles were high-tech precision rifles. A perfect example is the Ruger Precision Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor or the JP Enterprises JP Rifle LRP-07 Long Range. However, 6.5 Creedmoor is also available in an AR frame designed for long term shooting, in the Smith & Wesson M&P10 6.5 Creedmoor. These are extremely high quality weapons, but their use is pretty specifically defined. They are also on the expensive side.

However, as previously mentioned, 6.5 Creedmoor is becoming more and more popular for big game hunting. As such, firearms manufacturers have started producing more and more sturdy bolt action hunting rifles. A few examples are the Browning X-Bolt (6.5 creedmoor and .308 Winchester) and the Savage Axis (6.5 creedmoor and .308 Winchester). As with any cartridge, these rifles can vary greatly in price, based on quality and features, but there are quite a few relatively affordable 6.5 Creedmoor hunting rifles.

.308 Winchester rifles are much less limited. There are countless options available. As far as long range precision rifles go, there’s also a Ruger Precision Rifle in .308 and JP Enterprises JP Rifle LRP-07 in .308, just to name a couple. There are more precision .308 rifles available than 6.5 Creedmoor precision rifles, at the present time.

As far as hunting rifles go, there are almost too many to name. The number of sturdy bolt action hunting rifles bored in .308 is almost unbelievable. The same rifles mentioned in 6.5 Creedmoor are also available in .308 Winchester, among many, many others.

The number of available rifles is heavily in favor of .308 Winchester currently. However, as 6.5 Creedmoor continues to increase in popularity, it is extremely likely that more and more 6.5 Creedmoor rifles become available.

Reloading Ability

For those of you that like to reload your own ammo, I’m sure you can guess what the availability of reloading supplies for 6.5 Creedmoor looks like. Due to how new it is, the amount of reloading supplies available is slightly limited. As previously mentioned with the number of weapons available, this is likely to change in the future, but for now, it’s just something to keep in mind. Everything can be found, it’s just not as common.

6.5 Creedmoor vs .308 Winchester: Recommendations

All said, both rounds are excellent choices. The popularity of .308 Winchester for over five decades is not by accident. It is an extremely effective round that is used by military snipers and big game hunters for a reason. 6.5 Creedmoor is an up and coming round, if you will. There’s a lot to like about it, but its use as a hunting round is relatively new. For now, we will give our recommendations on 6.5 Creedmoor vs .308 Winchester.

For long distance target shooting, we give the edge to 6.5 Creedmoor. Whether it’s some type of shooting competition or just shooting at 500+ yards at the range, 6.5 Creedmoor will be better for you. There are some excellent precision rifles available, and 6.5 Creedmoor handles the distance extraordinarily well.

For hunting, it is somewhat situationally dependent. If you are taking ONLY shots within 500 meters, we recommend .308 Winchester. Up to around 500 meters, the ballistics of the two rounds are extremely similar. The additional weight of the .308 projectile will help increase its deadliness, but the velocity drop outside of 500 meters will negatively affect this.

However, once you are shooting out to around 1000 yards, .308 Winchester has nothing on 6.5 Creedmoor. If you plan on doing any shooting outside of 500 yards, 6.5 Creedmoor is the better choice. 6.5 Creedmoor will perform admirably within 500 yards, but really has a significant advantage when firing further than 500 yards. There are some excellent options for 6.5 Creedmoor hunting rifles, and the improved aerodynamics will allow this projectile to travel over further distances more efficiently.

If price is your primary concern, .308 Winchester may be what you should lean towards. Rifles bored in .308 are available a little cheaper than 6.5 Creedmoor rifles, and .308 ammunition is slightly cheaper, dependent on the specific round.

Overall, both rounds are excellent. You will likely be satisfied either way, although both rounds have their slight advantages over the other. We are interested to see what the future of 6.5 Creedmoor will hold. Is there any chance that sharpshooters look to switch to 6.5 Creedmoor in the future? We will see!


11 thoughts on “Comparison between the 6.5 Creedmoor vs .308 Winchester”

  1. Thank you your information was greatly helpful in my determination of what I would like to do with a rifle cartridge.

  2. Great write up! Since I no longer do a lot of 500+ shooting, the .308 Winchester looks like a better option (especially since I already have two Remington 700’s in .308, and a battle rifle chambered in .308 as well). Although the 500+ I have done using the .308 has worked out sufficiently well out to 1,000 meters. Additionally, if the SHTF, military 7.65×51 mm will be substantially more readily available than the 6.5 Creedmore (just saying!). Unfortunately, like a lot of folks, I have to be careful about how I use my disposable funds. The .308 just sounds like a better choice for me.

  3. Sorry Michael, I can’t agree with your reasoning. Since you already own two .308 and apparently havent shot a 6.5 creedmore I suppose it may be self serving to say the .308 is a better long range rifle. I think judgement should be reserved unitl you actually test each gun and more importantly test with guns of equal or simular quality using the best ammo for each. I love my AR-10 S&W .308 and it does a great job up to 400 yards. However my new Savage Stealth Evolution in 6.5 is dead on out of the box at 1,000 plus yards. Of course the Savage 6.5 was designed expressivly for long range its no wonder it out-performs the .308. By the way the popularity of 6.5 ammunition is as least or more available than .308 coming in many grades and grains at simular prices. Now the 6.5 is the second most popular sporting rifle behind only the AR-15. I love both rifles but in truth theres no comparison for long range.

