Shooting Mystery is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

6.5 Creedmoor vs 7mm-08 Remington: Best for Deer-Hunting?

6.5 Creedmoor vs 7mm-08

Based on shooting habits around the globe, the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge is recognized as one of the most excellent rifle cartridges for both deer hunting and long-range shooting.

And with its ability to deliver a powerful punch, the Hornady ELD-X round can take down the average whitetail with relative ease.

However, many people still stick with the Remington 7mm 08 cartridges while hunting for both deer and black bears. This is because they offer great propellant charge, case capacity, bullet choice, and precision, especially for the AR 10.

But when you pit the 6.5 Creedmoor vs. the 7mm 08 Remington, which competition shooting cartridge is better for deer hunting and factory loads?

If you want to be a deer hunter but don’t know which ammo to choose, then you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I’ve covered everything you’ll need to remember about the rounds, cartridges, and sub-MOA. 

Generally speaking, different people value different qualities, so I understand that people have conflicting opinions about the best one for deer hunting. So if you want to make the right call, read on!

History of the Rounds: Overviews

While assessing different cartridges and their sub-MOA capabilities, you’ll need to know a few general things.

Here are a couple of details that you should remember about cartridges when comparing the 6.5 Creedmoor vs. Remington’s 7mm 08.

7mm-08 Remington

7mm-08 Remington

BUYING OPTIONS:
» Best Price on OpticsPlanet «
» Check Price on Cabelas «

Sometime in 1958, a certain 7mm/308 Winchester wildcat round was developed. As the name suggests, people made it simply by necking down your standard .308 Winchester cartridge to hold a .284 bullet (7mm bullets).

It would spend the next 20 years in the wildcat category of cartridges until Remington adopted the round and then released it to the public under the name: “7mm 08”.

Among .308-based hunting cartridges in use, including the .260 Remington cartridge, the 7mm 08 comes second in popularity.

The .243 Winchester is the one that remains in the top spot for cartridges, but with proper 7mm bullets, a Remington 7mm 08 can tackle small to medium-sized game during long-range hunting trips.

6.5 Creedmoor

6.5 Creedmoor

BUYING OPTIONS:
» Best Price on OpticsPlanet «
» Check Price on Cabelas «

Introduced to the market by Hornady in 2007, the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridges are a development of .30 Thompson Center which were also based on .308 Winchester cartridges.

At first, Hornady wanted to make a round that had the length of a .308 Winchester cartridge, but the strength of .30-06 Springfield. The result was .30 Thompson Center, and I’d say it fit the bill! The only catch was that consumer acceptance was low, so the round was sidelined.

Fortunately, Hornady recycled the design, necked down the round, and then put the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge into existence. These 6.5 Creedmore bullets have become widely used ever since.

Overall Dimension of the Rounds

Two bullet rounds

7mm-08 Remington

7mm-08 Remington

  • Parent Case: .308 Winchester
  • Case Type: Rimless, bottleneck
  • Bullet: 7.2 mm
  • Neck: 8.0 mm
  • Base: 11.9 mm

6.5 Creedmoor

  • Parent Case: .30 Thompson Center
  • Case Type: Rimless, bottleneck
  • Bullet: 6.72 mm
  • Neck: 7.49 mm
  • Base: 11.95 mm

As both rounds are related to .308 Winchester in one way or another, I don’t think it’s a surprise that the 7mm-08 Remington and 6.5 Creedmoor have similar profiles, except for the higher sectional density of the 6.5 Creedmoor.

Thanks to its humble body, the Remington cartridge fits in short action firearms which I appreciate whenever I use lightweight and compact rifles.

Short action firearms like the Hornady Creedmoor cartridge let it run smoothly in AR magazines while packing long, lean-grain bullets.

Now while I like that, I need to say that because of the short action design, the 7mm-08 Remington offers higher velocities, while the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge is better in both penetration power and bullet sectional density. This is because the Creedmoor is a 6.5mm bullet.

Optimal Accuracy of the Rounds

Two bullets

7mm-08 Remington

I know precision in the field can be affected by various factors, but the Remington cartridge generally gives a good account of itself. This is seen in the performance of the .260 Remington cartridges.

In the hand of a trained shooter, a Remington 7mm-08 should be able to nail prey easily using factory loads. The average round of factory loads with a 140-grain bullet can deliver a muzzle velocity of 2,800 fps and energy of 2,400 ft.-lbs.

