April 30, 2020
By J. Scott Rupp
A specialized group from the U.S. Department of Defense has purchased an undisclosed amount of 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition from Hornady for a military long-range sniper platform.
The load is the company’s Precision TAP load, which features a147-grain ELD Match bullet and is available only through Hornady’s law enforcement/military sales channels. According to the Hornady website, this bullet boasts a .697 G1 ballistic coefficient (.351 G7), and it’s loaded in match grade brass and employs a temperature-stable powder with flash retardant. The round’s Large Rifle primers are staked. Velocities out of a variety of 24-inch barrels are averaging right at 2,700 fps.
The load is very similar to Hornady’s 147-grain ELD Match load. The only real difference is the standard ELD Match load may not contain the flash retardant, and there may be other small changes that some military and law enforcement contracts require. The bullet’s BC is the same, as are the velocities—judging by Hornady’s website specs.
Hunters and competitive shooters have made the 6.5 Creedmoor one of the most popular rounds in the United States, but it wasn’t until 2017 that the military began experimenting with the cartridge in various sniper platforms.
This Department of Defense purchase agreement coincides with a decision to replace the MK13 bolt-action .300 Win. Mag.—a rifle built on a Remington 700 action with an Accuracy International Chassis system—with a 20-inch AR-10 in 6.5 Creedmoor. According to Army Times, last fall some snipers began training with M110K1 upper receivers from Knights Armament.
What it found was the Creedmoor doubled hit capabilities at 1,000 meters. Part of this increase was due to the 6.5’s high ballistic coefficient—which allows the round to retain its downrange speed more readily and a corresponding decrease in wind drift—and part of it was undoubtedly the lower recoil levels that make the Creedmoor-chambered rifles easier to shoot well. The Creedmoor platform also delivers a weight reduction, both in terms of ammunition weight and gun weight.