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Ruger’s M77 Hawkeye 6.5 Creedmoor Part II Leaf blowers, rocket packs and deer at 1,000 yards

06/20/2021

Appropriate choices are a part of life… hunting… driving a car… ordering at the drive through window at Jack in the Box when fine dining is on the menu. Take the task of leaf removal for someone who lives in the middle of a forest.

For the past eight years, my old 24cc Hitachi leaf blower could barely blow out a birthday calendar with its 441 CFM @ 170 MPH expulsion of air. If clearing leaves began in early spring, say late March, the job would be completed, literally, by the following December. Yes, I do know the difference between “literally” and “figuratively”. No, you tell me first and I’ll tell you if you are correct.

This year; 66cc Husqvarna back pack leaf blower,  972 CFM @ 236 MPH. Yes, it does weight twice as much as the Hitachi, but it is worn on a harness, rather than held in one hand, and it won’t need to be carried for long. Beside, when I get bored blowing leaves, I can pretend I am hovering over an asteroid, strapped into a rocket pack.

But most deer are not shot at 1,000 yards

1,000 yard competition is discussed and analyzed by many firearm owners but, as a percentage, shot by very few. Long range shooting, in one form or another, has been around since before cartridge firearms. NRA F-Class sporter rifle competitors shoot at a 6’x6′ target with a 10″ ten ring and a 5″ bullseye.

I am not drawn to this type of shooting for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that I have to squint to see the mailbox at the end of the driveway and it is only 100 yards away. The second reason is that… I don’t really know… other than I find shooting a couple to three hundred yards in an unstructured hunting setting where topography is varied, crosswinds are not predictable and shooting distances must be estimated to be a greater personal challenge.

So when I pick up a rifle chambered for the 6.5 Creedmoor, it is not a 1,000 yard F-Class entry. It is just another 308 Winchester based hot rod cartridge that should be excellent for deer hunting. Yes, I realize that boondoggle@shootemup.com has advise you that the 6.5 Creedmoor is based on the 30 TC, but the 30 TC’s parent is the 308 Winchester. Besides, the 30 TC… like a 1968 Mustang with a 390 HP 427 CI engine, is talked about but seen by few.

6.5 Creedmoor expanding bullets

Other than the Hornady ELD-X, these bullets are… pedestrian. However, they are also of excellent quality, work over a range of 6.5mm cartridges and produce good accuracy. I use them routinely in handloads for the 6.5×55, 260 Rem, 6.5 Creedmoor, and 264 Win Mag.

Bullet Type Grains B.C. 6.5 Creedmoor Application
Sierra Varminter JHP 100 0.259 Medium Game
Sierra Pro-Hunter SP 120 0.264 Medium Game
Nosler Partition SP 125 0.449 Medium Game
Prvi Partizan SP 139 0.263 Medium & Large Game
Hornady ELD-X PT 143 0.625 Medium & Large Game

Sierra rates their 100 grain Varminter as OK for deer size game, except in concert with the 264 Winchester Magnum where it is deemed too fragile for close in shots. Personally, it works well on the coyote population and similar size animals where meat and/or hide recovery is not germane.

The Sierra Pro-Hunter 120 grain is rated by that company for the same applications as the 100 grain Sierra Varminter, but without the 264 Winchester caveat. It is effective on hogs, deer, pronghorn and virtually anything else in that weight and muscle class.

The Nosler is similarly rated, however, the “H” type jacket and tough jacket make for deeper penetration. A good ballistic coefficient gives this bullet longer range, even if Nosler stops short of recommending it for heavier game. For heavier game like elk, Nosler recommends the 140 grain version of this bullet.

Privi Partizan is a tough jacketed bullet that penetrates deeply and expands well in heavy body game. It is not the most slippery bullet, but in tree riddled Maine, it has more than enough reach. When available, the price is typically low and quality is high.

The Hornady ELD-X bullet is my only concession to excess. Super slippery, a poly tip construction that can handle the heat of orbital reentry. Long in length, the ELD-X is intended to be used in concert with at a 1:8″ rifling twist. One of the solid benefits of this bullet’s construction is that it will provide controlled expansion close in at high velocity, but also at long range and lesser velocity.