As shooting distances in deer hunting rarely exceed 400 yards (they usually stay within 150 yards), I’d say the Remington cartridge is more than enough because of its factory loads.

6.5 Creedmoor

Due to both the excellent rifle ratio and rifling twist of 1:8, the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge often generates good results, even if you pair it with heavy bullets. However, I understand that most hunters prefer to use more aerodynamic bullets or commercial ammunition with lightweight grain bullets, as they tend to focus on versatility and flexibility.

Normally, the Creedmoor cartridge with a 140-grain bullet achieves a muzzle velocity of 2,700+ fps and it remains in the supersonic range out to roughly 1,150 yards. I think this 140-grain bullet is sufficient for you to take out deer at the usual shooting distances.

Benefits/Drawbacks of the Rounds

Bullets

7mm-08 Remington

Although it hits hard, the Remington cartridge is also rather pleasant to shoot, thanks to the reasonable recoil energy after every shot because it has less body taper. That’s less recoil to worry about.

In case you don’t want to end up with a sore shoulder after hunting, I strongly recommend choosing 7mm-08 Remington bullets.

I also like this round because it’s easy to find, regardless of where you are. This means that you can easily get some ammunition at most gun stores.

Since some of the world’s niftiest compact rifles are chambered in 7mm-08 Remington bullets, the round’s not hard to pick up.

On the downside, 7mm-08 Remington bullets only come in a limited number of configurations. This is why you don’t have as many choices as other rounds.

Nonetheless, I still think the straightforward nature of the Remington cartridge will get the job done.

6.5 Creedmoor

Capable of shooting game at extended distances, 6.5 Creedmoor bullets perform admirably for long-range shooting while minimizing meat damage.

Skilled shooters can take down deer as far as 2,000 meters when using the Hornady Creedmoor cartridge. But, of course, opportunities for such shots are pretty rare.

In any case, any bullet from a pack of 6.5 Creedmoor bullets will successfully resist the effects of gravity, wind, and other factors. This is especially noticeable when the path results in a flat trajectory.

Even though the length of the 6.5 Creedmoor case is comparable to a .308 Winchester, it can accommodate long-range shooting better and without much difficulty.

As for any drawbacks, the 6.5 Creedmoor bullets excel at putting the average deer to sleep. But when it comes to elk, moose, and other animals, I think it’ll be lackluster.

While a well-aimed shot should be enough to shoot game, consider using another round if you intend to go after big animals. 6.5 Creedmoor bullets should be able to take care of other outdoor animals smaller than deer though. 

Handloading: Choices of Bullets/Propellants

Bullets

While certain shooters mostly use factory-loaded ammunition, others prefer to shoot rounds tailored to their own preferences, like Chuck Hawks.

That’s why if you’re putting 7mm-08 Remington bullets against 6.5 Creedmoor bullets, it’s important to take a look at the round handloading characteristics.

7mm-08 Remington

Since 7mm-08 Remington is, in essence, a resized .308 Winchester, some people wonder if they could assemble good hand-loaded rounds using Winchester cases.

The short answer is yes, it’s possible. But I don’t think the operation’s worth your effort.

You can purchase inexpensive 7mm-08 Remington brasses at any average sporting goods store. So why bother wasting your time making some?

In addition to that, common issues like uniformity and an uneven neck are tough obstacles for you to overcome.

Because 7mm-08 Remington is based on .308 Winchester, every powder that works well in the Winchester round should have the same performance in the Remington cartridge.

H4895, IMR4350, and Varget are some of the best all-around propellants on the market for hand-loaded 7mm-08 Remington rounds and cartridges.

One thing that hunters must keep in mind is that while the Remington cartridge has less recoil, it still adds up over time. So if you’re new to deer hunting and want to practice, remember to use fewer recoil loads.

Regarding the bullet, a 7mm-08 Remington can deliver a wide range of bullet types. It can use almost anything from lightweight 120 to heavy-hitting 175 grain with relative ease.

For a deer rifle, shooters like to keep the bullet weight heavy, so a 140-grain bullet will keep it from cutting into the capacity of the powder.

However, feel free to use whatever bullet you like, as long as you’re certain it suits your demands. To guarantee penetration power, I’d recommend considering a controlled-expansion bullet so that once you nail your prey, it can go down right away (The Barnes Triple-Shock X is a great option).

