“Is the 6mm Creedmoor really that accurate?” a curious man inquired recently. I had to admit at the time, I had only fired about 50 rounds of that flavor. I wanted more experience before I gave a definitive answer. “So far, it is impressive.” was my honest answer.
Now, having worked with the cartridge, along with a custom built rifle and superb rifle scope for a year, I can indeed say that the 6mm Creedmoor rifle cartridge is a crazy accurate round if the shooter has it within them to do their part.
A Rifleman is Born.
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“What is your favorite gun to shoot?” An acquaintance asked me that question many years ago. At the time I was essentially working as a full-time gun-writer and testing and reviewing 40 to 50 guns a year. After giving it some serious thought, I had to admit that my favorite shooting activity was lying behind a well made, bolt action rifle.
The United States Marine Corps taught me how to shoot a rifle. I took those lessons and built upon them over decades. Throughout the years I attended more formal training and schools than I can count. While in the Corps, I became a USMC Rifle and Pistol Marksmanship Coach. Later on, I attended a law enforcement sniper school. More recently, I worked as a Small Arms and Tactics Instructor as a Military Contractor serving during the GWoT.
I love to shoot well made, accurate rifles and my love affair reached new levels when I relocated to Wyoming where most of the state is a potential rifle range. Having lived east of the Mississippi, a lack of serious long range facilities made this task daunting. Now, 1000 yards seems relatively close.
Patriot Firearm Customs 6mm Creedmoor.
I was introduced to Ben, the gunsmith and owner of Patriot Firearm Customs, several years ago. Last year, Student of the Gun ordered a PFC 6mm Creedmoor rifle from Ben and we have had enough time behind the gun to offer a serious evaluation.
Let’s begin with specifics. The rifle in question is built upon a Remington 700 short action. Ben added a Benchmark 5 groove barrel with a 1 in 7.5 inch twist and a Badger Ordnance recoil lug. A Timney Trigger drops the firing pin. The barrel and action are pillar bedded into a gray/black fiberglass stock.
During the initial break in period for the rifle, a total of three different shooters (students at our Precision Rifle Class) put dozens of rounds of Hornady brand 6mm Creedmoor through the gun. The rifle was zeroed at 100 yards and between the three, shots connected on steel out to 500 yards.
Preparing to go the Distance.
After the break in period, I swapped out the rifle scope that was on the gun (it was a loaner) and installed the new MPO (Match Precision Optic) from Brownells. This rifle scope has a 3-18x with a 50mm objective lens and a 34mm tube. The adjustments are MRAD, or Mil Radian if you like, as is the reticle. Atop the scope is a large, positive adjustment knob for elevation changes. On the right side sits a capped windage turret, a great decision on their part. To the left side is a combination illuminated reticle dial and parallax knob. The focal lens is also adjustable. I purchased matching 34mm scope rings from Brownells and attached the optic to the M1913 Picatinny rail affixed to the receiver.
Before I even zeroed the new optic, I ordered ammunition from Black Hills. Currently, Black Hills makes 6mm Creedmoor in their “Gold” line with 103 grain ELD-X bullets and 108 grain ELD-M bullets. I got a sampling of both. For reference, the factory velocity for the 103 is 2950 feet-per-second and the 108 is 2900 fps.
On the Range.
At my favorite range I zeroed the MPO scope with the 103 grain load at 100 yards. After zero was confirmed, I settled in behind the stock to try and see how much accuracy I could squeeze out of the Rifle/Scope/Ammo combination. The 108 grain load won “top shot” but only by a fraction. I measured the three shot clusters center to center and came up with a 5/16 inch group for the 108 and 3/8 inch group for the 103. Needless to say, I was more than satisfied that this set up had ½ MOA accuracy built into it.
My next step was to work up dope for steel targets out to 1000 yards. Step-by-step, now using the 108 grain BH load, I dialed up rifle dope from 200 on out to 1000 yards. As my rifle range is in Wyoming, I was not surprised that I needed to start holding for wind at 400 yards and beyond. It was a clear, sunny day and the steel targets all had a fresh coat of white paint on them. The sight picture through the Brownells MPO was crystal clear.
The Distance and Beyond with 6mm Creedmoor.
By the time I hit 1000 yards, I was very pleased to have plenty of elevation adjustment left in the scope. Many rifle scopes that are sold as “long range” often run out of elevation adjustment before reaching 1000 yards or top out there.
On our range here, there is a 1400 yard berm with steel plates. I decided that I might as well keep going. It took me a few shots, but soon I was able to dial in the sweet spot. At this distance I was holding off to the left a full 2 Mils. To be certain, I shot the 1400 yard plate twice and was satisfied that it had not been an accident. Again, I was pleased to discover there I still had another 2.5 Mils of adjustment left in the elevation knob.
There is a target berm at 1 mile on our range. However, I did not have a spotter with me so I decided to call it good and come back another day with a trained observer to assist me.
Common Questions about 6mm Creedmoor.
How Accurate is the 6mm Creedmoor?
When it comes to accuracy, people need to understand that the inherent accuracy of the cartridge/rifle combination is both mechanical and practical. From a mechanical standpoint, if you put the gun in a vice and remove all the human element, 6mm Creedmoor bullets will stack on top of one another in tight clovers. Practical accuracy comes when the rifle is in the hands of a human. That is the big variable. How much training, experience and skill does the shooter possess?
What is the difference between a 6mm and a 6.5mm Creedmoor?
Although that question seems sophomoric on the face, the 6mm is 0.23 caliber and the 6.5mm is 0.25 caliber. By comparison, the .243 Winchester round uses 6.2mm projectiles. The bullets for the 6mm tend to be in the low 100 grain range, re: 103 and 108. 6.5mm bullets start at 120 grains on the low end and move up to 147 for heavier options.
The parent case for the 6.5mm Creedmoor is the .30 Thompson Center necked down and the 6mm Creedmoor is the same. Are we splitting hairs between the two? Perhaps. Nonetheless, long distance shooters have made a science of hair splitting for decades.
What can you Hunt with a 6mm Creedmoor?
What “can” you hunt and what “should” you hunt are variations of the same question, and you will get numerous answers based upon who it is that you ask. Naturally, most every state in the Union has some caliber restrictions or recommendations for hunting. I do not pretend to be an expert on big game hunting.
My thoughts are that the 6mm Creedmoor loaded with either ballistic tipped 103 or 108 would do the job on thin skinned, medium sized game, say pronghorn antelope and down. The Creedmoor line has become a go-to for hunting western “speed goats” as shots can be as far as several hundred yards. You certainly do not need a hyper-accurate round like the 6mm Creedmoor to shoot a white tail deer from a stand at 75 yards.
As I mentioned at the outset, I love to shoot well made, accurate, bolt action rifles. The PFC rifle, along with the Brownells optic and the Black Hills ammunition allowed me to continue my love affair with this type of shooting.
I was thoroughly impressed by the PFC rifle, how it was put together and the high quality parts that created one tremendously well shooting gun. At press-time, Ben at PFC is building custom rifles, one at a time. If you would like more information, go to the website and send an email.