Rise of the 6.5 Creedmoor Rifle Round
As a rifle manufacturer, we talk to a lot of shooters. We know a lot of shooters. Hell, we are shooters. We spend ample time on the range and in the woods, always testing and pushing the limits of each rifle we build and the round it’s chambered to shoot. Some days it’s a pleasant run through a batch of .243s or even the beloved .308. Other outings we often find ourselves raining a barrage of .300 Remington Ultra Mags downrange despite the protests of sore shoulders. It’s the occupational hazard of a job we take great pride in.
Then about nine years ago this new rifle round called the 6.5 Creedmoor entered our lives and to our great satisfaction, is here to stay. Creedmoor was a competition rifle range on Long Island back in the late 1800s. It closed down in 1891 and has since become the site of the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center. Perhaps too many bad days at the range? Without today’s technology, accuracy surely wasn’t then what it is now.
The 6.5 Creedmoor was developed by Hornady in 2007 as a high-power cartridge capable of making any shot the rifle range has to offer. In fact, it is the first production cartridge ever developed from the ground up to be a true match cartridge. Hornady’s intent was to give competitive shooters a factory loaded cartridge that would allow them to compete, and win, in high level tournaments. The rise of the 6.5 Creedmoor was at the same time a huge discount in ammunition for many shooters.
It didn’t take very long for hunters to take notice of the round that has firmly rooted itself in precision accuracy with light recoil. Hornady is now selling a round specifically designed with the hunter in mind. “Ballistically, it’s a bit more powerful than the 6.5 Swede,” said David E. Petzal, Rifles Editor of Field & Stream. “And in its century of existence, the Swede has killed everything, everywhere.” He also goes on to state that the 6.5 Creedmoor will “do nicely for elk and moose” with a 140-grain bullet.
As for barrel length, this will vary depending on your intent. While a longer, say 28 to 30 inches, barrel is generally preferred for target shooting, some hunters are happy heading into the woods with a 22-inch barrel. The latter of which is contrary to popular belief that the 6.5 Creedmoor reaches its greatest muzzle velocity with a barrel no shorter than 26 inches. A recent article by Rifleshooter.com did a fine job debunking these beliefs. Using a Hornady 120-grain A-MAX round, there was only a slight 233-feet-per-second difference between a barrel that was 27 inches and the same one that had been cut down to 16. The results were 2,961 and 2,728 fps, respectively.
The same scenario was tested using Hornady brass and CCI #200 large primers and loaded with 142-grain SMK bullet over 41.8 grains of Hodgdon H4350 powder. Note: According to Rifleshooter.com, this load exceeds the 41.5 grain published maximum listed by Hodgdon in their reloading manual, so it should only be considered safe in the gun being tested by Rifleshooter.com. The results from the test conducted with the heavier round indicate that there was only a 158-feet-per-second overall difference between the 27-inch barrel and the 16. They recorded 2,663 and 2,505 fps, respectively.
Chart courtesy rifleshooter.com
The 6.5 Creedmoor is one of Bergara’s best selling calibers. With the rapid growth and demand for this caliber, we strive to keep putting out one of the most accurate rifles on today’s market chambered in this popular round. With our combined years of expertise in the gun-building business, as well as a tireless desire to continue learning and testing ourselves and the products we turn out, Bergara’s guarantee lives and dies in the accuracy of our rifles.