With the MSR-10 riﬂes for hunting and long-range shooting, Savage Arms gives shooters some excellent choices.
Story by Craig Hodgkins | Photos by Savage Arms
Savage Arms’ line of next-generation semiautos comes to the marketplace with an attitude – the company has cleverly co-opted the MSR acronym for branding the guns, using the tagline “MSR now stands for Modern Savage Riﬂe” – but the guns are poised to deliver in the ﬁeld and on the range as well, with everything from expanded caliber choices and badass designs to a full suite of custom upgrades packaged as standard features.
The new MSR-10 Hunter is part of a four-gun family of next-gen semiautos from Savage Arms. (Inset) The Long Range ships with one 10-round magazine (foreground) and the Hunter uses a 20-rounder.
Although the four-gun family includes two MSR-15 models in 5.56mm (the Recon and Blackhawk), our focus here will be on a dynamic duo of aptly named, hard-hitting MSR-10s, the Hunter and the Long Range. And while the company’s slick new AR-15 riﬂes are already gaining a reputation as straight shooters, the chance to zero in on building a better AR-10 was a perfect ﬁt for Savage – oﬀering opportunities to play to the brand’s strengths, including longrange accuracy and innovation.
SAVAGE MAY BE BEST KNOWN for its extensive collection of bolt-actions for hunting, competitive shooting and plain old plinking, but the company has also been in the AR business, oﬀ and on, for years, quietly creating custom barrels for other manufacturers.
Simply put, the AR-10 platform oﬀered Savage engineers a chance to innovate. According to Al Caspar, president of Savage Arms, “One of the stumbling blocks to unbridled creativity with the AR15 platform is the nagging need for conformity – in other words, keeping the riﬂe compatible with a variety of accessories. With AR-10s, there are far fewer such constraints. Savage engineers were able to think outside the box to bring gamechanging features to both the MSR Hunter and MSR Long Range.”
While developing its modern, precision AR-10s, Savage also addressed other longstanding shortcomings of MSRs designed for larger cartridges.
“For example,” Caspar added, “AR10s have traditionally been heavy, bulky and unwieldy. We tackled these issues head-on, shaving oﬀ unnecessary weight and trimming size with a smaller, lighter chassis that strikes a perfect balance between performance, ﬁt and function. As a result, both the MSR-10 Hunter and MSR-10 Long Range feature a compact AR-10 design that feels and handles more like an AR-15.”
The buttstock on the MSR-10 Long Range is a Magpul PRS Gen3.
“Savage’s AR-10s also feature custom-forged uppers and lowers for a look unlike anything aﬁeld or on the range, plus a free-ﬂoating forend that locks down so tight you can bridge a scope mount from forend to receiver with no loss of accuracy. Tactical Blackhawk! grips, buttstock and ﬂip up sights are also standard.”
Professional 3-gun competitor Patrick Kelley knows a thing or ﬁve about the needs of long-range shooters, and he knows the Long Range model well, having been involved in early testing of the gun.
“It’s got all the cool features that a free gunner would want in one package,” said Kelley at the recent SHOT Show in Las Vegas. “A longer gas system, 5R-riﬂed barrel, Melonite coating, 22-inch barrel length for 6.5 Creedmoor, 20-inch in .308 Win. An M-Lok hand guard.”
Dead Foot Arms
“The upper and lower are both proprietary,” Kelley added, “and shorter in length, which allows us to make the gun more compact, bring the center of balance back closer to the center line of the shooter, which makes for better handling. The bolt carrier group is also lighter than a standard bolt carrier group. Again, less reciprocating mass means a lower recall impulse.” “It’s got every feature in it it should have,” Kelley concluded, “at a price point that will make you smile and make you want it all the more. (This) riﬂe has all the cool features that little boutique gun makers can do, but in one riﬂe from a large manufacturer: Savage Arms.”
A closer look at the muzzle of the Long Range model.
BOTH MSR-10S ARE AVAILABLEin .308 Win. and 6.5 Creedmoor chamberings, each of which oﬀers applications in hunting and long-range shooting. The .308 Win. is a ﬁne all-around choice for big game, not to mention a top traditional pick of snipers and other long-range shooters. A relative newcomer, the 6.5 Creedmoor is a long-range performer developed for target shooting but perfectly capable in hunting applications as well.
