Gray’s Best 2017

(River Travelers, by Chet Reneson)

SHOOTING: Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor ELD-X Precision Hunter Ammunition

The 6.5 Chornadycreedmoorreedmoor is a Hornady creation and, as this is written, the hottest property in the rifle world. Although it is not based on any existing case per se, it is remarkably similar to the old .250-3000 Improved, necked up from .257 to .264, which existed as a wildcat for many years. Delivering 2,700 feet per second at the muzzle with a 143-grain bullet, the 6.5 Creedmoor also resembles the even more ancient 6.5×55 Swedish (140-grain at 2,735 fps) which has been with us since 1894. The logic of creating an entirely new cartridge where similar ones already exist is that it comes without historical baggage. This allows the ammunition company to load it to its full potential, rifles to be given the proper rifling twist, magazines to be adequate length, and so on. From the beginning, the 6.5 Creedmoor was intended as a super-accurate long-range cartridge, shooting bullets that are heavy-for-diameter—in this case, 140 grains and up. Hornady followed up its initial success with a line of ammunition loaded with its new ELD-X (Extremely Low Drag) game bullet of 143 grains, and a comparable Match load (140-grain ELD bullet.) These shoot to essentially the same point of impact, and both with excellent accuracy. Testing it in the new Ruger FTW Hunter rifle, performance was so good, we didn’t know whether to fall in love with the ammunition or the rifle. The dilemma was resolved by falling in love with both.