Having got 6.5x55 religion (but admittedly little experience of it as yet) I was shamelessly proselytising its wonders the other day with a fellow 'deer manager.' He commented seriously that he would never use anything less than a .270 for reds in Scotland, and preferred it for fallow in England. 'Anything less' suggests that all manner of ordinance might be on the cards for him. In the friendliest of ways, we had to agree to disagree. Interestingly, he was a man of long experience, and no small understanding.
Our excellent American cousins are really into magnums, but I found this wonderful dose of common sense on a US forum, and thought it might be well framed and put on the wall of every stalker.
On the whole, we don't suffer from magnumitis here in the UK., but the following excellent posting bears reading.This is brilliant argument, leading to an unassailable position. My thanks to the author, whom I can't identify, but here freely acknowledge.
I’ve done some more thinking on this. First off, a 6.5x55 will always loose to a 270. But a 270 will always loose to a 300 Win mag, and a 300 Win mag will always loose to the next larger one up the chain, all the way to a 50 BMG, which looses to a 20 mm, which looses to a 30 mm, etc., etc.,…,which looses to a nuclear weapon.
So what’s the point? The point is that while a larger round always “wins” at some point we all find the round that’s right for the task at hand and is right for us. And the law of diminishing returns will kick in at some point. I don’t need or want a 30-378 Weatherby Mag. for hunting whitetails at close range in the woods. So at some point we have enough power without subjecting ourselves to undue recoil. I’m just suggesting that to that end the 6.5x55 Swedeheart deserves a second, third, and fourth look. And when you look at it very closely, I think it can “dance with a 270” as I once heard Mr. Atkinson say regarding the .257 Roberts.
The energy and velocity of a 6.5x55 140 gr. bullet is approximately that of a 270 with a 140 gr. bullet…100 yards away. So leaving the trajectory issue alone for a minute a 270 buys you an extra 100 yards, so to speak. So, I contend that if something is appropriate to shoot with a 270 at 300 yards, it’s appropriate to shoot with a 6.5x55 at 200 yards. And if people think a 270 has a useful range of 500 yards, then the 6.5 has a useful range of 400 yards, though even that is perhaps further than we should be shooting at game. And by the way, the 6.5 “catches up” to the 270 at around 400 to 500 yards. Therefore, following this line of thinking, the only thing a 270 can do that a 6.5 can’t, is obtain the energy it obtains within a 100 yards. There, we have it! A 270 is only useful within 100 yards! (That’s a joke fellas, a joke.)
But, are there any animals that we would shoot within 100 yards with a 270 that we wouldn’t with a 6.5? Maybe. Black bear, moose, and elk come to mind. But I think a 6.5 would work on them too, it’s just not optimal for that task. But neither is a 270; it works, certainly, but that doesn’t make it “optimal”.