During a recent media event, a conversation arose concerning the 6.5mm Creedmoor. It’s a round that over the last several months has occupied a great deal of my time, most of which was spent testing the Creedmoor as a tactical round. While nothing is likely to soon supplant the .308 Winchester, the Creedmoor has great promise. With a trajectory that closely resembles the .300 Winchester Magnum, little felt recoil and incredible accuracy, the Creedmoor certainly deserves a hard look. It is doing well in precision rifle competitions at some pretty impressive distances, and with bullet weights as heavy as 140 grains, it is not lacking in energy on target either. It is growing in popularity with good reason.
6.5 Creedmoor Hunter
With many of the attendees being both tactical operators and hunters, the conversation moved towards its application as a hunting round. The very same characteristics that make the Creedmoor great for tactical operations make it even better for the hunter. As a flat-shooting round with solid energy on target, it may be just about perfect. With several factory loads from Hornady exhibiting superb accuracy, it provides the avid hunter with several choices. As a quick search online shows, this cartridge, travelling at speeds close to 3,000 feet per second, has taken some serious game, including a Cape Buffalo, an animal normally taken with bruising magnums. Given the round’s success afield, it is no wonder the Creedmoor is being used by many for smaller North American game.
Just as importantly, the Creedmoor’s lack of recoil means that you can get all of the round’s advantages when using a lightweight rifle. Fired out of a heavy precision rifle, recoil is almost non-existent. A lighter rifle will certainly provide some felt recoil, but with the Creedmoor it would likely be less than with a typical .308 Win. or even .30-06. All agreed, pairing the round and a light rifle is a great idea—and my friend and colleague Jason Teague was about to make it a reality. He had already ordered just such a rifle from the likes of Accurate Ordnance, due to be completed in a couple of months. Jason asked me if I would be willing to test it out. Never one to turn down such a fine offer, I immediately said yes. When it arrived, I put the new rifle through its paces.
Behind AO Rifles
Accurate Ordnance, located in Winder, Georgia was founded in 2009 by Jason Nixon, a one-time autoworker who, after graduating with a degree in CNC machining, decided to build rifles. He has been crafting some of the finest rifles available ever since. David Walker assists, bringing law enforcement experience to the table. They make an excellent team, building not only hunting rifles, but also some fabulous tactical rifles. Mark Kuczka rounds out the crew, making sure that everything runs smoothly. Along with precision rifles, they also sell suppressors and other weapons accessories. As true gun lovers, outdoor enthusiasts and avid hunters, they tackle all kinds of projects. Above all, they work to make sure the customer gets exactly what he or she wants.
Behind The Build
Teague’s rifle started with an Extreme Shooting Products titanium receiver. These actions are manufactured in the United States out of high-grade Titanium. Built to the same specifications as a standard Remington 700 receiver, they weigh in at a mere 9.25 ounces minus the bolt, shaving 5 ounces from a standard action. The bolt is heat-treated tool steel and perfectly matched to the receiver to the highest tolerances. Jeweled with a straight one-piece bolt handle, fast and positive reloading is the norm. A Jewell trigger has a pull weight of about 2.5 pounds—a bit light for some, but, given Teague’s extensive precision rifle experience, perfect for him. A two-piece scope mount is custom fit to the action.
A 23-inch Rock Creek cut-rifled 5C barrel was expertly mated to the action and an oversized Titanium lug. It is a five-groove 1:8-inch twist barrel, with a nicely finished crown that provides the protection a hunter needs. The action is bedded into a McMillan-made Holland Signature Series stock. The stock is gray, with some black dots to break things up. It is lightweight and features an adjustable comb. Standard sling swivels were placed front and rear, with matching flush cup sling mounts. A thinner-than-usual pad was mated for a solid fit without added weight or length. An all-steel floorplate finishes out the rifle.
