Prediction – 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge will overshadow the .243 Winchester by Ed Hale

I owned a .243 Winchester and tested a few Rifles in that Caliber for my New Hampshire Rifleman Magazine. I loved the accuracy and low recoil but it always nagged at me that bullet weight and CXP Criteria Limited the Cartridge to deer size game. Hornady’s HIT’s Calculator does the same. I entered 110 grains bullet, .243 diameter and velocity 2700 fps at impact and got a HIT value of 790 making it a medium game deer cartridge or smaller.

On the other hand with the 6.5 Creedmoor at 129 grains and Impact at 2700 fps it puts me into large game for 100 yard impact velocities with very similar low recoil. Further, that the sectional density SD of the .243 Winchester is .242 or less and does not have enough weight for its diameter to “reliably” penetrate sufficiently on larger game such as elk.

I tested rifles with 6.5 Creedmoor and found them easy to shoot and low recoil yet todays bullet advances make it ideal for both target and hunting with the 140 to 143 grain bullet on big game above deer. But I still consider it for thin skinned game like elk and big black bear and close-up, under 100 yards for big moose broadside only. Where it shines is long range! With an extremely low drag bullet it is fantastic for energy retention. I own a Ruger American Predator in 6.5 Creedmoor and simply love its accuracy and low recoil yet can take a broadside moose in the right hands with good shot placement. Accordingly, I sold my .243 Winchester.

See the Chuck Hawks website below on Sectional Density

In the case of the 6.5 Creedmoor the SD is .287 with a 140 grain bullet providing ample penetration for its weight vs diameter on CXP 3 size game and the 143 grain Hornady ELD-X nearly places it in the Winchester CXP-4 category.

The 6.5 Creedmoor was created for Target and beats the .308 round in long range competition but with Low Drag Ammo the 6.5 Creedmoor shines in Long Range Hunting for Big Game like Elk and African Plains Game like Kudu and game under the Eland.

Recommended Energies for Moose are 2500 ft-lbs but that hasn’t stopped the .270 and 30-06 hunters from using these rifle cartridges on Moose at over 100 yards and believe the 6.5 Creedmoor will kill moose cleanly at 100 yards or less with a well placed broadside shot.

There is one attribute that Jack O’Connor, a great hunting mentor,  would be greatly pleased with, and that is low recoil, thus allowing for very accurate bullet placement. This he discussed this incessantly in regard to the .270 Winchester with 130 grain bullets.

In conclusion the .243 Winchester’s recoil as compared to the 6.5 Creedmoor is a little less but so is its limit on game hunted. Thus I predict over time the 6.5 Creedmoor which is supremely accurate and delivers CXP3 energy and high SD for deep penetration will overtake the .243 in future sales but will not erase the  millions of rifles chambered in 243 Winchester for CXP2 or less size game.

© 2017 All Rights Reserved.




New Hampshire Rifleman Magazine winning Ruger, Hornady and Leupold Combination by Ed Hale

New Hampshire Rifleman’s winning combination is the Ruger American – Predator Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor winning Hornady bullet and winning Leupold VX-6 3-18x 44mm CDS scope.

The Rifle

The rifle that won my value driven pocket book is the Ruger American for under $400 dollars yet shoot sub-Minute of Angle at 100 yards as my Test Rifle. Not long ago it took a few thousand dollars to shoot groups like that. Adjustable Trigger, floating barrel and so much more that you have to read the spec sheet below.

In particular I have tested two of the rifles, one in 243 Winchester and the other in 6.5mm Creedmoor in the Predator series. Both shot sub MOA out of the box and both were in the $400 price range. Exceptional performance from these rifles was uncanny. I bought them both but later sold the .243 as recoil was similar to the 6.5 Creedmoor and it delivered more energy punch hands down. Wow! Accuracy? We got it!

The Cartridge

The 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge is just slightly smaller than the .308 Winchester yet with a 143 grain bullet at 1000 yards it beats the long standing military champ .308 or 7.62 NATO in both trajectory and wind deflection. As a first time 1000 yard shooter, I was able to break 8 inch balloons at 1000 yards. If you couple that with an Extremely Low Drag Bullet you have a fabulous combo for Target, as that was the original intent of the cartridge, but what about Hunting? The 6.5mm Creedmoor can handle a wider array of big game bullet weights than the 6mm/243 Winchester. I suspect the 6.5 will in time overshadow the 6mm at least as a big game hunting round as it delivers a bullet in the .270 Winchester class with the mild recoil of a 6mm. Of course bullet velocities are a bit slower. The .270 Winchester is still a faster bullet as is the 7mm Remington Magnum but at a higher cost of recoil as well.

