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Creedmoor or 6.5x55 with a shortish barrel?

21 May 2023
@ 12:54 pm (GMT)

Michael Roach

Hey everyone, a friend and I are looking at jointly purchasing a new rifle, I quess to experiment and fill a gap.( he owns 3 270's and I have one long/heavy 270 a 45-70 and a 223) We have agreed that rifle needs to be lightish accurate and low recoiling. We are looking at a Tikka TX3 either plastic or laminate stock in either 6.5 creedmoor or 6.5x55 (Most of our hunting is well within 120m so the 270 is perhaps a bit too much) however we dont want to retard our ability to reach out. This is where we are undecided. I have read through Nathans books that the 6.5x55 prefers a 24 inch barrel and I have read else where that the creedmoor is quite efficent with a 22 inch barrel. I understand that the 6.5x55 has more case capacity and I can reload, whilst my friend is factory all the way. and we have both agreed that rifle will wear a suppressor. the overall goal is to produce a light and compact combination that could, with practice and reloading take a small goat or fallow deer out to 500m ( as I write this there are 9 goats in our paddock about 350m from my balcony) and wouldnt be out of place taking a red deer hind/spiker out to 300m or a stag close in. I have studied the reloading 6.5 cal sections extensively and can only assume that the various projectiles behave the same regardless. Does the creedmoor have an advantage in a shorter barrel? it definately seems to have an advantage from a factory load and brass availabilty perspective. So yah help please, we have both found rifles waiting to be purchased. I have been lining up 6.5x55 reloading components for the last 2 weeks as it appears to be in short supply.


22 May 2023
@ 07:56 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Creedmoor or 6.5x55 with a shortish barrel?
Hi Michael, perhaps the best way to start is to try and put this into context.

Your friend has a .270, likely with a 22" barrel. If he runs factory 145gr ELD-X Precision hunter ammo, it will likely be producing about 2930fps. Recoil should be fairly light, especially if the rifle is muffled as most are these days. Recoil might be a bit sharp if the rifle is unsupressed, extremely light, optics poorly positioned, the trigger heavy and the rifle not held properly.

The Creedmoor fires basically the same bullet (143gr ELD-X) at around 2700fps from a 22" barrel. So, assuming you have a goat at 350m, you can take a shot at 350, observe the kill / wounding and note that this is exactly what will occur if using the Creedmoor at 250m. Up to a certain point (as far as factory hunting loads go), it really is as simple as that. You can also just as easily run a start load in your .270 to achieve the same result.

Going a little further down the rabbit hole, the .270 lacks soft bullet options for very long ranges while both the .270 and 6.5 lack heavy bullet options in order to deliver high energy out to long ranges. Both have their limitations which go beyond comparisons of 22 and 24" barrels. Of the two, the 6.5 has the potential to deliver a wider wound at long ranges using select projectiles. But at closer ranges, about the only thing you will notice is that animals run further after being hit with the Creedmoor (depending on shot placement / shooting single animal versus successive shots culling etc).

All of the above aside. If your friend does not want to get into hand loading but wants to take longer shots, then the Creedmoor is not a bad way to go for hunting Fallow and goats. It is in essence the modern 1300cc bubble car of the gun world (if you like that sort of thing).

Do not buy a 6.5x55 if you do not intend to hand load.

If the rifle is to be light, you will both need to use the exact same technique when shooting. The slightest deviation will result in 1 MOA or more lateral / vertical deviation. A suppressor can help to mitigate some of this.

As far as recoil goes, a well baffled muffler takes the sting out of most common medium game cartridges. One can expect very low recoil from cartridges as powerful as the .30-06. But please pay attention to notes on threading / fitting as described in my book - Long Range Rifles, second edition.

The above answers to your question are very superficial and not really all that helpful because my answers were given from only one perspective. Successful hunting and shooting is a greatly empowering, life enriching process. But in todays world, a guy may want to purchase a new rifle because he thinks that spending money equates to satisfaction (especially these days with regards to long range shooting). Having adopted this mentality, he refuses to pull apart his existing rifle to clean and tune it, doesn't want to practice at the range and doesn't want to take time to investigate hand loading, bullet performance, scope dialing or long range trajectory mapping. He wants something new and to his mind exotic and with a scope that does all of his thinking for him. The old gun is traded, the new one arrives and is treated in the same manner as the previous rifle generating the same result. The honeymoon was fine but the divorce was inevitable. The lesson being - there is little satisfaction to be gained in life without some discomfort or adversity.

