The Most Controversial Round – The 6.5 Creedmoor

Show Notes

On today’s show with, we’re talking one of the most controversial rounds out today – the 6.5 Creedmoor, with both Chris Powell from Houndsman XP Podcast and Rick Larnerd from Gobbler Knob Long Rifles. No matter what side of the fence you sit on pertaining to the 6.5, we may make you mad by the end of this episode! Starting off, Allen goes into a little background on the 6.5, its creation, and how it got to where it is today. Out of the gate, the 6.5 was touted mostly as a long distance paper punching round, but not very much beyond that. Well, Hornady got their hands on it and flipped that stigma on its head. Listen in to this episode presented by to hear our entire in-depth conversation on the 6.5 Creedmoor.

Up next, Logan dives into the 6.5 even being used for plains game over in Africa, to be clear, for the smaller plains game, definitely not most of the larger ones! We get into how people feel about taking elk with the 6.5, with the general consensus being that the .30 caliber cartridges still reign supreme there, however it is most definitely something that you can do. We go over long range shooting with one of the biggest caveats on the 6.5 being some people overlook shot placement because they believe the 6.5 is the magic round, which may be a large reason why the 6.5 receives so much criticism.

Closing out we go over everyone’s first rifle cartridge, with a few very interesting answers from the crew! We also debate how the 6.5 managed to blow up to be as popular as it is today. From launch, the 6.5 seemed to have the perfect storm for success, and in many ways it most certainly has been. We also go over some other rounds that may be the next sleeper round to blow up like the 6.5 Creedmoor. Do you think the 6.5 Creedmoor is just a fad or around for the long haul?

The show launches every Thursday morning. Subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts.

Check out the Sportsmen's Empire Podcast Network for more relevant outdoor content!

Show Transcript



everyone. I'm Logan Medish of High Caliber History, your host for the No Low Ballers podcast. Sitting around the table today with Alan from Gun Broker, Chris from Houndsman XP, And Rick from Gobbler Knob Long Rifles. And this is an episode that no matter what side of the fence you're sitting on, we are going to piss you off.

Because today we are talking about the round that everybody loves to hate and that everybody hates to love the 6. 5 Creedmoor. How do we feel about it guys? I admit I'm a convert. I, have hunted the last couple years of the 6. 5. I'm still a 30 cal guy at heart, but the 6. 5 has advantages. What, what makes you say everybody loves to hate it?

What, why? Okay, you want the short [00:01:00] answer or you want the long answer, right? Everybody seems to think that the six, five is, is some brand new concept that it's come on the scene, six, five cartridges have been around for more than a hundred years. Guys are hunting in Africa with a six, five Swede and, all sorts of stuff.

So it's really not this new. Wonder round. But for whatever reason since that cartridge was introduced it has taken on this persona of, the man Bun Hunter. Yeah. Oh, I think, yeah. It's like the hipster round, largely it's successful. So and you'll have to hate on successful.

Yeah. It does because it makes us question our old favorites Nothing is harder in our space than to launch a new caliber I mean you can ask you know, whether bees got their line nozzles got their line They have little niches, but actually getting something that lights off and goes super mainstream is tough You know ask the 41 Magnum the 10 millimeter.

There's a laundry list six eight Grendel, blah, blah, blah. So in 2007, when Hornady got together with Creedmoor Sports and [00:02:00] developed this round it looked like it was going to be just another, a 221B or, one of the bench rest or a dasher round that was of great precision, not necessarily anything beyond that.

It was a Wimbledon round. It was a long range, it didn't win a. Want to match the Wembley? Possible. That's a good question. But the reason why, I mean that 6. 5 the 8 we know is in that ballistic sweet spot. As far as bullet length and sectional diameter and density, drops, aerodynamic drag, it's really that pure spot.

But of course, we're Americans. We love our 62s. We love our 270s. We love our 243s. 243, the 6 mil, has always been, the American version of our long range rifle round. So it took off. It was a great precision round. Ruger came on board early and chambered some of their early Ruger precision rifles in 6.

