Can A 6.5 Creedmoor Kill A Bison? An Expert’s Guide

The 6.5 Creedmoor is a popular cartridge among hunters, known for its accuracy and versatility. But can it take down a massive bison?

Some hunters swear by the 45/70 government cartridge for buffalo hunts, but what about the 6.5 Creedmoor?

In this article, we’ll explore the performance of the 6.5 Creedmoor on large game and whether it’s up to the task of taking down a bison.

We’ll also discuss the importance of shot placement and bullet selection when hunting these massive animals.

So, if you’re considering using a 6.5 Creedmoor for your next bison hunt, keep reading to find out if it’s the right choice for you.

Can A 6.5 Creedmoor Kill A Bison?

The short answer is yes, a 6.5 Creedmoor can kill a bison. However, it’s important to understand the limitations of the cartridge and the importance of proper shot placement.

The 6.5 Creedmoor is not a heavy-hitting magnum cartridge like the 45/70 government, which was specifically designed for hunting buffalo. The 6.5 Creedmoor is a smaller cartridge that relies on accuracy and bullet selection to take down large game.

With quality 140+ grain bullets and good shot placement, the 6.5 Creedmoor can be used for bison hunting. However, it’s best to only take broadside or slightly quartering shots at ranges under 250 yards on bison.

It’s important to note that bison are massive animals with thick hides and bones. Shot placement is crucial for a clean and ethical kill. A shot through the lungs or heart with a quality expanding bullet will bring down a bison quickly and efficiently.

Introduction To The 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge

The 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge was first introduced in 2007 and has since gained popularity among hunters and long-range shooters. It was designed for accuracy, low recoil, and long-range performance.

Compared to other cartridges, the 6.5 Creedmoor has a relatively small case capacity and moderate velocities. However, it makes up for this with its high ballistic coefficient bullets, which retain their energy and velocity over long distances.

The 6.5 Creedmoor has been proven effective on game as large as elk and moose, but it’s important to understand its limitations. It’s not a magnum cartridge and doesn’t have the same energy and stopping power as larger calibers. Therefore, proper shot placement is crucial for a clean and ethical kill.

The 45/70 Government Cartridge And Its Effectiveness On Bison

The 45/70 Government cartridge was originally designed to hunt buffalo and has been used for that purpose for over a century. With the innovation of smokeless powder and better steel, the cartridge has become even more effective. It is currently the most popular option for bison hunts.

The 45/70 Government is a heavy-hitting cartridge that can take down large game with ease. The cartridge has gained a reputation as a reliable and practical choice for defending against Brown/Grizzly bears among guides in Alaska and Canada due to its performance in dangerous situations. The bullet uses weight and its inertia carrying ability to penetrate deep, making it an effective choice for bison hunting.

One thing to note about the 45/70 Government cartridge is the lower velocity compared to other options. Velocity is a bigger deal than bullet weight when it comes to adding ft/lbs. of energy, but there’s more to the equation. The 45/70 Government cartridge uses its weight and inertia to penetrate deep, making it an excellent choice for bison hunting.

Professional guides prefer controlled expansion bullets when hunting bison with the 45/70 Government cartridge. The 405-grain round-nosed lead bullet was launched at a muzzle velocity of around 1,400 fps, making it an improvement over the .50-70 and the muzzleloading rifles that immediately preceded it. In the late 1870s, the load was revised to deliver a 500-grain bullet, which gave better long-range terminal ballistics.

The 45/70 Government cartridge has proved itself not only on the battlefield but also in the fields and woods as well. As a hunting cartridge, it is perfectly suited for any and all North American game, including the dwindling bison. It makes a good short-range cartridge for anything with four feet and a heartbeat, including grizzly bears.

Can The 6.5 Creedmoor Take Down A Bison?

While the 6.5 Creedmoor can be used for bison hunting, it’s not the most ideal cartridge for the job. Bison are larger and more heavily built than elk, and require a heavier-hitting cartridge to ensure a clean kill.

It’s possible to take down a bison with a 6.5 Creedmoor, but it requires excellent accuracy and proper shot placement. It’s recommended to only take broadside or slightly quartering shots at ranges under 250 yards.

The Alaska Fish and Game department has specific regulations for hunting bison, including minimum bullet weight and energy requirements for rifles and handguns, as well as caliber and bullet weight requirements for muzzleloaders and black powder cartridge rifles.

The Importance Of Shot Placement When Hunting Large Game

When hunting large game such as bison, shot placement is critical. It’s not just about hitting the animal, but hitting it in the right spot to ensure a quick and humane kill.

The 6.5 Creedmoor is a smaller cartridge that doesn’t have a lot of excess energy, making it important to only take shots that minimize the distance the bullet needs to travel to reach the vitals. Shots at ranges beyond 250 yards or at steep angles should be avoided.

When aiming at a bison, it’s important to keep in mind their thick hides and bones. Aiming for the lower third of the body will ensure a shot through the heart and lungs, which will bring down the animal quickly.

Using high-quality, controlled expansion bullets designed for deep, straight-line penetration is also important. These bullets will ensure that the bullet travels through the animal and reaches the vitals, even if it encounters resistance from thick bone or muscle.

Bullet Selection For Bison Hunting With The 6.5 Creedmoor

When it comes to bullet selection for bison hunting with the 6.5 Creedmoor, it’s important to choose a quality expanding bullet that will penetrate deep through the thick muscle and bone of the animal.

One recommended option is the Hornady Precision Hunter 143 grain ELD-X bullet. This bullet has a high ballistic coefficient, is designed for reliable expansion over a wide range of impact velocities, and retains velocity and kinetic energy well. It’s accurate and has a flat trajectory, making it a good choice for shots under 250 yards.

However, it’s important to note that this bullet may not be the best choice for larger bull elk or bison. While it’s suitable for deer-sized game and even immature elk, it may expand too rapidly and not penetrate as well as desired on larger animals.

Other options to consider include heavier bullets in the 140+ grain range, such as the Nosler AccuBond or Barnes TTSX. These bullets are designed for controlled expansion and deep penetration, making them a good choice for taking down larger game like bison.

Ultimately, the key to success when using the 6.5 Creedmoor for bison hunting is proper shot placement and choosing a quality expanding bullet that will penetrate deep enough to ensure a quick and ethical kill.

Conclusion: Is The 6.5 Creedmoor The Right Choice For Your Bison Hunt?

In conclusion, while the 6.5 Creedmoor can be used for bison hunting, it may not be the best choice for everyone. The cartridge’s mild recoil and inherent accuracy make it ideal for recoil-sensitive or small-framed shooters, but its smaller size means it relies heavily on bullet selection and shot placement.

If you’re an experienced hunter with a good understanding of shot placement and have access to quality 140+ grain bullets, the 6.5 Creedmoor can be a viable option for bison hunting. However, if you’re not confident in your ability to make a precise shot or prefer a heavier-hitting cartridge, you may want to consider other options.

Ultimately, the decision to use a 6.5 Creedmoor for bison hunting should be based on your individual skill level and preferences. As with any hunting situation, it’s important to prioritize ethical and responsible hunting practices to ensure a clean kill and respect for the animal.