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

Hunting Coues Deer South of the Border

Hunting Coues Deer South of the Border

Former Delta Force Operator Kyle Lamb hikes the rugged desert mountains of northern Sonora in pursuit of the diminutive Coues species of whitetail.

Moon Phase Rut Tips

Moon Phase Rut Tips

John Dudley, technical writer and host of Nock On TV discusses why it's imporant to follow moon phases for the rut.

Top Ten Hunts

Top Ten Hunts

Here at Petersen's Hunting we have compiled the 10 best hunts caught on camera from the last 2 years of Petersen's Hunting TV. Enjoy!

.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.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Is lever action dead? Not by a long shot. Guns

The Return of Lever Action Rifles

Craig Boddington - May 26, 2020

Is lever action dead? Not by a long shot.

Are predators really to blame for declining deer numbers? The answer might surprise you. Conservation

Do Coyotes Really Affect the Whitetail Herd?

Jeff Johnston

Are predators really to blame for declining deer numbers? The answer might surprise you.

Mossberg's accurate Patriot Predator is the most affordable way to harness the power of the 6.5 PRC. Guns

Mossberg Patriot Predator 6.5 PRC: Rifle Review

Brad Fitzpatrick - June 26, 2020

Mossberg's accurate Patriot Predator is the most affordable way to harness the power of the...

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians. News

The Ticks Making Hunters Allergic to Meat

David Hart

A new wave of allergies threatens to turn hunters into vegetarians.

See More Trending Articles

More Guns

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

Review: Benelli Lupo Bolt-Action Rifle

Keith Wood - May 04, 2020

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

The 10mm may be the perfect sidearm when a grizzly charges. Guns

Is the 10mm Enough Gun for Bear Defense?

Joseph von Benedikt

The 10mm may be the perfect sidearm when a grizzly charges.

With the Federal FireStick and NitroFire from Traditions, muzzleloading is now more accessible. SHOT Show

Federal & Traditions Team Up to Make Muzzleloading Easy

David Draper - January 20, 2020

With the Federal FireStick and NitroFire from Traditions, muzzleloading is now more accessible.

Despite a death knell, the 16 gauge is enjoying newfound popularity. Guns

The Comeback of the 16 Gauge

David Draper - December 02, 2019

Despite a death knell, the 16 gauge is enjoying newfound popularity.

See More Guns

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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

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