the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

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the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by bigrich » 28 May 2023, 12:52 pm

okay fellas , here's another caliber discussion :roll: . i'm looking at downsizing my collection and evaluating what is actually useful and effective on the game i hunt . i have a 30-06 that i've used recently and while it has a lot of energy and reach , i find my 6.5x55 t3 to be a very accurate enjoyable to shoot rifle for most of the game i shoot, without the 30-06 recoil. not that i'm recoil sensative ;)
granted it doesn't have the '06 smack down ,but it's terminated all game i've pointed it at so far with a minimum of fuss . i've been using 140 sst's as a standard hand loaded round, and am looking into 125 partitions with a bit more speed as a better option . main game encountered is pigs from 20-80kg ,maybe 140 sst or 140 partitions might be better just in case that monster razorback turns up :D , with maybe the occassional shot at a rusa or red deer . i'm hunting south east qld and northern nsw and having the 06's ability of shooting heavier than 165's and heavier probably isn't going to get used. i really don't want to spend the money on a 308 either as dollars are a bit tight atm .

so please give me your opinions and experiences of the swede hand loaded as a all rounder on various game . i think it's ability to move 120's fast in a 243/257bob role or 140's for larger game make it very flexable as a general walk around rifle . opinions please...... :thumbsup:
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by bladeracer » 28 May 2023, 2:12 pm

bigrich wrote:okay fellas , here's another caliber discussion :roll: . i'm looking at downsizing my collection and evaluating what is actually useful and effective on the game i hunt . i have a 30-06 that i've used recently and while it has a lot of energy and reach , i find my 6.5x55 t3 to be a very accurate enjoyable to shoot rifle for most of the game i shoot, without the 30-06 recoil. not that i'm recoil sensitive ;)
granted it doesn't have the '06 smack down ,but it's terminated all game i've pointed it at so far with a minimum of fuss . i've been using 140 sst's as a standard hand loaded round, and am looking into 125 partitions with a bit more speed as a better option . main game encountered is pigs from 20-80kg ,maybe 140 sst or 140 partitions might be better just in case that monster razorback turns up :D , with maybe the occasional shot at a rusa or red deer . i'm hunting south east qld and northern nsw and having the 06's ability of shooting heavier than 165's and heavier probably isn't going to get used. i really don't want to spend the money on a 308 either as dollars are a bit tight atm .

so please give me your opinions and experiences of the swede hand loaded as a all rounder on various game . i think it's ability to move 120's fast in a 243/257bob role or 140's for larger game make it very flexable as a general walk around rifle . opinions please...... :thumbsup:


The Scandinavians have no issue taking thousands of moose every year with it apparently so it would certainly handle our sambar, but we're not allowed to use it here in Vic as the bullet is .006" too small.
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by No1Mk3 » 28 May 2023, 4:11 pm

As a young bloke in NZ I shot goats, Thar and Chamois with the 6.5x55 using 77g SP and 90g SP. I also shot Sambar (we called them Rusa in NZ) and Reds using Norma 156g SP, both factory and handloads. The cartridge is very capable for a wide range of game when using an appropriate bullet, but as bladeracer said Regulations prohibit it from being used on deer in Vic other than Fallow. I think the 140 partition would be good on any porker you see, Cheers.
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by bigrich » 28 May 2023, 4:26 pm

No1Mk3 wrote:As a young bloke in NZ I shot goats, Thar and Chamois with the 6.5x55 using 77g SP and 90g SP. I also shot Sambar (we called them Rusa in NZ) and Reds using Norma 156g SP, both factory and handloads. The cartridge is very capable for a wide range of game when using an appropriate bullet, but as bladeracer said Regulations prohibit it from being used on deer in Vic other than Fallow. I think the 140 partition would be good on any porker you see, Cheers.


i remember reading back in the day regular sambar hunters used to like the 243 cause it could accurately put the bullet where it was needed :unknown:
i'm not heading south for a hunt , i'm just looking at a 8 hour radius from brisbane for my hunting . no minimum cal on deer in qld . a lot of old timers around stanthorpe and the nsw border used 243's back in the day for pigs and deer, once they'd upgraded from their 303-25's :D

i've been thinking lately maybe i've been buying into the modern belief of using canons for hunting . 308/30-06 is definately very emphatic when hitting bone , but i've recently had pass through's, where my swede would've caused more damage with sst's . from what i've been told, kiwi hunters use 6.5 man bun for lots of stuff. but they pay more attention to shot placement :unknown: and reds get a lot bigger in NZ too :thumbsup:
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by Oldbloke » 28 May 2023, 7:35 pm

Do you reload?

