Are you looking to put together your own 6.5 Creedmoor AR-10?
If so, you’ve come to the right place.
That’s because if you want to build a 6.5 Creedmoor AR-10, but already own an AR-10 chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO or .308 Winchester (the most popular AR-10 chambering), then all you should theoretically need is just the 6.5 Creedmoor upper.
Best Overall Pick: Primary Weapons Systems MK-218 MOD-1 M Upper Receiver
The Primary Weapons Systems MK-218 MOD-1 M Upper Receiver is undoubtedly expensive, but there’s good reason for this: 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.
Best Budget Pick: Palmetto State Armory Gen 3 PA65 Upper Receiver
Palmetto State Armory as a whole is known for making quality products oriented towards the budget consumer, and their PA65 Upper Receiver for the 6.5 Creedmoor is no exception to this perception.
Best Value Pick: Aero Precision M5e1 Assembled Upper Receiver
The Aero Precision M5e1 Assembled Upper Receiver comes with a number of impressive features for the price it’s offered at, including a 7075 T6 aluminum build, ejection port cover, forward assist, and A2 flash suppressor.
In this article, we have picked out and selected the top three very best 6.5 Creedmoor AR-10 upper receivers on the market today. In addition, we’re going to talk to you about the merits of the 6.5 Creedmoor round (just in case you’re not yet convinced that the 6.5 is the right caliber to go with for your custom AR-10), and we’re also going to talk to you about the components of an upper receiver as well as our thoughts on the features and qualities that your upper receiver needs to have.
Why Go With The 6.5 Creedmoor Round?
The 6.5 Creedmoor has been in existence since 2008. From the get-go, it was designed to be a long range rifle. For the first few years, the 6.5 Creedmoor flew under the radar and was greatly overlooked by shooters on the market, but in the last few years it’s really begun to get more attention, especially as shooters have been turning to the 6mm series of cartridges due to their long range abilities.
When the 6.5 Creedmoor was designed, it was believed that the new caliber would need to fulfill several qualities: it would have to remain supersonic out to twelve hundred yards at the absolute minimum, it would need to be inexpensive to produce and sell, not inflict excessive wear and tear on the barrel that would shoot it, and be easy to hand load. It’s largely because of these qualities that the 6.5 Creedmoor has seen a big resurgent in recent years.
Today there are a myriad of different rifles, semi-automatic and bolt action alike, that are chambered for the 6.5 Creedmoor. It can be pushed to larger velocities than the .308 Winchester can; while his does increase recoil, it also improves ballistics and aerodynamics at long ranges as well. In fact, if loaded properly the 6.5 Creedmoor can reach the trajectories and muzzle velocities of the powerful .300 Winchester Magnum round, while still keeping recoil lower and similar to a .308 Winchester.
All in all, if you are looking to maximize performance out of your current AR-10 in .308 Winchester, upgrading it to a 6.5 Creedmoor will be the way to do it.
Why Upgrade Your 6.5 Creedmoor Upper?
The upper receiver of any AR-style rifle is going to have a greater impact on the shooting performance and functionality of the rifle than the lower receiver will. Nonetheless a good 6.5 CM lower receiver is certainly worth an investment.
Maybe you already own an upper receiver for your 6.5 Creedmoor and are considering upgrading it with one of the upper receivers that we will talk about later, but aren’t yet convinced that it’s the right move to do.
Here are some of the top reasons to upgrading your 6.5 Creedmoor Upper:
If you want to maximize the accuracy out of your 6.5 AR, you should invest in an upper receiver that will enable you to get the accuracy that you want. While the 6.5 Creedmoor round is already designed to be a highly accurate round as we were discussing earlier, it’s only going to be as accurate as the upper receiver you have will allow it to.
Reliability, smoothness of operation, and proper functioning are all also directly caused by the quality of the upper receiver. Keep in mind that the upper receiver includes the barrel, handguards, sights, charging handle, and the bolt carrier group (commonly called the BCG).
Buying a complete upper receiver with each of these quality parts will ensure proper functioning; if your current upper is having issues, it could be because of parts that just don’t function well together. Purchasing an assembled and complete upper receiver from a reputable company should help to solve this problem.
