Ammo Review: Winchester 6.5 Creedmoor Deer Season Copper Impact XP

The Winchester line of Deer Season ammunition for 6.5 Creedmoor includes two different loads: the original Extreme Point and the Copper Impact Extreme Point (or XP). The first charge is designed to deliver ultra-wide bullet reversals for maximum energy transfer at shallow depths. If you read the description of the Copper Impact XP load we tested, you would likely conclude that it would perform similarly. I did, at least. But I was in for a surprise.

The Copper Impact XP bullet is all copper, and like other all-copper monometal bullets that are designed to be bored on impact, it is essentially a hollow point bullet. The reason it doesn’t look like a hollow point bullet is because Winchester seals the hollow cavity in the bullet nose with a polymer tip. One thing that sets the Copper Impact XP bullet apart from similar designs is that its polymer tip is about twice as large as others.

I subjected this load to my standard testing protocol for hunting ammunition. I fired 10 shots over a chronograph with the screens set 10 yards from the muzzle, and also fired three three-shot groups from a sandbag at 100 yards. Finally, I shot a bullet into Clear Ballistics gel blocks at 100 yards. All of this is to help you figure out what bullet (or bullets) you should be shooting this fall. Here are the results.


For a 125-grain bullet fired from a Creedmoor 6.5, the average velocity of the Copper Impact XP was about what you’d expect, at 2843 fps. It was also very close to the load’s advertised 2850 fps. However, the speed consistency from round to round was what I would consider below average. For a 10-shot burst fired over a chronograph, the maximum velocity deviation was 81 fps, with a standard deviation of 31.3 fps. To get out to about 400 yards, this is not a problem, but extreme velocity changes from shot to shot can cause vertical streaks at extreme distances.


photo of ammo and target
The average 100-yard three-shot group in the round was well under an inch, at 0.83. Sebastian Mann

I tested this load in a Nosler Model 21 rifle that has a 22-inch Shilen barrel and is loaded with a Tract Toric UHD 2.5-15X44 scope. The average for the three three-shot groups I shot was an impressive 0.83 inches. I have tested quite a few loads in this rifle and to date this is one of the best performers. It’s an excellent level of accuracy from factory hunting ammo and is more than enough to get you out to about 500 yards, which is about as far as you can count on this bullet to get bored on the shot.


The general assumption is that the 6.5 Creedmoor shoots flatter than similarly sized cartridges that have comparable or even greater recoil. This may be true, but for the Creedmoor to function in this way, it must have a bullet with a high ballistic coefficient (BC) – generally a BC higher than .500. The BC for the 125-grain Copper Impact XP bullet is only .428, which means this is not the best 6.5 Creedmoor factory load for extreme distance. Because of this sub-.500 BC, velocity will drop off faster and bullets need a certain amount of velocity to open at impact. That said, this bullet will perform well at field distances that most of us would consider reasonable. With a zero of 100 yards, it drops about 29 inches at 400 yards.

ammo stats chart
A breakdown of the round’s external ballistics, including trajectory. Richard Mann

Terminal Performance

I expected this all-copper bullet to deform with a very wide face diameter. I thought this partly because of the excessive tip, but also partly because of the information on Winchester’s website that states, “The Copper Extreme Point bullet is a solid expanding copper projectile with a large impact diameter. A larger impact diameter means more trauma, better energy transfer and larger wound cavities for faster impact.” But the bullet I shot and got from ballistics told a different story. It opened with a face diameter of 0.467 inches, which is what I would call normal for an all-copper monometal bullet.

Win 6.5 creedmoor

While I don’t think the terminal performance of this point matches how Winchester describes it, it’s not bad terminal performance; the bullet penetrated an impressive 31 inches at Clear Ballistics. From a Creedmoor 6.5, you only get such penetration with a bullet that retains most of its weight and doesn’t deform with an excessively large frontal area. The recovered Copper Impact XP bullet weighed 123.2 grains, suggesting the only weight lost was that of its polymer tip.

ammo stats chart
This section lists all measured bullet test results, including velocity, accuracy, and terminal ballistics data. Richard Mann

For deer, I prefer a bullet that transfers a lot of energy early, but this should be a fantastic 6.5 Creedmoor bullet for bigger game. It is lead free, which is required in some countries and preferred by some hunters. The load also provided a high level of accuracy and will penetrate deep enough to handle any game that the 6.5 Creedmoor is suitable for. Mono-metal bullets generally need to touch between 1900 and 2100 fps to show any significant deformation. I expect this bullet is no different, but it can open at even slower velocities due to its large tip and hollow cavity.

I am amazed that in this new era of long range shooting, manufacturers do not list the minimum impact velocity needed for bullet failure on the box or at least on their websites. This leaves us with nothing but guesswork when trying to effectively determine the effective range of the ammunition we are considering for hunting. But all the other data I could gather about the Copper Impact XP proves that it penetrates deep and retains nearly all of its weight—two characteristics most hunters want in bullets for larger, big-boned game. In other words, if you are looking for a good 6.5 deer bullet, or maybe a deer/mule bullet, this should be fine.

Read further: F&S Bullet Lab: We test the 6.5 Creedmoor Remington Core-Lokt advised

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