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

Recommended for You

North America

From Bucks to Bears to Ducks, Saskatchewan Is a Hunter's Heaven

Lynn Burkhead - February 05, 2019

Whether you're looking for a whitetail, bruin or waterfowl adventure, Saskatchewan can be the...

How-To

How to Supplement Antler Growth with Food Plots

Jeff Johnston

Boost antler growth on your deer property with these food plot tricks.

Camping

What's In Your Backcountry Pack?

Tracy Breen

Having just the right amount of lightweight gear can make or break a hunt. Find out the best...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 9: Aloha Axis Deer

Host Mike Schoby joins his buddies Jon Dubin and Jeff Johnston on the island of Lanai for a deer hunt Hawaiian style!

Cheeseburger Poppers

David Draper shares his recipe for making delicious cheeseburger poppers with wild game in this edition of "Fare Game."

2018 Petersen's Hunting Episode 16: Cedar Break Bucks

Kevin Steele treks to the cedar breaks and coulees of north-central Nebraska for a shot at a big prairie whitetail.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Ammo

America's Top 10 Big Game Cartridges

Joseph von Benedikt - September 19, 2016

These rounds have proven themselves most worthy in the field.

North America

Best Units for Hunting Western Mule Deer

Josh Dahlke - June 23, 2015

My deer-hunting seeds were planted and nurtured as a youngster on my family's small farm in

North America

Best States To Hunt For Black Bears

Joseph von Benedikt - July 13, 2017

Which are the best states to hunt for black bears? I have compiled a list of several great...

See More Stories

More Guns

Guns

A Kimber Rifle for Any Hunt

Keith Wood - August 01, 2018

I was heading to the most remote wilderness in the United States — a place far closer to the

Guns

Turn Your Stock Marlin into a Hardcore Hunting Rifle

Joseph von Benedikt

With a bit of DIY work and some farmed-out technical customizations, your Marlin can become a...

Guns

Remington 700 American Wilderness Rifle

Keith Wood - January 07, 2019

Righting the ship with a rifle for any weather.

See More Guns

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save.

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

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

×