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.

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

Recent Videos

David Fortier of Firearm News talks with Silencer Central CEO and founder, Brandon Maddox about the origins of the company and what led to its inception. From its humble beginnings at trade shows to inside the newly renovated complex in Sioux Falls South Dakota, Maddox talks through how Silencer Central is now everywhere owning a silencer is legal.

Behind Closed Doors; An Intro to Silencer Central

Jack Oller of Guns & Ammo and Josh Schirard of Byrna go over the future for Byrna Non-Lethal weapons. Introducing the 12 Guage projectile, just as powerful as Byrna's other projectiles just utilizable in the 12 gauge weapon you already own.

Non-Lethal 12 Guage

Jack Oller of Guns & Ammo and Josh Schirard of Byrna go through the three law enforcement and civilian home defense weapons, the Mission 4, TCR, and the MLR. Useable with the entire line of Byrna's projectiles, learn about the weapons law enforcement is becoming equipped with and how they can step up your home defense systems.

Non-lethal for Law Enforcement and Home Defense: Mission 4, TCR, MLR

Jack Oller of Guns & Ammo and Josh Schirard of Byrna go over the aspects of the rapid deployment body armor Shield Backpack that make it invaluable in today's world. No matter where you're going, Byrna's Shield backpack will protect and equip you the ability to provide medical assistance to anyone in need.

Anywhere Protection With the Shield Backpack

Jack Oller of Guns & Ammo and Josh Schirard of Byrna take a closer look at the pistol-style SD Launcher and how to set one up. Pneumatically powered, utilizing Byrna's "pull-pierce" technology, the SD Launcher is ready whenever you need it.

Everyday Ready With the SD Launcher

Jack Oller of Guns & Ammo and Josh Schirard of Byrna go over the various projectiles to utilize with any of their launchers, including Kinetic, Pepper, Inert, Eco-Kinetic, and Max.

Power to the Projectile

Jack Oller of Guns & Ammo talks with Josh Schirard of Byrna to discuss the aspects of Byrna launchers and projectiles that are revolutionizing the world of non-lethal protection.

Meet Byrna: An Introduction to Non-Lethal

Digital Editor Jack Oller reviews EAA's Girsan MC P35 9mm pistol. Based the original P.35 Hi-Power pistol, the P35 features easy-to-use rear and front dovetail sights, slide serrations, slim trigger, ambidextrous safety, 15+1 capactiy and more. Sitting between a subcompact and full-size handgun, this hammer-fired 9mm is a great option for open or concealed carry.

Range Tested: EAA Girsan MC P35 9mm Pistol Review

Digital Editor Jack Oller reviews EAA's Girsan MC312 Sport shotgun. With a 24-inch barrel, fiber-optic front sight, vented rib, enhanced loading port, extended magazine tube, integrated Picatinny rail, pistol grip and more, the Girsan MC312 Sport shotgun may be the perfect firearm for an entry-level 3-gun competitive shooter.

Range Tested: EAA Girsan MC312 Sport Shotgun Review

Guns and Ammo Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

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.

Get the top Guns & Ammo stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

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 and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now