6.5 Creedmoor Vs 308 Winchester

Occasionally we go over a topic here that we get repeated and continued interest in, like the 6.5 Creedmoor Vs 308 Winchester debate. We discussed this a bit in an article on the 6.5 Creedmoor as a good caliber for beginners. Now, due to continued interest in the 6.5 Creedmoor Vs 308 Winchester debate, we’re going to delve a little deeper into the ballistics side of this argument. I also plan to illustrate factory ammo price differences and availability. We’re probably even going to do a cost projection over the usable service life of the barrels and hopefully end the 6.5 Creedmoor Vs 308 Winchester debate, once and for all.

6.5 Creedmoor Vs 308 Winchester: DROP

I’m going to start with the ballistics side of the 6.5 Creedmoor Vs 308 Winchester debate. I can sum it up fairly easily, the 6.5 Creedmoor trounces the 308 Winchester. Period. End of discussion, it’s just a faster caliber with better ballistics. I ran some graphs using my Applied Ballistics phone app to illustrate this visually. Even if you take a light bullet, like the Sierra 155gr Palma and push it up over 2900fps, it still can’t compete.

I realize Palma shooters run these even faster, but this site is directed more at the tactical applications of precision shooting. Yes, in theory you could run a 30″ barrel and really rocket a light bullet and get close performance wise, but that’s a specialized application for a specific group of shooters. The vast majority of those interested in the 6.5 Creedmoor Vs 308 Winchester debate are recreational shooters, hunters, aspiring tactical marksman, law enforcement, etc.


This graph shows the drop path for the three bullets and muzzle velocities I picked for the graph in 308 Winchester

As you can see from the graph, the 175gr Sierra approaches 400 inches of drop at 1000 yards, it’s lobbed more than 32ft in the air in order to connect after fighting gravity out to the target. The 178gr Hornady HPBT does better. The 155gr Sierra HPBT, because of it’s muzzle velocity, does the best at a little over 300 inches of drop. That’s still not that impressive, ballistically speaking when we’re having the whole 6.5 Creedmoor Vs 308 Winchester debate.


Here’s the path for my handloads using 123gr Lapua Scenars and a fairly common muzzle velocity for Hornady Factory 140gr AMAX

The differences in ballistics should already be jumping out at you. Both of the 6.5 Creedmoor loads make the journey to 1000 yards at or under 300 inches of drop. Only the 155gr Sierra HPBT in 308 Winchester could come close to this performance. Yet it still lost by more than a foot. In reality, though, your drop isn’t the big concern when shooting. Most ranges are square and the distances are known. Even in dynamic scenarios and field conditions, laser rangefinders these days make accurate ranging pretty easy. The real test of ballistics is the wind. Gravity is constant and the adjustments needed to overcome it don’t change every few seconds. The wind is another story.

6.5 Creedmoor Vs 308 Winchester: WIND

If you were holding onto any hope the money you bet on the 308 being victorious in the 6.5 Creedmoor Vs 308 Winchester matchup, prepare to have your hopes dashed. Please understand, the 308 is a fine cartridge, I have one and it’s great…but there’s really no contest here. If you have enough money to buy one rifle, make it a Creedmoor. The differences in wind drift are just laughable, and I’m going to show you right now.


This is the drift chart for the same loads in 308 Winchester, the best of the group is my handload at just under 90 inches of drift at 1000 yards

There you have the performance of the 308 Winchester at 1000 yards. This is for a 10mph full value wind. We’ve discussed using that as a baseline several times in our series on How To Read The Wind – The Ultimate Guide.  90″ of drift was the best performance, from my handloads. The more commonly found 175gr Sierra HPBT found in Federal Gold Medal Match ammunition needed more than 100″ of room to overcome the effects of a 10mph wind at 1000 yards. This means you’re aiming more than 8ft into the wind when shooting at a target placed 1000 yards away. It doesn’t sound that bad, right?

Drift chart for 6.5 Creedmoor with 140 AMAX and 123 Scenar

Drift chart for 6.5 Creedmoor with 140 AMAX and 123 Scenar

As you can see the 140gr AMAX commonly found in Hornady and Winchester match ammunition makes the same journey to 1000 yards but needs only 66″ of correction. My handloads with the lighter 123gr Scenar make the journey with about 76″ of correction. So at a minimum, you’re looking at around TWO FEET less drift at 1000 yards using the 6.5 Creedmoor. That may not sound like much in the grand scheme of things. Is 6ft off target that much less than 8ft off target. Well, its 25% better wind performance for starters.

