6.5 Creedmoor AR-10 Build

Best 6.5 Creedmoor Uppers: Complete Guide

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The 6.5 Creedmoor is a good round that has gained in popularity over the years. Today, there are more makes and models of rifles chambered for this round than ever before.

If you want to build a 6.5 Creedmoor AR-10 or already own one that shoots the more popular 7.62 x 51mm NATO or .308 Winchester, all you need to do is replace your upper receiver with a simple 6.5 Creedmoor Upper receiver.

Fortunately, we provided you with the list of the best 6.5 Creedmoor uppers you can buy today. Now, let’s get started.

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Aero Precision M5E1 6.5 Creedmoor Upper Receiver
  • Compatible with most DMPS LR-308 lowers
  • Drop in installation, ships mostly pre-assemled
  • Heavy duty, High-quality 416 stainless steel barrel included
  • No charge handle or BCG included
$715 Shop NowClick to read my review
Palmetto State Armory PA65 Gen3 Complete Upper Receiver
  • Lightweight and Durable upper receiver
  • Sturdy, high-quality additional parts with corrosion resistance finish
  • Comes complete with charging handle and BCG
  • Compatibility issues with off-brand creedmoor lowers
$650 Shop NowClick to read my review
Top Pick
Primary Weapon Systems AR 308 MK2 MOD 1-M Upper Receiver
  • Fully adjustable gas system
  • PWS long stroke piston system for added reliability
  • Extremely accurate complete upper receiver
  • Very expensive
$1938 Shop NowClick to read my review
Stag Arms Stag 10 Marksman Upper
  • Premium parts and materials for a great price
  • Durable upper receiver with super rust resistant finish
  • Compatible with most DMPS style ARs
  • Reports of extremely tight fit
$795 Shop NowClick to read my review

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The 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge

Best 6.5 Creedmoor Uppers

The 6.5 Creedmoor is a shorter, more dependable cartridge for semi-automatic rifles. Derived from the .260 Remington round, it possesses improved terminal ballistics across the longer range and kicks slightly less. However, this round hits harder and flatter throughout the whole range.

A 6.5 Creedmoor AR-10 would make an excellent tactical handgun. You can use it for home protection or as a general-purpose weapon, depending on your preferences.

What are Upper Receivers?

Best 6.5 Creedmoor Uppers

The upper receiver holds the barrel, forend, bolt carrier group, charging handle, and any other AR accessories you’d like to include in your build. The upper receiver connects the lower receiver to the rifle, allowing you to personalize your firearm’s appearance and functionality.

Why Upgrade Your AR-10 Upper Receiver?

If you plan to switch to the 6.5 Creedmoor, you’re going to need a new barrel anyway. You can’t fire all rounds from the same barrel. Hence, it’s the perfect time to swap out the entire upper receiver for something that’s completely compatible with your new round.

You may want to upgrade to an upper receiver that utilizes more durable materials. Upgrading the entire upper receiver also means fewer compatibility issues vs upgrading individual parts separately, like the barrel, and hoping it works with your current upper receiver.

Parts of an Upper Receiver

Best 6.5 Creedmoor Uppers

Barrel

The barrel is where the bullet accelerates and exits. As a result, this part deals with a lot of heat, friction, gas, and force.

There are various barrel lengths available for the AR-10. However, in general, the longer the barrel, the better the range and accuracy. Look for a barrel with chrome rifling with at least a 1:8 twist ratio. And for legal reasons get a barrel that’s at least 16″ in length.

Bolt Carrier Group

The AR-10 bolt carrier group (BCG) is the heart of your rifle. It’s also the key component responsible for making your rifle work in the first place. It consists of the gas key, bolt, extractor, firing pin, and other supporting pieces and rests inside of the upper receiver.

All these components work together to make sure bullets are fired correctly, spent cartridges are ejected out, new cartridges are stripped from the magazine and fed to the chamber. Hence,  completing and repeating the cycle after every shot. This is the mechanism responsible for semi-auto and automatic fire rifles.  

Gas Block and Gas Tube

To get your projectile out of the barrel and toward its intended target, you need gas pressure. When you fire a cartridge, some of the expanding gas from the burnt powder leaves the barrel through the gas port. Then it goes down the gas block and into the gas tube where it exits the BCG’s gas key. The pressure in the gas chamber of the BCG is what the rifle uses as the driving force for cycling the BCG and completing the rifle’s action.

Charging Handle

The charging handle is responsible for the initial cycle of your BCG. Think of it as the starter for a car. You pull back the charging handle to release a cartridge from the magazine, load it in the chamber, and “charge” your firing pin. As the BCG cycles, the charging handle remains static and it only moves when you move it.

