• Best 65 Creedmoor Ammo For Hunting Deer, Other Big Game featured

Best 6.5 Creedmoor Ammo For Hunting Elk, Deer & Other Big Game

More people are using the 6.5 Creedmoor for hunting than ever before. Here are a few great brands of 6.5 Creedmoor ammo that should serve you well next time you hit the woods.

Originally designed for long range competitive target shooting, the 6.5 Creedmoor performed so well in that role that it was just a matter of time before the cartridge caught on in the hunting community. Known for its exceptional accuracy, flat trajectory, low recoil, high energy retention at long range, and really good terminal performance, more and more hunters are using the 6.5 Creedmoor for hunting elk, deer, feral hogs, pronghorn, and other species of big game these days.

Since the 6.5 Creedmoor started off as a target shooting cartridge, there is quite a bit of 6.5 Creedmoor rifle ammo out there that’s much better suited for competitive shooting than for hunting.

While they are very accurate and are certainly capable of killing big game animals, I don’t recommend using ammo lines like the Federal Gold Medal, Hornady American Gunner, Hornady Match, Sig Sauer Elite Performance, or Winchester Match for hunting. Bullets like the Hornady ELD Match and Sierra MatchKing usually aren’t designed for optimum terminal performance on big game animals. The same goes for open tip match (OTM) and boat tailed hollow point (BTHP) style bullets in general.

For that reason, it’s best to stick with 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition specifically designed for hunting.

Fortunately, the major ammunition manufacturers produce multiple varieties of 6.5 Creedmoor ammo designed for hunting big game. So, regardless of what or where you’re hunting, you’ll probably find something that will work well for you on the list below of the best 6.5 Creedmoor ammo for hunting.


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Winchester Deer Season XP 125gr

If you’re planning on taking your 6.5 Creedmoor deer hunting, then you should certainly consider using Winchester’s Deer Season XP line of ammunition. Designed specifically to compete with ammo like the Remington Core-Lokt and Hornady American Whitetail that were extremely popular with whitetail hunters, Winchester attempted to build an accurate and reasonably priced bullet that would produce a giant wound channel and minimize the distance a deer would run after being hit.

All things considered, Winchester was successful in that regard and the Deer Season XP line of ammunition has been very well received by deer hunters. This is a solid ammunition choice to use in your 6.5 Creedmoor for deer hunting (or any other thin skinned game for that matter).

  • Bullet Type: Extreme Point Polymer Tip
  • Bullet Weight: 125 grains
  • Ballistic Coefficient: 0.540
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,850 feet per second

Buy Now At: Cabela’s, Natchez Shooters Supplies

Federal Fusion 140gr

Federal’s 140gr Fusion Soft Point load is another excellent option to consider if you’re planning on taking your 6.5 Creedmoor deer hunting. First off, this particular load is one of the least expensive 6.5 Creedmoor ammo choices out there that’s appropriate for hunting. Fortunately, just because the ammo is reasonably priced doesn’t mean that it’s low quality.

The Federal Fusion Soft Points have a jacket that’s molecularly bonded to the core to prevent component separation. This helps ensure high weight retention and deep penetration. Though Federal designed the Fusion line of ammunition specifically for deer hunting, it will also work really well for just about any other species of thin-skinned game. So, regardless of whether you want to take your 6.5 Creedmoor antelope hunting, mule deer hunting, or whitetail hunting, you can count on this load to get the job done.

  • Bullet Type: Soft Point
  • Bullet Weight: 140 grains
  • Ballistic Coefficient: 0.439
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,750 feet per second

Buy Now At: BrownellsCabela’sNatchez Shooters Supplies

Browning BXR 129gr

Best 6.5 Creedmoor Ammo For Hunting Elk, Deer & Other Big Game browning
Browning’s 129gr BXR is another great load to use in your 6.5 Creedmoor for hunting deer. It normally retails for a little more than the Federal Fusion 6.5 Creedmoor ammo, but it’s also pretty reasonably priced. However, the Browning BXR ammunition uses a lighter bullet with a higher ballistic coefficient that’s fired at a higher velocity. So, this particular load has a slightly flatter trajectory, making it a better choice for longer range shots than the Federal Fusion 6.5 Creedmoor ammo.

Designed for rapid expansion on thin-skinned game, the the Browning BXR 6.5 Creedmoor ammo is great for whitetail, blacktail, mule deer and pronghorn hunting.

