6.5 Creedmoor for Tactical Competition
New Cartridge Has Impressive Ballistics, Affordable Brass
While the venerable .308 Winchester is still the chambering of choice for most tactical shooters, a growing number of tac competitors are switching to the 6.5 Creedmoor (as well as other 6.5mm chamberings such as the 6.5×47 Lapua and .260 Remington). Among the 6.5mm options, the 6.5 Creedmoor offers the advantage of high quality, relatively affordable factory ammo.
Can the 6.5 Creedmoor win tactical matches with factory ammo? Absolutely. Team Hornady’s Tony Gimmellie used Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor 120gr Match ammo to win the Oregon Sniper Challenge, held May 22-23, at the Douglas Ridge Rifle Club in Eagle Creek, Oregon. Tony said, “Hornady’s 6.5 Creedmoor ammo delivered ½ MOA accuracy from [my] POF gas piston rifle, allowing me to stay well ahead of the competition.”
To learn more about the 6.5 Creedmoor, along with the other popular 6.5mm cartridges used for tac comps, we recommend three articles by Accurateshooter.com contributor Zak Smith:
6.5 Creedmoor vs. the .308 Winchester
In the first article above, Zak explains: “Why 6.5 mm instead of .30 caliber? Put simply, they sling the long, slim, high-BC 6.5 mm bullets at respectable velocity. It duplicates or beats the .300 Win Mag’s trajectory with less recoil than a .308 Win. Compared to the 175 Sierra MK fired from a .308 Win, the 6.5 mm will have 27% less wind drift and about 10 MOA less drop at 1000 yards. Despite a 35-grain deficit in bullet mass, the 6.5 Creedmoor will retain 18% more energy and hit the target 260 fps faster.”
6.5mm Cartridges — Comparative Ballistics Performance by Zak Smith
Put in order of ballistic performance, the 6.5 Creedmoor and the .260 Remington are almost neck-and-neck, pushing the same weight bullets at about the same velocities from almost identical case capacities. The 6.5×47 Lapua in factory form lags by 100 to 200 fps due to less powder capacity; however, it has already gained a reputation for having a strong case that puts up with the high pressures some reloaders push in their custom rifles. The .260 Remington’s main problem for the reloader is lack of high-quality and affordable brass and to date there has only been one factory load produced which was appropriate for serious long-range competition for the non-reloader. The 6.5×47 was designed for intermediate-range competition and very accurate ammunition is available from Lapua; however, these factory loads are at a ballistic disadvantage at long range compared to the .260 Remington and the 6.5 Creedmoor.
There will always be those who bash new cartridges, claiming that they don’t do anything better than their favorite cartridge. By this logic, we’d all be shooting .30-06. Put simply, the 6.5 Creedmoor is what the .260 Remington should have been. It looks like Hornady has the right mind-set to make its new cartridge a success in the competitive and practical market, unlike Remington who basically let the .260 languish in a few hunting rifles. The 6.5 Creedmoor enjoys additional case capacity over the 6.5×47 Lapua, which allows better ballistics at a lower peak chamber pressure.