6.5 Creedmoor Against the World

Few things can be more divisive than deeply-held differences of opinion, particularly when these differences are constantly manifest and even poked at like a festering wound. You might think that I’m about to discuss Evangelicals and Satanists, but instead, as you may gathered from the title that today’s subject is the famous six-point-five Creedmoor. But how can something so simple as a slightly different and new cartridge drive such gnashing and bitterness between marksmen? Is the Creedmoor so despicable?

Big H
When Hornady released the Creedmoor over a decade ago, it showed great promise with claims of flat trajectory, superior wind deflection, low recoil and many other positive attributes. All this as compared to the extremely common and widely used 308 Winchester. I wont spend much time comparing the Creedmoor or evaluating its virtues other than how it relates to our topic. But before we move on I will say that the mighty machine of the Hornady marketing department is likely responsible for a great deal of the Creedmoor’s popularity and adoption.

The Crux of the Argument
I think I might be able to pin down the finer points of this argument after spending a great deal of time immersed in it. On any given day, in any random forum or facebook group, there are people fiercely defending the virtue of the little Creedmoor. And pounding out their often angry or insulting responses is the opposing group in this discussion. The Creedmoor seems to be both the object of adoration and despise, at the beginning I myself felt some similar distaste for the venerable red-tipped cartridge. The reason myself and others were likely soured against it, was due to the constant and unrelenting talk about it. You couldn’t open a magazine without seeing an ad or article about it, you couldn’t sit down on a bench without some guy offering you information about how great his Creedmoor shoots. It often felt like that meme about the guy who chooses the urinal next to you just to chat.
Obviously however, no amount of marketing dollars from Hornady could prop up a product that doesn’t at minimum, closely match its desired performance. The shooting public can quickly sift through bullshit when it stinks, unless you’re one of those who bought one of those cat-skins at the Boy Scout trading post believing it was a “rabbit pelt”.
The Creedmoor’s excellent performance was hard to deny, and as it continued to flourish, its qualities became more and more desirable. Even creating much of the movement that drove competitors to the faster and flatter little cartridges used in precision rifle matches today. And undoubtedly its popularity was bound to spill over into the hunting market, where it continued to spread like wildfire. And typically that is where so much of the controversy seems to be seen.

Pure Fuddery
The hunting community is a traditional one for the most part. Hunters are very methodical and some reach near superstition when it comes to their practices. So it should come as no surprise that something new would take some serious consideration to be esteemed good enough to replace or stand next to gran-dad’s ol’ 06 Springfield hunting rifle.
Perhaps the defining feature of “a Fudd” is the inability to recognize technological advances, and a willing indifference to learn why such advances were made. Way back in the eighteenth century there was probably a similar rejection when some ol’ boy showed up with smokeless powder, and the eyebrow-less crowd laughed at him.
Math and science are empirical (unless it doesn’t suit your leftist ideology), and even if you show him on paper and again on the range, a true Fudd will dismiss it and say; well my [enter traditional cartridge] has more ass behind it and hits harder. Sometimes they aren’t wrong, but they often are. The possibility that a smaller bullet could somehow carry the same or more energy downrange seems like crazy talk until you understand the math.

Apples to Apples
The tediousness of ballistic comparisons can get extremely long-winded and boring, so I’ll spare you that. But these arguments often stem from exaggerated generalizations.
Somebody made a good shot once upon a time with a Creedmoor so now everybody that was there believes it to be the right hand of God. And at the exact same time on the other side of the mountain, somebody yanked the trigger sending a 143 into the guts of a distant animal that went unrecovered. And everybody there swore off the Creedmoor forever because Yankee McTriggerton was their hero.
There is surely no shortage of shooters who love their Creedmoor so much, that they can hit anything; they once got a first round hit at a mile on a ten inch steel plate in a 17 mile crosswind. And everybody clapped…
But the anti-Creedmoor crowd seems just as silly at times, happily swilling memes about manbuns and making general insults to the Creedmoor and their owners skinny jeans. Some of whom even pretend their 6.5X55 Swede is somehow superior to the Creedmoor despite being nearly ballistic twins.
A proper comparison is only fair, the Creed is neither the hand of God nor is it a weakling. It’s not hard to do a proper comparison if you’re unafraid of the results, depending on bullets and velocity your Creedmoor might be ballisticly superior to O’Connors .270 or it might not. All that matters is you understand and become proficient with whatever you choose to shoot.

These two elk each fell to a single 6.5 bullet at 520 Yards

You cant kill an Elk…
“You’d be better off with a 300WM” comes the completely anticipated answer when someone mentions hunting with a 6.5 Creedmoor. Maybe you would be, maybe not. Depends on if you are a better shot with the 6.5 or with the 300.
People have been killing moose in their thousands for over a hundred years in Scandinavia using the 6.5X55 Swedish Mauser cartridge, which as I mentioned already is nearly a ballistic twin to the Creedmoor. All those moose steaks stand in direct opposition to the idea that 6.5’s are inadequate for killing large members of the deer family. And yet here in North America there seems to be a disconnect, the majority of the general hunting public seem to be convinced that larger magnums and thirty-caliber cartridges are the only ideal ones for deer and larger animals.
I could speculate but I believe it may have been years of advertising efforts trying to sell bigger and better magnums (28 Nosler anyone?) that continues today, trying to convince hunters they were under-gunned without the latest super-cartridge.

Another 6.5 victim taken at 500 yards

It may come as a surprise to some, but you can easily and confidently take down a Rocky Mountain Elk with a 6.5 Creedmoor. I know because I have done it over and over for several years, as a matter of fact the last five or six elk we’ve dropped were shot with a 6.5 or an even smaller cartridge like the 25 Creedmoor. What’s more, many of these elk were four and five-hundred yards out when they dropped to the ground.
Just like most cartridges and bullets, the 6.5 Creedmoor will take a deer or elk right off its feet. The problems usually start when perhaps an inexperienced or over-zealous hunter takes a shot he shouldn’t have, perhaps having drank too much of Hornady’s red Kool-Aid.
Good shot placement with sufficient impact velocity is a must regardless of the cartridge you are shooting. The “magic” of the Creedmoor wont save you from loosing animals if you don’t make a good shot, the same thing can and does happen with any other cartridge. Read this article if you’d like to go deeper into that subject.


Built better?

The incredibly popular Creedmoor has a couple legs up on older cartridges like the swede and my old favorite 260 Remington. Perhaps the best one of them is brass, there are so many great options from all the very best manufacturers such as Lapua and Alpha Munitions. Both large and small rifle primer brass can be had, allowing shooters to run higher pressure loads and using different and more modern components. Everything from handloading tools to your favorite rifle can be had in 6.5 Creedmoor, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If anything the Creedmoor has helped drive innovation and mainstreaming many practices that were once very niche.

The 6.5 Creedmoor is the result of applying good designs in cartridge cases and bullet construction, whatever negative reputation precedes the Creedmoor is likely a result of overconfident or negligent hunters who believed the hype. The Creedmoor is a great performer in various applications, and to dismiss it as “a fine target round” or only a “paper puncher” would be ignorant. The sophomoric hatred for the Creedmoor is downright embarrassing, and a quick way to show your ignorance among anyone with objectivity. It is a fine cartridge like hundreds of others, and when used properly it can be very useful for both hunting and any other shooting enterprise. If pride prevents you from joining the Creedmoor cult, you do you, there are plenty of other great options out there as well. But don’t let your pride make you look a fool.

-CBM

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