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Updated Jun 2, 2023 11:31 AM
When the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge was introduced, it gained almost instant popularity. With that popularity, though, came the detractors. “It’s a fad round,” they said. “It’ll never last,” they crowed. Well, enough years have gone by that I think we can say that the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge is no longer a fad. Ammunition is available from a number of well-known companies in a variety of different load configurations suited to the caliber’s versatility. Gun companies are making single-shots, semi-autos, and bolt-actions chambered for it. All of this points to enduring popularity. If you were previously a fence-sitter who has recently fallen on the 6.5 Creedmoor side of the rail, welcome! Once you decide on the rifle you want (and there are plenty to choose from), it’s time to pick out one of the best scopes for 6.5 Creedmoor. But where to begin?
How We Picked The Best Scopes for 6.5 Creedmoor
- Build Quality: I considered the optics. A scope is only as good as the glass that’s in it, and not all glass is created equal. The rest of the scope is important, too. It was also crucial that the body is durable and that the adjustment turrets are solid.
- Going the Distance: How powerful is this scope in terms of magnification and is it going to be able to live up to the expectations I have for a specific cartridge and rifle combination? The 6.5 Creedmoor is a long-distance cartridge, and every scope should be capable of long-distance aiming.
- Features: Are the features on a given scope adequate for what I’ll be doing with it? Conversely, are there more bells and whistles than necessary just so the manufacturer can charge more? Sometimes less is more; sometimes it isn’t.
- Cost: Does this scope provide enough features and benefits to justify the amount of money it costs? Or is there another option out there that’s similar in price but offers more bang for the buck?
The Best Scopes for 6.5 Creedmoor: Reviews & Recommendations
Best Overall: Vortex Diamondback 3-9×40
Why It Made the Cut: The Vortex Diamondback 3-9×40 offers many important features, has a lifetime warranty, and is reasonably priced.
- Argon gas purged
- Capped reset turrets
- Hard anodized finish
- Tube length allows for optimal eye relief adjustments
- Available with different reticles
- Performance-to-price ratio is hard to beat
- Some complaints regarding 9x in low-light conditions
If you’re in the market for a high-quality riflescope for your rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor, look no further than the Diamondback 3-9×40. The 3-9x magnification is perfect for most of the ways people use their 6.5 Creedmoor rifles, and its waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof design will withstand rough hunting conditions. Once you’re sighted in, you can quickly re-index your turrets with no tools needed. It’s a quality riflescope that offers different configurations at a price that will leave you with plenty of money left over for ammo. It’s backed by the Vortex VIP lifetime warranty.
Best Budget: Bushnell Trophy 3-9×40
Why It Made the Cut: The Bushnell Trophy 3-9×40 rifle scope combines quality and features from a name you know at an affordable price.
- Waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof
- Fast focus eyepiece
- Low profile turret caps won’t snag in the field
- Weighs just 14 ounces
- This scope will perform as you’d expect, but don’t expect luxury quality or features
- Available only in 1-inch tube diameter
The Bushnell Trophy 3-9×40 rifle scope offers classic scope styling with a modern performance at an affordable price. Equipped with the Multi-X reticle, this dry nitrogen filled scope has multi-coated optics with 91% light transmission and is 100% waterproof, fog-proof, shockproof. Built on a one-piece tube with an integrated saddle, it also features ¼ MOA fingertip windage and elevation adjustments and a fast-focus eyepiece.
Best Under $300: Vortex Crossfire II 3-9×50 with V-Brite Reticle
Why It Made the Cut: Value is different from budget, and the Vortex Crossfire II 3-9×50 with the V-Brite reticle delivers unrivaled performance and value for a lower-than-expected price.
- Illuminated center dot
- Hard anodized finish
- One of many versions of the Crossfire II if this exact configuration isn’t what you need
- Waterproof, fog proof, shockproof, and nitrogen-filled for optimum performance
- Available only in 1-inch tube diameter
The Vortex Crossfire II 3-9×50 scope with V-Brite reticle exists at the intersection of high performance and economy. This scope is clear, tough, and bright, and the V-Brite reticle features an illuminated center dot for optimal performance in low-light conditions. Adding to the value is the Vortex VIP lifetime warranty.
Best Fixed Power: Leupold FX-II Ultralight 2.5×20
Why It Made the Cut: If you don’t need a lot of magnification, the Leupold FX-II Ultralight 2.5×20 fixed power scope is an ideal choice because it offers optimum performance and a great warranty from a trusted manufacturer.
- Weighs just 6.5 ounces
- Waterproof, fog proof, and shockproof
- Made in the USA
- Small but mighty, it withstands all the tests Leupold puts its bigger scopes through
- 2.5x fixed power is plenty for a wide variety of applications
- May not be enough mounting space on some rifles due to its incredibly compact size
When every ounce counts, the Leupold FX-II Ultralight 2.5×20 scope lends itself to more applications, on more rifles, than any other scope in the line. The 2.6x magnification is more suited to most applications than people would have you believe. It is built around Leupold’s Advanced Optical System, which offers excellent light transmission, best-in-class glare reduction in harsh light, and the resolution and clarity that shooters demand. Like all Leupold rifle scopes, it’s designed, machined, and assembled in the USA, and is guaranteed to perform for life.
