by Kern Lewis
Eden Prairie, MN -(AmmoLand.com)- New product introductions usually struggle. The innovation has to win over skeptical consumers, induce them to try it, and have a price that justifies switching from current brand favorites.
That said, dramatic product launches that change the paradigm do happen. Look no farther than the Apple iPod or iPhone to see how breaking the mold in product development can change the rules of the game. The introduction of the 6.5 Creedmoor echoed Apple’s success in shaking up an industry.
Upending Accepted Practice to Meet Consumer Needs
The introduction of the 6.5 Creedmoor had really flipped the script. Dennis DeMille and Dave Emary had taken the radical step of designing a cartridge that had no gun barrel to chamber in. It met a lot of consumer needs because it addressed a very specific wish list DeMille had written, detailing exactly what competition shooters needed in a high-performance cartridge case. (Find that list here.)
But it came at the problem from a fresh direction that demanded a shift in the way barrel, gun and ammunition producers worked together.
Banking on a Strong Reputation
Dennis and Dave had to convince a number of key industry leaders to support their new case design, but won them over. With production challenges overcome, now came the big test. Would shooters try it, and love it enough to switch or modify guns to use it?
People were naturally not ready to order new barrels and give the new cartridge a trial without seeing evidence of value, so Dennis had to put his reputation on the line by using the product himself first. And he had to convince people who trusted him to put a bit of their own reputations on the line by putting the new design to the test in competition.
“To start, there were only a few people like me shooting it across the course in conventional high power. People wanted to see how I did with it before committing to it. However, I have a good friend, Kent Reeve out of North Carolina who is a long-time member of the U.S. Palma Team and a phenomenal long range shooter. He took a strong interest in chambering his rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor, so I provided him with the load data. From the very first match he began crushing the competition at 600-1,000 yards. That really brought attention of this round to the long-range shooting crowd.”
In short, the new cartridge delivered on its promise, which is the foundational step in launching a new product or brand. Not everyone jumped on the bandwagon immediately. There were a lot of people deeply invested in their current favorite shooting solutions, and setting those loyalties aside took time.
“There were some naysayers and internet forum conversations that questioned the need for the round when so many perfectly good rounds already existed. And some folks acted as if we were demanding that they re-barrel their rifles in this new caliber, which was creating a problem that did not exist. Dave Emary warned me this would be the case; Dave was the one who came up with the .17 HMR, so he was very familiar with that particular breed of online stone-thrower!”
The next surprise, which was definitely unexpected, was the way the 6.5 Creedmoor was adopted as a hunting round. Ruger helped by putting out a hunting rifle with a barrel ready to chamber it. And, again, Dave’s design did what it promised: held its power and elevation over distance. Where you aim is where it goes, and quickly, which is what you need when the target is moving!
Ruger came first, but a lot of smaller custom guys picked it up fairly quickly as well. Savage was the second big company to pick it up several years later. “After they did it was pretty much off to the races,” said DeMille. And finally, the press caught on quickly, too.
The gun press became the cartridge’s biggest advocates surprisingly quickly, as contributors put the cartridge to the test and submitted positive reports. This was news: Flipping the script, performing as advertised, and so forth. So, they loved it from the get go and were quite prolific in writing about it.
“By the end of the first year it had begun to take on a life of its own. Hornady and Creedmoor had also done what we promised and made sure components were readily available. I have long since lost track of who makes what rifle in that cartridge now…still fun to watch it gain in popularity though, having been there since its inception!”
Kinetic Industries is working to “break the mold” in ammunition manufacturing by creating a production process that delivers on three seemingly conflicting goals: Faster delivery, superior quality and a high degree of client personalization.
We are also proud to be adding our capabilities to the making of this prized cartridge, for the man who inspired its invention.
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.
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