Top Five Long Range Cartridges – The Best of the Best

Long-range shooting expert, he literally wrote the book, L.P. Brezny, makes his case for what he thinks are the best Long Range Cartridges.

The Long Range Cartridge Line up
The Long Range Cartridge Line Up:

L.P. Brezny

United States -( First off, a number of you won't like what I have to say on the subject of long range cartridges .

Prior to starting this material I interviewed several hard nosed long range shooters and asked each of them the same question. “Name five of the very best long range cartridges please”.

In each case I got a totally different answer, except for a possible single round of ammunition, and that was the tried and true 300 Win Mag of which I own several rifles and totally agree. You see this is the problem here. Everyone out there in AmmoLand has their idea of the best of the best, and in most cases it starts with what they own in a rifle, and shoot themselves. With that in mind I turned to an old saying that I have hung my hat on for many years. The saying goes like this.

There are the three “P's” when it comes to the best of the best long range rifle rounds, and as you already know, I am about to tell you about each of them : Performance, Practicality and Price.

When evaluating a cartridge that adapts well for a very long shooting down range I like to look at the rounds performance ability, practicality in the field, and finally the price per round.

Somehow the idea has been floating around that shooters are made of money now-a-days. The fact is nothing could be further from the truth. Making a more modest round have some staying power is the key to success, but in so far as my task, it is to select each round based on a number of factors that center around the best of the best long range cartridges, so here is the whole deal in an ammo can.

50 BMG Long Range Cartridges

M-2 Ball 750 gr 50 BMG in links. These make great rat lodge destroyers in a prairie dog town at long range.
M-2 Ball 750 gr 50 BMG in links

Say what you like, but nothing fired from a human shoulder can touch the big bad 50 cal cartridge. The fuel cell is so outstanding that the bench mark 30-06 cartridge was the basis for it by the developer John Browning in his search for an anti-aircraft round. The big 50 will send a 750 grain bullet down range at 2700 f.p.s., then destroy almost anything in its path that ranges from barricades to warm targets. In terms of ranging ability the massive bullet will stay awake (above the speed of sound ) and clear out to 2,500 yards before someone puts a pillow under its head. Shooting the 50 cal requires a whole lot of rifle, and in this case I have owned several, but today shoot a very straight forward Steyr H.S. 50 with cut rifling, and it is so accurate that it has held world long range titles for back to back years across the board.

Practical? No, but a great deal of fun when shooting off the tops of bad lands mud butts at a mile away.

Price per round? Very high but through outfits like Century Arms, and Federal Cartridge ( American Eagle ) case lots are half that of much smaller long range rounds. In terms of performance. Well, nothing was feared more then an American sniper and his 50 Barrett in the sand box.

On that note I rest my case.

408 Chey-Tac Long Range Cartridges

408 CheyTac Long Range Cartridges
408 CheyTac Long Range Cartridge

The 408 CheyTac has a mixed history of both success and failure, but in the area of pure ballistics it is a very deadly gunning system. As a total long range wildcat round with no parent case at all, the round is unique, and the time I have spent behind a custom McMillan turn bolt shooting this cartridge can be considered memorable at the least. Some will say the 416 Barrett commands more respect then the 408, but being a bit old school, and liking the added velocity of the big “8” over the 416, it still takes top billing in my book.

The 408 Chey-Tac sends a 419 grain solid copper ultra high BC bullet down range at 2900 f.p.s., or a somewhat light weight pill being 305 grains at a blistering big bore 3450 f.p.s. That's hot in terms of a big round, and I have a close neighbor in the mountains that shoots over a mile off his back deck at a lime stone bolder on the next mountain over for kicks on any given Saturday afternoon when the wind is right.

338 Lapua Long Range Cartridges

338 Lapua Ammunition
338 Lapua Ammunition

Viewing the whole best long range cartridges subject as you care to, in most cases the real heavy weights in cartridge selection will boil down currently to the 338 Lapua. From grain weight options, price point per round, practical applications and performance at long range, this cartridge is just about the best of the very best as a long distance shooting choice. Like the previous offerings just covered, the 338 Lapua is a military generated round that has been developed by the Fins to replace the 50 BMG, 416 Barrett, and the 408 Chey Tac as a long range snipers tool.

As 338 Lapua ammunition has built an outstanding track record among military snipers and sportsmen alike this option is here to stay.

300 Winchester Magnum or just Win-Mag

300 Winchester Magnum
300 Winchester Magnum

The short form here is this 300 Winchester Magnum cartridge is a massively popular go-to round due to cost per round down range, options in rifle available as chambered in the 300 Win, and its performance even at ranges well beyond 1000 yards.

Currently the US Army has gone to this cartridge when chambering their turn bolt Remington 700 action sniper rifle, ( M-24's, ) and when applying a new round to chassis rifles like the Remington 2010 sniper platform, among others.

Snipers needed to get past 1000 yards, and that meant turning to more cartridge and more bullet to do the deal.

Now the 300 Winchester Magnum can hold off mortar crews and small unit snipers to ranges beyond 1500 yards all day long in the mountain of Afghanistan. As a long range big game round or hard steel target cartridge this is a top contender to say the least.

Hornady's 6.5 Creedmoor

Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor
Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor

Hornady's Dave Emery ballistic expert broke the mold on this one, and now after almost two full years of testing by way of four different rifles at, and beyond 1000 yards here in western South Dakota, I can say for a fact that we are seeing the next rising star in long range shooting.

Why the best of the very best?

