Reloading Overview for the 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge – by Ed Hale

The 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge is taking the High Power competitive target world to a new level of excellence especially for 600 and 1000 yards. The 6.5 Creedmoor developed by Hornady in 2007 and manufactured since 2008. It is a collaboration of Dave Emary, Hornady’s Senior Ballistician, and Dennis DeMille, General Manager of Creedmoor Sports.

As a hunting cartridge it is mighty fine for deer, bear, elk and African Plains game like Gemsbok, Kudu, Impala, Blesbok and the like. Down range energy with the Nosler AccuBond 130 or 140 grain delivering more than 1500 ft-lbs at 250 yards according to JMB ballistics.

As with all shots at game, with good bullet choice and shot placement. at long range too provided the hunter does his or her part.

The problem, it seems, is that the cartridge is not widely available like the 308 Winchester or .243 Winchester. This leaves the hunter and target shooter to purchase cartridges way ahead of time or get the components and load  it yourself as I am. You can’t go to the local sporting goods store and pick up a box.

Image below courtesy Wikipedia 6.5 Creedmoor.

6.5mm Creedmoor size comparison.jpg

Left to right: 308 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, .243 Winchester 6.5 Grendel and .223 Remington.


For bench-rest and the target population it begins with a good brass case. Hornady today is the king of availability for new brass but when target folks have a chance there are other makers that do custom brass work but are in such short supply.

The primers? There are many on the market like Winchester and Federal but I like CCI Benchrest Primers like the BR-2 as do many target folks that you can follow on-line. These primers are hard to come by as well.

primers CCI BR2

On powders, my research finds that there are several that work well such as H4350, Varget, RL 17, and Superformance. I don’t have the RL 17 to test yet but have the others. Recoil is mild to moderate. In a heavy target rifle it is mild.


powder and bullets 6.5

Do your homework as I am doing and you will be rewarded. Bullets for hunting or target and you will find Berger, Hornady, Sierra (shown above) , and Nosler in good stead and with very high ballistic coefficients above a G1 of  0.6 for target and in the 0.3 to 0.4 for hunting long range, if you have that proven skill and practice.

One can say that I am new to high power target shooting but I can prepare with the best of them with over 30 years of reloading.  Reloading for 6.5 Creedmoor needs special purchases.

Things I need:

Redding Competition Seating dies for bullets. I have the RCBS reloading die set but need a better seating die. Not cheap at around $130 dollars. It is the best!


Bullets for long range target: Nosler, Sierra, Berger and Hornady among others.

Below, a Sierra 142 grain HPBT Match bullet

6.5 sierra 142 g


Brass Cases Hornady

6.5 brass


Lock N Load Cartridge COL Gage used to determine bullet distance to barrel rifling.

6.5 case locknload

I have not worked up target loads as of this writing but I will with Rifle

in hand.

Good Shooting!

© 2016


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About Ed Hale

I am an avid hunter with rifle and Bow and have been hunting for more than 50 years. I have taken big game such as whitetail deer, red deer, elk, Moose and African Plains game
such as Kudu, Gemsbok, Springbok, Blesbok, and Impala and wrote an ebook entitled African Safari -Rifle and Bow and Arrow on how to prepare for a first safari. Ed is a serious cartridge reloader and ballistics student. He has earned two degrees in science and has written hundreds of outdoor article on hunting with both bow and rifle.