The nonreciprocating side charging handle on the Long Range model.
Savage tailored barrel length to caliber and purpose. The .308 Win. version of the MSR-10 Hunter sports a 16-inch barrel (and weighs just 7.5 pounds), while the 6.5 Creedmoor Hunter carries an 18-inch barrel. MSR10 Long Range barrel lengths are 20 inches for the .308 Win. and 22 inches with 6.5 Creedmoor.
Regardless of length, all barrels are button-riﬂed and paired to their particular action with Savage’s obsessive attention to precise headspace control. To further enhance accuracy while reducing fouling, the bore features innovative 5R riﬂing. And to extend barrel life, Savage applies an ultradurable, Melonite QPQ surface hardening treatment inside and out.
Although the MSR-10 Hunter hit the market too late for extensive range testing before our monthly print deadline, American Shooting Journal columnist (and current cover boy) Mike Dickerson enjoyed obvious success with the brand-new gun on a recent west Texas hog hunt. (MIKE DICKERSON)
With roughly 10 million modern sporting riﬂes already in the hands of American gun owners, there’s no denying the platform’s appeal for a variety of uses. And, after talking to thousands of shooters online and in person at ranges across the continent, Savage knew exactly where to aim with their new line. The company is convinced that both new MSR-10s will quickly ﬁnd a place in the hands and hearts of discerning shooters, and with early results trending so favorably, it would be hard to argue otherwise.AmSJ
Renowned long distance shooter Paul Phillips successfully made a 6,000-yard shot using a custom rifle chambered in .416 Barrett.
Paul started shooting as a young boy, with his trusty Daisy BB gun by his side. By age 13, he was hunting small game and going afield with his father. At the age of 18, Paul joined the United Sates Marine Corps as an Infantryman. He learned the art of long range shooting as a member of 1/1 scout sniper platoon, and earned his Combat Action Ribbon with Task Force Papa Bear in 1991. After leaving the service, Paul earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University, and began competitive target shooting.
Another seasoned shooter Bill Poor made big news in shooting circles when he successfully pulled off a 3-mile (5,280 yards) shot near Midland, Texas back in 2018. Well, Paul Phillips outdid him with an eye-popping 6,000-yard shot on January 20, 2019.
Phillips was shooting a custom rifle chambered in .416 Barrett firing 550-grain Cutting Edge bullets. His target was a steel plate 32″ tall and 48″ wide, 6,102 yards away.
From a 100-yard zero the shot needed 625 MOA of elevation. As you can see in the video, 10 degrees of barrel angle was necessary to hit the target at that extreme range. You can skip to 1:37 in the video where Paul makes the shot below.
To give you an idea of just how far 6,000 yards is, with a muzzle velocity of 3,000 feet per second, that round took 17 seconds to reach the target!
In addition to breaking Bill Poor’s unofficial record of 3 miles, Phillips’ 6,000 yard shot also surpassed the impressive shooting achievements of retired Navy SEAL SEAL Charles Melton (2.84 miles/5,000 yards) in 2017 as well as the Hill Country Rifle Team (3,800-yards in 2015 and 4,210-yards in 2016).
If you’re into precision long range shooting or hunting, you might want to listen to this guy. He’s a former USMC sniper. The following is an excerpt from Caylen Wojcik while he was on a training shoot, he shares with us malfunctions that happens while you’re in the midst of shooting and goes over on what you can do about it.
This was an awesome stage, and I thought it was well thought out. This one involved 4 targets: 2 on the north side of the firing line, and 2 on the south side of the firing line. Targets on the north were 200 yards and 530 yards. Targets on the south were 300 yards and 690 yards.
There’s a lot going on here, and I made some mistakes, namely a shooter-induced double feed malfunction.
This begs the question: do you practice for malfunction clearances?
For me, it’s pretty much second nature. If the bolt doesn’t go all the way forward, there’s clearly something wrong. What’s the answer? It’s simple, unload, then reload. If for whatever reason, there’s any chance that there’s a cartridge in the chamber, it’s good practice to go through a full cycle of operation with the bolt to clear that case before you shove a fresh magazine in there and cause the same problem all over again.
