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Off the shelf ammo is hard to beat, however hunters look to customize hunting rounds by hand loading to fit their individual needs.

Talk about a renewal of a vintage rifle caliber. Today’s 6.5 Creedmoor round was developed using a bullet dating back to the last century. The cartridge case was based off of the 30 TC which was developed from Winchester’s .308 design. To say the combination has been successful would be an understatement.

The 6.5 (.264 diameter) bullet dates back to 1891 when the 6.5x55 bullet was developed for use by the Swedish Military. Over time, Winchester developed the .263 Winchester Magnum. Remington did the same and produced the .260. However the new offering employing the .264 caliber bullet is garnering a whole lot of favorable attention.

Today’s 6.5 Creedmoor was developed by Dennis DeMille and Dave Emary in 2007 then introduced into the marketplace by Hornady in 2008. History has shown it takes time for firearms’ enthusiasts to embrace a new caliber. But things were different when it came to this caliber.

The potential of the 6.5 Creedmoor was first developed for long range shooters. The performance of the round quickly caught the eye of hunters. Now the hunting fraternity added to the demand rifles cambered in the “new” caliber.

Today manufacturers continue to introduce new models of rifles based on a variety of delivery platforms chambered for the cartridge. In fact, Browning added to its line the Browning AB3 Micro Stalker which is a short action rifle chambered in four calibers, one of which is the 6.5 Creedmoor.

When it comes to ammunition, manufacturers are producing some impressive products.

Companies that include Hornady, Nosler, Winchester, Remington, and Federal, along with additional ammunition manufacturers produce 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition. Out-of-the box accuracy is pretty hard to beat.

Most sporting goods stores stock a wide variety of 6.5 ammunition. However it would be cost prohibitive in most cases for gun shops to stock the full range of 6.5 Creedmoor in every bullet type and bullet weight produced today. A recent survey found there were over thirty types of 6.5 ammunition on the market today to choose from. That’s a lot.

Target and long range shooters have a good selection of rounds to choose from. Even with the excellent factory loaded ammunition available, many are willing to hand load their own. Yes, the effort is an investment of time spent at the reloading bench and on the range. If done correctly the result is a customized round that is matched to a particular rifle producing exceptional accuracy.

For the hunter, hand loading ammunition can provide the means to match the bullet to the game being pursued.

Yes, factory ammo will do the job. However the choices of hunting rounds is limited in the types of bullets factory ammo is topped off with. So what are the choices?

Currently there are no less than ninety different .264 caliber bullets on the market today. The styles, shapes and weights will meet the hunter’s needs.

Bullets manufactured by Nosler, Berger, Barnes, Lapua, Swift, Hornady, Sierra, Woodleigh, Norma, and Cutting Edge Bullets produced right here in Pennsylvania offer quality bullets for reloading.

The wide range of bullets offered in a variety of weights and designs makes available to the hand loader a greater selection when compared to what is commercially available.

When it comes to smokeless powders used for reloading ammunition, it keeps getting better. Powders, like bullets, have become better. Over the years new powders have been introduced and refined in various ways to improve their overall quality.

Powder selection is important, especially when it comes to its burn rate. Extensive testing has revealed the 6.5 performs best using medium to slow burning powders. A short list of powders that have become favorites among those who hand load this cartridge include: Reloder-17, Norma URP, Winchester 760, Varget, and Hybrid 100V, just to name a few.

A rifle chambered in the 6.5 Creedmoor caliber is a pleasure to shoot providing superb accuracy using factory ammunition. However for those who reload and have chosen the 6.5 Creedmoor, this cartridge provides a new and expanding window of opportunity. By investing time at the loading bench and on the rifle range hand loaders can develop an exceptional product that can be used to punch paper or take game.

Reloading your own ammunition is not difficult. However there are specific procedures that need to be adhered to.

To learn how to reload you own ammunition, check out the web sites of manufacturers of reloading equipment such as Redding, RCBS, Lyman, Lee Precision, Dillon, and Hornady. Another great source for reloading information can be found on the National Shooting Sports Foundations web site.

Ask those who reload their own and they will readily admit there is a sense of pride when it comes to producing their ammo that is capable of producing sub minute of angle results at 100 yards and beyond or taking game in the field.

Regardless of the type of cartridge reloading you choose, it can be rewarding and fun. Not to mention you have a good reason to spend more time on the range.


The Northcentral PA Pheasants Forever youth hunt is accepting applications for its fall hunt.

Pheasant Forever volunteers will provide a dog and handler to hunt pheasants for two hours on State Game Lands 44 located near Shawmut, PA.

Kids must be a junior hunter and accompanied by an adult.

The hunt will be held on October 7th. For this hunt or to check for availability go to https://www.register-ed.com/events.view.105452

A second day of hunting will be provided on Oct. 14th. To sign up or check on availability go to https://www.register-ed.com/events.view.105453

Attendance at the Sunday, Safety Day on September 24th is REQUIRED. The safety seminar includes a safety briefing, dog demonstration, along with practice on the trap field at the Fox Township Sportsmen’s Club. THE SAFETY DAY IS A MUST – NO EXCEPTIONS.

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Charlie Burchfield is an active member and past president of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association, an active member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association, Outdoor Writers Assoc. of America and the Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writers. Gateway Outdoors e-mail is GWOutdoors@comcast.net

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