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USSOCOM Adopts 6.5 Creedmoor

Last Spring, USSOCOM undertook a study of 6.5 family cartridges to determine a path forward for Precision Intermediate Caliber Ammunition. Over the last year, USASOC, the primary driver of this initiative, narrowed it down to 260 Remington and 6.5 Creemoor. Testing indicated that the two calibers performed very closely.

Last month, the command conducted a reliability test, using two incumbent weapons, currently in US service; the FN SCAR Heavy and KAC M110. Two weapons of each type were used, one was in 260 Remington and the other in 6.5 CM. What they found is that both weapons performed just as well and were just as reliable in either caliber.

As both cartridges were similarly accurate and reliable, the determining factor for selection of 6.5 CM would end up being trade space. The prevailing attitude is that there was more room with the 6.5 CM to further develop projectiles and loads.

I don’t expect a major announcement, or any fanfare with this decision. Instead, you’ll begin to see small movements toward configuring weapons to utilize this round.

At the USASOC Sniper Competition, there were several weapons in 6.5 CM. Yesterday, we gave a little tease on Instagram of a Knight’s Armament Co M110 in 6.5 CM.


Today, I fired a FN Mk20 in 6.5 CM which was configured as a demonstrator for new features, such as a non-reciprocating charging handle and AR-style stock. Shooting a SCAR Heavy is like taming a beast, but with 6.5 CM, the recoil impulse was negligible.


Briefings last year indicated that SOCOM was interested in looking at an intermediate cartridge family gas gun and light machine gun. However, the lay of the land is a little different now. I do not expect a full and open competition for a new car being in 6.5 CM. Rather, I expect them to modify the 7.62 rifles they already own. Additionally, there has been no recent talk of looking at a light machine gun in that caliber.

68 Responses to “USSOCOM Adopts 6.5 Creedmoor”

  1. Joglee says:

    USASOC. Doing everything the right way.

    First the URG-I, now this!

  2. Huch says:

    Really hope this means that there will soon be a decent 6.5CM conversion kit for the Scar 17. And cheaper 6.5 ammo.

    • Thomas says:

      Hornady American Gunner is fantastic ammunition for general use. I used some at an Advanced class at Accuracy 1st.

    • Ray says:

      I can see it going one of two ways.
      Either the ammo becomes cheaper because more manufacturers are producing it.
      Or the DoD sucks up all the inventory and production capacity that’s out there and it becomes super expensive or simply unavailable.
      Remember, even with only long range enthusiast interest in 6.5mm, its brass and powder are hard to come by.

      • JMAA says:

        And that’s why I’m super happy I just switched to 6mm Dasher for PRS….

        It is remarkable how PRS and cutting edge application of bullets to bad guys are playing off each other to improve both.

    • Andrew says:

      Have you tried High Desert Dog Tactical?

    • Grant says:

      S&B has a 140gr FMJ out now. Very economical.

  3. mark says:

    Curious what an EPR 6.5 will look like. Hopefully they will leverage the available ogive space that 6.5CM offers to purse a VLD EPR.

    For example, an EPR based on the 121gr Warner Flatline, which has a 0.637 G1 due to its enhanced form factor.

    • Mac679 says:

      Except that VLD bullet designs are notorious for being temperamental over seating depth which is why you don’t really see them in factory produced ammo like you more traditional ogive designs or something like Berger Hybrid ogives.

  4. Joshf says:

    I would have put money on 260. It should feed more reliably then 6.5CM.

    • Thomas says:

      Did you not read the article? 6.5 CM beat out .260 Remington.

      • Dan H says:

        Beat out the 260?
        It didnt beat it out! It said it was EQUAL!

        “Last month, the command conducted a reliability test, using two incumbent weapons, currently in US service; the FN SCAR Heavy and KAC M110. Two weapons of each type were used, one was in 260 Remington and the other in 6.5 CM. What they found is that both weapons performed just as well and were just as reliable in either caliber.

        As both cartridges were similarly accurate and reliable, the determining factor for selection of 6.5 CM would end up being trade space. The prevailing attitude is that there was more room with the 6.5 CM to further develop projectiles and loads.”


        • Thomas says:

          Oh! Another .260 Remington snowflake. 6.5 CM and 147 grain bullets go together like peanut butter and jelly. “But but but…my .260 Remington can do it also!!! ” *sound of a blown primer* 6.5 CM is here to stay. Get over it!

