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Thread: Would you change a .243 for a 6.5x55?

  1. #1

    Would you change a .243 for a 6.5x55?

    I currently use a 243 - perhaps not the ideal calibre, but the left handed Heym SR20 I have fits well, shoots accurately and I have a lot of confidence in it.

    I do have the space for a .30 caibre on my ticket and am thinking of getting something along the lines of 30-06 for African use / red stags etc.

    But have just seen a nice left handed rifel in 6.5x55 that has got me thinking. Would you swap your current rifle that you really like for something quite similar - does the 6.5x55 do anything in the UK that you can't do with a .243, and is it really big enough to go up to plains game etc?

  2. #2
    Hi Heym,
    I was exactly your position about a year ago. Had a .243 Sauer L/Handed.
    Wanted a bigger calibre for boar and posible future overseas trips, maybe Africa. As the Sauer cost a lot of hard earned, I wasn't willing to sell it at a huge loss. I decided if I was going for a bigger rifle I would get something rather larger than the 6.5 x 55.

    I'm not knocking the calibre, (6.5 x 55) I wish I had brought one from the outset, but I didn't get the right advice. I'm told by one user that it has been perfectly adequate for boar and plains game

    I went for the 7x64 not the 30.06 as I may at some time want to hunt in France.
    If that is not an issue for you then I'd go with the 30,06.

    I guess what I'm saying is, rather than a just adequate rifle I have gone down the route of two, one perfect for each job.

    Enjoy the choosing process,

  3. #3
    I am a large fan of the 30-06 but think that the 6.5x55 is a fine cartridge as well. (I have several) My brother in law was a guide at an exclusive elk hunting ranch in northern New Mexico and he used a custom 6.5x55 firing 160 grain bullets to put down elk that customers had wounded. More than once he was met with wide-eyed consternation when he showed the hapless hunter the round that dropped the bull as it ran away from them.

    That being said, my favorite heavy game 30-06 load -a 220 grain RN- would have settled a wounded bulls hash just as easily.~Muir

  4. #4
    Totally over rated caliber. Muzzle velocity with a shortish hunting barrel is very low. What good are high bc target bullets that start being good over 600yds for our kind of hunting.
    How about something like a 7-08, not fancy but a good compromise and in a short action. Just compare the ballistics.


  5. #5
    I've owned both and can't see a lot of difference in a commercial action.
    So why not put your faith in sectional density, not ballistic coefficient? Velocity doesn't kill game. (my four cents worth) ~Muir

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by ejg
    Totally over rated caliber. Just compare the ballistics.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by ejg
    Totally over rated caliber. Muzzle velocity with a shortish hunting barrel is very low. What good are high bc target bullets that start being good over 600yds for our kind of hunting.

    I can't seem to follow what it is you are saying here, what is a shortish barrel, and who uses target bullets for hunting.


  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Thar
    Quote Originally Posted by ejg
    Totally over rated caliber. Just compare the ballistics.
    posibly but when you compare the entry and exit wounds on say a red deer shot @120yrds
    with a 6.5x55 140grn bullet
    and a 243 with a 100 grn bullet

    the 6.5 has near no entry wound and a very small exit
    however the 243 has a exit comparable to a large fist.

    also the 6.5 has a very lage ammount of hitting power
    personally i fire a 6.5x55with factory ammo and love it .
    the 140 grn does everything from foxes to reds

    just my thoughts


  9. #9
    Speed doesn't kill?? who said that?
    energy goes up exponentially with increasing speed.
    Speed is the key ingreedient of killing power.
    A grain of dust takes out a sattelite, at very high speed.

    Good penetration? take a bow and arrow, how does it kill?? damn slowly

    What I don't like about the so called flat shooting swede is that with the quite suitable for bigger deer 140gr factory rounds only 2650 fps are achieved. 7-08 does over 2800 fps with a 145 gr. The swede has mostly slow burning powder and likes longer barrels. So subtract even more off the 2650 for your maybe 22" hunting barrel.
    My friend used 156gr lapuas with his 22" ruger. Not only does this load drop like a stone but every deer just ran away. Looking at bullet channels, the bullet just didn't open right. Wrong bullet for the maybe 2400fps.

