Skip to main content

6.5 Rifle Test: 7 Solid Choices for Hunting

6.5 Rifle Test: 7 Solid Choices for Hunting

The Renaissance of the 6.5 cartridge has seen a wealth of new rifles come to market chambered in various 6.5 guides. In fact, one would be hard-pressed to find a rifle manufacturer today that doesn't chamber at least one model in some variant of a 6.5 — so by no means is this list even close to complete. However, it is a good snapshot of several different rifles currently being offered that we have tested and would make fine hunting companions.

1.-S&W-HUNP-170800-SEA-024

S&W PERFORMANCE CENTER • M&P 10

(6.5 CREEDMOOR)


AR-style rifles have become America's most popular rifles, and the excellent 6.5 Creedmoor has become one of the hottest cartridges on the market. Smith & Wesson combined the two in this Performance Center rifle, suitable for hunting, long-range target shooting, and everything in-between. The 20-inch 5R rifled barrel has a 1:8-inch twist to stabilize the full range of 6.5mm projectiles, and the two-stage match trigger is a practical choice for real-world shooting.


$2,035; smith-wesson.com

2.-Kimber-HUNP-170800-SEA-020

KIMBER • HUNTER


(6.5 CREEDMOOR)

It's sort of hard not to like a 5 1/2-pound rifle with a 1-MOA accuracy guarantee that retails for under $900. Kimber's Hunter combines the established 84M stainless-steel barreled action with a pillar-bedded composite stock. The stock allows Kimber to cut a few hundred bucks off the cost of comparable rifles, such as the Montana, without compromising on the core features. The trigger is adjustable, the magazine box is detachable, and the Mauser-type extractor is a boon to reliability.

$891; kimberamerica.com


3.-Alexander-Arms-HUNP-170800-SEA-018B

ALEXANDER ARMS • SIDE-CHARGING HUNTER RIFLE

(6.5 GRENDEL)

Bill Alexander (and friends) set out to maximize the performance of the AR-15 and so invented the 6.5 Grendel cartridge. If you're going to buy a Grendel, why not buy it from the company that engineered it? This rifle abandons the AR charging handle for one on the bolt carrier that's easy to find and operate. The 18-inch, button-rifled, fluted, stainless-steel barrel is free-floated, and the stock is adjustable for length. The receiver, stock, and forend are coated in Kryptek Highlander camo.

$1,920; alexanderarms.com

4.-Ruger-HUNP-170800-SEA-022

RUGER • HAWKEYE FTW HUNTER

(6.5 CREEDMOOR)

Give me a rifle with a great trigger, a good barrel, a stock that fits, and enough weight to give me stability from field positions and you'll take away all my excuses if I miss. This Ruger, designed with input from FTW's instructor cadre, embodies each of those attributes. Its two-stage trigger is one of my favorites on the market. The rifle is just the right balance of portability and stability. The example I own is startlingly accurate.

$1,269; ruger.com

5.-Nosler-HUNP-170800-SEA-021

NOSLER • MODEL 48 LONG RANGE

(6.5 CREEDMOOR, 26 NOSLER)

The 26 Nosler is among the fastest 6.5 cartridges on the planet and does so in a beltless case. Not many cartridges are better suited to long-range shooting than a high-BC bullet at high velocity. Nosler's Long Range pairs a pillar-bedded Manners MCS-T carbon-fiber stock with its Model 48 action, a Timney trigger, and a 26-inch stainless match-grade Shilen barrel with a 1:8-inch twist. The barreled action is Cerakoted, and 1-MOA accuracy is guaranteed.

$2,495; nosler.com

6.-Seekins-HUNP-170800-SEA-023

SEEKINS • HAVAK

(6.5 CREEDMOOR)

This rifle incorporates cutting-edge tactical rifle features in a mountain hunting rig. The action and bolt are precision machined from prehardened stainless steel and pillar and hand glass bedded into the McMillan synthetic stock. Both the barrel and bolt are spiral fluted, and the bolt uses an innovative four locking lug system. The muzzle comes threaded for suppression, and the Timney trigger is set at three pounds.

