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#7234915 - 07/24/18 11:05 PM Powder and bullet suggestions for 20” 6.5 Creedmoor
TORNracer Offline


Registered: 02/05/09
Posts: 97
Loc: Roanoke, TX
Gang,

A while back I started a few threads around shorter factory rifles and FFP Mil/Mil scopes for the purpose of both hunting and punching paper/steel out to around 600 yards max. The alternate goal was to have a rifle that I could get decent factory match ammo for if I didn’t have time to handlload like I do for my other rifles.

Thanks to everyone’s guidance, I ended up with a Tikka T3x CTR 20” 6.5 Creedmoor with a Vortex PST2 3-15x44 on top (the reticle matches my AMG on my custom 260). I chose the shorter barrel with the intent to supress it later.

I got a chance to break it in a little with 44 rounds of various factory ammo in 3 to 5 round groups (Winchester 140 Match, Hornady 120 ELD-M, 140 ELD-M, and 143 ELD-X), and all of them shot between 1/2 and 1 inch with the average being about 3/4” - despite cleaning every 8-10 rounds. It’s one of the better shooting factory rifles I’ve owned for sure.

I now have a both a pile of fireformed brass, and lots of factory ammo that is of various bullet weights that shoot well. I’m stuck with two questions to ponder:

1. With the 20” barrel given my intended purpose, for the factory ammo: should I opt for the lower weight and BC bullets to pick up some velocity, or stick with the higher BC bullets and accept the slower speeds?

2. For handloading the brass - stick with 120-130 class bullets for the for higher velocity, or stay with 140 class for better BC? And given your suggestion, what powder to start with? I have Varget for lighter bullets, and IMR 4451 on hand to try for the 140s - but don’t mind finding something else to try. I also have lots of 142 SMKs, but fear they will be pretty slow out of a 20” tube.

Sorry for the long post, but I appreciate any and all suggestions!


Edited by TORNracer (07/24/18 11:40 PM)

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#7234982 - 07/25/18 06:48 AM Re: Powder and bullet suggestions for 20” 6.5 Creedmoor [Re: TORNracer]
cblackall Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 05/12/16
Posts: 231
Loc: Lewisville, TX
140’s, H4350, done.. Easy like Sunday morning.

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#7234985 - 07/25/18 06:51 AM Re: Powder and bullet suggestions for 20” 6.5 Creedmoor [Re: TORNracer]
patriot07 Offline
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Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 2562
Loc: Royse City, TX
If you're going to hunt, I'd consider loading up a few with a 143 ELD-X and see if it shoots. It's got a good BC and good hunting performance, so you could have one load for both applications.

Otherwise, it's six one way, half a dozen the other if you're only going to 600 yards. I personally shoot the 140 ELD-M out of my CTR 6.5 CM, and it's hard to find a load that doesn't shoot decent. I've taken it out to 1,100 with no problems. The higher BC of the heavier bullets is better for bucking wind at long range, but if you're only going to 600, the 120, 130, and 140 will all do the job with performance to spare.

I shot the 143 ELD-X factory ammo out of my CTR and it didn't shoot great. Only factory ammo I've shot out of mine that wasn't sub-MOA, but maybe I just got a bad box or something because I know other CTR owners have had good luck with it.


Edited by patriot07 (07/25/18 06:52 AM)

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#7234995 - 07/25/18 07:15 AM Re: Powder and bullet suggestions for 20” 6.5 Creedmoor [Re: TORNracer]
FiremanJG Online   content
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Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 26407
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
143 gr. ELD-X
H-4350 or
IMR-4451
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#7235148 - 07/25/18 09:47 AM Re: Powder and bullet suggestions for 20” 6.5 Creedmoor [Re: TORNracer]
Cleric Offline
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Registered: 03/11/12
Posts: 3467
Getting 2650fps 143 eld x with 4451 in a 22in creed

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#7235170 - 07/25/18 10:04 AM Re: Powder and bullet suggestions for 20” 6.5 Creedmoor [Re: TORNracer]
ChadTRG42 Online   happy
THF Celebrity

Registered: 09/16/09
Posts: 13747
Loc: Lewisville, TX
Well, as you are seeing, everything is a trade off in shooting. Less weight bullet, faster speeds, slightly lower BC, less drop; or higher BC, heavier bullets, slower speeds. To answer your question, you would have to run the trajectory numbers of each bullet option you are looking at. As a general rule, the lighter/faster bullet option compared to the heavier/slower bullet option, the break even point is somewhere around the 500-700 yard mark. Meaning, about that distance is where the slower and higher BC round begins to perform better than the lighter faster round. Inside of the 500 yards or so, the faster options generally are flatter with about the same wind drift. In your case, a 130 grain Berger AR Hybrid or 130 grain ELD-M bullet would be about ideal, IMO. The 130 grains has faster speeds (than a 140 grain), good BC, good wind drift, and would shoot flatter than a 140. But, the 140 grain options are still very good. There's nothing wrong with a 140 grain in a 20" barrel. And comparing all these you are almost splitting hairs inside of 600 yards. Which is better depends on what you want as a shooter.