Mounted in a pair of Nightforce lightweight rings is a Zeiss Victory Diavari 2.5-10X scope. Made in Germany, the Zeiss Victory—a Varipoint with the T* designation—contains incredibly clear glass. The “reticle 60” Varipoint reticle provides stadia at 9, 3 and 6 o’clock. A dot sits at the center and is illuminated with a pull of the focus knob. The target-style elevation knob is graduated in .10 mils. The windage knob uses the same measurement and is covered preventing any accidental movement during a stalk. With a 30mm tube, it will take the Creedmoor cartridge to its limits. A 40mm objective keeps it mounted close to the bore for comfortable shouldering in any position.
The rifle arrived in a very nice and secure hard case. The only addition to the package for testing was an AR-Rest made by Monte Designs. This is a nice little stand made of aluminum. Designed for an AR-15, it is a bit higher than most, but it is lightweight, easy to assemble and would work well over debris in the field.
Letting Her Loose
Shouldering this rifle is easy and incredibly comfortable. It just seems to melt into your shoulder. The ergonomics of the stock are really nice. It is well balanced and very light and simple. Cheek height is adjusted with a bolt that is countersunk at the top. The cut of the gun is extremely smooth, with nothing protruding to snag on clothing, ghillie material or brush. Holding the rifle in an unsupported position during a hunt would be a breeze. It points fast, and the scope comes up quickly. The reticle is perfect for hunting, providing a precise aiming point with the dot and a truly uncluttered background. Dry firing, the trigger is very crisp, although a bit light to suit me. My triggers are normally about a pound heavier, so it took me several dry passes to get the timing. Even so, this was going to be a joy to test.
Just to keep it real, I undertook the accuracy testing using the Monte AR-Rest from prone and over a railroad tie located at the range. Given my previous experience with the Creedmoor, I expected excellent accuracy. I wasn’t disappointed. The best group, using factory Hornady 140-grain AMAX measured exactly .5 inch. Some vertical stringing due to breathing was present. All the loads performed roughly the same, with the largest group measuring .70 inches. Both Superformance loads shot accurately, with just a tad more recoil.
After completing the accuracy testing from prone, I shot a few rounds downrange from kneeling. For me, kneeling is the position I’m most likely to fire from in a hunt, especially if the target animal is on the move. With Jason’s rifle, shooting from kneeling was pure joy. Firing the 129-grain SST at 100 yards, I was able to keep five rounds inside 3 inches with ease. I felt like I could hold the position all day long and hit any object at which I was aiming.
As expected, recoil was minimal. It was clearly more evident than it would be using a heavy precision rifle, but shooting was very comfortable all the same. My closest comparison would be a .308 out of a heavy barreled precision rifle. Muzzle rise is minimal, and the recoil impulse is completed quickly. It’s kind of like shooting a magnum, minus the recoil.
The Zeiss glass is crystal clear, colors are vibrant and the reticle is crisp. As a first focal plane scope, the centered dot and reticle appear to change size with increased power. This allows for a very uncluttered field of view up close and precise aiming at range. At the lowest setting, the field of view was nice and wide, facilitating the search for game. At the other extreme, the 10X is all you should ever realistically need when hunting with this kind of rifle. The overall package keeps things light and quick.
Running the bolt was easy and smooth, with no failures to feed. The magazine held four rounds securely and loaded easily. The steel floor plate kept things nicely square and positive. The large external extractor ejected rounds smoothly and without a hitch. A push of the release button on the floor plate presses the spring down with just the right amount of force. Everything about the rifle is simply first rate.
No Flash, Lots Of Substance
If this rifle is any indication, the 6.5 Creedmoor has a very bright future as a hunting cartridge. And Accurate Ordnance has built a truly fine rifle. It is not flashy—more like a functional work of art. The workmanship is excellent, with superb fit and finish. The components are all top notch and perfectly suited to just about any hunt. Whether carried using a sling or in a pack, the rifle is comfortable and could be carried for days on end with ease. Its accuracy borders on that of a precision rifle and was very consistent. It cleaned up with no brushes and just a few patches.
It was a pleasure to shoot, and I give Jason my thanks for giving me the opportunity to enjoy it. Doing so only strengthened my affinity for this little cartridge. If you are in need of an expertly built custom rifle, give Accuracy Ordinance a call. You will certainly not be disappointed. For more information, visit accurateordnance.com or call 678-219-0096.