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Topic: "The Crazy Story of the Birth of the 6.5 Creedmoor" (Read 4675 times) previous topic - next topic

"The Crazy Story of the Birth of the 6.5 Creedmoor"

Not sure exactly where to post this topic but since it was posted on a blog from a brass manufacturing company I thought this would be appropriate. And the exposure can only help this cartridge to get a little more main stream!  ;)


Kinetic Industries Blog

The Crazy Story of the Birth of the 6.5 Creedmoor
Posted by Kern Lewis on Sep 13, 2016 7:02:22 AM
“The first buzz-worthy cartridge I can recall since the .260 Remington.”

~Kevin Reese, writing about the 6.5 Creedmoor in Shooting Sports Retailer.

Are desperation and frustration the seeds and sparks of innovation? They can be, and certainly drove the birth of the increasingly popular 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge. Good relationships also played a role, and the usual dose of serendipity gave it a boost, too.

The Team: Dennis DeMille and Dave Emery

The Spark: DeMille’s frustrating experience at the 2006 NRA National High Power Rifle Championships.

Dennis DeMille was the returning National Rifle Champion at the 2006 National Matches, but he was having trouble concentrating on his performance. In addition to being the reining National Champion, Dennis was also the General Manager of the company that sold most of the rifles to the people competing in at the highest levels of the competition — the T2K Rifle, or Tubb 2000. The T2K was a revolutionary design, but it had one drawback; there was no commercially available SAAMI approved round that let the competitor maximize rifle performance.  As Dennis puts it, “using anything but a hand loaded wildcat round in that rifle would be akin to burning regular gas in a funny car.” The best “recipe” for the round was passed via word of mouth, so shooters with a limited knowledge of reloading would often experiment with varying charges and powders. This could create dangerous situations and cause severe function problems, like blowing primers and extractors. Most of this was unfairly blamed on the rifle…which they had bought from Dennis!  Since Dennis was right there at the matches, shooters who had encountered those problems took this chance to express their displeasure with their rifle purchase.

Serendipity played its role at this point. Dennis typically shared a room with his close friend Dave Emery at the Nationals. Dave, as it happens, knows a bit about designing bullet cartridges as the Chief Ballistician for Hornady. So Dennis had a knowing and sympathetic ear to bend about his distractions.

Here, the good relationship came in. Dennis was completely comfortable expressing his frustrations to his friend Dave. Dave took it all in, then simply said, “Dennis, why don’t you let me design a round for you?  I’ll design one that will do everything you tell me it should do, and if you’re the only person in the world shooting it, I’ll be fine with that”.  Dave told Dennis to put down on paper what he thought the perfect round should be, with the caveat that Dennis not pick the caliber. Dennis didn’t hesitate: The next morning Dennis handed Dave a list that laid out everything he wanted in a perfect round that would solve his issues and his customers’.

Here is the list Dennis gave Dave:

    Superior ballistics. It needed to be as good as any safe hand loads being used in conventional high power competitions
    Pricing comparable to match grade .308
    Much lower recoil than a .308
    Standard .308 magazine length
    Not a barrel burner
    Loaded version and components readily available should you take this to a large market
    Recipe written on every box – avoid using proprietary powder.

Just a few months later at the 2007 SHOT, Dave handed Dennis a round (unloaded) with a cartridge prototype of what would come to be called the 6.5 Creedmoor.  Dave thought it should be called the 6.5 DeMille, but Dennis asked that it be named after the company he ran--Creedmoor.  The biggest reason for Dennis’ request not to use his name was that he didn’t want people to think that he knew absolutely everything there was to know about the design of this new cartridge, or overstate his input in its creation. (Dennis feels his contribution was mostly inspirational.)  Dave’s initial testing of the cartridge made it apparent that this new cartridge would have a much larger customer pool than just Dennis, or even competitive shooting.  But would Dave’s bosses agree to make it?

 “Why should we do this?” asked the Hornadys.

Dave and Dennis had put the cart before the horse by designing a cartridge that was not created at the behest of large rifle or pistol manufacturers, as is most often the case.  This was a reversal of the traditional process, where cartridge followed gun. They had to talk Hornady into taking a leap of faith, and manufacture a new cartridge that wasn’t guaranteed to find a home in gun barrels. And, Hornady had to go along with Dennis’ ground-breaking idea to put the recipe for loading the cartridge on the box, which no ammunition manufacturer had ever done before, for obvious competitive reasons.  Dennis argued that due to the large number of rounds competitive shooters go though they would be impressed that an ammunition company would help and even encourage them to safely reload and replicate their factory load.  And oh, by the way, “you guys also produce reloading equipment and components.”

That was a lot to think about, but they weighed the risks, took into account the sterling reputations of the two men asking them, and accepted the challenge.

Less than a decade later, the results speak for themselves, with the 6.5 Creedmoor fast becoming the cartridge of choice among serious marksmen and hunters.

