The 6.5 Creedmoor is also a natural fit to any of the other practical, hunting, or tactical
long-range matches such as International Tactical Rifleman Championships (WY), Practical Rifle Team
Challenge (NM), the NRA Whittington Center's Sporting Rifle Match (NM), the Blue Steel Ranch Steel
Safari (NM), and various "Sniper Challenge" matches around the country, most of which have roots to
Dr. David Kahn's Keneyathlon ("hunters test") format. A short-action cartridge which offers great
wind resistance, reasonably flat trajectory, long barrel life, and is easy to reload is perfect for
these applications. For .308 shooters, once you shoot a 6.5 mm, it's hard to go back.
True to Hornady's word, replicating the factory loads by following the published recipe was easy and
gave excellent results.
Testing at 100 yards, the factory A-MAX ammunition from Hornady yielded groups just under 0.4 moa.
The Oehler 35P chronograph clocked the 120-gr load at 2980 fps, and the 140-grain loads at 2770 fps,
or just under the spec velocity using the pre-production ammunition.
One of the selling points of the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge is that Hornady prints the recipe for its
factory-loaded competition ammunition in the box, so reloaders can easily duplicate the same load
with commercially-available components. With this in mind and a set of Hornady dies in my Rock
Chucker press, I did so. The recipe for the 140-grain A-MAX load is 41.7 grains of H4350 with a
Federal 210 Match primer loaded to 2.820 inches; my reloads shot to within 10 fps of the
factory-loaded ammunition, which is identical for practical purposes. The load for the 120-grain
A-MAX is 43.5 grains of H4350 with the same primer, but loaded to 2.720 inches. My reloads shot to
within about 10 fps of the factory ammo. It's certainly an advantage to be able to avoid spending
days and possibly hundreds of rounds zeroing in on a good long-range load. Hornady has done the
work for us, and I think it'll pay off for the competitive shooter who would rather be practicing
than messing around with loads.
Long-range shooters seem to have almost religious preferences when it comes to bullet brands; some
swear by Sierra for consistency, others Berger or Lapua for the high BC values, and still other use
specialized custom bullets from small bullet-makers. I think long-range shooters will be pleased
with the results with the 120 and 140-grain A-MAX bullets; however, I couldn't resist trying some
other 6.5 mm bullets in the Creedmoor case. Sticking with Federal 210M primers and H4350, I loaded
and shot the 139-grain Lapua Scenar and the 130-grain Berger VLD. Both bullets shot excellent
groups like the factory ammunition. The Scenars shot at just about the same velocity as the
140-grain A-MAX when loaded with the same charge. The 130-gr Berger VLD split the velocity of the
two factory loads at about 2900 fps. For the reloader willing to push pressure a little bit, I
think this cartridge has some headroom.
Sub-half MOA accuracy was common with the factory Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition.