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Published in Shotgun News, 31 Mar 2008

Hornady's new 6.5 Creedmoor is designed to be a winning long-range cartridge viable for the shooter using factory ammunition, or the reloader.
Long-range shooters gravitate towards calibers which provide great ballistics and accuracy along with relatively low recoil. Because these loads are highly specialized, it's almost impossible to find factory ammunition that provides match-winning long-range performance. It's just a fact of life that to get match-winning performance, you need to reload. This presents a barrier for entry into the sport for would-be new shooters.

The 6.5 Creedmoor was developed for the express purpose to provide a cartridge with the accuracy and ballistics to be competitive at the top level of High-Power Long-Range competition using factory ammunition, while also being easy on the novice reloader. During the 2006 High-Power Championships at Camp Perry, Hornady's Chief Ballistician Dave Emary was chatting with Service Rifle and National High Power Champion Dennis DeMille. Dave asked Dennis what his ideal competitive round would look like. His answer was that it would shoot high-BC bullets with great accuracy for winning long-range performance; it would have low recoil and have comparatively long barrel life; factory long-range match loads would be available and no more expensive than .308 Winchester; and it would be very "reloader-friendly."

Competition shooters have some excellent choices in the 6.5 mm bore side, left to right: 6.5-284 Norma, .260 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, and 6.5x47 Lapua.
The components used in the factory ammunition would all be available to the reloader in plentiful supply, and the factory loads would use readily-available commercial components. The recipe to exactly duplicate the factory loads would be printed on every box of ammunition from Hornady. The powder used in the factory loads is H4350 and the primer is the Federal 210M Match.

Emary and the Hornady engineers went to work and by early 2007 had come up with a cartridge roughly based on the .308 body size, shooting a 6.5 mm bullet. The case has a 30-degree shoulder and a 0.370-inch neck. The case head is identical to .308 Winchester which makes it a shoe-in to any .308 action, and the body is tapered 0.004-inch per side for extraction reliability. While reloaders will indubitably try to hotrod the cartridge, factory ammunition is limited to 58,000 psi and shoots the 140-gr A-MAX (BC 0.585) at 2810 fps from a 26-inch barrel. Compared to some long-range ammunition which runs at a maximum pressure over 60,000 psi, being able to achieve a respectable 2800 fps with the high-BC 6.5 mm bullets will increase safety, aid reliability, and provide long brass life. For reduced recoil or short-course matches, the factory 120-gr A-MAX (BC 0.465) loads run at 2980 fps.