The Bullet

Hornady Precision Hunter ELD-X™ in 143 grain with new Heat Shield™ Tips Patent Pending with AMP® Advanced Manufacturing Process. Mushroom design as low as 1800 fps and stays together out of the barrel. ACCURATE-DEADLY-DEPENDABLE

In testing by Hornady, the Hornady Precision Hunter ELD-X™ Extremely Low Drag Bullet has a very impressive G1 Ballistic Coefficient of .625/ G7 BC .315 for hunting at any distance within the delivered Energy Envelope for the game hunted such as 1000 ft-lb for deer 1500 ft-lb for Elk size game. Click the video below.


The Target


The Scope

Leupold VX-6 3-18x44mm Side Focus CDS see the VX-6 video below


The most expensive item was the scope. The VX-6 is unparalleled in quality and zoom and has dual erector springs that are vital in a far off hunt. This scope raises the bar in optical quality. You can spend more, but you will likely not get more dollar for dollar.  It is a scope for all time, near or far it is my best scope to date. It’s versatility, reliability was nearly unimaginable just a few years back.  Retail $850 to $1430 and worth every penny. Leupold Scopes are All American Made!

A perfect 10 combination for a big game hunter for deer, elk and African Plains game with low recoil. And my grandkids can shoot it!

Put a Ruger American-Predator Rifle Combo under your Christmas tree!

Good Hunting!

© 2016





Best Handloaded 30 Cal Picks for Deer and Bear

What is best in 30 cal for deer and bear depends on your likes and dislikes. Likes would be a round that has ample penetration and energy at ranges out to say 300 yards. That would be the 30-06 and .308 Winchester.  At less distances the 30-30 Winchester is a low recoil rifle that often is in a lever action model such as the Marlin 30-30.  From a reloading perspective, brass from any of these 30 calibers is readily available. Bullets range in weights from 110 grains to 220 grains for the .308 and 30-06 and best of all you get to choose the bullet like the Nosler AccuBond or the Hornady InterBond that are so well constructed. Other manufacturers are aplenty so there are more choices. For years I shot game with Nosler Partitions a great choice! The AccuBond and IB from Nosler and Hornady respectively have a high ballistic coefficient (BC) for long range use. If shots are under 100 yards then a round nose will act more like a hammer as it enters the vitals. I shot a buck with a round nose at 25 yards and it collapsed and the deer fell stone dead, not taking a step so pointed bullets are not always the norm here in the northeast.

On the Magnum side is the 300 Winchester Magnum, .300 H& H Magnum, the 300 Remington Short Action Ultra Magnum, .308 Norma Magnum and the .300 Winchester Short Magnum to name a few. They can be hand loaded up or down to mimic the .308 or .30-06 energies and velocities and when needed to shoot further at say 600 yards. Most popular of these is perhaps the .300 Winchester Magnum. Most all 30 Cal rifles have the blessing of a wide range of bullets, weights and powders.

If you are not a hand loader then I would stick with cost effective off the shelf ammo and rifles in .308, 30-06 and 30-30. You can go into any store that sells ammo and find these cartridges cost effectively anywhere.

Tips for new shooters and veterans alike  is to make sure that the recoil pad is one of the newer high tech recoil pads that absorb up to 50% of felt recoil. Simms SVL and Pachmayr Decelerator sell slip on pad and mounted pads that will be sure to make you smile instead of wince at the shot.

In closing, I have opted to shoot magnum calibers that I can hand load down to .308 or .30-06 or even the 30-30 level as long as accuracy does not suffer.  If you wish to compete at long range then the .308 Winchester is widely available and a best choice for brass availability.

Make every shot count!  ©2015

A Box of Gold – The Leupold VX-6


This is a rifleman’s “Box of Gold.” Inside this box is a device known to rifle hunters World Wide. It contains a Leupold Gold Ring Scope arguably one of the finest rifle scopes on planet earth with its Quantum Optical System. NH Rifleman will test it!

