Inside the gun community there are always talks about which is the better caliber, such as .308 vs the .243 or 9mm against the .45 ACP. Then of course there’s the long range rock star competitive round 6.5 Creedmoor against the .223/5.56 combat load issue of the military and well known among recreational shooters.
For those in hunting and competitive long range shooting circles all know that there isn’t much to compare when viewed only through long range superiority. Now for hunting or home defense there are some considerations. Lets take a look at some basic factors for hunting, home defense/tactical and competitive shooting. Ballistics Coefficient
At a first glance from this comparison the 6.5 Creedmoor stands out from a ballistics standpoint for precision long range. The 6.5 Creedmoor stands out in many ways such as sectional density.
Sectional density is about longer and thinner bullets that are more aerodynamic than short fat ones. Therefore, high sectional Density bullets have a higher Ballistic Coefficient (BC) than low sectional density bullets.
Quality .223 bullets have about .400 BC. The CM has .510 BC, many higher end 6.5 Creedmoor bullets are even better.
For precision long range shooting the 6.5 Creedmoor bullet is less likely to drift in the wind and lose velocity.
Knock Down Power
This is sort of a controversial subject in itself. Can stopping and knockdown power be measured? There are numbers info on this such as:
6.5 Creedmoor – 123 grn bullet has a muzzle velocity of 2700 – 2900 fps depending on powder type
.223 – 36 gr 1,124 ft-lbf
55 gr 1,282 ft-lbf
55-grain bullets has a muzzle velocity of 2,784 fps
Does this really translate to knockdown power? Terminal performances isn’t related to kinetic energy. Here’s another analogy, here’s an average football player at 230 lbs and sprints at 25.5 FPS which can produce 2020 ft-lbs of energy. A 190gr bullet moving at 2200FPS produces almost identical energy. Which is more likely to take down an Elk?
Still don’t see the picture?
A 490 grain Broad-head arrow traveling at 225 Feet Per Second (FPS) has a kinetic energy of 55 ft-lbs. A 1 Pound Gel filled bag launched at 60 FPS has a Kinetic Energy of 55 ft-lbs.
Same kinetic energy. One can kill deer, but the other would have trouble killing a squirrel. Energy doesn’t matter.
If you’re hunting small game like a coyote it doesn’t matter if you’re running the .223 or 6.5 CM. But if you’re trying to harvest a deer or bigger like an elk, the .223 is too small, plus for ethical reasons.
Again, going back to sectional density, the 6.5 Creedmoor prevails over the .223 in more penetration and momentum. At distance inside 300 yards the 6.5 CM and the .308 are equal.
Yes, with a custom 6.5 CM rifle, 24″ barrel with 1:8″ twist can put down a game at 800 – 1000yd. But in reality, most hunters will ever hit targets past 200 yards. Another fact that many don’t know, the 6.5 millimeter round have been used in hunting for over 100 years on bears and moose in Scandinavia.
The .223/5.56 was design for close quarter combat with the low recoil, multiple shots can get on target quickly. The 6.5 CM was design for going up against the .308 in competitive long distance shooting.
But what about barrier penetration? Is this a thing to consider for home defense? Some thoughts on this is that most home defense scenario is not going to be room to room fighting in your home. This is what we usually see in the movies.
For the soldier, yes its something to consider, fighting from a cover position is part of the job description for house to house clearing.
Overall, the .223 does not have good penetration compared to the 6.5 CM. Some preppers and defender groups would probably go with the 6.5 CM even though its not the ideal general purpose combat round, but it is better than the .223.
For competitive shooting the .223 is used in 3 Gun comp. The distance is at short ranges out to 50 yards, the emphasis is on speed hitting. Whereas our 6.5 Creedmoor is on the long range that mainly competes with other long range calibers like the .243 and the mighty .308. Design for the long range the bullet is sleeker with less recoil to help them win matches. Two shooting sport one for short range and the other long range that requires the sniper skill.
The 6.5 CM seems to be the round for the many tasks. But, if budget was the case for making a decision to invest in. The 6.5 CM round costs more than the .223.
A box of 20 6.5 CM costs around $6.00. A .223 box of 20 is about $5.00. A dollar differences, if you wanted a better deal then do some searches at Cabelas or Brownells website.
If you know your’e only going after small varmints or target shooting only at 100 yards. You should just stick with .223. If money is not an issue then get both. Swapping out for a 6.5 CM is a breeze with an AR platform. Target shooting with the .223 and for your hunting the 6.5 CM will take care of business.