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.
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.
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.