Ryan Cleckner 6.5 Creedmoor in Limpopo

Tarwathie

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I don't own a 6.5 Creedmoor and have no plans to get one, but I've been listening to a podcast recently called "Going Ballistic" by former US Army sniper Ryan Cleckner. The recent episodes are about his recent trip plains game hunting in Limpopo.

The podcasts talk in depth about very good performance of budget Sellier & Bellot 6.5 Creedmoor 140 gr soft points. Apparently S&B just used old fashioned bullets they normally use in 6.5x54.

Anyway, I have no stake in a discussion of the merits of 6.5 CM for plains game and bullet choice, but I am interested in what old Africa hands have to say. If anyone is interested enough to listen to the podcast(s) (episode 57 in particular) I'm curious about your thoughts. Just search "going ballistic podcast cleckner" to find it.

Do Cleckner's observations show that 6.5 CM with budget hunting ammo actually is a good choice that more people should consider, or is this a special case where Cleckner "got away with it" because he's a highly skilled shooter?

(I plan on bringing a 30-06 and either a 375 or 416 Ruger when I go to Africa, as discussed in another thread, so this is purely out of curiosity.)
 

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Two years my hunting partner used a 6.5 CM on plains game, most shots 200 to 300 yards, and took more than ten animals with it.
Some required two shots but I attribute that to not the best shot placement but they were the exception. He used Hornady factory loads in 129 SSTs and also handloads. His son killed a kudu at over 300 yards and other plains game with the same cartridge, factor loads. With the right bullet, in the boiler room, my observations, it's good to 400 on plains game.
 

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Within reason, it is all about shot placement.

A cool field shooter who picked his shots could do well on most PG with a .243 shooting a good 100gr bullet.

Just as in handgun or bow hunting, it is about understanding/accepting limitations and mastering your equipment.
 

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Ryan and I hunted together on that trip and full disclosure, I work for S&B. All 4 of us on that trip shot the exact same rifle, scope and ammunition hunting kudu, gemsbok, impala, wildebeest, waterbuck and warthog.

I love the 6.5 Creedmoor though it’s not magic. Many calibers will do the same thing. It’s simply a modern take on a tried and true classic, mild cartridge formula. One of the biggest factors in the success we had on the trip is the fact that we all practiced under field conditions extensively prior to the hunt. Everyone had approx 200+ rounds through their rifle on a walking hunt course with steel targets from 50 to 300 yards. We all shot off sticks regularly and put in the work to build confidence in our shooting. I believe the 6.5 CM’s mild recoil allowed us to burn 30+ rounds at a time practicing before the hunt without any abusive recoil. I’m a small guy and there’s zero recoil to worry about with this round.

Again, I work for S&B and I don’t want this to seem like a sales pitch, however the performance of the 140gr SP was impressive. It’s a new load for us and the only 6.5 CM hunting load we had available at the time. Of course, there are many great choices when it comes to brands/bullets/ammo, but the way this simple SP killed game quickly and efficiently was impressive. The PHs loved the way our animals simply fell over dead within a few yards after being hit. More expensive ammunition could not have “killed any better.” Core and jacket typically separated staying inside the animal with devastating internal damage. These results challenged what we all believed a good bullet should do. No one took a shot unless they could be sure of proper bullet placement, so any quality round would have worked, but the bottomline is that a good SP bullet at a reasonable velocity killed game very effectively regardless of its cost. Next year I’ll be taking the 6.5 CM Barrett and a 375 H&H.

Anyway, it was a great hunt with Makonya Safaris. We saw tons of game and had a wonderful hunt. Cleckner is an absolute master of the rifle and a great instructor. His book is the modern bible when it comes precision rifle work. Check it out if you need a good read.
 

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Ryan and I hunted together on that trip and full disclosure, I work for S&B. All 4 of us on that trip shot the exact same rifle, scope and ammunition hunting kudu, gemsbok, impala, wildebeest, waterbuck and warthog.

I love the 6.5 Creedmoor though it’s not magic. Many calibers will do the same thing. It’s simply a modern take on a tried and true classic, mild cartridge formula. One of the biggest factors in the success we had on the trip is the fact that we all practiced under field conditions extensively prior to the hunt. Everyone had approx 200+ rounds through their rifle on a walking hunt course with steel targets from 50 to 300 yards. We all shot off sticks regularly and put in the work to build confidence in our shooting. I believe the 6.5 CM’s mild recoil allowed us to burn 30+ rounds at a time practicing before the hunt without any abusive recoil. I’m a small guy and there’s zero recoil to worry about with this round.

Again, I work for S&B and I don’t want this to seem like a sales pitch, however the performance of the 140gr SP was impressive. It’s a new load for us and the only 6.5 CM hunting load we had available at the time. Of course, there are many great choices when it comes to brands/bullets/ammo, but the way this simple SP killed game quickly and efficiently was impressive. The PHs loved the way our animals simply fell over dead within a few yards after being hit. More expensive ammunition could not have “killed any better.” Core and jacket typically separated staying inside the animal with devastating internal damage. These results challenged what we all believed a good bullet should do. No one took a shot unless they could be sure of proper bullet placement, so any quality round would have worked, but the bottomline is that a good SP bullet at a reasonable velocity killed game very effectively regardless of its cost. Next year I’ll be taking the 6.5 CM Barrett and a 375 H&H.

Anyway, it was a great hunt with Makonya Safaris. We saw tons of game and had a wonderful hunt. Cleckner is an absolute master of the rifle and a great instructor. His book is the modern bible when it comes precision rifle work. Check it out if you need a good read.
Hey, thanks for replying here, it's great to hear from a guy who was there.