“The combination of cost, availability, ballistic performance and outright success from the world’s best precision shooters all combined to create an endorsement seldom seen in the ammo,” wrote Reese in his article.

Kinetic Industries is proud to join the Creedmoor Sports team as a manufacturer of this prized cartridge for the man who inspired its invention. We aim to bring our innovative new brass-manufacturing techniques to the task to create the most durable, long-lasting 6.5 Creedmoor ever made.

While Dennis DeMille probably still wishes the 2006 National Matches weren’t so frustrating, it sure turned out to be a boon to the rest of us, because his frustrations led directly to the birth of one of the most important cartridge innovations to come along in years.

About the Author

Kern Lewis has been a marketing professional and business advisor for three decades, and writes extensively as a blogger and author for multiple businesses, from software start-ups to human development consultancies to home inspectors. He loves crafting great stories that connect consumers to wonderful products and services.

Link to blog and webpage.
Yes, I realize speling is a chalunge for sum of us...I am inkluded in that grup, so pleze fourgiv me. Ski-U-Mah!

Re: "The Crazy Story of the Birth of the 6.5 Creedmoor"

Reply #1
Great story mate, I love the picture painted of Emery and DeMille crafting up a cartridge in a motel room. I wonder if any Motel stationery survived that encounter.

Re: "The Crazy Story of the Birth of the 6.5 Creedmoor"

Reply #2
6.5 Creedmoor is all I want to shot anymore. My other rifles have been beyond lonely. Once in a blue moon someone pulls a Thomas Edison. Glad these guys did.
"Happiness is a warm gun".

Re: "The Crazy Story of the Birth of the 6.5 Creedmoor"

Reply #3
Thanks for sharing that bit of history. 8)

Re: "The Crazy Story of the Birth of the 6.5 Creedmoor"

Reply #4
PART 2

"In the second part of our 6.5 Creedmoor creation story, Dennis DeMille and Dave Emery now had a workable prototype for their new 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge (as we explored in this article.) But they had to get it produced, and create a barrel that would chamber it. And get both done in a way that did not compromise Dennis’ vision of creating a high-performance cartridge for high-level competition that everyone could buy and reuse.Dennis DeMille and Dave Emery created the now-popular 6.5 Creedmoor out of frustration and necessity, as we explored in this article. Now that Dave had designed a ground-breaking new case design, though, Hornady had to produce it in a way that did not compromise Dennis’ vision: A high-performance cartridge for high-level competition that everyone could buy and reuse.

Dennis had a few more items on his wish list for the new cartridge, too. When gaining agreement from Hornady to produce Dave Emery’s 6.5 Creedmoor design on spec, he asked them to eliminate the final, mostly cosmetic wash in the production process to remove annealing marks.

“I wanted to keep them from beating up the necks during the final wash,” relates Dennis. “Like any manufacturer, Hornady felt good-looking, shiny brass made a difference with customers, so they initially didn’t want to leave out this last finishing step. I felt strongly that saving as much wear-and-tear as possible was more important than looks. So I gathered examples of other, expensive brass cases that all still has the annealing marks on them, which didn’t seem to hurt their sales. This gave Hornady confidence that they could accede to my request for the 6.5 Creedmoor.”

There were a few inevitable “ah-hah” and “oops” moments during the first year of production. The new cartridge had tight chamber specs, so any burr or roughness at the case mouth would cause difficulty in chambering. The second production batch, run shortly after the first, did slip a bit on the specs. “If it were a typical looser chamber design it would have gone unnoticed,” notes Dennis, “but we were creating a high-performance product with tight tolerances. So, Hornady took an entire a pallet back from us for rework and very quickly fixed the problem.” The last thing in the world Hornady and Creedmoor wanted was to have problems right out of the gate with a cartridge they both saw as having huge potential and a great future.

There were other barriers to a successful product introduction outside of production, too.

“Dave and I were convinced we had a winner on our hands,” said Dennis, “but we very concerned that the folks that make chamber reamers would allow people to make ‘tiny’ changes to the chamber/reamer design. These seemingly minor changes would have a big impact on performance. Should someone make these changes and then write about their less-than-stellar performance, they would likely blame the cartridge. We felt we needed to nip that in the bud by asking the company who held the only drawing of the reamer, Dave Kiff from Pacific Tool and Gauge, to NEVER let anyone make even the slightest change. If they did, they could NOT call it a 6.5 Creedmoor. Dave Kiff absolutely agreed, because he saw what we were trying to accomplish by controlling quality.” 

Another “small” matter: Dennis and Dave had to talk barrel makers into producing 6.5 Creedmoor Barrels. Jack Krieger and Steve Dahlke (then general manager) at Krieger Barrels were the first people they called.

