Need something hard-hitting and supersonic at 1200 yards?
The (recently) venerable 6.5 Creedmoor is your caliber.
Add in the semi-automatic capabilities of the AR-10 platform and you have a true long-range precision shooting and hunting rifle.
For a while 6.5 Creedmoor guns were in the $1K range and above…but with Palmetto State Armory entering the game…it’s a lot less.
Great pricing…but is it accurate, reliable, and presentable at that price?
We take a look with a couple hundred rounds down-range up to 1250 yards across multiple loads. Complete with video of me smacking 9/10 targets at 600 yards.
By the end you’ll know if the PSA 6.5 is for you.
Table of Contents
Who Is It For?
- Someone who knows the awesomeness of the caliber (6.5 Creedmoor Guide)
- But wants the best bang-for-the-buck semi-auto AR-10 version
- Someone who doesn’t need a lot of customization…there’s only 20″ stainless steel uppers with M-LOK handguards
Why is PSA So Affordable
I always have to include this section since the price makes people new to Palmetto State Armory go…huh?!?
Well…it’s all made in South Carolina and the reason it’s so affordable is that they are vertically integrated. Starting with raw materials they make everything in house.
The 6.5 Creedmoor is just another in a series of PSA rifle reviews.
Sometimes there’s discoloration or the barrel isn’t as accurate as I wanted…but they’ve all been reliable.
General consensus online is that they are affordable and GTG.
Let’s see if the 6.5 lives up to the that…and accuracy.
Fit, Feel, & Finish
Here is the 20″ 6.5 Creedmoor compared to the 18″ .308 upper I have also from PSA (.308 upper review).
Color match between the upper receiver and handguard is better with the 6.5 compared to the .308 version.
The bolt and barrel are also nicely labeled so you don’t mix stuff up if you have a bazillion uppers.
Note that it will come with a flash hider from PSA but I switched to a compensator for compliance.
Feel of the handguard is also decent (not sharp) but this a gun you’re not going to be shooting standing up due to its weight.
It also has an excessive amount of screws (including a set screw) to hold and align it. But I’d rather my handguard stay on!
And now after a lot of loosening…check out the thickness of the barrel.
In awe at the size of this lad…
Next…here’s the BCG broken down…kinda bummed that there’s no MPI (magnetic particle inspected) mark on the bolt. But the gas key is properly staked.
It also comes with an adjustable gas block which is rare for PSA rifles. I would have loved to have one in the .308 since that bad boy is definitely over-gassed for my ammo and environment. Great for reliability…not for my shoulder.
As for the lower…everything worked and I tested out my Magpul PRS stock (Best AR Buttstocks). Only complaint is that the pins are still impossible to loosen without tools.
Putting it all together…perfect fit.
How Does It Shoot?
Thanks to its heavy barrel…quite mildly for a round that will stay supersonic out to 1200 yards. I’d clock it in at a little more recoil than a semi .308 at factory settings. Not too bad to shoot 100 rounds in a session.
I tried a variety of ammo and magazines (it takes regular 7.62x51mm)…and if you have the gas dialed in correctly (leave it alone unless you know what you’re doing)…it will do its job too.
PSA’s 6.5 Creedmoor is the most accurate AR-10 I’ve shot so far…
And in true PSA fashion, somehow the cheapest plinking round fared the best (like in the .224 Valkyrie review).
But first…since it’s a precision gun…I broke it in with the following sequence:
- 5x: 1 shot, copper remover, wait 5 min, bore brush, gun cleaner, clean patch
- 5x: 5 shots, copper remover, wait 5 min, bore brush, gun cleaner, clean patch
Sometimes people will make some of the steps 10x…but it takes a long time…AND rounds are around $1.50 each!
I set up my standard testing rig with PSA’s 2-stage trigger that mimics the gold standard Geiselle SSA triggers (Best AR Triggers).
It didn’t break as clean but so worth $100 vs Geiselle’s $240.
- Lead Sled DFT ($200)
- Schmidt & Bender PMII 5-25x Scope with Larue Mount ($3500)
- Magnetospeed Sporter Chrono ($179)
- PSA 2-Stage Trigger ($99)
Targets for groups were 100 yards away and I shot 5 rounds each group at a slow and steady pace (roughly one shot every 10 seconds).
I waited about 5 minutes between loads for the barrel to be only warm to the touch.
I also used a variety of ammo brands and weights.
