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6.5 Creedmoor Barrel Length & Muzzle Velocity

One of my closest friends has two 6.5 Creedmoor rifles made by Surgeon Rifles that he has tried a couple different barrel sizes on.  He started with a 26″ barrel, because that is what Surgeon typically used but lately we’ve been shooting in more practical/tactical long-range competitions where you have to carry the rifle for miles every day … so he wanted to lighten the load.  He was also planning to add a suppressor to his rifle, and a 26″ barrel + 9″ suppressor makes for a pretty long and cumbersome rifle.  He eventually rebarrelled to a 22″ barrel, which he loves.  Both of the barrels were big, heavy, Krieger #10 contours with 1:8 twists (and both rifles could shoot 10 shot groups under 1/2″ … mostly in one ragged hole).

6.5 Creedmoor Surgeon Rifle Schmidt & Bender Scope AICS Stock with Viperskins ThunderBeast 30P 1 Suppressor

6.5 Creedmoor Excerpt from Berger Bullets Reloading ManualHe mentioned that he’d searched online to see what barrel lengths people were using for the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge and get an idea for what kind of velocity he would be sacrificing, and saw a lot of debate … but not a lot of helpful information.  The new Berger Bullets Reloading Manual said you could expect a change of about 25 fps per inch (see excerpt image).  So he was expecting 100 fps loss, but that is not what happened.  So we thought it’d be helpful to share what he found.  He regularly shot each barrel length over an Oehler 35P chronograph, which is a professional grade chronograph and one of the most accurate ones made.  He kept really good documentation on the velocities, and here is what he found.

6.5 Creedmoor Barrel Length and Muzzle Velocity Diagram

6.5 Creedmoor with 26″ Barrel

This is the original configuration he tried, because it was the one Surgeon typically makes.  Here are the velocities he found:

  • 2805 fps – This was his muzzle velocity was out of a brand new barrel (without a suppressor attached)
  • 2860 fps – His barrel sped up a little as the barrel broke in, and this is what his muzzle velocity was after 1,200 rounds out of the 26″ barrel (again, this was without a suppressor attached).  This is the point where he rebarrelled, but he inspected the the barrel guys with a borescope with a professional gunsmith at Surgeon and based on the barrel wear they estimated this was about 1/2 way of the accurate barrel life.

6.5 Creedmoor with 22″ Barrel

  • 2760 fps – This was the 1st velocities recorded with the brand new 22″ barrel (without a suppressor attached).  He was ecstatic to see this, because he was expected more than 100 fps of velocity loss with 4″ less barrel, based on the estimates in Berger’s new reloading manual.
  • 2805 fps – This is what he is now getting after 800 rounds, with the barrel completely broken in and no suppressor attached.
  • 2833 fps – He has since started using a Thunder Beast 30P-1 suppressor with his 22″ barrel, and the added 9″ of length the suppressor adds has helped his muzzle velocity a little as well.

So ultimately, after he added the suppressor he only lost 27 fps with 4″ less barrel.  That essentially means he only has 2/10 more vertical adjustment of a mil at 1,000 yards, and wind drift is virtually identical.  In return he has a lighter, more maneuverable rifle … and he couldn’t be more happy with that trade.

About Cal

Cal Zant is the shooter/author behind PrecisionRifleBlog.com. Cal is a life-long learner, and loves to help others get into this sport he's so passionate about. His engineering background, unique data-driven approach, and ability to present technical and complex information in a unbiased and straight-forward fashion has quickly caught the attention of the industry. For more info on Cal, check out PrecisionRifleBlog.com/About.

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50 comments

  1. What barrel twist does your friend have on his surgeons?

    • He uses a 1:8 twist on all of his 6.5 Creedmoors. He honestly might go with a faster twist if Krieger offered one. One of the guys we really pay attention to is Todd Hodnett with Accuracy 1st, and he thinks overstabalization is a ridiculous concept. Here is a quote from Todd on the topic:

      “I am a fan of fast twist rates, so let’s look at this very important component. Here are some considerations: barrel length and twist rate, long VLD-type bullets, heavier VLD-type bullets and shorter barrels may require a faster twist. I have tested this on several occasions and found the same answer with each test. In my opinion, the Greenhill Formula is a little outdated. Even though it may work for some types of bullets and some types of shooting, I believe we need much faster twist rates for extended long-range shots. This gives us better-retained gyroscopic stability as the bullet is reaching transonic flight and into subsonic flight, thus, better grouping capabilities as well as less loss of BC due to loss of stability. I even had a 1:7.8-inch twist on a .308.” – Todd Hodnett (Sniper Magazine, May 2012)