I have two 30.06. One I'm now loading with 130gr SPs and 49gr AR2208. Very mild to shoot. It's an option.
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by northdude » 28 May 2023, 7:57 pm

Thats what i use over here. Great fan of the 6.5 cals. Got 3 x55s a 6.5 06 and a grendel. I use 130 sierras in my t3 to save having to worry about running different loads and zeros. My m96 sporter runs 140sst or interlocks. My full wood m38 runs 140 hot cores for service rifle comps. In the 6.5 06 im running 140 gold dots and 120 gold dots. Grendel is running 85 sierra hp but cant seem to get them anymore so will be looking for something else
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by bigrich » 29 May 2023, 5:08 am

Oldbloke wrote:Do you reload?

I have two 30.06. One I'm now loading with 130gr SPs and 49gr AR2208. Very mild to shoot. It's an option.


yeah OB , i reload. some of my rifles have never seen a factory load . my own 30-06 gives okay accuracy , but i'm finding the swede is just a more accurate , nicer to shoot rifle for game weights i hunt . the long range accuracy is very confidence inspiring too . i had some poor results with 165gn bt's on pigs recently. too much bullet .a 150 probably woulda worked better , complete pass through with no bone contact . a 140 sst from my swede would've expanded with the same shot positioning i reckon :unknown:
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by bigrich » 29 May 2023, 5:20 am

northdude wrote:Thats what i use over here. Great fan of the 6.5 cals. Got 3 x55s a 6.5 06 and a grendel. I use 130 sierras in my t3 to save having to worry about running different loads and zeros. My m96 sporter runs 140sst or interlocks. My full wood m38 runs 140 hot cores for service rifle comps. In the 6.5 06 im running 140 gold dots and 120 gold dots. Grendel is running 85 sierra hp but cant seem to get them anymore so will be looking for something else


yeah i've been a fan of the swede a long time . i have a t3 in a B&C stock . i had to clean up the inletting on the stock, their not ready to go out of the box like people think . also fitted my tikkas with lumley high grade alloy floor plate/trigger gaurd . point of impact of my tikkas does not change or move from month to month , year to year . if it shoots a bigger group than 1/2" off the bench i'm supprised . when i was up in NT i met a young kiwi guide from the south island . knowledgable way beyond his years , was off to collorado in the USA to work as a guide after he finished in the territory . he was telling me the 6.5CM was the latest craze in NZ and he'd seen some big stuff taken down with it . i think the swede is better personally :D . apparently having the swede ackleyed is a real good thing :thumbsup:
Last edited by bigrich on 29 May 2023, 8:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by northdude » 29 May 2023, 6:34 am

Yea the sweede can do anything the man bun can do. Just quietly gets on with the job without all the hype, always has yawn....
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by straightshooter » 29 May 2023, 8:16 am

bladeracer wrote:The Scandinavians have no issue taking thousands of moose every year with it apparently so it would certainly handle our sambar, but we're not allowed to use it here in Vic as the bullet is .006" too small.

In Sweden, a thoroughly leftist country, about a 100 000 moose are shot annually.
The minimum requirements are in energy at 100 meters and projectile weight not caliber.
For projectiles 155gn and over minimum energy at 100 meters is about 1500 foot pounds.
For projectiles between 139gn and154gn the minimum energy at 100 meters is about 2000 foot pounds.
As can be seen the rules look like they were designed to allow a 6.5x55 to just make the cut.
For a long time a 9.3x57 was a very popular caliber for moose but has now been overshadowed if not completely replaced by more powerful calibers.
The energy and projectile weight rules seem fairly sensible to me but there will always be grumblers who object any rules whatsoever.
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by bigrich » 29 May 2023, 8:31 am

straightshooter wrote:
bladeracer wrote:The Scandinavians have no issue taking thousands of moose every year with it apparently so it would certainly handle our sambar, but we're not allowed to use it here in Vic as the bullet is .006" too small.