    I'm not a fan of ultra high speed but the modern hunting rifle bullet on the market is designed to be used at certain speeds, not too fast and not too slow. With my 308 I'm swaying between 150gr and 165 gr at the moment.

    If one goes out to buy a deer rifle.... why not buy something that is up to the job a bit better, we owe it to the deer. A bit of practice and the recoil becomes normal. My 308 is a piss to shoot with a moderator and without just grab it a bit harder.

    I don't like the swede, but if I had one I'd try to get on with it.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by hunterscabin
    the 6.5 has near no entry wound and a very small exit
    however the 243 has a exit comparable to a large fist.
    More bull is talked about this calibre than any other, I am with Edi on this, it produce slightly more energy than a 243 and that is were it sits in the scheme of things, it certainly is not a cartridge that can be seen as a alternative to a 30-06.

    Steve in a way you have made my point for me.

    A modern rifle bullet kills in two ways, hydrolastic shock and direct tissue damaged to main body organs and archeries.

    A key critical factor in achieving a large amount of hydrolastic shock is having the bullet travelling at high velocity (this is one reason that the 22-250 is such an effective round.) the old swede does not produce high velocity their for it produces little hydrolastic shock compared to a 25-06 say.

    To cause mass tissue damage you need a wide wound channel, the better your bullet expands (with the provision it does not break up) the wider the wound channel and the more energy is expelled into the mass of the animal. A critical component in expansion is of cause velocity, the thing the old swede does not have.

    As you have pointed out you get pencil thin holes though you’re animal with little of the projectiles energy being transferred into the tissue. Little meat damage means your bullet has not produced as much tissue damage, therefore it is less effective at humanely dispatching your animal. Personally I put a humane dispatch ahead of another 3lbs of venison on the hook every day, anyway the dogs have got to eat something so it is not wasted even if it is a bit blood shot.

    People bang on about what good BC and sectional density 6.5 bullets have, well it only looks good when compared to a 30cal look at the figures of a 6.4mm bullet (25cal) or 6.8mm(270) then it is not so impressive.

    I have news for you a, 308 with it’s big blunt bullet will punch straight though a big red stag so why do you need a bullet with better penetration?

    The 6.5X55 is not flat shooting it drops 1/3 more than a 270win at 300yrds.

    My friend has a lovely Mannlicher in 6.5X55 for 5 years in a row we when to a big estate in Sept/Oct on the red stags, and almost every year he had animals run or had to shoot them 2 or more times to put them down, he tried 129gn then 140gn bullets. He then came out with me and watch me drop a big rutting stag on the spot with a 270. The following year he turned up with a 270 Tikka. I have shot with him on the range and while lamping rabbits and foxes many times and we are either equally good or bad shots. Go figure.

    Here’s a thought for you, in the Second World War Japan entered it using a 6.5mm cartridge with very similar performance to the 6.5x55 Swede.
    and a 7.7mm(30cal) with performance close to a 303 British, guess which cartridge they were getting rid off? yep the 6.5 was being replaced with the 7.7mm round, the 6.5 lacked "stopping power".

    Don’t try and use 160gn bullets up here in Scotland in your swede they are not deer legal because you need to reach a velocity of 2450fps.

    I am not against the 6.5mm calibre a friend of mine has 3 a 6.5s a 260 a 6.5-284 and is now having a 6.5X47 built. Nothing wrong with the calibre just remember the swede sits between a 243 and a 7-08 in power, that is all, nothing more, use it with that in mind and don’t try and kid anybody else or yourself with BS like it “punches above it weight”, “it kills better because it bullets are moving slowly” if that is the case I will leave the 223 behind when going foxing and just use the 22 RF as it bullets are doing a 3rd the speed it will kill far better.

    Now climbed down from my box.


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