$2,200; seekinsprecision.com

7.-Browning-HUNP-170800-SEA-019

BROWNING • X-BOLT ALL WEATHER

(6.5 CREEDMOOR)

Sometimes it rains in the woods. This little short-throw bolt action from Browning combines the weather resistance of a laminate stock and stainless steel barreled action in a package that is right at home in a deer stand or a saddle scabbard. It weighs just under seven pounds with a sporter-weight 22-inch barrel with a removable brake. The detachable box magazine holds four rounds. The tang safety is fast and simple to operate.

$1,339; browning.com

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Best Whitetail Shot Placement with a Rifle

Best Whitetail Shot Placement with a Rifle

Craig Boddington breaks down where hunters should aim on a whitetail that provides the best possible margin for error.

.500 S&W vs. the King of the Beasts

.500 S&W vs. the King of the Beasts

Smith & Wesson's Tony Miele and host Kevin Steele track an African lion across the Kalahari for the ultimate handgun showdown with the King of the Beasts.

Sighting In the CZ .557 Carbine

Sighting In the CZ .557 Carbine

Kevin Steele sights in his CZ .557 carbine rifle that he plans to use on a Colorado elk hunt.

Camp Chef at SHOT Show: Elk Venison Slider Burgers Recipe

Camp Chef at SHOT Show: Elk Venison Slider Burgers Recipe

Have a freezer full of ground elk venison from your fall hunting trips? Never fear, the folks at Camp Chef have a great SHOT Show recipe that is lean and mean, easy to prepare, and a crowd-pleasing favorite!

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Learn what freezer burn is, how it occurs, and how to slow it down with these tips.Why Freezer Burn Matters Recipes

Why Freezer Burn Matters

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Learn what freezer burn is, how it occurs, and how to slow it down with these tips.

The outdoor industry gets serious about recruiting new hunters with some curious marketing strategies.Are New Hunter Recruitment Strategies Working? Conservation

Are New Hunter Recruitment Strategies Working?

Andrew McKean - May 05, 2020

The outdoor industry gets serious about recruiting new hunters with some curious marketing...

Salty capers add a burst of flavor to the sauce, which pairs beautifully with the grilled venison loin in this recipe.Grilled Venison Loin with Caper-Mustard Sauce Recipe Recipes

Grilled Venison Loin with Caper-Mustard Sauce Recipe

Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

Salty capers add a burst of flavor to the sauce, which pairs beautifully with the grilled...

Is lever action dead? Not by a long shot.The Return of Lever Action Rifles Guns

The Return of Lever Action Rifles

Craig Boddington - May 26, 2020

Is lever action dead? Not by a long shot.

See More Trending Articles

More Guns

Benelli takes a bite into the rifle market with the new Lupo.Review: Benelli Lupo Bolt-Action Rifle Guns

Review: Benelli Lupo Bolt-Action Rifle

Keith Wood - May 04, 2020

Benelli takes a bite into the rifle market with the new Lupo.

This rifle offers the features of higher-grade guns without all of the cost.Bergara B14 Wilderness Ridge .300 PRC: Rifle Review Guns

Bergara B14 Wilderness Ridge .300 PRC: Rifle Review

Keith Wood - July 13, 2020

This rifle offers the features of higher-grade guns without all of the cost.

With a number of gunmakers embracing the round in recent months, here are some of the new .300 PRC rifle options from SHOT Show 2020.8 New .300 PRC Rifles Guns

8 New .300 PRC Rifles

Lynn Burkhead - January 31, 2020

With a number of gunmakers embracing the round in recent months, here are some of the new .300...

We pick the best guns and ammo from our giant Gear Issue.Top Firearms & Ammunition of 2020 Guns

Top Firearms & Ammunition of 2020

Petersen's Hunting Editors - July 31, 2020

We pick the best guns and ammo from our giant Gear Issue.

See More Guns

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Petersen's Hunting App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Petersen's Hunting subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now