Although it was designed in the USA UU Just a decade ago, to practice long distance shooting, the 6.5 Creedmoor is conquering hunters and shooters from around the world for its great precision and efficiency.
He has even arrived in the USA, where cartridges and some models of rifles for hunting and shooting are already sold. How is it possible that its popularity has reached such high levels in such a short time? We will try to answer this question by analyzing its ballistic performance.
Until recently I had never fired with this caliber, of which I practically only knew that it existed and that it was a cartridge designed in 2008 to practice long distance shooting.
It was devised by a Hornady engineer and expert 1000-yard competition shooter, Dave Emary, in collaboration with another expert shooter: Dennis DeMille, director of the Creedmoor company and two-time NRA National High Power Rifle champion.
Emary wanted to create a low recoil cartridge that in addition to being very accurate and capable of shooting at long distances could be used by rifles with short actions, that is, those that use rifles designed to shoot cartridges with pods of the same length or shorter. Those of .308 (51 mm), such as, for example, caliber 7 mm-08; he . 243 Win ., Etc.
And, after carrying out tests, he opted to use bullets of 6.5 mm caliber and the sheath of another shot cartridge that used 48 mm long pods obtained from the. 308 Winchester: the.30 T / C, ammunition that had been designed a year earlier by the Thompson Center company in collaboration with Hornady.
The result was a success because the ammunition, whose sheath modifying 6.5 mm measured 48.8 mm, was able to group on average MOA and more than 1000 meters its remaining speed was still supersonic (higher than 340 m / s).
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An Exceptional Ballistic Coefficient
Therefore, it can be said that the Creedmoor 6.5cartridge comes from the .308 Win sheath. And that, according to the rules that govern the nomenclature of the cartridges expressed in the metric system, it is a 6.5 × 49 mm. But why was Emary decided by a caliber so small that, besides, it is not American but typically European?
The answer is that he chose it because of the high ballistic coefficient of modern sharp-tip and tail-end bullets of this caliber , especially those with a weight equal to or greater than 130 grains, since they provide excellent results in precision and, in addition, they lose little energy (speed) as they move away from the mouth of fire.
Effectively, the greater or less ballistic coefficient of a projectile determines the capacity it has to overcome the resistance of the air that, when opposing its advance, slows it down and causes it to lose speed.
Mathematically it is determined by CB = (Weight of the bullet in grains / 7000) / (Caliber in inches squared X form factor) and the higher the resulting figure when applying this formula, the lower the loss of speed it suffers from as it progresses, which also means that the projectile has a more tense trajectory, is diverted less by the action of the wind and is able to reach the target with greater energy.
It is understood, therefore, that its creator, who wanted to obtain a cartridge for shooting at great distances, and therefore very accurate , chose the 6.5 mm for which also Hornady, Sierra, Norma, etc., among other manufacturers of projectiles, they manufacture magnificent bullets of shot with ballistic coefficients that exceed the value of CB 0,550, whereas the projectiles of greater caliber (7 mm, .30, etc.) have a CB significantly lower.
And it is also understood that he created ammunition with such a short sheath, because he wished it had little recoil, which it could be fired on rifles with short actions and, as it was for shooting, it did not need to be very powerful.
But … And in Hunting?
What is not easy to understand is that, in addition to shooting, it has quickly become popular in hunting. Not in the USA, where many specific gauges are used for long distance, much less in Europe, where the 6.5 mm caliber is so popular that it is used in several similar cartridges, although they use longer sheaths than those of the 6.5 Creedmoor and mount less aerodynamic bullets.
This is the case, for example, of the 6.5 × 55; 6.5 × 57 (and 6.5 × 57 R), 6.5 × 65 RWS, etc. To understand their success in hunting, it is necessary to compare their ballistic performance with that of most commercial munitions in the market.
We are going to do it taking into account the data of the cartridges Norma 6.5 Creedmoor for hunting (also manufactures models of shooting) that offers as a novelty with projectile Scirocco II of 130 grains (8.4 grams) because this ammunition is already available in USA (In the USA, Winchester and Hornady, among many other firms, offer it with bullets of greater and lesser weight of 130 grains, such as 120 and 142 grains).
Specifically, the Scirocco II bullet has a ballistic coefficient of 0.571 and generates the following velocity and energy values up to 300 meters:
- Initial (Vo): 850 m / s and 2,848 joules.