      The only downside I’m aware of with going to a faster twist rate is that you will have more spin drift. “Faster spin rates will produce more gyroscopic drift because the nose ends up pointing farther to the side.” (View Source) However, the difference is usually very slight. For example, I ran the ballistics for a 6.5 Creedmoor with a 1:8 twist rate and the spin drift at 1200 yards was 10.5″. I changed the twist to 1:9 and the spin drift was 9.1″ at 1200 yards. If someone can shoot between those numbers at 1200 yards, I’d like to see it. So my thought process these days is to buy the fastest twist rate Krieger offers and go with it … especially if you are really pushing your gun beyond its supersonic range.

      • read your artical about the 22 inch barrel creedmoor with great interest.I have a 26 inch Shaw barrel on mine and it don’t shoot worth a darn, main bullet I USE IS 123GR a max.TRIED several powders as well as OAL’S….Do you suppose I might benifit by a shorter barrel..Or just get a different barrel? Thank you..

      • John, I’m not sure. I would bet it has more to do with the barrel than the length, but you never know. There wouldn’t be much harm in cutting it off and seeing what happens. Shaw in an upgrade over most factory barrels, but they can still be hit or miss in my experience. Sorry I couldn’t be more help.

        Thanks,
        Cal

  2. Thanks for your reply. I’m planning on having a surgeon scalpel built over the winter and was wondering if I should go with a 8″ twist or a 8.5″. or if it even matters. I thinking has been to go with the 8, and after reading your post, I’m thinking of sticking with a 8″ twist over an 8.5. How much do tighter twists affect muzzle velocity? Any insight on that? How much slower will an 8 be over an 8.5″. Thanks.

    • I really don’t know if twist has a measurable impact on velocity. Although theoretically its possible, it seems unlikely. But honestly that’s just my opinion. Sorry I couldn’t be more help.

      If someone else has some insight on this, please chime in.

  3. I recently gave my wife [ who has won 1st place at the Texas Trophy Hunters Extravaganza ] a Lady Savage 6.5 Creedmore and I worried about the shorter barrel. I think I will have a suppressor installed and see if that doesn’t help her MV.
    CRaTXn cratxn@me.com

    • You should try it out. You’ll probably recover a little muzzle velocity. It is effectively extending the barrel, although most suppressors are 30 caliber and not 6.5mm … so it isn’t exactly the same as a longer barrel.

      From what I’ve heard the 6.5 Creedmoor was originally designed for a shorter barrel. One of the lead guys on that project has even said that 22 inches is the ideal barrel length for a 6.5 Creedmoor … he was very adamant on that point. Not 24″ or even 23″ … 22.0″. My friend now has a few 6.5 Creedmoor barrels. He has two rifles chambered on Surgeon Actions (one pictured here and the other in a McMillan A5, but he prefers the AICS). He also has a few barrels in his safe that are already chambered. All of them are 22″ … he couldn’t be more happy with his choice to go shorter.

  4. Just pointing out, that Berger was actually kinda spot on. They say 25 fps loss per inch from a 24 inch barrel. So that could be accurate if you make the assumption that there will not be much significant gains from 24″ to 26″

    • Our barrel change was 26″ to 22″ (not 24″). So that is 4 inches of difference at 25fps/inch, which should equate to 100fps. We experienced 55fps. That’s the point I was making. None of my results were for a 24″ barrel. I think that’s where you got confused.

      Thanks,
      Cal

  5. I just had a 6.5 Creedmoor built on a &00 action with a 1-7 Douglas barrel. Developing loads right now. So far I am getting good groups with with Cutting Edge MT bullets with IMR 4350. Would appreciate and recommendations.

    • Hey Dane, thanks for sharing! The guys I know shooting 6.5 Creedmoor all use the Hornady 140gr AMAX Match Ammo. They publish that load on the box (one of the things the cartridge designer insisted on). The specs on the box say it is 41.5gr of H4350 and a Fed 210M primer. But Hornady’s 9th Ed Reloading Manual says the max load for H4350 is 40.9gr … So that is a hot load. But it seems to group well for everyone I’ve seen shoot it.

      Thanks again,
      Cal

  6. All it tells me is that its a well written article with nice pictures.
    At best its anecdotal evidence from two data points, not anything better than a forum post that says “I had one barrel that did this, and another that did that”…

    • Okay … I guess thanks for the compliment on the pictures?