A new rifle will be nice for you to share, but it would be most helpful if you are both on the same page with regards to discussing and performing the leg work required in order to gain a satisfactory result at the longer ranges you wish to shoot out to.

Hope that helps a bit.
22 May 2023
@ 04:27 pm (GMT)

Michael Roach

Re: Creedmoor or 6.5x55 with a shortish barrel?
Thank you for your reply Nathan, Yep the 1300 bubble car doesnt entertain my ego either haha, please let me further explain the situation. In a way we are trying to replace an inaccurate and shortened 223. I currently own a somewhat heavy barreled mod 700 (CDL 270) (24inch/unsurpressed + needs a better scope) thats accurate as hell but heavy and a bit unweldy and a Marlin 1985 45-70 ( close bush gun) neither is appropriate as a pure meat gun on goats and small deer,at least in my hunting conditions. My friends primary is a Tikka M series 270( 22 inch/supressed) that he successfully uses out to 500.( he is happy with said rifle though finacially entertains the idea of something new as he can definately shoot!) I am trying to fill in a gap ( I mean why spend the money on a new 223 for a small deer or goat rifle when the bigger calibre costs the same? my bushpigged rifle has done its job so far ,however I am uncomfortable with the calibre past 80m. It will be me that breaks in/tunes/ reloads said rifle..I 100% respect what your hinting at, however the question still remains, do I go swede with a 24 inch barrel as standard ( can obviously be shortened) or go creedmoor 22 inch as standard.
22 May 2023
@ 11:36 pm (GMT)

David Landwehr

Re: Creedmoor or 6.5x55 with a shortish barrel?
Hi Michael. If as you say you want a light compact combination go with the Creed.
You will likely be able to get more velocity out of the Swede, but not according to my reloading manual, which I can only assume would be due to safety of firing in older rifles of unknown metallurgy.
But at 500m, the Creed with correct prjectile will be zipping along at 2,000fps so will expand and get the job done on the game mentioned.
23 May 2023
@ 06:39 am (GMT)

Scott Struif

Re: Creedmoor or 6.5x55 with a shortish barrel?
Hi Michael. Your remaining question is relevant only if you and your friend have agreed to put a suppressor on a gun with a 24 inch barrel. If you plan to cut it to 22 inches to accommodate the suppressor, then you’re asking whether the Swede will have a performance edge over the Creedmoor in a 22 inch barrel. The answer is: It’s a negligible.
23 May 2023
@ 07:58 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Creedmoor or 6.5x55 with a shortish barrel?
Hi Michael, again based on what you have described with your friend not really wanting to get into hand loading, the Creedmoor may be a better fit. Although hand loads in a modern Swede rifle with 24" barrel may produce 2750 to 2850fps, factory loads tend to be very weak. Also, you may want to look again at current Tikka specs as a long barreled 6.5 T3 may not be an option (see bottom of this post).

The Swede does have a slight edge (with hand loads) but if you really want to ensure that you are not missing out on anything in comparison to the .270's, then perhaps look into the 6.5 PRC.

Any of the 6.5 would certainly be a refreshing step up from your inaccurate .223 and well suited to lighter bodied animals.

