In this article, we will cover a brief history of each cartridge and then compare the two.
The rounds will be reviewed in depth, and will be compared in terms of size, ballistics, accuracy, price, availability, weapons available, and reloading ability.
Lastly, we will give some recommendations for which round we prefer.
Before getting started, we will go over some basic history of both rounds
6.5 Creedmoor is a newer rifle cartridge, having been designed in 2007 by Hornady. While it was originally designed for distance target shooting, it has slowly been gaining popularity as a hunting cartridge. In essence, it is a distant cousin of the much older .308 Winchester. Any round that is somewhat related to .308 Winchester should be expected to be an excellent big game hunting round, and 6.5 Creedmoor is no different.
Due to the size and muzzle velocity of the projectile, it is a great round for hunting, especially for long distance shots or taking down big game. However, the shape of the projectile paired with the relatively flat trajectory make it an extremely accurate round for target shooting as well.
.300 Win Mag, as the name might imply, is a magnum rifle cartridge. For those unfamiliar, a magnum cartridge is a cartridge that is the result of slightly modifying a similar cartridge. In the case of .300 Win Mag, it is a shortened .375 H&H Magnum.
It has been around significantly longer than 6.5 Creedmoor. It was introduced by Winchester in 1953. Similar to 6.5 Creedmoor, it is an extremely popular round for big game hunting and target shooting alike. It has also gotten some military and law enforcement use as a sniping cartridge.
6.5 Creedmoor projectiles are 6.72mm in diameter, while the cartridge is 2.825 inches long. This decreased length allows for the round to be used in short action bolt action rifles.
.300 Win Mag projectiles are 7.8mm in diameter, and the cartridge is 3.34 inches long. As you can see, this projectile is over a millimeter larger in diameter, and the cartridge is a good big longer as well. This longer cartridge requires a longer action.
6.5 Creedmoor vs .300 Winchester Magnum: Ballistics
6.5 Creedmoor projectiles are available weighing between 120 and 140 grains. While it is obviously dependent on the exact weapon and ammunition chosen, the muzzle velocity is somewhere in the neighborhood of 2850 feet per second.
6.5 Creedmoor Ballistics
6.5 Creedmoor Trajectory
.300 Win Mag projectiles are commonly between 165 and 220 grains in weight. The lighter projectiles can travel upwards of 3200 feet per second, while the heavier projectiles will travel near 2800 feet per second.
300 Winchester Magnum Ballistics
300 Win Mag Trajectory
As you can see, .300 Win Mag projectiles are heavier and faster, generally speaking. In terms of ballistics, this is near perfect. Heavier, faster moving projectiles lead to more deadliness. To increase this deadliness, .300 Win Mag projectiles are also 1mm in diameter larger, which will create bigger holes and damage more tissue. In terms of sheer deadliness, .300 Win Mag outperforms 6.5 Creedmoor by a wide margin.
In terms of accuracy, the rounds perform similarly. 6.5 Creedmoor is an extremely accurate weapon, but its effective range may be slightly limited. Due to its flat trajectory, .300 Win Mag can shoot out to 1500+ meters, while 6.5 Creedmoor is limited to closer to 1200 meters.
However, within 1000 meters, 6.5 Creedmoor is likely more accurate than .300 Win Mag, when using comparable weapons and ammunition. When deciding between the two, it is really dependent on the range you are going to shoot at.
Pricing between the two rounds is similar, but one ammunition is generally cheaper. For our comparison, we will look at both rounds in Hornady Superformance Ammo, Hornady American Whitetail, and Federal Vital-Shok. While this comparison should remain mostly true, keep in mind that sale prices may change from time to time.
Keep in mind that 6.5 Creedmoor was created by Hornady, so Horandy may charge less for it than other brands.
As you can see, 6.5 Creedmoor is generally much cheaper than .300 Win Mag. However, it is also worth mentioning that there are a much greater number of .300 Win Mag ammunition choices available. As a result of being an older cartridge, there are many more choices available to the shooter.
