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Thread: 6.5x55 load for short barrel?

  1. #1

    6.5x55 load for short barrel?

    I'm not a reloader, but recently just for fun tested the velocites from various loads/rifles with a chronograph.

    My 6.5x55 Finnlight 75 (20 7/8" barrel) gives velocities well below the manufacturers data; unsurprisingly perhaps, as the test barrels quoted for that calibre often seem on the long side (esp. RWS!).

    It certainly came as no surprise to me, as Thar's (I think) wise words on the subject elsewhere that made me particularly want to try the experiment.

    Anyhow, results:
    RWS 127grain book (25.5") 2900fps measured 2550fps average
    Norma 140grain book 2690 measured 2520 av
    Norma 120grain book 2822 measured 2700 av

    I note with interest that the 85 Finnlight has a about 1.5" more barrel than mine in 6.5x55.

    If I were to start reloading, would there be some remedy for this loss of velocity without exceeding maximum pressure, perhaps by use of a kind of powder better-suited to efficient burning in the shorter barrel?

    Best regards


  2. #2
    If you leaned towards the faster burnng powders you might get some more speed. You definitely will if you stay away from the slowest of them. Unfortunately, barrel length isn't needed to "burn the powder" as all powder is usually consumed within 6" of the chamber when operating within the working pressure range of a cartridge. Barrel length is needed top contain the expanding volume of gas from the powder so, inevitably, you're going to be on the losing end of velocity no matter what. I think the best you can hope for are some modest gains but not full compensation. ~Muir

  3. #3
    Personally, I wouldn't worry about the velocity too much.
    A 120GN bullet @ 2700 will do very nicely, in fact i'm suprised you got it that fast.


  4. #4
    Hi Dalua

    That is interesting data that you bring to the site, I consider Norma as pretty much the most powerful factory ammo available. I wonder how some of the USA litigious conscience ammo would have faired.

    As Muir says you can try a faster burning powder, looking at my reloading manuals then for 130gn bullets; Win 760 and IMR 4350 seem to give the best performance form the faster burning powders. Varget is worth a look at for 120gn bullets. I could see nothing that gives much advantage with 140gn bullets. One problem is that once you start using faster powders you start to get away from the ideal of filling the case to a min of 85% full. You generally get best accuracy from a case that is full to nearly full. All you can do is carry out some careful practical experiments with a chroníy.

    I think this is going to become more an issue in this country as people look to fitting moderators then what to reduce the barrel length to get a more manageable combination. I know of two stalkers that have 243s with cut back barrels, I am sure that neither would be big deer legal. When I mentioned it you get told itís a 243 and I use 100gn bullets so it is deer legal, well at least I tried.

    If you do go ahead and look for a usable load for a short barrel best of luck, your work would help a few other guys out I am sure.

    Best rgds


  5. #5
    I wouldn't worry too much. As long as the bullets are pushing 2450fps so you are legal (assuming use in Scotland?) they'll do the job. Velocity isn't everything. If it was the 6.5x55 would never be any good!

  6. #6
    The best powder for speed in 6.5X55 is Norma mrp.

    I have just tried to cut my barrel in Quickload from 570 mm which is 816 ms/2678 fps with 140 grain Nosler Partition, to 500 mm and it comes out with 786ms/2580 fps, and again to 450 mm and that is 761 ms/ 2497 fps

    projectile energy is

    570 mm / 3027 joule
    500 mm / 2805 joule
    450 mm / 2629 joule

    the lenght does make a difference but with a bullet well placed, i dont think it the deer will notice the bullet comes a little bit slower, and not 200/300 meters shots then the bullet will loose a lot of energy.

    if you can send me your loading/bullet data i can make some very accurate measurings for you.

  7. #7
    Many thanks for the helpful opinions/figures.

    As I'm not (yet?) a reloader, I think I'll persist with either the Norma 120gr or the RWS 127gr for the time being.

    It seems from your replies that there is not a magic powder to use with this calibre to make bullets fly terribly fast out of short barrels.

    As has been remarked, this is not something to worry about; the thing works fine, if on a slightly rainbow-like trajectory.


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