[Review] Palmetto State Amory (PSA) 6.5 Creedmoor

Need something hard-hitting and supersonic at 1200 yards?

The (recently) venerable 6.5 Creedmoor is your caliber.

6.5 Creedmoor Ammo vs 5.56
6.5 Creedmoor Ammo vs 5.56

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.

PSA 6.5 Creedmoor AR-10
PSA 6.5 Creedmoor AR-10

Great pricing…but is it accurate, reliable, and presentable at that price?

449
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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

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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?!?

So Cheep
So Cheep

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.

PSA 5.56 & .223 Wylde
PSA 5.56 & .223 Wylde

General consensus online is that they are affordable and GTG.  Plus…we’ve tested (almost) all their guns…check them out in our PSA Reviews section.

Let’s see if the 6.5 lives up to the that…and accuracy.

But first…

Fit, Feel, & Finish

Here is the 20″ 6.5 Creedmoor compared to the 18″ .308 upper I have also from PSA (.308 upper review).

PSA .308 vs 6.5 Creedmoor Uppers
PSA .308 vs 6.5 Creedmoor Uppers

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.

PSA Creedmoor Bolt
PSA Creedmoor Bolt

Note that it will come with a flash hider from PSA but I switched to a compensator for compliance.

PSA Creedmoor Barrel Marking
PSA Creedmoor Barrel Marking

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!

PSA Creedmoor Handguard Screws
PSA Creedmoor Handguard Screws

And now after a lot of loosening…check out the thickness of the barrel.

In awe at the size of this lad…

PSA 6.5 Creedmoor Barrel
PSA 6.5 Creedmoor Barrel

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.

PSA 6.5 Disassembled BCG
PSA 6.5 Disassembled BCG

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.

PSA 6.5 Creedmoor Adjustable Gas Block
PSA 6.5 Creedmoor Adjustable Gas Block

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.

PSA AR-10 Lower with 2-Stage Trigger and Magpul PRS
PSA AR-10 Lower with 2-Stage Trigger and Magpul PRS

Putting it all together…perfect fit.

PSA 6.5 Creedmoor Front
PSA 6.5 Creedmoor Front

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.

PSA 6.5 Creedmoor
PSA 6.5 Creedmoor at High Bar Homestead

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.

Magpul and DPMS Mags with 6.5 Creedmoor
Magpul and DPMS Mags with 6.5 Creedmoor

Accuracy

PSA’s 6.5 Creedmoor is the most accurate AR-10 I’ve shot so far…

Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor
Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor

And in true PSA fashion, somehow the cheapest plinking round fared the best (like in the .224 Valkyrie review).

Read on!

Break In

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!

Ain't Nobody Got Time for That
Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That

Groups Testing

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.

PSA 6.5 Creedmoor Testing Setup
PSA 6.5 Creedmoor Testing Setup

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).

6.5 Creedmoor 100 Yard Target
6.5 Creedmoor 100 Yard Target (Berm)

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.

Tested 6.5 Creedmoor Ammo
Tested 6.5 Creedmoor Ammo

Here are the results for the first three loads:

PSA 6.5 Creedmoor Group 1
PSA 6.5 Creedmoor Group 1
  • 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:

PSA 6.5 Creedmoor Group 2
PSA 6.5 Creedmoor Group 2
  • 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?

600 Yards

I went to the 600 yard side of my local range.  You can see the berms for 100-600 yards.

Angeles Range 100-600 Yards
Angeles Range 100-600 Yards

Over on the left are the 500-600 yard berms.

Angeles Range Zoomed In
Angeles Range Zoomed In

And the standard three 600 yard targets I’ve been using for my long distance shot videos.

Angeles Range 500-600 Yards
Angeles Range 500-600 Yards

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.

1200 Yards

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!

HBH Trucks of Fun
HBH Trucks of Fun

They had 100-1000 yards known distance.

HBH 1000 Known Distance Range
HBH 1000 Known Distance Range

And 1250 yards.

HBH 1000 and 1250 Yards
HBH 1000 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).

HBH Going Long Distance
HBH Going Long Distance

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!

Reliability

At HBH we ran into a lot of problems at first.  Lots of double-feeds and dented brass.

PSA 6.5 Creedmoor Dented Brass
PSA 6.5 Creedmoor 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.

PSA 6.5 Creedmoor
PSA 6.5 Creedmoor

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.

PSA AR-10 with Extended Bolt Release
PSA AR-10 with Extended Bolt Release

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.

