Best 6.5 Creedmoor Ammo For Hunting Elk & Deer 
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 the big game these days.
Since the 6.5 Creedmoor started 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. The same goes for bullets like the Berger Hybrid Target, Hornady ELD Match, and Sierra MatchKing, or open tip match (OTM) and boat-tailed hollow point (BTHP) style bullets in general.
All that stuff is great for long-range shooting, but they aren’t designed for optimum terminal performance on big game animals.
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.
Before we get started, I want to briefly talk about using the 6.5 Creedmoor for elk hunting. Feel free to skip this section if you’re not interested in using the cartridge on elk.
With quality 140+ grain bullets and good shot placement, you can use the 6.5 Creedmoor for elk hunting. The 6.5 Creedmoor doesn’t have lots of excess energy, so it’s best to only take broadside or slightly quartering shots at ranges under 250 yards on elk.
Can you kill elk with the 6.5 Creedmoor? Sure! Lots of people do it each year.
There is no reason you can’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.
That said, don’t confuse the 6.5 Creedmoor with a heavy-hitting magnum either.
Yes, Scandinavian hunters have been using the 125-year-old 6.5×55 Swedish Mauser, which is a virtual ballistic twin to the 6.5 Creedmoor, for hunting moose and caribou for well over a century. However, Scandinavian hunters shoot virtually all of those moose at ranges under 100 yards.
The 6.5 Swede also produces the best results on moose with relatively heavy, round-nosed 156 and 160-grain bullets. It’s possible to use those heavy for caliber bullets in the 6.5 Creedmoor, but the overall design of the cartridge is not well suited for bullets that long and heavy.
The 140-grain class bullets that work best in the 6.5 Creedmoor simply don’t penetrate as well as those heavier bullets the 6.5 Swede used to develop its reputation for outstanding penetration. Under certain circumstances (like a steep quartering to angle) a shot from a 6.5 Creedmoor might not punch through the shoulder blade to reach the vitals of a big bull elk.
With all that in mind, yes, the 6.5 Creedmoor will get the job done on elk with good shot placement. However, your margin of error will be a little smaller and you should be more careful about which shots you do (and don’t) take when using the cartridge.
The 6.5 Creedmoor is not a 400+ yard elk cartridge and you should only use it on elk or moose at shot angles that minimize the distance it will have to penetrate to reach the vitals.
Don’t try to stretch it out beyond 250 yards or so on elk and try your best to only shoot elk that are broadside or slightly quartering. It’s also extremely important to use high-quality, controlled expansion bullets that are designed for deep, straight-line penetration (which we’ll talk more about in a minute).
If you do those things, then the 6.5 Creedmoor will probably work great on your elk hunt.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get started talking about some of the best 6.5 Creedmoor hunting ammo options.
Click the link below if you just want to quickly check what 6.5 Creedmoor ammo is in-stock and ready to ship so you can hit the range and get ready for hunting season.
The Hornady Precision Hunter line is an excellent all-around choice for 6.5 Creedmoor hunting ammunition, especially for a game like a deer and a pronghorn. That said, 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 wouldn’t be my first choice (keep reading to learn what I recommend), but it’s still a good option.
These 143-grain bullets are among the heaviest projectiles with the highest sectional density that you’ll find for the 6.5 Creedmoor. Hornady ELD-X bullets have a very high ballistic coefficient and they’re designed for reliable, but somewhat 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, and retains velocity (and kinetic energy) even better than virtually any other 6.5 Creedmoor hunting ammo. That said, while they’re outstanding for deer-sized games and even an immature bull or cow elk, they still expand a little more rapidly and don’t penetrate as well as I’d like for really big bull elk.
- Bullet Type: Extremely Low Drag – Expanding (ELD-X)
- Bullet Weight: 143 grains
- Ballistic Coefficient: 0.625
- Muzzle Velocity: 2,700 feet per second
While the 6.5 Creed is a somewhat controversial elk hunting choice, it’s an outstanding cartridge for a deer-sized game.
If you’re planning on taking your 6.5 Creedmoor deer hunting, then you should certainly believe 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. It doesn’t matter if you use a Ruger, Tikka, Weatherby, or some other rifle, 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).
Finally, Winchester produces a very similar Deer Season XP load with a 125-grain copper Extreme Point that’s legal to use in California. This particular is also a great choice for hunters who want to use their 6.5 Creedmoor for deer hunting, especially with the ongoing ammo shortage (links to each are below).
