Ruger Precision Rifle Part 5: 6.5 Creedmoor Load Prep

It’s been fun getting to know the Ruger Precision Rifle platform. It’s a precision shooting instrument, but you can only get maximum precision if you reload for your rifle. There are so many variables specific to each instance of each specific rifle that can affect the precision of the ammunition you shoot. Some of these factors include the brass, the bullet, bullet seating depth, the primer, the powder, the powder charge, and many other factors. By reloading ammunition, you can tailor each of these factors if needed (yes, it can take a lot of work and time) in order to find the “magic load” that shoots best for your specific application. The name of the game is to find both the optimal cartridge specifications (based on the factors I just listed), and to then make sure that each cartridge is as consistent as possible as they come off the press.

Now it’s time to take you all on the reloading journey that I’ve already started for the Ruger Precision Rifle. We’ll start with “factory style loads” for 6.5 Creedmoor (new brass, without sizing or fire forming) and then move on to more exacting methods in order to extract maximum precision out of these rifles. In this post, we’ll walk through the steps that are required in order to prepare for our first loading session. These steps include:

  • Measuring the to-lands distance for our rifle (will affect bullet seating depth)
  • Fine-tuning the brass
  • Setting up and roughing-in the adjustment for our dies
  • Taking inventory of the components we’ll start with for our initial loads

Here’s a video I put together walking through each of these steps. This video picks up where we left of at the end of the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP Unboxing and Setup post.

One of the most important steps when preparing to load precision ammunition is the to-lands distance measurement which is performed with a tool like the Hornady OAL gage set.


You’ll need to perform this measurement for each bullet type that you use (bullet style, weight, etc). Since each bullet type can have a different profile, the “ogive to lands” distance is different between different bullet types. Ideally, you’ll start close to the lands when seating bullets. After zeroing your micrometer as shown above, you’ll seat bullets, and start perhaps .020″ off the lands. That would correspond to a reading of -0.020 on the digital caliper. For the magazine/rifle/bullet combination shown in this video, I’m at .090″ off the lands. While that’s more than I prefer to load to, it may not affect accuracy. If I really want to know how that variable will affect accuracy, I can load some longer and single-feed them (without the magazine).

While I’m expecting a lot of trial and error to achieve the best possible results, I’m going to start off with the components that I think will work best (thanks in part to consultation with my friend Jim, and the 6.5 Guys).

Initial loads - components-1200

Here’s what we’ll start with:

  • New Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor brass with custom prep (chamfered primer pockets and case mouths)
  • Hornady ELD-X 143 grain 6.5mm bullets
  • Hodgdon H4350 powder
  • CCI BR2 large rifle bench rest primers

I have 6.5mm bullets in various weights including 120 grain, 123 grain, 140 grain, and 143 grain. So it will be real interesting to experiment with different bullets and other components.

Do you have a Ruger Precision Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor? If so, what loads have worked best for you? Please leave a comment!



34 thoughts on “Ruger Precision Rifle Part 5: 6.5 Creedmoor Load Prep”

  1. Gavin,Thanks for doing the 6.5 Creedmoor videos. I just setup a Savage 12 target in 6.5 Creedmoor. I use all Hornady for reloading. I have been reloading pistol calipers for 3 yrs and I haven’t started rifle yet. I will be loading 5.56 NATO and 6.5 Creedmoor. Your videos are extremely helpful and interesting. Thanks for sharing your knownledge

  2. My RPR 6.5 is shooting 5-6’s with 139 Scenars 42.2 H4350 Fed 210M and Hornady brass seated 20 thou off at 2750 fps. That’s actual velocity per Applied Ballistics app truing at 985 yards. Shooting Chrony ($90) says 2790 fps, which I doubt. Starting to load mine on Dillon 550 soon. Bought Whidden floating tool head. Getting plan together now, which is how I found your article. Curious how accurate your dropper is throwing H4350. Will test Dillon powder bar but hear 2/10 grain fluctuation with H4350 is likely. Shooting PRS, not sure that’s going to work, but will test my variance on paper at 985 looking for vertical dispersion, then decide. May use powder drop die with funnel and throw charges with my two Chargemasters. But that will slow things down of course. Anyway, eager to hear how accurate your powder drops are. Good luck. Article on using Dillon 550 for precision rifle loading will be on Accurate Shooter site soon, I was able to read it the other day courtesy of the author.

    1. Two suggestions for loading with Dillon Powder Drop. First, polish the inside of the powder hopper. You can use a buff wheel and compound and get it to a mirror shine. Second, I just drop my charges a tad light, then place on scale and trickle the powder to reach desired charge.