  4. I like the reviews from NutNFancy, because he always refers to the Purpose of Use. In this case, what’s best pass 500 yards. Speaks to if you’re shooting out to and pass, 500. I own three rifles in 308, and have no need, or place to shoot that far. Makes it a no brainer for me. On the other-hand, it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense to have three rifles of the same caliber, except Purpose of use. One hunting, one target, one AR-10.

    As for the round itself, I’m sold on the technology. Did I mention I shoot 243 also. Again, I have to consider Purpose of Use. 6.5 out performs both at ranges I will never be shooting. now someone help me decide on the AR Black Diamond or the Bergara???

  5. I’m trying to decide between the 6.5 Creedmore and the 308 both in a Ruger Precision. I see all the time that the 6.5 out performs the .308, but I also notice that the 6.5 is constantly shooting a lighter grain bullet. Is there a comparison where the bullet weights are more equal? My reloading data puts the .308 way ahead when bullet weights are closer to the same. Not wanting to start an argument just gonna drop a lot of money on this and I’m looking for help. Thanks

  6. Your words.. 6.5 Creedmore = Better..

    Your Data .308 Winchester = Better

    At 500 yards your referenced 120 Grain Creedmore traveling at 2073 fps has 1151 ft lbs of energy

    At 500 yards your referenced 150 Grain .308 Winchester at 1963 FPS has 1284 ft lbs of energy

    Closer up the advantage of the .308 becomes even more pronounced..

    Nothing wrong with a Fancy Named “.270.. and flat shooting is fine… but the .308 Winchester …

    Still the Champ

  7. Check out what a PALMA match is shot with, not saying the 6.5 will replace it in the future, but the match is shot at 600 800 and 1000 yards, Snipers are going wit the 300 win mag, the 338 Lapula mag, and of course the 50, I would love to afford the 460 Barret but that’s another story

  8. Here’s my take, from experience with both rounds as a hunter and target shooter. I’ve shot .308 for years. I don’t really need to say much about it…we all know it’s a great round. However, 2 years ago I got my first 6.5cm rifle. I haven’t picked up my .308 since, and I am probably going to trade it in for an optics upgrade for my 6.5. Here’s why: The 6.5cm has done everything better than the .308 in my experience. While the advantages of the 6.5 at ranges over 500 meters are discussed here, I want to offer the advantages it’s had for me personally at well under 500 meters (I target shoot out to 1000, but most of my hunting is done between 50 and 200). First of all, recoil. With a Precision Armament muzzle brake, my 6.5 feels like a .223. Furthermore, by design there is far less muzzle flash, but with the brake, it’s reduced even less (the brake I have was designed specifically for the 6.5 round and is designed to not increase the flash or dust signature). While it’s true that the round shoots flatter at distance with less drop, one thing that wasn’t mentioned was wind. The 6.5 is FAR less affected by wind. I’ve shot on windy days making only minor adjustments on the scope hashes with the 6.5 that would have required a calculator with the .308. Furthermore, is the damage to the animal (hunting application obviously). Many hunters opt for a .308 because it’s a devastating round ballistically in terms of muzzle energy carried by the round to the target. However, I prefer the 6.5 for it’s lower energy within 250 yards. With a good shot placement, I’ve never had anything not drop instantly with my 6.5 (I rarely shoot anything larger than Whitetail, for reference). Compared to my .308, there is far less damage to the flesh of the animal, especially on smaller game such as Coyote. While I’m not usually one for keeping the pelt, I can still appreciate a literally cleaner kill. It’s also more versatile in my opinion, as I do a fair amount of Coyote hunting, and there’s been too many times with a .223 (especially shots over 100 meters) that the dog has run and died later and I had to hoof it to retrieve, and .308 was overkill. Since I can’t afford to, nor do I have a desire to, buy a rifle in every caliber, such as .243, for a specific hunt, having a single rifle that can serve every purpose outside of varmint hunting is great (I use a .22 mag for varmint). Furthermore, I have grown really prefer hunting and shooting in general with a bolt gun, which my .223 is not, and I am finding myself needing it less and less now that I have my 6.5. In fact, it will probably go on the trade in list to fund my new optic. So for me, the 6.5 has fit my needs perfectly. It’s a perfectly versatile all purpose rifle. I can hunt anything from Coyote to Elk (with proper placement), I can target shoot out to 1000 meters and beyond, and I can shoot for extended periods of time without becoming fatigued from recoil. So, for those reasons, the 6.5cm has become my “go-to” rifle. I still love the .308 and would never dismiss a shooter who prefers that cartridge, but in my personal experience, the 6.5 has negated the need for having a .308 in my safe.

  9. There’s much more to a hunting round then what the article touched on.The article only compared trajectories. I didn’t see where the kinetic energy was talked about. That’s a really important factor in the difference plus nothing was mentioned about bullets. Wall thickness is a factor in penetration and expansion.

  10. For HUMANE reasons, the 6.5 should not be used to hunt big game beyond 600 yards. You may hit something, but the likelihood of just wounding it and not killing it, is very high.


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