Going the Distance — Hornady’s 6mm Creedmoor

Check out all of articles in the Fall edition of Long Range Shooting, GunsAmerica’s newest specialty publication.

Since its introduction in 2007, Hornady has continued to hit the sweet spot among long-range shooters with the 6.5 Creedmoor. A modification of the .30 TC and ultimately an offspring of the .308 Win., the 6.5 Creedmoor is effective because it capably seats bullets with high sectional density and ballistic coefficients, which are remarkably adept at producing flat trajectories and handling the wind. The 6.5 is also popular among competition shooters because it successfully houses these long, sleek bullets in a case that still fits in standard AR-10-style magazines and short-action bolt guns. As a result, the cartridge has been popular in competition and among game hunters.

From left to right: The 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor and .243 Winchester. While the .243 has been the longest tenured of the three — and one of the most effective 6mm cartridges ever designed — it doesn’t jive with the AR-style platform, hence the rising popularity of the two Creedmoor siblings.

Origins

Popularity thus far on the 6mm Creedmoor has been limited by the availability of factory loads and rifles, but that trend is changing. Hornady is currently offering two loads: the Precision Hunter 103-grain ELD-X (left) or 108-grain (right) ELD Match bullet, both of which are ideally suited for long-range shooting or hunting.

An interesting development occurred in 2007 when Outdoor Life’s John Snow approached Hornady about necking the popular 6.5 down to 6mm. Snow originally intended to use the project merely as a primer on wildcatting, but an accidental byproduct arose from his inquiry: the cartridge got picked up by shooters in the Precision Rifle Series (PRS) and became wildly successful. Picking up on this trend, Ruger now offers its Precision Rifle in 6.5 and 6mm Creedmoor, lending additional appeal to an already proven round.

In terms performance, the 6mm Creedmoor offers similar ballistics as the .243 Win., which has been around since 1955. The problem with the .243, at least as far as competition shooters are concerned, is that when you seat bullets all the way out the round will no longer fit a standard AR-10-style magazine. The 6mm Creedmoor takes care of this problem, allowing long-range shooters — who are more often than not doing their own reloading — to seat bullets farther out and retain the use of AR-10-style magazines. In a long-range game where scoring depends on hitting targets as quickly as possible, this allows for semi-auto use in standard configurations.

Among its benefits over the .243, the 6mm Creedmoor has a longer neck which provides additional surface area to grip bullets, improving neck tension and resulting in improved accuracy. Depending on load, the 6mm Creedmoor will produce velocities between 3,000 and 3,150 fps, which equates to excellent accuracy out to at least 1,000 yards (PRS aficionados launch them out to 1,300 yards).

The downside, until more recently, was the need for necking down your own brass and reloading it yourself. While serious shooters won’t balk at that prospect, it limits the overall popularity and widespread usage of the cartridge. Hornady solved that problem by producing brass and factory loads, which are available today in the Precision Hunter and Match lines and feature the new ELD-X bullet at 103 grains or the ELD Match bullet at 108 grains.

The author used the Ruger Precision Rifle chambered in 6mm Creedmoor for testing.

Sending Lead Down Range

To see just how capable these 6mm loads from Hornady are, I headed to the range with Ruger’s new Precision Rifle chambered in 6mm Creedmoor and topped with Nikon’s Black X1000 4-16x50mm scope. Shooting from a Caldwell BR Pivot bench and sandbags at 100 yards, I measured performance data from five, three-shot groups of each load.

First of all, the 6mm Creedmoor is incredibly light recoiling, which allows you to stay on the scope and quickly reacquire the target. Between paper and steel targets, I fired a total of 80 rounds in roughly two hours without recoil fatigue, something that’s essential for the practice required for long-range competition. At 10.8 pounds (without scope) and braked, recoil isn’t an issue with the bolt-operated Ruger Precision Rifle.

At 450 yards, the 6mm Creedmoor and Ruger Precision Rifle continued to deliver tight groups, even with 5-10 mph winds. The top three shots came with the 103-grain ELD-X load and the bottom three shots from the 108-grain variant.