Leupold VX-6 3-18x50


This scope is in 3 -18x44mm CDS riflescope with an Illuminated Boone and Crockett Reticle. (Photo from Leupold.) CDS stands for Custom Dial System and a dial can be created free that will be for your best bullet and with a twist dial your yardage. More later.


Above is the Boone and Crockett reticle (image from Leupold) and power selector values for cartridges (more on that later). Also visible is the 10 mph shift posts we will use in testing

The Box of Gold also contains an instruction guide, Scope caps and a neoprene cover are the other gems included.  When I was a kid, most hunters that had a scope shot 3 power or 4 power fixed. Then the industry produced a 3-9 power that was affordable, and filled the tube with nitrogen, an inert gas to prevent internal fogging. Today, Leupold uses second generation waterproofing exclusively using a blend of Argon/Krypton gas. Now with supreme engineering and optical know-how Leupold offers hunter the power of close hunting at say 30 yards with the 3x all the way to 600 yards up to 18x. A new way to sing “You Got The Power”, a scope that is best of both short and long-range hunting and target shooting. In the coming months we will talk again and again of our experience with this world-class scope on the Ruger and Savage rifles.  In my testing will include the internal twin bias erector system that can handle most any caliber in the field or in the African bush. Look for more on this scope soon!




Taking the Rifles for a Walk at the Range.

Its early spring, March 25, 2015, the weather is sunny at 40 º F and the wind is 5 to 10 mph, a great day either walk your dog or take your rifles to the range. Today I am taking two rifles out for a walk as it were. These rifles sat in silence for a few months while old-man-winter dumped a record amount of snow on us here in southern New Hampshire.

First Rifle out, is my Ruger American in .243 Winchester.

ruger american bench rested

The Ruger American is a highly cost effective solution for deer and bear hunters. At last look it was under $400 bucks. It has a Leupold 2-7 power VX-3 on it. I really like these scopes as a long term investment!  Also, I like my Ruger American in .243 Winchester too as recoil is very light and delivers lots of accuracy and energy for the investment. Over the last fall I have worked up hand loads shooting Sierra 100 grain spitzers that are just tack driving accurate at top speeds for deer hunting out to about 300 yards (for a southern bean-field deer hunt)  keeping the long range 300 yard energy near to 1000 ft-lbs for adequate penetration and velocity in the 2000 ft-sec for mushrooming of the bullet on impact. This I know because I used JBM Ballistic Software on the web at

So I shot a three shot group at 150 yards at bench rest and kept the groups at 1 inch. Wow! Very Impressive! Two of the shots were clustered at 1/4 inch. These are near max loads and were shot at a temperature of 40 degrees F. As summer comes on and temperature rises I need to pay closer attention to case inspection for signs of slight over pressure, though I think the loads will be fine, it is best to be a good observer.  In the fall when temperatures drop back to 40 or below this load will bring meat to the table and with some luck, something with antlers too. Little wind and the kind of steady rest are critical for shots beyond say 150 yards. My trigger breaks at just under 3 pounds on the Ruger American so I can more easily predict near the break of the trigger.


Next Rifle out is my M77 Ruger African in .375 Ruger with a Leupold VX-3 in 3×9 with a Pachmayr Decelerator® slip on recoil pad. . With this Pad, the rifle shoots like a 30:06 instead. Very nice indeed.

375 Ruger and Leupold VX-III side view

I knew that it was shooting the 235 grain Speer Hot Core well at just over 2400 fps as I chronographed them this past fall.

I took a shot and made a slight adjustment and then two more shots nearly overlapping placing them at 5/8 inch apart at 150 yards a half inch above the bullseye, looking like a pair of eyes and smiley face with the bullseye looking more like a mouth just below the eyes.


This is a deer, bear or moose load, a light load for this cartridges capability.

This rifle is sub-moa accurate for many of my pet hand loads.

Ok, nuff of a walk and very happy. © 2105

Calculate Your Rifle’s Recoil

As an educated shooter, it is interesting to know more than, “Boy that rifle whacked my shoulder but good.” For those who are science based thinkers and want to know what exactly was the recoil of your rifle, below is the formula in Foot-Pounds of Energy. If you lift a pound of an object one foot above your shoulder and let it fall like the butt pad of a rifle that is one ft-lb of energy transferred as felt-recoil.