The available weapons follow a similar story. As to be expected, due to it being a much older cartridge, there are more .300 Win Mag weapons available.
As we have already mentioned, 6.5 Creedmoor was originally designed to be a long range shooting cartridge. As a result, there are more than a couple precision rifles available that are bored in 6.5 Creedmoor.
A few examples are the Ruger Precision Rifle, Tikka T3X, and the JP Enterprise LRP. These rifles are designed for one thing – long range accuracy. While the uses are limited, they are extremely effective weapons, despite the fact that they are pretty expensive.
AR-framed weapons are also available in 6.5 Creedmoor. The JP Enterprises LRP, for example, is an AR-frame weapon that is designed for long range precision shooting. The Smith & Wesson M&P10 is more of a general use AR that is also available in 6.5 Creedmoor. It is still expensive, but is much less expensive than the precision rifles.
There are starting to be more and more rugged bolt action rifles available in 6.5 Creedmoor. These weapons are great choices for hunting, and are much less expensive than some of the other previously mentioned weapons. Some of these weapons are made by Savage Arms, Howa, and Browning to name a few.
.300 Win Mag has way more available weapons, but they are primarily bolt action hunting rifles. The primary reason for this is the larger cartridge, which limits any shorter action weapons. However, some of the available weapons are accurate enough that they could easily be used for long distance target shooting with little to no modification. In terms of price, generally speaking, .300 Win Mag weapons are cheaper than 6.5 Creedmoor weapons.
In terms of available weapons, 6.5 Creedmoor has a slight edge, despite the fact that there are more .300 Win Mag weapons available. 6.5 Creedmoor takes the edge due to the variety of weapons available and different roles they can serve.
If you prefer to handload your own ammunition, it is worth mentioning that the number of cartridges, projectiles, and equipment available for 6.5 Creedmoor is somewhat limited. It is possible to find what you need, but it is much more difficult. The primary reason for this is how new of a cartridge it is.
If you prefer to reload your own ammunition, .300 Win Mag is a much easier choice for you. It will be way easier for you to find everything that you need.
As you can see, each round has its pros and cons. While there are many different factors to consider, we will give a few general recommendations for you.
For big game hunting, we recommend .300 Win Mag. The .300 Win Mag projectiles are larger, heavier, and move faster, which is an extremely deadly combination for hunting, and is essentially necessary for big game hunting.
For smaller game hunting, such as deer, either round will work. For this use, we will defer the recommendation to what range you are shooting at.
If you are shooting at greater than 1200 meters, .300 Win Mag is the best bet. Closer than that, 6.5 Creedmoor is a better option.
One other stipulation is if you prefer to hunt with an AR-frame weapon. If you like to hunt with AR style weapons, 6.5 Creedmoor is the best choice.
For competition shooting, we recommend 6.5 Creedmoor. Despite the fact that the range is somewhat limited, 6.5 Creedmoor is slightly more accurate, and there are better precision rifles available in this caliber.
For general shooting, we recommend 6.5 Creedmoor. The reason for this is that the ammunition is cheaper, the short action is more enjoyable, and the round produces much less recoil. Additionally, there are much more versatile weapons available, and you won’t be limited to mostly bolt action rifles.
6.5 Creedmoor vs .300 Winchester Magnum: Our final thoughts
It could be extremely difficult to choose between these two cartridges. Both of them perform extremely well, specifically at longer distances. Despite their four decade age difference, the two cartridges are similar in use.
6.5 Creedmoor is becoming more and more popular. The versatility of the weapons available makes it an excellent cartridge for any number of uses. On the contrary, .300 Win Mag has been around since the 1960s, and is extremely common for big game hunting.
While both rounds are excellent options, using our recommendations as a guideline will help to narrow down the choices for you. We hope this information has been helpful!