Passing Judgement On The Creedmoor

By Darrell Holland In the shooting community the 6.5 Creedmoor has indeed taken the country by storm. It’s hard to find a magazine on the news...
By ADMIN · Jan 8, 2019 · Updated Jan 9, 2019 · ·
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  1. ADMIN
    Passing Judgement on the Creedmoor
    By Darrell Holland

    Is it media hype that is responsible for the all the excitement, much like the hullabaloo that was created over the WSM series of cartridges, or is the Creedmoor the near perfect cartridge for everything short of T-Rex? Inquiring minds would like to know?

    As a custom gunsmith I can chamber for over 130 different cartridges, anything from custom wildcats to testosterone based magnums burning a hundred grains of powder or more. I’ve been fortunate to hunt around the world and successfully shoot hundreds of animals in all shapes and sizes. In over 40 years of big game hunting I’ve had four magnum rifles; one a custom 7x300 Winchester Magnum, a 338 Bull Buster (an Improved 338 Winchester Magnum), a 30-338 Winchester and a 300 H&H Magnum. Recoil, ammunition cost and fire-forming were all issues in one degree or another.

    I then stepped on the path of “Less is More” and shot 7-08s, 7-08 Improved, 308s, 280s 280 AIs, 6mm-06s and 6mm XCs to name a few. Handloads were the norm in those days as factory ammo back then did not offer much in the line of bonded bullets or any high BC rounds for paper and steel. Brass, bullets, powder and assorted dies were require to feed this variety of chamberings and more time was spent on the loading bench than shooting. Hmmm, I wanted more time in the field and less time prepping, annealing, sorting and loading ammo. Was there a better easier solution?

    Enter the Creedmoor. Until then I never really considered a 6.5, I was a 6mm, 7mm and 30 cal guy to the core. The 6.5s were a European distraction and the bolt face for 6.5x55 was an odd-ball to say the least. A dozen articles later I needed to give the Creedmoor a try. I order my first reamer from Ken Humbert at JGS and chambered a Krieger bbl. for a 700 action I had hanging around. In a few hours the love affair had begun. The early factory rounds were 140 A-Maxs and I used them to ring steel easily at 600-800 yds and cull South Texas whitetails to 500 yards. Wow, all with factory ammo that costs a tad over $20.00.

    IMG_0217-400.jpg
    My NEW Creedmoor rifle: NEW Holland PRS EXTREME HUNTER vertical grip thumbhole stock, Proof carbon fiber barrel, LEUPOLD VX-6 3-18x50 scope with Advanced Reticle Technology. Jewell trigger, detachable mag system, Holland Signature Series Action. The vertical grip design is extremely comfortable and places the thumb and index finger in the perfect alignment for trigger compression.

    I'll christen this rifle on Oregon elk and Montana deer this year! Nolser 140 gr. Accu-bonds and 43.0 gr. H-4350 in LAPUA sm. primer pocket brass should do the trick.


    Mild recoil, good accuracy, decent barrel life, what more could one ask for? Being love struck, I needed more. I now have 5 Creedmoors in a variety of barrel lengths and contours, each has a purpose and I seldom shoot anything else.

    I’ve hunted deer, elk, and all the African Plains Game many times over and have killed well over 200 animals from 80 to 875 yards. I’ve come to know its limitations and the best bullets for each application from hunting to paper and steel .

    When it comes to hunting the 140 Nosler Accu-bond is the BEST choice, it has a decent BC and performs well in all game animals from 60 lb. springbuck to 1000 lb. elk and eland. Zebras, wildebeest, kudu and gemsbuck are no match for a well placed bullet to 500 yds. Ringing steel it’s really hard to beat the factory 140 gr. ELD MATCH rounds, the BC is roughly .61 ( G-1 drag function) and the MV averages 2735-2780 fps depending on ones barrel length.