In Sweden, a thoroughly leftist country, about a 100 000 moose are shot annually.
The minimum requirements are in energy at 100 meters and projectile weight not caliber.
For projectiles 155gn and over minimum energy at 100 meters is about 1500 foot pounds.
For projectiles between 139gn and154gn the minimum energy at 100 meters is about 2000 foot pounds.
As can be seen the rules look like they were designed to allow a 6.5x55 to just make the cut.
For a long time a 9.3x57 was a very popular caliber for moose but has now been overshadowed if not completely replaced by more powerful calibers.
The energy and projectile weight rules seem fairly sensible to me but there will always be grumblers who object any rules whatsoever.


yeah, much has been written about the swede being used on moose . wouldn't be my first choice . 8x57 with 200's would be better i would think ;)
similar to the who-ha about bell and the 7x57 on elephants . shot placement 100% in both cases . pigs rarely stand still for perfect shot placement i've found :D
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by Oldbloke » 29 May 2023, 9:39 am

I reckon a 357 would do the job on elephants, sambar, buff and lion ok. :allegedly:
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by bigrich » 29 May 2023, 10:16 am

Oldbloke wrote:I reckon a 357 would do the job on elephants, sambar, buff and lion ok. :allegedly:


and the 7.62x39....... :P
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by Oldbloke » 29 May 2023, 11:05 am

bigrich wrote:
Oldbloke wrote:I reckon a 357 would do the job on elephants, sambar, buff and lion ok. :allegedly:


and the 7.62x39....... :P


Perfect for rhinos and African buffalo too.
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by bigrich » 29 May 2023, 11:42 am

Oldbloke wrote:
bigrich wrote:
Oldbloke wrote:I reckon a 357 would do the job on elephants, sambar, buff and lion ok. :allegedly:


and the 7.62x39....... :P


Perfect for rhinos and African buffalo too.


:lol: :lol: :lol: :thumbsup:
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by in2anity » 29 May 2023, 11:50 am

Bigrich. There's a famous old shooter under the MRCA that's been range-whoring literally his entire life. There are amazing antique photos of him on the mounds as an 8yr old kid - he lived just around the corner. In his life, he's won all the disciplines, ranging from TR, to SR. He won the SR Queens a couple of times, back when it still formally had the SR component. That's kinda where he got his reputation. Anyways, in short is he's amazingly talented, believe me. I won't name him here, out of respect for his wishes for privacy.

Over the years he's always been a real "experimenter". He's run all kinds of calibers in Service matches, which has generally been limited to 400m and under at Malabar. He loves his two 6.5mm modern guns. He's run a 6.5cm and 6.5x55 many times, and we cannot tell the difference between the two in terms of score - they both literally win the comps, always within a big a field of competitors. Both shoot the same, and that is amazingly well.

I film and spot the vapor trails all the time, and both the 6.5cm and 6.5x55 are amazingly fast and flat. They zip in there more efficiently than the bigger 30cals, and not as random as the little 223 when the wind is fishing about. You can always tell by the lack of horizontal dispersion that they buck the wind better than anything on the mound.

I know the SAAMI spec for the 6.5x55 is only low 50kpsi, but this is based on the old smallring mauser. With good quality brass, you can practically squeeze as much performance out of the 6.5x55 vs the 6.5cm. Buy good brass, anneal, load it up hot and drive'em hard, and you'll hit what you are aiming for mark my words.

The aformentioned old bloke sold all his rifles recently (some of which came to me!! ;) ) except his two 6.5s. And his all time favorite rifle, running handloads, is the honorary 6.5x55mm SAKO (not exactly sure what model?). That thing can f@rkin SHOOT!! :drinks:
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by bigrich » 29 May 2023, 12:18 pm

in2anity wrote:Bigrich. There's a famous old shooter under the MRCA that's been range-whoring literally his entire life. There are amazing antique photos of him on the mounds as an 8yr old kid - he lived just around the corner. In his life, he's won all the disciplines, ranging from TR, to SR. He won the SR Queens a couple of times, back when it still formally had the SR component. That's kinda where he got his reputation. Anyways, in short is he's amazingly talented, believe me. I won't name him here, out of respect for his wishes for privacy.

Over the years he's always been a real "experimenter". He's run all kinds of calibers in Service matches, which has generally been limited to 400m and under at Malabar. He loves his two 6.5mm modern guns. He's run a 6.5cm and 6.5x55 many times, and we cannot tell the difference between the two in terms of score - they both literally win the comps, always within a big a field of competitors. Both shoot the same, and that is amazingly well.

I film and spot the vapor trails all the time, and both the 6.5cm and 6.5x55 are amazingly fast and flat. They zip in there more efficiently than the bigger 30cals, and not as random as the little 223 when the wind is fishing about. You can always tell by the lack of horizontal dispersion that they buck the wind better than anything on the mound.

