6.5 Madness? (with Colonel Smoothbore)
By angelamontana

Posted: May 21, 2017

Over the last 20 years, new 6.5 mm (.264 inch) ammunition has come onto the market. Several new designs, as well as the resurgence of older cartridges, have given hunters and sharpshooters lots of options. The .260 Remington, 6.5 Grendel, 26 Nosler, and the recently introduced 6.5-300 Weatherby Magnum are just some of the 6.5s that have brought this caliber to the forefront of rifle shooting. However the leading 6.5 cartridge is Hornady’s 6.5 Creedmoor offering.

The 6.5 Creedmoor is an offshoot of the .30 TC; the .30 TC was based on the old but successful .300 Savage. The 6.5 Creedmoor’s popularity is based on a couple of factors. It offers ballistics similar to the .260 Remington, a cartridge based on the venerable .308 Winchester. It works in AR style rifles and short action bolt guns, but its design dimensions allow longer, higher B.C. bullets to be seated in the cartridges. These cartridges will fit in standard sized magazines; thus it can be chambered in a plethora of rifle models. Here’s just a few of the newer models available in 6.5 Creedmoor.

The Howa® Precision Rifle is a long range offering featuring a 10 round detachable magazine. It is a lightweight (7 pounds, 6 ounces) rifle with a 22 inch barrel. MSRP $1200.

The Browning® X-Bolt Target is a long range bolt action rifle with a 4 round magazine, 28 inch barrel, and weights 10 lbs, 3 oz. The gun is set in the excellent McMillan A3-5 stock. MSRP $ 2800.

The Weatherby® Vanguard Modular Chassis is a new long range option from the California manufacturer. The bolt rifle has an aluminum chassis, 10 round detachable magazine, and 20 inch barrel. Weighing 8 lbs, 8 oz, MSRP is $ 1519.

The Winchester® XPC uses the rigid XPR receiver mated to a 24 inch button rifled barrel. The chassis is alloy with a 10 round detachable mag and weighs 10 lbs, 5 oz. MSRP $ 1598.

Smith & Wesson® is chambering the 6.5 Creedmoor in their M&P™10. This is an AR MSR weighing about 9 pounds. With a 20 inch barrel and a 10 round detachable magazine, this rifle will be at home both in the woods and on the target range. MSRP $ 2035.

Bill Wilson has been manufacturing fine guns for decades. Now here’s an AR made with Wilson’s fine craftsmanship. The Combat Recon Tactical sports a 16 inch match grade, medium contour barrel, 20 round magazine, and weighs in at a light 7 lbs, 12 ounces. With Armor-Tuff coating on both receivers, this gun can serve its owner in competitions and in the field. MSRP $ 2995.

The 6.5 Creedmoor round is likely to dominate the medium caliber market for many years to come. It offers mild recoil, long range capability, enough firepower, when loaded with appropriate bullets, to take most of North America’s big game, and it is available in all types of rifles. This cartridge just might replace the .243, 25-06, and perhaps the venerable .270 as the premier mid-range rifle caliber.

Be safe and good shooting.

Colonel Smoothbore