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Late last month a few guys and I went to Lonesome Boar Adventures in Mountain Home, Texas to do a little hunting. Thinking we’d be shooting mostly coyotes at medium-to-long ranges, wild boars from close to far, and perhaps some axis deer, I built up a Pork Sword Rifle for my buddy, Peter, and a Pork Sword SBR for Jimmy, the owner of Atibal Optics, to use, both chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor.

While I could have put these guns together in other chamberings — and, indeed, I brought a gnarly 375 Raptor for myself — Creedmoor is super accurate and easy to shoot, especially over varying ranges with hastily-estimated wind calls.

My friend Peter had never hunted before and is a once-a-year kind of recreational shooter (a blow-up-soda-cans-on-a-square-range-in-the-woods kinda shooter, which described me for most of my life).

I wanted an accurate, low-recoil setup that he’d be rightly confident behind, and even mounted up a SIG SIERRA6 BDX 2-12x scope all synced up with a SIG rangefinder and programmed with the ballistics of the ammo I provided. Range the target, and a fiber optic aiming point lights up in the reticle with the correct elevation hold for that target. It’s pretty freaking awesome.

Jimmy is a great shooter and an experienced hunter who likes to take game at long ranges, so I knew he’d do his part behind an accurate, capable rifle. I wanted to give him something compact to show off how handy yet effective a short barrel is, so he got the 12-inch SBR on which he mounted up an Atibal Stealth 5-30×56 FFP. An axis deer was on his radar, and he planned on taking home all of the meat.

Though the ingredients of each shooter differed, both guns came out of the oven chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor.

At the same time, knowing from experience that Ryan, owner of Lonesome Boar Adventures, has a knack for finding bigger, tougher game than what we planned on shooting, such as aoudad, red stag, bison, blue wildebeest, and other creatures roaming around his and neighboring properties, plus how large and tough these Texas feral hogs can get, I made a very specific ammunition choice.

Winchester Expedition Big Game Long Range, which, in 6.5 Creedmoor, is loaded up with 142 grain Nosler AccuBond LR projectiles. All of this makes for a brand of ammunition with a name that’s clearly too long, but the results are worth it.

Designed for taking game from close to long ranges, the high ballistic coefficient (0.625 in the 142 grain 6.5mm) AccuBond LR bullets mushroom reliably from 1,300 FPS of velocity on up. With a bonded jacket and core and a tapered copper jacket, weight retention at close ranges and through tough game isn’t a concern.

From Jimmy’s 12-inch barrel this gives him 875 yards of reliable bullet performance. Should be plenty. Though, if I’m honest, I didn’t expect to put it to the test quite as well as he did.

First, let me say that I talked this cartridge up when we were getting all zeroed and settled in at Lonesome Boar Adventure’s hunting house. I showed it off to Peter, Jimmy, my customer-turned-friend Steve, and Ryan and explained that it has been one of the most consistently-accurate loads I have ever used across dozens of different review and test guns from many different manufacturers, and that I had full faith in the abilities of this projectile to go through hard bone and big animals and perform correctly.

Ryan, having guided hundreds of hunters shooting hundreds of 6.5 Creedmoors, was cautiously optimistic, explaining that he jokingly calls the cartridge “6.5 Bleed-less” and has struggled to track (due to the frequent lack of a blood trail) and has lost more wounded animals shot with 6.5 CM than any other cartridge.

A lot of that was undoubtedly the hunter’s bullet choice. 6.5 CM, being an incredibly accurate round that’s great for long range precision, is more frequently loaded with target style projectiles than hunting style projectiles. On top of that, the vast majority of the hunting-focused 6.5 Creedmoor ammo is loaded with lighter duty bullets made for game that’s whitetail deer size and smaller, plus for predators like coyotes.

Asserting that, nah, this ammo is absolutely legit and is going to perform like a hammer, I was sticking my neck out.

It performed like a hammer. So did Jimmy, for that matter.

Rounding a corner in one of Lonesome Boar’s side-by-sides on the way to post up in a hunting blind near a creek where feral hogs frequent around dusk time, Ryan and Jimmy spotted an absolutely gigantic red stag a whopping ~400 yards down the road near the tree line.

The stag looks up at them, Ryan yells at Jimmy, “shoot that stag!,” and Jimmy whips his Pork Sword out from the footwell of the SxS and sets it on the dashboard.