          • Mac679 says:

            General consensus is that 260 edges out 6.5C by about 50fps. That includes guys like Frank Galli and Zak Smith.
            Ironically, if you go look at Hornady’s load data for 260Rem, it’s all neutered-fewer powders, lower velocities. Meanwhile you can look at other manufacturers and find just as many powders, etc. for 260 as you can for 6.5C.
            Late last year I had the opportunity to have a conversation with one of the top barrel guys in the country-he didn’t think 6.5C was the right choice either due to things like the steeper feed angle. He’s expecting to hear about reliability problems in the future when the sample size gets larger.
            As was pointed out, 6.5 didn’t exactly beat 260, it was based simply on bullets taking up less case volume-no need to get all defensive about facts.
            Enoy that Hornady marketing though.

    • SSD says:

      My money was on .260 because it’s easier on the supply chain, but the guys driving the train were more interested in taking advantage of the bigger case. Of course, the more they push it, the more feeding issues they’ll get with dimensions of the magazines and weapons they’ll shoehorn it into.

      • Thomas says:

        I know some of the guys that were involved in testing. They are really hot for the 143 and 147 bullets. You can get 143’s to work with .260 Remington…kind of. You tend to blow a lot of primers. 147 and 6.5 CM are like peanut butter and jelly. If you really need to push out, 147 grain in a 6.5 PRC is a 2,000 yard cartridge that runs circles around 300 Win Mag, and possibly .338 Lapua. From my testing, I think 6.5 Creedmoor makes 300 win mag obsolete for shooting humans.

        • Willie E. Coyote says:

          I had a feeling when Hornady linked up with Lake City the ammo was decided on. Do your buddies know what weights/grains they plan to use?

        • Dave says:

          Poo poo, I have 3 260s that push the 147 gr just fine. Better than my queermore.

        • JMAA says:

          So there rally digging on the Hornady projectiles then, since I’m not aware of any other 143 and 147 gr options in the marketplace?

        • Shawn Severin says:

          Never shoot a large caliber man with a small caliber bullet! I’ll stay with my .308, .300wm and .338lm

          • Jon says:

            I’m with you busy. I like my 270 & 308 both tack drivers at any range. But the military is trying to fix a quear problem femeniskaty to ouch that hurts? Sissy safe place training so the VA hospital are not over populated by short term carrier buddy’s.

          • JP2336 says:

            Cute, but old way of thinking. Technological advances keep pushing the limits and you have to adapt your way of thinking.

          • Thomas says:

            @Shawn 6.5 Creedmoor runs circles around .308 and 300 Win Mag. I am building a 6.5 PRC and I have a suspicion that 6.5 PRC will out perform .338 LM.

            I went head to head against a fellow long rage shooter. I was using Hornady American Gunner and he was using 230 Grain Bergers out of a 300 Win Mag. We were dead even. Any shot he could make, I could make out to 1500 yards. He was getting beat to hell by recoil.

          • Yawnz says:

            By that logic, everyone should be using .50 BMG.

        • Jeb says:

          The 6.5cm does not run circles around the 300 wm or a 338. I don’t know what this guy is on about, but I think it might be time to jump off the 6.5 band wagon. Stop watching YouTube videos of people comparing a match grade 147gr 6.5mm bullet and some crap Remington 180gr ammo you getat Walmart for the 300wm. I mean really people. A .22 shots more accurately than a 12 gauge shooting buckshot, is that you’re next comparison?

          • Thomas says:

            Really Jeb? Have you compared the BC’s of a 147 6.5 CM and a 230 Grain Berger?

            Have you run the numbers of a 6.5 PRC launching a 147 through a 1/7.5 twist barrel vs a 338 LM? You might be surprised.

            Keep lugging your heavy 300 WM and 338. The guys with the smaller bullets are going to kick your ass.

            • Mac679 says:

              I’ll be your huckleberry….and use your own previous example to do it

              Running a 230gr Berger against a 147gr ELD-M in JBM at the 2800fps for both is pretty interesting. You go transonic at 1500yds with right about 400ft-lbs of energy remaining, with 10.7MOA for a 10mph full value wind. Meanwhile your buddy launching a 230 at the same MV, transonic at 1700yds and still as 608ft-lbs of energy and 9MOA for a 10mph full value wind…. But yeah, your 6.5 spanks a 300WM or a 338LM…. Is it a perfect example? No, but it is representative of a pretty level playing field.

  5. Strike-Hold says:

    So this is basically limited to a DMR platform only at the present time?

  6. Nick M says:

    Uh… is it me or is that a folded stock as well?

  7. Zachary Reed says:

    That’s pretty slick. The 6.5 CM will give a bit more legroom for running longer slugs in AICS length mags.