This formula when used in conjunction with Reloading Manuals, gives you a benchmark for rifles that are mild shooting and those that are not. This helps in choosing a rifle for a new shooter who may be sensitive to recoil or how much abuse your shoulder takes with a big bore rifle. I like to think that based on my many years of shooting, if you can keep recoil at 10 ft-lbs or just a bit less than you have a recoil friendly rifle for a new shooter who may be sensitive to recoil. Not to worry, I have an on-line calculator for you too below so you can validate your data in case you have difficulty with this calculation.

Recoil Calculation Formula

Recoil in Ft- Lb  =    ((((Wb+(Wp x 1.75)) x Vm)/Wr)/7000)^2 x Wr  / 64.4



Wb = Weight of Bullet in grains

Wp = Weight of powder in grains

Vm = Muzzle Velocity in fps

Wr = Weight of Rifle in pounds

Ga = Acceleration of gravity 64.4 fps/sec

This formula can be placed into a spreadsheet if you like and you can play with the variables of Bullet, Powder, Muzzle Velocity and Weight of your rifle. Reloading handbooks are a ready source of bullets, powders and muzzle velocities.

Here is an example for a 243 Winchester:

Wb=100 grains

Wp=43 grains

Vm=2900 fps

Wr=8 pounds

Take the weight of the powder and multiply by a factor of 1.75 = 75.25.  Add this to the weight of the bullet 100 + 75.25 = 175.25. Now multiply this by the muzzle velocity 175.25 X 2900 = 508225. Take the 508225 and divide it by the weight of the rifle in pounds. 508225/8 pounds = 63528.125. Now divide this by 7000 grains per pound. 63528.125/7000 = 9.075. Ok, we are almost there. Now square this result 9.075^2 = 82.355. Multiply this by the weight of the rifle in pounds, 82.355 x 8 = 658.845. Finally divide this by the acceleration of gravity 64.4 fps/sec = 10.23 ft-lbs Recoil. I rounded these numbers a bit in my spreadsheet and got 9.9 ft-lbs recoil, a tenth of a pound difference. Or use this calculator below which does it easily and includes products like recoil velocity and recoil impulse. This is a great way to validate the formula findings. If you round your intermediate data it may vary slightly from the on-line calculator.

Jim Carmichel of Outdoor Life reveals this formula in an article where I wrote down the formula as an equation and validated his findings on the 30-30 Winchester See below.

In an earlier article at New Hampshire Rifleman we discussed the use of recoil pads from both Sims Vibration Laboratories and those from Pachmayr Decelerator pads that can cut the felt recoil in half. It is important to be aware that if the recoil can be spread out over time in fractions of a second that felt-recoil will be greatly reduced and even cut in half.  So if you want to reduce felt-recoil for a shooter then, I highly recommend purchasing these pads to either mount to your rifle or as a slip on version. I own these pads for  my rifles. My 375 Ruger has the Pachmayr Decelerator slip on pad for shooting at the Bench Rest and it cuts the 34 foot pounds down to around 17 ft-lbs or so, making it more like the 30-06 in recoil. See your local retailer to purchase these pads.

Good Hunting! © 2015



Top 5 Deer Rifle Cartridges for New England – Updated for 2017

This  is my Top 5 Cartridge List is for hunters who do not hand load and want access to cartridges at any Ammo store.

New England is a mix of heavy cover and transitional farm land. That said, lighter, more frangible bullets limit the shooter to open spaces. A 100 grain bullet that hits a twig at 3000 fps is not going to stay on the intended path for long.

My Number one New England rifle cartridge choice for hunting in heavy cover or open spaces is the 30-06 Springfield. It can shoot bullets from 100 grains all the way up to 220 grains. Best deer killing bullet weights in moderate cover are from 150 grains to 180 grains. 

My Number two New England Choice is the .270 Winchester with 130 and 150 grain bullets. The parent cartridge is the 30-06 case. If I were hunting heavy cover, this would not be my second choice. Works well in moderate cover to open space.

My Number three Choice is the .308 Winchester and does nearly all the 30-06 can do in all field conditions. Best bullets in 165  to 180 grain weights.

