The 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge has seen great success in game hunting, even though it was originally designed for long-range target shooting. Although it can bring match-grade accuracy and plenty of power to the table, it lacks a lot of recoil, so it’s also one of the most comfortable cartridges you can use on your hunts. It can be fed into short-action magazines for further accessibility and ease-of-use.
This medium power cartridge is tough enough to take down medium to large game but accurate enough to deliver a kill shot from up to 700 yards. It can even go a bit further with the right scope.
The trick is getting the correct scope for your shooting style and needs. While some rifles only use scopes that have short-range magnification settings, the 6.5 Creedmoor demands that you put its long-range capabilities to the test; that means you need a great scope that can provide you with the sight you need to bring out the best of the cartridge.
If you’ve never looked at scopes before, don’t sweat it. This guide has everything you need to know about the best 6.5 Creedmoor scopes.
Finding the Best Scope for 6.5 Creedmoor
Finding the best scope depends on understanding the key features you should be looking for as you browse. Keep these aspects in mind while you shop or examine our top picks below to find the perfect 6.5 Creedmoor scope for your purposes.
As 6.5 Creedmoor rifles are primarily used for medium to long-range shooting, being able to reduce parallax is critical. Parallax, or the state where your reticle and target don’t line up correctly, can ruin your accuracy and cause you to miss an otherwise easy shot. While most scopes have some form of parallax adjuster knob, a scope for your rifle should allow you to adjust parallax with infinite adjustments.
Scopes that have this functionality allow you to set your parallax adjustment to whatever you’re most comfortable with. This type of preference usually comes with a lot of practice in hunting experience, but it lets you negate the effects of heavy parallax to some degree. This could be the difference between making your long-distance shots perfectly or being off by a mile.
Choosing the right magnification is very important.
Remember, 6.5 Creedmoor rifles are designed for shooting at targets far away; while they can do some close-quarters work, it’s not really what they specialize in. To that end, it’s smarter to look at scopes that offer higher magnification settings.
Essentially, make sure that your chosen scope magnification goes to at least 20x on the high end to ensure that you can take full advantage of the 6.5 Creedmoor’s long-range accuracy.
Of course, many scopes also offer magnification levels for shorter settings, like 6x-10x. These are also nice to have in case you do need to take a closer shot at some point.
We included several suggestions for scopes with 6-24x magnification, which we believe is perfect for the 6.5 Creedmoor, no matter at what distance you prefer to shoot.
Great scope lenses will be multicoated or protected to some degree. These coatings will reduce the chance of scratch damage, which improves durability and scope lifespan, and in many cases will improve light transmission.
Improved light transmission means that your sight picture will be brighter, and the colors will contrast to a greater degree than they would otherwise. This is great for hitting targets that are blended into the environment or which may be difficult to see. A better sight picture is always a bonus, so multicoated lenses are far superior to standard ones.
Good Eye Relief
While the 6.5 Creedmoor doesn’t have terrible recoil, it’s still important that you find a scope that offers decent eye relief. No one likes to have their scope bang into the bone surrounding their eye; there’s no surer way to get a decent bruise! This aspect is particularly important if you have a habit of leaning in closely in the anticipation of your upcoming shot.
In addition, you should try to find a scope for your rifle that will stand the test of time. After all, some of these scopes are rather expensive and it would be unfortunate if you bought a brand-new scope only to have it break relatively quickly since it wasn’t strong enough to handle a single expedition outdoors.
These days, you can find plenty of excellent scopes that are weatherproof, meaning that they can handle water, fog, or shock damage without a problem. Scopes with weatherproof materials are fantastic in terms of value for money, even if you have to pay a little more up front. You’ll end up saving money in the long run if you purchase a durable scope that lasts for a long time instead of a cheap scope that requires replacement sooner rather than later.
First or Second Focal Plane?
Finally, you should decide which of these two options you prefer for your shooting before making a final purchase. While there are proponents of both types of reticle, there isn’t a single superior option for everyone. It all comes down to personal preference.
First focal plane reticles will appear to change in size as you switch between different magnification levels. For instance, a first focal plane reticle will appear to be smaller as you switch to higher magnification settings and larger as you switch to closer.