Right as the red stag makes up his mind to sprint into the trees, as he turns his head and begins the first stride of his run and leap out of sight, Jimmy puts a 142 grain 6.5mm Winchester Expedition Big Game Long Range Nosler AccuBond LR into his shoulder.

It went through the shoulder bones, one lung, the heart, the other lung, and the far side shoulder before stopping underneath the hide on the far side. The stag turned around and then dropped in place.

I’m not weighing the bullet because I can’t get all the gristle out and I also can’t find my powder scale…

But it looks pretty freakin’ intact. I can’t identify any obviously missing pieces of lead or jacket.

To put it extremely mildly, Ryan was highly impressed with the wound channel as he and Jimmy butchered the red stag. There was far more tissue destruction than he expected, again based on hundreds of animals’ worth of 6.5 CM experience, and the bullet maintained its trajectory despite encountering heavy bones.

It did exactly, every bit of what you’d hope for.

I’d also like to add, in a bit of [further] shameless Black Collar Arms promotion here, that the first thing Ryan and Jimmy excitedly talked about when Peter, Steve, and I caught up with them was the fact that Jimmy would have never gotten this shot off with a typical rifle. Riding in the side-by-side with the Pork Sword SBR muzzle-down in the footwell, stock rested on the seat next to Jimmy’s leg, there simply isn’t enough room to maneuver a standard length hunting rifle up and onto the dashboard. Certainly not in time to have taken the shot before the stag was gone.

With a 12-inch barrel and comparatively light weight, the Pork Sword can be maneuvered within the confines of a small vehicle, switching quickly and easily from shooting over the dash to around the roll bars and out the sides, or from inside a deer blind or when walking through brush, etc.

Jimmy grabbed it, whipped it up onto the dash, and took the shot. Ryan is now picking up a 10-inch .308 Pork Sword SBR. If you visit Lonesome Boar Adventures in a few months and don’t bring your own gun, this is likely to be your loaner and, if you do bring your own gun, don’t be surprised to see Ryan carrying a 10-inch chassis gun with a dead sexy deep spiral fluted barrel and a folding stock. They’re insanely capable and can’t be beat for how handy and maneuverable they are.

Peter and Steve (faces blurred to protect your eyes) simultaneously shot a pair of mangalitsa pigs at about 140 yards, command firing with me counting them down.

It was a great couple of days and another fantastic time hunting at Lonesome Boar Adventures in the gorgeous Texas hill country.

When you go hunting, wherever you go, make sure you choose the right bullet for the job.

On a related note — and this hasn’t been publicly announced yet but I may as well get that ball rolling here! — during this trip Jimmy convinced me to sponsor this massive African Safari Hunt Giveaway with a rifle.

With a prize package valued at well in excess of $20,000, including flights for two to Africa, four amazing animals during 11 nights and 10 hunting days with Johan Petzer Safaris, and a fully-equipped (Atibal Stealth scope, Accu-Tac bipod, etc) Black Collar Arms Pork Sword Rifle chambered in 375 Raptor, this is a massive giveaway.

Sign up at AfricanHuntGiveaway.com and please tell your friends, family, and anyone else you know who’d want to go on the hunt of a lifetime with one of the most badass rifles on the market, if I may say so myself.

 

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63 COMMENTS

      • I’ve watched people drive down the road in a motor vehicle and fire from the windows when they spotted an animal. It’s illegal here in CA.

        As for horses. They at least are a part of a historical tradition involving hunting. Never did it myself but I’d be more open minded about it.

        • Here in Texas, some hunting ranches are tens of thousands of acres in size. Often, hunters are driven around in specialized vehicles modified for use as mobile hunting blinds. Generally, these vehicles are modified pick-ups or Jeeps, but I have also seen station wagons and a Suburban with the top cut off. The King Ranch at one time had one of LBJ’s Presidential Limousines kitted out as a hunting wagon. Such vehicles make covering a lot of ground quite easy, and on well-stocked ranches it makes finding specific species that much quicker.

          BTW: It is illegal in Texas to shoot animals from a public roadway.

        • No idea on legality/where it happened but I have see videos of night time hog hunting involving quads with nvg and shotguns pursuing the herd (what is the right word for wild pigs as a group?)

        • “…right word…”

          Mob, herd, drift, singular (as in, “a singular of boars”), sounder, and many others. Context, age/sex of the individuals in the group, location, and other factors come into play.

