6.8 SPC VS 6.5 Creedmoor: What You Need to Know

There are many durable, accurate rounds created for performance purposes that have become both competitive and hunting favorites. Narrowing down the best for your needs can be a chore, but only because there are so many excellent features each cartridge brings to the table. If you don’t already have a referred shooting platform, you definitely should take a closer look at what is out there for you to take advantage of. 

The 6.8 Remington Special Purpose Cartridge (SPC) and 6.5 Creedmoor may have been created with different needs in mind, but both are powerful, dependable options that can be used in a variety of manners. In particular, both have become popular hunting options due to their terminal ballistics, making them an ethical choice. 

What’s The Difference Between 6.8 SPC VS 6.5 Creedmoor Rounds?

Cartridges ranked with red tip on a dark wooden background

The biggest difference between the two rounds is what they were specifically designed for. The 6.8 SPC is a military spec option created as a hard hitting, lethal force in combat. The 6.5 Creedmoor came to life to address the need for a long-range, highly accurate, competitive match cartridge. Despite these differences, they both are a favorite for accurate mid-range target acquisition and can be counted on to take down medium size games when hunting with ease. 

Comparison Between 6.8 SPC VS 6.5 CM Rounds

In terms of ballistics, the two rounds truly are not designed to be compared in such a manner side by side on a ballistics chart. Compared to the 6.5 Creedmoor, the 6.8 SPC looks like a weakling- and you may be wondering why anyone would choose to shoot a 6.5 SPC when they could shoot a 6.5 CM. 

But remember, the two rounds were designed with specific uses in mind, and both provide more than enough energy and velocity for an immediate, lethal shot at 200 to 400 yards. If you were looking to compare them against a long distance target, the 6.8 SPC won’t hold a candle to the Creedmoor, but that doesn’t negate the fact that they are both versatile and dependable choices. 

Comparison Table

Specifications

6.8 SPC

6.5 Creedmoor

Hornady BLACK 6.5mm Grendel 123 Grain Extremely Low Drag Match Centerfire Rifle Ammunition
Hornady Precision Hunter 6.5mm Creedmoor 143 grain

Brand

Hornady SST (120 gr)

Hornady ELD-X (143 gr)

Bullet Size

Bullet Size: 2.260 inches
Bullet Diameter: 0.277 inches
Shell Case Length: 1.667 inches

Bullet Size: 2.825 inches
Bullet Diameter: 0.2644 inches
Shell Case Length: 1.92 inches

Energy (per 200 yards)

1,120 ft-lbs

1,855 ft-lbs

Velocity (per 200 yards)

2,050 ft/s

2,417 ft/s

Muzzle Energy/Velocity

1612 / 2460

2283 / 2710

6.8 SPC

Brand

Hornady SST (120 gr)

Bullet Size

Bullet Size: 2.260 inches
Bullet Diameter: 0.277 inches
Shell Case Length: 1.667 inches

Energy (per 200 yards)

1,120 ft-lbs

Velocity (per 200 yards)

2,050 ft/s

Muzzle Energy/Velocity

1612 / 2460

6.5 Creedmoor

Brand

Hornady ELD-X (143 gr)

Bullet Size

Bullet Size: 2.825 inches
Bullet Diameter: 0.2644 inches
Shell Case Length: 1.92 inches

Energy (per 200 yards)

1,855 ft-lbs

Velocity (per 200 yards)

2,417 ft/s

Muzzle Energy/Velocity

2283 / 2710

6.8 SPC

Remington Arms first introduced the 6.8 Special Purpose Cartridge in the early 2000s as an answer to a military need for a more dependable terminal ballistic during combat. Using the .30 Remington as a parent case, it falls somewhere between the 5.56 NATO and 7.62 in terms of both size and power- making it perfect for shooting from both short and long barrels. When introduced, Remington botched their use for the military but since then they have become more popular for civilian use. They are also offered in an excellent range of weights to take advantage of across a wider range of shooting needs. 

Features

With 40% more muzzle energy than the 5.56 NATO, it offers a comfortable recoil for its size, and offers an effective range up to 400 yards. Because it was designed for combat, it shoots extremely well from a short barrel as well, and still offers more than 100 lbs of energy at 500 yards- making it a hard hitting choice. It also is designed to work with existing AR-15 platforms with some very basic interchangeable parts. 

