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Winchester 243 vs 6.5 Creedmoor For Deer: The Better Cartridge

Whether you’re a newbie hunter or a pro, choosing a cartridge is always confusing. We understand the struggle. And that’s why we’ve come here to help clear this dilemma!

So, which one is better between Winchester 243 vs 6.5 creedmoor for deer?

The 6.5 Creedmoor is the newer and superior one between these two. It gives you a better range with great velocity. The certainty of a kill in a longer range also gives it the edge. It has better barrel life compared to Winchester .243. The recoil is the only category that sees Winchester .243 as the winner. 

That was the essence of the whole discussion. But you must learn more about this before choosing one of them. 

So, let’s spare a few moments and give it a read! 

243 Winchester and 6.5 Creedmoor – An Overview

The origin of 243 Winchester and 6.5 Creedmoor is quite similar. But they are distinctively different based on different attributes. 

Considering the age, 6.5 Creedmoor is a ‘kid’ in comparison to 243 Winchester. 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge is comparatively released recently, in 2007. On the contrary, 243 Winchester has been here since 1955.

243 Winchester is one of the most popular cartridges among newbie hunters. If it wasn’t your first caliber, then it’s the one that should have been. But everything around us is in a phase of constant development. Cartridges are not an exception to that. And the 6.5 Creedmoor is the result of our eagerness to develop continuously.

There are a lot of differences between these two popular cartridges. Choosing the proper cartridges is a part of the basics of Deer Hunting. So, why not take a look?

243 Winchester vs 6.5 Creedmoor – Basic Differences

The 6.5 Creedmoor and 243 Winchester are mild recoiling cartridges. The .243 Winchester has always been one of the pioneers in the hunting game. Whereas 6.5 is comparatively a new one to compete with .243 Winchester. Their basic capabilities overlap to some extent. 

However, there are some blatant differences between them to consider while choosing one. 

That’s why here’s a chart to make things easier-

Criteria243 Winchester6.5 Creedmoor
Bullet Diameter.243” or 6mm.264” or 6.5mm
Grain Weight55-11595-160
Max Pressure 60,000 psi62,000 psi
Barrel Life1500 rounds3000 rounds

243 Winchester vs 6.5 Creedmoor – Detailed Differences

Now we have got the basic overview out of the way. Let’s jump into the detailed comparison between these two cartridges. 


The range of a cartridge is often considered as one of the major statistics. One of the most important factors in the range is the Maximum Point Blank Range (MPBR).

The distance a projectile travels without deviating from its projected course is MPBR. It is a parameter to measure the absolute range of a trajectory. 

It’s found that the 100 gr .243 Winchester has an MPBR of 296 yds. Beyond this range, the bullet’s trajectory declines significantly. 

On the other hand, the 120 gr 6.5 Creedmoor has an MPBR of 325 yds. Also, the decline in trajectory isn’t too much after 400 yds. 

Verdict: The 120 gr 6.5 CM has a better range overall. Inside 300 yds they are both capable of doing the job perfectly. But beyond 300 yds the 100 gr .243 Winchester starts to drop rapidly. Therefore, the 6.5 Creedmoor is the clear-cut winner in this category. 


The muzzle velocity is the velocity a bullet gains instantly while leaving the muzzle. It is considered as the main judging parameter of the velocity of a bullet. Even though different bullets have different weights, their velocity can be compared.

The 120 gr 6.5 Creedmoor has a velocity of 3050 FPS. On the contrary, the 100 gr 243 Winchester moves at 2960 feet per second. Both of them are very fast-moving projectiles. 

Another parameter to judge the velocity of a cartridge is the Expansion upon impact. In this category, the .243 Winchester 100 gr can fully expand at 600 yds. This number is almost .5 times better with 6.5 CM 120 gr, at 900 yds.

Verdict: As it shows, both of them are almost similar in terms of muzzle velocity. They also show the standard downward arc, like big-game cartridges. But if you’re considering better expansion at distance, 6.5 Creedmoor is the one.


If you compare only one attribute of two cartridges, kinetic energy is the one. It contributes the most to the main purpose of using hunting bullets. Which is to kill animals effectively.

For that, we need a briefing about the energy needed to kill a deer. On that note, we should recall what Chuck Hawks suggested. He noted that the necessary killing power is 800 ft. lbs. There are arguments on that value but we’ll use the one that Chuck suggested.

The 243 Winchester fell under 800 ft. lbs. after passing 400 yds. This means after 400 yards the bullet might not kill a deer.

However, the 120 gr 6.5 CM maintains above the threshold past 700 yds. Thus making it effective at a longer range than its competitor.

Verdict: The discussion shows that 6.5 CM has a better range. It is also certain to kill at more than 300 yds than .243 Winchester. Thus making it the favorable one between the two of them in this category. 


Till now it’s been all 6.5 CM, but the table is about to turn. In terms of recoil, there is none close to the .243 Winchester. As a result, it is very easy to control and avoid injuries. This is the reason behind most of the newbie hunters choosing this cartridge.

Recoil is basically how hard the rifle kicks you back. So the lower the number, the better for your precious shoulder. The recoil of 100 gr 243 Win is 8.8 ft. lbs. at 8.7 fps. In contrast, for 6.5 CM recoil is 13 ft.lbs. at 10 fps. This shows an almost 50 percent increase in the force. 

Verdict: The clear winner in this category is the .243 Winchester. Considering that you are not worried about the 300 yds range.

Barrel Life

Barrel life is the number of rounds you can fire without losing accuracy.

The average barrel life of .243 Winchester is 1,500 rounds. Whereas 6.5 Creedmoor has a barrel life of 3,000 rounds. It means you can shoot twice amount of rounds while using 6.5 Creedmoor.   

Verdict: This is hardly a problem for casual shooters. But it becomes a major issue to consider if you shoot regularly. 

Our Recommendation

Finally, it’s time to reveal the winner. The truth is there is no clear-cut answer here. Both of the cartridges are almost similar. But if you want the newest and coolest cartridge, go with 6.5 CM. 

However, if you want a traditional cartridge for occasional hunting, choose .243 Winchester. You will not regret a bit by choosing any one of them.


Here’s the end of the line. We tried our best to discuss 243 vs 6.5 creedmoor for deer here. If you have any queries, comment down below. We will be happy to help.

Stay safe and best wishes! 

Happy hunting!

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