22-250 vs 6.5 creedmoor

22-250 vs 6.5 Creedmoor: Which is Best for Deer Hunting?

Deer hunting is not just a pastime; it’s a passion and, for many, a tradition. Over the years, myriad cartridges have come into the spotlight, each with its own legion of fans and critics. In recent debates, the 22-250 and the 6.5 Creedmoor have emerged as two popular contenders in the deer hunting arena. While both cartridges have their merits and limitations, choosing between them often boils down to personal preference and specific hunting scenarios. This article seeks to delve into the intricacies of these two rounds, laying bare their history, technicalities, and suitability for deer hunting.

Choice 22-250 vs 6.5 Creedmoor comes down to the specific requirements of the shooter and the intended use. While the 22-250 is an excellent choice for varmint hunting and smaller deer, the 6.5 Creedmoor shines when it comes to bigger games and longer shots. As always, proficiency with one’s firearm and understanding its limitations are paramount for ethical hunting.

Historical Context

22-250 Cartridge The 22-250 Remington, often simply referred to as the 22-250, has its roots back in the 1930s. Originating as a wildcat cartridge, it gained widespread acclaim for its speed and accuracy. It wasn’t until 1965 that Remington officially adopted and standardized this cartridge. Originally designed for varmint hunting due to its flat trajectory, it has since found favor among many deer hunters, especially when dealing with smaller deer species.

6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge A relative newcomer, the 6.5 Creedmoor was introduced in 2007 by Hornady. Designed for precision target shooting, the 6.5 Creedmoor quickly gained popularity among long-range shooters. Recognizing its potential, hunters started adopting this round, appreciating its impressive ballistics and knockdown power, especially suitable for larger deer species. Its relatively short history has been marked by rapid adoption and growing popularity.

Technical Specifications

22-250 Specifications

  • Bullet diameter: The 22-250 uses a bullet with a diameter of .224 inches.
  • Case length: The case length stands at 1.912 inches.
  • Overall length: Typically, the overall cartridge length is around 2.350 inches.
  • Average muzzle velocity: One of the 22-250’s standout features is its velocity. With lighter bullets, it can reach muzzle velocities of up to 4,000 feet per second (fps) or slightly more.
  • Common bullet weights for deer hunting: For deer hunting, heavier bullets ranging from 50 to 60 grains are preferred to ensure adequate penetration and energy transfer.

6.5 Creedmoor Specifications

  • Bullet diameter: The 6.5 Creedmoor uses a bullet with a diameter of 6.72mm or .264 inches.
  • Case length: The cartridge case length is approximately 1.920 inches.
  • Overall length: The overall length of the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge is typically around 2.825 inches.
  • Average muzzle velocity: Depending on bullet weight and powder load, the 6.5 Creedmoor’s muzzle velocity ranges between 2,700 to 3,000 fps.
  • Common bullet weights for deer hunting: Most deer hunters using the 6.5 Creedmoor opt for bullets in the 120 to 143-grain range, with the 140-grain bullets being particularly popular due to their balanced blend of speed and energy.

These expanded sections aim to provide the reader with a clear understanding of the two cartridges, setting the stage for the ensuing discussion on their advantages, disadvantages, and specific applications in deer hunting.

Advantages and Disadvantages

22-250 Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Speed and Flat Trajectory: One of the hallmark traits of the 22-250 is its blazing speed, which leads to an exceedingly flat trajectory. This means hunters can achieve more accurate shots at variable distances without needing to adjust for significant bullet drop.
  • Less Recoil: The 22-250 cartridge offers a relatively mild recoil, making it more comfortable for extended shooting sessions and accessible for younger or recoil-sensitive hunters.
  • Versatility for Smaller Game as well: Beyond deer, the 22-250 excels in hunting smaller game such as coyotes, foxes, and prairie dogs. This versatility makes it a go-to choice for hunters who pursue multiple species in a single trip.


  • Potential for Less Knockdown Power on Larger Deer: Due to its lighter bullet, the 22-250 may not provide the desired knockdown power for bigger deer, especially at extended ranges.
  • Bullet Selection May Be Crucial for Ethical Kills: Not all 22-250 bullets are crafted equally. Choosing the right bullet type and weight is essential to ensure a humane and effective shot, especially when hunting deer.

6.5 Creedmoor Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Better Ballistics at Longer Ranges: The 6.5 Creedmoor was designed with long-range precision in mind. Its aerodynamic bullet design and consistent velocity give it a ballistic edge, especially past the 300-yard mark.
  • More Energy Delivery, Ensuring Ethical Kills on Deer: With heavier bullets and optimized ballistics, the 6.5 Creedmoor delivers significant energy on target, ensuring rapid and humane kills.
  • Widely Accepted in Many Hunting Circles as an Ideal Deer Cartridge: Its growing popularity isn’t just a fad. Many seasoned hunters swear by the 6.5 Creedmoor for deer, citing its balance of power, accuracy, and manageable recoil.