    Powders and handloads are easy enough to master, just grab a jug of H-4350, Fed 205Ms and LAPUA small rifle primer brass. While Hornady brass is of good quality, the LAPUA brass is just off the scale and SDs are often single digit with .0015 neck tension. In my rifle I load 42.5 grains of H-4350 for a MV of 2818 fps. Sierra 142 SMKs are another good choice for paper and steel as this is a very user friendly bullet in all of my rifles. Berger is also a fine bullet with the 130 and 140 gr. weights being the preferred choice. On thin skinned deer-sized animals the Berger is marginal as a game bullet with erratic penetration at times. It does kill, but seldom exits on large deer size critters (200 plus lbs).

    I often hear chatter from the extreme range crowd that the Creedmoor isn’t a 1000 yard game round. True enough, but should we really be shooting at game animals that far away with any cartridge? Rugged country, the “one step oops factor”, unseen wind, a less than perfect trigger break and a wounded animal is on the move! When it comes to tracking wounded animals, most hunters “tracking skills” suck, to be rather blunt about it. How certain can you find the exact where he animal stood from 1000 yards, you crossed the creek climbed 600 feet uphill to find that there are dozens of look-a-like stumps on the hillside where you thought the animal stood. Deer and elk tracks are everywhere, no blood, no hair, no indented tracks to indicate the animal jumped at impact. Now what? Impact velocity, expansion of the bullet, will it exit the animal are all important considerations that get overlooked in our quest to shoot farther than the next guy. How many hunters even consider the above before taking a shot?

    In the grand scheme of things when we set aside one’s EGO (my cartridge burns 100 grs. of powder v/s your 42.0) we can see the real benefit of the Creedmoor. One can enjoy mild recoil, cost effective shooting ( 2.5:1 shots over the 100 grain barrel burners) and deadly to 600 yds. on almost anything we want to put a fork to or mount on the wall.

    In closing, I’m reminded of a student who drew a coveted Montana sheep tag. He came out for a two day refresher course to get ready for the hunt. At the end of day two he was 99% on targets to 500 yards in reasonable winds. He felt confident as he headed home and I wished him luck. Several days later I received his text; SUCCESS! On day one he could have killed him at 500 yards, but the terrain was such that he could stalk closer and did so, making an instant kill at less than 200 yards. THAT’S HUNTING!

    Earn your stalking MERIT BADGE before you start blazing away at animals beyond your guaranteed ability.

    Darrell Holland:
    • Custom riflesmith
    • Holland's Shooter Supply
    • First Gunsite Gunsmith
    • Defensive and L/R rifle shooting instructor 30 plus years
    • Author, patent holder
    • Designer of Advanced Reticle Technology in Leupold and Schmidt& Bender rifles scopes
    • Manufactures the LIGHTNING STRIKE FIRE STARTER ( World's BEST fire starter)
    • Did consulting work for Savage Arms

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Comments

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  1. Highdesertmike
    Nice forthright opinion. Getting tired of all the hoopla about shooting Elk at 1000+ yards and seeing them act like they just got hit with the phasers from the Starship Enterprise. I'll be trying my new one out this year.
  2. Douglas Jones
    I like my creed i just wish it had about 50grs instead of 42 .

