Skip to main content

6.5 Creedmoor Reloading Data

We tested more than 60 different 6.5 Creedmoor loads (bullet and powder combinations), but the final cut includes only the best load with each bullet listed.

6.5 Creedmoor Reloading Data
Varmint, deer, target, big game -- this lineup of 6.5mm bullets covers a broad spectrum of uses: (from left) Hornady 95-gr. V-Max; Nosler 100-gr. Ballistic Tip; Sierra 100-gr. HP; Barnes 120-gr. TSX BT; Nosler 120-gr. Ballistic Tip; Sierra 120-gr. Spitzer; Speer 120-gr. Hot-Cor SP; Sierra 123-gr. MatchKing BTHP; Nosler 125-gr. Partition; Hornady 129-gr. InterLock; Hornady 129-gr. SST; Nosler 130-gr. AccuBond; Swift 130-gr. Scirocco; Hornady 140-gr. InterLock; Speer 140-gr. Hot-Cor SP; and Hornady 160-gr. InterLock RN.

Few cartridge introductions have had the fanfare of Hornady's 6.5 Creedmoor. It was developed in 2007 by Hornady's Dave Emary and former Camp Perry champ Dennis DeMille. The intent was to create an "across the course" round for high-power matches, and to that end it succeeded admirably. Factory ammo was loaded with Hornady's sleek 120- and 140-grain A-Max bullets, producing flat trajectories with less recoil than the .30s.

It didn't take long for hunters to discover the 6.5CM. The reputation of long-for-caliber 6.5mm bullets for deep penetration is well known, and today's selection of high-tech bullets allows you to tailor a load for just about any application.

The 6.5CM is based on Hornady's .30 T/C and has been described as the .260 Remington "done right." There's considerable justification for this. The 6.5CM case is .115 inch shorter and has less body taper and a sharper 30-degree shoulder than the .260.

But unlike the .260 Remington and 6.5-284 Norma, the 6.5CM case was designed from the ground up as a short-action cartridge. Bullets in the 6.5CM can be seated out to match throat dimensions, so they don't eat up valuable powder space, yet still fit in a short-action rifle.


Our test rifle this month is my Ruger M77 Hawkeye. Its 26-inch barrel rings every drop of velocity out of the powder charge. Ruger cuts 6.5CM barrels with a 1:8 twist that will handle virtually all of the wide range of bullet weights available.


Forget what you've read about "overstabilizing" light bullets. Today's bullets are much more uniform than those of old and typically shoot like a house afire, regardless of twist.

For testing I mounted a new Bresser 6-18x40 True View scope in Warne QD rings. I used Hornady New Dimension dies I got when I bought the rifle. Standard, large-rifle primers are most appropriate for the relatively short and compact charges of the 6.5CM. Magnum primers are not needed, but match-grade primers might be worth a try for specialty loads. In addition to factory ammo, Hornady also offers cases.

Appropriate powders are in the medium- to slow-burning range. Several new numbers such as Hornady Superformance powder from Hodgdon, Varget, Hybrid 100V and Vihtavuori N-150 were excellent with selected loads. Additional powders that deliver noteworthy performance are Reloder-17, Norma URP and Winchester 760.

[nggallery id=188]


Load development for any 6.5mm cartridge is a real treat because the selection of .264-inch bullets is so varied. We tested more than 60 different bullet and powder combinations, but the final cut includes only the best load with each bullet listed.

For a light-recoiling load for paper punching or popping the occasional 'chuck, check out the 95-grain Hornady V-Max over 41.0 grains of Varget. At a velocity of 3,362 fps, it was the fastest load tested, and accuracy was great. A couple of 100-grain favorites are the Nosler Ballistic Tip and the Sierra HP. Both were exceptionally accurate at a bit over 2,900 fps. The new IMR 8208 XBR and good old IMR 4064 were the standouts here.

The 120-grain bullet lineup runs the gamut from target to game. The velocity of factory loads offers a clue as to speed goals here. Hornady lists its 120-grain A-Max at 3,020 fps, but it registered 2,818 fps in the Hawkeye.


For a hunting load, 47.5 grains of Superformance with the 120-grain Sierra Spitzer at 2,984 fps punched tidy little groups. The Nosler Partition is always a good choice for big game, and a charge of 43.0 grains of H-4350 gave the 125-grain version 2,737 fps. For pure paper punching, Sierra MatchKings are always tough to beat. The 123-grain MK over 38.4 grains of Varget zipped along at 2,823 fps and averaged a hair over a half inch.

For medium game, the Hornady SST was fine with 43.5 grains of Hybrid 100V at 2,785 fps. The Nosler 130-grain AccuBond liked 39.0 grains of IMR 4007 SSC. Velocity was 2,655 fps, and groups averaged .87 inch.

The 140-grain selections are ably represented here by the Speer Hot-Cor and Hornady SST. Both are excellent medium-game bullets and preferred Vihtavuori N-550 and Hybrid 100V, respectively.

Finally, there's the grand old 160-grain RN, one of the best designs ever. At reasonable ranges it shoots plenty flat enough and has contributed to the reputations of many 6.5mm cartridges.

With appropriate handloads, target shooters can be highly competitive without developing a flinch, and hunters can take medium to big game efficiently. The 6.5 Creedmoor is the real deal.