Here are the results for the first three loads:
- American Eagle 120gr: 2734 ft/sec, std deviation: 28 ft/sec
- Federal Gold Medal 130gr: 2761 ft/sec, std deviation: 19 ft/sec
- Federal Gold Medal 140gr: 2609 ft/sec, std deviation: 16 ft/sec
American Eagle 120gr kicked butt with 4 rounds touching…and of course I got excited to get an entire sub-MOA group (less than 1″ spread at 100 yards) that I jerked the last one.
However, Federal’s Gold Match in both 130gr and 140gr was a little disappointing at ~2 MOA.
The next two loads:
- Hornady 120gr: 2790 ft/sec, std deviation: 29 ft/sec
- Sig Sauer 140gr: 2664 ft/sec, std deviation: 12 ft/sec
Hornady and Sig Sauer ammo fared better with ~1 MOA groups.
Again…this is with my personal rifle so yours might differ. I also suggest getting a couple boxes of stuff to see what does the best with your rifle, environment, and end purpose.
Now…groups at 100 yards are good and all…but how about stretching the Creedmoor’s long-distance legs?
I went to the 600 yard side of my local range. You can see the berms for 100-600 yards.
Over on the left are the 500-600 yard berms.
And the standard three 600 yard targets I’ve been using for my long distance shot videos.
And here’s the video from my spotting scope of me hitting 9/10 targets…with the last three in rapid succession. Plus vapor trails!
This gun can shoot fast and transition well even when you have average skills like me.
I had the honor of shooting past 1200 yards with the PSA 6.5 at High Bar Homestead in beautiful Wyoming. And on some sweet trucks!
They had 100-1000 yards known distance.
And 1250 yards.
I ended up shooting a couple 6.5 Creedmoors the most since it was so much fun (and they had the most rifles).
It was quite easy for me and the others to shoot up to 800 yards. A little harder at 1000 yards. And way past my skill level for 1250…although plenty others were hitting it.
So it’s plenty capable…just make sure you have the actual shooting chops!
At HBH we ran into a lot of problems at first. Lots of double-feeds and dented brass.
But then HBH said it’s a common occurrence when rifles are zeroed at a different location. Given we were thousands of miles and 5,000 feet elevation different…we had to adjust the gas block for more gas.
Once we did that the guns ran like a champ and locked back on empty.
Same thing happened for me at home.
Everything ran fine the first two trips to the range where I broke in the barrel and zeroed my scope.
But after I did some modifications like an extended bolt catch and played with the gas settings…along came the double-feeds and not holding back on empty mags.
Once I switched the bolt catch back to factory (and gas settings too)…everything was good again.
So it seems the PSA 6.5 Creedmoor is a little more sensitive than others.
If I were you…I’d leave the bolt catch and gas settings alone. And to double-check zero and reliability if you travel to a drastically different environment.
Complete PSA 6.5 Creedmoor rifles are almost always out of stock.
And that’s fine.
Because for people in the know (like you now)…you want to purchase the upper and lower separately to save on some completed firearms taxes.
First snag a complete AR-10 lower…I’d recommend the MOE STR stock version with 2-stage trigger. Great cheekweld and trigger for the price.
And finish it up with a 6.5 Creedmoor upper.
There’s not too many choices…the only differences are the handguard or if it is blemished. I got the more lightweight/expensive handguard version shown in the picture.
By the Numbers
Ran great with multiple loads and two types of magazines. UNTIL I messed with the bolt catch and gas settings. Lesson learned.
Pretty heavy with the 20″ stainless steel barrel so you’re probably not packing it around long distances. Perfectly at home on the range or for hunting. I’d opt for a precision oriented buttstock like the Magpul STR (Best AR-15 Stocks).
Coloring matches up and the long stainless barrel looks good…but otherwise it’s pretty normal.
It’s an AR platform with M-LOK so you can do anything to it. At least on the rail end. I’d avoid messing with the gas block or bolt catch. Buttstock, trigger, and grip are fair game! And of course…a long range scope.
Bang for the Buck: 5/5
Again…PSA cannot be beat in this area. 1200 yard 6.5 Creedmoor for under $800.
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
It’s heavy and a little finicky if you start messing with it…
But I think PSA’s 6.5 Creedmoor is the best bang-for-the-buck semi for the caliber.
Want another caliber? Check out our reviews of other PSA offerings:
How did we do in our review…are you going to get a PSA 6.5 Creedmoor? Or check out the rest of our Best AR-10s.