  • Potential for More Recoil: Compared to the 22-250, the 6.5 Creedmoor does kick a bit more. While it’s still manageable for most, those sensitive to recoil might notice the difference.
  • Slightly Heavier Ammunition and Rifles: The ammunition’s inherent design, combined with the rifles chambered for it, can result in a slightly heavier carry load, which might be a factor on extended hunting trips.

Suitable Situations for Each Cartridge

22-250: Given its traits, the 22-250 is best suited for:

  • Hunting smaller deer species where its speed and trajectory can be used to full advantage.
  • Areas with shorter shooting distances, such as dense woodlands or brushy terrain, where the speed of the bullet compensates for the lack of raw knockdown power.
  • Mixed hunting trips. If you’re hunting both varmints and deer, the 22-250 can save you the hassle of switching rifles or ammunition.

6.5 Creedmoor: The 6.5 Creedmoor shines in the following scenarios:

  • Hunting larger deer species. Its bullet weight and energy delivery ensure effective kills on bigger-bodied deer.
  • Open terrains and areas where longer shots are commonplace. Its ballistics are tailored for longer-range shooting, making it a reliable choice in such scenarios.
  • Trips focusing on bigger game species. While it’s versatile enough for smaller games, its design and ballistics make it an outstanding choice for deer, elk, and even some larger species when loaded with the right bullet.

The choice between the 22-250 and the 6.5 Creedmoor should factor in not only the game you’re after but also the terrain, your shooting distance preferences, and your personal comfort with recoil and rifle weight. Both cartridges have proven their worth in the field, but understanding their strengths and limitations can help you make the best decision for your specific hunting needs.

22-250 vs. 6.5 Creedmoor Cost and Availability


  • 22-250: The 22-250, having been around for decades, has a wide variety of ammunition available at different price points. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1.00 to $2.50 per round, depending on brand, bullet type, and quantity purchased. Premium hunting rounds may cost slightly more.
  • 6.5 Creedmoor: The 6.5 Creedmoor, while newer, has surged in popularity. This has led to a broad spectrum of price points. Generally, prices can range from $1.20 to $3.00 per round. Precision or specialized hunting ammo might lean toward the higher end of that spectrum.


  • 22-250: Given its long-standing history and widespread use in both hunting and shooting sports, 22-250 ammunition is widely available at most local gun stores, sporting goods outlets, and online retailers.
  • 6.5 Creedmoor: Thanks to its recent rise to stardom in the shooting world, 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition has become abundantly available. While initially, there might have been some scarcity due to its rapid uptake, manufacturers have ramped up production, ensuring easy availability in most places.

Personal Testimonials/Reviews

22-250 Reviews:

  • John from Texas: “I’ve been using the 22-250 for deer hunting in East Texas for over a decade. While it’s great for the smaller Whitetail we have here, I ensure I use premium bullets. It’s also my go-to for coyote hunts!”
  • Elaine from Montana: “I love the 22-250 for its minimal recoil, especially on long varmint shooting days. For deer, I’ve found it effective at shorter ranges, but I wouldn’t take very long shots on bigger deer with it.”

6.5 Creedmoor Reviews:

  • Alex from Colorado: “The 6.5 Creedmoor is my primary rifle for deer and elk. It’s accurate, and I’ve found it to be deadly efficient even at longer ranges. It’s a versatile cartridge that I believe every hunter should consider.”
  • Renee from North Dakota: “Having used both, I have a slight preference for the 6.5 Creedmoor when hunting bigger deer. Its energy delivery ensures quick and humane kills. Plus, its ballistics give me confidence in taking slightly longer shots when needed.”

Expert Testimony:

  • David, a seasoned hunter and writer: “While both cartridges have their merits, your choice should depend on the environment and the size of the deer. The 22-250 is great for smaller deer and shorter distances, but if you’re hunting in open terrains and bigger game, the 6.5 Creedmoor offers undeniable advantages.”

It’s crucial to remember that personal preferences and experiences can vary. These testimonials give a glimpse into the experiences of some hunters, but every individual should evaluate the cartridges based on their hunting scenarios and comfort levels.


Choosing between the 22-250 and the 6.5 Creedmoor requires careful consideration of several factors. Here’s a balanced viewpoint based on the facets discussed:

  • Cost: If you’re on a tight budget, the 22-250 generally offers slightly cheaper rounds. However, always remember that the cheapest ammo may not always be the best choice for hunting purposes.
  • Recoil: For those who are recoil-sensitive or are introducing younger hunters to the sport, the 22-250 provides a gentler shooting experience.
  • Availability: Both cartridges are widely available, with the 6.5 Creedmoor catching up quickly due to its increasing popularity.
  • Ethical Considerations: If you’re hunting larger deer or at extended ranges, the 6.5 Creedmoor, with its superior energy delivery, is more likely to ensure a humane and swift kill. However, the 22-250 can also be effective, especially with the right bullet choice and within its optimal range.