6.5-Creedmoor_002
Current Magazine Cover

Enjoy articles like this?

Subscribe to the magazine.

Get access to everything Guns & Ammo has to offer.
Subscribe to the Magazine

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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Cameras Don

Cameras Don't Lie: Subsonic 9mm vs. .300 Blackout

In this segment of "Cameras Don't Lie," a subsonic-ammo showdown, 9mm vs. .300 Blackout fired from AR rifles.

Trijicon RMRcc Reflex Sight – Perfect for Optics-Ready Concealed-Carry Pistols

Trijicon RMRcc Reflex Sight – Perfect for Optics-Ready Concealed-Carry Pistols

The people asked and Trijicon answered. Introducing the RMRcc miniature red-dot sight for compact, concealed-carry pistols. Trijicon's new RMRcc features the durability and reliable controls that have made the RMR so successful, but its reduced dimensions make the “Concealed Carry” model better suited for the popular small-frame pistols designed for discreet carry and personal defense.

Guns & Ammo TV: Cameras Don

Guns & Ammo TV: Cameras Don't Lie: 9mm vs .45 ACP

The age-old question, 9mm vs .45 ACP. For some, this has been asked and answered already. For others, the debate goes on. In this segment of “Cameras Don't Lie,” competitive shooters Patrick Sweeney and Jim Tarr head to the range to put the vaunted loads on record, and then consider the footage.

Pocket-Pistol Carry Tips and Tricks

Pocket-Pistol Carry Tips and Tricks

Pocket carry, as a method of concealed carry for a defensive firearm, can be a practical option when done right. This is especially true during the colder months when heavy outer garments can obstruct access to a traditional waistline holster. Former U.S. Navy SEAL Jeff Gonzales, president of Trident Concepts, joins G&A contributor Kimberly Heath-Chudwin to discuss guns, training and gear, including Blackhawk's TecGrip holster that can make pocket carry more successful.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Some guns are easier to work with than others, but the Ruger American Rifle doesn't require an engineering degree to tinker with; here's a look at some upgrade options to take your Ruger American to the next level, and make it something a bit different.Top Ruger American Rifle Upgrades Accessories

Top Ruger American Rifle Upgrades

Philip Massaro - March 15, 2018

Some guns are easier to work with than others, but the Ruger American Rifle doesn't require an...

Don't mortgage the homestead to get into PRS, this is what's available from the likes of Mossberg, Tikka, Savage, Howa, Bergara, Weatherby and Remington.Starter Rifles for Under $1000 Rifles

Starter Rifles for Under $1000

Aaron Carter - May 09, 2019

Don't mortgage the homestead to get into PRS, this is what's available from the likes of...

The Swarovski Z5(i) P BT L 3.5-­18x44mm has a unique and versatile multiple-­zero system and an erector assembly unlike any other on the market. The Z5(i) is an excellent choice for an all-­around hunting scope.Swarovski Z5(i) P BT L 3.5-­18x44mm Scope Review Optics

Swarovski Z5(i) P BT L 3.5-­18x44mm Scope Review

Tom Beckstrand - September 09, 2020

The Swarovski Z5(i) P BT L 3.5-­18x44mm has a unique and versatile multiple-­zero system and...

The story of a confederate sniper’s revenge and an exclusive look at his rifle.The Story of Civil War Sniper Jack Hinson and His Rifle Historical

The Story of Civil War Sniper Jack Hinson and His Rifle

Kyle Lamb - January 12, 2018

The story of a confederate sniper’s revenge and an exclusive look at his rifle.

See More Trending Articles

More Reloading

Reloading is a great hobby that can enhance your enjoyment of shooting through the making of your own ammunition, and it can save you money. What follows are several techniques and specialized tools that will enable you to load uniform and accurate ammunition.Tips for Reloading Metallic Cartridges Reloading

Tips for Reloading Metallic Cartridges

Dave Emary - March 23, 2020

Reloading is a great hobby that can enhance your enjoyment of shooting through the making of...

The 6mm Creedmoor is a new member of a wonderful family of 6mm-caliber (.243) cartridges; it's easy to handload and should make its mark in the hunting fields, just as it has in competitive shooting.6mm Creedmoor Load Data

6mm Creedmoor Load Data

Layne Simpson - August 19, 2019

The 6mm Creedmoor is a new member of a wonderful family of 6mm-caliber (.243) cartridges; it's...

The 6.5 Creedmoor and 6mm Creedmoor ammo cartridges are capable of incredible accuracy, making them prime candidates for reloading6mm and 6.5 Creedmoor Precision Ammo Reloading

6mm and 6.5 Creedmoor Precision Ammo Reloading

Layne Simpson

The 6.5 Creedmoor and 6mm Creedmoor ammo cartridges are capable of incredible accuracy, making...

There are many reasons for reloading for your handguns. If you currently reload for rifle cartridges, you have almost everything you need except for a die set to load your own handgun ammunition. As with rifle cartridges, reloading for your handgun allows you to tune your loads to your gun, reduce recoil and develop loads that feature the exact brand and type of bullet you want to shoot or hunt with.Handgun Reloads Reloading

Handgun Reloads

Dave Emary - August 27, 2020

There are many reasons for reloading for your handguns. If you currently reload for rifle...

See More Reloading

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

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

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Guns & Ammo 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.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo 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 mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now