5. And you had a legitimate 1200 to 1400 yard rifle out of the box, which, up until that point, thousand yard guns were probably still a little bit being built for you. They [00:03:00] weren't, there weren't full customs like they used to be. The ammunition was, you knew how to a piece of ammunition that could do it.

with plenty of gas to spare, and the optics had finally caughten up. So it was really the first chance of your average rifleman to legitimately have a thousand yard package that they could probably, you know, once they learned how to read wind, had a chance of making some hits with. And that was its initial reputation.

It's a great paper punching round. It's long range precision, but, it's not a hunter. It's going to be a terrible hunter. And that didn't age. You tell the guys at Hornaday that dog don't hunt and they will make a dog hunt. That's, that is one thing they are really good at doing.

And they came out with the, the extreme hunter. This was as that long range deer hunting or hunting in general thing was kicking off and they've made around that performs well on deer on antelope ballistically it's pretty, pretty stout. It's a very, it's a short action cartridge.

So it work in, AR platforms and short action bolts. It's a really efficient case size. You got a ballistically pure bullet up front in some loadings, it can even run up against the 300 wind [00:04:00] mag in muzzle velocity and energy and muzzle energy. So it's a really versatile, capable round and it works really well.

And because of that, most people hate it because I shoot a 308 whatever, and damn it, if that's what I shoot, it's got to be the right thing. Don't you think some of that comes from, just like any other fad, you get a guy that's I'm shooting a 6. 5, no, automatically I can shoot a thousand yards, where the two 70 guys and the three, the seven millimeter guys are like, learn to shoot a 30 out six.

And then you don't need to. So it's performance in a box. That's got a lot to do with the two that, you know, that the people who've worked hard or built up guns or built loads, that'll let them do that. Suddenly now you can go out and buy one off the box or shelf and do it without the talent that rubs folks the wrong way to, there's a big part of that here.

Yeah. Yeah, but it is, it's, it is ballistically, it's a great round. I'm looking, we've got, these are Winchester deer season XPs. They're 125 grain muzzle velocity is 2, 850 feet per second. And at 500 yards, still [00:05:00] 2, 069 feet per second. So it's singing. Yeah. And it does all of that.

Probably the biggest benefit to 6. 5, pick a Weatherby round and it'll shoot that flat. You're gonna know it when you pull the trigger, though. Because, again, the case is so efficient, and it can run a smaller powder charge, but get the same oomph out of it. There's really no recoil. Shooting a 6. 5 is just...

Very soft. Yeah, it's very similar, they always said get a 2. 43 to get the kid started. 6. 5's not that much different. And then throw a suppressor on the end of it, too? Yeah, it's a perfect match for introducing people to things, it's it is a do all cartridge you say that with an asterisk, you know a do all cartridge, read the fine print, you know I'm not taking it to Africa you know It's interesting that you say that though because I was at the SCI show back in February because they're holding it in Nashville now and I was talking with a couple of the outfitters and I'm like, what are you guys seeing the influx of six five?

Like we're seeing it everywhere here in the States. And he's yeah, actually a lot of folks are [00:06:00] coming over and taking planes game with the six, five Creedmoor. But again, with an asterisk, like Kudu is planes game. But that's getting a little bit bigger and a little thicker skin. He was like, what, let's maybe not push it to the Kudu, he was like, you could, if you're close enough, if you're a hundred yards, 150, and you've got a great shot and that's fine.

He's you really don't want to reach out and poke a Kudu at, hundreds of yards with the six five, but but an Impala or a bless book or, some, the smaller end of the planes game, he was like, Hey, you take it out there. Do it all so you could take it to Africa if you wanted just depends on what's on your list for while you're over there and what else you're taking, right?

And what else you're taking? And of course, and then that opens up to there's a whole group of people who they're of the opinion. If you're going to Africa, take two rifles. Because you never know what you're gonna, what you're gonna come up against that you might want to take that you weren't planning on your list.

