Why The 6.5 Creedmoor Sucks

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 2 weeks ago

So says the click bait title at Field & Stream.  After discussing alternative rounds, he ends with this.

In the end, all the hype around the 6.5 Creedmoor is really nothing but the combination of newness and a century of respectable performance established by other 6.5mm cartridges. The Creed can only do what the ballistics say it can do, and like every other cartridge, it requires that you do your job. I took one to Newfoundland and shot a woodland caribou. A bad first shot required two more. I was embarrassed. I also made a bad shot on a moose and had to shoot him three more times. That really embarrassed me. Finally, to cap off a week of Chris Kyle-like marksmanship, I made another bad shot on a 350-pound black bear. I had to dig his growling mass out of pines so thick you couldn’t turn around. I prudently shot him in the head at 30 feet; it was the best shot I’d made all week.

That fact is that there’s nothing magical about 6.5 Creedmoor. There’s no single task it can do that another 6.5mm cartridge cannot do better. That’s partly why the 6.5 Creedmoor sucks. But the main reason, the real reason, the 6.5 Creedmoor sucks, is because if you want to do everything discussed here with only one factory rifle, and with factory ammo, the 6.5 Creedmoor might be the only rifle you need. And there’s nothing, absolutely nothing, that sucks more than only needing one rifle!

One comment on ammunition availability is smart.  I don’t know about you, but when you can’t find anything else on the shelves, you can find 6.5 Creedmoor.  It’s ubiquitous, with better availability than any other hunting cartridge I’ve seen.


Comments

  1. On June 21, 2021 at 11:37 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    When the subject of 6.5mm (.264-caliber) cartridges comes up and how popular they are these days, I always quip that “The Swedes and Norwegians must being laughing themselves silly at us and asking in Swedish/Norwegian ‘What the heck took you guys so long?'”!

    A joint Swedish-Norwegian commission designed the cartridge in 1891 to work in the Mauser Brothers superb bolt-action rifle, and it has been in use since 1894. The cartridge is better known in North America as the “Swedish Mauser” – a fact that has rubbed certain Norwegians the wrong way for a long time, as the Swedes didn’t do it alone. The 6.5×55 has given 125-years of excellent service as a military, hunting and sporting cartridge, and remains popular in Europe right down to the present.

    According to the Lyman and Hornady reloading manuals, the Scandinavians have used the cartridge for a wide variety of medium game on up to larger species such as reindeer and moose.

    The 6.5mm projectiles offer excellent external ballistics and are quite slippery at weights as low as 130-grains. In addition to being aerodynamically efficient, they also offer excellent sectional density numbers and perform well in the wind. In addition to hunting use, it is popular competitively and was also used for a long time as the service rifle cartridge for the Swedish army, which had adopted the Mauser bolt-action as its standard long-arm.

    Collectors and firearm historians have long-regarded the Swedish M1941 sniper rifle as perhaps the most-accurate such weapon in use during the Second World War. If a 6.5×55 Mauser did not shoot inside 1.5 moa with iron sights, it was rejected and sent for rebarreling. Sniper versions with scopes attained an even higher standard of accuracy. Sweden remained neutral during the war, but a significant number of Swedish Mausers made it into the hands of Finnish forces fighting against the U.S.S.R. and also during the so-called “Continuation War.”

    Surplus 6.5×55 M1896 and M1938 rifles are often encountered in the U.S. and are popular amongst collectors. Reloading manuals, because of the prevalence of these older rifles, intentionally download (reduce) the maximum loads to well-below the threshold of which the cartridge is actually capable. This is prudent, to be sure, but also probably unnecessary – Swedish steel was of extremely high-quality then, but we live in litigious times, and these reduced-pressure loads are surely their lawyers talking.

    In a modern bolt-action hunting rifle, however, the maximum loads shown in most current reloading manuals – which are surplus-rifle safe – are as much as 25% below the actual upper limits of the cartridge. If you have a modern rifle designed for use with modern high-pressure hunting ammunition, the venerable Swede can deliver excellent performance almost on par with .270 Winchester.

    As an all-purpose cartridge, the 6.5 Creedmoor has its work cut out for it besting its older cousin, the 6.5×55. The newer cartridge, being purpose-designed as a competition/precision cartridge, probably has a slight edge in that area, but not as much as some North American readers might think. European competitors have been using 6.5×55 for a long time in competition and have done well with it.

    There are other excellent designs for .264-caliber, which predate the 6.5 CM. One is the short-action .260 Remington introduced in 1997 after years of being wildcatted by reloaders necking-down .308 Winchester cases to take .264-caliber projectiles. The .260 offers performance on par with the 6.5 CM, and like the newer cartridge, is a short-action design, whereas the 6.5×55 is a long-action chambering. Service rifle competitors have rebarreled their .308s in 6.5-08 for many years now, to take advantage of the benefits the 6.5mm family offers.

    Although something of a niche design, there are folks who like the necked-down 30-06 for 6.5mm projectiles, namely the 6.5-06. The .264 Win-Mag still has a following, despite the popularity of the 7mm Rem-Mag, and it remains an excellent performer, though something of a barrel burner, being significantly overbore.