  • Bullet Type: BXR Rapid Expansion Matrix Tip
  • Bullet Weight: 129 grains
  • Ballistic Coefficient: 0.557
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,850 feet per second

Buy Now At: Cabela’s

Hornady Precision Hunter 143gr ELD-X

Best 6.5 Creedmoor Ammo For Hunting elk, deer & Other Big Game hornady eld If you want to use the 6.5 Creedmoor for elk hunting, then Hornady’s Precision Hunter 143 grain ELD-X 6.5 Creedmoor ammo is probably your best choice. Why? First, these are among the heaviest bullets with the highest sectional density that you’ll find for the 6.5 Creedmoor. Second, the ELD-X bullets have a very high ballistic coefficient. Third, these bullets are designed for reiable, but controlled expansion over a very wide range of impact velocities.

Add it all up and you’ve got a bullet that’s quite accurate in most rifles, has a very flat trajectory, retains velocity (and kinetic energy) even better than virtually any other 6.5 Creedmoor hunting ammo, and will penetrate deep enough to reach the vitals of really big animals like elk at reasonable shooting ranges and angles.

On paper, using the 6.5 Creedmoor for elk may seem like a bad idea, but it’s certainly possible if you use a good quality bullet like the 143gr ELD-X and place your shots properly. Heck, Scandinavian hunters have been using the 6.5×55, which is a virtual ballistic twin to the 6.5 Creedmoor, for hunting moose and caribou for well over a century. With that in mind, there is no reason you couldn’t use the 6.5 Creedmoor for hunting elk, moose, or other massive animals. If you punch a hole through their heart and/or lungs with a quality 6.5mm expanding bullet, the animal will never know the difference.

  • Bullet Type: Extremely Low Drag – Expanding (ELD-X)
  • Bullet Weight: 143 grains
  • Ballistic Coefficient: 0.625
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,700 feet per second

Buy Now At: Brownells, Cabela’s, & Natchez Shooters Supplies

Barnes VOR-TX LR 127gr LRX-BT

Best 6.5 Creedmoor Ammo For Hunting Elk, Deer & Other Big Game barnes vor-tx
Naturally, Barnes produces a couple different kinds of 6.5 Creedmoor ammo featuring their legendary copper X-Bullet. In particular, the 127gr VOR-TX LR load is a really good choice for a person who wants to use the 6.5 Creedmoor for hunting big game at longer ranges like mule deer, pronghorn, Himalayan Tahr, sheep, mountain goat, and chamois. For that reason, the LRX-BT utilizes an aerodynamic bullet with a high ballistic coefficient to obtain a relatively flat trajectory.

Additionally, the LRX-BT is optimized for rapid expansion, high weight retention, and deep penetration, making these bullets excellent choices for hunters after game like black bear, whitetail deer, elk, and red stag. It’s also 100% copper, which makes the VOR-TX an ideal brand of 6.5 Creedmoor hunting ammo for use in states like California that that require the use of lead free bullets.

  • Bullet Type: Long Range Hunting Boat Tail (LRX-BT)
  • Bullet Weight: 127 grains
  • Ballistic Coefficient: 0.468
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,825 feet per second

Buy Now At: Lucky Gunner, & Natchez Shooters Supplies

Hornady Superformance 120gr GMX

Best 6.5 Creedmoor Ammo For Hunting Elk, Deer & Other Big Game barnes hornady gmx
If you want a high velocity, flat shooting load to use in your 6.5 Creedmoor for hunting the widest possible variety of big game, then it’s really tough to go wrong with Hornady’s Superformance 6.5 Creedmoor 120 grain GMX ammunition. Not only does Hornady’s Superformance line of 6.5 Creedmoor ammo give you a higher muzzle velocity than any other brand of factory loaded 6.5 Creedmoor hunting ammo, but it also uses the outstanding GMX bullet. Made of a monolithic copper alloy (so it’s lead free and legal to use in California) it’s a tougher bullet than the Hornady SST. Designed for reliable expansion, deep penetration, maximum weight retention, and a relatively flat trajectory, the 120 grain GMX is suitable for use in the 6.5 Creedmoor for elk, smaller animals like deer, and animals that sometimes require longer range shots like pronghorn, mountain goat, sheep, tahr, and chamois.