Pros

As mentioned, this is an easy round to use with existing AR-15 platforms, making it a bit more affordable since you don’t have to invest in an entirely new rifle. It also increases energy by 40% from the muzzle, making it much more versatile and dependable for both hunting and self-defense purposes. This includes providing an excellent choice for hog and deer hunting: game that requires a clean, powerful shot the first time- for both ethics and safety reasons.

Not only does the cartridge work well for a long barrel, but it also is an excellent choice for short barreled rifles. This makes it even more versatile, and actually has an edge on the 6.5 Creedmoor in this arena.

Cons

Remington’s early oversight and rushing of the cartridge made it less than popular, and quite misunderstood overall. It quickly gained ground, however, due to its specialized design and easy AR platform compatibility, but it has never really gotten the attention it deserves. 

If you are looking for a competitive long-range option, the 6.8 isn’t going to be it. But again, it wasn’t built for that, and it still offers incredible energy and a trajectory you can count on for the purposes it was designed for. 

6.5 Creedmoor

The 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge was introduced in 2007 and designed to address long-distance target shooting and includes rapid firing, recoil reduction, and reload ease. Made for competitive shooting, it is based off the .300 Win Mag and 7.62 NATO performance – but outshoots them both. This truly is a specialized round that has quickly risen to popularity due to how easy it is to shoot, and how versatile it has become within both match shooting and hunting circles. 

Features

As illustrated in the ballistics chart, the 6.5 CM offers incredible energy and outperforms just about anything it is set against. It can hit a 1000 yard target more quickly and with more energy that a .308 Win and even outshoots the .30-06 – making it an ideal choice for hunting. The recoil is also more comfortable, providing a better shooting experience during a long day on the range. 

Pros

Since the 6.5 CM was made to be a competitive match option, you seriously cannot beat the overall recoil and energy it offers. There is no way you would ever even want to put the 6.8 SPC up against it when it came to distance accuracy, either, plus it provides an excellent lethal option for medium sized game. Due to its popularity, and easy AR platform conversion, it is a fairly affordable round for what it offers. Available in a great range of weights, you can pick and choose for your needs.

Cons

A higher chamber pressure is required for shooting the Creedmoor round, which will wear on your barrel in time. For competitive shooters, this may mean you will be replacing a barrel every 2 years or less. It also is not the best choice for short range shooting, since it was designed for long-range competition. The 6.8 SPC is a better option for mid range or shorter target needs.

Stand Out Features

I’m not going to highlight one cartridge over the other, as these are two very different choices that can provide you a very similar result if you are considering either one as a hunting round. Powerful, dependable, and accurate, either choice can drop a medium-sized animal at 400 yards- which is considered a fairly long shot for many hunting scenarios. Both also feed reliably, making them a great choice for hog hunting as well since you can dependably shoot from greater distances – making it a safer option for the hunter since hogs are known to charge when wounded. 

man hunting

If long-range target acquisition is your main goal, the 6.5 Creedmoor is going to be the more reliable choice, while the 6.8 SPC is a better short-range cartridge. The two have their own set of ballistics that when compared side by side, show the obvious differences between the two. But this only highlights further what you may use them for if hunting isn’t your main objective. 

Conclusion

These are both great cartridges that don’t always get the attention they deserve. Easy to use in existing AR platforms with basic part compatibility changes, as a medium size game hunting choice- you can’t go wrong with either. 

The 6.5 CM was made specifically for long-range accuracy, while the 6.8 SPC was created for lethal force- but they both provide variable uses and dependability that shooters keep coming back to over and over. 

Hornady BLACK 6.5mm Grendel 123 Grain Extremely Low Drag Match Centerfire Rifle Ammunition

6.8 SPC
Overview

  • Lethal trajectory and dependability
  • Great stopping power and accuracy
  • Good recoil for what is offered
  • Easy AR modification platform
Hornady Precision Hunter 6.5mm Creedmoor 143 grain

6.5 Creedmoor Overview

  • Incredible energy and efficiency
  • Incredible long-range accuracy and energy
  • Low recoil for long shooting comfort
  • Easy .306 Win platform modification

If you’ve had a chance to shoot either round,  we’d love to hear about your experiences below- and what detail you feel should be mentioned that we may have missed. And, as always, please share!

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