- 100 meters: 797 m / s and 2,669 joules.
- 200 meters: 746 m / s and 2,338 joules.
- 300 meters: 697 m / s and 2,040 joules.
Well, if we compare this data with those of any other commercial cartridge of lower caliber that develops a similar initial energy (like the 25-06 or the popular 243 Winchester, for example) or of the same caliber (6.5 mm European, including the modern 6.5-284 Standard ), we will check that in some cases the initial speed of these cartridges is higher but, nevertheless, the 6.5 Creedmoor loses less speed, so it always reaches 300 meters with an energy superior due to its high ballistic coefficient and, from this distance, it is imposed on others.
Only, although very little, the powerful RWS cartridges of caliber 6,5x68S loaded with 8.2 grams bullet, reaches 300 m with somewhat higher energy, not to say negligible: 2049 joules, although at a greater distance the 6, 5 Creedmoor also ends up imposing.
And, for the same reason, it happens the same when we compare it with cartridges that shoot bullets of the same weight (130 grains) of greater caliber, like. 270 Win. Although up to 250-300 meters are more powerful, from this distance the greater CB of the bullets of the 6.5 Creedmoor lose less speed and always reach the target with greater energy.
An Ideal Cartridge for Plains and Mountains
And this is precisely what has ‘dazzled’ the European and North American hunters: their exceptional utility in long-range hunting with which few cartridges can compete, unless they are much more powerful and, therefore, are fired by heavier rifles, less manageable (longer) and with greater recoil.
Of course, this ammunition has, like everything in life, some drawbacks: the largest is its moderate power and caliber that only allows you to approach long-distance animals of small and medium size, such as roe deer or Spanish mountain pieces.
And bullets of the greater weight of 6.5 mm can not shoot larger animals in normal stalks? Of course, you can and in fact with more ‘modest’ European cartridges of this caliber, like the 6.5 × 55 loaded with your heavier bullets, I have done it.
The problem is that the 6.5 Creedmoor, is designed to hunt at great distances, normally mounts very expansive hunting bullets that, in mid-range shots and on a large animal, such as a deer, can expand too much and not penetrate it. Enough.
This problem can be solved by using the less expansive bullets that mount the cartridges (for example, Winchester makes them with Accubond bullets) or by recharging the cartridge, but it does not seem to make sense to use this 6.5 mm ammunition, specially designed to hunt long distance small and medium pieces, existing for this purpose other calibers larger, more powerful and suitable for collecting large animals.
Finally, comment that USA, for the time being, there are few rifles and cartridges available, although they begin to be: Norma ammunition, Blaser R8 hunting rifles, Sauer 100 and some shooting models, like the new Remington 700 ADL Tactical, which just introduced Borchers, SA, or the Bergara B14 HMR.
But considering its North American origin (endorsed by a great company like Hornady and the rest of the armament industry of this country) and that, due to the success that it is having, it has already been adopted by many factories of rifles and ammunition, everything points out that the 6.5 Creedmoor will also reach a certain degree of popularity in our country .
Time will tell. At the moment, the only thing I am sure of is that, if I were to hunt the roe deer in the plains or practice more high mountain hunting, I would already own a rifle of this caliber.
Cartridge 6.5 Creedmoor Vs. 6.5 European
We have said that the effectiveness of the 6.5 Creedmoor is due to the type of bullets with a high ballistic coefficient that it uses, but what would happen if we reloaded with these bullets the calibers of 6.5 European?
Well, you can not improve the results or improve negligibly because to be able to respect the total length of the cartridge (which is essential so that the pressure in the chamber does not trigger), it is necessary to introduce a lot of the high CB projectiles of the Creedmoor ammunition. In the pods of the European cartouche.
And this, together with the greater weight of these projectiles, makes the initial speed lower or, at most, similar to that generated by the 6.5 Creedmoor.
In addition, on the other hand, as with any cartridge, the benefits of the commercial cartridges of the 6.5 Creedmoor can also be improved using recharge techniques, which again would put this brilliant American cartridge in a position of advantage over the other 6, 5 mm, recharged or not.
In fact, due to its high popularity and use as a shooting cartridge, all manufacturers of recharge material manufacture projectiles dies, and high-quality refill tools, designed to optimize their ballistic performance. 6.5 mm Europeans shoot smaller CB bullets that cannot compete long distance with American ammunition.