But for those of us here in, in the states that, aren't in [00:07:00] places where the Black Death is roaming around the corner, you can do most of it here with the 6. 5 Creedmoor. And, Whitetail. Mule deer, antelope, all day, every day getting some of the lighter loads for coyote and whatnot.

What do people feel about this for an elk cartridge? Is 125 to 120, one nine grains going to be a little too light? That's a good question. 300, 300, or the 30 calibers are still king in the elk world. Sure. But we just took an elk last week with a two 70, at 340 yards. So again, it's shot placement.

I don't it's more about shot placement than the round. And that's what I was alluding to earlier is. A lot of people are grabbing the 6. 5 and they're forgetting the fundamentals of shooting, thinking that this magic ground is going to make them efficient at a thousand yards.

And, learn to shoot something with a 30, 30 and open sights, and then you won't have any problems with the 6. 5. Yeah. This is the jumbo face driver, [00:08:00] golf driver of the hunting world. You buy the performance in a box and I think that certainly got a lot to do with some of the hatred toward it.

Yeah. Cause like you said, people spend a lot of time. Building that perfect pet load, you know that perfect. Do you think some of the more the traditionalists of the 30 caliber lovers? They feel cheated, you know They feel like all the work they've put in like you said to build that perfect load and now all of a sudden Here comes a 6.

5. So that fuels their hatred on it I think if they feel like it's cheap mode that they put an easy mode the other knock I think Six five gets a lot and you mentioned it as well. It's it shot placement certainly is a big part of it, but it's also your distance. You took a two 70 with an Elka 300 that's really pushing things.

Whereas because of the way the long range hunting fad blew up in the. The 2000 teens, there's an inherent unspoken note of six, five that, Oh, Hey, you can really reach out with this. We were, when I was working with an optics company that really was not a fan of the long range hunting move,[00:09:00] the question that we always had for that was how close did you get to take the shot?

Cause that's how, what you used to measure yourself as a hunter. I stalked within a hundred yards, I got up to 65. We've actually been talking to some guides and hearing that. People were wanting to do the opposite. We had a guy, this would have been 2013 or 14, and he was just completely blown away because he had a client and he got him up on a, I think it was a it was either an elk or a caribou.

It was one of the larger animals. And he got him into about 120 yards. He's like, all right, let's take the shot. And the guy's hey, can we move back a bit? And the guy's what do you mean? He goes my buddy shot one at 200 last year. And I'd, can we go to 210 or something? And the guy's Take the damn shot, man.

What are you, nuts? And that was the, a little bit of the long range hunting fad in a nutshell. And 6. 5 is the poster child for driving that. In fact, I just saw, I have a friend who's out on an antelope hunt right now. They posted on their Instagram story yesterday, they got their antelope with a 6.

5 at 456 yards. Wow. It'll do the job, but to your point, you still have to know what you're doing. And sometimes [00:10:00] the marketing side maybe encourages folks that can't do it to try and do it. And that leads to bad things. And that's, I think, probably where a lot of the bad press comes from, because, okay, yeah.

Proof positive that you can poke an antelope at 456 yards and take it down. I saw the picture, my friend did it, but how many other people are out there shooting, between four and 500 yards and it's a bad shot and that, and people see that and they're like that's what happens when you shoot.

The six, five creamers like, no, you could do that same screw up with a 36 or 300 win mag or whatever, the round will do its job. You got to know what you're doing on your end. Exactly. And so many people just, yeah, the ammo puts it into cheat mode, like you said, Alan, but you can only cheat, but so much.

And I think it's a perceived cheat mode too. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what you're shooting. If you don't hit the right spot, you're not going to be affected. That's exactly right. Yeah, for sure. So when's Rick when is the first Gobbler Knob 6. 5 Creedmoor flintlock coming out?

Let me [00:11:00] see the size of that. I'm backlogged now for two and a half years, probably not anytime soon. By the time we get around to it, there'll be a new fad piece coming out. My, when my sons first got old enough to hunt, I was living in Pennsylvania. And that a, at at that time they had to be 12 and I was looking for a good deer cartridge.

