What Size 6.5 Creedmoor Primer?

As we already know, there are predominantly two primer sizes for a centerfire rifle cartridge – the small rifle primers and the large rifle primers. The 6.5 Creedmoor is a medium-sized cartridge thus, deciding whether you use a small or large rifle primer can be difficult. Both a small and large rifle primer is used in the 6.5 Creedmoor caliber. However, there is a clear winner when it comes to performance. In this article, we will take a deep dive into the esteemed 6.5 Creedmoor and what primer size is best for the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge.

What Size Primer is Best for The 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge?

picture of bottom of 6.5 Creedmoor with primer

As I already said, deciding on the right primer size for your 6.5 Creedmoor can be difficult. However, I have found that with the large rifle primer, the 6.5 Creedmoor performs better – shooting with precision and efficiency. The large primer has a more uniform and efficient ignition, leading to better accuracy.

Note: Using a different-sized primer will require a different primer pocket case. A small rifle primer will require a small primer pocket case, and a large rifle primer will require a larger primer pocket case.

List Of Primers That Can Work For 6.5 Creedmoor

The 6.5 Creedmoor is designed specifically as a long-range target shooting cartridge. We know that the slightest deviation from perfect can lead to sub-optimal long-range performance. Therefore you should only have the best quality primers for your 6.5 Creedmoor:

  • Winchester WLRM Large Rifle Magnum Primers
  • Remington 7 1/2 BR Large Rifle Primers
  • CCI BR-2 Large Rifle Benchrest Primers (My favorite)
  • Federal Gold Medal Match Large Rifle Primers
  • Federal Small Rifle Primer

If you have the opportunity to handload, then I suggest that you try a couple of different primers and compare each performance. Remember, primers are different for each round. So the 3006 and 223 primers will be different that the 6.5.

History Of The 6.5 Creedmoor

Hornady senior ballistics scientist Dave Emary, in partnership with Dennis Demike, the vice-president of product development at Creedmoor Sports, designed the 6.5 Creedmoor in 2007.

The 6.5 Creedmoor, in its essence, is a necked-down modification of the .30 Thompson Center (the parent case). This medium-power cartridge is designed specifically to have high ballistic coefficients and sectional density.


In 2017, the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) compared the performance of the 7.62 x 51 mm NATO, 260 Remington, and the 6.5 Creedmoor. To their surprise, the 6.5 Creedmoor achieved the best overall performance, providing a flatter trajectory with better accuracy and less recoil than rounds like the 357 or 10mm.

USSOCOM, followed by the Department of Homeland Security, adopted the 6.5 Creedmoor for military use and sniper use, respectively. They converted the 7.62 x 51 mm NATO to a 6.5 Creedmoor by a simple barrel change as both rifles chambered the same size of cartridge.

6.5 Creedmoor Size

picture of AR 15 with 6.5 Creedmoor

As already mentioned, the 6.5 Creedmoor is a medium-sized cartridge, ideal for big game at distances within 200 yards and medium game at distances exceeding 200 yards. It is similar size to the 300 Blk and 300 HAMR rounds. The cartridge’s size is as follows:

  • Parent case – .30 Thompson Center
  • Case Type – Rimless, bottleneck, brass
  • Bullet diameter – .2644 in (6.72 mm)
  • Land diameter – .2559 in (6.50 mm)
  • Neck diameter – .2950 in (7.49 mm)
  • Shoulder diameter – .4620 in (11.73 mm)
  • Base diameter – .4703 in (11.95 mm)
  • Rim diameter – .4730 in (12.01 mm)
  • Rim Thickness – .054 in (1.4 mm)
  • Case length – 1.920 in (48.8 mm)
  • Overall length – 2.825 in (71.8 mm)
  • Case capacity – 52.5 gr H2O (3.40 cm3)
  • Rifling twist – 1-8″ (203 mm)
  • Primer type – Large rifle or Small rifle
  • Maximum pressure (SAAMI) – 62,000 psi (430 MPa)

6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge Ballistics

This centerfire rifle cartridge introduced a new dynamic to the term long-range performance. It truly is an impressive medium-power cartridge, and if you have your load data correct, then no factory ammunition can beat it. For the sake of the article and uniformity, we will use ballistics obtained from using Remington Core-Lokt 140-grain bullet weights. This round has similar ballistic performance to the 338 norma magnum vs 338 lapua rounds that I previously tested.