Because the 6.5 Creedmoor will stay with and exceed a pile of cartridges, not break the household bank account, and is quickly growing in terms of cartridge brand options and bullet types. Sierra has just released the 130 grain TMK in 6.5 caliber, and Hornady offers the brand new cold tip ELD-X in a 140 grain Match bullet this summer. With the new Federal American Eagle offering in a 140 grain “hollow tip” pill, and Winchester's 140 grain Match ammunition, factory loads are everywhere. Black Hills ammunition is considering very seriously offering the new round, because I believe due to the Sierra bullet options now available to this high quality cartridge company.

In just handloaded bullets, Berger has now built a new 130 grain VLD that will drill prairie rats to 800 yards all day long. By the time this copy goes to press I would not be surprised to see still additional bullets and loads coming to volition.

I believe that the 6.5 Creedmoor could be the 21st century 30-30 in terms of general popularity down the line.

Brezny with Browning X Bolt 6.5 Creedmoor, Cartridge 120 grain A-Max Hornady

About the Author L.P. Brezny:

With more than 50 years experience in the field and the testing lab, author L.P. Brezny is one of today’s most recognized shotgun experts and authors. He is a contributor to dozens of firearms publications, such as Wildfowl, Shotgun Sports, and Varmint Hunters, and he is a regular columnist in the Gun Digest annual.

AmmoLand Editor Comments:  This article was updated to reflect changes in product improvements / availability on 06/30/2017.

142 thoughts on “Top Five Long Range Cartridges – The Best of the Best

  1. Good discussion all, but I’m in outback Colorado or Wyo or N Idaho, and I need some Ammo – Don’t ask why! I walk into the local hardware store and I’m limited to what’s on the shelf. Luckily I brought along the old ’06 or .308 and for darn sure there’ll be some .30-.30. I’ll have to stalk a little better, but I’ll be shooting on this trip.

    1. Along with some boxes of 7mm Mag, or 270 probably on the shelf. You might be surprised what you find in the small town store – depends on his regular customers. And years ago, someone might have found a deal on a 338 win mag.

  2. Are people forgetting the old but proven 30-06 with Match Grade Bullets, say 180 Grain Sierra Matchkings, or, if you can find them these days, the 172 Grain FA Match Bullets, which shot quite well if your rifle “liked” them. I’ve been out of this game for some years now, however it seems to me that the cost of bullets has gotten plain ridiculous..

  3. I gain so much knowledge on this site. So many smart people with smart replies. They just got to show how damn smart and experienced they are.

  4. Thanks for the article. I’m just getting into the world of long range shooting. I don’t own any rifle and am currently in the research stage. I enjoyed the read but one thing I’ll say as probably the least qualified person in this comment section. I’m planning on buying a rifle and platform that I will actually shoot. A lot. As such, barrel life and cost per round make every one of the rounds mentioned non-starters for me. I know from the shortcomings, but it really looks like from a practical standpoint, for your humble non-military civilian shooter on a limited budget who actually wants to get out and shoot regularly, it looks like it’s VERY hard to beat the 308…

    1. @Indy, Brother, welcome to the site and the world of long range shooting. How far do you want to shoot? And how much do you want to spend? Just my opinion, but .308 is easy to beat. Do yourself a favor and research the 6.5mm and 6mm before you buy. Go to some matches and see what other people are shooting. I really like the 6.5 Lapua best. Hornaday is pushing their 6.5 Creedmore and 6mm Creedmore really hard, and so rifles and ammunition are really easy to get. What about a scope? And don’t scrimp on the rings, bases, and all the little stuff, either. Are you a reloader?

      1. Thanks for this. Budget hasn’t been decided but when I do it I want to do it right. I know from my AR life that skimping on rings / bases only leads to issues. Most of my rifles have either nightforce or spuhr mounts. I subscribe to the idea that the scope should be 1 to 2x the cost of the rifle, so that will definitely impact the rifle budget. 2k for rifle + 2k for scope sounds about right atm. Not a reloader yet but it’s another thing I’m very interested in

    2. I will say that if I had unlimited budget where cost per round is not an issue and I could change barrels every 2k rounds or so, it looks like the 338 lapua is hard to beat. 6.5 creedmore great as well. But when the rounds are minimally 2x those of the 308 and the 308 barrels last 5 times as long, it becomes a pretty simple numbers game

      1. Indy – if truly getting into the Long Range Game, you are probably going to end up reloading as well, and in that case, you are not going to use cheap brass or bullets in 308 either. As a long range shooter told me – Lapua, Nosler and Norma brass, in that order. (Nosler is prepped and pre-sorted, makes a big difference) So unless you are buying match rounds, (and there are good ones) – the ammo cost is a mute point except the size of the powder charge, and heavier, pointy “Match” bullets are gonna cost more. (Berger 180 or 190gr 308 match @ $.50-.53 per bullet? 140gr 6.5 = $.44 – .47 per bullet)
        IF ! – you are going to stay with hi performance “Store Bought” ammo – save the brass and list it on Craigs List or Ebay to off set the cost. 😉 Those 338’s & 6.5’s will go fast listed as match brass.

      2. I would first find a gun you like, I shoot the Ruger Mark 2 in the 300 Win Mag with a SS barrel synthetic stock with a Nikon scope pacmeyer butt pad with an additional 3/4 slip on so I can shoot all day. I load with my rcbs, when I reload, I measure each load to make sure every load will shoot as close to each other. Which ever options you due, make sure you have fun and don’t take short cuts because it will come back to bite you.

  5. You got quite aways away from practicality and price – 50BMG borderline affordable but ammo is scarce – 338 Lapua is great but ammo is very expensive and relatively scarce – 300 WinMag a great choice and practical – 408 Cheytac? give me a break – unless you handload it you won’t find loaded ammo for it as well as the 416 which is difficult to find ammo for. – 6.5 Creedmoor looks to be growing in popularity but ammo is probably not easy to find at an affordable price – So, your article doesn’t seem to live up to your premises. But great for Military sized budgets.