My first deer rifle was a 32 special Winchester model, 94, 32 special. I love that gun killed a bunch of deer that, but I wanted to get something just a little different for my boys. And I ended up settling on the seven millimeter 08 because it's a short round, short action. And that did a fantastic job.

I've never been a fan of the 222 or 243 for deer in the hands of a kid because it's shot placement. You have to be on the mark. With a caliber like that, not the kids can't do that. That's not my point. My point is because you have to be so precise with such a small round to make a an ethical kill.

I chose to go with a larger caliber for my [00:12:00] sons. Had I known about the 6. 5 Creedmoor back then I probably would have gotten one for them. Yeah. Yeah, a lot of younger people get introduced now on the six, five, just a lot of us were introduced in the 30, 30, which is a very nice, that doesn't recoil terribly hard, and that's, and that, yeah, that 30, 30 was the lever gun equivalent that the six, five is today for the bolt guns.

And, you could do it all day long, as long as you know what you're doing. So Chris, what was your first deer rifle chambered in a deer rifle? Chris. Yeah, I was going to say shotgun, shotgun. Yeah. I still haven't settled into the deer rifle caliber wise is probably after the 20 gauge is probably a 50 caliber flintlock, I've never had a dedicated, but.

The, probably the first deer rifle, cause Indiana has not had rifle rounds for a long time or rifle cartridge legal for a long time was probably a 30 30, what about you, Alan? 30 out of [00:13:00] 6. Which let's be honest it's probably overkill for most white tailed mule deer, but again, That is dead.

But you can load it from 110s up to 220s. To me, the 30 06 was the original do it all because from a loading perspective, at least, you had a huge variety. Now, you're in a long action. You're in a pretty heavy caliber, so lugging it around. And when, depending on your load, it's a little stout. I can see where an alternative, is popular.

That lasted until I discovered the 308. And that was really in offerings. You could get almost anything in a 308 gas gun, bolt gun, whatever. And Rick, you said yours was a lever gun in 32. It was. Yeah. I've also hunted deer with a 35 Remington and 35 Wayland. Okay. Yeah. Nice. Yeah. Very cool.

Yep. And my first deer gun was a Winchester model 70 and 30 out six. And that was Yeah, it's been a great gun, but it's time honored I think and yeah It's got certainly has history and I don't see those cartridges ever going away or being replaced by the [00:14:00] 6. 5 at all and that's a great point that you bring up and because I think some of the hate that the round gets is because of the purists in our community.

The guys that are hatin on 6 5 Creedmoor are also the guys who are hatin on Cerakoted Barrels and Polymer Stocks, too, geneses. And all of that, yeah, and that's not how my granddad hunt. If your granddad had access to, polymer stock and a suppressor and really great glass, like we have now, I bet your granddad would have been hunting with it, so there's a place for blued steel and fine Walnut, and it's not. Not always where everyone wants it to be, it's just been staggering how quickly and deeply entrenched this cartridge became, though. Even during the, once we saw the bounce back after the pandemic, I would walk into some of our local gun shops and there'd be a whole aisle of rifle ammunition except for this one little hole right in the middle.

where the 6. 5 should be, and that it just kept flying off the shelf. And I, again, I like the [00:15:00] round, I've got a couple rifles in it, I've used it the last couple deer seasons, I'm not that much in love with it. I'm not quite sure what made this the magic one that just took off. I think part of it is the round, but I think part of it is also it had good product support.

The Ruger Precision was a bit of a game changer you got a top ammo manufacturer, finishing it off, putting the final touches on it. And then you get a mainstream firearms manufacturer that picks it up and chambers it. And it was just a magic combination. Yeah. Savage jumped right on it.

The Ruger had the American and the RPR which are the two I've got. Yeah, everyone jumped on a quick, which, is not terribly uncommon, but I, you look at the other niche rounds that, launched in the last decade and, yes, you can get rifles chambered in them, but you're looking at.

Christensen's or, Cooper's or something that's a little, you weren't getting a 400 Savage Axis off the shelf, but it can be a legitimate thousand yard gun if you have the talent. Yeah. Like my six fives are Bergara, which kind of floats middle of the road is, it's not a 400 gun, but it's also not a 2, 000 rifle either.