  3. I had the same problem of the P-Mags or my LR-308 AR mags limiting the max oal of the cartridge to about 2.795″ which gave me very large jumps and limited accuracy. I have an AICS mag that would not quite fit the magwell (the AICS lets you have a much longer oal). I found an AICS style mag at Brownells that will let you get an oal of around 3.000″ which is longer than you need. Problem solved!!! It is item # 100-008-954. It is a .38 Win 10 round magazine and the cost was $72.99. Very well made and fits very nicely and feeds perfectly. Just what you need for getting the most out of the Precision Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor.

    1. Went to ACCURATE MAG website and found the chart below. The Mag on Brownell’s matching the Item# you posted lists the Mfg. part # as 001000009. From the list below, it has a blinder plate and by the chart shows max oal of 2.85. I plan on buying Item 001000040 direct from ACCURATE MAG ($70) and will be assured max oal of 2.95.

      001000007 DSSF 5RD .97 3.055 2.51 308W/7.62×51 2.875
      001000009 DSSF 10RD .97 3.055 4.64 308W/7.62×51 2.875
      001000041 DSSF **5RD .97 3.055 2.51 308W/7.62×51 2.950
      001000040 DSSF **10RD .97 3.055 4.64 308W/7.62×51 2.950
      ** These models allow for extended length cartridges but have decreased rigidity of the magazine. No blinder plate.

    2. Curious, my results from the Hornaday chamber depth gauge says I should load out to 3.00. I seem to have super accurate groups (2″ 600 yds) with factory Hornady 140 gr loads. Has anyone else got a rifle with such a deep chamber?

  4. I just got a 6.5 creedmoor ruger precision and shot 140 grain hornady match bullets factory ammo and was very surprised at this kind of accuracy I would like to know about what the suggested starting load for hornady 140grain would be any help would be apprec.

    1. I am running tests with load and bullet combinations seated 15 of the land of H 4350, IMR 4350, H 100V, Berger 130 HP-BT, Berger 130 Hybrid HP-BT, Berger 140 Hybrid HP-BT, Sierra 140 M, and 142 Sierra MK. Best factory Ammo results I got were Winchester 140 Match (140 Sierra) and Copper Creek 140 Berger Hybrid.

  5. I am shooting RPR in 6.5 CM. I am running hand loads from a Dillon rl550 press and Redding comp dies. Nosler brass and Fed GM210M primers. Powder is H4350 @ Cases trimmed to 1.910 and coal at max to fit mag. 2.825. Speeds are running @ 2730 at muzzle using magnetospeed v3 chronograph. Bullets used are sierra TMK 130 grain. Cutting one jagged hole @ 100 yds. Group @ 300yds is 1.435. Shooting off bi-pod and bag. Very sturdy bench also. Optics are Leupold mark4 ER/T. First focal plane.

  6. Gavin, I read that you recommend neck only sizing for fire-formed brass from the rifle I plan to reload for.

    I’m just starting out in reloading and have made my shopping list but nowhere can I find a neck-only sizing die. Until I read your article, I was planning on getting Hornady’s match grade die set but now I see that it comes with full sizing die only.

    I have lots of fire-formed brass and hope you might steer me to the best die set for my fledgling long range competition aspirations.

  7. Is anyone concerned with the Super long chamber in the RPR in 6.5? Even if I load to max magazine length I am still way off lands

    1. ever find anything out on the super long throat on your RPR? I own a 6.5 in an x-bolt target eclipse and have the same issue. seems like trying to load close to the lands on these factory cut barrels is going to end up going the wrong way with accuracy. thougts?

      1. Luke Z, finally found my way back here. I have a call into Ruger asking for the min and max chamber specs. I met another shooter and he was barely able to load at 2.80. Will post back if I get a reply from Ruger.


  8. I was able to place a group of 3 in the same hole with Hornady 140gn. @ 100 yards, my reloads did just as well or touching shoulder to shoulder. I use H4350, CCI Mag. or BR 2 and Hornady brass and bullets. My reloads of 4 each ran from 40.0gn. to 42.5gn. in .5 increments and they all performed just as well and groups were 1/4 to 1/2 inch higher with each increase. I finally chose 41.5gn. with CCI M and 42.5 with CCI BR2 primers and had no pressure issues, tested both in case I can’t find one or the other (in primers), I’m sure you guys know what I mean… Primers can be hard to find.

  9. How do you determinethe distance from the Lans. I have just purchased a 6.5 creedmoor Ruger American. I have never owned a rifle that will shoot one hole groups until now. Love it. Now to start reloading. Please keep info coming on loads. I have Dillon 550 and 2 RCBS rock checkers. I am looking to make this my go to rifle up to mule deer size.Any comments on that?

