The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

Re-barrelling an old rifle

A reader asks about his old Sako Forester rifle

deer cull

Q: I have an old Sako Forester rifle that I really like in .308 Winchester, but the barrel is now past its best. I was thinking of having it re-barrelled to the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge when I vary my firearms certificate. Is it a good round?

A: The 6.5 Creedmoor is another round that has fast been gaining favour among shooters, primarily due to its universal use for vermin, deer or target shooting. This is also helped with loaded factory ammunition now being available, so there’s no need to reload.

Being a 6.5mm or 0.264in bullet, it has a good range of bullet weights from 85-gr up to 160-gr, but those of the 120-gr and 140-gr are best suited. These bullets are slim for their weight and have very good ballistic coefficients, which means that they retain good energies down-range and are less susceptible to wind drift.

The Creedmoor round is basically designed to fit into a short action rifle, making it perfect for yoru .308 Win donor rifle. It utilises a shorter .308 case with a perfect powder capacity for the 6.5mm round with a long neck to aid in combustion and allow the bullet to be seated out securely without impeding into the main case and thus displacing useable powder space.

A typical 120-gr bullet can achieve 2,950 fps for 2,319ft/lb energy and a 140-gr can achieve 2,700 fps for 2,267ft/lb from a 24in barrel.

It is also very accurate and has a mild recoil, which makes it a pleasant round to shoot. As a dual-purpose deer/fox round, it is hard not to acknowledge the great diversity that the 6.5mm Creedmoor round offers.