At approximately 50 cents each, I would say it is a pricey bullet, but in the current world of opportunistically elevated prices and short supply, the price is hardly worth a blink. Personally, when I see “New! Super Duper Design! Space Age Materials!” I just buy the same old bullets that have worked for me over the past 60+ years of hunting. I don’t like being hustled. Anyway…

Warning: Bullet selections are specific, and loads are not valid with substitutions of different bullets of the same weight. Variations in bullet length will alter net case capacity,  pressure and velocity. Primer selection is specific and primer types are not interchangeable. These are maximum loads in my firearms and may be excessive in others. All loads should be reduced by 5% as a starting point for development where cartridges have greater than 40 grains in capacity and 10% for cartridges with less than 40 grain capacity following safe handloading practices as represented in established mainstream reloading manuals. Presentation of these loads does not constitute a solicitation for their use, nor a recommendation.

6.5 Creedmoor – MAP 62 KPSIII
Firearm Ruger Hawkeye
Barrel Length 24.0″ 1:8″ Twist
Max Case Length 1.920″ +0.000″/-0.020″
Min – Max COL 2.700″ – 2.825″
Primer CCI 250 – LRM
Bullet Diameter 0.2644″ +0.000″/-0.0030″
Reloading Dies Hornady
Bullet Type Bullet
Weight

Grains
Net H2O
Grains
Capacity
COL” Powder Type Powder
Charge

Grains
Muzzle
Velocity

fps
Muzzle
Energy

ft/lbs
100 YD
3 Shot
Group”
Sierra Varminter 100 48.4 2.580 RL 17 47.5 3382 2540 0.7
Sierra Varminter 100 48.4 2.580 H414 49.0 3360 2507 0.8
Sierra Varminter 100 48.4 2.580 Norma 203-B 42.5 3307 2429 0.3
Sierra Pro-Hunter 120 47.9 2.740 RL 17 45.0 3061 2497 0.8
Sierra Pro-Hunter 120 47.9 2.740 Superformance 48.5 3105 2570 0.5
Sierra Pro-Hunter 120 47.9 2.740 Norma URP 45.0 3023 2436 0.3
Nosler Partition 125 47.3 2.790 RL 16 44.0 3005 2507 0.4
Nosler Partition 125 47.3 2.790 RL 17 45.0 3012 2519 0.6
Nosler Partition 125 47.3 2.790 Win 760 45.0 2987 2477 0.8
Prvi Partizan 139 46.9 2.740 RL 16 42.0 2847 2502 0.9
Prvi Partizan 139 46.9 2.740 RL 17 43.0 2855 2516 0.8
Prvi Partizan 139 46.9 2.740 Norma URP 42.5 2814 2445 0.7
Hornady ELD-X 143 44.3 2.800 RL 16 41.0 2844 2569 0.3
Hornady ELD-X 143 44.3 2.800 RL 17 42.0 2823 2531 0.4
Hornady ELD-X 143 44.3 2.800 Norma URP 41.5 2783 2460 0.6

Notes: I am sometimes criticized for not leaving copious notes defining my process. So some meaningful notes regarding this data. I did not smoke or drink for the duration of the exercise. I find that both or either activity will be counter productive to the objective.

Don’t skip the warning notice leading into the handload section. If it wasn’t important, I would not have included it.

Don’t request copious notes with handload data. In the first place, handloading takes skill, judgement and interpretation. As any and/or all components may change from one production lot to another… dimension, weight and volume… detail handling notes would probably not apply to you… interpretation and adaptation of information is important.

I got a new leaf blower. Isn’t that really what is important?

Conclusion

The Ruger Hawkeye Predator is an outstanding firearm; looks good, shoots good and it should last a lifetime as a hunting rifle. The 6.5 Creedmoor can probably replace most cartridges from 243 Winchester through to 308 Winchester. I think that about says it all.

6.5 Creedmoor – Hunting Handload Data

Warning: Bullet selections are specific, and loads are not valid with substitutions of different bullets of the same weight. Variations in bullet length will alter net case capacity,  pressure and velocity. Primer selection is specific and primer types are not interchangeable. These are maximum loads in my firearms and may be excessive in others. All…

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