The Best 6.5 Creedmoor Rifles

What is the best 6.5 Creedmoor rifle?

Today, shooters have a choice between an increasingly large variety of calibers that are designed to be good at one thing or another. If you’re one of the people looking to do some serious, long-range precision shooting, the 6.5 Creedmoor is a round that you’re going to want to check out. This cartridge is flat shooting from 100 yards out to 1000 in the right rifle, and we think it is likely to become the premier precision rifle cartridge.

6.5 Creedmoor rifles come in a variety of configurations, ranging from bolt action rifles that will make excellent hunting rifles, to semi-automatics that would be awesome for defense if you have a lot of land to cover, and they’re certainly no slouches at the range, either. Here’s we’re going to take the time to walk you through what you need to know in picking a 6.5 Creedmoor rifle.

In this guide, our experts take a look at a variety of rifles, from some meant for target shooting at extreme ranges to more tactically themed semi-automatic options.

While these rifles differ in terms of price point, looks, and functions, they all have the same general idea at their core: make long-range precision shooting a real possibility for more people. We think that any of the below recommendations will do that job impressively.

With a little bit of information at your disposal, you’ll likely find a rifle that fits your needs really well. Or, if you’re like our experts, fill another few slots in your safe with rifles in the process.

Quick List: The Best 6.5 Creedmoor Rifles

  1. Best Overall: Bergara B14 HMR
  2. Runner-Up: Ruger American
  3. Also Great: Savage Axis
  4. Best Semi-Automatic: Springfield M1A
  5. Best AR Platform: Smith and Wesson M&P 10

1. Best Overall:

The Bergara B14 HMR is our pick for the best overall 6.5 Creedmoor rifle. While it won’t be the best bench rifle, nor the best hunting rifle, it occupies a real sweet spot that makes it a great rifle in terms of balanced performance and price point. 

Our experts think it’s heavy enough to get great bench accuracy without sacrificing its capability as a reasonable hunting rifle. 

The long barrel comes threaded from the factory in Bergara, Spain – making it easy to attach a muzzle brake or suppressor that would soften the rifle and make it an even more approachable platform for basically any distance. 

What we liked:

What we didn't:

While not deal breakers, we wish it offered a top rail for scope mounting and you’ll want a bipod to maximize accuracy at range – but this is still a more than capable rifle out of the box.

2. Runner-up:

The Ruger American series of rifles is always on our list of favorites, and this 6.5 Creedmoor entry is no different.

If you took, conceptually, your awesome old hunting rifle and updated it in a modern caliber with a composite stock, this would be what you would get.

What we liked:

What we didn't:

This light and handy rifle is just about ideal for most hunters, especially with the top rail and threaded barrel for customizing optics and muzzle devices. We love how this package includes the Vortex Crossfire II scope, so you have the optics tacked right from the start.

Our experts have two minor issues with this one. First, we’d like to see a larger capacity magazine.

The 3-round capacity is more than enough for most game, but if you wanted to stretch it as a tactical rifle, a capacity of 5 or more would be ideal.

Second, the recoil pad isn’t adjustable, which we would like to dial in for a better individual fit.

Both of those said, we still think this is about the best overall hunting rifle on the market today in terms of quality and value. With that said, this would be the rifle we’d want to take into the field for long distances in rough terrain: it’s simple, rugged, and accurate

3. Also Great:

The Savage Axis represents, out of all of the rifles on this list, the one most dialed in for hunting specifically.

It comes with a 22” blued barrel and a four-round magazine. Add that to the two, and only two, sling swivels and you have a rifle that is meant to be taken out in the field and used rather than fussed over endlessly on the workbench.

What we liked:

What we didn't:

One thing we really like about this one is the included scope. Again, Savage delivers a complete package with a single purchase. All you’d really need is some 6.5 Creedmoor ammo and you’d be good to go out on the range or in the field.

4. Best Semi-Auto:

The Springfield M1a, the civilian version of the M14, came out of the same thinking that led to the .308 in the NATO trials.