In this case, I knew that I had short-stroked the bolt and that all the junk was going to fall out as soon as the magazine was gone.
Something else that got me on this one was forgetting that the second target on the north side only needed 2 rounds, and I chambered a third, which I needed to eject. I took it with me just in case I had another malfunction to deal with.
We should always have, at a minimum, two magazines with us at all times for situations like this. We can save an immense amount of time by going to a fresh magazine in the event the one in use becomes fouled, and not mess around with the one that just caused you problems.
This a pure training point; knowing how your rifle feels when things don’t go as planned and having the experience to know exactly how to fix the problem.
With this sound advice you can apply this into your shooting regimen. Whether you compete, hunt or just like shooting long range. Knowing how to clear your malfunctions should be ingrained into your muscle memory.
Training snippets by Caylen Wojcik
#Gunwerks #Leupold Optics PROOF Research Area 419 Hornady Triggertech #fundamentalist #precisionshooting #longrangehunting #precisionrifle #kalinskiconsulting
We can compare bolt action rifle and semi-auto by specs, but it doesn’t tell the full story of which rifle to go with. Another approach is to setup a course of fire that simulates an environment where you would have to utilize the skills necessary for precision long range shooting. That is calculating windage, elevation, etc, with targets at various ranges and timed. (considered a better way to test)
So what does this have to do for the folks into hunting. This all depends on what you’re hunting and the prize that you’re going after. Maybe, its land management where you have to get rid of hogs or coyotes.
Walt Wilkenson of Gunsite, a former Special Ops marksman and Larry Vicker will be shooting with a .308 Surgeon and an SR-25 from Knights Armament in this shoot off. The .308 Surgeon rifle concept comes from customizing a Remington 700 action which makes the rifle very reliable and offers great performances.
After seeing this course of fire you can figure out which rifle you would need to get the job done. Ok, here’s the course of fire explanation.
The video below shows three different courses of fire, the third one is what you want to pay attention to as this is probably the best to test the competency between the bolt and semi-auto rifle. So the explanation of the course is off of the 3rd course of fire shown in the video. (16:28 time)
Walt explains the first course that places several large steel targets at closer range (200 to 300 yards).
Second course has smaller target setup at farther distance.
Two guys up front on a wedge, and three guys in the back in a wedge. This simulates that they know there’s a sniper in the area and they’ve gone prone and made themselves a much more difficult target to hit, a shoulders-and-head sized target.
Larry goes through the course of fire shooting both rifles while being timed.
-Bolt rifle time was at 29 seconds to complete.
-Semi-auto rifle time was at 27 seconds to complete.
As you can tell with a semi-auto its all about how quickly you can engage the next target if needed to. Where as if you’re going after that 20 pointer and out at a great distance, go with a good bolt rifle.
Larry:TacTV fans, we’re back out here at Gunsight for a classic Small Arms dilemma. Bolt-action vs. Semi Automatic 308 shootoff. Hooking back up with my good buddy Walt Wilkinson, retired special-forces Sgt. major, who acts as an instructor here at gunsight. We’re gonna stretch both guns out, see how they shake out head-to-head. Definitely not gonna wanna miss this episode of TacTV.
Larry:The 308 Bolt gun I wanted to use this year on TacTV is actually a custom bolt-action rifle. One of the things I want to tap into that’s still a trend that’s ongoing, and a few years ago it’s really the way you more or less had to get a surgically accurate boltgun. You essentially took a Remington 700 action, trashed everything but the action and the bolt itself and possibly the trigger mechanism, and you sent it off to a gunsmith, and he put a high-speed barrel on it, bottom metal, custom stock, the whole nine yards, and essentially built it like a lot of guys do with a custom 1911. What’s happened is, that’s spawned the natural evolution of companies looking at ‘how can we upgrade the action, instead of taking a run-of-the-mill Remington 700 action and customize it, let’s take that concept and upgrade it.’ And the one that in my opinion defines that concept is Surgeon. They’ve taken the Remington 700 Action, taken it to a whole nother level. Extremely well-made, has a built-in Picatinny rail, EDM Raceways, they put a lot of features in it that kinda no matter how much money you spent on a Remington 700 action, you would not be able to put it into the gun. And it kinda becomes the benchmarks for a custom actions for people that have custom bolt-action rifles built. I contacted the Surgeon guys, and I kinda specced out a gun more or less that I saw on their website. This particular barrel has a Krieger barrel, one in ten twist Krieger barrel with a surefire flash suppressor up front that interfaces to a suppessor that I already have in my inventory, my buddy Randy Pennington at Mile High Shooting Accessories supplied the Nightforce 3 1/2-15 scope for a mount, my personal favorite, and a stock that really caught my eye when I was looking on the Surgeon website, the J-Allen Enterprises stock, and they even added a TacTV logo, for LAV.
