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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 · ·
  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.

    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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  1. Idaho Lefty
    This article, should be read by everyone, packing a Rifle, in the Woods,.."HUNTING" !!
    I agree totally with, Darrell. I personally, use a .270 WSM with, a 140 gr AccuBond @ 3,150 FPS for, a little more, "reach" (and power) with, LOW recoil that, I can easily "tolerate" and enjoy, shooting! With, my new Rifle, weighing only 7.5 Pounds, I can HIKE and "Hunt" far and wide ! Great Article!!! Now, I'll have to quit "bashing", the 6.5 Creedmoor / AKA "needmore", as long as Hunters use them within, it's real, practical "LIMIT" of, Range as per this, Article ! It's NOT, a 1,000-1,200 yard, guaranteed, "Elk slayer", steel Targets, YES,..Elk, NO ! Again, great Article !
  2. 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.......
  3. 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.
  4. DCAN
    Just found this article. Thank you Darrell!!! While this web site is "Long Range Hunting", I take that to mean, the longest range ,you personally, are totally proficient at. Respect for the critter should be the first box checked. Ego the box which wasn't included on the list. Next time I retire, one of Darrell's rifles will be my present to me. If you haven't shot one of Darrell's rifles, you still haven't shot the best!
      Snookkatcher, YZ-80 and Unoboats like this.
  5. 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. View previous replies...
    2. Michael O'Connor
      I agree with a 260/6.5 SLR , simply because of neck length and shoulder, being optimum over a Creed in a Tikka action. If you use a true short action the Creed does better with 130 grain bullets with SAAMI length magazine. Cartridge design to me, is better to me than 50 FPS with 140 Gr. Bullets.
      Drumrboy likes this.
    3. redleg1013
      Because factory ammo for 6.5 CM is at a point where one can find it reliably at Walmart, in other stores it can be found diverse and plentiful for 1/2 to 2/3 the cost of the sparsely populated 260 Rem.
    4. whirlwindjml
      Many would have jumped on the .260 but when they went shopping the creedmoor stuf was there and the 260 wasnt. Hornady did a great job marketing. And the 260 (nothing wrong with it) got pushed aside.

      The .264 should have been a staple in the gun cabinets but 7mm mag killed it off. Rumors of it burning barrels also didnt help.
      Snookkatcher likes this.
  6. Idaholandho
    Enjoyed the article as well. I especially appreciate the point about knowing your ballistic limitations, it can't be stressed enough.
  7. fiftybmg
    Creedmoor is a modern day shooting phenomenon, produced by a coming together of industry innovation to produce off-the-shelf rifle packages that a new shooter can take to the range and hit steel as far as the range permits. And go back the next day and do the same thing again.

    Creedmoor is not just a cartridge. Readily available in various combinations from different suppliers with one thing in common - easy shooting, out of the box accuracy with factory ammo.

    There is no other commercial package to compare to, where a new shooter can buy a Creedmoor caliber rifle, zero the scope, pick a box of factory ammo and go hit what they aim at.

    The Creedmoor phenomenon has taken some time to evolve, but the benefits have permeated the industry. See how many good quality tactical scopes are available now, at prices unimaginable 10 years ago. Look at the tactical rifle chassis, available for almost all action types, incorporating all the key points for repeatable accuracy at a cheaper price than a custom wooden stock. The variety of quality ammo and bullets for long range target shooting is huge.

    Most importantly, word gets around and new shooters are flocking to join the shooting ranks because of this.

    And they don't even have to reload to get good results, there is a lot of choice with quality factory ammo that is more consistent than any hand-loads could be.
      jasonco and whirlwindjml like this.
    1. jasonco
      This response right here, is why so many hate, Creedmoor, anything. Out of the box, accurate, factory rifles & ammunition and folks get all bent out of shape, that the high 4 figure rifle, that was commissioned, doesn't shoot any better than the one at the local Sporting Goods. Now combine a Creedmoor, with some tailored reloads and then you have an amazingly accurate, cost effective rifle. Too many rifles snobs, that can't get out of their own way.
      Snookkatcher likes this.
    Nicely done! Enjoyed it, very relatable.
      Holycity73 and Idaho Lefty like this.
  9. bgouin
    Like many, I also enjoy this article. I have a 6.5x55 on a Winchester M-70 which I load to European pressure specs. This is ballistically equivalent to the 6.5 Creed. I also have a 6.5 Creed which I use exclusively for the range. It is heavy and since I am getting older, so I'll take light over newer.
      Fireman Barry and Idaho Lefty like this.
  10. jasonco
    Brilliant! Excellent! Well said! Know your limits! Thank you!
      Fireman Barry and Idaho Lefty like this.