    1. 6.5 creedmoor ammo has come down in price to the same level as name brand .308 match ammo. Plus reloading brass has also become commonly available

      1. Several sources (perhaps just echoing each other?) have DOD looking at some variant of 6.5mm for a more potent infantry round in personal weapons and light machine guns. Terminal ballistics of rounds like the 6.5cm and 260 Remington are, as most on this forum already know, comparable to .30 caliber rounds out to 1,200 yards, the cartridges are lighter than the 7.62mm NATO, recoil is manageable, and the round is more lethal than the 5.56mm. To keep combat loads comparable to the 5.56mm NATO, they’re looking at polymer cases. Probably THE hurdle to this actually happening are the ginormous existing stockpiles of 5.56mm NATO ammunition in the US and worldwide.

        However, if it did happen, I wonder how it would influence the civilian market. Would 6.5mm components disappear into military procurement, or would we enjoy a robust surplus ammunition market for Creedmoor or 260?

  6. I’m sorry but this is impossible to read. This guy is trying WAY too hard to seem in-the-know. Instead of the veteran pro he sounds like a twangy hick. And does he say anything new? Not really. Same old .50, 308 Lapua and 300 win mag. The only thing he added to stick out from the huge crowd of “experts” all over the web is an unusual caliber that very few people know, the 408 Chey-Tac. Good luck buying those anywhere but the mfg’s website!

  7. Not surprising that there are a lot of responses and opinions voiced. Unfortunately, I think the article missed the point, which was stated in the very beginning: What cartridges meet the three “P”, Performance, Practicality and Price? Did any of the cartridges mentioned met this criteria? I have been a round a bit and this is the first time I have heard of the 408 Chey-Tac? 50 BMG? Can you even shoot these at your local range. As for the 300 Win Mag…I will put that in the maybe column, same for the 338, but do we really need another 308 light? This whole article reminds me of an article printed in Outdoor Life (I think) in which the premise was: What is the best cartridge to drop an Elk in it tracks because the hunter in hunting right on the border of Yellowstone Park and you don’t want the Elk to run back into the park to die? Really, is one going to buy a gun just to meet this criteria? Guys, we are going off the deep end here.

    1. John, there is a whole new sport of Extreme Long Range shooting, and in some cases, Long range hunting. And the “308” ain’t gonna cut it. We are talking 800 to 1400yds, and to a 1mile and further. I’ve seen 6.5 Creedmore repeatedly ring steel @ 1400, and the 308 struggle to make 1000. A 25-06 didn’t make it to 1000. (maybe next hand-load) Now to me, punching paper or ringing steel at that range is one thing (and it is addictive) But dropping an animal at that range is another (other than p-dogs & woodchucks). But there are those who hunt at that distance and even had their own TV show.
      Under Practical – Beauty in the eye of the beholder, I would go with – can I get this past my wife as “Practical” vrs Impress my buddies practical. The 50 BMG has been around awhile, trying to remember when I 1st saw a Barrett 50 @ Cabela’s on display. & no the wife & I decided it wasn’t practical. Note -some justify as dual purpose – E.L.R. Target & Hunting. And several States have both, (especially as long as it’s varmint shooting)

      1. @Bob, If you like the 6.5 Creedmore, the 6.5 Lapua is a smidge, but a noticeable and measurable smidge better. Hornaday just pushes the Creedmore because they developed it and have a financial interest in it.

        1. I agree, several good 6.5 rounds – but alas – I own the 264 win mag the 6.5 creed shooter use to own LOL. Now he will be saving on Powder & Brass ! 😉 & I readily admit he is much better trigger and spotter !

      2. @Bob use Google Earth or Google Maps and zoom in on the long range rifle range at Camp Perry Ohio and look at the three reefs of copper east of the endzone of the thousand yard targets.

        I still don’t know strangers Behind The Rifleman competing and I also did time in the butts marking those targets watching those little pieces of copper plinking into the lake yet another 300-400 yards further when they were shooting at 1,000 yard line.

        Probably all those 177 grain rounds they were using, so don’t kid yourself.

        1. greg – been to Camp Perry – long time ago. Rifle – Barrel length and Rifle shooter will make a difference – but plinking down in a lake at 1000 + another 300, and hitting a target is a different item Greg. We picked up several Whole 308 rounds that were just laying on the dirt @ 1000 & 1100 yds from previous matches. Most were the 168grain BTHP variety.
          I was spotting for the 308 shooter after he had used his 6.5 Creedmore. Big difference! And he used 168 match and 175 LR ammo. Maybe if he had a 29″ barrel on the 308 Or lobbing 200+ grain? But none of what he brought repeatedly hit “Target” at or past past 1000 the 175 maybe a couple @1100. NONE made it to 12,13 or 1400! And he isn’t the only one this has happened to.
          So Don’t Kid yourself Greg -there is a difference, in the field and on paper. BTW, I was using a 264 Win Mag. So I don’t need to buy a Creedmore, other than to save on powder.

        2. @ Greg -seems I touched a nerve seeing your “yadda, yadda,Goodnight” reply to my 1st answer to the post above –
          BUT – #1 -the shooter I was spotting for – “Former Marine L.R. shooting team member, with awards – So if you want to take up HIS purchase of a 6.5 Creedmore – be my guest. If you don’t like the way he shot his remmy 308, vrs the 6.5 – i’ll get you in touch.
          #2 – Do you really think the Marines, or Army only use 308/7.62 for long range ? How long have you been out? Please try a internet search.
          #3 -I’m just reporting what I witnessed – you’re experience obviously differs. But you are reporting on a max of 1000yd target – I’m talking 1000 and beyond.
          Do I own a 308 -sure do, but being we were going to a 1400yd range, I didn’t even bring it, that was MY choice. Congrats on your marine service – 22.5yrs of Army myself.
          Hope you & Your family had a good 4th. -Bob

      3. Bob, running a hunting TV show is one thing. Hunting a large animal FOR REAL at a mile distance is another. A VERY another. Just think about it as someone who would do it. You get to a shooting position which is usually away from paths you can drive on. You shoot, say, a bear from a mile away. You have to walk a mile to the animal, then load it onto something and then walk back with half a ton of load behind you. And all that with 30 lbs of the .50 BMG gun in your… hand? Are you seriously saying that’s practical? OR even doable?