Regarding Tikka barrel lengths - they do vary a bit these days. The current Tikka Roughtec and Veil are listed as having 24" barrels but this information is misleading. The rifles are fitted with muzzle brakes over a relatively generous muzzle thread diameter (compared to ridiculous local gunsmith practices) however the barrel lengths without the brake are 22" (including magnums). Normally, Tikka furnish a 22" barrel for non magnum sporters and a 24" barrel for their magnums. But as suggested, the Veil and Roughtec differ. As a contrast to this, Tikka list a 24" barrel option for the T3 Lite 6.5 PRC. The current T3 6.5x55 is listed at 22.4". So not much advantage to the Swede over the Creedmoor but definitely a bit more welly from the PRC.
24 May 2023
@ 03:38 pm (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: Creedmoor or 6.5x55 with a shortish barrel? you both have good accurate .270s..yours is a bit heavy and LOUD...
why do you say not suitable as a meat gun for goats small deer???
you talking ranges out to 350 normal and occasionally out to 500....well Batman,if you going out to 500 on either of those yo uwill assumably rangefind and dial up..... so what you use is a moot point to some degree,whats a few clicks between friends???
300-350 is childsplay if your .270 is accurate..if a bush hobbit like me can do it,you should be laughing.
sounds like you have plenty of range to sight in,double check drops etc.
140grn hornady sp are dirt cheap and oh so boringly accurate... they make boring wee holes in deer than boringly fall over dead....
if your loosing too much meat,change WHERE you aim on animal..flipside if you not dropping them fast enough,chnge where your aiming
also in same vein...your going to reload so change projectiles...if you want soft..oh boy are there some good options out there..if you want not so much damage,again lots of options... yeah true there arent any really slippery heavy weight options.. but you can do it without latest flashharry jobbies... a couple more clicks and Bobs your aunties main squeaze.
if your .223 is a dud...possibly consider a rebarrel ammunition for it is still cheaper and every man needs a .223 or 2 or 3 such a lot of fun to be had and a great preformer..which brings up the OTHER option if rebarreling...a fast twist .223 barrel,1;8 sort of deal and chuck 70-80 grn projectiles so its nearly a .243 plenty of folks doing so to great effect
why not a 6.5?? because it will be that close to the .270 unless you reload carefully that you may as well just use the .270..which you can also reload carefully for.
27 May 2023
@ 03:03 pm (GMT)

Michael Roach

Re: Creedmoor or 6.5x55 with a shortish barrel?
hey Mike, loud (and weight) is an issue for me because I am a commercial diver with a history of working in arboriculture (chainsaws) and I was also in the army. 2 months ago, I was told by the audiologist if i lose any more hearing in my right ear then she cant sign me off for my annual dive medical.. So long story short,If my ears ring it could end my career. My 270 is a rem CDL with a heavy 24 inch barrel, If I add a suppressor she will be 26 inch at least.. Not really appropriate for bush bashing with the occassional long shot on goats/small deer. I want to keep said 270 as I have spent alot of time and $ getting it to shoot well. I believe what I require is a middle mark ( my mate is just coming along for the ride luckily) A rifle that could take a red stag at 150m, a doe at 300 a 45kg goat at 500...I will then decide if I want to keep the 270 or build an actual designated long range rig, with appropriate scope profile etc etc[b]
27 May 2023
@ 03:32 pm (GMT)

Michael Roach

Re: Creedmoor or 6.5x55 with a shortish barrel?
PS. this is all based on the idea that I can shoot well. I am going to progressively increase range based on my proven capacity, I need to build muscle memory with said rifle which is why I dont want to jump from one to the next
28 May 2023
@ 07:52 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Creedmoor or 6.5x55 with a shortish barrel?
Hi Michael, bush bashing snap shots on Red Stag (with typical shot placement error) is quite a different game to popping off the occasional goat or Fallow deer sunning itself against the bush edge.

As a matter of perspective, in the U.S, a large NZ Red deer (if it were encountered) would be considered much the same as an Elk. In many instances depending on age and location, the body weights do overlap. If you ask a U.S hunter about Elk cartridges, he will likely talk .30 cal or .338. But over here, we of course have Eberneezer Scrooge who likes to throw around terms like cost efficiency or state that "you don't need an Elephant gun" or "my uncle was a professional meat hunter and he only used a..." most of this talk being tall poppy syndrome - self absorbed, penny pinching small minded thinking.

It sounds to be like you want an all around rifle that can tackle large animals in close at various angles as well as some longer range shots, but without pushing too far and without much weight. What you are describing, is a bog standard Tikka T3 .308 Winchester.

If you want a bit more punch and a little less wind drift, the .30-06 is a truly great allrounder (and produces very light recoil when suppressed). The .308 is easy enough to come by, the .30-06 a little harder to find just now due to the popularity (importation) of the 6.5 Creedmoor.

Alas, its very difficult now to steer folk away from fashion and popular opinions.