Personal Verdict:

  • For Newcomers: Starting with the 22-250 might be a wise choice, given its lighter recoil and versatile use for both varmints and smaller deer. As beginners often shoot at closer ranges, this cartridge can be more forgiving.
  • For Seasoned Hunters: Experienced hunters who are often targeting bigger deer or are engaged in long-range shooting might find the 6.5 Creedmoor more aligned with their needs. Its advanced ballistics and energy transfer are hard to beat for such applications.

Ballistic Performance

Muzzle Velocity and Energy:

  • 22-250: Average muzzle velocities can range from 3,500 to 4,000 fps, depending on bullet weight. The energy delivered can be around 1,500 to 1,750 ft-lbs.
  • 6.5 Creedmoor: Muzzle velocities typically range between 2,700 to 3,000 fps, with energies from 2,200 to 2,400 ft-lbs.

Bullet Drop and Trajectory Comparison:

  • 22-250: Known for its flat trajectory, especially within 300 yards. Beyond this range, bullet drop becomes more pronounced.
  • 6.5 Creedmoor: Designed for long-range shooting, it exhibits a flat trajectory well beyond 500 yards, making it suitable for longer shots.

Recoil and shootability

Recoil Energy and Felt Recoil:

  • 22-250: Generally, it produces a lighter recoil, which is often less than 10 ft-lbs, making it quite manageable.
  • 6.5 Creedmoor: Recoil is moderate, typically ranging from 15 to 20 ft-lbs depending on the rifle and load.

Shooting Experience:

  • 22-250: Due to its lower recoil, it’s often preferred for extended shooting sessions and is more accessible for younger or recoil-sensitive shooters.
  • 6.5 Creedmoor: While the recoil is manageable for most experienced shooters, absolute beginners might take some time to get used to it.

Ammunition Availability and Variety

Brands and Bullet Types: 22-250 and 6.5 Creedmoor: Both cartridges are popular, with major manufacturers producing them. Brands like Hornady, Federal, Remington, and Winchester offer various bullet types, from ballistic tips to soft points.

Price Comparison: 22-250 Typically slightly cheaper, ranging from $1.00 to $2.50 per round.

6.5 Creedmoor Prices can range from $1.20 to $3.00 per round. Premium long-range or hunting rounds may be pricier.

Versatility Beyond Deer Hunting

Other Game Animals:

  • 22-250: Suitable for varmints like coyotes, foxes, and prairie dogs.
  • 6.5 Creedmoor: Effective for bigger game like elk and even moose with the right bullet.

Long-Range Shooting:

  • 22-250: Effective for long-distance varmint hunting.
  • 6.5 Creedmoor: Superior for long-range target shooting and big game hunting due to its ballistic coefficients.

Rifle Availability

Popular Models:

22-250: Popular rifles include the Remington 700, Savage Axis, and Ruger American.

6.5 Creedmoor: The Ruger Precision Rifle, Tikka T3x, and Savage 110 are among the popular choices.


Both Cartridges: Rifles chambered in both cartridges have ample aftermarket support, from stocks to precision barrels.

Ethical Considerations in Hunting

Making a Clean Kill: Essential for all hunters, choosing a cartridge with adequate energy and precision is crucial.

Consistency and Reliability:

  • 22-250: Effective for smaller deer but requires precise shot placement and appropriate bullet choice for larger deer.
  • 6.5 Creedmoor: With its superior ballistics and energy transfer, it’s more consistently reliable for a broader range of deer sizes.


The debate 22-250 vs 6.5 Creedmoor isn’t about determining a definitive winner but understanding which cartridge aligns best with individual hunting scenarios and preferences. Both rounds have proven their efficacy in the hunting community, with each having distinct advantages. It’s essential to evaluate personal goals, hunting terrains, target species, and even physical comfort levels when making a choice. Whichever you decide, ensure you’re familiar with the cartridge’s characteristics and always prioritize ethical hunting practices.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can the 22-250 be used for bigger games beyond deer?

While primarily used for varmints and smaller deer, the 22-250 can be used for larger game, but shot placement and bullet choice become critical.

Is the 6.5 Creedmoor suitable for beginners?

Absolutely! While it has a bit more recoil than the 22-250, it’s manageable for most, and its impressive ballistics make it a favorite among many hunters, including newcomers.

Are there bullet weight recommendations for the 6.5 Creedmoor when hunting larger deer?

Most hunters prefer bullets in the 120 to 143-grain range for deer, with the 140-grain bullet being particularly popular.

How does the 22-250 fare for long-distance shooting?

The 22-250 offers a flat trajectory and can be used for long-distance shots. However, it might lack the energy required for ethical kills on larger animals at those distances.

How versatile is the 6.5 Creedmoor for other game species?

The 6.5 Creedmoor is versatile and can be used for a range of game, from deer to elk, and even some larger species with the right bullet choice.

Remember, no matter which cartridge you choose, proficiency with your chosen firearm and understanding your cartridge’s capabilities are paramount for ethical and successful hunting.

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