        1. Passerby – NO – you miss read- The “Show” were hunters out West, shooting custom 7mm mag, with custom turrets and dropping Antelope at 1000 and more. The trip for the “Customers included a 3 day L.R. school and the hunt. I didn’t say I agree with it.
          A major gripe of mine is the hunting shows where they shoot in extreme conditions but they rarely show the meat being packed out. OR worse, it’s packed out by quads or a helicopter.
          I’ve been there & Done That – much younger then – and it was packing out moose quarters over rough Alaska terrain. 2 different times. The last thing you are allowed to grab in Alaska is the “Rack” – we were too tired to bother – So much for my buddies “long shot”. He should have waited.

  8. I can’t and won’t argue with anything you wrote because they’re all good choices, but for myself I prefer my tried and true .270.
    I enjoy your articles, keep them coming!

  9. To Matt, whoever or wherever you are: If you do not like the articles on AmmoLand, leave the site and go elsewhere.
    Men like L.P. Brezny and myself didn’t get old by being dumb and stupid, or by luck, it was because we were a bit smarter than the average “bear”. Mr. Brezny can wear whatever he wants in the field, and if you don’t approve, I am sure that it bothers him about as much as if he missed a proctology appointment. You have no idea as to why he is wearing the sneakers, possibly because they are just more comfortable. I often wear them because the bullet I took in the hip in ’68 makes if very uncomfortable to wear boots… AND, they have never gotten in the way of me harvesting my animals. So, instead of criticizing the gentlemen who operate AmmoLand for OUR benefit, you should be thanking them. And for the record, they DO NOT pay my wife and I for our reviews…we do not take money from anyone, as we are comfortably retired here in New Mexico. If

  10. For hunting, I like the .338 lapua. But for steel, the 6mm Dasher, and 6mm Creedmore seem to be game changers. A 130 grain round at 3200fps is hard to top. Less that 20moa drop at 1k yards, and consistent. Ive got a Krieger barrel on the way, going into an AR that I plan to chamber 6mm Creedmore. In eastern North Carolina, I lay on the firing line every month with the best in the world. Check out what their playing with, and you’ll find accuracy.

  11. What’s with L.P. Brezny wearing a neck wrap honoring/glorifying the terrorist whom are committing heinous acts through out the world?!
    All decked out in camo but wearing white sneakers!!!

    1. Matt;

      Since you insisted on emailing us to answer this here is our reply.

      Your question is so stupid, I am now dumber for having read it. It is called a Shemagh , pronounced ‘sheh-mag’, look it up : and he is wearing white sneakers because he is old and does whatever the F**K he wants.

      Drain with your own swamp of stupidity first.

        1. I’m only too happy to have gotten under Ammoland’s skin to show their true colors by having them start calling me names. Shows how unprofessional, childish they are.
          I could do the same but why stoop to their level.
          Ammoland will be hearing from somebody to address their uncalled profanity anyway.

          1. @Matt, these two guy provide us with a free forum to exchange views and you want to get under their skin? False accusations of profanity, really.? Do you work for CNN? Or are you, just, one of those guys that just wants to drag others down into the conceptual gutter?

          2. @ Matt – Uh – you assume much ? Where did they call “YOU” a profanity ? ? ? ? ?
            They said the ol geezer where’s what the F**## he wants.
            and BTW – many of our own operators wear a Shemagh over in the sandbox.

  12. So after all that i still am not sure witch is the best gun for long range target shooting there is no consistencies in all the literature and comments so something is wrong is it down to personal option and/or is there not a over all best gun for the job of long range shooting

    1. Well, a Canadian Sniper supposedly made a two mile kill recently, with a McMillan Tac-50. I am more than fairly confident that he wasn’t using de-linked M2 ammo. This author’s assertion that practicality and price have anything to do with which rounds are the best is a false argument. The best should be based solely on performance and the rest is about which rounds can be acquired by a particular shooter.

    2. @Eagle eye, First, what is your definition of “best”? Before you answer, I note that you ask. “… witch is the best gun for long range target shooting…” (sic) I already have that gun, it is breathtakingly expensive, and it is not for sale.
      Then I note that your question gets run on into a statement and another question. This tells me that you have not thought the many factors through, yet. For example: Do you mean the best gun or best brand of gun or best cartridge?
      You simply can not take any shortcuts when deciding on the “best” cartridge/rifle/scope shooting system combination for one specific purpose that you have in mind.

  13. I do not doubt the author’s findings. These are not practical in terms of commonality henceforth price. 6.5 and 300 not too bad a cost. This long range hype is a joke. It is done to sell expensive scopes and rifles. All these Stevie Sniper wannabes
    Are enriching gun,ammo and scope manufacturers. I would like to see all these guys when an adversary is shooting back at them. If that were the case all this fancy equipment and gadgetry won’t mean squat except for the people who can think and perform under deadly pressure. Chris Kyle bought a 308 when the military wasn’t paying for his equipment! How much you getting paid under the table to write these articles?

    1. Amen brother. They watch American Sniper and go drop 4000 bucks on a gun that you can’t shoot anywhere. I’m in texas and most ranges only go to 200 yards . Which is like shooting a 22lr at 15 yards.