It’s fitting, then, that it gets an update to meet the modernized 6.5 Creedmoor round.

What we liked:

What we didn't:

This one comes with all the National Match goodies including a great barrel and trigger. One thing we do wish it has are easier ways to mount optics, but you can buy adapters that fit right above the action for that. Overall this is an excellent range and tactical rifle that would be more than capable of hunting as well.

5. Best AR Platform:

AR-pattern rifles and pistols come in every caliber under the sun, so we wanted to end this list with one of them in 6.5 Creedmoor. This one, by Smith and Wesson, is a great entry into the AR space for this new round. 

What we liked:

What we didn't:

Is this basically an AR-10 chambered in 6.5 instead of .308? Yes. But this means that all the training, familiarity, and accessories from other AR-10s will transfer to the M&P rifle – with the benefit of shooting much longer distances than an AR chambered in 5.56 or even 7.62.

We would have liked them to lean a little more in the direction of tactical, however, and include a set of iron sights or BUIS, and a folding stock, but those are things that you can remedy with relative ease.

Why 6.5 Creedmoor?

6.5-Creedmoor-Comparsion
A comparison of the 6.5 Creedmoor round to other cartridges. Source

The 6.5 Creedmoor is an update on the idea of the .308 round. At the end of WWII, when NATO was forming, the members wanted a cartridge that was flat shooting and good out to long-range, without the weight of a full-sized rifle round like the .30-06.

What they came up with was basically a shortened American round that was still more than capable, but never quite kept its punch at extreme range.

The 6.5 Creedmoor uses a smaller, lighter round than the .308: that means that with the same amount of powder behind it, the bullet flies a lot faster, and thus a lot flatter, out to ranges in excess of 1000 yards.

The 6.5 Creedmoor is on the cutting edge of long-range shooting rounds, whether for targets or in a hunting context.

What type of rifle should you get?

Luckily, you have a fair few options when it comes to 6.5 Creedmoor rifles, as it has been quickly adopted by a lot of shooters and manufacturers.

This means that you have a lot to choose from, and we’ll help you make those choices. But, some general ideas carry through before we even get to our specific recommendations.

The 6.5 Creedmoor was engineered for long-range performance. So, we certainly understand that you might well want some tactical bench shooting rifle with a match grade barrel, pistol grip, and polymer stock. In those cases, the addition of a higher magnification scope and bipod will let you flex the muscles of the round really nicely.

From there, a little more general-purpose rifle that is set up for hunting – probably with a decent recoil pad – is a great option for those looking to take a medium to large game out to long distances in the field: saving a little weight over the bench shooting models is more than worth the potential accuracy reduction.

There are also some fantastic semi-automatic options available which push the concept of the rifle while still taking advantage of the 6.5 Creedmoor’s ballistics. Really, if money were no object, we’d pick up more than one of the rifles on this list to make the most of this excellent cartridge.

Conclusion

Here, we’ve tried to cover some of the best rifles in 6.5 Creedmoor that you can find today. Our experts are hard to convince with new rounds, but we think that this one actually has some staying power thanks to its excellent ballistics.

Because of those excellent ballistics, we recommend the Bergara H14 above the rest of the excellent rifles we talk about here. Yes, the Smith and Wesson as well as the Springfield are excellent tactical rifles. But, their being semi-automatic does cut down on consistency, and thus accuracy just a little bit. Similarly, the Savage and Ruger offerings are excellent, and a little lighter than our winner, but we think that the 6.5 Creedmoor shines out of a heavier bolt action rifle that can soak up the recoil and really deliver rounds down range when you need them.

With that said, any of these rifles are more than capable of extreme distance shots in the hand of a patient and trained shooter, so we’d be more than happy to own any (or all) of them when it comes to taking advantage of one of the newest and most interesting long-range shooting cartridges out there.

Sources:

  1. John B. Snow, and Dave Emary, Evolution of the 6.5 Creedmoor, October 2019

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MICHAEL CRITES is el jefe around here. He writes about guns and gear.

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