        • @SAFEupstateFML Hunting Hogs here in Texas requires nothing more than a firearm, and hogs can be shot anywhere from anything on private property. 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Hogs are a agricultural nightmare for ranchers and farmers, and yes, hogs even kill people here. They are ugly, smelly and dangerous.

        • MB + jwm I was guessing as much but wild to hear it confirmed as we still struggle with dealing with the reality that coyote (let alone coywolf) exist up here and have go after pets and people. And don’t ever mention that we get cougar tomcats that range out to the Adirondacks from wherever west of the lakes. But not so much with hogs yet.

        • It’s illegal everywhere I’ve ever lived.

          My attitude is, if you can’t get out of the vehicle, and get into the forest, you better have a handicapped tag on your vehicle if you want anything resembling respect from me.

          In fact, I’ve known handicapped hunters who did get out into the field and forest.

          That doesn’t mean I won’t sit in my living room, and bag the deer who thinks my garden is a buffet.

    • I used to be much more of a purist, decades ago. One day, I read a piece by outdoor humorist Pat McManus that was typically hilarious. He noted that the perfect Christmas gift for the flyfishing purist in your life, would be a dry fly box that had a hidden compartment. In case of emergency, you could press a secret button, and a panel would slide open, revealing a matched pair of night crawlers. Laughed until I cried, and then cried until I laughed. I can not say that I’ve never been tempted to open that compartment. Nor can I say that there were never times at which I wished such a compartment was part of my kit. I lightened up some that day, and since am less liable to frown. Grace is indeed liberating.

    • Is there a difference if you hop out? Invariably, every year, I run across a couple elk on the road while I’m hunting.

      I can put in fifty miles on foot in painful conditions and see not one (or maybe one I can’t shoot due to spike-only rules). I’d not feel bad dropping an animal 25yds from the truck on the road.

      While we can’t shoot from a vehicle either (unless disabled) I don’t really see a difference being in or out of a vehicle.

      If it works and is legal, I won’t criticize. I have zero interest in bow, spear, dog, or muzzleloader hunting, but not my place to decide what floats others boats.

    • Opinions on what counts as “hunting” mean nothing, because they vary almost as much as fingerprints. For whatever it is that you consider hunting, there’s someone with a loin cloth and a spear tracking hoof prints and snapped twigs through the mountains for 6 days who thinks you’re a joke. If it’s wandering in the wilderness until you happen to spot something and then get close enough to make a shot that you don’t have to do math for, then you can hunt just fine with only a camera. I guess I do tend to focus more on the shooting part. The surprise, intense time crunch, long range, and overall difficulty of this shot make it hunting in my book. They could have just as easily stumbled upon this animal on foot. I don’t think the circumstance that they happened to be in a side by side makes any difference at all. Heck, if they had walked around that corner instead of driven, the stag probably wouldn’t have heard them and he could have dropped prone and made a more stable shot without the time crunch. Usually you don’t see animals when you’re on a SxS since they’re so noisy, but the turn in the road and the long range to the stag past the turn made it possible. Right place at right time happens when hunting no matter how you’re getting around.

  1. Good article that focuses on the importance of proper mushrooming and target impact over various ranges. A topic that is, IMHO, far too underestimated by those who tout the 6.5 CM as the go-to “One Cartridge to Rule Them All”. I know of a master hunter with 50+ years under his belt who lives solidly by the Ethics Rule and will not touch any shot where the game is outside of 400 yds, to minimize the possibility of an inhumane and painful bullet strike. He recognizes the excellent ballistics of the 6.5 CM but frowns upon anyone who mentions long-range hunting with it due to its tendency to pierce at long distances instead of mushroom. This new ammo being reviewed seems to alleviate that concern.

    I myself have never taken a kill shot outside of 200 yards out of personal preference.

    • My only center-fire rifle-taken deer was 185 yards with a nothing special 125-gr. JHP .357. Dropped him like I pole-axed him. Then again, I overestimated bullet drop and severed his spine. The next shot sent him across the rainbow bridge.

      I do prefer 12-ga. Foster slugs. I’ve had proven results with those at under 50 yards.

    • I’ve seen the results of using match bullets on game, varmint bullets on medium game, and FMJs without good placement. Probably where some bullet myths come from.

    • You can buy 4 angus steers at the stock yard and have them butchered and packaged for 1/8th the cost of the Red Stag hunt.
      But hey man, I hunt for the meat not the horns,,,,right

    • Majestic till there aren’t enough predators to keep their numbers in check and over grazing/starvation/disease kicks in. Hunting has it’s purposes and cute/majestic/whatever else means little when hard factors of what the environment can support get involved.