  14. Bought a Tikka T 3 rifle in 260 Remongton, loaded it with 140 SST’s , 129 H- inter bonds, and Berger 140 VLD bullets using various loads od 4350 or 4831 powders. After two years of fiddlefarting around, still have not got this gun to outshot my Remington 700 BDL in 270 Winchester. In conclusion, long range accuracy seems to border on some sort of personal Black Magic. As far as going hunting, if it’s a serious trip I grab the 270. If it’s. doddle I take the 260 because it weighs less. If there are big bears around then it’s my 9.3×62…its personal, like I say.

    1. Try a 123 or 120 grain in your 260 – Sierra Matchking or Lapua Scenar – or even a Nosler 130. Those have been lasers for me.

  15. The 7mm mag shoots a little flatter, the 300 hits a little harder. My elk dropped in his tracks from a shoulder shot from a factory 180 fusion from my 300 em Hawkeye. Range was a little over 300 yds (not truly long range but hit exactly where I aimed, as the gun was sighted in at that range. Seeing him hit the deck so fast made me a believer. I am sure that a 7mm mag would have worked about as well in this instance but I just cant help having a soft spot for that round.

    1. It’s a question that depend on personal use. However, generally speaking (not necessarily 100% truthfully right):

      7mm as long as it’s not exceeding 500 yds.
      Also 7mm would cause less damage to the meat around 300-500yds. .308 would do the job and perhaps less damaging that .300 win.

      If Moose or Big Bear, stick to .300 or .338 for long range (200yds +).
      If Moose or Big Bear, stick to 45-70 for short range (less than 200 yds).

      For medium to small game, .308 will never fail you at almost all distances. Then 7mm would be the next optimal These 2 calibers will have less recoil – if you want to perfect your shots at the range without having a painful shoulder.
      The .308 would be the cheapest and most popular ammo.

    2. In closing my comments on this thread all I can say to all you people talking all this yada, yada, yada about long range this, bullets dropping on pillows and all this bench test theory and other garbage, I will always stand firm in suggesting to people that whatever the US Marine Corps uses, THAT is the go to round and the go-to weapons because we have trained for decades at 500 yards with iron sights and the 5.56 round to qualify expert. That and the fact to have not lost one battle yet, bundled with a group of hard-chargers that do nothing more than kill people and blow up stuff for a living? Doing EVERYTHING, with NOTHING? (3% of the annual Navy budget.) I know for a fact that I am amongst the best family on a planet of long range death whether it be paper or meat.

      Semper Fidelis you all and good-night.

  16. What makes the 6.5 creedmore better than the 243 win? From what I have read, they are about the same as far as long range bullet drop and wind drift. If anything the 243 might be a little better at maintaining trajectory.

    1. @Jake 30gr. or 40gr. heaver bullet .5mm biggest difference. Heavy bullet is what carries he load in the BMG 50.
      Inertia = object in motion tends to stay in motion.

    2. You ask a great question, Jake. All I’ve seen lately in the gun mags and blogs is writers wetting themselves describing this cartridge, which is really nothing more than yet another cartridge in the ever-growing list to choose from. Give it a year and another super cartridge will replace the cridmoore; it’s a never-ending evolution. Pick your cartridge and rifle, practice with it a lot to get to know what works and it will be as good as that other cartridge if you do your part. I mean, how many of us are REALLY GOOD at throwing lead down range accurately to justify another rifle in an already overcrowded gun safe?

    3. @Jake BobD is giving you good info years ago and i’m showing my age again the “Jack OConnor” had a lot to do with the 270 and that’s all you heard for years. I will tell you this if you have found something you like stick with it you start out liking it you won’t be unhappy with it. My personal favorite is the 243 the only two others I reload any more are the 30-06 and 357 mag. I always thought if I needed anything larger it would be the 416 Rigby. Don’t worry about everything you read .

      1. Another great round. The .257 lacks the bullet variety of the 6.5, but the case capacity of the -06 is 25% greater than that of the 6.5 (not to mention the .257 Weatherby Magnum, which adds 60% more of the 6.5 Creedmoor). I really think [for a while there] the 6.5 was the “new thing,” with complete disregard for ballistics. I’d like to see a few more bullets for the .257 with some high BC’s.

        1. Slickdriver -how far have you reached with that 25o6? Recently shot with 2 others at a long range course – the 25-06 could not reach near as far as the 6.5 Creedmore or the 64 win mag. – (speaking of case capacity!) Wasn’t the shooter, he did fine with the 6.5.
          Wondering what your formula is if you’re reaching a 1000.
          The 6.5’s were hitting @ 1400

          1. Bob, what kind of loads were you using for both (Creedmoor and 25-06)? I’d be interested in bullets and powder. I’d be especially interested in your experience if the bullets were the same weight… but I doubt they were.

          2. @ Slick Driver – wish i could help – he had 2 different loads that were hand loaded for him by a friend of his. He is a predator hunter and most shots where he hunts are @ 600 or less. He was very happy with consistent hits @ 700 with his hunting round. Pretty sure they were Vmax, but light weight (75’s?), the others were 100 grain. Wish I could help with the powder.
            I don’t think his set-up – scope & loads – were for the 1000-1400 range- but he sure had fun with the 6.5 he got to shoot. How far have you hit with the 25-06, and target or critter?

        2. @Slick, I’ve been shooting the .257 Weatherby for about 20 years now. I can “keep up” till about the 600 yard mark. I also notice that the steel rings sooner and a lot louder.