Hornady produces a similar variant of 6.5 Creedmoor ammo in their Full Boar line. It also uses the 120 grain GMX bullet, but it’s loaded to a slightly lower velocity and is designed for optimum reliability in semi-automatic rifles. As you can probably tell by the name, Hornady markets the Full Boar ammo towards hunters who want to use the 6.5 Creedmoor for hogs. It will absolutely work in that role, but it’s not limited to just hog hunting either. In fact, both the Full Boar and Superformance lines of 6.5 Creedmoor ammo will work extremely well for hunting deer, feral hogs, antelope, elk, and most species of African plains game.

  • Bullet Type: GMX
  • Bullet Weight: 120 grains
  • Ballistic Coefficient: 0.450
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,925 feet per second (Full Boar) & 3,050 feet per second (Superformance)

Buy Now At: 1-800 Guns And Ammo (Superformance), Brownells (Full Boar & Superformace), Cabela’s (Superformance), Lucky Gunner (Full Boar & Superformance)  & Natchez Shooters Supplies (Full Boar & Superformance)

Remington Core-Lokt 140gr

The Remington Core Lokt has been around for a long time and hunters have successfully used this line of ammunition to take virtually every species of North American big game. Remington now offers the Core Lokt in 6.5 Creedmoor. So, if you’re a “meat and potatoes” kind of guy who wants a reasonably priced and dependable load to use in your 6.5 Creedmoor for hunting deer, black bear, feral hogs and even elk, then the Remington’s 6.5 Creedmoor 140 grain Core Lokt will probably work really well for you.

  • Bullet Type: Pointed Soft Point
  • Bullet Weight: 140 grains
  • Muzzle Velocity: 2,700 feet per second

Buy Now At: Cabela’s, Lucky GunnerNatchez Shooters Supplies

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About the Author:

John McAdams is a proficient blogger, long time hunter, experienced shooter, and veteran of combat tours with the US Army in Iraq & Afghanistan. John has written for outdoor publications like Bear Hunting Magazine, The Texas State Rifle Association newsletter, Texas Wildlife Magazine, & Wide Open Spaces. Read some of John’s most popular posts here and feel free to send him a message.

11 Comments

  1. Ulysses Bullock April 22, 2018 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    Which 6.5 Creedmoor ammo would be the best to hunt deer and moose with?

    • John April 22, 2018 at 6:53 pm - Reply

      The 143gr Hornady Precision Hunter ammo is probably the best choice for hunting moose and deer if you want to use the same ammo for both species.

  2. George Wilson August 15, 2018 at 8:37 am - Reply

    hi John I see ammo for all kinds of big game animals listed here. But none of them, do you claim to be good for black bear. Were I hunt here in New York I may come across a chance to take either a whitetail deer or hopefully a large black bear. Did you intentionally leave the black bear off your list or just forgot. I’m looking for something that if necessary could handle it. Or can I assume that whatever can down an elk or moose would be more than enough?

    Thank you
    George

  3. George Wilson August 15, 2018 at 8:44 am - Reply

    I see remington now has it in 140gr. coreloc. I use coreloc in everything now, a truly great freezer filler. But again do you approve for Black bear.

    Thanks George

    • John August 15, 2018 at 8:48 am - Reply

      George,
      Thanks for your comments. Leaving black bear off the list was an unintentional oversight. Any ammo that will work on deer, elk, or moose will also probably work really well on black bear. The 140gr Remington Core-Lokt is another nice ammo choice.
      John

  4. Kyle September 7, 2018 at 11:33 am - Reply

    John,
    I hunt deer primarily in Texas and am looking for the best 6.5 hunting load. Also, your choice of 6.5 factory load for long range shooting.

    • John September 7, 2018 at 11:52 am - Reply

      Just about any of those loads will work fine on deer. The Winchester Deer Season XP and Remington Core Lokt are the two least expensive loads. For long range shooting, go with the Hornady Precision Hunter ELD-X. The ELD Match is also really accurate, but it’s not designed for hunting.

  5. Anonymous September 7, 2018 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    Thank you John.

    • John September 7, 2018 at 6:49 pm - Reply

      You’re welcome. Happy hunting!
      John

  6. Douglas September 13, 2018 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    John, in your article you say that Sierra Gamekings are not good for big game. Did you mean Matchkings? I was looking to buy the Gamekings in Federal ammunition since I have had many people recommend them.

    • John September 13, 2018 at 8:44 pm - Reply

      Sorry, you’re right. That was a typo and I’ve now corrected it.
      Thanks for the heads up!
      John

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