Stuart wrote ......I also recently switched from partition to ballistic points and have been very pleased with the results. I know people talk about increased carcass damage, but I want my deer to drop everytime and even a marginal shot (yes, I'm sure we all produce them from time to time) now does so much damage that they seem to go over very quickly.
Does anyone else shooting this calibre have any thoughts on the best commercially available fodder for the 6.5x55 Swedish? Maybe stats from other calibres would be useful too.
There's a lot of information available from the States, but they all seem to shoot at longer range than we Brits (well me anyway - 100 yards or less). They often seem to be well out past 200 yards; sometimes over 300 yards, they say. Pretty impressive to put a bullet into a 4" circle at that range. It's good to know that this round it THAT capable.
I used to have a 6.5x55 Browning A bolt which cycled Norma 140gr soft point ammunition very well (came with a very useful bullet drop chart covering all the normal distances). No complaints about kill (drop down dead) ratios either, albeit on nothing bigger than roe deer and the very occassional sika.
I have sold my 6.5x55 and bought a 0.243" Sauer Outback. I use Sako 0.243 twinhead nolser soft point 100grs - absolutely brilliant. Not shot many with it yet but anything I have shot has dropped like a ton of bricks - range typically 100 yards 150 yards max.
I'm glad someone is using this forum. Thanks for your input.
I surprised you've sold your Swede. A lot of folks swear by them. I gather it has a growing following in the States. It's something I have wanted for years, having tried a well-tuned one once at Bisley. I made a ragged three shot near centre bull hole on the 100 yards range, then had a 6" top left flier: either because I jerked on the trigger (oh what a lovely trigger it had) or because the barrel was getting hot. And no recoil that I remember, although my then very pretty Mannlicher .308 was a sod of a kicker, so anything less would have been blissful.
This round is new to me as a deer round, however. I have a lot of fallow, roe, and very occasional reds go through. The reds bash around in the bottom branches of my trees, but I will just leave them be. I'm told the round becomes effective at 140 and above, and can be slightly less stable below that. I'll be sub 100 yards most of the time, and 150 max.
I am a a recent convert to 6.5x55 - and now an evangelist for it! I wonder if you will share your doubts about the stability of the round .
From your post "I'm told the round becomes effective at 140 and above, and can be slightly less stable below that".
My Steyr Mannlicher 6.5x55 handles jacketed 80 - 160 grain projectiles with notable accuracy from 50 yards up - at least at the velocities I load for.
My next venture is into home cast bullets for the calibre so any feedback would be useful.
All the best,
I’m delighted to hear from you that you are getting good accuracy with such a wide range of bullet weights: it’s just what I wanted to hear.
My Sako Hunter 75 6.5x55 SE is waiting for me in Northampton, and I’ll be collecting it soon. So, my experience with it is limited to about 25 rounds down the 100 yard range at Bisley, where I discovered why it is know widely as the ‘Swedeheart.’ Going back to my Steyr Mannlicher .308 was just painful, by comparison - although all enthusiastic range days are painful, compared with the few shots we take when ‘managing deer.’ It was enough though to convert me to the calibre, and make me wonder why the Hell anyone shoots anything else. I was bloody cross with myself for tolerating 15lbs of fast recoil for nigh-on twenty years, without having done something about it before.
Before ordering the rifle I swept through the net, and discovered that lots of the American colonists are VERY keen on the Swede. I really have heard nothing against it, at all – OTHER THAN THAT…. On one of the fora someone reported less stability in the low bullet weights. Hence my question. Maybe he was over-stuffing the case to break light speed.
I’ll be using factory loads initially, but may get into re-loading at some time. 140gr seems to be favourite, although range type 1moa accuracy doesn’t really matter in the field, unless at longer range than I experience. Other than for interest, I suspect the 140gr will do everything I need, anywhere I go. Some more information on members’ experience with commercial bullet brands and types would be useful though.
It sounds as though you might have more information than most about the 6.5x55. I’d be very pleased to hear your findings. What you use each bullet weight for, etc. In theory, we could all use one 6.6x55 rifle with bullet weights from 80gr – 160gr and shoot everything from foxes to moose, with excellent accuracy, and never feel anything more startling than a slow and gentle 10.5 lbs at the shoulder. Now that is a wonderful calibre. WHY would anyone buy a .308 or .270? ….. let alone a Rem 7mm Mag. or something even fruitier.
