Hunting < 500 yards, why would a 6.5mm (264) be better than 308?


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Kitchen_Duty
January 10, 2013, 01:44 AM
I've been contemplating building a savage 110 30-06 into a 6.5 something: either 260 rem, 6.5 creedmor, 6.5x55 swede for hunting in Washington state. Game would include mule/white deer and elk. I already own a savage 308, which I'm happy with. I've anchored 2/2 shots on a whitetail and a cow elk (neck shot and lung shot respectively). I'm of the opinion that shot placement wins every time vs super high power. And while I'm asking for <500 yards, I've purposefully walked closer to my target and shot at 200 yards both times.

Everyone touts that the 6.5 will have amazing trajectory compared to 308 but all the data seems pretty meh for < 500 yards. I do handload so loading for a rare cartridge won't bother me too much.

Eventually I'd like to start shooting longer range competitions (>600 yards) but I already have a 30inch 308 savage for that too!

I'd probably use a 140 gr bullet for the 6.5 and I shoot 165 gr bullets (for all game) in my 308. Barrel life doesn't bother me for any hunting rifle. If I burn out a hunting barrel I'll pat myself on the back and retire from hunting! Also barrel swapping/installing on a savage is pretty easy so gunsmithing would be inexpensive.

Is there any reason to spend the money on a 6.5 or just stick with my 308?

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aacider85
January 10, 2013, 01:59 AM
At less than 500 yards I think that you would be spending extra money to shoot the 6.5. It is much more expensive than .308 and at those ranges you aren't going to notice any significant difference in performance. If you want to shoot competition then it may very well be worth the money.

Speedgoat
January 10, 2013, 02:19 AM
A .264 Win Mag is #2 on 'my' list of guns I'd like to get right now. I've heard great things about the cartridge from those who use it out here in WY's open country on antelope. Looking back on the 4 years I myself spent in NW WA, I think that that would be a neat thrifty cartridge for up there. Granted I had little success up there, Hunting's quite a different game at least on the west side than it is here at home. But with the critters out there being a bit smaller, I think the tradeoff from .308 to .264 (I haven't reasearched it that in depth, but like the OP I've heard the same 'gun shop lore') would be a good deal up in those parts. That and I kinda like saying Winchester Magnum, so that may be another part of why I want one.

GooseGestapo
January 10, 2013, 08:06 AM
A .260 or 6.5Creedmoor or 6.5x55 won't be any better under 400yds. I've used about everything between the .22Hornet and .45/70 or something similar to take a beau-coup of deer (over 300) over the last 35yrs.
Just this year, I took two with a .358 (Browning BLR w/200gr Hornadys @ 2,500fps), two with a .270 (my first deer with the .270, yet 35yrs after owning my first one), and two with my .260Rem (Have decided that the un-cataloged Hornady/Remington Accutip/SST is my favorite bullet for this rifle.....(got a bunch of "blems" from MidwayUSA.com)

With a decent bullet, there really isn't much difference between the performance of the 6.5's and 7.62's (.308"). With the .308, you're pushing a 165gr bullet to ~2,600fps, ditto the little 6.5's with a 140gr bullet. On deer to ~300lbs, you'll get complete penetration with similar constructed "hunting" bullets and similar lethality (more than you really need). The much reputed 155-160gr 6.5's are really short range affairs as we consider such these days.... They're flat nose or round nose.... The 140's are the heaviest spitzers that will stabilize even in the 6.5's fast twist barrels....

Actually, the 6.5 will be a "little" cheaper as the bullets have a "little" less lead in them.

The advantages of the 6.5 are lower recoil and better ballistics beyond 600yds. But not a LOT better.... just enough to give a target shooter "maybe" a few more points or "X's",in the wind; enough to win a match, everything else "equal", which in "hunting" it never is....

My personal choice for a "further than 500yds" hunting rifle is my .300RUM.... But, even then, we aren't talking "realistic" hunting. Beyond 500yds, the bullets lack sufficient velocity to expand properly such that a ethical kill is questionable....And precise shot placement is questionable due to wind fluctations. My "Beanfield" gun is a .257WeatherbyMag. Out to 300yds, nothing much is flatter shooting and with a 100gr bullet, It'll still expand out at around 500yds.... I suppose the .264winmag would be very similar... with a 100-120gr bullet. But for practical purposes, it really dosen't beat my .270 by much. And Wally-world has .270 ammo for less than $1 per shot.... if I misplace the ammo on a 'road trip' hunt.

If you "want" a 6.5, go for it. I'd suggest the 6.5-.284, 6.5/06 or 6.5RemMag. These have enough velocity to flatten the trajectory over that of the .308 to be "different", but not neccessarily "meaningful". If you're not a reloader, forget it!!! Get a .270 or .25/06 and don't look back....

My younger brother pondered your question 35yrs ago. He's got a pre-'64 Winchester Mod-70 featherweight in .308wcf. He lives in LasVegas and has hunted Maine to California, Florida to Idaho. He's taken pigs, elk, pronghorn, muley's, and several dozen whitetails and what else I don't know...
He uses the .308 with a slightly over book max load of H4895 for just under 3,000fps with a 150gr Nosler Partition. He sights in 3" high at 100yds or zero for ~250yds....
He's a "hunter", not a "shooter" unless you consider his deer hunting "deer shooting" as he call's it when he goes hunting with me...... He won't even consider using a different bullet as he's got what he calls a "lifetime" supply of them.....

