Review: Winchester XPR Long Range SR
Long-range shooting has become a popular pastime for a wide range of gun owners. It’s enjoyed by everyone from hunters to competition shooters to people with access to 1,000-yard ranges (and beyond). If you’re new to the world of long-range you might be wondering where to begin when selecting a firearm. If you’re a seasoned shooter you might be looking for a new rifle for variety or to sharpen your skills. Meet the Winchester XPR Renegade Long Range SR in 6.5 Creedmoor, a rifle well worth considering to start or expand your long-range collection.
Before getting into the specifications of the rifle itself let’s take a brief look at the 6.5 Creedmoor. The cartridge was introduced by Hornady in 2007 at the behest of Dennis Demille of Creedmoor Sports. Demille asked Hornady’s chief ballistician, David Emary, for help creating a superior long-range rifle round. Emary requested Demille give him a list of what he wanted from the cartridge, resulting in a laundry list of details such as needing higher ballistic coefficients, flatter trajectory, and something that produced less wear on barrels.
Characteristics of the 6.5 Creedmoor include that it is indeed a flatter shooter than cartridges like the 308 Winchester. It utilizes a smaller amount of powder, meaning guns chambered in it do have a longer barrel life. It’s loaded with .264-inch bullets in lighter weights for versatility and an overall stellar performance. Those longer bullets stabilize well in 1-in-8 twist rate rifling which matters because it means a higher ballistic coefficient.
This is also a cartridge made for short-action rifles, meaning it can cycle more quickly than long-action rifles and said rifles can be built a little lighter-weight and with greater maneuverability. It’s also good for long-range on paper or steel as well as for hunting various game. But perhaps best of all is the fact it’s a factory load that delivers fantastic performance out of the box without requiring handloading (although handloading can certainly hone those cartridges with laser-like precision).
Is this cartridge the end-all, be-all of the long range world?
No, it is not. A lot of gun owners jumped on the 6.5 Creedmoor bandwagon and continue to hold on and while there is nothing wrong with that there are a lot of other capable cartridges available. What the 6.5 Creedmoor does is fulfill a specific niche while offering shooters from different parts of the gun world off-the-shelf precision. Whether or not you worship at the altar of the 6.5 Creedmoor is entirely up to you, just try to be realistic about what it can and cannot do.
Winchester XPR Rifle Specifications
The Winchester XPR Long Range SR is a short action, bolt-action rifle. This review rifle is chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor but Winchester also offers it in 243 Winchester, 7mm-08 Remington, 6.5 PRC, and 6.8 Western, among others. It has an overall length of 42 inches and an empty weight of 8 pounds, 8 ounces. The steel, button-rifled, free-floated barrel is 22 inches long and has a 1-in-8 twist rate. It has a Sporter contour with a matte black Perma-Cote finish and 5/8-24 threaded muzzle (it ships with a thread protector, not a brake).
Winchester used a quality stock on this rifle both from an aesthetic and ergonomic perspective. It’s a composite, textured Grayboe Renegade long-range stock that’s durable and designed for comfort and performance.
An upright-profile pistol grip and undercut buttstock deliver a well-balanced platform that’s excellent for bench shooting and also firing offhand or from a rest while hunting. The drop at the comb is 0.75-inches drop at the heel is also 0.75 inches. Length of pull is 13.25 inches. There are two 0.25-inch length-of-pull spacers installed on the stock with a third spacer included in case you need it.
An MOA trigger system comes standard in these guns and performs as promised without take-up, creep, or overtravel. Yes, your trigger matters in a long-range rifle. Even seemingly minute differences make a difference when you’re making 1000-yard shots.
An MOA trigger system comes standard in the Winchester XPR Renegade and performs as promised without take-up, creep, or overtravel. Yes, your trigger matters in a long-range rifle. Even seemingly minute differences make a difference when you’re making 1000-yard shots.
The receiver of the Winchester XPR Renegade Long Range SR is machined from steel bar stock and through-hardened, a rapid quenching process that increases durability and strength. A two-position thumb safety and cocking indicator are used for tactile and visual reassurances the rifle is on safe. Other features include an enlarged bolt knob for easier manipulations, straight fluting on the bolt for weight reduction, and a detachable, single-stack box magazine.
Put simply, this is an awesome rifle (yes, gun writers can say “awesome”). It fit me well and performed beautifully right out of the box. For the purposes of this review, a trio of ammunition was used: Federal Premium 6.5 Creedmoor 130 grain Berger OTM, Hornady Precision Hunter 6.5 Creedmoor 143 grain ELD-X, and Winchester Deer Season 6.5 Creedmoor 125 grain XP Polymer Tipped.
Shooting from the bench at a distance of 100 yards the average five-shot group measured 1.3-inches. All three ammo loads were capable of producing sub-MOA groups, though. It’s common practice to test long-range rifles with three-shot groups rather than five so that was done as well. The average three-shot group using the aforementioned ammunition measured 1.0 inches with the best three-shot group coming from Hornady Precision Hunter 6.5 Creedmoor 103 grain ELD-X at .67-inches.
This is an accurate, precise rifle and certainly one that can be referred to as a sub-MOA gun.
Of course, you can run this rifle at 1000 yards on steel with no problem as well. Long-range precision takes some practice and an understanding of the drift and drop of the ammunition being used but it’s likely easier than you might think. Although your own abilities matter a good-quality scope is extremely important to getting precise results as well. Check out the Riton X7 Conquer 3-24×56. Riton’s glass has come a long way recently and their entire optics line is worth considering.
Winchester XPR Renegade Long Range SR Specs
Action Length: Short
Caliber: 6.5 Creedmoor
Barrel Length: 22 inches
Overall Length: 42 inches
Length of Pull: 13.25 inches
Drop at Comb: 0.75 inches
Drop at Heel: 0.75 inches
Weight: 8 pounds, 8 ounces, empty
Magazine Capacity: 3 rounds
Twist Rate: 1-in-8
Barrel Finish: Perma-Cole
Chamber Finish: Polished
Barrel Material: Steel
Barrel Contour: Sporter
Stock Material: Composite
Recoil Pad: Inflex 1, Small
Sling Swivel Studs: Matte Blued
Receiver Material: Steel
Trigger Finish: Matte Black
Bolt Slide Finish: Nickel
Magazine Type: Detachable
Trigger Material: Steel
Trigger Guard Material: Composite
Trigger Guard Engraving: None
Floor Plate Material: Composite
Drilled and Tapped: Yes
Kat Ainsworth Stevens is a long-time outdoor writer, official OGC (Original Gun Cognoscenti), and author of Handgun Hunting: a Comprehensive Guide to Choosing and Using the Right Firearms for Big and Small Game. Der Teufel Katze has written for a number of industry publications (print and online) and edited some of the others, so chances are you’ve seen or read her work before, somewhere. A woman of eclectic background and habits, Kat has been carrying concealed for over two decades, used to be a farrier, and worked for a long time in emergency veterinary medicine. She prefers big bores, enjoys K9 Search & Rescue, and has a Master’s Degree in Pitiless Snarkastic Delivery.