This is advantageous since your holdover points, used for estimation and adjustments, will remain in the same locations relative to the target no matter how zoomed and you are. This does cause the reticle to become very small on the higher settings, which can be difficult to get used to for many hunters.
On the other hand, second focal plane reticles don’t change size no matter what magnification level you settle on. They usually have one magnification setting that they are perfectly calibrated for (the largest, in most cases) and the others require you to do a little bit of estimation when it comes to their holdover points.
This isn’t too much of a problem if your scope doesn’t have very variable magnification levels, such as from 4x-8x, but it can become difficult or unreliable the farther the distance between settings you go.
6.5 Creedmoor rifles are designed for shooting at all ranges but really excel at longer distances between 400 and 700 yards. Because of this, their ideal scopes will reach into the 15x-25x range in most cases. Since the types of magnification settings are fairly variable, many 6.5 Creedmoor hunters will prefer a first focal plane reticle to help calibrate even as they switch from zoom to zoom.
We’d recommend getting a scope with the first focal plane reticle if you want the best long-range scope for 6.5 Creedmoor rifles. They’re very advantageous if you are already comfortable using them.
But beginners or those who haven’t had a lot of experience with FFP reticles will probably be more comfortable with the second focal plane reticle, even if they have to make some quick mathematical adjustments in their head.
The 5 Best 6.5 Creedmoor Scopes
Here are the 5 scopes which we believe are the best choice for the 6.5 Creedmoor.
1. Athlon Optics, Argos BTR, Riflescope, 6-24x50mm (FFP) 30mm Tube
This scope has a reticle on the first focal plane; that makes it a great choice for use between all of its magnification settings, ranging from 6 times to 24 times. The 24 times magnification maximum is perfect for use with 6.5 Creedmoor shells.
The reticle is illuminated to provide you with perfect target acquisition at dusk and dawn, as well. It’s been etched straight onto the glass to provide backing support for its complex, size-shifting design.
The lenses are also fully multicoated. The lenses bring in better light transmission than regular lenses, improving your sight picture and making true color pop no matter where you’re looking and no matter what time of day. These lenses are particularly great for use during bright noon sunlight.
In terms of durability, this scope is one of the toughest we’ve seen. It is argon purged to totally waterproof the unit and provide thermal stability; the weatherproof, aircraft-grade aluminum won’t swell or flex even in direct sunlight. In addition, the glass is integrated sturdily within the aluminum tube to prevent it from shaking or cracking even under duress.
The Athlon is also a good choice for the .308 cartridge.
- Excellent durability
- Great optics and glass
- The reticle is illuminated despite shifting size
- Lacks good parallax adjuster
2. Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 6-24x50mm SFP Riflescope
This second focal plane scope has a reticle that won’t change sizes even as you switch from magnification level to level. Like the last scope, this model can go as high as 24 times magnification, which is fantastic for use with 6.5 Creedmoor cartridges.
The eyepiece has been designed for focusing quickly on your target; you can adjust the reticle to your eye in a snap, which can be critical if you’re ever trying to hit a fast-moving target that moves from cover to cover. The lens has been further coated to enhance the light gathered at the scope mouth. A second Armortek coating protects the lenses from scratching or cracking even under heavy stress.
The scope has exposed, target-style turrets. These turrets click audibly and satisfactorily as you adjust your windage and elevation settings, so you can modify your sight without having to take your eye off the target. In addition, this scope has a side focus parallax adjuster that allows you to entirely remove parallax in just seconds.
The scope is also weatherproof and built to last, which is a good thing since it’s so pricey! A hard-anodized finish makes the scope harder to see by your targets, as the metal won’t glare even in direct sunlight. The anodized finished also removes the likelihood of the scope getting corrosive damage over time.
This Vortex would also be a good fit for Scar 17.
- Extremely long-lasting and durable
- Parallax adjuster
- Great eyepiece
3. Nikon Black X1000 6-24x50mm SFP Riflescope
This scope also has a glass etched reticle in the second focal plane. The glass etching helps keep it stable even as you switch between magnification settings; it can go as high as 24x. In addition, the reticle is illuminated and can be adjusted through 10 different luminosity settings so you can fine-tune the reticle’s performance and make it as bright as you desire given your environmental light conditions.
