To be very honest, the basic Creedmoor 6.5 rifle is so darn good as a standalone system that any upgrades, in most cases, won’t change how it shoots so much as how the shooter looks and feels about the rifle. I belong to an internet outfit that is making changes to the 6.5 all the time.
Some of the members put as much as $8,000 into these rifles with what they refute to be “upgrades”. But be advised, if you're trying to gain 1/16 inch in group size at 100 yards, the cost versus performance curve just will not compute.
However, if you just want a fancier, slightly smoother shooting rifle, here are a few tricks in the bucket, so to speak.
In short, the modern 6.5 comes right out of the box as a well-dressed piece of shooting equipment. These rifles have jumped to a base price of about $1000.00, but with that you're getting add-on features that at one time cost the shooter five times the amount.
Ruger Precision Rifle
Remington Magpul 700 Short-Action
Boyd’s Gun Stocks
McMillan Drop In Stocks
XLR Carbon Chassis Packages
Rock River Arms (RRA) Turn-Bolt
Savage Arms 110
7 Best 6.5 Creedmoor Upgrades
1. Ruger Precision Rifle
In many cases, when owners of the 6.5 talk about an upgrade, they are first making reference to the standard chassis models, or all metal rifles that follow the basic model of the AR designs, but in bolt action configurations.
The fact is this. however. In terms of most chassis rifles on the market today, upgrade means paint jobs, custom parts, and feel-good add-ons that make you think the rifle shoots better than it did before. A classic example of this theory is that Ruger builds the Ruger Precision chassis rifle that has it all straight off the dealer's gun rack.
This rifle retains a fully adjustable butt stock of current design trends, target trigger, proper twist for 6.5 bullets in varied weights, and a smooth well-fitted action that allows the rifle to send 100-yard groups as close as .500 MOA or better.
Ruger gives the buyer a free floating barrel matched to a floating fore end that retains the M-Lok system for mounting bi-pods, lasers, or other attachments.
The manufacturer has selected a pistol grip that is almost an AR-combat standard and a large, well-positioned trigger guard that allows gloves to be used with ease. The butt stock is complicated in that it is designed to fit any body size in terms of comb height and length of pull. If this stock won’t fit, nothing will.
Tack on an R5 (five-groove barrel) and a muzzle break that is also shooter-ready for a suppressor if desired, and when the Weaver long rail at 20 MOA is matched with a good glass sight, this rifle is in perfect form for some dead-on 1000 yard or more shooting.
Even the magazine on this rifle is the AI design, centered around a Ruger-designed exterior housing. Be advised, almost every rifle that makes use of a folding stock, and Ruger has one, is priced about three times the cost of the Ruger Precision.
To my way of thinking, about the only thing you can do with a Ruger that is not already done is paint the American flag on it. I own three Precision rifles for my detailed work in ballistics reviews here at Ballistics Research & Development.
These rifles are the backbone of my writing reviews in many cases. Overall, I have had seven of these rifles in several calibers and cartridges come through my company, and every one of them was accurate, dependable, and flat-out a great rifle.
2. Remington Magpul 700 Short-Action
When upgrading the 6.5 from a basic standard stocked rifle to something better, one direction the shooter can take is to drop in the action using an aftermarket rifle stock.
In this case, Magpul is front and center as an over-the-counter stock, or a complete assembled rifle using this Model 700 short-action chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. Either way, what the shooter now gets is a wealth of add-on options, largely because of the stock itself.
In checking the marketplace, the complete rifle is offered by several companies and is sold at about $900.00. However, the stock-only system will run to $224.95 from Amazon.
This Magpul is made from reinforced polymer and has an anodized aluminum bedding block. It offers a cost-effective fixed stock replacement feature that greatly advances the basic ergonomics of the complete rifle.
This is a drop in-style stock and requires no gunsmith bedding, but simply pull the action from the existing stock and make a train if you will. This stock is pre-modified for the M-Lok system at the fore section, and also makes use of AI-compatible style box magazine.
3. Boyd’s Gun Stocks
Boyd’s Gun Stocks are offered right here in my home state of South Dakota. The company is a builder of both classic and advanced design laminated wood stocks that move well into the realm of super stocks.
These stocks can be obtained with totally controlled length of pull and comb adjustments, retaining a block bedding system that allows the metal-to-metal fit to remain solid and fixed. This will reduce any chance of barrel drift as a rifle heats up or weather conditions change the wood density, etc.
Laminated stocks are used by this writer on several rifles and shotguns including the Boyd’s brand. Why? Because of the above listed reasons, but also because these are field tough, but at the same time great looking pieces of furniture at the same time. As an upgrade to a standard stocked 6.5, this is a great approach by the shooter.
The stock retains a push button adjustable to 9/16 adjustment range. The butt pad on this stock is also adjustable in terms of pull length from 12½ through 14 inches. Grips are interchangeable, swivels are installed, and it has a surface finish that is very weather-resistant.
4. McMillan Drop In Stocks
McMillan rifle stocks are world famous as the go-to when working up a professional build or upgrading an existing rifle. These are glass stocks of the very highest quality.
I have this stock on several rifles and the best of the best is my Kimber Pre-Tactical sniper rifle in 308 Win. This rifle will still with me when all the others fail. She is just that good.
