Long Range Precision with POF’s 6.5 Creedmoor Can a Semi-Automatic hang with the Bolt Gun? by: Tony Gimmellie
Within the military and law enforcement sniper community there has always been the long standing debate on what is more accurate, the bolt action sniper rifle or the AR15 rifle found in any of its numerous configurations? During my time in military and currently as a Law Enforcement Officer and competitive shooter I am still dealing with the pros and cons of this very debate. Knowing firsthand what our troops our dealing with in urban environments. On a day to day basis they are dealing with short to mid-range engagements and multiple threats. Add this to the need of local, state and federal police agencies that need rifles that can fulfill multiple roles within their departments. One thing is for certain both precision sniper rifles and AR platform type weapons should be included in any military, law enforcement or SWAT team’s arsenal.
Over the last few years I have tested and seen numerous AR platforms in calibers such as .308 Winchester, 6.5 Grendal, and the .260 Remington. These weapons have their advantages in certain aspects of long range tactical shooting but have still missed the boat in the accuracy department against quarter minute of angle bolt action sniper rifles. Add into the equation malfunctions and reliability issues and the advantage clearly leads you back to the bolt action rifle.
Over the last few years I finally had to seriously dive head first into the this debate for myself and give it a honest test to see if I could find a semi-automatic rifle that could really stack up and beat the bolt guns being shot buy some of the best shooters in the country.
I sat down with Frank DeSomma of POF-USA and we talked thru some of the current trends being used in the long range tactical arena. The most important trend as of late is increased velocity and that speed is king. Everyone is looking for velocity to reduce bullet drop and to gain an advantage against the wind. In doing so many shooters are going to smaller 6 mm projectiles to allow them to gain both of these advantages in one easy package.
Next shooters are looking to increase the amount of ammunition that they can have in the weapon, so increased magazine capacity is being heavily sought after. It’s a no brainer. If your butt is on the line you want as many rounds as possible in the weapon without having to reload as often. Faster follow up shots can be achieved by a semi-automatic weapon as well. I know I can run a bolt action rifle almost as fast as a semi-automatic rifle, but having the ability to not have to work the bolt and stay on the rifle does allow for a longer follow thru, faster follow up shots and quicker transitions from target to target. This is a distinct advantage when time is of an essence.
Another common trend as of late is short barreled rifles. The advantage of these short barreled rifles allow military and law enforcement personnel that need to get in and out of vehicles the ability to do so rapidly. Shooters are looking for rifles that are well balanced, easy to transport and conceal, while being able to shoot in a variety of positions that offer great balance, reliability and accuracy. The one disadvantage we see when using these short barreled rifles is a decrease in velocity. So this is somewhat counterproductive to what we are initially trying to achieve.
POF’s 6.5 Creedmoor
Taking all this in to consideration and wanting to try a semi-automatic rifle in tactical competition I set out to test the theory. I reached out to Frank at POF once again, and I had him chamber me one of his stock POF rifles in Hornady’s 6.5 Creedmoor. When putting this rifle together I wanted to take into as many of the above mentioned trends and apply them to this rifle to help level the playing field as much as possible against some of the best shooters and weapons made by custom gunsmiths.
POF sent me out their 20 inch NP-3 coated model chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. This rifle is built on a POF’s billet machined lower receiver with oversized trigger guard and upper receiver which are made out of 7075 T-6 aircraft aluminum alloy. The rifle features a Magpul PRS stock, ERGO TM pistol grip, POF’s Tactical Integrated Trigger System, POF modular railed receiver with ERGO ladder rail covers, 20 inch 1 in 10 right hand twist Rock Creek barrel with BC-A5 muzzle brake. Rifle weighs in at 9.2 pounds empty with a maximum length of 42.25 inches. I chose to use C-Products magazine’s to feed this rifle. Retail price for this rifle is $2999.00
In the tactical arena of shooting accuracy you can always find the debate of what is more accurate the bolt gun or the AR rifle. I have on many occasions witnessed numerous AR platform rifle’s fall short of beating the accuracy and reliability of the bolt gun, until I was introduced to POF-USA rifles. I have been impressed with the accuracy from their .223 and .308 rifles so it was a no brainer that I was going to attack this project with one of their 20 inch rifles chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. I really put this rifle thru the ringer by shooting over fifty, five shot groups in order to really see if I was going to be able to get the desired accuracy I wanted. Immediately out of the box shooting factory Hornady 120 grain Amax ammunition I was getting consistent ¼ to ½ inch five shot groups from this rifle consistently. I went out to test the accuracy of this rifle at 1000 yards and to no surprise I was able to print six to eight inch groups consistently in 8-10 MPH winds.
While using the above mentioned POF 6.5 Creedmoor rifle at the Oregon State Sniper Championships in 2010, I was able to hold off 60 shooters with highly accurate bolt action rifles and win the match using the POF-USA platform. I contribute this to the fact of having a short, lightweight rifle that allowed me to easily shoot in a variety of positions other then prone. This rifle not only shot very accurate on short range precision shots with superb accuracy to shooters with bolt action rifles but allowed me to shoot long range shots and make hits at 1000 yards.
With the US military and law enforcement looking for smaller, lighter, shorter, easy to handle weapon platforms, that offer larger calibers with higher rates of fire, that offer better round penetration, while achieving maximum accuracy. I am confident in saying that POF-USA rifles have hit the mark and has raised the bar to a new level.