  8. As usual the Military (Pentagon) using the most expensive route to spend our tax dollars. Rather than choosing the 260 Rem which is based on the 7.62×51 the military has chosen the 6.5 CM. Why? Who paid them off? I have been shooting the 260 Rem for 20 years. It is far superior to the .308, 7mm08, and the 6.5 CM is not more versatile. That suggestion is more political bullshit. And I did read the article. The CM dose not “feed” better than the 260 Rem. It does not outperform the 260 Rem and presents more logistical issues than the 260 Rem.

    • SSD says:

      Dave, I agree that it presents more logistical issues. However, testing showed the two rounds to function and perform similarly, VERY similarly.

      There was a lot of hand wringing over this choice and they agonized over it for months. I would regularly discuss this with others to see how the program was coming along. When I would bring up the .260 case geometry similarity to 7.62, I was met with blank stares. The rationale I heard time and time again was that there was more room in the 6.5 case for powered and to get a better grip on the projectile (simplified answer). The issue I had with that answer is that I’ve run across commercial 6.5 loads which tested the dimensions of the SR25 magazine.

      In the end, I think it was institutional familiarity with 6.5 CM, as many SF Snipers also shoot PRS or similar events and have 6.5 CM chambered rifles in their personal gun vaults. However, those guns are invariably bolt guns. The gas guns out there utilize SR25 mags.

      They’ve made a choice and will soon settle on a specific cartridge or two. Making a decision was the hardest part. Now, they’ll live with it.

      • JMAA says:

        Presumably if this remains a niche round manufactured in small (relatively) quantities by someone like Black Hills (a la 77g OTM initially) then all the posturing is really unnecessary because the cost differential will be minimal (unless I’m missing something??)

        If this becomes a tool up for a whole new battle round, then yeah, things are going to be pricey, but honestly, how much of the OVERALL cost would that really be? If this becomes the round for the next 50 years, the tool up cost amortized over that time is peanuts compared to all new everything, no?

      • Pat Murphy says:

        I shot the barrels out of 4 260s in comps. I shot both the 123S and the 140s. There is a distinct accuracy node when shooting the 6.5s and both the 260 and the Creedmoor will push the bullets to those nodes.
        I was actually shocked when I started reloading for the Creedmoor and the velocity that I was able to get out of the smaller case. I honestly believe that it is a better designed case and probably more effecient. I also think that I would pick a Creedmoor over a 260 because of the ability to have less bullet stuck down in the case. I like both rounds and think they are very equal for all practical shooting….

    • Chris says:

      The cost will be negligible, you’re talking about a few hundred rifles maybe, rebuilt to 6.5 to start, and a pretty small quantity of rounds. The guys that did the testing really know what they’re doing, it’s what the do for a living. The make their decisions based on what they feel is best for the guys who’s lives depend on those decisions. If you want to complain about DOD over spending, then start with the F-35, a program expected to cost into the TRILLIONS of dollars, not a difference of thousands of dollars that support special operations units.

      • SSD says:

        While I agree with you, just remember, the folks running the F35 program think they know what they’re doing too. In fact, I have yet to meet an ACQ professional who won’t tell you how great his program is going.

  9. Michael Ramsey says:

    Im very impressed with my 6.5 Creedmoor I’m hitting a 6″ target at 1500 yds 8 out of 10 times with 140 gran I can only imagine what 180 gran will do look out terrorist best sniper rifle I have ever shot 308 is like a 22 compared with the 6.5

    • Monus says:

      So you’re saying you’re shooting a rifle and load combination that is consistently shooting sub half MOA out to 1500 yards. You must own a million dollar rifle, have 200 years of experience and shoot at an indoor 1500 yard range.

      6.5 CM is a very impressive little round, but what you are saying you are capable of shooting is basically impossible.

  10. Cuvie says:

    Don’t 6.5 Creedmoor wear out barrels a lot faster than 7.62 NATO? I’ve read that their barrels usually are good for about 2000-3000 rounds. I wonder how they plan on dealing with that.

    • Matt says:

      If you’re not loading super hot, 3500 is the norm, but that’s when bench rest accuracy starts to drop off. For most military applications, a Creedmoor would likely still be acceptably accurate for a few thousand more rounds (and still stay in the 1.5 MOA range).

    • Matt says:

      They will deal with it by a larger budget funded by you and me.

    • Spades1 says:

      Ahh, it’s called re-barreling. A simple trip to the armory and it’s all brand new.

    • Jarrad Truog says:

      Probably a barrel swap when the time comes

    • Joe says:

      There’s a large chunk of the military dedicated to maintenance beyond the operator level, and that’s not counting DOD civilians and defense contractors.
      Barrel wear is one simple variable applied to a maintenance schedule; the system is made for dealing with it.

  11. RePp says:

    You take 5 minutes and put a new barrel in it.

