Faster or Sleeker

It's not all about velocity.

Last week I spent the day at Barnes Bullets in Utah for upcoming segments on Guns and Gear, and we shot some impressive loads in the 6mm Creedmoor. I've shot the .243 Winchester and 6mm Remington for 50 years, and was prepared to not be all that impressed.  After all, the 6mm CM doesn't have any more velocity than these two standards. So, what's all the fuss about?

Simple. Bullets. Long bullets. Sleek bullets. Bullets with high ballistic coefficients (BCs).  A friend of mine who is a long-time Camp Perry rifle shooter says that when someone talks to him about the advantages of high velocity for long range shooting, he pays little attention. If the shooter talks about the BC of the bullets he's using, that's reason to start listening. 

Testing some rounds in Barnes Bullets underground 300-yard shooting range.

I talked about this on the radio last Sunday, and a listener sent an email saying that he has no need for the 6mm

Creedmoor because his .243 is 100fps faster. Okay. But that misses the point. Rifles chambered for 6mm CM come with a 1-8 twist rate, rather than the 1-10 rate of the .243. That enables them to stabilize longer bullets, and longer bullets have higher BCs. Case in point: The Barnes 112-grain 6mm Match Burner bullet has a BC of .624. Astounding. Past 300 or 400 yards, its leaving the 100-grain bullets from the .243 in the dust -- shooting flatter and drifting much less in the wind.

If you are into long range shooting, you want bullets with high BCs. Past 600 yards it makes all the difference. But, this is target shooting. That's where the newest round in the 243 class shines.

If you are hunting and you limit your shots to 350 yards, the 6mm Creedmoor really offers no advantage -- except ...

Barnes also has a new 95-grain LRX 6mm bullet that needs the fast twist rate to stabilize. It's a serious hunting bullet, and it may change some minds about the roll of the 6mm CR for hunting. 

Of course, you could always re-barrel your .243 Winchester of 6mm Remington with a 1-8 twist rate, handload the longer bullets, and get the same advantages. 

Isn't it grand to have all these choices? ~ Tom

Tom Gresham
Author, outdoorsman, gun rights activist, and firearms enthusiast for more than five decades, Tom Gresham hosts Tom Gresham's Gun Talk, the first nationally-syndicated radio show about guns and the shooting sports, and is also the producer and co-host of the Guns & Gear, GunVenture and First Person Defender television series.