The 6.5mm Creedmoor is making me eat my hat, and I love it! Over the last few years I have written several articles addressing the excitement surrounding the 6.5mm Creedmoor. In those articles I pragmatically pointed out what considerations I thought might best suit you, specifically about spending your dollars on fixing up, or tuning up, an existing rifle.
A big part of my reluctance (pessimism could be a fair term) had to do with the initial availability of rifle platforms and ammunition. I want to clarify that I love Hornady Ammunition. I appreciate their leadership and efforts in the industry as well as the employees that make Hornady function in the day to day. They have come through for me and my friends in many “tight ammo” situations. But with that said, when a cartridge is only produced by one manufacturer and the rifle by only one other (and maybe a few small “50-100 rifle a year” shops), I have a hard time saying YES! Go spend your hard earned dollars on this new set up! To quote and give proper penance “If you are considering selling your favorite hunting rifle to take advantage of what the 6.5 Creedmoor can offer… I bet if you simply tune up the rifle you have and look at utilizing the new ballistic science; you’ll most likely find that the gun in your hands is the best deer rifle for you”… So I advised folks to wait and spend their dollars on their 30-06 or 270 they already had at home.
Here is where I am happily eating my hat…
First - Ammo: Because Hornady did such a fantastic job in producing “Quality & Quantity” of ammunition, everyone who shot the 6.5 Creedmoor loved it. They told their friends. And when they wanted to buy ammo to shoot, IT WAS AVAILABLE! This created a very strong market demand. And now everyone is falling inline, and not only producing Factory Load ammunition, but Quality Ammunition as well as great Hand-Load data. A quick internet search for “6.5 Creedmoor ammunition” will show you how many big players are producing loads for this cartridge.
Second - Platforms: At first, as expected, one company produced a rifle chambered in the 6.5 Creedmoor. And as expected, there was a rush for the first rifles to come off the line. But amazingly, the demand did not plateau and fall off. The demand remained because people could actually get ammo and the platform (Quality as well as Quantity). Now again, a quick internet search will show you many big players are producing not only high quality hunting rifles, but also tactical Bolt and AR Rifles; Ruger, Savage, Weatherby, Bergara, Browning/Winchester, Howa, Barrett, Tikka, Sako to name just the first few.
Third - Ballistics: The 6.5 Creedmoor Ranges in bullet weight (with good weight increments), from 95 grains up to 147 grains. (There was a time when 160 grain hunting bullets were available; some like me hope to see their return). Below is a sample of some of the fastest-light loads and fastest-heavy loads.
Lightest & Fast = 95 grains .365 B.C. @ 3,200 ft/sec = 2,160 ft-lbs energy.
Light & Fastest = 100 grains .350 B.C. @ 3,272 ft/sec = 2,380 ft-lbs energy.
Heavy & Fast = 143 grains .625 B.C. @ 2,700 ft/sec = 2,315 ft-lbs energy
Heaviest & Fast = 147 grains .697 B.C. @ 2,695 ft/sec = 2,370 ft-lbs energy
Fourth – Accuracy: The 6.5 Creedmoor is proving to be a very reliable cartridge and a very “tunable” platform. This has a lot to do with the high quality standards of the initial ammunition and the demand it placed on competitors as they began producing and marketing their ammunition. But it also has to do with the fact that the rifles produced had to keep up with market demand and the consumer expectation for “out of the box accuracy”. Whatever the situations is or was, it has worked out to become an awesome platform, readily available to everyone, with hi end-user satisfaction in the field.
In fairness to the author (myself), I would like to quote portions of my past article: “The 6.5 Creedmoor is an amazing cartridge. Significant research, engineering, and cutting edge ballistics supported its creation. It is possibly a “posterchild”, for what the new improved ballistic sciences can produce. Many argue the 6.5 Creedmoor is one of the best all-around cartridges a hunter, or a 1,000 yard precision shooter could own (especially in an AR Platform)… But is it the Holy Grail surpassing all others? … If you are looking to buy a new rifle, and if you have the extra cash, I agree, you should consider the 6.5 Creedmoor.”
I encourage you to look at the 6.5 Creedmoor as your next rifle. It will be an excellent choice for anyone, from the avid hunter to the beginner. I am so pleased to see the success of this small 308 sized case 6.5mm cartridge. It has been a long time coming, and it appears to be staying for us all to enjoy and utilize.
Good Hunting, Be Safe!