All easy for me to say of course, with the total experience of half an hour of range time, and not a beast in sight. But all those glowing reports can’t be wrong.
I have a CZ 550 6.5X55 and have nothing but praise for the CZ and the calibre, I have had it for four years. I am unable to give any opinions of commercial rounds as the gun has only fired my own handloads. The first brand I tried were the Hornady 129 gr Interlocks and found that five shot sub MOA groups were the norm. So having struck gold first time around I tried them in the field and found them to be very effective, quick effective kills with very little meat damage. I also have some Hornady 140 SP and 160 RN Interlocks loaded and ready to try, but have been very happy with the 129 grainers and feel under no pressure to rush out and try them.
The common view is that the 140 gr load is the most sucessful round for this calibre. A lot of modern manufacturer's apparently are producing rifles with a slower twist rate than the old original military models which means that 140 is the optimum weight for modern guns, as they fail to stabilise the heavier rounds. Having said that there as just as many people who have not found this to be the case, I guess it depends on each individual gun.
I have cast bullets for this round and found that around 1750 fps is about the top speed otherwise what accuracy there is goes right out of the window. The heaviest weight cast bullet that I tried came in at 172 grains when lubed and with a gas check. At fifty yards a three shot group of about two inches was achievable. I later found out when researching the cast boolit forum that the 6.5 is the sort of holy grail in the cast bullet world and people have tried for years to come up with a winning formula, they are still trying!
I have shot the 6.5 55 for a few yera now and love it .I give the deer a 129 sst pill and all have slept like logs. I have tried other ammo but find the hornady ssts just the job .What i like about the calibre is it seems to be accurate no mater what you put through it. I don't have a moderator but find the gun very easy to shoot.
Right, where do I start. My first deer rifle was a BSA CF2 in .243 and I purchased at the time some 80 grain Winchester rounds, as I was shooting foxes as well as deer (also this is what the gun shop advised). I joined a target shooting club that uses Bisley as its base and was fairly quickly into hand loading. I immediately noticed an improvement in accuracy and have not gone back.
My first 6.5x55 came along a few years later in the form of a Sako 75 Left hand (yes I know) that had been converted from .270 by Medwell and Perrett. This came with about 15 rounds of hand loaded 120 grain Sierra bullets and on the target gave three round groups of three quarters of an inch at 100 yards. Before my re-loading dies arrived I bought some commercial 129 grain stuff which brought the group out to about 1 inch, still pretty good.
I have only Roe and Muntjac on my ground and settled on 100 grain Sierra bullets over the years and have good results with them and less meat damage that with the .243.
I did waver a year back and bought some Nosler Ballistic tipped 100grain and the first two roe shot with them were neck shot and went down with no problem. Then in late November when shooting does in low light I heart shot two in quick succession. The first dropped on the spot (as usual with the 6.5) but the second hunched its back and staggered about 10 yards before collapsing, indicative of a shot too far back. However, on dressing them out, both had been shot through the top of the heart, but there was stomach content in the chest cavity of the second doe. When skinning the deer there was extensive Bruising on the deer and much more than when using Sierra bullets and there was no exit wound on the second deer. I found specks of bruising on this deer on the far side, and when skinning down to the nearside haunch found the remains of the bullet just under the skin. This weighed 32 grains and had travelled the length of the body. I have returned to Sierra bullets and am using up the rest of the Noslers in competition.
As an aside, I bought another CF2 Stutzen, in 6.5x55 about a year ago. It is in mint condition and came with 88 rounds of Lapua 165 grain bullets. I have only fired five of those through the Sako but they grouped just over the inch and 2 inches lower than the 100 grain Sierras.
Appologies for rambling on but I feel that the 6.5 is a very versatile round.
one of my major "beefs" with a lot of modern stalking/shooting sites is that you come away thinking that it is essential to squeeze every possible fps out of your round. this does nothing for terminal performance of the bullet. Also a light bullet for the round means it's sectional density is reduced. The fine performance of the 6.5 x 55 on live quarry and not on the chrono doesn't show it punches above its wieght. It shows that the common 140 gr load is the optimum load for terminal performance on live animals. that is only at 2641 fps (from my normally optimistic Hodgdon manual).
I shoot .30-06 with 150grain and .243 with 95 0r 105 grain soft points they are not really fast but both have good sectional density and good terminal performance on live targets. Really if i was looking for the same optimum performance from the .30-06 i should be using 165s or 180s but it is sufficient a calibre to live with the 150s not loaded right up to the max.