Review: Sig Sauer 6.5 Creedmoor 140 gr. OTM Match Grade Rifle Ammunition
Not everyone reloads. This is especially true within the rapidly expanding popularity of the precision rifle market. The demand for match grade ammunition, especially in calibers other than 223 Remington and 308 Winchester is increasing. Newer cartridges like the 6.5 Creedmoor owe much of their success to the accessibility of reasonably priced off the shelf match grade ammunition.
Sig Sauer is an established firearms manufacturer that has been venturing deeper into the factory loaded ammunition market. Their latest offering is the 6.5 Creedmoor 140 gr. OTM Match Grade Rifle. Loaded with the excellent 140 gr. Sierra MatchKing (SMK) #1740.
Sierra offers two bullets in the 140 grain class, the 140 (#1740- above, left) and 142 (#1742- above, right). The 1742 has a higher BC and often shooters wonder why you’ll encounter the 140 more, especially in loaded ammo. I reached out to Sierra and they responded with the following answer.
According to Sierra:
The #1740 140 SMK bullet is often selected as a good choice for a long range bullet in those firearms that are barreled with slower twist barrels. For years the .260 Remington rifles were made with 1×9″ twist barrels. The 140 SMK did very well in those rifles. The #1742 142 SMK really needs a barrel twist rate of 1×8″for good stability.
The #1740 140 SMK also had a more “standard” tangent ogive that can be a bit more forgiving when trying to determine an OAL for accuracy. Being very similar to the #1730 140 SBT GameKing, it was a very easy transition when switching from a target load to a hunting load in a dual-purpose rifle.
The #1742 142 SMK of course has a considerably higher BC value than does the #1740. This in turn provides a noticeably flatter trajectory at extended ranges.
Both bullets have proven to be extremely accurate and continue to provide excellent results. There are valid reasons for each bullet.
The 140 gr SMK has the advantage of potentially being more forgiving during the load development process and more compatible with slower twist 6.5 rifles. My own experience mirrors this, finding it slightly easier to tune than the 142 gr SMK.
So, from a factory loaded ammunition standpoint, chambering their first 6.5 Creedmoor load for the 140 SMK makes complete sense; especially when you consider the wide variety of firearms, both bolt and semiautomatic, that this ammunition could be fired from.
I grabbed my latest 6.5 Creedmoor rifle, a custom Howa 1500 and headed to the range to give it a shot.
This is the test rifle. It was built with the following parts from Brownells:
- Howa 1500 barrel action (I pulled off the factory barrel)
- Timney trigger
- Shilen #7 1:8″ twist Select Match barrel
- OPS R3E2C brake
- Nightforce Picatinny rail
- Spuhr ISMS mount
The rifle is sitting in the excellent Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) ESS chassis system. This chassis was designed by MDT with the precision rifle shooter in mind.
For glass, I am running a Zeiss Conquest V6 5-30x50mm scope.
I set up some 2″ orange targets at 100 yards and attached a MagnetoSpeed V3 Barrel Mounted Ballistic Chronograph to my rifle. I fired five, 5-shot groups, prone, from a bipod with a rear bag. Ambient temperature was 82F. These are my results.
I ended up with an average velocity of 2,532 feet/second and a standard deviation of 10.6 feet/second. Group sizes ranged from .838″ (.800 MOA) to 1.070 (1.022 MOA) with an average group size of .980″ (.936 MOA).
The press releases that I’ve read specify that this ammunition has an advertised muzzle velocity of 2,625 feet/second yet the boxes I was sent read 2,690 feet/second (above)- both of which were more optimistic than my modest, but acceptable, 2,532 feet/second.
I’m confident in my velocity data. For comparison purposes this same rifle gets 2,914 feet/second with Norma 130 gr. factory, and 2,914 feet/second from a 142 SMK over 40.5 gr. of H4350.
When I ran the numbers, my drop and drift at 1,000 yards with a 10 mile/hour full value crosswind are 11.8/2.8 MRAD. This is inside the 11.9/3.1 MRAD you’d get with factory Federal Gold Medal 175 from a 308 Winchester at the same range.
Overall this is a good option for the aspiring 6.5 Creedmoor shooter. The ammo holds sub MOA accuracy while maintaining a respectable 10.6 feet/second standard deviation.
To learn more about Sig Sauer ammunition, visit their site.
To learn more about the 140 SMK, visit Sierra Bullets.