During my days as a novice hunter, I once went deer hunting using short range ammo. Big mistake! I’ll tell you why. After an unsuccessful expedition, I learned the hard way that only ammo specifically designed for long-range shooting will do—a 6.5mm Creedmoor to be exact.
Not only is it designed for the bigger animals but it works pretty well for target shooting.
That’s why I took it upon myself to review the best 6.5 Creedmoor ammo on the market so you know how to pick the right one. Hopefully, you won’t suffer the same fate I did. Needless to say, it’s not only for hunting but target practice or training too. But, whatever your reasons, I believe you’ll find this article useful.
In my opinion, the Hornady ammo takes the cup. What impresses me isn’t only its rugged design but its high ballistic performance which makes it fly faster and further for some big game or whatever your target is.
At a Glance: Our Choice for the Best 6.5mm Creedmoor Ammo
- Hornady ELD Match Rifle Ammo
- Federal Fusion Ammo
- RCBS 32907 6.5 Creedmoor Die Set
- RCBS Neck Sizer 6.5 Creedmoor
- American Eagle 120GR OTM
Why the 6.5 Creedmoor?
After I bought my rifle, I went looking for ammo online and my first casual search revealed an array of cartridge types and rounds available in all shapes & sizes. I discovered later that this was for a reason—mainly because the type determines the unit’s performance.
So, what’s so special about the 6.5 Creedmoor caliber? Well, if anything, it’s known for the following advantages:
- Exceptional accuracy: Chances of missing a target are limited which in my opinion is the whole point of owning a rifle, right?
- Flat trajectory: Simply put, this is the ammo to pick if you want a faster and lighter bullet to reach your target quicker.
- Low recoil: If you’re sensitive to recoil for whatever reason, be it your age or frame, then you’ll appreciate this model with a lower kickback.
- High energy retention: It offers higher energy retention particularly when shooting long range.
- Good terminal performance: Its impact on the desired target is quite effective.
- Accessibility: You’ll be surprised how some brands aren’t readily available from even the biggest online ammo dealers. Fortunately, that isn’t the case with the Creedmoor.
Check out this ammo test vid:
What Features to Look for Before Buying a 6.5 Creedmoor Ammo
No doubt, knowing the above terminology will have you feeling like a pro and ready to yank the first box of 6.5 Creedmoor ammo you see off the shelf, right? You might want to hold that thought as I discuss some of the most important features worth considering before purchase.
As small as it is, what’s used in its construction will greatly determine its functionality. Basically, you need to check for the material used in its construction. Preferably, it must be made with consistent material to balance out the weight of the bullet. My detailed research of these units revealed the following:
- Generally, ammo made of lead core is ideal as it’s less likely to contain air gaps.
- The ammo’s jacket has to be consistent. You can’t have one side being thicker than the other.
- Bullets with polymer tips are your best bet as they greatly reduce the chances of denting.
For what seemed like forever, I believed all rounds have more or less the same shape, which simply isn’t the case. After observing a number of cartridges, I found out the following:
- The longer & sleeker ammo options with pointed tips are very effective at resisting air drag so they’ll fly much farther.
- Flat and round nosed bullets won’t offer as much ballistic efficiency. However, if safety and functionality are your biggest concerns, then they’re right up your alley.
- Ammo with a blunt nose will work to your advantage if you go hunting because it usually travels in a straight line. I found it particularly handy as I usually aim for the vital organs of the beast in question when hunting.
- You’ll also find some ammo with spire tips. Personally, they’re my least favorite as they tend to deflect as opposed to traveling in a straight line. Good luck aiming your target with those.
Contrary to popular belief, a heavier round actually carries more energy than a lighter one. Plus, it’s likely to drift less mid-air. The only downside I noticed is that it tends to drop more. On the flip side, the lighter bullet will shoot faster & flatter. Ultimately, the one you pick is really a matter of preference and role.