    1. @Bob,
      75 gr? A varmint load?? I’m guessing you didn’t put a 75 gr round in the Creedmoor and try to shoot it long range. Problem with this comparison is not the caliber but the weight and BC of the bullet. Let me know when you can compare apples to apples. My guess is that an -06 can push a bullet of the same weight and BC faster and further than a Creedmoor due to its increased case capacity and smaller diameter. But… it will have to remain a guess until they start producing match-grade bullets in .257of a similar BC as the Creedmoor. I just don’t see the reason for it’s popularity. Seems random to me.

      1. To all concerned …… If you are reloading don’t forget while you are discussing case capacity . You do not want to leave excess open space in the cartridge. I don’t remember the gentleman’s, name perhaps Wild Bill does, who gave an excellent description of how trouble develops . Suffice to say to much excess capacity that is not filled can be catastrophic . One other thing is different bullet weights need different twist rates. Other wise have fun enjoy!

        1. @ Old vet – speaking of case capacity – I came across 2 articles a while back on the 264 win mag and working up loads for long range hunting. (Took me the longest time to get a answer from Hodgdon on their published loads vrs the huge difference these authors were loading up, they stand by their published 140gr partition load)
          1. – One was emphasizing measured case capacity vrs industry spec capacity.
          2. near the end of the other article, he mentioned if it had not been for a generous “Jump” to relieve pressure, (instead of the often quoted “Just of the Lands”) measurements- he could not have achieved the loads he was describing pushing 140 grain pills well over 3000fps that were well over Hodgdons max for H1000.
          I’m watching my primers, and ease of opening the bolt, with a added jump (which would take away case capacity) But more important -the most accurate. I’d like to find that Article you referenced on too much case capacity.

      2. Like I said -Yes he brought his varmint loads, it was a last minute thing that he ended up coming. He switched to 100gr later. I don’t remember how far he got with those, but not much more. The 6.5 Creed was owned by someone else. For the case capacity – it was impressive, and Store bought Ammo no less!
        I agree – If he could find a high BC .25 round, should be awesome! This Article is a little old, Hornady and Berger have upped the anti on 6.5 numbers with 143gr & higher bullet weight. I guess the popularity of the Creedmore is Advertising – the characteristics of the 6.5 round and it is a short action. (but so are others)
        Years ago I was 1st impressed with a Army surplus Swede 6.5×55 open sight , that took a hunting camp End of season shoot off, and the money in the hat ! ! !

  17. I’d like to hear opinions (or facts) on the difference between the 300 Weatherby Mag and the 300 Winchester Magnum. How well do they compare? How much do they differ?

    Also I’m about to buy a Browning X-Bolt Long Range Hunter Stainless 6.5 Creedmore for my first long range shooting gun. Any alternatives, suggestions for a newbie investing in the right gun.

    1. Are you going to hunt or shoot paper. Thin profile barrels heat up faster but are lighter for hunting. Heavier (thicker profile) barrel will be better for 5 shot groups at the shooting range. Browning makes a rifle for target shooting.

      1. The gun will be used for both. I want a gun I can shoot targets 500 yds or more and I want a gun for my girls to hunt with. I have a 30-06 but I’m looking for something with less kick.

        1. 500 yards? Remmington 700 SPS with the bull barrel. I have one in .308 with a great scope and can take down paper or prey all day long.

  18. Just order a 6.5 300 Weatherby mag rife. I own many Weatherby rifles and like the flat, hard hit and not much recoil. I have read reviews about wearing out the barrels. I’m sure they sell more barrels. I’ve owned and used a 300 Weatherby since 1967 and that same gun goes with me every time I need the power and dead on hit. Now neck it down, can’t wait to get it. If I need more power I also own a 460 mag Weatherby for those special times. Yes there are times, I had a 1400# steer that went wild and I took him at 300yds between the eyes and it lifted him up and flip him over on him back.

  19. OK. I get that you like killing prairie dogs, but I like technical information. I’m not a fan of chatty authoritative articles that make flowery prose assertions without data to support them. What do I mean by “flowery prose”? I refer to the type of folksy too-clever-by-half jargon commonly found in gun magazines. Example: “In terms of ranging ability the massive bullet will stay awake (above the speed of sound) and clear out to 2,500 yards before someone puts a pillow under its head.” Sadly, the few bits of useful info must be teased out of this cringe inducing gun mag speak.

  20. Can some of you astute practitioners of the Ballistic Black Arts please explain where the Grendel fits in relative to its 6.5 brethren?
    It seems like the Creedmore has seen a surge in popularity and some hard data as to why this may be would be most helpful.
    I think the 6.5 family dart like BCs and decent bullet masses will eventually make one of them THE “go to” all around round round with the only with the only potential caveat being FTFs during intense ignition sequences….?

    1. I’ve burned out a few barrels in 6.5×55 for both match and field/long range shooting, so I think I can speak for that cartridge. With slow powders and in low temperatures, typically below 25 F, magnum primers are a plus. I use Federal 215 when I can get my hands on them, and I know for a fact that Norma uses RWS magnum primers in their factory loads. It may sound excessive to ignite 50 grains of powder, but it does give more consistent velocity and better precision beyond 400 yards.

      1. Can I get the same performance (velocity and accuracy) out of my 6.5 x 55 Swedish cartridge as I can get from my 6.5 x 47 Lapua, if I use the same powder charge (probably 40-41 gr H4350), same primer, and same exact bullet (Burger 140 gr VLD)? Anyone (but not gil)! If not why not.

        1. First, the 6.5×47 Lapua uses a small rifle primer while the Swede uses a large rifle primer, so you can’t use the same the primer.

          Second, since the Swede has more case capacity than the 6.5×47, for the same volume of powder the Swede will have excess capacity that lets the powder move some, and that will result in variable ignition. By contrast, when loading 6.5×47 I was often compressing the powder slightly (and gently) so those rounds would have performed very similarly.

