6.5x284 or .280ai

brandon327

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Nov 3, 2011
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I am looking at building a hunting rifle for everything from elk and deer and a few coyotes. I mostly hunt deer. Which would you build and why? Which is better?
 

deadlift

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Are you gonna single feed or mag feed? Because that's where the 6.5x284 falls short, the 280AI will mag feed easily from most systems. But I'd run the 6.5x280ack, you get the reliability of the 280AI for feeding and the power/fun factor of the 6.5x284 plus some. With my 6.5x280ack I'm getting 3200 with the 130 berger and 3066 with the 142 Matrix, both loads ran with Retumbo and BR2. Not that the 280AI lacks anything but for a fun smaller rifle the lack of recoil in the 6.5 is nicer IMO.
Chris
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7magcreedmoor

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I have one of each. Both are built on Savage actions, and are near identical except for caliber and weight, the 6.5 having an unfluted heavy varmint barrel, and the 280Ack a fluted #6 contour. The 6.5 weighs 13 and an ounce or two, the 280 right at 12 lbs. My 6.5 with 140grain bullet would do anything you want out to 850 yards or so, the 280 would easily kill elk at 1000. If you are expecting a lot of opportunities at longer distances, go with the 280AI. Launching a 168 grain Berger VLD at 3015fps, I think of it as my "one-size-kills-all" rifle.
 

matt_3479

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Something nice about the 6.5 calibers but that being said if you double down as a target rifle that caliber will eat your barrel so fast. What about the straight 284 win. Getting the 7mm bullets and the high bc bullets, great barrel life and a nice little cartridge. Little lighter recoiling then the 280. AI.

If your looking 6.5 consider the SAUM instead, little better barrel life. Great ballistics, and less recoil then the 7mm's
 

ohiohunter

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I have one of each. Both are built on Savage actions, and are near identical except for caliber and weight, the 6.5 having an unfluted heavy varmint barrel, and the 280Ack a fluted #6 contour. The 6.5 weighs 13 and an ounce or two, the 280 right at 12 lbs. My 6.5 with 140grain bullet would do anything you want out to 850 yards or so, the 280 would easily kill elk at 1000. If you are expecting a lot of opportunities at longer distances, go with the 280AI. Launching a 168 grain Berger VLD at 3015fps, I think of it as my "one-size-kills-all" rifle.

Maybe calf elk at 1k. Your load falls below 1500ft/lb by 600yds, at 1k its a measly 705ft/lb. I wouldn't even shoot squirrel w/ that little energy.

Given the op shoots mostly deer w/ the occasional elk I would build the 6.5 and you have the option of using lapua brass. I can't comment on mag length but I know if you shoot the 280 loaded long w/ the bearing surface ending at the neck shoulder junction you'll probably have a single shot. I know my 280 is (savage).
 

jf239

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This might be accurate if your hunting elk at sea level. Most elk live in a density altitude drastically different. The ones i know anyways
 

Maxxis31

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Maybe calf elk at 1k. Your load falls below 1500ft/lb by 600yds, at 1k its a measly 705ft/lb. I wouldn't even shoot squirrel w/ that little energy.

Given the op shoots mostly deer w/ the occasional elk I would build the 6.5 and you have the option of using lapua brass. I can't comment on mag length but I know if you shoot the 280 loaded long w/ the bearing surface ending at the neck shoulder junction you'll probably have a single shot. I know my 280 is (savage).

According to Hornady's Ballistics Calculator with a 168 gr VLD (.284) with the BC of .617 and an elevation of 5000 ft. (which is pretty low for elk) flying at 3015fps would be traveling at 1871fps at 1000 yards and have 1305lb of energy which should be plenty to kill an elk.

IMO if the OP is planning on Elk hunting the 280AI would be a better caliber. I am sure both would be fine but the 280 will carry a heavier bullet with better ballistics further with more energy. If a person only plans on shooting the 140gr bullets or lighter the 6.5 would be a better choice.
 

7magcreedmoor

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Maybe calf elk at 1k. Your load falls below 1500ft/lb by 600yds, at 1k its a measly 705ft/lb. I wouldn't even shoot squirrel w/ that little energy.

Given the op shoots mostly deer w/ the occasional elk I would build the 6.5 and you have the option of using lapua brass. I can't comment on mag length but I know if you shoot the 280 loaded long w/ the bearing surface ending at the neck shoulder junction you'll probably have a single shot. I know my 280 is (savage).

A couple thoughts: Folks can argue over how much energy it takes to kill an elk till doomsday, but I am satisfied with 1000lbs, as I know of plenty of recorded kills with about that much residual at impact. I don't know what ballistic calculator you are using, but the G7 on this website using 3015fps MV, 168 grain berger vld with BC of .617 will carry 1000lbs past 1000 yards at 1000ft/55degrees, and past 1200 yards at 7000ft/34deg. If you simply MUST have 1500ft/lbs, then I am still good to 730/880 yards at the respective altitudes. My 6.5/284 will deliver 1000ft/lbs to 970 yards at 7000ft/34deg as well, or 1500 at 570 yards. I'd hate to be standing in front of either of them, and I am way bigger than a squirrel...
 

ohiohunter

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According to Hornady's Ballistics Calculator with a 168 gr VLD (.284) with the BC of .617 and an elevation of 5000 ft. (which is pretty low for elk) flying at 3015fps would be traveling at 1871fps at 1000 yards and have 1305lb of energy which should be plenty to kill an elk.

IMO if the OP is planning on Elk hunting the 280AI would be a better caliber. I am sure both would be fine but the 280 will carry a heavier bullet with better ballistics further with more energy. If a person only plans on shooting the 140gr bullets or lighter the 6.5 would be a better choice.

I stand corrected sort of. I didn't change humidity and elevation on my calculator. But even then according to my calculator 1500ft/lb is breached from 900-950yds. I wouldn't condone such a shot.

I agree the 280 for elk, but ops primary game is deer w/ the occasional elk. After owning both a 280 and a 284 I now lean more towards the shorter cases.
 

jf239

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Oct 27, 2012
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Agree, RM hangs in there, but 28 nosler looks pretty inviting. Particularly for heavier bullets. Elk hammers all of them
 

brandon327

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Nov 3, 2011
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Magnum would be nice, but I don't want one. I want something with a standard bolt face that will fit in a savage 110 action because that is what I have to build on. If I build a magnum it will be the 28 nosler.
 

chad

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Jun 28, 2011
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If a 280AI shouldn't be shot at elk at 1000 yards and kill them how the hell is the 6xc killing them at 1000 yards?

Go with the 280 AI and have no doubts about it. It will kill!
 

ohiohunter

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If a 280AI shouldn't be shot at elk at 1000 yards and kill them how the hell is the 6xc killing them at 1000 yards?

Go with the 280 AI and have no doubts about it. It will kill!


I did not know the 6xc was the cartridge of choice for elk, especially at 1k. Hell that means all them stw owners can kill elk 2 states over. Learn something new everyday.

So I was a little overzealous w/ the 1500ft/lbs.. more like 1200ft/lbs.
 

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