Larry:This is a really slick gun, and I can tell you first-hand, if you’re looking for a custom bolt-action Sniper Rifle, Surgeon is gonna be a hard one to beat.
Larry:Alright, for the Semiautomatic 308 rifle, for this particular episode, I decided to go with the Knights Armament SR25 Carbine. It has a 16-inch barrel, and this particular variant has the dimples to lighten it up. Now I taught a battle rifles class in Florida last November, November 2012, and most of the class, including myself, was running the Knights Armament SR25 Carbines, and to be honest with you, I was extremely impressed at how well the gun shot, and how reliable they were. This is a pretty impressive gun, and Knights has spent a lot of time debugging this thing and getting it up to speed.
Larry:I know first-hand there’s guys in special operations are going to a smaller gun like this, verses a full-size M110 or SR25. That allows them to maneuver the gun in confined spaces, or if they have to do CQB, it gives them the ability to do it. Now, I would want a scope like the Schmidt and Bender 1-4, something allows me to get down closer to one power and as a red-dot sight, but I wanted to try out one of the new Kahles scopes. This is a Kahles 3-12. Kahles was a player to some degree years ago in the Sniper Rifle optic market, and for a number of years they got out of it. Just recently, they’ve reintroduced some optics to get back in the game. I wanted to try one out, they’ve always been world-famous for excellent optics, we’ll see how this shakes out when I shoot it in terms of actual use. Now, of course, I’ve mounted it to the rifle with the spur mount, my personal favorite, and I also have a set of the Knights Armament flip-up offset sights, so in case for whatever reason the optic was trashed and you couldn’t get it off, you could use the Iron Sights for close-range engagements.
Walt: Five rounds, one at a time, take your time, focus on the reticle.
Larry:Alright, going hot.
Walt: Don’t think about the next one, don’t think about the last one.
Walt: Last one. [Bang] Alright. Let’s go measure it. That’s a good group at 300. Let’s kinda look what we’ve got here… Center to center, three. Right on. One MOA group, three-hundred in this variable wind. Switch guns.
Larry:Alright, goin’ hot.
Walt: Unload and Clear.
Walt: Alright, as we were discussing, definitely a lot lower.
Walt: We had a lot more variable wind during this string than we did with the bolt gun. Without that one flier, that’s three and a quarter, so still, you know.
Larry:Not a bad group.
Walt: That’s doable.
Larry:Good, now we’re heading over to the four-hundred?
Walt: Right. We’ll start working four to eight.
Larry:Good, let’s do it.
Larry:Alright Walt, you got me out here on Long Range Ridge, take me through what’s up first.
Walt: Ok, this is firing point number one, Larry. We as a team will go through and mill these targets, come up with a range, dial that up on the scope, then engage them. Now our basic ranges run here from… I’m gonna say, 350 to 875.
Walt: Anywhere in-between those. Each one of these firing points up here has five targets. Ok
Walt: So we have to search ’em, talk, mill it, dial it, read the wind, and then hit.
Larry:Shoot it. Well we also have another name for this, right?
Walt: To the students, this turns into ‘Frustration Ridge’. Targets are a lot smaller than what they do before, and the wind going across from this hilltop across the valley to the other ridge line is sometimes–well, always, hard to read.
Larry:Well, I’m looking forward to it. Let’s do it.
Walt: Alright, let’s get in position.
Walt: Larry, let’s start searching for targets.
