6.5 Creedmoor vs .270 Win.
Ballistics Performance Comparison of 6.5 Creedmoor vs .270 Win. Cartridges
The 6.5 Creedmoor has been considered a hot new cartridge gaining in popularity over the past decade. But how does it stack up to a classic big game hunting cartridge like the .270 Winchester? While the 6.5 Creedmoor has certainly been used to take big game and has impressive long-range capabilities, the .270 Winchester is properly a big game cartridge that brings a bit more energy, velocity, and recoil. We’ll analyze how these cartridges stack up over some of their key properties.
The following ballistics tables show a side by side comparison of the 6.5 Creedmoor vs .270 Win. based on bullet weight and various performance metrics including velocity, energy, usage and recoil.
6.5 Creedmoor 143 gr vs .270 Win. 130 gr Cartridge Comparison Table.(Note: Bullet grain selected based on most popular hunting usage.)
|6.5 Creedmoor||.270 Winchester|
|Bullet Velocity (Muzzle)||2,700 ft/s||3,050 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 100 yds||2,556 ft/s||2,842 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 200 yds||2,417 ft/s||2,643 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 300 yds||2,282 ft/s||2,453 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 400 yds||2,151 ft/s||2,270 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 500 yds||2,025 ft/s||2,096 ft/s|
|Bullet Energy (Muzzle)||2,315 ft⋅lb||2,685 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 100 yds||2,075 ft⋅lb||2,331 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 200 yds||1,855 ft⋅lb||2,016 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 300 yds||1,654 ft⋅lb||1,737 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 400 yds||1,470 ft⋅lb||1,488 ft⋅lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 500 yds||1,302 ft⋅lb||1,268 ft⋅lb|
|Usage @ 0 yds||Toughest Game||Toughest Game|
|Usage @ 100 yds||Toughest Game||Toughest Game|
|Usage @ 200 yds||Large Game||Toughest Game|
|Usage @ 300 yds||Large Game||Large Game|
|Usage @ 400 yds||Large Game||Large Game|
|Usage @ 500 yds||Medium Game||Medium Game|
|Recoil Energy||9.1||17.1 (140 gr)|
|*Cartridge ballistics, usage and recoil figures taken from Sportsman's Warehouse rifle ballistics and rifle recoil tables. Recoil score based on weighted average of recoil energy and recoil velocity normalized between 1 and 10.|
The .270 Winchester has an advantage in velocity over the 6.5 Creedmoor, though it’s worth noting that we are comparing a 130 grain .270 with a 143 grain Creedmoor. Right out of the muzzle, the .270 moves 350 ft/s faster than the 6.5 Creedmoor. This difference narrows as we get to longer distances: at 300 yards the advantage is 171 ft/s, and at 500 yards, the .270’s advantage has narrowed to just 71 ft/s.
The .270 Winchester also packs more of a punch than the 6.5 Creedmoor, even with a lighter bullet. However, this advantage reverses over longer distances. At the muzzle, we can see that the .270 Winchester is shooting with 370 ft-lbs more energy than the Creedmoor. At 300 yards, that difference has narrowed to just 83 ft-lbs. By the time we get to 500 yards, the 6.5 Creedmoor is now traveling with more energy, with an additional 34 ft-lbs over the .270.
The two calibers are extremely similar in their susceptibility to wind drift, though the 6.5 Creedmoor has a slight advantage thanks to its aerodynamics. Wind drift measures how far a bullet moves during a 10mph crosswind. The two calibers are within 0.1” inches of each other out to 300 yards, when comparing a 143 grain 6.5 Creedmoor against a 145 grain .270 Winchester. By 500 yards, the 6.5 Creedmoor has drifted 15.1”, while the .270 Winchester has drifted a bit more at 15.6”.
Mild recoil is one of the key advantages of the 6.5 Creedmoor. While the .270 Winchester is relatively mild compared to other big game hunting cartridges, it still has significantly more recoil energy than the 6.5 Creedmoor. The .270 kicks back with 17.1 ft-lbs of energy, while the 6.5 Creedmoor has just 9.1 ft-lbs. Recoil can greatly impact your ability to shoot accurately, so make sure you need the extra power of the .270 Winchester before you sign up for its toll on your shoulder.
These calibers are highly comparable within normal hunting ranges (300-500 yards). However, the .270 Winchester does pack a bit of extra punch that has made hunters more confident in its ability to take big game. If you’ll be targeting elk and moose over medium to long ranges, the .270 Winchester might be a more reliable firearm. However, if you’ll be within normal hunting ranges, the difference in recoil or rifle size may tip the scale.
Price & Availability
The .270 Winchester is a bit more popular than the 6.5 Creedmoor, even as the Creedmoor gains in popularity year by year. Both rounds are widely available from many factory manufacturers. Because the 6.5 Creedmoor was initially designed for competition shooting, it has highly accurate factory options. Both calibers are available relatively inexpensively, and are close in price, though the .270 Winchester is likely to be a little less expensive.
The .270 Winchester is quite a bit larger than the 6.5 Creedmoor, at 2.54” in the case length compared to the Creedmoor’s 1.92”. The 6.5 Creedmoor was specifically designed to work in short-action rifles, so it was necessary to keep the overall length shorter than the .270 Winchester. The Creedmoor has a steeper slope on its shoulder, and the case is less tapered, while the rim diameters are identical.
Because the .270 Winchester and the 6.5 Creedmoor are both very popular cartridges, there are many rifles chambered in these calibers to choose from. The 6.5 Creedmoor is meant for short-action rifles, so you’ll be able to carry less gun through the backcountry. The 6.5 Creedmoor is available on the AR-10 platform, but with that exception, both calibers are primarily chambered in bolt action rifles.
Which Caliber is Best?
The .270 Winchester has a bit more punch for hunting large game in typical hunting ranges, but the 6.5 Creedmoor takes the advantage over longer distances. If you prefer lighter recoil and a lighter gun, the 6.5 Creedmoor is a strong choice as well. The availability and lower expense of the .270 Winchester also make it an appealing option.
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