.338 Lapua vs. 6.5 Creedmoor: What’s The Difference?

Today I’m going to show you the difference between .338 Lapua vs. 6.5 Creedmoor.


  • Cost
  • Ballistics
  • History of each cartridge
  • Lots more

So if you’d like to know the difference between the two cartridges, you’ll love this article.

Let’s get started!

.338 Lapua Magnum: A Brief History

The .338 Lapua Magnum was developed in the eighties specifically to provide Military snipers a round capable of delivering high powered impacts to targets at extended range.

(If you’re looking for the best .338 Lapua rifle, check out this guide).

The cartridge has been held in high esteem since its introduction by professional and amateur shooters alike, being described as a “death laser” for its propensity to maintain pinpoint accuracy up to and past a mile.

In 2009, CoH Craig Harrison used a Lapua round to hit two insurgents at a range of 2,707 yards, or roughly a mile and half!

6.5 Creedmoor: A Brief History

The 6.5. Creedmoor is the brainchild of Hornady Manufacturing Company.

Inspired by the classic .308 Winchester, the Creedmoor was developed specifically for long range target shooting in partnership with Creedmoor Sports, from which its name is derived.

When testing the ammunition at 1000 yards, Ray “Raydog” Sanchez called it “boringly accurate.” The Creedmoor has also been used with some success to hunt big game, and has become a wildly popular cartridge since it’s introduction in 2007.

But which one is better…

.338 vs. 6.5 Creedmoor

That may be an unanswerable question due to a plethora of variables. But one question that can be answered is…

Which Cartridge is best for you?

Depending on what your long range shooting needs, and the funds that you have available to supply the habit, you might find that one cartridge or the other better suits your needs.

Power and Range

If you’re determining your success by the distance that you can reliably hit dead-center bullseye, than the .338 Lapua is fat and beyond best bet.

The cartridge claims a maximum effective range at 1750 yards, so anything short of a mile can be consistently gunned down.

Further more, the billets that are propelled by a Lapua cartridge are expelled with so much force, they can penetrate body armor of better-than-standard issue quality at 1000 yards.

The Lapua is lazer-accurate and death ray-effective. 

The Creedmoor also delivers astoundingly consistent accuracy, but not at quite such long distances.

It’s effective range peaks at 1000 yards.

The reduced maximum range packs a smaller whallop, as well, and as a result, the Creedmoor has a substantially reduced recoil, making it easier to use as a target-practice round, or in a more rapidly firing weapon.

The United States Special Operations Command, or USSOCOM, adopted use of the Creedmoor for its Long Range precision snipers as well as carbines and assault machine guns. 

In short:

If you are looking to hit a target further than 1000 yards, load the Lapua Magnum every time.

If you aren’t trying to knock a moose off it’s feet at 1000 yards, want to avoid shooter’s fatigue from rifle recoil, or are aiming at targets within 100 yards, the Creedmoor might be more reasonable.


Cost is where the Creedmoor really begins to separate ourself from the Lapua in terms of efficiency.

Straight from a commercial retailer, Creedmoor ammunition starts at .70 cents a round.

The Lapua starts at $2.70 per round.

Even if you are all prepared to reload ammunition yourself at home, with all the dies and scales necessary, you’re still looking at $1.15-$1.60 per round in reloading costs.

At the end of the day it boils down to a question of budget. If you have the time and money to invest into firing .338 Lapuas downrange every weekend, enjoy every minute of it.

The Creedmoor is definitely the more affordable cartridge.

Wrapping It Up

To recap:

If you’re going to hit long-range targets (1,000 yards+) and willing to spend $2.70 (on average) per round, then go for the .338 Lapua.

However, if you aren’t doing that long of range shooting and want to save money on ammunition, then the 6.5 Creedmoor is for you.

With all that said, now I’d like to hear from you:

Have you ever shot a 338 or 6.5? If so, what are your thoughts on it? Let me know in the comments down below.

9 thoughts on “.338 Lapua vs. 6.5 Creedmoor: What’s The Difference?”

  1. I’m trying to decide which rifle to buy and am torn between the Lapua and the Creedmoor. This article has simplified my decision making process with really useful information. Thank you for putting this together.

    • I own both and have to say that the Creedmoor will be better in the long run.
      First the 338 ammo is 5 times as expensive.
      Finding any place that will let you shoot the 338 is difficult because they are worried about you penetrating their steel targets.
      Finally at 1000 yards I only gain about 10 MOA less drop from the 338 over the 6.5.

      • While I also enjoy both calibers from a quality rifle, what you’re talking about is a little over 8 feet… not exactly what I’d call insubstantial, esp taking into account what your f.o.v. may be with your chosen optic, or at least mine. Granted, I like to crank my mag squeaky tight, as I usually have no spotter. But for cost? You are so “on the money”, pun intended! Rock Steady!

  2. I built my creedmoor from scratch and I was surprised at how incredibly accurate it is. I used a Wilson combat 24” barrel. I love it. I just purchased a ruger precision rifle in .338 lapua, ……… WOW!!!! Incredible!! Accurate…. so happy with both these rifles!!!! Go for both!!!

  3. If I could only have one longer range rifle, hands down it would be the 338LM. Magnificent rifle, in every way. I,own two and three 6.5C. Not knocking the 6.5 bitchen stick.

    I,can just accomplish more with the 338lm. ” I load my own ammo” and have scavenged thousands of once fired casings, over the years. Keeps,my costs down.

    I usually run the VV n-165 powder, but am comfortable with many other powders. Also shoot either the 250g, or the 300g, only. Other great ammo,availble, for a price.

    Do yourself a favor, learn to load, learn to be very particular about each and every round you load. Consistency wins the day?

    Best to you, brothers.

  4. I have a 6.5 and at 800 yards it’s awesome I want to try 338 but like before mentioned there’s just really no place to shoot it. So as for me I’ll stick with 6.5 for now. Be safe all and remember one shot one kill!

  5. I have been lucky in life and can afford to shoot the 338 Lapua and the 6.5 Creedmoor. It is enough to say, I wouldn’t give either of them up. But the 6.5 is less expensive to shoot. But if you are going for distance the 338 Lapua is my go to gun. I purchased a 6.0 Creedmoor , over two years ago. I can’t for the life of me tell you why I don’t really like this caliber. I would be interested in hearing some other thoughts on this cartridge.

  6. I own both rifles and I shoot the 6.5 alot more than the 338 due to the price of ammo.Once I start getting into reloading things would probably change. But for now over $5.00 a round for 338 is crazy.


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