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Shown here set up for NRA HP Long-Range "Any Rifle / Any Sight" competition, the 6.5 Creedmoor should give more than twice the barrel life of the popular 6.5-284 Norma.
Intended first as a High-Power Match Rifle cartridge, McMillan will be offering Tubb 2000 rifle barrels chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. DPMS will also be offering a model of their long-action AR pattern rifle, the LR-308, chambered in the 6.5 Creedmoor. Pacific Tool and Die is making a 6.5 Creedmoor chamber reamer which enables any gunsmith to build a rifle for this new cartridge.

Although it has a strong history in Europe due to the 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser, the 6.5 mm bore size has not seen much interest in the U.S. until the last 10 years. Long-range shooters have come to realize that 0.264-inch diameter bullets can provide high BC values without overpowering recoil. The 6.5-284 Norma is a popular cartridge for F-class and other long-range matches, while the 6.5 Grendel works from the AR-15 platform. Lots of .308 Winchester shooters have been rebarrelling their rifles in .260 Remington and 6.5x47 Lapua as a low-cost ballistic upgrade.

Why 6.5 mm instead of .30 caliber? Put simply, they sling the long, slim, high-BC 6.5 mm bullets at respectable velocity. It duplicates or beats the .300 Winchester Magnum's trajectory with less recoil than .308. Compared to the 175 Sierra MatchKing fired from a .308, the 6.5 mm will have 27% less wind drift and about 10 moa less drop at 1000 yards. Despite a 35-grain deficit in bullet mass, the 6.5 mm Creedmoor will retain 18% more energy and hit the target 260 fps faster. Comparing the 6.5 mm to the big .300 Winchester Magnum shooting its most popular long-range load, the 190 gr Sierra MatchKing at about 2950 fps, the 6.5 mm has about six percent less wind drift at 1000 yards, while burning half the powder and hitting with half the recoil. With a Lapua or Berger bullet instead of the A-MAX, the numbers look even better.

The Tubb 2000 rifle was designed to be the optimal match rifle for NRA High-Power Long-Range matches.
To test the 6.5 Creedmoor, I borrowed a Tubb 2000 rifle from a friend. The 28-inch barrel from McMillan screwed directly on to the Tubb rifle with head-space set at the factory. For accuracy and long-range testing, I mounted a US Optics 3.8-22x44mm SN-3 scope on USO 35 mm rings directly onto the Tubb rifle's picatinny rail. The Tubb 2000 was designed specifically to be the ideal NRA High Power "Match Rifle," and it has dominated the podium since its introduction. It can safely be said that the Tubb 2000 is the 6.5 Creedmoor's "native" platform.

While the 6.5 Creedmoor was designed to be an optimum cartridge for NRA High-Power Long-Range competition, it's really a general purpose cartridge with a wide range of applications. The 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser has been used extensively to hunt big game including moose in Europe for almost a hundred years. Hornady's new 6.5 mm exceeds factory 6.5x55 muzzle velocity by a couple hundred feet per second, so it's safe to say the 6.5 Creedmoor will be an effective big-game cartridge. A lightweight sporter chambered in the Creedmoor will give performance along the likes of .257 Roberts +P up to .308 Winchester on white-tail deer, with recoil more akin to the former than the latter.