Forward Assist

AR aficionados are divided on the issue of whether or not it is necessary to have a forward assist. Located on the upper receiver, the forward assist is a relatively new AR-10 component. Its primary purpose is to aid your bolt in closing all the way if it is unable to do so.

Handguard and Rail System

Firing an AR-10 at a high rate of speed will quickly heat up the barrel of the weapon. To keep your hands from overheating, rail systems and handguards have been developed to make shooting a lot more pleasant.

You can attach AR accessories like scopes, sights, spotlights, and lasers to rail systems. On the other hand, handguards shield the barrel from heat and provide a better grip. When it comes to rail systems and handguards, you may choose from a wide range of options in terms of design, color, and style.

Ejection Port Cover

An ejection port cover’s primary function is to keep your weapon free of dirt and debris. When not in use, it serves to protect your bolt carrier group and upper receiver by covering the ejection port. When you press the start button, it will open by itself. Maintenance and upkeep, such as cleaning your AR-10 after shooting, are necessary to guarantee maximum performance.

Uppers According to Construction

Uppers can come in a variety of materials, and although some lightweight uppers made from a mix of polymer and metal have started coming out, aluminum is still the preferred material of choice. However, beyond the type of material used, the type of construction process can also affect the cost and durability of the upper receiver.

Forged Upper Receivers

Best 6.5 Creedmoor Uppers

Forged metal uppers give the optimal grain structure or orientation that creates the best balance of mechanical attributes including hardness, fatigue limit, specific weight, and others, but they are denser and heavier. To forge an upper, the upper is first hammered into the desired shape, generally with the use of a mold, and then commonly finished up using a CNC lathe.

Billet Upper Receivers

Best 6.5 Creedmoor Uppers

To create the billet receiver, a CNC mill is used to cut a solid bar of metal into the desired shape. The mechanical qualities of billet metal are comparable to those of forged upper receivers. However, they’re usually less dense and lighter at the cost of losing some material strength. This is a trade-off you have to think about when shooting heavy grain cartridges.

Cast Upper Receivers

Best 6.5 Creedmoor Uppers

In terms of strength-to-weight ratio, cast metal is the worst option. However, if you’re just looking for a lightweight upper receiver, then maybe a cast upper receiver will be good enough for your use. Cast uppers are created by die casting, a process where liquid molten metal is poured into a mold. Cast uppers usually come out rough and are finished off with a CNC Mill.

Flat-top vs Carry Handle

Best 6.5 Creedmoor Uppers

You’ll also typically hear about ARs with A1, A2, A3, and A4 upper carry configurations. Although we can go into detail about the differences of each one, to keep things short, they either have a Flat-top or a carry handle on top of the rifle’s upper receiver.

A flat-top AR-10 upper is an AR-10 with standard Picatinny rail where the sights are usually mounted. In contrast, a carry handle upper will have a fixed carry handle on top of the upper which will act as the rear sight assembly for your firearm.

While both of them exist out on the market, if you’re looking for real versatility, you should go with a flat top upper receiver since if you really want a carry handle, you can always add one to a Picatinny rail.

Buyer’s Guide to the Best 6.5 Creedmoor Uppers

Types of Upper Receiver

First, think very carefully about the type of upper receiver that you’ll need for your build. The safest option, especially if you’re a beginner, will always be some variation of a complete upper receiver. Complete uppers are guaranteed to save you time and money and will work well for most scenarios.

Also, if you’re looking to shoot a lot of rounds out of your rifle, look for upper receivers that are forged or billeted. Forged and Billet constructions will give you upper receivers that are guaranteed to handle heavy grain cartridges better than cast upper receivers.

Build Quality

Investing in a high-quality upper receiver for your AR-10 is essential if you want your rifle to endure firing bullets for many years. For upper receivers, 7075 aluminum combined with a hard coat anodized finish is generally referred to as the gold standard. Aluminum is both sturdy and light, while anodized coatings are very rust and corrosion resistant, guaranteeing long-term endurance.

Although you’ll be able to find lightweight polymer upper receivers for your AR-10, I generally don’t recommend using these especially since most AR-10 rounds tend to be very large and use a lot of powder.

Heavier upper receivers will give you better stability and handle these more powerful rounds better than lighter materials, and polymer uppers will eventually give out from firing these large rounds.

If you do insist on using polymer, look for ones with aluminum inserts at critical junction points to at least give you some better durability.

Manufacturer

Choose a receiver from a well-known, reliable brand with a loyal following of customers who are confident in the quality of their products. You can find out more about a product by reading reviews. With any firearm, you want to be confident with the parts you’re using. The last thing you want is your AR-10 falling apart during a self-defense scenario.

Also, by choosing one manufacturer, you’re almost guaranteed to have zero compatibility issues. This is because the same manufacturer will use the same specifications for their AR-10 build kits. This is important since AR-10s have no mil-spec standards, unlike the more popular AR-15 platform.