    In short, then, use the 6.5 CM if you like it – but there are plenty of other alternatives even in the .264-caliber/6.5mm class if you’d like something different.

    One final note: a rifle in 6.5×55 or 6.5 CM makes a great first rifle for a teen or adult of small stature who may be recoil shy yet wants to hunt white-tail deer or other medium game ethically and with reasonably assurance of making a clean and prompt kill. It is an excellent choice for that situation. And as many seasoned hunters age out of liking harder-hitting calibers, many gravitate to these as their “new normal” – and their shoulders thank them for it.

  2. On June 22, 2021 at 1:04 am, 41mag said:

    Why the Chris Kyle hate in the idiots article? Seems outta place.

  3. On June 22, 2021 at 6:44 am, Wes said:

    GeorgiaBoy61 makes better points than the Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight at Field & Stream (apologies to Mr. Breslin, and the mangled animals).

    7mm-08: the wonderful 7×57 at modern pressures
    260 Rem: ditto for the “6.5 Swede”
    Both of those in short actions with cases that feed like butter. Both do fine with factory ammo & can be easily optimized by handloading. The hoopla over 6.5 CM has always had me asking ‘why’?

    At the family farm/hunting property I put a Swedish carbine into the inventory some years ago as the “loaner” for those on leave or the student who made it home for Thanksgiving (Carl Gustaf, great steel). It is the first one claimed.

  4. On June 22, 2021 at 11:22 am, Kris said:

    All (I) know is i have solid dope to 1770 with my creed.
    @735 TOF is 1sec.

    At 1k TOF 1.48secs.

    Sooner or later, all stand still for a 2secs.

    TOF boys, TOF

  5. On June 22, 2021 at 1:07 pm, Levi Garrett said:

    @41mag,

    I think the Chris Kyle comment was the author’s attempt at self-deprecation instead of disrespect toward Mr. Kyle. His poor shooting, as evidenced by needing multiple shots on each animal, was anything but “sniper-like”, and he was sarcastically making a point of that. Aside from that, I’m definitely not a fan of his writing style.

  6. On June 22, 2021 at 3:50 pm, Roger J said:

    I don’t care if the 6.5 Creedmoor is on the gun store shelves. I reload everything except rimfire. And I shoot the 6.5×55 Swedish (or Norwegian) Mauser…plenty accurate for me.

  7. On June 22, 2021 at 4:51 pm, bobdog said:

    6.5 Creedmoor shoots as well as the shooter, the rifle, the conditions and the load allow it to be.

    I shot .181″ 100X5 last weekend out of a tuned up Remington 700 with my loads off a bench. It ain’t quite as accurate as my 6mm PPC or my .308 Win, but any rifle that shoots in the teens is fine by me.

    And anybody who sidemouths Chris Kyle is an asshole.

  8. On June 22, 2021 at 7:15 pm, Russell G. said:

    Actually, LMAO big time at the title.

    After a year of bench-resting the 6.5CM, having been duped into them, and beating my head against the wall…

    Those 6.5CM barrels (I repeat barrels, plural and more) sit in their boxes in the “room.”
    The receivers all have 6.5 Swedes sticking out of them now. Accuracy barrels. Repeat: accuracy barrels.

    And, yes…you might have seen my ending CM loads on the WRSA Bleg recently. Have at it.

  9. On June 22, 2021 at 10:18 pm, TheAlaskan said:

    Bad shot at a caribou, bad shot at a moose, bad shot at a black bear….sounds like he’s just a bad shot.

    Blame the caliber? Pitiful.

  10. On June 23, 2021 at 12:36 am, TheAlaskan said:

    I have a 6.5cm. Shoots fine. One shot, 143gr tack driver. Never needed a follow up.

  11. On June 23, 2021 at 8:00 pm, Fred said:

    @alaskan, I was thinking yesterday when I read this post that the author could greatly benefit from a month of subsistence hunting of small game with nothing but a pellet rifle. His problem is a lack of appreciation for the target. Some men can learn this from their fathers verbal instruction, others must learn it from doing, but he comes across as having more money than sense which always leads to a serious disrespect of Gods law(s). In this case, the author seems to reject the Noahic covenant ( Genesis 9) and the further responsibility of dominion. I doubt anybody ate those trophies he harvested.

  12. On June 24, 2021 at 1:26 pm, bobdog said:

    Russel G: I had terrible groups with this rifle at first – 3/4″ best 100 yard groups off the bench. So I put a Bartlein barrel on it, which helped some, but it turned out the real issue was loads.

    I know everybody likes 140 grains or so, but this rifle shoots best with 120 grain loads going out around 3,000fps. (Berger 120’s, 44.0 grains of H4350). It took me a lot of testing with different powders and bullets, but it’s finally starting to show some promise.

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You are currently reading "Why The 6.5 Creedmoor Sucks", entry #27621 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Ammunition and was published June 21st, 2021 by Herschel Smith.

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