Larry:I see something right off the bat.
Walt: Ok, where at?
Larry:It appears to be a pepper-popper shape underneath a tree.
Walt: Alright I see what you’re talking about, right arond Reference Point 1. That’s twelve inches wide across the chest, what do you mil it at?
Larry:Like, a .75, .8.
Walt: That puts it right about at 450. Dial 3.2.
Walt: Tell me when you’re ready.
Larry:I am ready.
Walt: Favor left.
Walt: Down. Point-five left. Point five.
Walt: Good hit.
Walt: Okay, Larry. I’ve got a second target. That Juniper bush at the center of reference point one, look at ten O-clock, and you should catch one there.
Larry:Yeah I see it.
Walt: Alright. Larry. Dial 3.9.
Walt: Alright, tell me when you’re ready.
Walt: Left, point-three.
Walt: Favor right. [Fire] …That particular target is hard to hit, because it’s the perfect color of the background.
Walt: Plus, for a spotter, if you don’t catch the trace, you’re not gonna see where the bullet hits in that vegitation.
Larry:Yep. You’re kinda screwed.
Walt: Alright, let’s scan for our next one.
Larry:I see one up at checkpoint 2
Walt: Alright. Larry, Dial 6.7
Larry:Got it. 6.7
Walt: Shooter ready…Left, .5
Walt: Good shot, Larry.
Walt: Alright, Larry, got another target. The top of the dirt right at the edge of the woods, there’s a log. You see the target behind it?
Walt: Alright, let’s dial 8.2. 8.2. Alright, tell me when you’re ready.
Larry:I am ready.
Walt: Left. Point-six.
Walt: Mighta been. I lost the trace due to the muzle blast on the dirt. Sounded good though.
Larry:Sounded good and I didn’t see any kick-up!
Walt: Alright, looks good! Larry, I’ve got our last target.
Walt: Alright, look behind the stump off center-right.
Larry:Well, it’s very hard to make out. Appears to have a green head, and a brown body.
Walt: Alright, that’s it. Extrapolatin’. Larry, dial six-point-zee-ro.
Walt: Left. Point-five. [Fire]…No joy.
Walt: Left. Point-eight! [Fire] …Absolutely nothin’. Hard one to hit! No background, hard to see.
Larry:Yeah, looks like he lived to fight another day.
Walt: That completes all the targets here. Let’s move.
Larry:Cool. That’s a serious course of fire.
Larry:The first lineup here on long-range ridge was very challenging. I saw right off the bat what Walt was talking about, calling this Frustration Ridge. The targets were very difficult to see. With the naked eye, to be honest with you, they were almost impossible, you had to get down behind the glass and really search, and he had to guide me into a few where I wouldn’t have found them. Remember we’re shooting at Pepper Poppers down range. They’re like twelve inches wide, several hundred yards downrange. And if you miss it on that particular target, you have no real reading on where the shot’s going, unless your shot went low and kicked up dirt, in that case, you went over the shoulder or over top or around the side, and it basically went into the trees. We had no feedback on where the rounds were going. As a matter of fact, the last target was extremely hard to see, hiding behind a stump and, to be honest with you, I barely made it out. He had higher magnification with the spotting scope, and made all the difference in the world. Very, very challenging course of fire.
Larry:Walt, I’m gonna go way out on a limb here, say this is position 2.
Walt: You have learned something this morning, Larry. Ok, this is in fact position 2. Alright, varies a little bit: Targets are a little bit inside what we shot over on position 1, they stand out a little more, but still, you’re gonna have to work for ’em.
Larry:And I can tell, you know, the wind’s picked up.
Walt: Yes, we’ve got a [wind?] coming in, eight gusting to thirteen or so, though, so we’re gonna have to be quick on the wind call, and quick on the trigger.
Larry:Well I’ve got the bolt gun out here, we’re gonna fire it up, see how it rolls.
Walt: Well you’re gonna need it.
Larry:Alright, cool. Here we go.
Walt: Ok, let’s start searching for targets!
Larry:Ok, right off the bat, there’s one down here on the low-right.
Walt: I’m on it, go ahead and mill it for me.