      First, I’m not just some guy on a forum. If you’ve read many articles on my blog, you can tell I’m more detailed, data-driven, and transparent than the average keyboard jockey. Second, I use professional gear to collect the data (an Oehler 35p chronograph) and it’s based on a large sample size (at least 300 shots over a chronograph with 4 different barrels).

      Ultimately, I’m just trying to post some data so that people have something to go on and can learn from my experience, without having to try it themselves. I guess if this isn’t detailed enough for you, start your own website and try to do better. I’d love to see more guys put in the time I do to help other shooters. Be sure to send me a link.

      Thanks,
      Cal

      • Cal,
        Pay NO ATTENTION to Steve and people like him…. I am in the silent minority (I don’t think I’ve actually posted any comments on your blog in the past), but have read every single article on this site multiple times…. and I find your work to be invaluable and very well done…. a huge help for me (and so many other long range enthusiasts) in helping me with my current build, and with long range precision shooting in general.
        As for you, Steve, I also eagerly await your FREE website created, financed, and written with your thousands of hours of selfless labor, blood, sweat and tears…… Really dude? C’mon and have some respect rather than casting stones…. put up or shut up, brother.

      • Thanks for all of the good info. I am looking at having my Tikka CTR 260 re barreled to a 6.5 Creedmoor and was researching what barrel length to go to. The reason for the change is because with the 260 I have to seat the long high bc bullets deep into the case to get them to feed through the magazine. Right now I am getting 2,784 fps with the 140 gr Amax and 43.5 gr. of H4350. I am hoping that with the 6.5 CM that I’ll be able to seat the heavier bullets out further.

      • Hey, Gary. I like the 6.5 Creedmoor cartidge a lot and personally just built a precision rifle based on it a few months ago … but I’m not sure it’ll help with the problem you described. The published COAL for the 260 Rem is 2.8 inches, and the 6.5 Creedmoor is also 2.8 inches. If you’re looking for extra room to seat 140gr bullets out as the throat erodes and still maintain mag length, the 6.5 Creedmoor may offer a little more room … but it’d be slight if any. One alternative is the new Berger 130gr Hybrid bullets, which Bryan Litz designed for this EXACT purpose. You can read more about those here: New Berger 6.5mm Bullet for PRS Shooters

        I personally just bought 2000 of those 130gr Berger Hybrids, because I want to try them out. You should run the ballistics for them. The 140gr has a slight wind drift advantage at 1000 yards, but they’re virtually identical inside of that. The 130gr definitely shoots flatter, which can be an advantage in some applications. This bullet was released mid-2015, and there were already a few pros using it by the end of the year. It has a lot of potential. The BC is lower than the 140gr Hybrid, but you should run the ballistics for yourself before you dismiss it. It’s very compelling, and it will help you with that magazine length issue.

        Best of luck to you!

        Thanks,
        Cal

    • Don’t like his post…. Than don’t comment! Extremely helpful post and has answered multiple question I had….. I’m now going to cut 8″ off my 6.5 (currently 30″ barrel)
      I built a target rifle to get into the sport in 6.5 got a Krieger barrel fitting to a savage tac10 action and sitting in a MDT chassis system… Nice gun and shoots well but not well enough to compete…. I have wonder if my barrel length and choice was a bad idea… So under the axe it will go…. I will try and get back here and let you know how it goes…

      • Thanks, Mick. I personally just built a new 6.5 Creedmoor. It left Surgeon Rifles on Friday, and should be here on Thursday. I’m super-excited to get it in. I bought 2 extra barrels for it that are already chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor for that action. So there are 3 barrels total. Guess what size every single one of those are? 22″. That’s about as strong of a vote of confidence I can give this. I cast my vote with my own wallet! I’m not saying that a 24″ or 26″ barrel is the wrong choice. Obviously there are a lot of amazing shooters running those length barrels (mostly 26″, see the data).

        I’d love to hear what you think about it after you’ve used it for a little while. Please keep us in the loop!

        Thanks,
        Cal

  7. Excellent Article on a data starved cartridge! Definitely solidifies my Mega Maten 6.5CM 22″ JP barrel build. Would it be overreaching to ask what load was used? I’ll be thrilled if i can get an accurate load with that kinda heat behind it! Because Power Pro 2000MR shoots so well out of my .308 I’ll start there. Thanks and keep up the good work!

    • Hey, Will. These muzzle velocities are all for the Hornady 140gr AMax Match Loaded Ammo. They actually used to print the load data on the box, but I noticed the last couple cases didn’t have it printed on there anymore.