I zeroed the rifle at 100 yards on paper, then proceeded with the first five groups using the 103-grain ELD-X load. I loaded three shots at a time and moved from group to group without stopping. The best group with the 103-grain bullet was measured with a digital caliper at .350 inches, which is more than impressive for a factory load. Average group size came in at .882 inches. Velocities were less consistent with this load than the 108-grain variant, with an average of 3,037 fps and a standard deviation of 33.2 fps. The extreme spread was 68 fps, which helps explain the ever-so-slightly larger group size and a mild flier here or there.

Next, I tested the 108-grain load, which averaged groups of .654 inches, a hair better than the 103-grain ELD-X and not surprising given the standard deviation in velocity of 14.8 fps, half that of the 103-grain load. The best group with the 108-grain ELD Match was .312 inches, which was exceptional given a fluctuating wind between 5-10 mph. Average velocities were 2,926 fps.

After completing accuracy testing at 100 yards, I set up steel targets at 450 and 600 yards and shot from the prone position from sandbags. Playing a 10-mph wind and 20 MOA of adjustment on the elevation turret (with a 100-yard zero), I slapped three shots with the 103-grain ELD-X on a 12×20-inch ShootSteel.com target on the lower center portion. I switched to the 108-grain bullets and had three shots in the same area. Moving to 600 yards, the results were similar and equally impressive.

With factory loads and an increasing number of manufacturers producing rifles for the 6mm Creedmoor, I expect it to be a popular cartridge for years to come. It certainly delivers where it’s most important — extreme accuracy at long ranges. For that reason, it would make an exceptional predator cartridge, especially if you really want to reach out and touch something.

For more information about Hornady’s 6mm Creedmoor loads, click here.

To purchase Hornady ammo on GunsAmerica, click here.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • اغاني مصريه October 20, 2017, 5:39 pm

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  • TheBigGuy September 30, 2017, 9:55 pm

    Well, you all are still learning,, but meaning no offense to you all,, but you have over looked the greatests round that was ever devleoped and with Berger Ammo VLD / HMR you can not beat it / good muzzle brake and keep it cleaned well, you have the greatest caliber ever made for Sniping,, Hunting, etc…… Do some research and you will be amazed, but be sure you understand how to do all the math it takes to make a perfect shot with wind, differnt temps, elevations, shooting up from level, shooting down from level,, the earths rotation etc…. Read and learn,, become a Master at the things you are attempting to know… and remember ” Safety Depends on you ” Quote from ‘Ryan Cleckner’ – one of the best ! ! !

  • 10x100 September 30, 2017, 3:32 am

    Eric, I wish to H-E-double-L you would stop putting unfired ammunition on
    DIRT to photograph it – as you did both in this article and the one on Ruger’s Preision Rifle.

  • Jim88 September 29, 2017, 9:01 am

    So, 6mm Creedmoor ……. Though it may be great, especially for the AR enthusiast, I’m just going to wait for the 5.5mm MoreCreedmoor ! Whatever you choose, at least Hillary won’t be president and you can enjoy your freedom to have a new rifle, or an old one.

  • Norm Fishler September 28, 2017, 11:38 am

    I have a custom built 98 Mauser in 6 m/m Remington with a Hart barrel, McMillan stock & Timney trigger that will shoot better than .5 MOA. It has been my experience that the .243 will shoot almost as good as the 6 m/m Remington most of the time, but rarely better. I see the 6 m/m Creedmore as part of an ongoing campaign of the firearms industry in general to keep us, the gun and ammunition public buying more guns and ammo. Witness the recent WSM & WSSM series of cartridges along with the RUM series. Of all those cartridges combined, how many have made the cut? Pity the poor fellow with the .223 WSSM rifle looking for ammo at Walmart . . . Or just about anywhere for that matter. The 6.5 Creedmore made quite a splash upon introduction and it seems to have taken hold, for the moment anyway, but only time will tell on that. The 6 m/m Creedmore? Maybe/maybe not. We shall see, even though I remain unconvinced that it will shoot better than my 6 m/m Remington. But with all that said, I’ve gotta say that the 6 m/m Remington has been a tried & true winner for me, going back to the late 70s when I bought my first Remington 788 in that caliber. If it ain’t broke why fix it?

  • Roy "Cody" Karlsen, DAV September 28, 2017, 11:10 am

    Always thought the 6.5 was descended from the 6.5 x 55 Krag of the late 1890s. My 1914 Krag Jorgensen 6.5 x 55 is an awesome long range flat trajectory shooter with a big punch. Guess I’m just another gun dummy non-expert.

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