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Thread: 6.5 x 55 comparison

  1. #1

    6.5 x 55 comparison

    Please forgive my ignorance. I have recently taken up stalking and I love it but I'm not really that interested in rifles. I just want one that feel well built and will put the bullets where I want them (so far as my ability allows). I've been advised to go for a 6.5 x 55 and so I'm looking at my options. So far I'm thinking Sour 202 or Sako 85. Again, forgive the horribly open question but any thoughts on either of those rifles or others that I should consider in that caliber also tips for moderator and scope for woodland stalking would be welcomed.
    Last edited by Lawiswar; 28-03-2011 at 11:42.

  2. #2
    The Browning 'A' Bolt in .243 will give you all the accuracy and reliabilty you could wish for. Nice looking gun at
    very reasonable price too. It is so easy to get carried away with technicalities, keep it simple !!


  3. #3
    If you are not on a budget then a Blaser, Sauer or Sako will all fit the bill nicely. From all the shooting tests i have seen published the Blaser and Sako would just shade the accuracy stakes (with the Blaser just shading it with factory ammunition), but only just. I have a Sako 75 in 6.5x55 that will produce .3" groups with homeloads at 100yds off the bi-pod. There are some good second hand bargains to be had from the fashion victim's trade ins.

    On a slightly more stringent budget, do not write off Tikka as they guarantee a better than 1" accuracy with factory ammo at 100yds, the new Browning X-Bolt has a good following and there is nothing wrong with a CZ.

    As for glass, buy the best you can, if you are buying the full stalking kit, use it as a bargaining tool and see who will give you the best price on quality gear. It is an old saying, but nonetheless absolutely true, that it is better to spend more money on your riflescope (and binoculars) than it is on your rifle. If you cannot see the deer, you cannot shoot it!! Names that would inspire confidence in me are, Schmidt & Bender, Zeiss, Leica and Swarovski. These are top flight, and the outstanding bargain of them all for me is the 8x56 Hungarian Schmidt & Bender riflescope. I have one myself. If I could afford it I would have an illuminated reticle. If you are going to do any target shooting make sure you get a thin reticle. The standard stalking reticles are designed for stalking in low light and are relatively thick, so they are easy to see. This can make (small) target shooting difficult.

    I have just posted about moderators as i have been researching about which one to buy as a replacement for my ageing and very heavy T8. My choice would be the Roedale Light, with the first two baffles replaced with stainless ones. On a Roedale 4 baffle unit this would give you a weight of 235g.

    Good shopping!


    Edit, I have just re-read my post and have realised how nice I have been about Blasers (running joke), and would like to point out that you can only shoot deaf deer with them as you have to clang the straight-pull bolt shut so hard to make it work properly Just kidding
    Blindness to suffering is an inherent consequence of natural selection. Nature is neither kind nor cruel but fiercely indifferent.

  4. #4
    Dont really want to get involved in an argument but I really think as a person new to the sport and one who does not hand load that you might consider other calibres.

  5. #5

    I was in a similar position to you a year or so ago. I looked at several different rifle models and calibres. I eventually bought a stainless synthetic Sako 85 in 6.5 x 55. Personal preferences aside, I think most people who have owned or tried Sako's acknowledge their quality. That is not to say that Blasers, Sauers and others are not good too, but I doubt you'll go far wrong with a Sako.

    The 6.5 x 55 calibre divides opinion. I chose it because I'd used it in my DSC 1 and the two pro stalkers I've stalked with both have it as their estate rifle, which I've used successfuly. It has many good qualities, including accuracy and relatively light recoil. It is not as fast or flat shooting as some. It is perhaps not ideal for large deer at "hill" ranges. Many stalkers prefer different calibres. There isn't a right or wrong answer to the general question of calibre.

    As ever, the key to shooting deer efficiently is good bullet placement. I have learnt this in my short time in stalking and have posted as such. Good shooting comes from an accurate rifle / good glass / and a good round for the rifle, but more importantly from practice and confidence. When you make your choice, get out on the range and practice as much as you can.

    Availability of ammunition is another factor in your choice. My local shop carries a good range of 6.5 x 55 ammunition. It might be worth seeing what availability is like in your local area, otherwise you might have to travel or pick up ammo at gamefairs etc.

    Finally, as Flytie says, do not scrimp on the glass. Most modern rifles will shoot accurately enough for the needs of novice stalkers. You, like me, will be taking heart and lung shots at modest ranges. If you try a few different rounds and drop on one that suits it will be up to the job. Glass is another matter. The advice I got when I was starting out was save on the rifle and invest in the glass. I did so and haven't regretted it.

    Best of luck with it. If you want to explore the relative merits of different calibres there are plenty of threads on this. If you have an idea of the species of deer you'll be stalking the more experienced members on here will be able to advice you on the finer points.


    Last edited by Dovebob; 28-03-2011 at 13:19.

  6. #6
    Thank you all for your helpful responses. Funnily enough I've gone for the 6.5 x 55 for exactly the same reason as you Dovebob. I've actually only stalked with my friends Sauer 308 and have never missed with it (mostly because I'm damn sure of the shot before I pull the trigger) but I used a 6.5 x 55 on my DSC1 and liked it better. Anyway. food for thought! thanks folks.
    Last edited by Lawiswar; 28-03-2011 at 17:14.

  7. #7
    A synthetic stainless Sako in 6.5x55 is perfect for your needs.

    Once you get some experience and learn your own preferences, you can swap to something more exotic if the mood moves you. If you do, the Sako will be very saleable. You may never need another / better rifle.

    Just because you are paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't out to get you......

  8. #8
    My advice:

    Go to your local gunshop/firearms dealer, and find a good quality 2nd hand rifle/scope combination such as Sako/Sauer with Zeiss/S&B/Swarowski. Make sure it groups and is in good nick, no rust, the foreend doesn't touch the barrel, and the barrel isn't pitted inside. Go for a calibre between .243 and .308, be it 6.5x55, 7mm, 7-08, .270, etc.

    If you want to use it for both stalking roe, sika, reds, etc. consider getting bigger than .243 - IMHO, the perfect hybrid-use rifle would be either 6.5x55, 7mm, or .270.

    Pick whichever is best value, and make sure that your local dealer stocks a good and continuous supply and range of both factory and handloading ammo for your chosen calibre. You should expect to see Norma and Federal in the mix, and ideally in a few different weights and bullet combinations (particularly Soft Point).

    Just my thoughts on the subject if I was to do it again.

  9. #9
    Right I'm holding my breath as I say this. I'm fairly sure this is going to show me up as very green but here goes. Claret-Dabbler don't the deer see the stainless barrels? Id like a synthetic stock but that shiny metal on top is putting me off.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Lawiswar View Post
    Right I'm holding my breath as I say this. I'm fairly sure this is going to show me up as very green but here goes. Claret-Dabbler don't the deer see the stainless barrels? Id like a synthetic stock but that shiny metal on top is putting me off.
    Richard Prior, the doyen of English roe-stalking once said that it is possible to stalk roe wearing a white shirt if you use good fieldcraft, a stainless barrel at 100yds makes little difference. My Sako barrel is a matt bead blasted stainless, but i will have it coated at some time! I cannot say that i can blame losing a deer on it though, my decision would be purely aesthetic.

    Blindness to suffering is an inherent consequence of natural selection. Nature is neither kind nor cruel but fiercely indifferent.

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