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Thread: 6.5 x 54 Mannlicher-Schoenauer

  1. #1

    6.5 x 54 Mannlicher-Schoenauer

    Any one used one of these for stalking ?

    I have been offered one of the take down models complete with detachable mounts and scope. But can not decide whether I should invest in one.

  2. #2
    SD Regular
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    East Midlands M1/M69 Junction 21
    Unfortunately with factory cartridges your rifle will be illegal in Scotland as it is too slow. In England and Wales you have only the muzzle energy to bother about. This from accurate reloading website forum posted by me: This from the RWS website:

    6.5 x 54 Mann.Sch. Bullet: TMR 10.3 g

    Muzzle Velocity V[m/s]: 670 m/s
    Muzzle Energy E[J]: 2312 joules

    BC value: 0.315 Test barrel length: 450 mm

    So the Deer Act specifies 2,305 joules muzzle energy. It seems to me that this RWS load, in a 450mm (SEVENTEEN INCHES) barrel just makes it.

    Most M-S rifles are what? 20" plus? I can't remember what it was on the 1903 Model I had I think 23.50"?

    If you've got one of those stupid silly carbines with a sub 18" barrel and a full length stock. Hmm! That may be a problem. But still OK if RWS are correct in their figures.

    You should be OK as far as I read it. 10.3 grams is effectively 159 grains.

    Go RWS!

    Now whilst it might be legal does it make sense?

    It is, in fact, a superb deer cartridge EVEN on the hill. A lot of the old time rifles swore by its 160 grain bullet as you could hear if it gave a good hit t the beast by the "thwack" it made when it finally arrived on the target!

    But! These rifles are notorious for headspace problems and I would not buy one unless I had fired it first to check that. Also most date from the period of mercuric primers and cordite. So again, being already "large" in the bore, any wear to the bore is a greater problem than in a rifle with a "tight" bore.

    Twist may, or may not, be a consideration. I think but may be wrong, that some had a gain twist. Certainly I had a Mannlicher 1903 about thirty years ago but can't remember if it was or was not a gain twist.

    Accuracy? Again don't expect better than 3 moa. If you get 2 moa you've been very, very, lucky!

    What is the 'scope, what are the mounts, how much is the package or is it a gift? Ammunition, btw, will be hideously expensive! When I bought factory RWS 6.5 x 54 in the late 1970s it was £60 per 100 then!

  3. #3
    My reloading book mentions this cartridge as being very accurate.
    The fastest load mentioned was: 127gr RWS, CCI Br2, 38gr N140. gives 2480fps.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by enfieldspares
    What is the 'scope, what are the mounts, how much is the package or is it a gift? Ammunition, btw, will be hideously expensive! When I bought factory RWS 6.5 x 54 in the late 1970s it was £60 per 100 then!

    The scope is a Kahles 6X42, the mount whilst being quick detachable the manufacture is as yet unknown. The rifle is of early 60's manufacture as it has the Monte Carlo stock but retains the original bolt safety as opposed to the later tang safety which I believe was introduced in the mid 60's.

    Price? Well whilst its not at a give away price it is being offered to me at considerably less than the prices I have found similar rifles being sold at.

    If I go ahead with the purchase the intention well be to "roll my own "ammo.

    I've taken note of your comments re twist rates and potential head space problems. I shall have my gunsmith pal check them out and give the rifle a test run on his range if he gives it the thumbs up.

    Thanks for your informed advise.

  5. #5
    SD Regular
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    East Midlands M1/M69 Junction 21
    If it is a modern 60s M-S or S-M then I can't see a problem with it. I had in mind that you were maybe looking to buy and old hack from the time of Edward VII or George V.

    It is only on the really old ones from pre-WWI and that time frame that I would worry about. I don't think, either, that you will have any sort of gain twist in your barrel.

    Also the 'scope will be relatively modern. Again I've seen these things, or similar by Rigby, with a original Aldis, and the like, and frankly many of these old optics are more collectable than usable.

    Overall the rifle should be of first rate workmanship. However what you can't change is the twist rate of the rifling and I at least check that before you buy.

    I don't know what rate is best for 160 grain bullets or if it would be suitable also for modern pointed 120 grain bullets.

    Maybe the 6.5 x 55 users could advise?

  6. #6
    I'm no collector of antique or vintage weaponry. LOL

    However I am and always have been an admirer of what came to be known as the "Best rifle in the world".

    The scope is relatively new which is a blessing as well as a disappointment. As I would have loved to have had say a classic Zeiss or Schmidt. I can see that I might end up to regretting selling my Hertel&Reuss late 50's manufactured scope even more than I do now.

    The older 1903's that were built with the 10.3gm/160gn bullets in mind have a 1:9 or slightly higher twist rate. Until I get my gunsmith the scope the bore and do the necessary I'll just have to sit and hope. The 160gr cartridge is rumoured to have a slight tendency for the case to split at the neck which would need to be looked into especially as I'd be reloading.

    Your input is much appreciated.


  7. #7
    They are very nice little rifles and if they didn't have the bolt on the wrong side (I'm left handed) would be tempted by one. My old man had one in Zambia and loved it, and I know a couple of people in Scotland who still use them every year - one is still using his grandfathers, complete with original scope and thinks nothing of it.

    But be realistic in your expectations - if you are wanting to shoot the lefteye of a fox at 250 yds get a modern flat shooting custom rifle.

    But if you are happy to work within its limitations - ie ability to keep three rounds in a three inch group at 100yds and want to enjoy a classic rifle then go for it.

    You may have to use your stalking skills to get a bit closer, and take body shots rather than neck shots but not sure that is really a limitation unless you are professional stalker haveing to complete a large cull.

    I would suggest trying it before you buy if possible and also have the bore measured.

    Price - have a look a the auctions - eg - will give you a fair indication of the sort of price that is achievable in the market.

  8. #8
    SD Regular
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    East Midlands M1/M69 Junction 21
    This man in America has an interesting M-S website. Especially if you click on the Mannlicher Info tab.

    With various pages of diagrams of 'scope mounts, etc., etc. It might be useful?

    This man has a 270 M-S for sale, but, more importantly some noce pictures of it and its 'scope mounts etc.

  9. #9
    My mate has one, well half of one. It has the 1903 action that has been re-barrelled in 6.5X55 swede and restocked in a exhibition grade walnut stock, It is a lovely looking rifle and the rotary mag’ is a joy. Accuracy is not too bad as I remember 1 ¼” groups with homeloads, the new barrel no doubts helps. The thing is he rarely takes it out, may be on the roe bucks in the summer. He is too afraid of damaging it, normally reaches for the stainless steel 270 Tikka most of the time.

    If we weren’t restricted on the number of rifles we could own, I would love to have one to play with on a summers day, along with a Lee Enfield.

    Best rgds


  10. #10


    brilliant, you have finally realised the beauty of the 6.5.

    I knew deep down that you were dying to explode out of the closit.

    Maybe it was the thought of the great SD and deep penetration.




    Awaiting your response

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