Earlier on I mentioned how some bullets fly further distances. The reason I’m reiterating this is that it’s generally determined by the ballistic coefficient—usually specified on the ammo. This is basically a number that rates a bullet’s aerodynamic efficiency. If you happen not to remember much after reading this article at least try to recall this: the higher the number, the better.
How quickly does the ammo leave the muzzle of your gun? Well, this will depend on the length of the barrel. The longer barrels push the bullet faster and farther.
Things You Ought to Know
One thing I discovered is it’s not all good news with this rifle. As with any other product, there are always some advantages and disadvantages attached. Since my goal is to give you unbiased information, bear in mind the following as you look for your ammo:
- You can expect to spend a few extra dollars on this model as it’s usually on the more expensive side compared to the other types.
- As mentioned earlier, it’s best suited for long range shooting—but truth be told there are a few other calibers which are more accurate.
- Generally, longevity is not guaranteed with this model because the barrel won’t last you as long compared to other barrels.
- Reloading your ammo frequently is a must if you expect to maximize the performance of the round which I personally find time-consuming.
Our Top 5 Options
Hornady ELD Match Rifle Ammo
If you recall the earlier feedback regarding high ballistic coefficient, you’ll realize this is your go to if you’re going to be shooting long range.
Impressive features include:
- It’s loaded with ELD match bullets. Not only are they known for their accuracy but the patent pending Heat Shield tips are designed to prevent deformation.
- I’m all for getting value for my money which is why the fact that you get four boxes of ammo if you purchase this brand caught my attention.
- It delivers a flat trajectory which means it travels super fast after being discharged.
- Another feature you’ll appreciate is the boat tail bases designed to make it aerodynamic thereby reducing any air drag and bullet drops.
- You’ll like that it’s built to last thanks to the strong cartridge cases built with uniformity in both thickness and capacity.
If you know anything about BC bullets, you’ll know it’s hard to come across a company that sells them. Hornady is one of the few exceptions which is why a number of customers are impressed with this ammo.
- Perfect for ELD
- Works well with longer bullets
- Consistent performance
- Stock stem not marked
- Only two additional stems
This ammo works exceptionally well with the intended rifle—6.5 Creedmoor. Plus, if you want a bullet that’ll make all the difference where accuracy is concerned, look no further.
Overall rating: 9/10
Federal Fusion Ammo
Federal Fusion is ammo made with a soft point and with a medium-sized game in mind. As is the case with Creedmoor ammo, it is very good at long ranges, and the 140-grain bullet weight means that the drop will not be significant even across the field. The load has a molecularly fused jacket, as well as a pressure-formed core, providing good penetration and solid stopping power from a distance.
Features that make me rate this product high:
- Very accurate at long ranges
- You can expect less velocity variation with this type.
- The bullet is pretty lightweight meaning it’ll travel faster. The only thing it’ll sacrifice is energy.
This load is one of the best options when it comes to the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge, as it fits perfectly. The soft point provides good expansion adding to the stopping power of the bullet. Combined with mild recoil and a very small drop, this is the ammo of choice for long range hunting, especially when it comes to a medium-sized game such as deer.
- Good penetration
- Low recoil
- Accurate shots
- Easy to use
- Too lightweight to stop the largest deer
For the price, I reckon it’s worth the investment because it works amazingly well.
Overall rating: 8/10
RCBS 32907 6.5 Creedmoor Die Set
RCBS is synonymous with quality and this product is no exception. The hunting enthusiast will definitely find this set useful mainly because it was designed with hunting in mind.
Noteworthy features before you buy:
- Unlike the Hornady which comes with four boxes of ammo, you’ll be getting only two dies with this set. If you’re not particularly keen on spending hours doing target shooting, I suppose they’ll suffice.
- On the upside, picking these means you would have made a quality purchase—they’re made using superior material.
- You might appreciate the small base sizing found on the ammo—that’s if you own an AR platform because it’s way easier to cycle in.
- As with the Lee precision loading, it also features a crimped design for secure attachment.