  10. I’m a young 72 yr old Marine Vietnam vet, who just bought a RPR 6.5 Creedmore and planning to handload (no equipment yet!) I have about 12 boxes of the Hornady 140 AMAX which is supposed to do well in these weapons…of course, now they come out with the ELD-X 143! Seems like most are telling me to buy all RCBS loading equip…I’m wondering if the Hornady stuff is just as good or what I should buy?
    Any advice would be helpful, as my motto is “Buy Once…Cry Once!”
    Thanks in advance, and Semper Fi,

    1. I have a Dillon 550 and RCBS Rock Chucker. I do mostly pistol reloads and .223 on the Dillon. The Rock Chucker has always been my rifle press as long action rifle cases/bullets don’t fit well on the Dillon. I know 6.5CM is short action but if I had it to do all over, for a rifle press I’d consider a Redding Turret so I can setup each die and flip between them and not have to reset each die when switching steps like when using the single step Rock Chucker. For precision dies I’m a Redding Fan, lots of options, S-type full size with neck bushing is my favorite with a Competition Seating die. BTW: Navy Vet (74-79) “Non sibi sed patriae”

      1. Go with the turret press. You can’t beat the convenience of having two or three options availabble to you at the same time.

        USN Uss Prairie AD-15 74-79 Go Navy!

    2. I,m a 71 yr. old vet who just bought the same rifle. Have been reloading since 16. glad to share knowledge and equipment use. The A-MAX bullet tips are inferior, and discontinued. You can still shoot them and reload the brass. ELD OR ELD-X bullet depending on weight if you go with hornady. I,m in Colorado.

      semper fi, A-1-9

      1. Richard C.
        FYI ……I was with Alpha 1/5 in Nam 68-69. Thanks for the update on the A-Max…guess I’ll shoot it up and consider it as break-in ammo! 😉
        Semper Fi

  11. I have just purchased a Ruger Precision in 6.5 CM. I read with interest your experiences on hand loads. Has anyone tried 140 grain match bullets at 1000 yards? I calculated that the FPS will drop drastically after 400 feet.

  12. H4350 would be an excellent powder choice if it wasn’t so darn hard to find. I got a Savage LRP and converted some 22-250 brass. I was itching to shoot and couldn’t find a powder on the “expert’s” list. So I used what I had. What I had was AA2700 and a 140 grain Barnes bullet. Bingo. AA2700 is now on my expert list. Still can’t find H4350. Shot a 147 out of 150 with 15 shots at 300 yards. Works for me.

  13. I have 2 6.5 CMs. An RPR and bought an AXIS Kryptec HB for the wife. Mine loves 140 ELDs in front of H4350 and the wife’s likes Reloader 17, which is a close 2nd in my RPR and very available. IMR 4350 works well too and all three are next to each other on the burn chart. Federal or CCI primers either/or doesn’t seem to matter. Working up loads for the new 130 TMK now. Our range is 100-1215 yards. With the RPR, Vortex scope and a Shooter app my RPR became boring real quick. The wife rings the 800 yard steel with ease with her Kryptec. The nice sell for the 140 ELD is the 143 ELD-X (for hunting) has the same drop inside 600 yards. No messing with the scope.

  14. Has anyone had any experience with the 6.5 147 ELD Match? It has an unbelievable bc. Very hard to find at the moment. Hornady assures me they will be available again soon. In my opinion the 147 is the way to go as soon as I get my hands on them.

    The factory loads are even super impressive. I’m dinging steel at 1360 yds 8 out of 10 times.

    I’d love to here what others think about this bullet…

  15. Ok all the reading I’m doing always points to h4350 or imr 4350 and it’s next to impossible to buy nosler calls for imr 8208 Xbr 31.5 grains for 142 grain BT no where can I find anything on 143 eldx with that powder any suggestions for 6.5 creedmoor

  16. Since h 4350 is impossible to find I have h4831sc Imr4831 imr8208xbr and some I’m 4350 in. Vanguard series 2 24 inch tube have all kind of data for 142 very little for the 143eldx any help on choice and weight nosler is the only one with data on 8208
    Any help

  17. SO in measuring my lands distance on my 6.5 I got a very small measurement from what others are getting. Mine measured 2.014! :O I did load 10 rounds that are 0.020 below that at 1.994. This made me nervous with my max powder load at 43.9gr so I turned it back to 41.5gr. Comparing my loads to factory…it’s 0.160 shorter! Headed out to the range to see what results I get. I welcome your thoughts!

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