          In reality, how much difference this makes will depend on the variable trigger nut; bench rest shooters and world class target shooters fret over these things, while I just go practice more.

        2. Even if you were able to use brass of identical quality, the 6.5X47 Lapua will be more inherently accurate. Why? Because of internal ballistics. The ratio of the case diameter, case length, neck diameter, etc. is important. That’s why the most precise calibers used in competition look squatty compared to the more mainstream cartridges, with relatively short powder chambers with relatively larger diameter cases relative to the bullet diameter. 6mm BR is probably the best example.

          6.5 X 55 Swedish – Acurate
          6.5 Creedmoor – Accurater
          6.5 X 47 Lapua – Acuratest

        3. As Smedley said, the Swede has more volume so you can use more and slower powder. This winter I am shooting long range matches with 50.8 grains of Vithavouri N560 and 130 grs Norma Diamond Line VLD bullets with a b.c. of .548, which gives about 2850 ft/s from a 29 in barrel. This is not a hot load in my rifle, but I’d rather save brass, barrel and powder than to squeeze out the last 80-110 ft/s. I don’t know how that compares to a 6.5×47, but loaded to the same pressure there’s no replacement for displacement.

          1. So the 264 win mag ? I’m pushing a 140gr HPBT @ around 3000 FPS w/ 66gr of H1000. 26″ barrel, Remington Sendero. Was hitting 1 moa or less @ 1000yds. I too can go higher by seating depth or more powder, but I’m not looking to burn the barrel either. By shortening the COL I lowered the FPS a tad and lowered the pressure, judging by the primers.

  21. Where would you put the 300 WSM? I know it seems to be loosing popularity of any kind, but it is my favorite for elk.

    Also, I have been a little confused about the 6.5 Creedmore. Seems like a good long range round but a bit short on weight. The largest I have seen is 143 gr. I do not think it would be very effective on an animal with heavy bones and hide like an elk at anything past 300 yds. I will admit to ballistic ignorance here. Can you get me straight.

    1. There are 6.5×55 (Swede) loads up to 156 grains, but for rounds like the .260, 6.5 Creedmoor, and the 6.5×47 Lapua, 140 grains is about the heaviest you’ll find. The Swede is throated for longer, heavier bullets the other 6.5’s can’t handle.

    2. 156 grain bullets are common in 6.5, Norma make Oryx which is a lot like Nosler Accubond, only with a RN. For 300 yds, I would choose a ~140 grain VLD like Lapua Scenar og Accubond over a RN any day of the week. That said, at that range, I think the man behind the rifle is more of a limitation than the bullet weight 🙂

  22. Roadrunner says;
    338 would be my next rifle if I get one in browning x or savage , Remington action all top weapons.
    308 is very good universal weapon for average person hunting long range game.prairre (military proven sniper weapon)
    280 or 7mm mag is great weapon for next size game such as elk or white tail hills open,mountain range pastures

    But as author pointed out importance of affordability to Ammo makers and Gun makers save solid low cost guns and Ammo is key to keeping a strong plublic supporting gun rights, hobby, ranges, and home owner and hunters in numbers that will out way the minority liberals trying to take them away.
    It’s gonna take manufacturers teaming with owners and public to keep them affordable and in place this next century.

  23. Sir;s If a belt is needed there is one on my photo of the ” silver ” 300 Win pictured. Also ” short form is just that” A less then long answer.
    Also Belted Seven Mag? read both book number one of Gun digest and second edition. The big seven is all over that work. Have one and love it in a Ruger #1.

    The Mgm’t.


  24. Didn’t the military use the .308 as a sniper weapon for many years? I really like it, as well as the 7 mag, and 30-06.

    1. The .308 served me well in Vietnam, and has served me well since. I own several, and nothing has ever walked away after being shot. YMMV

        1. M14 or M40? Or both? And what do you think of the stories about US military possibly reverting to the 7.62? Everything old is new again?

          1. M-14, M40 and M-60… All wpro great but you still have to clean them when you’re done!

    2. I carried the M-14, loved it…..wouldn’t have a Mattel Toy at the time. Personally, I think going back to the 7.62 would be a good idea, and if the p**sies can’t deal with the weight, too bad. However, YMMV. Opinions are my own, and I will NOT respond to trolls

    3. I always felt they should have gone to the.243 if they had to go away from the 7.62. We wouldn’t have had the early problems we had with the 5.56. The .243 or 6mm would have worked just fine out of the same platform they already had with the7.62.

  25. Ammoland says the 300 Win Mag photo is correct???, but NO explanation on the absence of the missing STD. 300 Mag Case Rim Belt.?? We call BS and call for correction on that photo, otherwise your credibility is in question. No one should shoot that ammo in a real 300 Min Mag!!!

    1. It’s funny you bring this up. Many of the long-range target shooters want great BC with low recoil. I like both but the 7mm you can really hunt and shoot for targets. I’m a bigger guy so I like a round with more oomph down range. According to the Berger reloading manual the largest round the offer currently is a 140 grain. It looks like the best one for ballistics is the 140gr. match hybrid target G1 BC .618, G7 .317 excellent! I know Berger has a new 195 gr bullet, but I don’t have the data in this manual. However, the 180 gr. match hybrid target has a G1 BC .674 and a G7 BC of .345. The new 195 gr. is even better if you have the right twist. I didn’t look at all of my manuals for other bullet manufacturers due to time. Berger is generally known as a leader in high BC bullets. Both have really good BC characteristics. The 7mm edges out the 6.5 Creedmoor by a bit. I’ll take both please!

