Most shooters use factory ammunition in their rifles. As a result of being an avid handloader, I don’t use it or often share factory ammunition data on this site. Since reloading requires skill, expense and equipment that many shooters do not have access to, I wanted to provide some baseline data on factory ammunition. In this post, let’s take a look at a series of different factory 6.5 Creedmoor loads and how they perform in two different rifles.
I tested seven different factory loads (from left to right), Federal American Eagle 120 gr OTM, Hornady 129 gr InterLock American Whitetail, Norma 130 gr OTM, Federal Gold Medal 130 gr OTM, Sellier and Bellot 140 gr FMJ, Winchester 140 gr OTM, Hornady 140 gr ELD Match and Hornady 147 gr ELD Match. While this isn’t an exhaustive list of factory 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition, it is representative of what is available to most shooters.
I tested a custom and factory rifle. The custom rifle, was a Surgeon action with a 1:8.5″ 22″ premium cut-rifled Bartlein stainless-steel barrel. The factory rifle was a Ruger Precision rifle with a 1:8″ 5-groove 26″ hammer forged carbon steel barrel. When I started looking at the data set I was shocked to see that the Bartlein barrel, despite being 4″ shorter, was always producing a higher muzzle velocity than the factory barrel.
For the custom rifle, I selected a gun I built at my business, 782 Custom Gunworks LTD.
This is the custom rifle. It has a custom action with a barrel I threaded and chambered at my shop, 782 Custom Gunworks. I seated it in an MDT ACC chassis. The barreled action assembly includes these parts from Brownells:
- Surgeon 591 short action
- Bartlein heavy varmint barrel
- Timney 510 trigger
- Nightforce BEAST 5-25×56 F1 scope
For a factory rifle I selected the ubiquitous Ruger Precision Rifle.
I decided to shoot both of the rifles on the same blustery winter day. All shooting was done prone, from a bipod with a rear bag. Muzzle velocity data were recorded with a Magneto-Speed barrel mounted ballistic chronograph.
For the custom rifle, 5-shot group size ranged from .324″ (.309 MOA) to 1.075″ (1.027 MOA) with an average group size of .671″ (.641 MOA).
For the Ruger Precision Rifle, 5-shot group size ranged from .759″ (.725 MOA) to 1.351″ (1.290 MOA) with an average group size of 1.033″ (.986 MOA).
Average 5-shot group size for all loads in both rifles was an astonishing .852″ (.814 MOA).
I plotted the data on a bar graph, shown above. The blue bars represent the 22″ custom rifle groups, while the red bars represent the Ruger Precision Rifle. In this case, the smaller bars represent better results (smaller group size).
Overall I’m impressed by the accuracy of the factory loads that I tested. The ammunition exceeded my expectations. Did the custom rifle shoot better, yes, but the RPR was no slouch.