Best 6.5 Creedmoor Uppers for 2022

Aero Precision M5E1 6.5 Creedmoor Upper Receiver

Aero Precision M5E1 6.5 Creedmoor Upper Receiver

Aero Precision’s M5E1 6.5 Creedmoor Upper Receiver is made almost exclusively for the 6.5 Creedmore cartridge. Thus, it is fully compatible with a variety of DMPS LR-308 lower receivers.

This upper receiver is a forged 7075 aluminum receiver for a lightweight yet inherently durable upper that can handle large rounds. It’s coupled with a matte black, hard-anodized finish to give this upper receiver great surface wear and corrosion resistance. To smoothen the deal, Aero Precision includes a pre-installed ejection port and forward assist as well.

Aero Precision M5E1 6.5 Creedmoor Upper Receiver

The Aero Precision M5E1 6.5 Creedmoor Upper Receiver also comes with a non-fluted 416R stainless steel bead blasted barrel with a 1:8 twist rate. These uppers come in 18″, 20″, and 22″ barrel lengths. It also comes equipped with a nice A2-Style flash suppressor, an extra-length gas system for reliable cycling, and a lightweight handguard with a Picatinny rail.

However, this is an ALMOST complete upper receiver since the M5E1 6.5 Creedmoor upper receiver doesn’t come with a charging handle or BCG. Granted, Aero Precision makes the argument that you’d replace them anyway, so why pay for them? It would have been nice to see what they had to add to this high-quality package.

Pros
  • Compatible with most DMPS LR-308 lowers
  • Drop in installation, ships mostly pre-assemled
  • Very lightweight yet durable aluminum upper receiver
  • Heavy duty, High-quality 416 stainless steel barrel included
  • Hard coat, anodized finish for superior corrosion resistance
Cons
  • No charge handle or BCG included

Palmetto State Armory PA65 Gen3 Complete Upper Receiver

Palmetto State Armory PA65 Gen3 Complete Upper Receiver

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly upper receiver without compromising on quality, get it from the trusted manufacturers at Palmetto State Armory. The PA65 Gen3 Complete Upper Receiver is a complete, and fully assembled upper receiver for the 6.5 Creedmoor that has almost everything you need to get started on your rifle build.

This upper receiver’s durable yet lightweight construction is thanks to its forged 7075 TG aluminum body. For added surface wear and corrosion resistance, PSA has finished off this upper receiver with a matte black anodized hard coat. It also comes with a 20″ heavy-duty, dimpled, 1:8 twist ratio. Additionally, it features a 416R stainless steel barrel that shoots large rounds reliably even at longer distances.

Palmetto State Armory PA65 Gen3 Complete Upper Receiver

For performance geeks, you should be able to fine-tune your gas system according to the cartridge you’re using thanks to the PA65 Gen3’s five-position adjustable gas block. It also comes with a skeleton, anti-slip, M-Lok hand guard to protect your hands and help dissipate heat quickly, great for extended shooting sessions or testing out the full-auto on your AR.

Currently, PSA only makes a twenty-inch barreled version of this upper receiver. This gives you a good mix of length for added accuracy at long-range targets, as well as enough maneuverability that you won’t complain too much when using it for hunting or moving around in tight spaces. An 18″ barrel would have been nice if you wanted to use this strictly for indoor use, but it’s an easy part to swap out should you need to.

Pros
  • Lightweight and Durable upper receiver
  • Sturdy, high-quality additional parts with corrosion resistance finish
  • Budget-friendly price tag
  • Comes complete with charging handle and BCG
  • Fine tuned performance
Cons
  • Compatibility issues with off-brand creedmoor lowers
  • No chrome lining in barrel

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Primary Weapon Systems AR 308 MK2 MOD 1-M Upper Receiver

Primary Weapon Systems AR 308 MK2 MOD 1-M Upper Receiver

This high-end complete upper receiver is extremely lightweight, very durable, and provides a smooth operation allowing the user to get quick and accurate follow-up shots even at longer distances.

Thanks to its 7075 T6 Forged aluminum construction, the AR 308 MK2 MOD 1-M Upper Receiver is one of the lightest yet most durable upper receivers on the market. It also comes with a black 1:8 Twist ratio barrel with a 16″ or 18″ profile, making this a compact option compared to other 6.5 Creedmoor barrels on our list.

However, what it lacks in length it makes up for in performance, as it’s one of the most accurate upper receivers on the market today. To top it all off, the entire receiver and its part kits are coated with an anodized, black hard coating for that high-quality surface wear and corrosion-resistant finish.