    • Define “for sport.” It’s getting eaten. Unless you’re a vegetarian for animal loving reasons you can stuff it.

      It was magnificent AF though, that’s for damn sure. I guess we should only kill the ugly animals?

    • The “magnificent” bucks (and does) living on my Tennessee farm go through fields of corn like eating machines. We tend to think of them as hoofed rats. But it’s better to shoot your grandmother than bag one of these voracious critters out of limit or out of season.

  2. Accubonds are phenomenally accurate. After trying several different bullets for elk loads in my .30-06, I tried Accubonds a couple of years ago and got 100 yard groups down below an inch. Tried the same thing with the .338 and got the same results. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a bull in range since. Maybe this year.

  3. Excellent article. There has been so much crap on TTAG I almost stopped reading. This one makes up for it- almost.

    For those like myself who do not hunt as much as we would like this is adventure. The Creedmoor hasnt been a great deer round, glad Winchester came up with a good load.

    • My son competed again someone with a 6.5CM on the weekend. It was a 100m match so he was using the Ruger Precision Rimfire. He had hurt his leg in athletics training during the week and was shooting prone off the bipod. The person the 6.5CM tactical rifle was doing the same. I don’t think he had a good 100m zero worked in. My son beat the mighty Creedmore with a .22.

  4. What does the 6.5CM do that the 6.5Swed does not? Or the .260REM? Or the 6.5Lapua?
    Pork Sword.
    Okay.
    How about a hunt using something more common the rest of us might own for hunting? Like a Winchester Model 70? Or a Remington 700? A Savage 110 Engage Hunter?

      • What? Who the hell cares? This is an article about choosing the correct projectile for the job. There’s a million other cartridges that would also be great and there’s a million rifles chambered in this cartridge. None of any of that changes the point of the article, which is make sure you’re choosing a bullet designed for what you’re shooting at.

    • I wish 6.5 Swede was more common. I’ve got a Swede Mauser in great condition I’d love to hunt with more often.

      Don’t worry, no, I didn’t bubba a scope on it.

      • Mine was already bubba’d when I bought it. The only original parts are the receiver, bolt, and magazine floor plate.

    • Ballistically not much, logistically exist in sufficient numbers to be readily available at a price point comparable to 308. Like it or not it is becoming the “standard”. With that said the Norma is very neat.

    • The 6.5 CM uses a common .308/30-06/.45 acp bolt face. The Sweed does not. (it’s close)
      The 6.5 CM has a set back shoulder and longer throat, allowing heavier, higher BC bullets than the 260-Rem.
      The 6.5 CM has a first-mover advantage over the Lapua because nobody has ever heard of 6.5 Lapua and 6.5 CM is in every gun shop and sporting goods store.

      If I were to custom build a light weight, long range, bolt gun, I’d pick 6.5-284 though.

      • Also shares magazines for AR10 and AICS with 308 and is typically just a barrel/upper change from a very available option depending on what you want at the time.

  5. I ate a mushroom I found, boy howdy a half hour later I was one sick sumabitch, I dont know if it was the deadliest mushroom in the woods but the shtt running down my leg sure smelled like it might have been.

  6. Bullet construction, performance, and selection is hugely important when hunting.

    My primary hunting is white-tailed deer. Large bucks can easily tip the scales at 250 pounds on the hoof and large does can get up to nearly 200 pounds on the hoof. A more average buck would be about 215 pounds on the hoof and average doe about 155 pounds on the hoof.

    I shot one deer at 175 yards with my bolt-action rifle chambered in .270 Winchester. I was shooting a 130 grain jacketed softpoint. It turned his liver into the consistency of corn flakes cereal on its way to/through the heart before embedding under the hide in his brisket. (It was a quartering away shot.) That bullet expanded perfectly and appeared to maintain pretty much all of its weight. That buck ran about 70 yards before dropping dead.

    For the past 6 years or so, I have been using .44 Magnum shooting 240 grain jacketed softpoints out of a rifle with 22-inch barrel. All shots were between 40 and 90 yards. Every shot is a pass-through and makes a respectable permanent wound channel about 1-inch in diameter. Most deer collapse dead within 50 yards, although I had a large doe run about 90 yards and a very large buck run about 130 yards before falling dead. I don’t know how much those softpoint bullets expand because I have never recovered one. All I know is that they work.

