Every now and then, a new rifle cartridge emerges. While some shooters are quick to jump onboard, many seem to wait it out a few years to see if it will stay in production and be relevant. The 6.5 Creedmoor is one of those rounds that has definitely proven itself to be a success. It is a very accurate long-range cartridge with a fairly high ballistic coefficient.
The 6.5 Creedmoor was a joint venture between Hornady Ammunition and Creedmoor Sports in 2007. Both parties were out to develop a cartridge for long range or extended range shooting beyond 1000 yards. Its parent cartridge is the 30 Thompson Center that was necked down from 7.62 mm to 6.5 mm. It was designed primarily for long range target shooting but is proving itself to be an effective big-game hunting cartridge for animals such as white tailed deer.
6.5mm bullets have a high sectional density and ballistic coefficient and have long been used by competitive rifle shooters because of their accuracy. This round generates the same muzzle velocity and trajectory of a 300 Winchester Magnum but much less recoil due to the use of a lighter bullet weight.
The round took off in 2014 due to its success in Precision Rifle Shooting Competitions. Mostly due to shooters noting that the round was more accurate at longer range than most others of its type.
The 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge is chambered in a number of bolt-action rifles designed for either hunting or target shooting. It is similarly chambered in a number of semiautomatic rifles based on the AR-10, LR-308, or SR-25 pattern as well as in rifles like the FN SCAR.
As a hunting cartridge, 6.5 Creedmoor excels at long range varmint hunting on animals such as coyotes. It is also noted as a very successful round for big game hunting such as pronghorn antelope, mule deer, and white-tailed deer.
There is some debate with regard to using it as a rifle for elk hunting due to the lighter bullet selections. However, some elk hunters have reported success with careful shot placement. It is up to the individual to determine if his or her own skillset is up to the task.
Although most law enforcement snipers take their shots at less than 200 yards, the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge has been making inroads as a police sniper rifle.
The 6.5 Creedmoor has been a popular one for target shooting, particularly at long range competitive events.
Some shooters have claimed that they can shoot less than ½ MOA (Minute of Angle) with 6.5 Creedmoor. The round has been taking off in Precision Rifle Competitions as a winner since its inception in 2007.
US Special Operations Command (SOCOMM) has been conducting extensive testing on 6.5 Creedmoor over the past few years, and Special Forces Units and Navy SEALs have been upgrading their arsenals accordingly. Since the cartridge case is relatively the same length as 308 Winchester or 7.62X51mm NATO, most magazines have proven to be interchangeable and many weapon systems only require a barrel swap.
While sniper and designated marksman rifles may seem the most logical arms to upgrade, heavy machineguns are also being chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor.
6.5mm Creedmoor is considered a medium-power cartridge. It delivers about 1600 foot pounds of energy at 300 yards using 140-grain bullets and a 24-inch barrel. The bullet remains supersonic past 1,200 yards.
The round is short enough to be chambered in a Remington 700 short action or in an AR-10, LR-308 or SR25 sized rifle.
Due to the use of relatively light bullets in the 6.5 Creedmoor, most shooters have described the recoil as milder than a 308 Winchester.
6.5 Creedmoor generates between 2200 and 2500 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle, depending on load selection.
SBR Ammunition offers ammo for the 6.5 Creedmoor in two loadings. Perhaps the more interesting load is the Lehigh Defense Controlled Chaos round. The bullet used in this load is designed to penetrate to a specific depth and to fracture as the internal hydraulic pressure exceeds the hoop strength of the nose design. When the bullet fractures, a massive energy spike is released as the projectile breaks up and radiates outward from the initial trajectory path. This energy spike and resulting temporary cavity sends a shock wave through the animal's circulatory and nervous systems immediately shutting down the functioning of these systems.