Using the military Variant 4 in this company's stocks as an example, the stock carries inletting for the Remington 700 short-action that will fit the 6.5 Creedmoor very nicely.
This stock is Marine Corps design based, and is the series M40A3/A5. The recoil lug section is .312 thick and will accept the factory Remington design (no modifications required).
Color on the stock is molded into the material, and the stock retains a wide flat fore end (beaver-tail design) that is well-suited for prone position shooting.
The vertical grip puts the shooter's trigger hand in the best possible position for total control of the rifle. The fore end retains a grip surface that allows the left hand to maintain positive control when mounting the rifle for the shot.
The stock carries bipod studs for Harris Bipod systems, six flush cup detach mounts of quick detach swivels. And the saddle cheek-piece, which is the true M40A3 style, provides 1.5 inches of vertical adjustment. This stock has pillar aluminum bedding system installed.
5. XLR Carbon Chassis Packages
In chassis rifle designs, which are very big among 6.5 shooters as they are in every cartridge caliber, is a unique model that is cut in carbon fiber and as a result of that is much lighter in weight than some others. If there is an upgrade in chassis rifles that interests me, this is it.
Being older and not willing to haul around 14 or more pounds of shooting stick, the reduction in weight is a big deal in the real world of move and shoot hunting.
In terms of the 6.5 and its short-action, the weight is even greater in terms of base-line reduction. XLR chassis stocks are all carbon with M-Lok carbon fiber octagon hand guards. These stocks can be inletted for a wide variety of rife actions.
Be advised, the color surface treatment, such as in Cerakote, is not a part of the standard stock system in the XLR line.
6. Rock River Arms (RRA) Turn-Bolt
In terms of upgrades, you can spend double or triple the price of the original rifle when turning to these feature changes. One method used by shooters it to work out a deal and trade-in a rifle for a total upgrade. In this case, an example that is totally state of the art and hot in the marketplace is the new turn-bolt 6.5 from RRA.
I got a look at them at the world class SHOT SHOW this past winter, and they are due to come out very soon. However, as a package they can run upwards of $4000.00 and change.
While you would think that rifles costing this much are very hard to move on the market, that is not true at all. The long-range shooting crowd, which includes the 6.5 crew, will spend money to get exactly what they want. In shooting sports targets, long-distance shooting is the fastest growing leg of the rifle arts today.
7. Savage Arms 110
Moving to a somewhat more reasonable price tag, the outstanding developments produced by Savage Arms have come forth with the Savage 110 6.5s, and I am here to tell you these rifles shoot very well at close- and long-range.
Sub-MOA is a standard with them and you would have to spend thousands more to increase the accuracy of any rifle used against a shooter as a well priced gunning tool.
I own several of these rifles as tools in my test rack, and will attest to the fact that this manufacturer's 110s just steal the show every time, and at a price about two to three times under the high priced brands. Good solid lock-up fluted barrels in both chassis and solid poly stocks, with suppressor thread and fluted barrels to match.
The stock system, as in the 110 Ridge Warrior is built to hold the action in place, free float the pipe and keep the zero where it should be. All of this manufacturer's line is wide open to upgrades and getting into the rifle will not kill the family budget at all.
An additional upgrade that will not touch your rifle at all is to simply take on better grade ammunition. In this case, go to the actual inventor of 6.5 Hornady Ammunition. Shooting, for example, Hornady 120 or 140 grain ELD ammunition can upgrade performance in a hurry.
That is not to say the other add-on elements are not nice, good-looking, and effective. But ammo can play a major part in performance level associated with your rifle. Hornady in match or game loads will do the deed. But don't forget to use best Scopes For 6.5 Creedmoor for target shooting.
Very high BC ratings, well-designed heat shield bullet tips, and quality brass and powders, make these rounds first class game getters, or target-scoring products.
Here in the 6.5 is a rifle that moves into the next zip code in terms of pricing. This Proof Research rifle, and the complete line of rifles, will run the buyer from $6000, through $7000 up front and less sights.
In other words, we are talking about a total system that will push the top price of about $10,000 or more with sights before the rifle goes to the field. Upgrade yes, and I have had readers contact me about a rifle (not these) that is at $8000 and change with no sights, and the guy is not at all happy with the situation.
About all I can say is, if you fail to like these types of rifles in this design bracket a whole lot, there is no help for you at all. Today you can upgrade all year long and never hit the end of the options available to you the shooter.
If you think this is the end of the trail, sorry, but that’s not even close right here. My gunsmith Stewart Satterlee out of Deadwood South Dakota will build a rifle from a block of titanium and hand-make the rest of the thing with state of the art production materials for a cool $25,000.
Before I leave you, however, and not wanting to depress you, pay attention to T/C Smith Wesson with their new chassis sniper rifle under production. Chambered in 6.5, this rifle will drill very small holes in stuff at 600 yards without even stretching a thread.
The rifle is state of the art. Fluted, suppressor-ready barrel, with a color in sand brown as a match for sandbox camo coverage. With a trigger that has the let-off of a butterfly's wing tip, and fully adjustable from front to back as a chassis rifle design, it is priced right at $1000.00.
This is the upgrade buy of the year, in my estimation. You will pay this much for an upgrade as you have well noted previously in this review.