Predator Game Reserve Planet
Predator Game Reserve Planet

Recommended Models

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.

179
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

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.

449
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

By the Numbers

Reliability: 4/5

Ran great with multiple loads and two types of magazines.  UNTIL I messed with the bolt catch and gas settings.  Lesson learned.

Accuracy: 5/5

The most accurate AR-10 I’ve shot so far…sub-MOA with the cheapest ammo.  PSA’s 2-stage trigger helped.  Even better triggers would probably help even more (Best AR Triggers).

Ergonomics: 4/5

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).

Looks: 4/5

Coloring matches up and the long stainless barrel looks good…but otherwise it’s pretty normal.

Customization: 4/5

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

Conclusion

PSA 6.5 Creedmoor
PSA 6.5 Creedmoor

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.

13 Leave a Reply

  • Jack Davidson

    Well written and yes I did just buy a 6.5 PSA. Just going through getting used to the 6.5 in an AR-10 platform. All that you said in your article fits the things that I found. Thank you for your review.

    4 months ago
  • Roland Herrera

    Just picked mine up from my local FFL after ordering online. Now this is my first rifle and now I need to figure out how to break in and zero this bad boy correctly. Thanks for your exstensive review it helped me in my decision to buy

    8 months ago
  • Kenneth Boyles

    what are the actual SKU#'s used to order this gun from PSA?

    9 months ago
  • byproduct

    TY for your reviews and sharing of info. Though I do have a hunting rifle, shotgun and pistol, I haven't messed with any of these styles weapons since my long ago army days. Since I decided to pick up a AR, I have perusing related sites for about a month. Came to a couple of conclusions. 1ST - to get 2. A 15 & a 10. AR 15 for a quick light and accurate go to, up to moderate range, for my terrain (forested and brushy). AR 10 because of the heavier round vs brush & reaching the far side, down the right aways. I choose to start with a 6.5 in AP brand. HINT, AP reseller is a little cheaper than AP direct & am keeping main components thru the same seller. Figure, with FFL & s/h, i'm going to get out for about $1100 (un-scoped). NOW, my primary point in mentioning that is, PSA would be even cheaper & likely suffice. HOWEVER, even they make note of their lack of parts interchange. WHEREAS, AP claims interchange btwn ANY DPMS model. Something I think is worth the higher cost... especially for longetvity. (it'd be nice if there was better/more clarification of this) - (I don't claim to know 1st hand, only that I read that on their own respective sites & that it is to much over looked, causing some call for concern.) For the AR 15, which will take a beaten and be general purposed, I'll likely go with the cheapest way out w/ a red dot zero'd sleightly high @ 100 yrds because i figure most my firing would be 15-300 ft and a 2 moa will suffice on anything from rabbit to defense. ... a wild pig being biggest *probable* concern. BUT, just in case ... Again, Ty for sharing, as well as allowing comments.

    11 months ago
    • David, PPT Editor

      PSA's AR-10 uppers and lowers are proprietary and cannot be interchanged with other brands, sadly the AR-10 isn't as interchangeable as the AR-15 is. We've reviewed the Aero Precision AR-10 and love it! It being interchangable with other DPMS pattern AR-10s is a handy feature.

      11 months ago
      • byproduct

        Thank you for taking the time to reply, David.

        11 months ago
  • William holt

    I just watched Jealous video on the Creedmoor 6.5 GMT and I like it I'm thinking about buying one can I order straight from y'all and have it sent to our gun shop

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      You'll have to order from Palmetto State Armory and they'll ask for your gun store's FFL (federal firearms license) info.

      1 year ago
  • MICHAEL

    I feel sorry for you with that fin grip, what a joke. I have an S&W AR10 in 6.5 with a Crossfire 6-24x50. Haven't gotten to take it past 300yds yet but love it! I'm not in Kalifornistan anymore!

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      Thanks Michael, and glad you like your S&W!

      1 year ago
  • Scott

    I've got my PSA 65 and love it and I have found it prefers 140 grain ammo. Specifically Hornady ELD and Prime HPBT. For plinking S&B can be got for about 73 cents a round, shoot's clean and pretty darn accurate.

    1 year ago
    • Eric Hung

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Scott. Nice! Yea with the other PSA 6.5's I tried it it liked the Hornady ELD. I'll have to try some S&B for plinking in the future.

      1 year ago
      • MICHAEL

        Thanks for this website, great information, and excellent articles!

        1 year ago
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