Is 6.5 Creedmoor for Real?
Dr. John Woods 05.10.16
Do you ever take notice how sometimes items just seem to slowly creep into the firearms realm? There is little to no fanfare for some of these, and then sometimes even after an announcement the thing never happens after all.
I am still chapped at Browning for never actually producing the .284 Winchester in their excellent A-Bolt rifle. I saw it in the catalog listing for a couple of years, then it was just dropped. As far as I know their bolt rifle was never chambered for it. Then after years of praying and watching for a new round of .358 Winchester in the Ruger M77, it finally happened and I lucked upon getting one ordered. I finally found ammo and have killed two deer with it.
So now all of a sudden it seems to me I am seeing a new(er) chambering showing up in the listings as available in more than one rifle. This cartridge is the 6.5 Creedmoor. The latest rifle to supposedly chamber this unique cartridge is the new Ruger Precision Rifle, a long range bolt action rifle with a customizable buttstock conformation. I am waiting for my local dealer to take delivery now. My name is on the list.
The gun salesman at this shop has his name on the list, too, because he thinks the 6.5 Creedmoor is the cat’s meow when it comes to long range target shooting. Fine for him, but I wonder if the 6.5 Creedmoor can make a precision hunting rifle for deer-sized game? I think it can.
The 6.5 Creedmoor uses the name Creedmoor after the named long range rifle target shooting competitions long held across the country. The origin of these shooting matches comes from the famous 1874 match between Irish and American 6-member shooting teams. The Americans won.
In 2007 the ammunition manufacturing firm named Hornady introduced the factory loaded round as a modified form of the .30 TC. The 30 TC a rimless, bottleneck case is the basis for the 6.5 Creedmoor round. Though specifically created to be used in the long range shooting matches, ironically or not, the 6.5 has also established itself in the hunting fields as well.
Currently Hornady is loading bullets in 120, 129, and 140 grains in five different loads. Using their excellent GMX, A-Max, SST, and InterBond bullets, these loads produce muzzle velocities from 3050-2710 fps with terminal energies of 2479-2283 foot pounds from the lightest to the heaviest bullet types.
These kinds of factory loads producing these kinds of ballistics makes the 6.5 Creedmoor round ideal for game up to the size of white-tailed deer, mule deer, and antelope. Certainly it could be highly recommended for varmint, predator, and nuisance animal hunting as well. For the long range hunting enthusiasts, this cartridge should really shine on coyote hunting out in the flat plains states. In the lighter bullet loads, it should be quite fun on prairie dogs.
Because the 6.5 Creedmoor is only 2.825 inch in overall length, it is fully capable of being chambered in short-action bolt action rifles. It is also suitable for use in the AR-10 type rifles as well. I suspect eventually this will have a great following in the AR rifles.
For you ballistics crazed shooters, keep this in perspective, too. The 6.5 bullet is the .264 inch same as the .264 Winchester Magnum, which was at one time a real barn burner but has basically fallen out of popularity. I’ve seen but a couple used .264s at gun shows over the past ten years.
The 6.5 bullet was well known and fully established for its high sectional density and high ballistic coefficients. In laymen’s terms as my old Navy friend says all the time, “That is as smooth as a torpedo.” This means these bullets fly slick in the air and have correspondingly very flat trajectories. Perfect for long range competition target shooting as well as hunting deer game.
Utility power wise, the 6.5 Creedmoor is often compared to the somewhat popular .260 Remington, which is considered a medium powered cartridge. I highly suspect on paper and especially in the field using the excellent, proven Hornady hunting bullets that the 6.5 beats the .260.
So, once you juggle all the numbers and compare ballistics of the 6.5 Creedmoor to others in its class, I think the Creedmoor is certainly for real. Even out to 300 yards, the 140 grain factory load will slap out 1600 foot pounds of killing energy. Back the range off to 200 yards and you gain another 200 foot pounds of whammo. That will take down a whitetail at 200 yards with mild recoil and true sportability.
I am really counting on Ruger to deliver their new Precision Rifle to the general population soon. Reportedly it will go for about a grand, but maybe more for the initial shipments. For a true, precision shooting rifle in a proven precision shooting round, I am ready to write the check.