The farther you have to hold off the target and into space, the more room for error you have to acknowledge. Remember, wind is changing constantly! If you’re engaging a 1 MOA plate that’s 10″ across at 1000 yards, do you want to do it with the caliber that needs 25% more wind correction? Or 25% less wind correction?

6.5 Creedmoor Vs 308 Winchester: AMMO

I want to touch on ammunition prices real quick. I’m going to list a couple places you can buy match grade ammunition online the day I post this article. I’m going to write whether they’re in stock or not, and the prices. You be the judge as to which caliber has ammunition more readily available and more competitively priced.


  • Midway USA
    • Federal Gold Medal Match 175gr HPBT
      • $25.99/20 – $1.30/rd – In Stock
      • $249.99/200 – $1.25/rd – Out of Stock
  • Mile High Shooting Accessories
    • Federal Gold Medal Match 175gr HPBT
      • $29.99/20 – $1.50/rd – In Stock


  • Midway USA
    • Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor 140gr AMAX
      • $26.49/20 – $1.32/rnd – Out of Stock
  • Mile High Shooting Accessories
    • Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor 140gr AMAX
      • $26.99/20 – $1.34/rnd – In Stock
      • $260.00/200 – $1.30/rd – In Stock


  • Midway USA
    • Winchester 6.5 Creedmoor 140gr AMAX
      • $26.99/20 – $1.35/rd – In Stock
      • $249.99/200 – $1.25/rd – In Stock
  • Mile High Shooting Accessories
    • Winchester 6.5 Creedmoor 140gr AMAX
      • $26.49/20 – $1.32/rd – In Stock

So there you have it, you can get any of this ammo these days. The 6.5 Creedmoor ammo is attainable for at or less than the cost of match grade 308 Winchester ammunition. Even if the prices were identical, do you want to pay the same amount of money for ammunition that performs 25% less effectively? There’s another thing here that people love to throw around as a basis for comparison. We’re going to deal with that briefly, next, before wrapping up the article, and hopefully the entire 6.5 Creedmoor Vs 308 Winchester debate.

6.5 Creedmoor Vs 308 Winchester: BARRELS

Ahh yes, barrel life. 308 Winchester will last 5000-10,000 rounds and the lowly 6.5 Creedmoor can only expect 2000-3000. I’m going to tell you right now, that’s a misleading concept. For starters I can pretty much guarantee you that those 308 barrels with 5000-10,000 rounds on them probably aren’t shooting 1 MOA or better anymore. When people say 2000-3000 rounds of 6.5 Creedmoor that’s what we’re talking about. The expected life at or under the 1 MOA mark. If you’re willing to shoot the rifling smooth in the barrel, you can go farther. If you’re only shooting minute of deer that may be entirely practical. So let us not confuse one set of accuracy expectations with another.

It Will Last Longer Than You Think

Second, shooting 2000 rounds takes a lot longer than you think. 1000 rounds per year is about 20 rounds EVERY week, or two outings a month shooting 40 rounds or better. Even then, it would take you two years of sustained shooting at that pace to even approach the point where a 6.5 Creedmoor might start to slip above the 1 MOA accuracy standard. Keep things in perspective. We’re talking about firing more than $2600 USD worth of ammunition before the barrel is potentially nearing the end of it’s service life. You can have a new barrel cut and chambered for around 600 bucks. The cost of the barrel pales in comparison to what you’re going to spend on the ammunition required to burn it out. So be realistic about how much you shoot, and how important barrel life really is to you.

Wrapping Up

There were some similarities between this article and the prior one but I wanted to rehash the topic and really drive home the differences in ballistic performance. I wanted to give you some up to date, non Sandy Hook pricing schedule, ammunition costs. Lastly, I wanted to point out how inconsequential barrel life really is in the grand scheme of costs. My hope is that new shooters looking at a Savage in Cabelas or a Ruger Precision Rifle will make a more educated caliber choice. Remember, the 6.5 Creedmoor Vs 308 Winchester debate isn’t really a debate. The Creedmoor is the superior caliber, that’s just the way it is.

I have nothing against 308s, but if a guy looking to get into Precision Rifle shooting asked what caliber he should consider…there’s really only one answer. The 6.5 Creedmoor will perform, as a rule of thumb, roughly 25% better in both drop and wind deflection than the 308 Winchester. Don’t set yourself up for failure, go with the caliber most likely to make your trips to the range a success! If you have any questions or comments to add, please drop them in the comments field below!

Owner and Proprietor of AccuracyTech, LLC. Rich is a Firearms Enthusiast, Precision Rifle Competitor, and Writer. He is committed to bringing readers quality reviews and articles related to the Precision Shooting Sports. If you have any questions for him, please use the contact form on the site.