6.5 Creedmoor load development: Sierra 107 TMK and Varget

The current trend in precision rifles is towards longer and heavier rounds.  All too often I read about a new bullet like the 6.5mm 150 gr. Sierra MatchKing (SMK) and go crazy ordering faster twist barrels and special reamers.  It seems like I often forget you can achieve great performance, especially at shorter ranges, with lighter bullets.  In the 6.5 Creedmoor I loved the 142 and 150 SMK, but I also shoot a lot of 123 SMK.  When Sierra introduced the 107 Tipped MatchKing #7407, I decided to give it a whirl in my 6.5 Creedmoor.

Here are some great 6.5mm bullets, from left to right, the 107 SMK, 107 TMK, 123 SMK, 130 TMK and 142 SMK.

The 107 TMK has banded G1 BCs of .445 @ 2200 fps and above, .455 between 1600 fps and 2200 fps, and.415 @ 1600 fps and below.  These numbers represent an increase in ballistic performance over the 6.5mm 107 SMK.

This is my hammer of a 6.5 Creedmoor.  One of the best shooting guns I’ve ever had.

I built it with parts from Brownells, including:

All the parts; the barrel, chassis, scope and trigger, work well together for a nice shooting rifle- even if it only has an 8″ twist.

It started in an AI AX chassis over to an MDT ESS.  I’ve been shooting the ESS a lot lately and have grown quite fond of it! (Click here to learn more about the ESS)

WARNING: The loads shown are for informational purposes only.  They are only safe in the rifle shown and may not be safe in yours.  Consult appropriate load manuals prior to developing your own handloads.  Rifleshooter.com and its authors, do not assume any responsibility, directly or indirectly for the safety of the readers attempting to follow any instructions or perform any of the tasks shown, or the use or misuse of any information contained herein, on this website.

I worked up some loads over some 2XF Norma brass with CCI #200 primers.  For powder I selected Varget and IMR 8208 XBR.  All shots were fired prone, from a bipod and rear bag.  Ballistic data was recorded with a MagnetoSpeed V3 barrel mounted ballistic chronograph.

Despite the fact that I was running a relatively fast twist for this weight of bullets it still shot fairly well.   Average groups sizes for all loads was .621″ (.593 MOA)!  Varget shot better, with an average group size of .474″ (.453 MOA) to IMR 8208 XBR’s .768″ (.733 MOA).

Velocities were equally impressive with both powders hovering around the 3,150 feet/second mark for maximum loads.

How does the 107 TMK/6.5 Creedmoor look when we model it?  Using banded G1 BCs, I ran it against the 123 SMK (2,965 feet/second) and 142 SMK (2,768 feet/second) loads I developed in this rifle. According to the software, at 1,000 yards the 107 TMK with require 7.9 MRAD of elevation and 2.5 MRAD of windage in a full value 10 mile/hour cross wind compared to 9.0/2.1 for the 142 and 8.3/2.3 for the 123.  Not too shabby…

Sometimes I head to the range and feel like I wasted my day, other times I feel great.  This was one of those cases in which I was happy I went.  Check out this 5-shot group, .265″ (.253 MOA), stuff like that makes me smile.

107 TMK is definietly an option for the 6.5 Creedmoor.  I have no doubt it will be better in the Grendel, I’ll let you know how that goes once I shoot it.

To learn more about the MDT ESS, click here!