A new all-round cartridge is getting some good feedback - what does our expert make of the 6.5mm Creedmoor round?
Q: I keep hearing about a new round called the 6.5mm Creedmoor and friends say it is the best cartridge for deer. Is that true?
A: The 6.5 Creedmoor is one of the new wave of cartridges designed to get the best possible ballistics from an efficient case design. The Creedmoor was developed by Hornady, originally as a long-range and target round based on its 30 TC round. But it soon became obvious that, with its superior ballistics and shooting nature, it would also make a good hunting round.
Less powder for same ballistics and less recoil
Hornady loads several hunting rounds for this cartridge as well as offering reloading cases and dies to make your own. It is similar in size to the .260 Remington, but that round is based on necking down a .308 Winchester round to 6.5mm or 0.264in.
Though the .260 Remington is slightly faster the newer 6.5mm Creedmoor round uses less powder to achieve nearly the same ballistics and therefore recoils less.
Typically, a 120-gr bullet travels at 2,950fps to 3,000fps velocity and a 140-gr bullet at 2,700fps. Due to the excellent ballistic co-efficients of the slimline 6.5mm bullets, they retain their velocity and hence energy downrange and make for less bullet drop, less wind drift and more retained knockdown power.
The Creedmoor is a winner and more rifles are being chambered in this calibre so yes, I can recommend it as a good all-round cartridge.
Iain Watson and Chris Rogers debate whether highland stalking or lowland stalking makes for finer sport
And from back in the archives – George Wallace discusses his favourite cartridge
Let’s first define what we really mean by ‘calibre’ and ‘cartridge.’
- Calibre is the diameter of the bore of a rifle before the rifling is cut or hammered in.
- Thus, all cartridges from the little .30 Carbine to the .30/.378 Wetherby Magnum are .30 calibre and use bullets which are .308 in diameter so they fit right to the bottom of the rifling grooves.
- Definitions within the calibre are the name of the cartridge. With that out of the way, my own favourite cartridge would depend on whether I needed one for shooting at relatively long range on the hills of Scotland and the wide fields of east Anglia or whether my stalking was only in woodlands and fields where ranges would not exceed about 175 yards.
- For the former I would stick with my .270 Winchester. It is often maligned – largely by people who don’t know what they are talking about – but is in fact just as good as any of its more modern competitors.
- If you do fancy something a little more up to date, then the search can begin and end with a 7mm Remington Magnum.
- Back in my favourite woods, there are two cartridges that have given me more pleasure and satisfaction than any others.
- The first is the .30-30 Winchester, which is most commonly found in those little lever action rifles which are such a delight to use in the woods.
- Mine was a single shot model and it was capable of knocking down a Fallow buck at 170 yards, which was the furthest I ever needed to shoot with it.
- If you fancy a bigger, heavier bullet for woodland deer, then my other favourite – also brilliant for Wild Boar and in the African Bushveldt – is the .358 Winchester.