      The specs on the box used to say it is 41.5gr of H4350 and a Fed 210M primer. But Hornady’s 9th Ed Reloading Manual says the max load for H4350 is 40.9gr … So that is a hot load. And I knew a couple guys who tried to reproduce the muzzle velocity they got with the Hornady loaded ammo, and they couldn’t do it with 41.5 grains of H4350. It was about 50 fps slower when they followed that recipe with the same components. So… I guess that might be why they took the recipe off the box. They may not be using exactly those specs.

      I would start with H4350. About 70% of the pro shooters use H4350 (all using the 6.5 Creedmoor or similar sized cartridges). You can read more about that here: http://precisionrifleblog.com/2014/12/11/reloading-components/

      Hope this helps,
      Cal

      • HAD MY SAKO 85 REBARRELED INTO 6.5 CM WITH A 22″ KREIGER 1-8 TWIST.I DONT SHOOT MANY TARGETS USING ITMAINLY FOR FOR DEER STALKING AND VERMIN CONTROL.I USE 41.9 OF H4350 ACHIEVING A MV AVERAGE OF 2728 FPS.I FIND YOUR ARTICLES VERY INFORMATIVE AS THERE IS VERY LITTLE INFO FOR 6.5CM ON ANY OF THE ENGLISH WEBSITES.

      • Thanks for sharing the info, Geoff. Glad you find the content helpful.

        Thanks,
        Cal

  8. THANKS FOR GETTING BACK CAL I FORGOT TO MENTION IAM USING 140 SST.THE SUPPLIES OF RELOADING COMPONENTS ARE VERY LIMITED TO SAY THE LEAST OVER HERE.WHAT I WAS WANTING TO KNOW WAS USING 222-50 CASES WITH THE COW METHOD.WITH THEM BEING SLIGHTLY SHORTER THAN THE 6.5CM WOULD THIS AFFECT THE BALLISTIC PERFORMANCE IN ANYWAY.ALSO WOULD YOU RESIZE TO 6.5 PRIOR TO USING THE COW METHOD OR AFTER.

  9. CHEERS CAL I WOULDNT USAULLY BOTHER TRYING TO CONVERT DIFFERENT CASES INTO 6.5CM BUT SUPPLIES OVER HERE ARE VERY LIMITED TO SAY THE LEAST, AND GETTING VERY EXPENSIVE.WILL HAVE TO AWAIT FOR THE NEXT SHIPMENT TO THE SUPPLIERS.

  10. I’m going to order a 6.5 Creed barrel and was just wondering if the 22″ measurement in this post is total overall barrel length before mounting or if 22″ was the length from the end of the chamber/start of the rifling to the muzzle.

  11. good article, I am re-barreling my 260 rem prs rifle to 6.5 cm, also building a shorty truck gun in 6.5 creed, this gives me confidence in going 22 inch on the truck gun, I will stay at 24 for the prs rifle.

  12. Have you done, or know anyone who has done testing with a shorter barrel? 18-20″?

    I am looking more for a precision hunting rifle, not a 1000 yd shooter.

    • I have not ever seen or read about a 6.5 Creedmoor with a barrel shorter than 22″. At some point you’re velocity will really start dropping off more quickly, but I’m not sure where that is with a Creedmoor. Sorry I couldn’t be more help.

      Thanks,
      Cal

    • just sticking my nose in look at sniper hide they show a 6.5CM with 18inch barrel shooting 1125yds
      Regards
      Derek

      • Yes, sir! Not surprising. It all comes down to personal preference. Most PRS shooters run 26″ 6.5 Creedmoor barrels. Me and a couple of my buddies (and I’m sure many more) run these 22″ barrel, but get slightly less muzzle velocity. You could probably go all the way down to 16″ if you really wanted to. At some point MV might start to decline more rapidly, but I’m not sure exactly where that point is. I can say a 22″ barrel feels a lot different in terms of balance and overall weight than a 26″ barrel. I’m sure that’s even more true for an 18″.

        Thanks for mentioning it. I hadn’t heard of people running 18″, but it doesn’t surprise me too much.

        Thanks,
        Cal

  13. Hi!

    For my next precision rifle set up i would to build a new 6.5 Creedmoor with a barrel length of 21 Inch and 1:7 twist. and i would your notice on this 6.5 Creed set up barrel ?..

    thank you

    • That’s cool, Norm. I’m not sure I understand your question: “and i would your notice on this 6.5 Creed set up barrel?” Can you clarify?