My number four Choice is the 7mm-08 which is like the .270 Winchester but just slightly less powerful. The parent cartridge is the .308 Winchester case. Good choice of Bullets for all field conditions. Best bullets in the 140 to 160 grain weights.

My number 5 choice is the 30-30 Winchester. It is a proven deer killer and has taken more deer than perhaps any other round. It is good for moderate and heavy cover at 150 grain bullets that are flat or round nose. Great in Lever action.

Bullet choices are tops with a bonded core or an expanding gilding copper bullet. This is so because these bullets do not shed much weight as they mushroom in shape.  All other lead bullets work well but may shed more copper and lead in the deer if velocities are too high such as 2700 fps and higher and damage edible meat.

For young hunters or new hunters it is all about recoil. Shoot a rifle such as the 243 Winchester with 80 grain bullets or so. Or an above caliber with a Pachmayr decelerator recoil pad or a Sims Vibration Lab Recoil Pad. This will cut felt recoil in half. © 2013

Update for 2017 is that the 6.5 Creedmoor. I predict, will, in time, become a top 5 cartridge as it will replace the 7mm-08 and 243 for young and new hunters and become a favorite for all hunters and target shooters. Very low recoil! Very high Sectional Density for penetration.

Rifle Recoil Management and Flinching

This is Chapter 4 of my Safari eBook for those who have issues with recoil.

Screenshot (86)

If you bought my e-book you would be so much further ahead. Go to the header and click the e-book on the header part of the magazine to purchase your own copy.

I believe that flinching is still responsible for more misses and poor hits on game than almost any other variable I can think of, besides not practicing to simulate hunting conditions. Flinching is a learned reaction to painful recoil.  Like Pavlov’s dog that learned to salivate at the sight of food, once you have been hurt (stimulus), your (response) will usually be to flinch.  It can be unlearned.  It is a reaction of the body away from danger or harm and is an unconscious reaction and a normal thing however it plays hell with accuracy.

Managing recoil to prevent flinching is one of the most important things that you should consider for any big game rifle.  I learned that there is more to this than meets the eye.  In larger calibers the shooter learns to grip the rifle firmer and press the butt of the gun firmly into the shoulder on every shot.

My favorite option for Recoil Management is a state-of-the-art recoil pad.  Most production rifles, of almost all makes, often lack severely in the recoil pad category.  For a less than $40 dollar bill you can improve shooter accuracy immeasurably by making an investment in the best recoil pads on the market today providing a reduction in felt-recoil as much as 50%.  Both Pachmayr and Sim’s Vibration Laboratories make pads that are either pre-fitted to your rifle model, ground to fit or slip on like a glove. These are both fine pads that will approach 50% reduction in recoil.

The concept of reducing felt recoil with these state of the art recoil pads has much to do with absorbing the kick over a longer time frame (in milliseconds), thus the rifle pushes the shoulder of the shooter rather than punching or kicking it.  This is great news for those of us wanting to hunt dangerous game or for a youngster shooting his first deer rifle.  We won’t have to flinch at the thought of squeezing the trigger sending our shoulders into tomorrow and our teeth back to the dentist any longer.

The table shown next indicates the caliber, bullet weight, and velocity used to formulate the chart which demonstrates the significant value the shooter gains shooting with a recoil pad which provides 50% reduction in felt recoil.  I could have added other popular calibers like the 7mm Remington Magnum or the .270 Winchester but I merely want to pictorially demonstrate what happens when felt recoil is reduced so dramatically in this way.

Screenshot (81)

The recoil of each caliber has been plotted twice, once without 50% reduction and once with reduction.  In addition, I have included reduction in recoil when rifle weight increases on the same chart below.

The point of all this information is to demonstrate that using state of the art recoil pads, you can tame some of the bigger calibers so you can step up in power and not be clobbered in the process. By the same token you can tame a .30-06 shooting a very respectable 165 grain bullet for example to have the felt recoil of a .243 Winchester (not shown) that does not have a recoil pad.

Screenshot (83)

Note that there are two upper lines that overlap on the chart circled on the right. The right circled lines represents the .416 Rigby shooting 400 grain bullets with 50% recoil reduction theoretically shoots the same felt recoil as the .338 Winchester shooting 250 grain bullets without a recoil pad.  The .375 Ruger (very similar ballistics to the H&H Magnum) shooting 300 grain bullets with 50% reduction shoots with slightly more recoil than the .30-06 shooting 165 grain bullets without a recoil pad.  In addition the .30-06 with a 50% recoil reduction (left circle) shoots like a .243 Winchester (not shown) with 100 grain bullets. See the red circle on the left of the chart at 9.5 ft-lbs reduced felt recoil.