  26. This is all fine and dandy, and some god information.

    What would be very practical and useful would be some hard comparisons with some of the other slightly less popular rounds that have been mainstays in our collections and have been around for years. .300 Weatherby, .338 Win Mag, 7mm Rem Mag, the already mentioned twice 6.5 Swede, even some handloaded hot .30/06. Sure the $/rnd might be “reasonable” on some of these big boys, but particularly those of recent development, for many of us using them would also involve getting some new iron. Not an option.

    A new article dealing with some of the long-enduring long range options might be a great followup.

    1. @Tionico, good point. Let our side by side comparison start with recoil. I’d like to see a side by side comparison of the 6.5s first (Creedmore, Grendel, Lapua, Swede, Carcano),

      1. I own a Browning x-bolt shot show exclusive and a Ruger $1 in 6.5 Creedmore, both with 26″ barrels. The Browning recoil, with muzzle break, is a dream and recoil is about like a 243 while the #1 pops like a 270. My 6.5 Swede is less than 243 and my Carcano was light but couldn’t ever find a consistent round therefore, it was sold/traded for a 260. The 260 has very little recoil.

  27. “What is this Google you speak of?”

    Do you mean “What is this Google of which you speak?”?

    Dontchya know a preposition is an improper word to end a sentence with? This is grammar up with which we shall not put. (quote from a very well respected military man of yore)

    Sorry guys, could not resist.

  28. For the budget conscious (mama keeps the checkbook), just about anything 6.5mm does nicely. 6.5×55 Swedish Mauser, 260 Remington, 6.5×47 Lapua, or that young punk, the 6.5 Creedmoor.

    The Swede and the 260 run at more forgiving chamber pressures, and (along with the 6.5×47) are good for reloading. I’m particularly fond of the 260 because it’s based on the 308 case so I can always make brass if needed. A Swede has slightly more case capacity, some really attractive mil-surp rifles, and room for unusually heavy bullets.

    Shooting the 6.5×47 requires dedication, since there are still no factory rifles that I know of chambered for it, and – while it’s based on the 308 case – it uses a small rifle primer. Because of chamber pressure, you’ll want a custom action or a fully supported firing pin. It’s a great cartridge that I shy away from.

    For whatever reason the 6.5 Creedmoor is the cartridge that really seems to have caught on with target shooters and hunters alike, though. I probably need to sample one in the near future, but not just yet – see, I have this really great idea for another 260…

    1. @Smedley54, I just love my 6.5×47 Lapua cheap easy reload, long barrel life, very little recoil and every bit as accurate at any distance as the Creedmoor. I just think that the 6.5 Lapua doesn’t get as much advertising as the Creedmore as a function of business and sales. I love my 6.5 Swede, too, kind of a heritage thing!

      1. Yah – In general, I found the 6.5mm family and never went back. They’re a sweet spot with great ballistics and enough bullet weight variety to satisfy most target shooting or hunting needs, especially as an intermediate cartridge for a rifle safe with a 5.56/.223 and a .308 or 30-06. I might wish the 260 had caught on instead of the 6.5 Creedmoor, but I am glad that something 6.5 has achieved some popularity.

      1. Smedley Darlington Butler was a United States Marine Corps major general, the highest rank authorized at that time, and at the time of his death the most decorated Marine in U.S. history.
        Paladin AKA Zippo

      2. Your Marine credentials are far better than mine (Marine yes, but a techie, 72-76), and yes, General Butler. Semper fi.

  29. What is correct? People, use your words to make clear that of which you are writing.
    If you are referring to the “.300 Win Mag” picture, I just did a Google search for HSM Trophy Gold .300 Win Mag, which took me to Midway, and the picture they have shown is a cartridge WITH A BELT!
    OK, someone at Ammoland is just jerking everyone’s chain for the fun of it, or, they have some serious “lack of ability to use Google” issues!

  30. For prairie dog hunting the .50 Browning round fired just under their noses causes enough vacuum to suck their lungs empty for a few seconds so they collapse from lack of oxygen. Then we take them prisoner and interrogate them to locate their main town and their leaders.

    1. The bullet will not do any damage near the target. It has to hit the target. You can shoot right next to a lightly stacked playing cards and they won’t move, unless you are so close for muzzle blast

      1. You forgot to point out prairie dogs do not speak any of the languages of men , so how can the prairie dog be interrogated.
        Sorry folks I just couldn’t help myself.

        1. @Steve, It is amazing how fast them rodents can learn English, if you slap ’em up a little. I know a good joke line when I see it.

    2. Good man I hope you find their leaders and their major cities we need more people like you. Intelligent interrogating Intimately satisfies me.

    3. Ahhh!?!? Where’s your spirit! Suck the 0 2 out of em, then waterboard the little rodents! They’ll talk!

  31. You may want to recheck the image you have for the .300 Win Mag. It looks like someone used an image of a .308 cartridge.

  32. Check the fifth picture down of the “.300 Win Mag”.
    Where’s the belt?
    What exactly does “short form” mean?

    1. Norma and Lapua make inexpensive match cartridges for 6.5×55 with high quality bullets with b.c.. 540 @130 grs. May reach 200 yds shorter than a 300 winmag but it sure is more fun to shoot 100 rds in a day with a 6.5. Both for wallet and shoulder.

    2. 6.5mm anything makes me smile, and the .260 Remington makes me happy because it’s part of the .308 family. But if I ever come into money, a Grendel and a Swede will come to live in my gun safe.

    1. @CK, Well what do you mean by practical” As for me, 6.5 X 47 Lapua (hereinafter 6.5 Lapua) is a terrific long range cartridge because I can reload it, and I have already had a custom rifle made for the 6.5 Lapua cartridge. For someone else that can not reload,and does not want to mess with a custom made rifle (or rifle makers), the 6.5 Creedmore is almost as efficient, you can buy a really accurate Savage and decent scope combination very reasonably, and get the ammunition anywhere.

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