On social media shooting and hunting forums, it’s practically inevitable that a disparaging 6.5 Creedmoor meme is going to pop up and set the comments section on fire.
It’s like the 6.5 Creedmoor is the “Nickleback” of rifle cartridges.
Just like the Canadian rock band Nickleback, the Creedmoor has become the butt of jokes and seemingly endless dissing. And yet, just like the band has, the cartridge has been wildly successful, gaining legions of loyal fans.
Jason Crotteau of Pavillion has seen it firsthand. He runs Wyoming Tactical and has offered long-range rifle shooting courses for more than a decade.
“Somewhere between 60% and 80% of my students show up with 6.5 Creedmoors,” he told Cowboy State Daily.
Part Of A Trend
For decades, hunters and rifle match shooters relied on a relatively few standard cartridges. Most of them were developed in the early-mid 20th century and gained legendary status.
Heavy hitters such as the .30-06, .300 Winchester Magnum, .270 Winchester and .308 Winchester were widely used for big game. And lighter, zippier rounds such as Remmington’s .223 and .22-250 were regarded as near perfect for varmints and predators.
But right around the early 2000s, numerous new cartridges started to show up. The 6.5 Creedmoor among them, which caused some tension between old-school shooters and folks wanting to shoot with the latest and greatest.
Outdoorsman and gun rights advocate Mark Jones of Buffalo said he recalls the wave of fancy new cartridges shaking up the firearms world. And the 6.5 Creedmoor seemed to be the most popular.
“I have all these buddies who went out and bought one, and they described it like this ‘super-cartridge.’ Like, you could go out with it and do fabulous things,” Jones said. “It’s remarkable. It was like the new thing to do – to go out and find the new super-cartridge.”
There also was some serious brain power behind the 6.5 Creedmoor, Crotteau said.
“In the early to mid-2000s, Hornady (an American ammunition company) got really smart and hired an actual rocket scientist from NASA,” he said. “And then they hired somebody from Creedmoor sports.”
Hence, the Creedmoor moniker for the 6.5 cartridge they developed, and others in that line that followed.
Crotteau still likes old standby rounds like the .308, but he’s also started shooting Creedmoors, and said that it and many of the other newer cartridges continue to gain popularity.
It Has Its Advantages
Detractors argue that the 6.5 Creedmoor fires bullets too light to make it adequate for hunting, especially elk. Or that it’s just a fancy, show-off round that can’t really do anything on the range that older cartridges can’t.
Crotteau said he was skeptical of the Creedmoor at first. But has since learned to appreciate it.
“A friend of mine got one, and he was pushing me to get one,” he said. “I was still shooting my .308, and I was like, ‘Dude, I’m still hitting the same targets that you are. Why do I need to change?’
“One of the advantages I’ve seen with it, is that for reloading, you can use either large or small rifle primers,” and that can be handy when supplies are short, he said.
The 6.5 Creedmoor also shoots well, Crotteau said, adding that, “I think the 6.5 Creedmoor is what the .308 should have been.”
Creedmoor bullets tend to be lighter and longer than those fired from the .308. And “using that longer projectile does improve the ballistics,” Crotteau said.
He was impressed by the round’s flat trajectory.
“I was calling it the ‘6.5 Cheatmoor,’ because that flatter trajectory does make it easier to hit targets,” he said.
Meme It Up
Meanwhile, Creedmoor memes, often teasing the cartridge’s fans for supposedly being pretentious or even wimpy, continue to circulate.
Crotteau said he stays out of the seemingly endless arguments over the 6.5 Creedmoor, but admits that the humor can be clever.
“I never really understood where the hate for the Creedmoor came from, but the memes are fun to watch,” he said.
One criticism is that the round doesn’t have enough punch to cleanly kill big game, particularly elk.
Jones said that humane big game kills boil down to good shot placement. And in the right hands, the 6.5 Creedmoor seems to do just fine.
“I know many people who successfully hunt elk with it,” he said.
However, he’s opted to stick with the old-school approach.
“I still hunt with the .30-06 my dad gave to me when I was a kid,” he said.
Avid hunter Tessa Fowler of Cody is even more old school. She hunts everything with a lever-action rifle chambered in .45-70, a cartridge with roots dating back to the 1870s.
She told Cowboy State Daily that she sometimes joins in the meme wars just for fun.
“I have no clue about the (6.5 Creedmoor) caliber. I don't know anything about modern firearms,” she said. “I'm a lever action, iron sights old-school girl. I just post the memes ’cause they are funny and people get all butthurt.”
Practice, Practice, Practice
Crotteau agreed with Jones that when it comes to hunting, patience and ethical shot placement are more important than cartridge specifics.
He considers the 6.5 Creedmoor to be a viable hunting round for those who shoot carefully.
And when it comes to scoring high in target shooting matches, it’s best for shooters to find the rifle and cartridge combination that suits them best, he said; one that they’re comfortable with and can shoot well with.
Then it’s a matter of learning the skills and practicing, instead of making excuses, Crotteau said.
“You’ll see these people who can’t shit in a bathtub, and they try to blame the gear,” he said. “Good gear can make a difference. But at the end of the day, it’s still the nut behind the (rifle) butt that has to do the job.”
Mark Heinz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.