29 May 2023
@ 09:40 am (GMT)

Michael Roach

Re: Creedmoor or 6.5x55 with a shortish barrel?
hi Nathan, I am definately in agreement about the light calibre fad that seems to prevail in NZ, whenever someone tells me they use a 223 for everything I think ( how many animals have escaped wounded by you hero) To put it into perspective every animal I have shot in the last 2 years has been under 50kg. I havent had an opportunity to shoot a red deer because there are none on the properties I hunt on. IIf I had the chance to shoot a Red Stag I would think twice as I 100% retrieve any animal I shoot as a rule. If I was hunting thick bush I would carry my 45-70. What I mean by bush bashing is I am often on my hands and knees crawling through native scrub and gorse in order to either get close enough to make a shot or to have a back drop that doesnt include a farmhouse. I have already been stuck in a gorse bush with my 270 ( silently swearing haha)
29 May 2023
@ 01:01 pm (GMT)

Michael Roach

Re: Creedmoor or 6.5x55 with a shortish barrel?
My only option has been the 223 based on those conditions and I have put a self imposed 60m metre limit based on calibre and accuracy. I have had animals wander off out of range multiple times so I have been able to make the shot. I hought my 6.5 idea was a good one. the creedmoor was my last choice ,I looked at 22-250 ( too light) 243 ( barrel too short and bullet too light. Thought a 25-06 might be an option ( apparently to risky and I cant find a new one).. The 6.5 seems to fight the bill. All the new tikkas seem to kick hard so I am attemting to match the recoil with that.. Thoughts on the Tikka 308 combination? hmm that may very well eventuate one day. I used to shoot my fathers 308 when I was 16 it fits lots of bills but at the moment I would have to sell my 270. ( my mates not going to go halves in a 308) It took me over 2 years to find / rebarrel/ retrigger/ bed etc etc it owes me time and money.. I think it would do my head in if I sold it for a substancial loss. I have a friend who has a newish Tikka 308 shortened suppressed etc so perhaps I will get him to let me shoot it so I can see if it fits.
31 May 2023
@ 01:25 pm (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: Creedmoor or 6.5x55 with a shortish barrel?
hi Nathan, I am definately in agreement about the light calibre fad that seems to prevail in NZ, whenever someone tells me they use a 223 for everything I think ( how many animals have escaped wounded by you hero) To put it into perspective every animal I have shot in the last 2 years has been under 50kg. )

right...Ive sat on my hands for 24hrs before typing this out so I HOPE that I can now type out reply without too much venom

under 150 yards I will back myself with my .223 to take out anything smaller than a big red stag everyday of the week..with a few provisos
I have the correct TYPE of ammunition in rifle
animal is not fired up and is stationary or feeding happily
Im not huffing n puffing or trying to shoot while standing EG I have got good rest and can guarantee to put that tiny wee bit of metal where it needs to go
I can catagourically state I have not wounded a deer or pig with my .223 and Ive shot and retrieved about 30 over the last 25 years using it.
you see its ALL about control...knowing when NOT TO SHOOT is more important than knowing when to shoot.
how terribly in accurate is this .223???? and have you got someone else to confirm this??? reason I have big kicking .45/70 and heavy .270 so a lightweight .223 is completely different rifle to use...
my last 3 fallow have all been shot with a break open single shot .222 remington.. 2 were a single shot kill the 3rd took me 4 due to the little hua not playing ball at wouldnt stand up so first shot wasnt ideal,next two anchored it in TALL tussocks while it was on the move and final was a labotamy type deal at 50 yards standing....
if suppressed recoil is no longer an issue....a suppressed .270 is a wonderful thing..long n heavy doesnt matter if your shooting in semi open country..and if your going bashing around in the gorse..take the .45/70 yo ucan stretch its barrel you will just need to allow for more drop.... that big slow hunk of lead will still kill,it will just be slower to do so.
Philip Holden wrote a very good chapter called 222 the controversial one way back when some of the readers of this post were still a twinkle in Daddies eye...... the points made there are still relevant today,the good the bad and the ugly.... a fast twist barrel and heavier projectiles have upped the .223s game A LOT but its still a little gun.... perfect for littler animals if you do your part
I do however use a .223 at times to good effect ,if Im targeting red deer I take the .270 most times.


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