Larry:It looks like .9.
Walt: I can live with .9. Dial one-point-nine.
Walt: Alright. Shooter ready?
Walt: Favor left! [Bang] Whack. Good hit.
Walt: Okay, you had a second target.
Larry:Yeah, base of the tree.
Walt: Ok, to the left of reference point one, right there, ok. Dial 2.8 for me.
Walt: Shooter ready. Left. Point-four.
Walt: Down, point-five. Favor left.
Walt: Good job. That looks done.
Larry:So obviously the first went right over.
Walt: Yep. Over the shoulder.
Walt: Alright, Larry. Got another target.
Walt: Go to a reference point one.
Walt: From the top of that tree, come up two and a half mils.
Walt: Got it right there?
Walt: Alright. Dial five-point-four.
Larry:Got it. 5.4.
Walt: Shooter ready?
Walt: Left point-six.
Walt: Left, point-two.
Walt: Good hit. Alright, Larry, got another target.
Walt: 14 mils left. See him on the left-hand side of the juniper?
Larry:Yep. Yeah, stripe? Diagonal stripe?
Walt: Yeeep. Good. You’re on him. Dial six-point-eight for me.
Larry:Got it. Six-eight.
Walt: Left, one mil. [Bang] Oh, baby. Left. Point five. [Bang] Oh, come on, wind. We’re gettin’ killed. Left, point-eight. [Bang…twang!] Finally.
Larry:Money shot! Alright, hey, uh, Walt, I think I got the last one.
Walt: Alright, where at?
Larry:Ok, down from the last engaged target, go left twelve mils.
Walt: Alright, I’m on it. Alright. Dial five-point-eight.
Walt: Five eight. Shooter ready?
Walt: Left. Point-seven. [Bang]… We’ll adjust as-is. Left, point-four. [Bang] Left, one mil. [Bang] …Klang.
Walt: That’s all five. We’ve got ’em all.
Larry:Second course of fire we hit after lunch, wind had picked up. Now, one thing that was in our favor was the targets were much easier to see. What did work against us though, was shooting across this ravine, and the winds got really squirrley, especially the further out we got. The Scalpel handled pretty well, it was an extremely accurate gun, but it was a very challenging course of fire, and it was because of the atmospherics.
Larry:Alright Walt, before the end of the day, we’ve got a third position, correct?
Walt: Correct. What I’ve done here Larry at position three is set up two courses of fire. The first course of fire: Larger targets, slightly closer ranges, which should lend itself to the semi doing better. The second course of fire: LaRue much smaller, and at a greater distance, which should give the advantage to the bolt gun. Now what I’ve got set up, basic same configuration for both runs: Two guys up front on a wedge, and three guys back in the back in a wedge.
Larry:And the theory I guess with the LaRues is, they know there’s a sniper in the area and they’ve gone underground and I guess– they’ve made themselves a much more difficult target to hit.
Walt: Right. So what you’ve got is just kind of a shoulders-and-head sized target, which is what you would have if the guy was in the prone. Let’s knock it out.
Larry:Let’s do it.
Dave: Sniper ready. Stand by… [Beep]
Walt: Give it more wind. Less wind. Perfect wind, do it again. More wind. Ooh, that’s it good shooting.
Larry:That last one got away, was it wind that got me?
Walt: You were right ‘n right. You got the rest of ’em really good.
Larry:So what was the final time, Dave?
Dave: That run was just over twenty-seven seconds.
Dave: Sniper ready. Stand by. [Beep]
Walt: Hit. Hit. Hit. Going to right. Hit. Far one on the left. Hit.
Larry:That’s why it’s called the Scalpel!
Walt: Good shootin’.
Dave: Walt, that one was just over twenty-nine seconds.
Walt: Twenty-nine seconds. Good time. Can’t beat that with a stick.
Walt’s master plan worked! Semi-auto Vs. bolt gun.
Larry:Alright Walt, you’ve been around the block, give me your thoughts right off the top of your head, 308 bolt gun Vs. semi-auto.
Walt: Bolt gun single-purpose. That’s it. When you have to have a great degree of accuracy. Other than that, that’s all it can really do. Semi, it’s a multi-mission gun. If you have to carry it as part of a team, or you need to put it into a designated marksman role, you have the ability to do both.