It's that [00:16:00] sweet spot. And I went with that particular one because on that rifle, I would rather put. The extra money into my glass, and so I was like, I know the rifle do what I need it to do, but, I want a really good piece of glass on top of that. You have a 400 Ruger with a 1, 200 scope on it.

See? I totally understand what you're saying. Exactly. And there, and there's a lot to that because there's a whole group of guys, you hear him say whatever you spend on your rifle, spend at least double on the glass. Yeah. I did PR for optics companies. I want triple, if not quadruple.

It makes perfect sense. Yeah, absolutely. It does. And is it the man bun cartridge that, that everyone seems to think it is? Yes. And some, it really is. It's a craft beer cartridge. It is which is perfect analogy because craft beer. It is an acquired taste, unless it's an IPA.

IPA is always suck. Amen. Throw the hate in the comments as well. I'll just turn to look at the, I hate IPAs and that, Alan, we talked in the previous episode, you've [00:17:00] got to have a hill that you're going to die on and mine is that IPAs belong. in the garbage. But so you can tell me in the comments how much I suck and how great IPAs are, and I will tell you that you're wrong.

But that's where we find ourselves with it. As we move forward, 6. 5 blew up in a way that no one was really expecting. Are there any rounds? That you guys can think of that are, coming into their own at this point that you think, Ah, maybe that's the sleeper that we should be looking out for.

It's a bit of a derivative, but the Sixth Creedmoor is starting to... Pick up a little traction as well. The PRS group are moving into the, a lot of the ARC rounds and the PRC rounds, but the hunting community really hasn't picked that up yet. Six is still six Creedmoor. Six millimeter, of course, has a long history as a hunting round or a really good one too.

But the six Creedmoor starting to catch on, I'm still not sure the hunters have adopted it just yet. Didn't it, the six millimeter started as a finish round. From Finland, the Finnish military started with it [00:18:00] and they started revising it. And then Hornady jumped in and yeah it's a proven round for sure.

Yeah. There's something to be said for that. The military spent a lot of money in the late nineties, early two thousands, looking at six, five to six, eight cartridges. The 6. 8 SPC won out and died on the vine. So that was one thing I was looking at the recent shift to the 277 cartridge that the military is going with a little.

A little bit of a raised eyebrow that they went that. Yeah, I think a lot of, I think there were a lot of raised eyebrows with that. Cause that definitely threw people for a loop, not what anyone was expecting, and if you look, the reason the ought six, the 30 out six has the hold on hunters, it does from the first part of the century, it was everywhere.

There's crates of military surplus ammo sitting around. And then the military went to the 308, the 762 51. Suddenly that happened as well. Now the 308 takes over and dominates. So my question looking forward, is the 6. 5 going to keep its hold? Or do the 277 variations, the 277 Fury, the I forget what Federal's [00:19:00] is called, but the...

Not the Valkyrie, but the 277. I'm not sure. Anyway, all the variations on the military cartridge, is that eventually going to, the days of the crates of MilSERP ammo are over. That ended with the end of the 7. 62, but... It would be interesting to see, cause you're absolutely right with the military aspect of it, by the time you get to, the 1950s, which is like the hunting heyday of the 30 06, you figure how many tens of millions of World War, both one and two veterans are out there that literally bet their lives on 30 06 cartridges.

And if it's good enough on the battlefield, it's good enough in the deer woods, right? And so that's a great point now. And with these new two 70 cartridges and stuff, I honestly believe that the 30 calibers are never going to lose traction. I think we're always going to have them two seventies.

I think cartridges like this are going to come and go. I don't necessarily want to say that it's a fad. Like I said earlier, the 30 got [00:20:00] six is a time. It's an honored round, and I don't see it going anywhere. I don't see this surpassing that at all ever. Yeah. I think you're right. And I also think you're right to not call the 6'5 Creedmoor a fad because it's been around what, 15 years?