For reference, the 140 grain should run about 2660 to 2720 fps in the 20" and the 130 grain should run about 2750-2850 fps. These numbers will get you in the ballpark with a 20" barrel.
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#7235176 - 07/25/18 10:11 AM Re: Powder and bullet suggestions for 20” 6.5 Creedmoor [Re: TORNracer]
FiremanJG Online   content
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Registered: 12/16/08
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Loc: Wolfe City, TX
FYI, there is a metroplex Police Sniper team that use 20" 6.5 Creedmoor rifles and are shooting 147 ELD-M. Out to 800 yards, for sure. They are very happy with the combo.
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#7235186 - 07/25/18 10:24 AM Re: Powder and bullet suggestions for 20” 6.5 Creedmoor [Re: TORNracer]
ChadTRG42 Online   happy
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Registered: 09/16/09
Posts: 13747
Loc: Lewisville, TX
The Cadillac of the bullets for the 6.5mm is the 147 ELD-M. I am thinking about switching to it in my 6.5x47 Lapua. I worked up a very good load with the 140 VLD-H bullets, and I am out (I had 20,000 of them!!!). This 147 would be a very good one to change to.
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#7235191 - 07/25/18 10:26 AM Re: Powder and bullet suggestions for 20” 6.5 Creedmoor [Re: TORNracer]
Cleric Offline
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Registered: 03/11/12
Posts: 3467
I shoot eld x because I think the bullet design is great for hunting. My gun is designed to be a hunting gun first and target gun second. If it was a target gun I may have a different bullet choice

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#7235203 - 07/25/18 10:50 AM Re: Powder and bullet suggestions for 20” 6.5 Creedmoor [Re: Cleric]
FiremanJG Online   content
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Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 26407
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
Originally Posted By: Cleric
I shoot eld x because I think the bullet design is great for hunting. My gun is designed to be a hunting gun first and target gun second. If it was a target gun I may have a different bullet choice


Right.

For the rifle that will hunt as well as play on the range, my standard go-to is the ELD-X. I've tested the bullet in 6.5 Creedmoor, as well as in 7mm-08 A.I. It does a stallar job at both tasks. Biggest brag I have on the bullet is from the 7mm-08 A.I. It laid down a 3" group at 1000 yards, and flew true out to 1400 yards, while fire forming brass. There's a possibility we will be taking the new fire formed brass (making 120 fps more) out to a mile this fall.

In my 6.5 Creedmoor the bullet ran neck and neck with a 140 ELD-M until 600 yards. Then it needed 1/10 Mil more elevation correction.

On whitetails, and hogs it has knocked them down most rapidly, with 1 1/2" exit wounds on the whitetail.

Damn good bullet.
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#7235381 - 07/25/18 02:51 PM Re: Powder and bullet suggestions for 20” 6.5 Creedmoor [Re: TORNracer]
Cleric Offline
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Registered: 03/11/12
Posts: 3467
After I shoot on the creed barrel I am going to look at 7mm-08 ai to replace it it.

Can’t justfiy the rebarrel yet. Will be interesting to see how many rounds I get out of creed

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#7235396 - 07/25/18 03:08 PM Re: Powder and bullet suggestions for 20” 6.5 Creedmoor [Re: Cleric]
FiremanJG Online   content
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Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 26407
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
Originally Posted By: Cleric
After I shoot on the creed barrel I am going to look at 7mm-08 ai to replace it it.

Can’t justfiy the rebarrel yet. Will be interesting to see how many rounds I get out of creed


At 2000, it is a matter of time.

At 2500, it is scrap metal.

I've ran two barrels to 2500, it is not good.
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#7235410 - 07/25/18 03:27 PM Re: Powder and bullet suggestions for 20” 6.5 Creedmoor [Re: TORNracer]
Cleric Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 03/11/12
Posts: 3467
My plan is to buy 2 bricks of fed primers and once there gone barrel is done

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#7235447 - 07/25/18 04:01 PM Re: Powder and bullet suggestions for 20” 6.5 Creedmoor [Re: TORNracer]
FiremanJG Online   content
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Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 26407
Loc: Wolfe City, TX
Good plan.
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#7235485 - 07/25/18 04:42 PM Re: Powder and bullet suggestions for 20” 6.5 Creedmoor [Re: TORNracer]
jeffbird Offline


Registered: 03/09/09
Posts: 3416
How much velocity does the AI gain over a regular 7-08 with 162 - 168's?
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