Larry:That’s why you see so much in the military, particularly in 308 when they have the option available, they’re going more in that direction, and they’re getting more and more away from 308 bolt guns.
Walt: If you have multiple targets, and you’re trying to run the action as quickly as possible, with a 308 you’re going to be able to manage the recoil, and get on the second target quickly.
Larry:Now here’s the other issue: The very best semi-autos will generally shoot minute of angle, that’s kind of the gold standard for semi-auto 308s. A run-of-the-mill 308 bolt gun will shoot a Minute-of-angle. And many, like this surgeon, will shoot substantially better.
Larry:So if accuracy is a premium, that definitely kinda tilts the scale to the bolt gun.
Larry:But, if you’re willing to give up a little bit of accuracy, and you need follow-on shots, you know, then that’s where the gas gun comes up.
Walt: Right. It’d be a viable member of a team in a firefight. This is not all that great when you’ve got a lot of targets close-range and you need no accuracy, what you need is large magazine capacity. That is what an individual needs to have.
Larry:So as it boils down, no surprise here, if extreme accuracy is your requirement, you need to be looking at a bolt gun. If follow-on shots with a reasonable degree of accuracy is what you need, semi-auto all the way. Take it from the LAV and the Waltster, baby.
The 6.5 was originally designed for Competitive Shooting
Cartridge manufacturer, Hornady introduced the mission-specific 6.5mm, Creedmoor center-fire rifle cartridge in 2008. Since that time, the cartridge has become a hot commodity in the shooting range and the hunting arena. The cartridge was originally designed for competitive shooting, before hunters took notice. The hunters were drawn to the cartridge because hunting specific loads did not exist and also due to its superbly accurate performance in shooting competitions. The other factor is the affordable rates of rifles in the market.
There are some talks in the long range community of how the 6.5 Creedmoor perform against the .243.
From a ballistics view the 243 and 6.5 are almost identical out to 1100 meters. The 243 has an edge as far as bullet drop is concern. If you’re a numbers guy/gal, take a look at this:
.243 Nosler 105gr BC .571 Muzzle FPS 2846 Tansonic 1359 at 1100 yd total drop 383 inches.
6.5 Nosler 140gr BC .658 Muzzle FPS 2598 Transonic 1352 at 1100 yd total drop 429 inches.
Some precision shooters make claims to barrel life can be a difference. For example, the 6.5 barrel life is in the 2500-3000FPS range and the .243 is usually under 2000FPS. Not much of a differences to see in terms of performances only in numbers. (not much differences)
They are both likable rounds that can be used for varmint to long range target shooting.
Either way, you’re probably going to hit that deer from any range.
Historically, the hitherto expensive long range, custom retargeting rifles took a price dive when Rugers released the $1,400 to $1,600 price range Precision Rifles. The price of rifles fell even further with the release of the $1,207, Savage Model 10 BA Stealth rifle. The price and accuracy factors have also seen the number of rifles chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor increase substantially. The 6.5 Creedmoor has a relatively short case with a long O.A.C.L. designed to maximize the usable powder capacity to carry heavier projectile weights. Compared to the previously popular .308 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor has a better Ballistic Coefficient (BC) on long range shooting.
The 6.5 Creedmoor also has less recoil and wind deflection, a feature that gives it the power to carry most of its energy to the range. This is also the reason why the cartridge is able to maintain its accuracy past the 1,200 yards. Shooting tests have shown that the bullet velocity of 6.5 Creedmoor only drops from its sub-sonic level at the target range of 1,200 to 1,400 yards. With regards to design, the 6.5mm (.254) bullets have a reputation for high BC and sectional density. Factory loaded Creedmoor ammo’s can be purchased from various outlets including Winchester, Hornady, Federal and Nosler.