Switching between these settings or turning the elimination on or off can be done with a flick of your finger. The scope also boasts a side-focus parallax adjustment turret. You can easily eliminate parallax or adjust it to your liking without having to adjust your shooting position or remove your eye from your target. This is great for using your 6.5 Creedmoor to its best advantage by keeping parallax low.
It has other excellent adjustment turrets, as well, for modifying your windage and elevation measurements on the fly. The turned to just within ¼-inch precision and make audible clicks so you can do all of this from ear alone.
The scope is decently durable, too. The lenses are coated with anti-reflective material to reduce glare and improve your sight picture at all magnification levels. It’s also got waterproof and shockproof construction to lower recoil shaking and allow the scope to continue functioning even in rugged conditions.
- Turrets are great, including parallax
- Easy to adjust all settings, including illumination
- Lots of reticle elimination levels
- Turrets are rather bulky, make scope not sleek or compact
4. Bushnell Elite Tactical 6-24x50mm FFP Riflescope
This rifle scope has a reticle on the first focal plane and utilizes multicoated optics for some of the best light transmission we’ve seen in a scope. The Ultra Wide Band Coating provides an exceptionally clear image and, combined with the integrated Rain Guard tech that makes the scope even more worthwhile, protects the lens from fogging up at an inopportune moment. It’s a great scope for use in rainy or foggy weather for this reason.
The rest of the scope is just as durable, featuring weatherproof construction and a 3-inch sunshade. The sunshade is great for use on days when the sun is shining towards your lens. You can limit the amount of light brought into the scope and prevent glare from harassing you as you try to take a great shot.
There’s also a side focus parallax adjustment knob, which is always a great thing to have on a 6.5 Creedmoor scope. A Throwhammer Throw Lever allows you to change magnification settings much more quickly than many competing scopes; it’s an interesting design feature that promotes user-friendliness.
In addition to all these advantages, your purchase also brings you a scope sleeve and a scope cover, so you never have to leave the scope unprotected while you bring it on your next hunting trip.
Would also be great for an AR-10.
- Comes with some good accessories
- Fantastic glass protection
- Easy to switch zoom levels
- Adjustment knobs are bulky/stick out
5. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 6-18x44mm AO SFP Riflescope
This scope has a maximum magnification level of 18x, which is a little lower than the other scopes we’ve examined, but still great for use with 6.5 Creedmoor cartridges. This scope is simply a little better for medium to long-range shooting.
It has a second focal plane BDC reticle; this reticle won’t change sizes as you switch between zoom levels. The bullet drop compensation functionality of the reticle has added bullet drop estimation points, allowing you to make shots outside your normal zeroed range without having to manually adjust your elevation.
The lenses are multicoated to give you a bright and clear view even in low light conditions.
The eye box is incredibly forgiving and provides lots of eye relief. You’ll be able to sight in on your target and start lining up your shot quickly and without worrying about recoil giving you a bruise around your eye. Focusing with your reticle will be a breeze with this reticle/eye box combination.
You can adjust windage and elevation measurements using side knobs, and a handy parallax removal adjuster is present, as well. All of these adjust with audible clicks for ease-of-use and allow you to make adjustments without having to take your eye off the target.
Finally, the scope is also totally weatherproof so they can continue to perform even in tough weather conditions.
- Great reticle for keeping targets in sight
- Excellent eye box and eye relief
- Parallax and other knobs adjust easily with clicks
- Not quite high maximum magnification setting as others
Concluding our Best 6.5 Creedmoor Scope Guide
No matter your preferences, any one of these scopes will be an excellent choice for a 6.5 Creedmoor rifle. Some of them might be tougher than others, or some might have longer maximum magnification levels, but all of them will allow you to take advantage of the fantastic accuracy and stopping power of 6.5 Creedmoor cartridges and bring down distant targets like you never imagined possible. Good hunting!
You can also check our guide on 300 blackout scopes.