Don’t you mean Creedence Clearwater Revival? Not quite, although for anything I choose to target with my 6.5 Creedmoor, playing Bad Moon Rising might seem appropriate. And, the 6.5 Creedmoor certainly does make more than a few of its followers shout hallelujah!
The marriage of case and bullet which gave birth to the 6.5 Creedmoor by Hornady and Creedmoor seems like destiny for target shooters, no matter whether the target is fiber or flesh. Take the short, efficient case design of the .308 and tweak it making it shorter to allow seating the long, sleek 6.5 bullets out closer to the lands while still being within semi-auto rifle magazine overall lengths, push the 20 degree shoulder out to 30, sprinkle tighter tolerances over its first cousin, the 260 Remington and you have a delicious long-range accuracy recipe.
So, for the next year I’ll study, shoot and hunt with the 6.5 Creedmoor on critters big and small, near and far. I’ll do it with a rifle that isn’t the lightest or most modern available. I’m a sucker for old school and after doing a series of stories about Marine Corps Scout Snipers and gun builders, I decided an M40A1 in 6.5 Creedmoor would be interesting. There’s no doubt it will be accurate. I know some will consider it sacrilegious to have a M40A1 built in anything but a 308, and maybe it is, but I also think its going to be fun and I can’t think of a better conduit for the 6.5 Creedmoor than an M40-anything.
Here are some factory load data specifics for a cartridge which mimics the trajectory of a 300 Winchester Magnum minus the attitude. With a 200 yard zero, a 140 grain A-Max factory load from Hornady gives you 7.90 inches of drop at 300 yards and 22.60 inches of drop at 400 yards, and its still cruising at nearly 2000 fps (1995 fps) with 1237 ft-lbs of energy when it whacks your target at 500 yards. Meanwhile, Hornady’s underrated GMX bullet in 6.5mm, a 120 grain penetrating pill of death, flies even better cruising at 2078 fps at 500 yards still packing more than 1000 ft-lbs of energy (1150 ft-lbs) and dropping just 38.30 inches.
My first 6.5 Creedmoor won’t come from Clearwater, Fla.,, it will come from LaBelle, just 155 miles south and east in the Sunshine state. In fact, world-class gun builder David Clark of C&H Precision is hand-building the M40A1 clone for me. The retired Marine wasn’t just a precision weapons builder at Quantico, he was their senior enlisted man. It made my hard-earned money decision easy with the logic – if you’re going to have someone build you a replica M40A1, it might as well be the man who the Marine Corps picked to lead their sniper rifle gun builders. The fact that David’s partner, Buck Holly, helped me decode long-range shooting in the first place made choosing C&H Precision a no-brainer because in an industry were I can have most gun makers at least loan me a rifle long enough to review for free, making the decision to buy a rifle to grow old and die with is about as sincere a compliment a gun writer can give these days.