When Henry Repeating Arms announced that they were adding today’s most popular selling rifle cartridge, the 6.5 Creedmoor, to their line of Long Ranger lever-action rifles most people rejoiced. I say most because I also read a social media post on Henry’s Facebook page from someone who was appalled that Henry would “ruin” a long range cartridge like the 6.5 Creedmoor by putting it in a short range lever-action rifle.
Let’s be clear, lever-action rifles don’t make long range cartridges toothless. Cartridges with slow bullets and bad aerodynamics take the long-range bite out of a cartridge and that’s always been true whether its shot from a bolt-action, a lever-action, or a semiautomatic rifle.
In fact, Browning, Winchester, and Henry all made or make lever-action rifles uniquely engineered to maximize the slick-handling repeater rifle characteristics of a lever-action rifle with many of history’s greatest long-range flavors like the .270 Winchester, .308 Winchester, .22-250 Remington, 7mm Remington Magnum, and the 300 Winchester Magnum. Henry simply thought their long-range rifle ought to be chambered in the world most popular long-range cartridge.
But don’t take my word for it. “Who are we to tell the market they can’t have a 6.5CM lever gun,” said Thomas Kotz, Henry Repeating Arms. “I personally answer 500-plus emails weekly and it was the top request for months leading up to their release. Purists would also scoff at a .410 revolver, bolt action .357 magnum, etc., yet they are accepted and enjoyed by those who own them.”
Just for fun, let’s ignore the laws of physics of gravity, velocity, and mass which dictate a rifle cartridge’s long- or short-range ability. We’ll ignore the fact that the 22-inch barrel Henry uses is just as long as most bolt-action rifle barrels. We’ll ignore the 1:8 twist ratio which helps stabilize the sleek, ultra-high B.C. bullets the 6.5mm caliber gifts the Creedmoor case with, just like the “long range” bolt action rifles; and, we’ll overlook the fact that the engineers at Henry Repeating Arms were savvy enough to introduce the 6.5 Creedmoor in a lever-action rifle which used a box-fed magazine and not a tubular magazine so “long range” spitzer boat tail bullets can be used. And, good gravy, don’t forget Henry calls this particular lever-action rifle, which by the way also is chambered in the once long range capable but now forever ruined .223 Remington, .243 Winchester, and .308 Winchester, the Long Ranger, and it isn’t because they give you a mask and a hunting buddy named Tonto with every purchase.
My goodness, if our internet-based 6.5 Creedmoor fan thinks his beloved long-range cartridge is handicapped in a lever-action rifle which has the same barrel length, twist rate, and box magazine feeding mechanics as most “long range” bolt-action rifles, just wait until the AR-10 crowd figures out that the 6.5 Creedmoor fits in their guns too. Some may even say it was designed for just such a platform. You know what they say about believing things you read on the internet …