I've had good experiences with S&B 357 magnum ammo. The casings hold up pretty well for reloads.

I don't have Ryan's book but have been thinking about it. He talks about a revision in the works so I think I'll wait till it's out. I just discovered his podcast a few months ago. He is very good at explaining stuff in a clear way but without sounding like he's "dumbing it down".
 

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Of course, happy to add a little detail. Nice to see Ryan mentioned here. He's one of the true good guys in the firearms industry and his book/podcast/instruction are the real deal, plus he donates a significant part of the book proceeds to veterans.

This is a great forum. Always enjoy the topics and people you run into here. Hope you have a good hunt.
 

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I do not have a Creedmoor but do have a couple of rifles in 6.5x57 and one in 6.5x55, both of which were doing the same thing the Creedmoor does a hundred years ago. (Just saying - I really believe most new cartridge development is designed to bag hunters rather than game). But yes, the 6.5 is a great hunting caliber whether built by Ruger, Germans, or Swedes. The 140 gr and heavier bullets have superb BC and assuming they hold together, which is normally the case at 6.5x57 velocities (or Creedmoor velocities - did I mention that Swedes and Germans had been hunting with this caliber at this velocity for a hundred years?), they penetrate very deeply on game. I think the 6.5 may be nearly perfect for whitetail. It would not be first choice for plains game - my personal preferences begin at the 7mm and go up from there, but I would hardly feel unarmed with one of my 6.5's.
 

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I would also recommend Ryan's books. I have his Long Range shooting handbook which is an interesting read, especially if, like me, you play around a bit with 'Precision' competition shooting.

As for the Creedmoor, I think it's a good, efficient calibre, but perhaps not entirely able to live up to it's own hype. That said, I'm still considering getting a Bergara one as a cheap precision rifle rig, so what do I know?

Think I'll stick with the .270 for hunting though.
 

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I do not have a Creedmoor but do have a couple of rifles in 6.5x57 and one in 6.5x55, both of which were doing the same thing the Creedmoor does a hundred years ago. (Just saying - I really believe most new cartridge development is designed to bag hunters rather than game). But yes, the 6.5 is a great hunting caliber whether built by Ruger, Germans, or Swedes. The 140 gr and heavier bullets have superb BC and assuming they hold together, which is normally the case at 6.5x57 velocities (or Creedmoor velocities - did I mention that Swedes and Germans had been hunting with this caliber at this velocity for a hundred years?), they penetrate very deeply on game. I think the 6.5 may be nearly perfect for whitetail. It would not be first choice for plains game - my personal preferences begin at the 7mm and go up from there, but I would hardly feel unarmed with one of my 6.5's.

They mentioned this in podcast and agree with you, noting that Karamojo Bell hunted elephant with an earlier 6.5.
 

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They mentioned this in podcast and agree with you, noting that Karamojo Bell hunted elephant with an earlier 6.5.
Yep - the 6.5x54 MS (Mannlicher Schoenauer) - we can add the Austrians to our century-old list (y) But if the Creedmoor gets younger shooters to rediscover the 6.5 then what is not to like. As I said, it is a great hunting caliber regardless of specific format.
 

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Yep - the 6.5x54 MS (Mannlicher Schoenauer) - we can add the Austrians to our century-old list (y) But if the Creedmoor gets younger shooters to rediscover the 6.5 then what is not to like. As I said, it is a great hunting caliber regardless of specific format.
Makes sense. I tend to be a traditionalist as well, but also try to be open minded about new calibers, etc.

It was someone on here who commented about Roosevelt taking that newfangled 30-06 on his safari that helped break my mental resistance to the 375 and 416 Ruger.
 

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I've become a big fan of .264 caliber cartridges. At 140 gr and heavier, SDs get to the same neighborhood as 400 gr DG cartridges like 404J and the 416 family. Unless you're shooting a bullet that has a plastic jacket, you can always expect good penetration at appropriate distances.

A South African youtuber named Matt Dubber shoots a 260 Rem with ELD-X 143s. He's got a video of himself taking a lasered 792 yard one-shot kill on a blesbuck.
 

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And speaking of youtube, Ryan Cleckner is featured in a ton of NSSF videos there.
 

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I like Matt's channel, he can shoot. I think Ryan was an Army or Marine Corps sniper. I have one of his books, I believe he is a lawyer now. His book is ok, he is better on video than in the book.
 

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Yes, Ryan was in the Ranger battalion and is now practicing law. I really enjoyed his Going Ballistic podcast when it was going.
 

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Yep - the 6.5x54 MS (Mannlicher Schoenauer) - we can add the Austrians to our century-old list (y) But if the Creedmoor gets younger shooters to rediscover the 6.5 then what is not to like. As I said, it is a great hunting caliber regardless of specific format.
Another benefit of calibers being “rediscovered” is that the availability and variety of bullets increases for those reloading the older cartridges.

This happened when the 7mm magnum came out and the release of the 6.8 western now had reloaders discussing the possibility of using heavy bullets in 270 winchester (though that requires a look at barrel twist as well).
 

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i am nearly over reading that bell shot elephants with 6.5 and 7mm cartridges.
bruce.
 

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I can vouch for the 6.5CR and Hornady 143gr ELD-X. Absolutely devastating on pg up to eland and sable.
 

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I really believe most new cartridge development is designed to bag hunters rather than game.
Exactly.
Latest example...6.8WESTERN. :rolleyes:

However I also agree that if it gets people interested in the shooting sports, it's a good thing.
 

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