      Thanks,
      Cal

  14. Great post. I’m working on a 6.5 Creedmore and was thinking about a 26″ Bartlein barrel.
    I might change it to 22 or maybe 24 now.
    Cal, what stock is that?

    • Hey, Fred. That is an AICS stock with Victor Company ViperSkins. It is a SWEET setup. That was a friends rifle in the photo, but I built one that is 100% identical to it just 3 months ago. I love it. I wrote a review about that setup that you might be interested in: AICS stock with Victor Company ViperSkins Review.

      I went 22″ on that rifle and I’ve been shooting the 140’s, but I just bought 3000 of the Berger 130 Hybrids that I plan to try out. I guess at 3000, I am more than trying out! Based on the initial ballistics I ran (holding energy at the muzzle to be the same as the 140), I’m expecting at least 100 fps increase in muzzle velocity over the 140s. The wind drift is virtually identical to 800 yards. At 1000 yards, the 140’s have 0.1 mil less wind drift. That is a pretty tiny difference. The drop on the 130 is very different. It is much flatter shooting, and very similar in wind deflection. It should also recoil slightly less. Those are enough things for me to give it a shot!

      Thanks,
      Cal

      • Thanks Cal.
        130 Berger sounds great. All data appears to be same or better than 140, only question is the stabillity past 500 yards. You think 8″ twist is fast enough for 130?
        I just ordered a Defiance tactical action that will go on Bartlein 22″ HV. I will be doing the rest of work myself. Should be done by spring shooting season.

      • Sounds like a sweet setup, Fred! Yeah, I think an 8″ twist should be great. That is about the fastest twist available, at least without specifying something custom. It’s what I’m running in my 6.5 CM. I don’t think there should be any problem stabilizing that bullet. I used the Berger Twist Rate Stability Calculator to double-check, and that bullet would have an SG of 1.63 with a 1:8 twist at the velocities I’m expecting. An SG above 1.5 is ideal, so that sounds great to me.

        You never know until you get it out there! I’ve a new bullet I’m using out of my 7mm Rem Mag act funny this week past 1000 yards. The BC just drops rapidly between 1000 and 1400 yards. It’s consistent out to 1000 yards, but you have to tweak a ton to match the hits beyond that. It’s a 168gr Nosler Accubond LR, which has a stupid high BC … even higher than the 180gr Berger Hybrid. And that BC seems to be correct out to 1000, but not past that. It’s really funny. That also has a plastic ballistic tip, so maybe that thing is melting or deforming in flight and changing the BC. I don’t know. I bet it is just destabilizing and starting to pitch and yaw as the velocity drops. But, like I said … you never know until you get out there and shoot it!

        Thanks,
        Cal

  15. Cal,

    Any change in velocity or performance between bolt and AR setup? I plan on buying 22 or 26 Krieger barrel just not sure if I am going with the bolt or AR platform. I shoot both so I can go either way just wondering about performance. Plan on target and maybe hunting with it.

    • Ron, that’s a great question. I thought surely I had some chronograph readings somewhere, but couldn’t dig them up. You’ll lose a little muzzle velocity with the AR, but it’s not a lot. I think it’s less than 50 fps, but can’t remember exactly. It’s very little … virtually nothing. Check out this post: How Much Does Muzzle Velocity Matter? It shows the impact that muzzle velocity has on hit probability at long range. It’s not much. I literally have 10 22″ 6.5 Creedmoor barrels in my safe right now. I’m not saying it’s “the right choice” … there is no one “right” choice. I’m just asking you to take an objective look at how much it matters. In the days of laser rangefinders, it just doesn’t matter as much as it once did.

      Thanks,
      Cal

      Thanks,
      Cal

      • Thanks Cal, I am going with the 22 from Krieger. Just have to wait 6 months for the barrel. Thank you for your post, your data is top notch.

      • Excellent choice! But the wait is killer. It’s like a good gunsmith. You really want to wait for them, because they are busy for a reason. If a gunsmith can fit you right in, you probably don’t want to use him. 😉

        Thanks,
        Cal

  16. Hey Cal just wanted to say I appreciate all the work that went into your blog. It is quickly becoming my favorite stop for long range shooting.

    I am quickly becoming a 6.5C but even though I havnt shot one yet :) I live in AZ so today I’m going to go visit a little company named Surgeon for a tour and talk about a build. Again thanks for the blog!

    • Hey, Jake. I’m glad you have found the content helpful. I appreciate the encouragement.

      I personally own 2 custom rifles built by Surgeon, and they’re both exceptional. I wouldn’t hesitate to ask them to build another.

      Thanks,
      Cal

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