- Bullet Type: Extreme Point Polymer Tip
- Bullet Weight: 125 grains
- Ballistic Coefficient: 0.540
- Muzzle Velocity: 2,850 feet per second
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 a variety big game out to several hundred yards. The LRX BT is a little more aerodynamic than the regular Barnes TTSX bullet and it’s designed to expand at lower velocities.
Additionally, while the LRX BT is optimized for rapid expansion, it’s also a very tough bullet that will also deliver high weight retention and deep penetration. So, these bullets are excellent for hunting all manner of game like black bear, whitetail deer, mule deer, pronghorn, Himalayan Tahr, chamois, sheep, and mountain goat.
Even though it’s a a little lighter than I’d normally recommend for bigger game, the fact that the LRX BT is optimized for high weight retention and deep penetration also means that it will work really well on bigger game like elk.
In short, this is an outstanding load that will be effective for hunting an incredibly wide variety of game under all sorts of circumstances. If you wanted one single 6.5 Creedmoor load to hunt the largest possible variety of game, then this is the 6.5 Creedmoor ammo you’re looking for.
It’s also 100% copper, which makes the VOR-TX LR 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 Expanding Boat Tail (LRX BT)
- Bullet Weight: 127 grains
- Ballistic Coefficient: 0.468
- Muzzle Velocity: 2,825 feet per second
Federal’s Terminal Ascent load featuring a 130gr Terminal Ascent bullet is outstanding all-around 6.5 Creedmoor ammo for hunting, especially for hunters that want or need the best possible extended range performance. The new Terminal Ascent Bullet is extremely aerodynamic, has a great reputation for accuracy, and is also constructed to deliver a good balance of expansion and penetration.
Indeed, the Terminal Ascent bullet has a bonded front core and solid rear shank that makes it a good option for those who want great long-range performance without running the risk of bullet failure on close-range, high-velocity impacts.
With those things in mind, I think the Terminal Ascent is the best option for moose and elk hunting with the 300 WSM. It will also work great on smaller games like mule deer or pronghorn.
The 140gr Nosler Partition is my #1 recommendation 6.5 Creedmoor ammo for elk hunting at ranges inside 250 yards. However, I think the Terminal Ascent is right behind the Partition load as the best option for elk hunting. It’s also outstanding ammo for hunters who plan on hunting other games like whitetail deer, mule deer, black bear, and pronghorn, especially if ranges will potentially be on the long side.
- Bullet Type: Terminal Ascent
- Bullet Weight: 130 grains
- Ballistic Coefficient (G1): .532
- Muzzle Velocity: 2,800 feet per second
The Nosler Partition is one of the best hunting bullets ever designed and remains one of the most popular
The Nosler Partition is one of the best hunting bullets ever designed and remains one of the most popular bullets used by elk hunters in North America. Fortunately, Nosler recently started offering 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition as part of their Trophy Grade line with a 140-grain Partition bullet.
This is an outstanding choice for 6.5 Creedmoor hunting ammunition suitable for everything from deer up to elk and even moose.
If you want to use the 6.5 Creedmoor for elk hunting, then Nosler’s Trophy Grade 140 grain Partition 6.5 Creedmoor ammo is your best option out of all the choices on this list.
First, these are among the heaviest bullets with the highest sectional density that you’ll find for the 6.5 Creedmoor. Second, these bullets are designed for rapid, yet controlled expansion over a very wide range of impact velocities. After all, the Nosler Partition was among the first controlled expansion bullets ever designed and it’s still one of the best (if not THE best) available.
The 143gr ELD-X is a good bullet, but especially at shorter ranges, this load featuring the 140-grain Partition is better than virtually any other 6.5 Creedmoor hunting ammo for hunting large game. It’s really hard to beat the Nosler Partition when looking for a bullet that you can rely upon to penetrate deep enough to reach the vitals of really big animals like elk and moose.
With those things in mind, this is my #1 recommended 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition for hunters after REALLY big games like elk and moose at short range if this ammo shoots well in your elk rifle.
Additionally, the Partition offers very rapid expansion, which, combined with the deep penetrating characteristics of the bullet, makes for devastating terminal performance on games like whitetail deer, mule deer, pronghorn, and black bear.
- Bullet Type: Partition
- Bullet Weight: 140 grains
- Ballistic Coefficient: 0.490
- Muzzle Velocity: 2,600 feet per second