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Re: Poor Cartridges for Long Range Hunting – The Real Gunsmith

22 Sep 2018
@ 09:56 pm (GMT)

David Hartley

I wonder how many of you have used the 6.5 Creedmoor for general hunting purposes? I have used mine for 9 months primarily for goat control but also red and fallow deer, and I absolutely love it. I shoot the 143gr ELD-X at 2800fps and enjoy half MOA accuracy and more down range energy than my .308. The sectional density of this projectile is 0.293. I have a friend who is using a slightly faster powder and with some minor modifications to the throat for an extra long COAL, safely achieving over 2900fps with the 139gr Lapua Scenar.

Approximate goat tally to date for my Creedmoor is 230, plus 15 red deer and a couple of fallow. Ranges are typically 350-500m, terrain is west CNI hill country sheep farms. Most of the deer have been taken within 300m, couple at 400-ish, plus the one I emailed Nathan about a few weeks ago.

I described to him the one apparent failure, a runty red yearling hit at 497m in the shoulder, knocking it clean off its feet. The deer got up and hobbled off and I failed to follow up which was a bad mistake on my behalf as I had assumed the animal was down. It was lost over the ridge line, and we failed to find it some hours later. Nathan, that deer was found shortly after I left the property by one of the young shepherds, which I only heard about 6 weeks after the fact. It was not far from where it was shot, it would have rolled down the face on the other side of the ridgeline, and over a near vertical cutting into a flooding drain about 10m below, and we simply missed in the foul weather (blame the dog ;).

Now the reason I raise this today is because I have watched the Real Gunsmith, and have chosen not to subscribe to his channel. Three videos pertaining to bullet construction, energy and long range bullets. He seems to be on a crusade against a few of the more recent innovations in the market, using screwy logic, not unusual for older fellas, the example at the end of the "bullet technology" video is a case in point. In doing so, he uses examples of failure that have one common denominator: bad decision making, yet he seems to want to blame the tools. No need to get into any more on that.

How this all comes together in this thread is that I think Creedmoor bashing by forum members is just the same as ELD-X bashing by Mr Randy Gunsmith. Used sensibly within its design capabilities, the 6.5 Creedmoor is a fantastic cartridge. The same logic applies to the ELD-X, used within the 2600-2000fps window it is a damn fine hunting bullet. Combined, the cartridge and projectile deliver very very good performance for me and my business partner (who uses the exact same rifle and bullet) in our hill country application. If shooters decide to try and shoot elk or moose or big bears at 900m with this combination, they are making a very poor decision. That is not the fault of the cartridge or the bullet, it's the fault of the shooter. But oftentimes it's the bullet and/or the cartridge that get the bad name.

To be fair to Nathan in his reply to me, he did not disagree with the use of either in my application, suggesting I consider a softer bullet for 500m+ goats and small deer, which is what I have done with tests underway with the 140gr and 147gr ELD-M. I have a clear 600m limit with that rifle. But Nathan you'll remember as above, you did describe your frustration with the level of email you get about proper long range failures of the Creedmoor / ELD-X combination. I think that it's important to put that into the context of long range shooting and not maybe inadvertently promote the notion that either the cartridge or the bullet are fatally flawed in general or "normal" hunting terms.

In short to mid range territory out to 600-ish metres, it is very very effective on NZ feral goats, and heavy red spikers and hinds around 250-300m out to around 400m, the cliche "emphatic" most certainly applies. At no stage have I felt under-gunned.

I agree, some of the marketing is a bit iffy, as it is with other products in our sport, e.g. Sierra's GameChanger. But if reports filter through that there has been a proper long range failure, i.e. 700m+, blame the operator, not the tools! Personally, I haven't seen the Creedmoor being marketed or YouTube promoted as a proper long range cartridge by Hornady or rifle makers? That's probably because I don't pay attention to all that much on YouTube, especially American yee-ha hunting channels. I hope that this isn't the case, because that would do a great disservice to the cartridge, its origins and its creators.

Simon, I have a spreadsheet comparing ballistic performance of the common non-magnum 6.5mm, 7mm, .270 and .30 cal cartridges using the Hornady 4DOF data for the ELD-X family of bullets. If you would like to see how they stack up against each other, happy to share with you.


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