- In terms of size, this has to be one of the lightest ammo on the list so you can expect it to fly farther and faster
A lot of users are impressed by the combination of the crimped design plus small base sizing. But I suppose the majority owns AR platforms as it’s easier to insert in those types of rifles. Besides the quality of the product alone makes it a worthwhile pick.
- Quality product
- Sturdy design
- Only two sets available
In my opinion, this ammo is definitely worth considering because you’re less likely to experience any problems using them. This means you can concentrate on shooting and not the performance of the ammo.
Overall rating: 8/10
RCBS Neck Sizer 6.5 Creedmoor
Here is another product from RCBS and as usual you’ll find the quality top notch. For a leader in manufacturing ammunition reloading equipment, I really expect nothing less.The only difference,however, with themodel reviewed earlier is it’s a neck sizer.
Important details to note:
- If hunting is among your favorite activities, then you’ll find these appropriate as they’re also designed for hunting.
- I own both rifles and pistols and it makes it much easier to manage my gear that I can load this ammo into either.
- Its unique feature is in terms of adjustability. As the name suggests, you can only resize the neck portion of the fired casing back to its original size.
- You may also appreciate that it is precision crafted making it ideal for target shooting at specific objects.
- It’son the heavier side judging from the 9oz. weight. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing as heavier bullets have more energy and impact.
Generally, it’s a good product and it’s relatively easy to load so that’s one less thing to worry about. The only major issue you might face with it is the sizer may not adjust in certain circumstances. I would like to believe only a handful of units have this problem and you can easily replace it if that’s the case.
- Reasonably priced
- Easy to load
- Prolongs the life of the brass
- Problems with the sizing mechanism
I like that it only allows for a full length resize after about every 5th reload, which isn’t half bad. However, the resizing issue is the main reason why I’d take one star of its rating.
Overall rating: 7/10
American Eagle 120GR Open Tip Match
Having a budget doesn’t mean sacrificing performance. The American Eagle has both the name recognition and the backup from Federal to ensure a high-quality round that will hit any target hard. As performance goes, it is on part with most Federal premium ammo, but at a significantly lower price point.
The need to know facts:
- Ideal for target practice if you want to use 6.5 Creedmoor.
- A flat trajectory is good for hunting.
- The muzzle velocity of 2700 ft/sec makes it ideal for smaller to medium-sized game.
- The 120-grain weight of the bullet has more than enough stopping power for smaller targets.
- It is lightweight and easy to carry, making it a solid choice for everyday needs.
- If durable and reliable ammo.
Sometimes you will need some cheap but reliable ammo to be your daily choice. If you are tasked at protecting crops or hunting smaller game such as rabbits or small deer, you will need something that will not cost you a lot every time you miss and will stop the target when you hit. American Eagle open tips are accurate and reliable, while still being affordable for any user.
- Precision at its best
- Compact design
- Pretty lightweight
- Easy to travel with
- Relatively cheap
- There is better ammo in every category
My only advice is that, if you’re not willing to spend much on ammo, then you could probably give this brand a try. However, if you want a high functioning unit then the earlier recommendations are your best bet.
Overall rating: 6/10
For further comparison, you can have a look at the following ammo. And note: Just because I didn’t unpack them in this article doesn’t mean they’re not worth considering. You might be pleasantly surprised:
- Nosler’s Ballistic Tip Ammunition
- Fusion Rifle Ammunition
- Federal Premium Match Rifle Ammunition
- Winchester Match Rifle Ammunition
- Remington Express Core-Lokt Rifle Ammunition
So, what’s the verdict? As mentioned at the beginning of the article, the Hornady ammo is my personal favorite. First off, it has high ballistic performance which is a pre-requisite in any high functioning ammo. Also, because it’s slightly heavier, it’s less likely to drift and can resist air drag.
It’s not exactly the cheapest on the list but for the performance it offers, I reckon it’s worth a shot. Besides, you get four boxes on a single purchase which, in my books, is a massive plus.
With this information at your disposal, take your pick. Which do you think will work for you?