The_Armed_Therapist
January 10, 2013, 08:51 AM
Up to 500 yards, there isn't any serious benefit to you. Right around 500 yards is where the 6.0s (.243)-7.0s (.277) start to out-perform the .308/.30-06, etc. Not only are their trajectories better at that distance, but because of their B.C.s, they retain their velocities and energies at a higher rate; meaning that they lose velocity and energy at a slower rate than the .30 cals. But within 500 yards, this either isn't true yet (like with the .243s), the difference is negligible (6.5x55), or the benefits small enough to not worth the extra cost (6.5 Creedmoor), in my opinion.

Now if we're talking past 500 yards for serious competition, then it's probably a different recommendation; but for potential hunting to 500, it probably isn't worth it.

On the other hand, who needs a good reason to build/purchase a new rifle??? ;)

ironworkerwill
January 10, 2013, 09:13 AM
I like the .260! But, its short action and you may need to modify your receiver since your rifle is a long action model 110. Or just go with a 6.5-06 or a 6.5-284 since they are long action. You can get a great barrel from brux for under $450. I think sharpshootersupply.com has all above stated calibers in stock, and they will custom ream any bbl not in stock if you supply the reamer.

Revoliver
January 10, 2013, 10:34 AM
I'd stick with the .308 for the time being. Unless you're going to get into serious competitive long range target shooting, even then, the .308 is a well established proven performer, even out past 500 yards.

adelbridge
January 10, 2013, 01:44 PM
at 500 yards 5 mph crosswind
6.5 creedmore is going to drift about 3"
.308 is going to drift about 4"
6.5 is going to drop about 40 inches
.308 is going to drop about 55 inches

both are going to retain about 1000 ft lbs give or take

neither make good long range hunting choice

W.E.G.
January 10, 2013, 02:01 PM
Stick with the .308.

It will reliably kill any North American game at any distance you have any business taking the shot in the field.

There will always be somebody pushing something different.
As already noted, the differences tend to be infinitesimal, and the opportunity costs of replacing reliable, existing, gear are great.

tahunua001
January 10, 2013, 03:27 PM
the main thing that people are worried about for long range hunting is bullet drop. the accuracy, FTLBs and velocity are all below your average 165 grain 308 but the 308 is a heavier bullet with a wider profile and looses velocity faster than a lighter bullet with narrower profile so the bullet drop and loss of velocity are much lower in a 6.5 than a 308.

and this is just my opinion but none of the rounds that you listed are what I would consider rare or hard to find. now if you were considering 6.5x52 carcano mannlicher(.268) or 6.5x50 Arisaka(.264) then you would probably have a pseudo rare gun but creedmore, swede, grendel and 260 are all actually fairly common sporting rounds.

urbaneruralite
January 10, 2013, 04:01 PM
...because a 120gr 6.5mm will do what a 165gr .308 will and better. Better would be qualified as less drop, less drift and less recoil.

Kitchen_Duty
January 10, 2013, 04:32 PM
...because a 120gr 6.5mm will do what a 165gr .308 will and better. Better would be qualified as less drop, less drift and less recoil.


I agree that 120 gr will do a lot better than a 165 gr 308 but with me wanting one bullet to do everything (elk included) that basically forces me to go with the 140's. Bullet drop for the 140gr at 500 yards is -47.5 inches compared to the 165 308 @ -50. That to me doesn't seem like much of a difference. I do agree for the wind drift though, but it doesn't seem worth it to buy a 6.5 to hunt with since I have a 308. Unless we start talking about 6.5 magnum calibers.

The_Armed_Therapist
January 10, 2013, 04:52 PM
That to me doesn't seem like much of a difference. I do agree for the wind drift though, but it doesn't seem worth it to buy a 6.5 to hunt with since I have a 308.

Not much of a difference at all. It's a lot of work and $$$ for a difference you'll likely never notice. Even the magnums won't make a big difference at 500 yards. 7mm mag on up is where you'll see the differences, but they're all larger than what you're looking into.

W.E.G.
January 10, 2013, 05:02 PM
I've always wanted a .264 Winchester Magnum, because it was the baddest round in the catalogs I used to study back in the 70's.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.264_Winchester_Magnum

Not that I have any use for it hunting whitetail.

If you are taking truly long shots with any caliber, you should be using a laser-rangefinder. Then just plug in your correction to your drop-chart. Can't see how a few-more or a few-less clicks on the knob for one caliber or another make a bit of difference if you're going to have to click knobs no matter what.

I still say its the one-in-a-million shooter who ever takes the 500-yard shot on under conditions where he could justify having done so.

Kitchen_Duty
January 10, 2013, 05:36 PM
I've always wanted a .264 Winchester Magnum, because it was the baddest round in the catalogs I used to study back in the 70's.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.264_Winchester_Magnum

Not that I have any use for it hunting whitetail.

If you are taking truly long shots with any caliber, you should be using a laser-rangefinder. Then just plug in your correction to your drop-chart. Can't see how a few-more or a few-less clicks on the knob for one caliber or another make a bit of difference if you're going to have to click knobs no matter what.

I still say its the one-in-a-million shooter who ever takes the 500-yard shot on under conditions where he could justify having done so.
Well out here in the tree farms near the mountains 500 yard shots are very possible. My elk that I lasered was 430 yards away. I was really close to dark time but still had time to walk uphill to lower that distance. But, if I had practice at shooting that range I might have considered doing it if it was closer to dusk.

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