6.5 Creedmoor vs .308 Win
6.5 Creedmoor vs .308 Winchester Ballistics Comparison
If you’re looking for a big game hunting cartridge, you’re likely to hear recommendations for the 6.5 Creedmoor and the .308 Winchester anywhere you look. The 6.5 Creedmoor has created quite a fervor since hitting the market in 2007, while the .308 Winchester is a tried-and-true big game and military cartridge that has been stopping targets since the 1950s. While both make for excellent rounds with mild recoil, there are some important differences that might help you choose which round is right for you.
The following ballistics tables show a side by side comparison of the 6.5 Creedmoor vs 308 Winchester based on bullet weight and various performance metrics including velocity, energy, usage and recoil.
6.5 Creedmoor 120 gr vs 308 Winchester 125 gr Cartridge Comparison Table.
|6.5 Creedmoor||.308 Winchester|
|Bullet Velocity (Muzzle)||3,050 ft/s||2,675 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 100 yds||2,850 ft/s||2,389 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 200 yds||2,659 ft/s||2,121 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 300 yds||2,476 ft/s||1,871 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 400 yds||2,300 ft/s||1,642 ft/s|
|Bullet Velocity @ 500 yds||2,132 ft/s||1,437 ft/s|
|Bullet Energy (Muzzle)||2,479 ft-lb||1,986 ft-lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 100 yds||2,164 ft-lb||1,584 ft-lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 200 yds||1,884 ft-lb||1,248 ft-lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 300 yds||1,634 ft-lb||971 ft-lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 400 yds||1,410 ft-lb||748 ft-lb|
|Bullet Energy @ 500 yds||1,211 ft-lb||573 ft-lb|
|Usage @ 0 yds||Toughest Game||Large Game|
|Usage @ 100 yds||Toughest Game||Large Game|
|Usage @ 200 yds||Large Game||Medium Game|
|Usage @ 300 yds||Large Game||Medium Game|
|Usage @ 400 yds||Medium Game||Small Game|
|Usage @ 500 yds||Medium Game||Small Game|
|Recoil Energy||9.1 ft-lbs||9 ft-lbs|
|Recoil Velocity||8.2 fps||8.1 fps|
|*Cartridge ballistics, usage and recoil figures takend 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.|
When looking at velocity, we see that the 6.5 Creedmoor has a decent advantage over the .308 Winchester for bullets of the same weight. Our chart holds the weight of the bullet constant to compare velocities more directly, but it is worth noting that the 6.5 Creedmoor generally shoots a lighter bullet to the same effect as compared with the .308.
With a 125 grain bullet, we can see that the 6.5 Creedmoor shoots with a muzzle velocity of 3,050 ft/s, which is 375 ft/s faster than the .308’s 2,675 ft/s. This difference only increases as we get out to longer ranges, which is worth noting since these are both identified as long-range cartridges. At 500 yards, the 6.5 Creedmoor shoots 2,132 ft/s, which is a full 695 ft/s faster than the .308’s 1,437.
The 6.5 Creedmoor also sees an advantage in energy, and maintains a much greater energy at long distances than the .308 Winchester does. Even at close distances, this means that the 6.5 Creedmoor is a good choice for the toughest game, while the .308 can be used on large game within 200 yards. The longer distances you might be shooting, the greater energy difference we see between the 6.5 Creedmoor and the .308 Winchester.
These are both highly accurate rounds, though the 6.5 Creedmoor has a slight advantage once we get out to extremely long ranges. They also have very similar stopping power, even though the .308 can be chambered in heavier bullets.
The 6.5 Creedmoor and the .308 Winchester have very similar trajectories to about 300 yards. After this point, the 6.5 Creedmoor maintains a flatter trajectory, thanks to its lighter bullet and higher velocity and energy. The 6.5 Creedmoor will see a 42.5” drop at 500 yards, while the .308 Winchester will see a 477.1” drop. The 6.5 also has a small advantage over the .308 when it comes to wind drift, especially at longer ranges.
Both calibers are small enough for short-action rifles, and they are very similar in size. The .308 Winchester is a little longer in the case (1.92” compared to 2.015”), while the 6.5 Creedmoor is longer overall (2.825” compared to 2.81”). The shoulder angle is more intense on the 6.5 Creedmoor, and the case is less tapered, which allows for longer bullets with higher ballistic coefficients within the same case capacity. Both calibers have a .473” diameter at the rim and are loaded with roughly the same amount of powder and pressure.
The .308 still has more varieties on the market, as one of the most popular hunting cartridges of all time. The 6.5 Creedmoor was specifically designed to be a light recoiling caliber for its power. It is also generally cheaper than the 6.5 Creedmoor. However, as the 6.5 Creedmoor gains in popularity, this is shifting: prices are dropping, and more types of ammunition are hitting the market. Even though the 6.5 Creedmoor might not be quite as available as the .308 Winchester, it is still readily available in most ammunition stores.
Both the 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 are going to give you a little kick in the shoulder, and learning to manage that is a huge part of making accurate shots for clean, ethical kills. The 6.5 Creedmoor was specifically designed to be a light recoiling caliber for its power. At lower bullet grains, both calibers have a comparable recoil. However, at bullet weights above 125 gr the .308 has a significanly higher recoil. Still, most hunters will be able to manage the recoil of either of these cartridges with enough practice.
As with ammunition, more rifles are on the market chambered for .308 Winchester than for 6.5 Creedmoor. Still, rifles chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor are in ready supply. In particular, Ruger has many of their most popular rifles chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. The .308 Winchester is available in more semi-automatic rifles, while so far the 6.5 Creedmoor is primarily offered on the AR-10 platform.
Both the .308 and the 6.5 Creedmoor can be chambered in short action rifles, meaning you can find lighter, smaller guns. This can make a big difference in your comfort level if you’re going to be traveling many miles over the backcountry on hunting expeditions. The 6.5 Creedmoor will wear out the barrel of a rifle more quickly, as the barrel is smaller in diameter while using the same amount of powder. The speed of barrel deterioration will depend on how much you shoot your gun, and will likely not make a difference for hunters, as the 6.5 Creedmoor barrel life is still 2,000-3,000 rounds.
Which Caliber is Best?
Both of these cartridges are excellent hunting and target shooting options. If you’re going to be hunting larger game, or shooting over long distances, the 6.5 Creedmoor has an advantage. The 6.5 Creedmoor is frequently used in long range competition rounds thanks to its higher ballistic coefficients and flatter trajectory. Both calibers are a bit light for larger game such as moose and elk, though some hunters argue that the 6.5 Creedmoor is up to this task.
For less recoil, flatter trajectory, higher energy and velocity, and stopping power for large game, opt for the 6.5 Creedmoor. For a tried and true cartridge with plenty of options available both in ammunitions and rifles, the .308 Winchester won’t steer you wrong.
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