And lastly you can see what an 8 to 12 pound rifle does to reduce felt recoil, not as much as the 50% reduction using these recoil pads.  Yes you can add weight but who wants to carry more weight?  Not me.

Sim’s also makes a strap-on Limbsaver pad shown below that spreads the recoil out over a wider area.  I always use this pad when I am benchrest shooting in addition the recoil pad on the rifle.

Screenshot (85)

The shoulder pad is surprisingly thin and not bulky like some other recoil pads I have seen.

The end result of using these pads is that the shooter has also increased their inherent accuracy, thus allowing the brain to stay focused on the shot and not the recoil.  Yes, there are other ways to reduce recoil but none are as simple as a technologically superior and cost effective as a state-of-the-art recoil pad, such as a Sim’s or a Pachmayr.  I have them for every rifle I shoot.

The best of these recoil pads are made of specially designed rubber and air chambers that have been measured in a laboratory to scientifically reduce felt recoil.  There are several manufacturers who make these recoil pads such as Pachmayr and Sim’s Vibration Laboratories.  Some of these pads will require an adjustment to the length of the stock to fit you correctly.  Oliver Ford and I found both the Sim’s Vibration Laboratories and the Pachmayr worked equally to reduce recoil and tested the slip-on version and the precision-fit shown below, the Pachmayr needs some work to grind and trim.  We found that the Sim’s pad kept the rifles muzzle from jumping where the Pachmayr did not.  Sim’s calls it anti muzzle jump technology.  In addition, the Sim’s was precision-fit pad to fit brands of rifles like the Ruger M77 MK II for wood stocks shown in the lower right photo.

To install it, just remove the screws from your existing pad and use them to attach the new pad.  I had to pilot a new hole for one side of the pad.  It took me 10 minutes extra time.  Mine fit perfect.  Just measure the butt plate area in length and width and note your make and model of firearm.  The Pachmayr is sold as small, medium and large.  The one in the left photo is a medium and is a grind to fit and requires much more effort to in grinding.  Installation is the same with 2 screws.

Screenshot (84)


The Slip-on pads are terrific in a pinch but I would much rather have them permanently attached.  Both Oliver and I like both the Pachmayr and Sim’s Limbsaver, however, we like the Limbsaver slip-on much better as it has more friction to grip the stock and it has the anti-muzzle jump technology built in.

I discussed the Sim’s recoil pad with a Professional Hunter Jurie Meyer of Afri-Bushveld Adventures.  He offered a testimonial that his PH wife Celia weighs just about 100 pounds and using the Sim’s pads on her rifle and a double strap on Sim’s Limbsaver shoulder pad she can shoot a .458 Express round accurately without any shoulder issues.

When shooting from a benchrest your shoulder is often rolled forward placing the butt of the gun much higher, therefore I wear an additional strap on pad and a jacket to spread the recoil out as well.  For shooting the .416 Rigby at the bench I shoot with all the padding I can stuff under a Sim’s shoulder pad, and have the Sim’s Recoil pad on the rifle as well.  When shooting the .416 Rigby standing with shooting sticks or off hand I don’t need anything but the recoil pad on the rifle and can shoot it in a light shirt with no recoil issues at all, but at the bench it kicks the heck out of me.  An important thing to remember is not to over do your shooting with the big bore rifles in one session as you can become bruised or worse learn to flinch.  During the famous Teddy Roosevelt Safari, Teddy’s son Kermit had to stop hunting for a few days or so to let his shoulder heal as he was shooting big bore rifles too often.

The .375 Ruger is a much lighter rifle and weighs a three or four ounces over 9 pounds with a scope.  It shoots a 300 grain bullet with just slightly more energy than a .375 H & H Magnum but with these recoil pads they tame this round very well when standing or shooting from shooting sticks.  Again shooting from the bench should always include a shoulder strap-on pad to further reduce recoil.  Regular practice just before a hunt with these big rifles is the best way to mentally and physically prepare.Good Hunting!©