6.5 Creedmoor

The Hornady Creedmoor cartridge is compatible with propellants like H4350, IMR4350, and Reloader 17. So if you’ve got good cases, I don’t think you’ll have trouble manufacturing a hand-loaded 6.5 Creedmoor.

You can stick to recognized names to ensure quality but in any case, you need to remind yourself that brasses from different brands have different powder capacities.

It’s important to match the propellant to the case, especially if you intend to approach maximum pressure levels for premium performance. Remember to check on all fired cases thoroughly before use.

Regarding case capacity and the number of bullet choices, 6.5 Creedmoor is mainly designed for weights between 85 and 150 grain. I’ve found that the Hornady round achieves its peak at a weight of approximately 120 grain.

Now, let’s talk about the ballistic coefficient. Some hunters prefer heavier grain bullets and cartridges because high bullet weights have excellent ballistic coefficients.

On the opposite end, others value the high velocity of light bullets. After all, light bullets go faster but heftier bullet weights retain velocity better because of the better penetration advantage.

Hornady, Nosler, and Sierra offer multiple bullet options for 6.5 Creedmoor so you can choose one that matches your personal preferences. 

Rifles Chambered in the Rounds

Bullet rounds

In addition to a round, I also advise paying special attention to the number of rifles you’ll use with them. If you pick a round that’s chambered in few firearms, you’ll have to make compromises.

So let’s compare the 6.5 Creedmoor vs. 7mm 08 Remington in terms of their availability.

7mm-08 Remington

Thanks to its forgiving characteristics, an abundance of ammunition, and commendable accuracy, the 7mm-08 Remington is a popular choice for hunting rifles. Multiple weapon manufacturers release firearms that employ this round so you have a lot of models to choose from nowadays.

Of course, while some rifles are chambered in the same round, their performance in the field contains few similarities. That’s why you need to take your own taste into account.

You could either buy a basic rifle or get a package that also offers accessories.

As 7mm-08 Remington comes from Remington, so it’s obvious that this brand from North America delivers great rifles for the round. One example is the world-famous Remington Model 700.

In addition to that, other Remington competitors deliver quality models that use a round like Weatherby (Weatherby Vanguard Camilla), SAKO (SAKO Tikka T3), and Savage (Savage 11/111 Trophy Hunter XP).

These rifles are easily modifiable so it’s a breeze to customize them. The bolt-action mechanism performs well in the great outdoors, but there are other actions.

6.5 Creedmoor

The Hornady cartridge is one of the most successful rounds ever introduced. That’s why it’s not surprising that many modern-day hunting rifles are chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor.

If you know how to steady your aim, the 6.5 Creedmoor will deliver great results time and time again.

As hunters rarely have to discharge many shots at once, I recommend using short-action rifles or bolt-action rifles while hunting deer. But if you want to make quick follow-up shots, there are several lever-action and semi-automatic rifles available.

For hunters that want something straightforward, check out the Ruger Precision Rifle, Savage Model 10 GRS, and Browning X-Bolt Hell’s Canyon Speed. These rifles have received favorable reviews from experienced hunters and gun experts in terms of field performance.

In case you want a quick-firing rifle, the RISE Armament 1121XR Precision Rifle, Springfield M1A, and Savage MSR 10 Hunter shall serve you well.

Keep in mind that just having a great deer rifle is insufficient. You also need to know how to use it.

Final Verdict: 6.5 Creedmoor vs. 7mm 08 Remington

There are a lot of criteria when it comes to deer hunting so I get that it’s hard to decide whether the Remington or the Hornady round is the superior choice.

So the choice of round is entirely up to you. I say start by comparing your shooting habits with the characteristics of the cartridges.

For deer hunters, I strongly recommend picking up 6.5 Creedmoor cartridges. But if you expect to run into big game while hunting deer, then the 7mm-08 Remington is definitely your best bet.   

My verdict for this 6.5 Creedmoor vs. 7mm 08 Remington review is that they’re both highly capable bullets that pack a punch. So if you’re still trying to decide your own choice between the 6.5 Creedmoor vs. 7mm 08 Remington, I’ll leave it up to you.

FINAL TIP: If you’re interested in other guides, I have a Comparative Guide about the 38 Super vs. the 38 Special.

 

CHANGELOG:

October 12, 2022 - Updated content
January 12, 2022 - Added new product links
September 27, 2021 - Updated article images
September 14, 2021 - Reviewed and updated article links, updated article title

About the author