  12. Jim Simpson says:

    Would have been nice to use the same weight bullet in the .308. I shoot the Hornady high performance in 150 grain and it moves much faster then above results.

    • Thomas says:

      A 150 grain .308 bullet has a terrible BC compared to a 6.5 CM. If you wanted to get 6.5 BC’s out of a .308 you need a 24-26 inch barrel and a 180 grain Flat line bullet or a heavy Berger.

  13. Mike Garbe says:

    It makes very little economic sense to throw away millions of rounds of 7.62 brass that can be resized and bolts that already fit it to change over to the Creedmore.

    • Sneaky Nerd says:

      Except 7.62 isn’t being phased out and will continue to be used, so no brass wasted.

    • JMAA says:

      Except that all of .308 Win, .260 Rem and 6.5 Creedmoor use the SAME bolt face. No new bolts. Yes new barrels, yes new brass, except I’m fairly certain that the US military does not reload brass, so who cares. They are going to have a specialized round manufactured not unlike the Black Hills 77g and get what they want.

      Arguably, if this sets the standard for the rest of the US military there would be a benefit to .260 Rem in mass production. That hasn’t happened yet and if it does, well then this turns out to be a bad decision.

    • Fourth Horseman says:

      Also the 6.5 creedmoor uses the same bolt face as the 7.62. They are based off the same parent cartridge.

    • Jordan Word says:

      Hey genus 6.5 and .308 take the same size bolt face…

    • Spades1 says:

      I’m not sure you know which end of the pipe the bullet comes out of.

  14. Shawn Severin, That way if thinking just shoes closed mindedness and silly thinking. When a caliber such as 6.5 goes supersonic further, less drift, way MORE energy at 600 meters out to 1,500. LESS recoil, ectect, it’s just ignorant to not admit the truth. I have a new iwi galil 308, LOVE IT!!!!! BUT I’m not gonna pretend like it wouldn’t be significantly better in 6.5. 308 will ALWAYS be good enough for me cause I only shoot 400 meters max!!! It’s just not fun to me to spend a day straining motionless into a scope and not see where my bullets aren’t hitting, lol!

  15. Jon says:

    I’m with you busy. I like my 270 & 308 both tack drivers at any range. But the military is trying to fix a quear problem femeniskaty to ouch that hurts? Sissy safe place training so the VA hospital are not over populated by short term carrier buddy’s.

    • Joe says:

      Reposted, poor English… sounds like someone doesn’t know the capital of Texas…

    • Thomas says:


      270 Winchester vs 6.5 CM? Really? Lets hang a plate a 1500 yards and go shot for shot. I bet your .270 lacks the twist rate to stabilize that bullet past transonic range, plus a 143 6.5 CM still has a higher BC.

  16. Lou Wolf says:

    Oh man I was hoping the .260 Rem would get the ok, I’ve been shooting .260 since they first released it, I have a Remington Model 7 in .260 topped with a leupold vari x 2 3-9 power, and it is my favorite deer rifle but ammo has gotten really hard to find and expensive at $40-$50 per box, my rifle shoots sub MOA groups with both Remington Core Lokt, and Federal Premium Vital Shok with Nosler 120gr Ballistic tips, it would have dropped the retail price down some by becoming a mass produced round, it’s a great round for deer, light recoil, flat trajectory, retains enough energy to kill cleanly up to several hundred yards, and has a very high ballistic coefficient.

  17. Dellis says:

    Ordering a MPA in 6.5. Buying it with my Citibank card

  18. Jack says:

    Another caliber that was never properly supported by a Remington. The .260 was far ahead of it time. As Chris Barrett put it “They sowed the field but never reaped the harvest.” Much like how everyone made tremendous profits off of .300 BLK except for big green because they were too ignorant to back their own creation.

    If Remington is ever successful at anything it will be by sheer and total accident.

  19. Caleb says:

    I’d pay top dollar just for a non-reciprocating charging handle on the SCAR. Or at least a conversion kit.

  20. KevinB says:

    I had my money on .260 until the announcement.
    *and still prefer the 7-08 SR-25 upper I built to the .260 version from 5 years ago.

    I think .260 is the better choice for a gas gun, and the advantages that the 6.5CM crowd expects will bobble and choke.

    That said, I’m still not jazzed up on either in a gas gun.
    Simply as I need to gain barrel length to make use of the cartridge.

    Whereas one can use a 14.5” .308 SR-25, your looking at 18” in the 6.5 stuff.
    Yes that gets you a lot more in the 6.5 – but what are we really wanting from a gas gun anyway?
    .338LM or .300NM Bolt Gun’s offer better options for the longer distance as well as issues like barrier penetration.