    I have thought about changing over my .44 Magnum loads to hollowpoints to get more expansion and more impressive wound channels–so I purchased some 240 grain hollowpoints last week. If I get a chance to verify zero with those, I will probably try them this year. If that all works out and I actually recover a bullet, I will report back on this site.

    • “For the past 6 years or so, I have been using .44 Magnum shooting 240 grain jacketed softpoints out of a rifle with 22-inch barrel.”

      Since I’m not by any measure a long-distance marksman, if I was hunting game for sustenance, I think I’d select a scoped lever-action in .44 mag. Reasonably light weight for long hikes…

      • Geoff,

        A lever-action carbine (with 16-inch barrel) chambered in either .357 Magnum or .44 Magnum is THE ideal long-distance hiking and sustenance firearm in my opinion–assuming that your shots are about 75 yards or less (as you so aptly implied).

        Such a carbine is light and highly maneuverable and makes it an outstanding “brush gun” as so many people say. Plus, thanks to their tube magazine, they are super comfortable to carry with a shoulder strap and strapped over your shoulder.

        Then there is the fact that you can carry a revolver in the same chambering as well which means ammunition commonality of course.

        I have thought long and hard about the optimum firearm platform for an “end-of-the-world” situation where you have to go mobile–quite likely on foot–for an extended period of time. I believe a revolver and lever-action carbine, both chambered in .357 Magnum, are the optimum platform.

        • With respect to my above comment and tying that in to bullet selection:

          Lever-action carbines and revolvers chambered in .357 Magnum are not as heavy as .44 Magnum. And yet .357 Magnum is quite satisfactory for nearly all self-defense and hunting situations with proper load and bullet selection and within realistic distances. Thus, if you are going mobile (on foot most likely) as light as possible in a societal collapse, while still maintaining adequate defensive and hunting capabilities, .357 Magnum is it.

          The beauty of a carbine and revolver chambered in .357 Magnum for survival situations is the HUGE selection of loads and bullets. Want to take small game? Use .38 Special with 125 grain full-metal jacket bullets. Want to dissuade looters? Use .38 Special 125 grain jacketed hollowpoints, 148 grain full wadcutters, or even 158 grain semi-wadcutter hollowpoints. Want to hunt medium-sized game or repel black bears and mountain lions? Use .357 Magnum 158 grain semi-wadcutters or even 180 grain hardcast bullets (with large flat meplats). And in a pinch, those .357 Magnum 180 grain hardcast bullets (fired out of your trusty carbine for the significant velocity boost compared to a revolver) could probably even take an elk or black/grizzly bear in the 500 to 700 pound range at up to 50 yards or so.

          Thus, as this article indicates, proper bullet selection for your given caliber is critical to successful hunting and self-defense.

  7. “…and Jimmy whips his Pork Sword out from…”

    That wasn’t coincidental phrasing, was it Jeremy? 😉

  8. JUST one. No pro hunter likes to take game at a longer range than nessesary because for a pro-hunter STALKING is part of the skill set and without it your are NOT A BLOODY HUNTER your arr a LIVE TARGET SHOOTER.
    I Have been stalking deer in the UK with a pro though I do not myself hold a license. MY friend was stalking for the retail market and wanted a clean and certain kill every time [I was actually there in my OFFICIAL role as an AUTHORISED MEAT INSPECTOR and ANIMAL WELFARE OFFICER.] and I assure you that any shot over 100/200 metres was out of the question. And I can also tell you that stalking deer to within 100 metres is a damn sight more skillfull than the acutal shooting

    • Let’s ignore the ongoing issue of your credibility for a moment.

      Not everyone lives where you (allegedly) live. In some places (like the open deserts and mountains of my home) distances are vast and opportunities for stalking are rare. The only shot you might get is over 200 yards (meters) away. If you don’t take it, you don’t get to eat venison.

      • Almost forgot. If you think stalking is all that, then pick up a bow and get within 50 yards. Post pictures or it didn’t happen.

    • I only hunt barefoot in my loin cloth using a stick I sharpened myself. Anyone wearing shoes and toting around a gun isn’t a pro-anything. Your OFFICIAL role as an AUTHORISED MEAT INSPECTOR and ANIMAL WELFARE OFFICER is as meaningless as anything else you’ve ever said in your life.

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