Last but not least, if you want to improve the value of your 6.5 AR-10 overall, swapping out the upper receiver to a higher end model will easily be the easiest way to do it. Swapping out your existing upper to a higher end one can easily increase the value of your AR-10 by several hundred dollars.
You know what you really can’t have too many of? Magazines! So check out our guide on 6.5 Creedmoor magazines.
What Are The Components of an AR-10 6.5 Creedmoor Upper Receiver?
In order to understand what to look for in a 6.5 Creedmoor Upper Receiver, you should first know about the components that go into that upper receiver in the first place.
Each AR-10 upper receiver consists of the following components:
The barrel is going to have the biggest impact on the accuracy of your rifle. For the 6.5 Creedmoor round, a barrel length of at least sixteen inches will be useful in order to get good performance out of the rifle; a longer twenty inch barrel will have even superior accuracy and muzzle velocity, although at the expense of sacrificing maneuverability in tight corners.
Sixteen inch barrels are referred to as carbine length, eighteen inches are mid-length, and twenty inches are rifle length. Check out our buying guide if you want to learn more on 6.5 Creedmoor barrels.
Gas Block and Tube
The gas block and gas tube comprise the gas system of your AR-10. The gas tube is located in the gas block; it’s designed so that when gas travels from behind the bullet as it exits the barrel after being shot, it will travel through the gas port and into the gas key of the bolt carrier group, which will enable the rifle to cycle by ejecting the spent shell casing and loading a new round.
For the AR-10, there are gas systems called carbine length, mid-length, and rifle length. Sometimes (but not always), the gas system length will correlate with the rifle length (meaning that a 20 inch rifle length barrel will usually have a rifle length gas system as well).
Bolt Carrier Group (BCG)
The bolt carrier group, or BCG for short, controls the ejection and feeding of ammunition in the AR-10, consisting of the firing pin, extractor, ejector, and the bolt. We also have a guide on the best bolt carrier groups for the 6.5 Creedmoor.
The handguard and raising fit over the barrel; they protect your hands from the heat generated from the barrel of the rifle as it is being shot. The rails also enable the attachment of accessories such as the sights, optics, grips, and lights.
Ejection Port Cover and Forward Assist
The forward assist enables you to force the bolt into place in the event that you are unable to close it on your own (such as if dirt or debris gets in the way). The ejection port cover covers the BCG from the elements when the rifle is not in use.
The ejection port cover and forward assist are together not considered to be truly necessary components of the AR platform as a whole, while still being nice features to have. They are usually only included on upper receivers that are sold at a higher cost.
The charging handle is to the AR rifle as the slide is to a semi-automatic pistol, enabling you to load a round into the chamber.
Muzzle Brake/Flash Hider
The muzzle brake or flash higher is connected to the end of the barrel, and are designed to limit muzzle flash and reduce recoil.
Buyer’s Guide To Finding The Best 6.5 Creedmoor Uppers
These are the most important factors to consider when looking for a new upper receiver for your AR-10 in 6.5 Creedmoor:
Steel or Aluminum Steel Construction
The most important quality to look for, by far, are high quality materials. Stainless steel and aircraft grade 7075 T6 aluminum steel are among the most popular materials used for upper receivers, and with good reason: both are very durable and can easily hold up under extended shooting sessions of the 6.5 Creedmoor round.
Hard Coat Anodized Finish
A hard coat anodized finish will ensure that your steel or aluminum upper receiver is even more durable and rust and corrosion resistant.
Ease of Installation
You will want your upper receiver to be fully assembled and easy to install onto an existing .308 lower; otherwise you will most likely need to seek out the services of a gun smith in order to do it for you.
The 3 Best 6.5 Creedmoor Uppers For 2020
Now that we have covered the merits of the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge and what to look for in an upper receiver for your 6.5, here are the top three best 6.5 Creedmoor upper receivers that you can buy today:
Aero Precision M5e1 Assembled Upper Receiver
The first 6.5 Creedmoor that we will take a look at is the Aero Precision M5e1 Upper Receiver, which has been made specifically for the 6.5 Creedmoor round. Even so, the M5e1 is still fully compatible with a variety of .308 AR-10 lowers, including the DPMS LR-308 lower receiver.
