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Thread: Slight aside to the 6.5 308 debate

  1. #1

    Slight aside to the 6.5 308 debate

    I shoot Lowland reds with a 6.5 55 using federal 140 power shoks. As stated in the previous post, a shot in the right place will allways do the job. However I do find I get a small exit wound leaving a poor blood trail if required. I wonder if this is due to the bullet not expanding adequately due to a reduced velocity or whether these bullets are particularly hard.. My rifle has a 20" barrel and I wondered if anybody knows how much this will reduce the velocity of a factory load when compared to the quoted figures ?

  2. #2
    Hi on the box they quote 2600fps I also have a 20inch barrel out of mine they do 2380fps. That's why I homeload for mine .

  3. #3
    SD Regular Greener Jim's Avatar
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    Jul 2014
    Yorkshireman in Darkest Cornwall
    Wow, I can see why you handload! Did you happen to check them for deviation or is 2380fps the average?

  4. #4
    That's the average best was 2403fps

  5. #5
    It's not just a 20-inch barrel issue with factory 6.5X55 ammo. Lapua 139gn Match should produce 800 m/s (2,625 fps) and the old (now discontinued) Hornady 140gn Spire Point Interlock 2,525 fps in nominally 24-inch barrels. Actual for 20 rounds of each in a custom Savage with a 30-inch Bartlein heavy match barrel was Lapua 2,596 fps, ES: 35, SD: 13.5 and average of four 100 yard 5-shot groups shot off the bench was 0.59". The Hornady ammo produced 2,487 fps average (1,922 ft/lb ME), ES: 126, SD: 38.4 average of four groups 1.1" and lots of signs of a severely underloaded round.

    It's unlikely the Hornady stuff would reliably achieve 1,700 ft/lb in a 20-inch barrel at that performance level. It's now been superceded by the SuperPerformance brand I should add.

    By comparison, my match handloads for this rifle and barrel see the 140gn Berger LRBT run at 2,912 fps with an ES in the low teens, 100 yard groups averaging a third of an inch or better.

  6. #6
    After noting dismal velocities with RWS 140gr factory loads from my 21" barrel, it was drawn to my attention that RWS's test barrel for these was a whopping 29" - and this for sporting, not target, rounds.

    In comparison, the 126gr load was tested in a relatively normal 24" tube, and the 6.5x54M-S using a very ungenerous (but realistic for Stutzen-type rifles) 17.25".

  7. #7
    The original M1896 Swedish Army Mausers wore a 29-inch barrel.
    The Calvary Carbines wore a very short barrel, like the Mannlicher M1903 ( varied 17.25 to 20 inches over the years).

    The Norwegian Krag 6.5x55mm rifles ( lower pressure, ancestor of the cartridge for Sweden by Mauser) were short barrel carbines, and after 1896, these were replaced with very short M1896 Carbines.

  8. #8
    Thanks for input , I am aware that the 6.5 is generally considered under loaded and in addition to that the short barrel reduces the velocity further. If the bullet is travelling at sub 2500 will this effect bullet expansion in a typical, normal chest shot red? Or is the difference negligible ?

  9. #9
    I suppose the reputation the Swede has as a mild recoiling cartridge probably originates from the mildly loaded factory ammunition.

    I've seriously toyed on two separate occasions about buying one as the cartridge certainly appeals to me, however I think one needs to choose his tool based not only on his quarry but their habitat as well.

    I have some enormous clear fells and just felt the 6.5x55 didn't have the legs for those longer shots on larger animals.. . . It's still a chambering I would like to tinker with in the future though.

  10. #10
    I love 6.5x55 but I had the same problem as Cadex, Huge clearfells and huge Galloway Red stags at the other side so my answer was 6.5-284 with a 26" barrel and a muzzle brake.
    Problem sorted

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