“The very first rifle chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor was my T2K,” remembers Dennis. “Hornady had a test barrel made, but Krieger chambered the first rifle for field testing. I was heading up to Lodi, Wisconsin to shoot a match with some friends of mine (R. Lee Ermey, in fact, and Bob Schanen from Glock) so I shipped the rifle ahead for Steve to chamber a new barrel and screw it onto my rifle.  I picked it up on the way to the range and shot it at the match. Pretty sure I won! That was the confirming moment for me: Dave had designed a real winner.”

One final note on the one-year exclusive deal for Hornady. Dennis says they would willingly have given Creedmoor a longer deal, but Dennis had bigger concerns than a successful product launch for his own business.

“I was concerned that if we went more than one year the cartridge’s popularity would suffer. For it to really blossom it would necessarily have to be readily available. That was one of the things on my original wish list for Dave. From a business point of view we would have preferred making everyone buy it from Creedmoor, but I wanted to see it sold everywhere for the good of the cartridge. The more people selling it means more people using it, which means it had less chance of dying on the vine.”

Kinetic Industries certainly has benefited from that “readily available” mindset, as we have won the chance to partner with Creedmoor to supply them with this wonderful cartridge.

As we wrote before, the development of the 6.5 Creedmoor flipped the script on cartridge development, having been designed without a specific gun in mind. The flipped script impacted the production process, too, with Hornady dropping their last production wash, and meeting very tight specs that were critical to consistent performance. And the barrels then followed, redesigned to fit the cartridge. The result? A reusable cartridge that gun enthusiasts agree delivers a high level of consistent performance over multiple uses.

About the Author

Kern Lewis has been a marketing professional and business advisor for three decades, and writes extensively as a blogger and author for multiple businesses, from software start-ups to human development consultancies to home inspectors. He loves crafting great stories that connect consumers to wonderful products and services".
Yes, I realize speling is a chalunge for sum of us...I am inkluded in that grup, so pleze fourgiv me. Ski-U-Mah!

Re: "The Crazy Story of the Birth of the 6.5 Creedmoor"

Reply #5
Really appreciate the story!

Re: "The Crazy Story of the Birth of the 6.5 Creedmoor"

Reply #6
Thank you for sharing! Luv it!
Live, Laugh, Love, And If That Doesn't Work, Load, Aim, Fire

Re: "The Crazy Story of the Birth of the 6.5 Creedmoor"

Reply #7
Thanks for posting this story. I want to know what happened to the recipe on every box?

Re: "The Crazy Story of the Birth of the 6.5 Creedmoor"

Reply #8
Thanks for posting this story. I want to know what happened to the recipe on every box?

This is not 100% credible, but rumor has it that Hornady caused a massive shortage of H4350 (that we still suffer from) on the initial run and has since switched to a proprietary blend that is not available to the public.  Perhaps someone can substantiate?

Re: "The Crazy Story of the Birth of the 6.5 Creedmoor"

Reply #9
The shortage is over.
See you at the range.

Re: "The Crazy Story of the Birth of the 6.5 Creedmoor"

Reply #10
Awesome story I have just got into the creedmoor world hoping this will be the all around rifle cartridge I go to for hunting and target shooting.
Dave
If I'm not reloading, hunting or shooting I'm not happy!

Re: "The Crazy Story of the Birth of the 6.5 Creedmoor"

Reply #11
Thanks for posting this story. I want to know what happened to the recipe on every box?

What happened was sometimes we are our own worst enemies. People were puling the bullets and weighing the powder charges and when it wasn't the same as the recommended load of 41.5grns on the box they called and complained. Hornady got tired of hearing it and took it off. Lot to lot powder variances would not allow the same 41.5grns in every lot of ammo. Simple loading concept.

Hornady hasn't used H4350 in the Creedmoor since around late 2012.

Re: "The Crazy Story of the Birth of the 6.5 Creedmoor"

Reply #12
Hornady hasn't used H4350 in the Creedmoor since around late 2012.

So what are they using? Some sort of a special blend then?
Yes, I realize speling is a chalunge for sum of us...I am inkluded in that grup, so pleze fourgiv me. Ski-U-Mah!

Re: "The Crazy Story of the Birth of the 6.5 Creedmoor"

Reply #13
So what are they using? Some sort of a special blend then?

They tried a Win powder in 2013 but it didn't work well and then I think one more but settled on a powder that isn't available to hand loaders and that is what they load with now. It works really well for velocity and accuracy but a little more temp sensitive than H4350.

Re: "The Crazy Story of the Birth of the 6.5 Creedmoor"

Reply #14
Gentlemen,
No intent to hurt anyone's feelings.  Don't care if it is loaded with AAA Super-Dooper or rat droppings.  Hornady/Nosler/Swift/Winchester/Norma/PRIME and  Copper Creek have cranked out some factory stuff that brings tears to my eyes in  regards to accuracy and consistency.  In my group of compatriots, all hard core hunters, say the word Hornady 6.5 CM and they all remove their hats, drop to their knees and mumble prayers of thanks to Dave Emary.
If you have the shot, take it.