    For target shooting i like it but for hunting i grab my other calibers .257 wby to 338win
  3. shovelhead
    Great article! Thank you for proven based perspective... be it at a build/ load, or field performance level. Well done!
  4. RoyB
    Couldn't agree more! I love developing loads to make my rifles shoot as accurate as possible. The 6.5CM ain't that cartridge. I have four 6.5CM rifles, two Savage (sporter and varmint), A Thompson Compass and a Rem 700 Varmint....ALL shoot under an inch at 100yds for 5 shots.
    The Savage Sporter was bought on line, with a scope during a Promotional sale. After rebate it cost me $279....My plan was to shoot it, and then mess with it to see how accurate I could make a simple, inexpensive, hunting rifle. IMR4350 / Sierra 140g in Lapua small primer brass and off to the range I go....First three shots from a brand new, unfired barrel went into literally one hole...I thought the rifle was missing the paper! I had to shoot a second group to be sure. That group was 3/8"! No way I was going to improve upon this rifle.....The Thompson Compass was also a promotional deal. $299....and the Savage Varmint was a Cabelas special.....$399.....The Remington 700 started out as another Cabelas deal for $349.....I put it in a fancy MagPull stock and added an Athlon first focal plane scope and it is an amazing 500yd gun (The longest range I have available to me).......I've been a 6PPC and 6BR benchrest shooter for over 30 years. But I've never seen such and easy to afford, easy to load, easy on recoil, amazingly accurate, medium to larger game and long distance target cartridge like the 6.CM.......
  5. Flatbow
    Thanks for the great article. I see you like the Lapua sm primer brass as do I. However, I have heard of some having issues with the sm primers causing miss or hang fires especially in cold weather. I have not had this problem myself but have seen where the powder and primer companys recommend large primer brass. Have you had any of these issues?
    wondering if I should think about changing brass
  6. mogfan
    Excellent article - I'm a fan of both the Creedmoor and the 6.5 x 284. I've had great success with the Hornady 129 Interbond on antelope, deer and elk.
  7. coyotemaster
    I agree 100% on the get closer if you can theme. The more you shoot long the more you realize things can and do to South on occasion.
      PCarr and Idaho Lefty like this.
  8. Allen Kitts
    Loved the article! Can you tell me why you settled on the Accubonds vs the Berger VLD's. Did they shoot better for you? I have a 6.5 x 284 and it shoots all of the loads I have tried to less than 1moa but the load the factory recommended is very accurate but quite slow. I have not tried the Accubonds due to complaints from friends about them blowing up on game. It appears you have tried them a considerable amount and find them to be sufficient for hunting so any info you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
    1. Idaho Lefty
      Not Darrell but,..
      The ABLR's are designed to expand, down to 1,300 FPS, and YES lots of complaints, on those ! The Regular AB's expand down to 1,800 FPS, in 140 gr. .277 size. I shot an Elk at 65 yards with, my .270 WSM load, going 3,150 FPS and the bullet did NOT, "blow up"! Got a 1 1/2 inch exit hole thru, top of, far shoulder blade. Minimal "blood shot" meat,.. lost about, 1 to 2 pounds Max. the Elk jumped 2X,.. DEAD! Very accurate bullet,.. Love em.
  9. Wild_Bill
    I find it interesting that the 260 Rem was not mentioned. The 260 does what the CM does at lower pressure or can be run slightly harder and also is available in factory form.

    The 6.5 has won by marketing and the prs community. Now in prs the 6.5s are all loosing favor to 6mms as they now have electronic target indicators.
    The CM is a good round however it is nothing special the 260 has done it for years. Here we have limits on calibers for large deer and .270 min cal 130gr min projectile so even a 264 win mag isnt legal for the larger deer. However my son has a 7mm08 and that works just fine for moderate ranges.
    1. Dog Rocket
      And the 260 didn't do anything the 6.5x55 couldn't have done.

      The issue was never capability. It was industry support. Marketing and support go hand in hand. Who killed the 260? Remington did. They started choking the life out of it the day it was born.
    2. Pmacc60
      Remington has done more damage to thier products . than anything else. For most of us the 260 Rem or the 6.5 X 55 serve just as well with the exception of the availability of of rifles now in the chambering of 6.5 creedmoor
    3. ndking1126
      The precision shooting/PRS community originally jumped on the 260 Rem bandwagon. I'm not sure why they switched over to the 6.5C, because they don't seem like the crowd that buys something because it's what every wants. But regardless, 260 Rem should be the popular cartridge and Remington owns 100% of the blame for the 6.5C winning. Oh well, I can reload, so my 260 stays happy!
  10. FEENIX
    Nicely done! Enjoyed it, very relatable.
      Holycity73 and Idaho Lefty like this.