Tag Archives: 6.5cm

Ashbury Precision Ordnance Savage 110 6.5 Creedmoor

Introduction

I’ve been a precision rifle junkie for over two decades now. Having been part of the community all these years I’ve seen a few things come and go. There has been a great deal of equipment presented by a plethora of manufacturers, and today we are going to revisit a couple of those. Today we are looking at the Savage 110 6.5 Creedmoor.

Ashbury Precision Ordnance (APO) has been a big name in the industry for some time. Manufacturing rifle chassis and rifle systems. Savage Arms is another big name in the shooting sports that has been well known for making all kinds of firearms, but particularly as it relates to today’s subject. Savage is well known for making affordable precision for those that have perhaps a tighter budget. The rifle we are discussing today is a combination of the above two companies. It is a Savage Model 10 6.5 creedmoor rifle combined with APO’s Saber chassis system.

Ashbury Precision Ordnance

APO is an international manufacturer and broker of firearms and their accessories, offering high performance shooting equipment. I was made aware of APO years ago when I began to see more and more of their rifles and chassis systems show up on the scene.

My initial impression back then was that APO’s designs were specifically focused on shooting performance. By that I mean their rifles and chassis were built quite robust. Rigid and perhaps even overbuilt is one way you could describe them. For static accurate shooting, this is not a bad approach. But for fast moving competitive shooting styles it could be perhaps a little less ideal.

In recent years APO has all but disappeared from the places I remember seeing them so often before. So much in fact I wondered if they had moved on to another market. These are of course only one man’s opinions, and perhaps I am simply less observant than most.

Savage Arms

I bought my first Savage decades ago, I was already deep into the dark art of rifling and even had custom rifles built prior. But that old Savage 10FP just hit right, and I had to have it. It quickly because my favorite due mainly to its flat-out performance. I would make some of the best shots of my career with that rifle because of the consistent use and familiarity.

This is a common thread among Savage shooters. In my opinion, despite the lower cost of Savage barreled-actions they frequently punch above their weight. A reputation like this has led to a cult-like following by many who have had the same experience I did. On many occasions I watched as my little Savage outshot rifles two and three times the cost (possibly due to the shooters skill). Today’s subject is a direct descendant of my old 10FP. The Savage model 110 being a more modern version of the same design.

Shop Savage bolt action rifles, because you are civilized

Unboxing

When I first opened the box I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew it was going to be an APO/Savage combination but of what generation I wondered.  As I lifted it from the box my curiosity remained, as it appeared to be of a slightly older model.

The complete rifle was quite long. Sporting a twenty-six inch fluted Creedmoor barrel that was tipped at the end with a three-prong suppressor mount. The large diameter M-Lok handguard filled my support hand , and the AR-15 styled pistol grip granted easy access to the trigger. At the rear of the rifle, a folding buttstock reminded me of times past. Mounted on an AR buffer-tube was an adjustable buttstock. The Savage action had the longer bolt handle and knob typically seen on the long-range models.  It also featured Savage’s famous Accu-Trigger, and a tang-mounted safety.  I ran the bolt a few times with the rifle shouldered, and everything felt right in the world. The rifle is fed by AI pattern box magazines. This rifle came with a Magpul version which was easily removed by the large mag-catch in front of the trigger-guard.

Preparation for the Range

Everything looked right, so it was time to prep this rifle for the range. I would need just a few things to see how this rifle would perform, mainly a rifle scope and a bipod. Choosing to put my US Optics FDN25X on the rifle was easy, mainly because it was close and available. I installed a Magpul sling stud in the front of the handguard so I could install a Harris SL bipod.

Once I had those two items installed on the rifle. I again tested everything for compatibility and found something I wasn’t prepared for. Even after mounting my scope as far back as I could on the scope rail. The length of pull was so long I couldn’t even get a good position to see through the scope. Despite all the adjustments on the buttstock it was incapable of getting any shorter than it already was. This was going to be trouble as I simply couldn’t shoot it as it. I could have mounted the scope differently or install another scope but it wouldn’t have completely solved the problem. I ended up having to swap out the buttstock for a shorter collapsable type, not exactly my first choice  but it would work to get the rifle on the range.

On the range

It was time to get this rifle on the range and see what it would do. I prefer testing rifles in the open country of the Rocky Mountains or the wide open deserts nearby. It allows for long-range testing and there nobody there to bother you.

Once I had this rifle on the firing line with a target setup at one-hundred yards, it was finally time to feed it. I loaded a few rounds of Hornady Match 140 grain ammunition. I’d boresighted the rifle previously, so I was expecting it to be on paper. After firing a few shots,  they weren’t where I expected them to be on paper. Then I discovered another unexpected predicament.

Issues?

The ejector didn’t seem to be working on the rifle, it would pull the spent cases from the chamber. But then it would drop them shortly thereafter leaving me no choice but to finger the case out of the way. While this was an unfortunate and unpleasant development, it’s not a big deal either. The ejector spring is an easy repair to make, which I would have done if I’d had the parts. But without them I just moved forward with my testing.

The rifle shot ok, I would have liked it to shoot better for sure though. Groups averaged under MOA but barely, and a rifle like this should be shooting 1/2 MOA all day long.

The more I shot the rifle the more familiar I became with its functions. This rifle fed like a dream, especially with that long bolt handle to give more leverage. Surely the low friction of the Magpul magazine were to thank for it.  The 6.5CM is not a big recoiling rifle, but competition rifles are typically built for as little recoil as possible and this rifle could have used a better brake towards that end.

The chassis of the rifle was a bit cumbersome for me, it folds to reduce the overall size of the rifle which is nice. But my complaints are more regarding use, the magazine well seemed entirely too narrow. I required significantly more focus when reloading than other rifle chassis I’ve used.

Pros & Cons

Three-prong muzzle device, perhaps a brake would have been better

Pros
-Solid and very robust design
-Compatible with popular designs and accessories
-Folding stock for reduced transport
-Accu Trigger feels good as always
-Extended bolt handle for extra leverage
Cons
-Buttstock was too long, couldn’t go short enough
-Magwell was finicky
-Accuracy had degraded to sub-par
-Ejector issue

Read the Conclusion Here

CONCLUSION

In my experience, Savage rifles typically shoot better than this one did. It’s certainly possible that this rifle is in need of a tune-up after years of use with a previous owner. Or it could just be one of those occasional ones that doesn’t shoot that great.

The APO chassis was kind of a letdown too. Looks aren’t everything, obviously, but they do count for something. This chassis felt like it had fallen out of a time machine from 2003. The only thing about it that felt relevant was the Magpul magazine.

-CBM

Like Savage rifles? Here is another one.

6.5 Creedmoor Against the World

Division

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 won’t 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.

A healthy Creedmoor dropped this elk in her tracks

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… (Sarcasm added for that one guy that cant tell)

But the anti-Creedmoor crowd seems just as silly at times, happily swilling memes about man-buns 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.

This ol’ Swede shoots almost identical to the Creedmoor

A proper comparison is only fair, the Creedmoor 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. What 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 can’t 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 about shot placement and cartridge selection if you’d like to go deeper into that subject.


Need some 6.5 Creedmoor ammo?

Shop 6.5 Creedmoor at Gun Mag Warehouse
Shop 6.5 Creedmoor at Firearms Depot
Shop 6.5 Creedmoor at Mile High Shooting 

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.

Final Thoughts

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