The 6.5 Creedmoor Origins: Lever Action Descendent
The root of 6.5 Creedmoor can be traced to .307 Winchester used on the lever action Winchester Model 94 rifle introduced back in 1982. Before the realization of 6.5 Creedmoor, several modifications were made on the cartridge, including shortening of the case, thinning of the walls and removal of the rim. The move resulted into the .30 TC, with its characteristically necked down fitting for 0.264 inch bullet. The idea was conceived when engineer, Dave Emary and Dennis DeMille, the High Power National Champion met at a Civilian Marksmanship program in Camp Perry, Ohio in 2007 and discussed the popularity of 6mm wildcat cartridges.
The experts also talked about the shortcomings of wildcat cartridges and sought to create a better cartridge that was more accurate than the wildcat and one that was in compliance with the SAAMI guidelines. Following the improvements on .30 TC, 6.5 Creedmoor was born. Several other developments have since taken place. Hornady soon released 6.5 Creedmoor cartridges with 120 grain GMX bullet in Superformance line. The muzzle velocity for this advanced cartridge is listed at slightly over 3,000 fps. In 2009, Rifle maker Ruger also introduced 6.5 Creedmoor on its sporty and lightweight, Hawkeye Standard mode, 36 inch barrel rifle.
Cartridge Anatomy and Performance
The diameter of the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge case head is .473 inch, which is the same length as the 30-06 inch family cartridges. With a simple barrel change, the bolt face diameter of the cartridge can easily be converted to fit other calibers such as .243 Winchester, 22-250 Remington and .300 Savage. The overall cartridge length is 2.825 inches. A close look at the cartridge reveals a .905 inch difference between the case length and overall length of the cartridge. The other features on the 6.5 cartridge include 30 degree shoulder and case length of 1.920 inches. The design makes it efficiently easy to load a high powered, 6.5mm, 140 grain, high BC, ELD and VLD style bullets without taking too much powder space inside the rifle case. The cartridge can be chambered in the popular short-action, AR-10 and Bolt rifles.
The Creedmoor has a muzzle velocity of 140 grain, which measure incredibly well with the factory load of 2,710 fps. The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Institute (SAAMI) Mean Average Pressure set for the 6.5mm Creedmoor is a whooping 62,000 psi. However, the listings for Creedmoor psi have been interchangeably listed to as low as 57,000 psi. Hornady took the honor to reduce the loads after receiving several customer complaints about primer blowing. Additional test conducted by SAAMI indicates a 6.5mm Creedmoor’s velocity range of 2,940 and 2,665 fps for the respective 129 and 140 grain bullets. This compares favorably to the 0.300 Winchester magnum data, which indicates a range 2,930 and 2,665 fps for the respective 200 and 210 grain bullets.
The other important 6.5 Creedmoor specs:
• Case type – rimless, bottleneck
• Case capacity – 52.5’
• Rim diameter – .4730 inches
• Primer type – large rifle
• Rifling twist – 203mm or 1-8’
• Propellant – 44.74 grain
The Handloading Attributes
The industry standards used to judge ammos, typically takes into consideration aspects such as bullet speed, innovation, versatility and specialized features. Some of the specialized effects incorporated in today’s advanced, supersonic speed ammunitions include ultra progressive propellants and enhanced velocity with reduced rocket nozzle effect. In terms of speed, a good ammunition produces fast results without felt recoil, loss of accuracy or fouling and muzzle blasts. A versatile ammo, on the other hand, is one that is safe and can be used safely on various firearms, including lever guns to semi automatics.
Some of the Bolt-Action Rifles that use 6.5 Creedmoor include Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 Action Rifle, Savage AXIS II XP and Browning X-Bolt Stainless Stalker Bolt Action Rifle. The 6.5 Creedmoor cartridges are evidently, a hand loaders dream cartridge. The cartridge has an expensive handling compared to its main competitor for accurate shooting, the 6.5×47 Lapua. When taken out in parts, the brass cost $0.068 per reload and lasts less than 10 reloads on average. The 6.5×47 Lapua, on the other hand, lasts an average of about 20 to 35 reloads. The 6.5 Creedmoor also works well with a variety of medium burning rifle powders such as the Alliant RL-17.
Another look between the 243 and 6.5 Creedmoor from Youtuber chuckin:
A winner of Layke Tactical 6.5 Croodmoor at Shotshow 2017
Sources: Hornady, Nosler, Wikipedia, Layke Tactical, photo by Shooting Illustrated