The Column, No. 107:
6.5mm Guns and Cartridges are Hot
By Chuck Hawks
The title of this article appeared as a teaser on the front cover of the October 2016 Shooting Times magazine. In addition, I have noticed an increase in the number of articles about 6.5mm rifles and cartridges in all of the print magazines in the last couple of years, as well as a spurt of newly introduced 6.5mm cartridges (6.5mm Grendel, 6.5mm Creedmoor, .26 Nosler, 6.5-300 Wby. and others).
With the exception of the 6.5-300 Weatherby, a full length magnum (and you thought the .264 Win. Mag. was over the top!), none of these new cartridges offer any ballistic improvement over existing 6.5mm cartridges, such as the .264 Win. Mag., 6.5mm Rem. Mag., 6.5x68mm Schuler, 6.5mm-06 A-Square, 6.5mm-284 Norma, .260 Remington, 6.5x55 SE, etc. You could accurately describe most of these Johnny-come-lately 6.5mm cartridges as "old wine in new bottles," created simply for marketing purposes.
However, the fact that 6.5mm cartridges are finally catching the attention of North American shooters, rifle manufacturers and ammo makers is noteworthy. I like to think Guns and Shooting Online and you, our loyal readers, have something to do with this resurgence in 6.5mm interest.
For at least a decade before the outdoor print media and most other guns and hunting oriented websites suddenly discovered the virtues of the 6.5mm, Guns and Shooting Online has been publishing articles about 6.5mm rifles and cartridges (see the Rifle Information, Product Reviews and Rifle Cartridges index pages), explaining their virtues of high sectional density for deep penetration, good killing power, flat trajectory and moderate recoil in standard (non-magnum) cartridges. Most of the G&S Online staff owns 6.5x55 or .260 Rem. hunting rifles (or both) and some also own rifles in more exotic flavors, such as 6.5mm Rem. Mag. and 6.5mm-284.
It is gratifying for us to be ahead of the outdoor media establishment, but the fact is Guns and Shooting Online readers like you are largely responsible for the recent surge of industry and media interest in 6.5mm rifles and cartridges. I can tell, over time, certain trends among our readers from the e-mail I receive and an increasing ground swell of support for 6.5mm has been building for a long time. I am sure other members of the outdoor media have also, more recently, noted increased reader interest, as have the gun and ammo manufacturers, who have finally decided to cash-in.
The bottom line is that 6.5mm guns and cartridges are becoming hot items. Sales are unlikely to surpass the .270 Winchester or classic .30-06, but the caliber is now respectable. These days, your more knowledgable hunting buddies are likely to praise your choice of a 6.5mm hunting rifle, rather than question your sanity for using one.
Copyright 2016 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.