2007 2008. Yeah. 15 years. So I, most fads don't last that long, how long were the Bee Gees hot? The Bee Gees were never hot. They're hot again. Are they coming back? No, I swore Logan was going to say the BG's have always been hot. Do I look like I listen to the BG's? So anyway, back to the, it's funny, we were talking to a distributor a couple of years ago with one of our clients at the time who has a bolt action, they had a line of bolt action rifles and all they wanted was the six fives.

They didn't want to order 30 0 8s. They said outside of 6 5 our local shields, we're talking to the rifle manager there, and in the past 12 months, The only bolt action they've sold that wasn't a 6. 5, [00:21:00] they sold one 3. 08. Wow. And this is, Nebraska, it's not Iowa or Pennsylvania from deer states, but we do a fair amount of deer.

You do a lot. Yeah. Yeah. It's open range, where you got to put some distance on stuff. Yeah. Yeah. That's really interesting because, and I think that's one thing that we didn't really touch on is that, Cartridge loyalty often depends on where you're at in the country, because that's, like I said, what was your first deer rifle?

And you're like, rifle, I just didn't want to incriminate myself and say 22 mag.

I wish I had a nickel for every deer that's been killed with a 22. Yeah, no doubt. Yeah. Alan, what are we seeing in terms of data wise with 6. 5 on Gun Broker? Just looking at ammunition in general we know during the pandemic it was a shortfall and it wasn't just the usual suspects when it came to a shortage, it was ammo across the board.

So prices spiked during the, what we call the COVID years and they've been trickling back down. It may not look like it, but they are [00:22:00] starting to trickle down. In the last couple weeks, we've seen Creedmoor going as low as about 1. 30 a box. Wow. And the thing with Creedmoor is you don't really have blasting ammo.

I'm sorry, not a box around it, but yeah, I was going to say those penny auctions are really you probably can't. Sorry, my eyes popped out. And 6. 5 with six, five, you don't really have the blasting ammo like you would in seven, six, two or five, five, six to skew that number either. So it's a pretty, specific hunting or long range around there.

What we've seen though in the last, and it makes sense with the time of year in the last month, we've seen that Climb back up. Sure. Because we were, we're back into, oh, pushing right around a dollar, $60, 70 round right now. So it's coming back up. As you had alluded, penny Auctions can still find you a pretty screaming deal on stuff.

I did see someone had a 500 rounds the other day and the bid at last I saw was sitting somewhere around 79 cents round. I don't know where it closed at, but, but the deals can be found, but absolutely, I think that I think we would see. Attitudes change about the 6. 5 Creedmoor if the army or the Marine [00:23:00] Corps picked it up and used it as a sniper round.

Yeah. Honestly. For sure. Yeah. That was, like we said, that was the kind of the proof of point for the 308 that made it take off. Sure. Yes. When they started trans... WINMAG has already had a... Great reputation, no one questioned the 300 Win Mag, but when they started to transition out of 308 into the 300 Win Mag, that just, added a whole new level to it.

So it, it's going to be curious to see what happens with the new military cartridges and if that trickles back into the hunting world and if suddenly 270s become screaming hot again. Only time will tell. And once time tells, we'll sit back down and talk about it in a future episode, we got to wrap it up, but guys, I appreciate you sitting around the table and all the varied opinions and perspectives that we bring to it.

Cause it, I think it really does help Bring together that whole picture of how people feel about the six five and why they feel that way. We appreciate you guys are on the table. Appreciate all of you who've tuned in and watched and listened. We really do appreciate you being here with us each week.

Make sure you're subscribed on your platform of choice. Leave us some [00:24:00] reviews, some thumbs up, some like some comments. Let us know in the comments where you stand on the 6 5 because it's always interesting to hear, the justifications one way or the other. So we really do want to hear what you think about it.

Tell Logan what IPA he should be drinking. Yeah, no, yeah. Tell me which trash can is best for your IPA. Powderhound. There you go. All right guys that's all we've got here for you today. We will see you right here next week on the next episode of the no low ballers podcast.