Available in different barrel length options of eighteen, twenty, and twenty two inches, the M5e1 is built out of 7075 T6 aluminum for inherent durability, with a hard coat anodized finish for solid rust and corrosion resistance. It also comes with a forward assist and ejection port cover installed as well.
However, take note as well that the M5e1 is meant to be the foundation for your upper receiver, and is not a complete upper receiver as it is missing a bolt carrier group and charger, so you will need to purchase and install those components separately (and this will add onto your overall cost).
Aero Precision consistently makes high quality AR-15 and AR-10 components and the M5e1 is no exception. This is a solid choice for an upper receiver that is only missing the BCG and charger, but fortunately, Aero Precision makes solid options for those pieces that you can buy too.
- Will fit almost any 6.5 Creedmoor AR
- Performs very well with bullets under 140 grains
- 1:8 barrel twist rate is ideal for the 6.5 Creedmoor round
- Very lightweight
- Comes in many different barrel length options
- Forward assist and ejection port cover are installed
- Hard coat anodized finish
- 7075 T6 aluminum construction
- Does not come with bolt carrier group or charger, so will need to be purchased separately
Palmetto State Armory Gen 3 PA65 Upper Receiver
The Palmetto Sate Armory (PSA) Generation 3 PA65 Upper Receiver is built to be a lower cost assembled upper receiver for the 6.5 Creedmoor that is also very high quality.
Built out of 7075 TG aluminum with a dimpled 416R stainless steel barrel, the PA65 also comes with a 1:8 barrel twist rate (which is perfect for the 6.5 Creedmoor round), anti-slip handguards, and a five position adjustable gas block. These are the kinds of features that you would expect to find only on a higher end model.
Currently, PSA only makes a twenty inch barreled version of this upper receiver. While a twenty inch barrel is great to maximize the potential of the 6.5 Creedmoor round, it also makes the rifle less maneuverable in tight conditions (such as for home defense or for hunting in the thick brush). It’s up to you to weigh the pros versus the cons for yourself. Furthermore, there is no chrome lining on the inside of this barrel, but then again this is meant to be a lower cost model.
For the money, the PSA PA65 handguard is a quality budget upper receiver for your 6.5 Creedmoor AR-10. The barrel may not be chrome lined, but it’s still built out of stainless steel and the adjustable gas block and anti-slip handguards are also higher end features that you would expect on an upper receiver offered at a higher price point.
- Anti-slip handguards
- Black nitride finish over the gas tube
- 7075 T6 aluminum construction for the upper receiver frame
- 416R stainless steel construction for the barrel
- Black anodized coated
- 1:8 barrel twist rate
- Five position adjustable gas block
- Only twenty inch barrel option is available
- No chrome lining on the barrel
Primary Weapons Systems MK-218 MOD-1 M Upper Receiver
Completely redesigned for 2019, the Primary Weapons Systems MK-218 Mod 1 M Upper Receiver is very expensive, but there’s also good reason for that. This is a premium upper receiver that is very lightweight, durable, and smooth in its operation.
Specific features that make the MK-218 well worth the high cost include the free floating MOK handguard, a PWS long stroke piston system, and a three position adjustable gas system. These features mean that the accuracy potential of the 6.5 Creedmoor will be maximized.
The basic design of the MK-218 is also very sleek and can help make your 6.5 Creedmoor AR-10 very aesthetically pleasing.
The MK-218 MOD-1 M Upper Receiver from Primary Weapons System may come at a price, but you’re also getting an incredibly high quality product for that price as well. If you’re looking for a lightweight and yet durable 6.5 Creedmoor upper receiver with a very smooth operation, it’s simply going to be hard for you to beat the MK-218.
- Fully adjustable gas system
- PWS long stroke piston system
- Free floating MLOK handguard
- Very smooth operation
- Comes with MRC30 Compensator
- Very expensive even for a complete upper receiver
If there’s anything that you take away from this article, it’s that it doesn’t need to be a challenge for you to find a quality 6.5 Creedmoor upper receiver for your AR-10.
We’ve already done all of the work for you and all you need to do is either choose one of the receivers that we have gone over or otherwise find another upper receiver with the same qualities and features that we discussed previously. Hopefully you were able to find what you were looking for.
Featured image by RobEvans123