Best for Deer Hunting: Barska 3-12×50 IR Huntmaster Pro
Why It Made the Cut: With extra magnification, a larger lens, and an illuminated reticle, the Barska 3-12×50 IR Huntmaster Pro is ideal for deer hunting.
- Reticle brightness can be adjusted for lighting conditions
- 12x magnification offers a bit more distance if you need it
- Weighs 20 ounces, or 1 ¼ pounds
- 12x magnification won’t be quite as sharp
The Barska 3-12×50 IR Huntmaster Pro has numerous features that are a benefit to hunters. The large objective lenses provide maximum light transmission, and they’re multi-coated to increase viewing quality in low light conditions. The 3-12x magnification can give you a bit more viewing distance than a more traditional 3-9x scope, and the 6.5 Creedmoor won’t even blink at the extra distance you’re trying to close with that additional 3x magnification.
I’ve shot a wide variety of rifles in 6.5 Creedmoor that were all built for different purposes. As a result, all were all paired with different scopes. That has informed me what scope works best for certain purposes. I put this list together as though I were in the market for my first 6.5 Creedmoor scope. I evaluated all scopes that would be appropriate for use on a 6.5 Creedmoor rifle using the following criteria:
Things to Consider Before Buying The Best Scopes for 6.5 Creedmoor
Thanks to the versatility of the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge, you’ll find myriad different firearm configurations on the racks at your local gun stores. You’ll also find a wide variety of scopes to choose from, and when you put those two things together, the number of different combinations can be overwhelming. Here are some of the things you should think about before parting with your hard-earned money:
Are you going to use this rifle and scope combo for hunting or competition? If you’ll be hunting, where and for what? What is your longest realistic shot? If you’re shooting for competition, how far will your longest shot be? Do you need variable magnification, or is a fixed power scope the right way to go?
Guns chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor come in a variety of different sizes, both in terms of barrel length and stock configuration. Be sure to take the gun’s overall size into consideration before picking a scope. For example, a compact rifle with a 16-inch barrel wouldn’t balance well with a 6-24×50 scope that’s also pushing 16 inches in length. Such a large scope also may be difficult to mount on small rifle.
Sure, it’d be nice to not look at price tags, but that’s not the world the majority of us live in. Figure out your budget and then compare scopes in that category, with an eye toward features and magnification. You might be surprised by the high-quality options that are available for relatively little money.
Q: Is a 50mm scope better than a 40mm scope?
Determining if a 50mm scope is better than a 40mm scope isn’t clearcut, because bigger is not always better. In theory, a 50mm scope will gather more light and provide a crisper image even in low-light conditions. But to the human eye, there’s not much difference between the two sizes when it comes to that kind of performance so long as you’ve got a premium lens and coating in your 40mm scope.
Q: What do the different scope numbers mean?
The different numbers you see on scopes have specific meanings, and they vary from scope to scope. The first numbers you see may be “3-9” or “4-12” or something similar. Those numbers represent the magnification capabilities of the scope. For the above examples, the scop,es have magnification capabilities of 3x (three times larger than seen with the naked eye) to 9x and 4x to 12x. The last number you’ll see may be 40 or 50 or something similar. That’s the size of the scope’s bell—the end opposite the eyepiece—and the bigger the number, the bigger the bell. The bigger the bell, the more light the scope can gather in low-light conditions.
Q: What size scope is best for 6.5 Creedmoor?
The best size scope for a 6.5 Creedmoor rifle depends on how you’ll be using the rifle. Scopes in the 3-9×40 or 4-12×50 range have more than enough power for most hunting and competitive shooting situations. Of course, the 6.5 Creedmoor is capable of long-distance accuracy, and so a higher power scope can be beneficial if you’re shooting at a longer range.
Q: What is a 6.5 Creedmoor rifle good for?
Rifles chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor have increased in popularity over the last decade. What started out as a long distance competition round has become a common hunting caliber. It is a reliable round for long distance target shooting as well as big game hunting for game like deer and elk.
Q: How far can a 6.5 Creedmoor shoot?
The 6.5 Creedmoor is known to be extremely accurate out to 1,000 yards. We broke down the ballistics and performance of the 6.5 to see how it compares to other popular cartridges.
Best Scopes for 6.5 Creedmoor: Final Thoughts
The 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge is incredibly versatile. Is it the absolute best for any and every job? Certainly not, but it is a definite frontrunner for a variety of those tasks. Whether you’re shooting competitively out to 1,000 yards or you’re hunting whitetail deer at 150 yards, a gun chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor will feel right at home.
If you chose a rifle chambered for 6.5 Creedmoor because of its multi-use capabilities, make sure you choose the right scope to go with it. There’s only so much this “miracle round” can do if you’ve hobbled it with the wrong scope for the job. Thankfully, there are plenty of great rifles and scopes available.
But before you buy, take the time to really consider what you’ll be doing with the rifle, and what kind of scope you’ll need for it. Then come back and reread about the best scopes for 6.5 Creedmoor before parting ways with your money. You’ll be glad that you took the extra time before buying, and you’ll be ecstatic once you look through your new scope and pull the trigger on your new gun for the first time.
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