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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!