High-power-rifle competitors learned that they could get better scores at 600 to 1,000 yards with a 6.5/284 than they could with traditional .30-caliber rounds. The smaller-diameter bullets shot as flat, and bucked the wind just as well, as the .30 calibers. But they produced far less recoil, which was a huge advantage. Despite the lack of factory rifles or factory ammo, the 6.5/284 prospered.
In 1999, Norma said "Oh, why not?" (or the Swedish equivalent) and introduced the cartridge as a factory round. This is probably when hunters began to catch on to its virtues. Here was a round that had enough power for all but the biggest game, did very well at long range, kicked very little, and worked through a short rifle action.