I grew up in New Jersey where language, or dialect more specifically, made for some relatively… unique understandings. For example, a number of my teen years were spent hustling street races on what was then known to me as “Route 21, Macarta Highway”. Twenty years later, returning from a business trip and on my way home from Newark Airport via Route 21, I saw an old street sign laying in the grass along a rundown industrial stretch of road. The sign read, “McArthur Highway”. So it came as no surprise, that what I once understood to be “The hole is greater than some of its parts”, is actually an expression of Holism, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.,, which has everything to do with the 6.5 Creedmoor chambered Ruger M77 Hawkeye which, during the run of the project, was simply referred to as “The Creedmoor”.
Cause it’s got… personality
From the standpoint of shooting personality, this particular Ruger took on a personality of its own. A few shots were required to make the long barrel hanging out in front feel comfortable and steady when shooting from the standing position with cantilevered arm support. Once settled in, the gun felt natural to point and shoot. The recoil, not non-existent as I had anticipated, was… crisp. A little swat on the shoulder that is by no means disconcerting, but certainly more than the actual 14 or 15 lbs of recoil the top loads generate. It was very much in keeping with the recoil of 130 grain .270 Winchester loads.
The 6.5 Creedmoor is not a barrel burner, so I suspect long barrel life would follow. Using the RealGuns relative overbore calculation, the Creedmoor comes in as being quite mild: 6.5 Creedmoor 12.2, 257 Weatherby 20.8, .264 Winchester 19.3, 270 WSM 18.6, and .270 Winchester 15.7. Despite the light sporter barrel profile, the barrel remained relatively cool during the shooting session and accuracy was unaffected as shots fired accumulated.
The 6.5mm, a magnum amongst compact cartridges…
Range in Yards
|6.5 Creedmoor||Hornady SST||129||Velocity||2950||2757||2571||2393|
|6.5 Grendel||Hornady A-Max||123||Velocity||2620||2435||2257||2087|
|6.8 SPC||Hornady V-Max||110||Velocity||2550||2319||2100||1893|
|.260 Remington||Nosler AccuBond||130||Velocity||2800||2613||2434||2262|
There are larger capacity 6.5mm cartridges, but none that would feed through a short action rifle and provide lots of clearance for slick, heavy high sectional density and high ballistic coefficient bullets that will produce a high degree of retained velocity and energy. The 6.5 Creedmoor does the same for AR 10 type guns and it does a pretty good job of outshooting the .260 Remington in both bolt and autoloader, which is saying a quite a bit.
The factors influencing the 6.5 Creedmoor’s capabilities are covered in The Ruger M77 Hawkeye – 6.5 Creedmoor Part I, however, I will say that the cartridges performance is a joint effort between gun and cartridge manufacturers. In addition to the Ruger Model 77 Hawkeye, Ruger also chambers their M77® Mark II Target rifle with a 28″ barrel and their No.1 Standard with 26″ barrel for the 6.5 Creedmoor. Based on cartridge capacity and performance per inch of barrel, it wouldn’t surprise me if a lightweight 20″ or 22″ barreled M77 might eventually appear. Pure speculation, but it would make a great whitetail gun at 5 lbs and change with…somewhat snappy recoil and report.
Which took me to here…
The 6.5 Creedmoor is an easy cartridge to load and the long barrel of the Ruger M77 allows a choice of powder from fast to slow without the concern of not having enough barrel for complete powder burn. There are lots of bullets to chose from, some more specialized long range hunting and competitive shooting, but these four were selected as being typical for hunting applications.
Not exactly light loads… more toward heavy loads, the gun shoots and cycles reliably, cases grew by no exceptional amount, primers looked pristine… with the exception of the telltale dent in their finish. Report was a little loud, the 6.5 Creedmoor has a pretty good bark, but nothing serious. The Hornady SSTs, seated out above the cannelure, had a distinct sound, almost a slight echo. Nothing wrong, just different.
|Sierra HP Varminter||100||0.930||2.580||Re17||47.5||3333||2467||0.90|
|Sierra HP Varminter||100||0.930||2.580||
I was impressed with the accuracy. The groups were shot from a forearm rest, but no aft rest or bags and there weren’t a lot of discarded handload attempts before arriving at those that worked well. The trigger felt good. It may be non-adjustable and a bit heavy with just over a five pound pull, but the release came with a surprise… which is a good thing. Crisp, no creep, no speed bumps to navigate.
The combination of the Ruger Model 77 Hawkeye and Hornady’s 6.5 Creedmoor is another example of a pretty nifty rifles coming out of a consortium of the two companies. Hornady seems to be able to design and produce useful and modern cartridges at will and Ruger seems to know how best to take advantage of the cartridge’s potential. The results are always good for the shooting community, even if they are not meant for every shooting opportunity.
In sporter version, I could see this cartridge as an excellent choice for antelope or deer, where shots are long and in the open, and bullet stability and resistance to wind deflection are of consequence. A 22″, or even 20″ version, would easily make for an excellent woods rifle that could go the extra distance if a longer shop presented itself. For a handloader, like myself, getting 155 rounds out of canister of powder with this level of performance is perfect and 0.264″ bullets are relatively inexpensive. Yup, nice job on the parts of Ruger and Hornady. Interesting combination.