Velocity (fps)

A bullet’s speed depends on a few different factors. Here is the data for 6.5 Creedmoor:

  • Muzzle Velocity – 2,700
  • 100 Yards – 2,484
  • 200 Yards – 2,278
  • 300 Yards – 2,082
  • 400 Yards – 1,895
  • 500 Yards – 1,721

Energy (ft-lbs)

  • Muzzle Energy – 2,266
  • 100 Yards – 1,918
  • 200 Yards – 1,613
  • 300 Yards – 1,347
  • 400 Yards – 1,116
  • 500 Yards – 921

Trajectory (inches)

  • 100 Yards – 0
  • 200 Yards – -4.1
  • 300 Yards – -15
  • 400 Yards – -25.5 (zeroed at 200 yards)
  • 500 Yards – -52.2 (zeroed at 200 yards)

You will note from the data above that the 6.5 Creedmoor maintains its bullet velocity really well, much better than some other cartridges in the same caliber class. Taking into consideration the three ballistic categories, it is safe to say that the maximum effective range for shooting medium game is 400 yards, and for big game is 250 yards.

The 6.5 Creedmoor is available in different bullet weights, with most hunting rounds in the 120 – 140 grain range.

Benefits Of The 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge

If you are shooting predominantly at long ranges, then you have most likely considered the 6.5 Creedmoor, as many long-range shooters have. It is an extremely popular sports shooting and hunting cartridge. It is very similar to the 5.56 NATO cartridge that shooters love. Here are some of the benefits of using the 6.5 Creedmoor on your next hunting trip:

  • Accuracy – The 6.5 Creedmoor is a highly accurate caliber, which is why many sports shooters and snipers choose this caliber over other calibers. Even with factory ammo, I was still able to outperform my .308 Winchester, bullet for bullet.
  • Versatility – Whether it is sniper-grade shooting or hunting in the African Savanna, this cartridge will excel in all environments.
  • Recoil – Another benefit of the 6.5 Creedmoor is its low recoil production in rifles. This makes it an excellent option for shooters who are sensitive to recoil or for training novice shooters for long-range shooting.

How Does A Bullet Primer Work?

A primer is a device or chemical that causes the combustion of the propellant, pushing the projectile out of the gun barrel, essentially firing the bullet.

In gun cartridges, a shock-sensitive chemical located in the primer housing is used to cause the propellant to combust. After being struck by the firing pin with sufficient force, the primer reacts chemically to produce heat that causes the propellant to ignite – firing the bullet.

Primers do not produce enough power to shoot a projectile. However, they can cause squib load, a situation where the bullet is driven partway into the barrel.

How To Pick The Best Primer

Picking the best primer for your caliber will depend on a couple of factors, including:

  • Size of the Primer – The size of the primer is an important factor to consider. The best primer for your specific caliber will provide a uniform and consistent ignition, leading to desired performance. Consulting the manufacturer of the cartridge on what size primer to use is always a good way to go.
  • Type of powder in the Primer – Powders have different burning rates, I prefer a slower burning powder because, using these types of primers, I achieve the best performance in my bolt action rifles. Slow-burning powders also contribute to a more uniform ignition.

Most major retailers will have the primers you are looking for. Remember to ask the manufacturer for a recommendation. If you handload, feel free to experiment with different primers and loads – My favorite primer manufacturer is CCI!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is 6.5 Creedmoor small or large primer?

The 6.5 Creedmoor uses both small and large primers. However, the large primer is capable of better performance, especially at long range.

What primers do you use for 6.5 Creedmoor?

There is an abundance of manufacturers that makes primers for the 6.5 Creedmoor. I prefer and use the CCI BR-2 Large Rifle Benchrest Primers.

What is 6.5 Creedmoor best for?

The 6.5 Creedmoor is best for hunting & target shooting applications. It is very effective for hunting medium to large game such as elk or deer. Plus, it is a very affordable round compared to other cartridges with a similar performance.

The Bottom Line

By now, you should be an expert on the 6.5 Creedmoor primer. The 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge is a very popular round for range shooters or hunters alike. However, it is very important to pick the right primer to go along with it. After all, without the right primer the bullet won’t fire! Analyze the size and type of powder before picking the best primer for your 6.5 Creedmoor or other rounds!

About the author

Patrick Howard

I have been working as a gunsmith for 20 years. Rain, fog, moisture, high temperature, or even snow are all the things a product must withstand in order to be recommended by me.

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