Military muscle holds sway
I refer to articles by Rod Pascoe in the Australian Shooter (July and December 2018). Readers may be interested to know that among many other variants, a version of the 6.5x55 ‘Gallery’ round mentioned in Rod’s ‘Consider reduced loads’ is used in the 84mm Carl Gustav shoulder anti-tank recoilless gun (pictured) in use by the ADF for almost 50 years.
Like many such weapons the ammunition is expensive and you know all about it when you fire one - concussive muzzle blast and back-blast akin to being punched in the face - and you need a dedicated range which is inevitably a long way from anywhere to fire it on (I’m ex-Army).
Accordingly, ballistically matched sub-calibre training/practice devices are common, most based on small arms ammunition. There are no less than three available for the ubiquitous Charlie Guts-ache as it’s universally known among those who carry it, with 9x21mm, 6.5x55mm and 7.62x51mm versions used in various countries.
The ADF had the 6.5x55 which chamber in a breech/barrel arrangement incorporated inside what is otherwise a dummy 84mm round - the characteristic stand-off rod serves as the barrel.
As far as the 6.5 Creedmoor is concerned, ‘marketing’ does have a lot to do with its popularity. The fact a US military agency adopts a round of ammunition is not necessarily an endorsement based on science, the 7.62x51 NATO (.308W) and 5.56 x 45 (.223) cases in point. The two most popular sporting rounds of ammunition in the world today were both derived from military decisions.
Rather than banging on about it, I recommend reading The Black Rifle by R. Blake Stevens and Edward C. Ezell. The process by which they were adopted verges on the scandalous. Neither were optimised for their intended role, both cost a fortune in ongoing development of the round and weapon systems and the result has imposed design constraints on the US and its Allies in any attempted remediation that exist to this day.
The 6.5mm Creedmoor is one of a series of 6.5 rounds all pretty much in the same class. There’s little doubt 6.5-7mm is some kind of ballistic ‘sweet spot’ that began with the 6.5x55 more than 120 years ago. National pride and economic muscle is a big motivator among our US friends but it can hinder objectivity.
Steve Larkins, SA
12 March 2019