Primary Weapon Systems AR 308 MK2 MOD 1-M Upper Receiver

The AR 308 MK2 MOD 1-M Upper Receiver ships with a free-float MLOK handguard with lightning cuts and an eliminated forward assist to give it a solid feed without the added weight. It comes it a PWS long-stroke piston system to give it that added accuracy and reliability you’d want in a semi-automatic rifle. To finish it off is a standard PRC30 compensator at the end to help reduce muzzle rise and get off those quick follow-up long-distance shots accurately.

Pros
  • Fully adjustable gas system
  • PWS long stroke piston system for added reliability
  • Extremely lightweight yet solid build
  • Very smooth rifle operation
  • Extremely accurate complete upper receiver
Cons
  • Very expensive

Stag Arms Stag 10 Marksman Upper

Stag Arms Stag 10 Marksman Upper

The Stag 10 Marksman is a versatile long-range upper that comes in left-handed and right-handed options with a 22″ or 24″ barrel configuration. It’s designed specifically for the 6.5 Creedmoor with a 1:8 twist ratio and VG6 Gamma Muzzle brake for optimum long-range performance.

This upper is mostly DPMS compatible and comes fitted with an M-LOK handguard, allowing you to customize and modify your rifle build to meet your needs. The 1:8 Twist ratio barrel is machined out of 416R stainless steel giving you a lightweight yet extremely durable barrel that has weather and rust resistance.

This upper is built from forged 7075 T6 aluminum with a Type 3 anodized hard coating which is similar to some of the most premium uppers out there for less than half the price. The only downside is this upper kit doesn’t come with a BCG or a charging handle. However, for the quality you’re getting at this price range, it’s hardly something to bat an eye off.

Pros
  • Premium parts and materials for a great price
  • Durable upper receiver with super rust resistant finish
  • Compatible with most DMPS style ARs
  • Great for long range shooting
Cons
  • No charging handle or BCG
  • Reports of extremely tight fit

Our Pick

The Primary Weapons Systems MK-218 MOD-1 M Upper Receiver is undoubtedly expensive, but this is a solid case of you getting what you pay for. It comes with literally everything that you could ask for in an upper receiver and with neat features such as a PWS long-stroke piston operating system and a three-setting fully adjustable gas system. This is a barrel that can handle a lot of mileage, will shoot the 6.5 Creedmoor without complaints, and is guaranteed to last you a long time.

How to Install your Upper Receiver

Assembling an AR-10 and AR-15 upper receiver is very simple, and with the correct tools, you should be able to complete the entire process in as little as fifteen or twenty minutes, Just follow these steps:

  1. Secure your upper receiver in a vice.
  2. Place the barrel into the barrel opening; it should fit snugly.
  3. Make sure that the alignment notch on the barrel fits into the groove on the upper.
  4. Thread on the barrel nut, and use a barrel nut tool to tighten it as much as you can. Make sure that the hole in the barrel nut aligns with the hole in the upper receiver so you can accommodate your gas tube.
  5. Slip the gas block tube through the hole in the barrel nut; make sure that the block is aligned to the gas hole in the barrel.
  6. Secure the gas block to the barrel with screws, and consider using Loctite for added security.
  7. Fit the handguard over the barrel and thread it into the barrel nut.
  8. Tighten the tension nut to help hold it in place.
  9. Use a special AR tool for tightening up the handguard cap.
  10. Thread on the flash suppressor.
  11. Place the charging handle into the hole in the rear of the receiver where the bolt will go; make sure that it is aligned, which it will be if it slides into place.

By following these steps, you can get your upper receivers installed and ready to go for your AR-10 or AR-15.

Wrapping Up

Any one of the upper receivers that we have covered here today will be a solid choice for your 6.5 Creedmoor. If you do decide to go a different route, you can follow the buyer’s guide section that we went over earlier to help you find a good upper receiver as well.

A few reminders before you go. When you buy a stripped upper receiver to double-check compatibility within your AR-10 upper part kits, and especially with your AR-10 Lower receiver. This is key since AR-10s are notorious for compatibility issues. Also, consider purchasing from one manufacturer since a lot of compatibility issues can be remedied by purchasing all your parts from one source.

Furthermore, consider preplanning your build ahead of time. Finding out early on the type and classification of the upper receiver you’ll go with will influence the outcome, the durability, and the cost of your AR-10 build. A complete upper receiver will almost always be cheaper than putting together a stripper upper receiver with upper part kits.

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  1. Palmetto is no joke. It does cut a few corners to save money but was evaluated and found to be the most reliable, least maintenance intensive and longest lasting AR platform rifle by a factor of 1.5-2x the second longest lasting models. It’s not like any of us are likely to break a rifle in our lifetimes, maybe shoot out the barrel but that’s about it. But still considering the accuracy and fit and finish for the money Palmetto is a screaming deal.

  2. Unbelievable. I are it up. Very very informative. I’ve made my choice. This entire article was all the research i did packed into one. I’m paying the big bucks. Just have too.

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