I know the SAAMI spec for the 6.5x55 is only low 50kpsi, but this is based on the old smallring mauser. With good quality brass, you can practically squeeze as much performance out of the 6.5x55 vs the 6.5cm. Buy good brass, anneal, load it up hot and drive'em hard, and you'll hit what you are aiming for mark my words.

The aformentioned old bloke sold all his rifles recently (some of which came to me!! ;) ) except his two 6.5s. And his all time favorite rifle, running handloads, is the honorary 6.5x55mm SAKO (not exactly sure what model?). That thing can f@rkin SHOOT!! :drinks:


oh yeah , i don't doubt the swedes accuracy one bit .my own is stupidly accurate it's the terminal performance on larger pigs and such that i'm looking for opinions on :thumbsup:
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by in2anity » 29 May 2023, 1:05 pm

bigrich wrote:oh yeah , i don't doubt the swedes accuracy one bit .my own is stupidly accurate it's the terminal performance on larger pigs and such that i'm looking for opinions on :thumbsup:

Simple, just run a ~140gr bonded, and they'll slice through the thickest of mud armor. TBH though I'm sure a cheaper option would do fine as well, like an SST.
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by JimTom » 29 May 2023, 8:17 pm

I run 143gn ELD X in my 6.5 Brittany as my main night pig hunting rig. Rarely use my 308 anymore. If I had to choose one rifle to keep it would be my 6.5.
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by JimTom » 29 May 2023, 8:42 pm

I run 143gn ELD X in my 6.5 Brittany as my main night pig hunting rig. Rarely use my 308 anymore. If I had to choose one rifle to keep it would be my 6.5.
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by Shootermick » 29 May 2023, 9:44 pm

How much better are they than a 243?
Serious question…I’ve got a 243, but don’t know anyone with a 6.5x55.
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by in2anity » 29 May 2023, 10:20 pm

Shootermick wrote:How much better are they than a 243?
Serious question…I’ve got a 243, but don’t know anyone with a 6.5x55.


The 243 is usually around a 1:10”, designed for sub-100gr pills. It’s more designed as a faster “lower-recoil” option vs the aging 308. The 243 might have a shorter freebore than the Swede too - but I’m only guessing, meaning you’d have to seat longer pills deeper, eating into the precious case volume...

The Swede on the other hand is around a 1:8” twist, really designed for longer heavier pills toward the 140gr region. Also perhaps a longer freebore might better facilitate these long fancy 6.5mm pills?

Of course all this stuff is googlable, I’m just relying on the aging brain here. Please correct me where I’m wrong. But the point is, they were designed around different ideas. Would they both drop big pigs? Absolutely.

If you are going custom, just get a tight twist 6mm barrel and shove a .243AI reamer in it for a very similar end result. :unknown:
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by deye243 » 29 May 2023, 10:21 pm

As a varmint cartridge the 243 wins as a hunting cartridge the 6.5 × 55 s**** all over the 243 Both will do the dual purpose roll just At different ends
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by bigrich » 30 May 2023, 3:52 am

Shootermick wrote:How much better are they than a 243?
Serious question…I’ve got a 243, but don’t know anyone with a 6.5x55.


You’ve gotta hand load to really get the best out of the Swede. It’s a bigger brother to the 243 that shoots heavier high BC projectiles, sorta kinda. In a modern action to load to higher pressure the Swede has advantages over the 260 and CM. If you like factory ammo don’t get a Swede as it’s under loaded because of 120 year old Mausers . Some sako and hornady ammo is loaded for higher pressure, but it’s not cheap or common
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by bigrich » 30 May 2023, 3:54 am

deye243 wrote:As a varmint cartridge the 243 wins as a hunting cartridge the 6.5 × 55 s**** all over the 243 Both will do the dual purpose roll just At different ends


That’s a pretty good summary :thumbsup:
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by straightshooter » 30 May 2023, 8:36 am

For some reason this discussion triggered a memory of a 70's song by Maria Muldaur "It aint the meat its the motion".
Rather than hair splitting over approximately similar calibers the discussion should be giving greater prominence to projectile selection and availability.
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by in2anity » 30 May 2023, 10:01 am

straightshooter wrote:For some reason this discussion triggered a memory of a 70's song by Maria Muldaur "It aint the meat its the motion".
Rather than hair splitting over approximately similar calibers the discussion should be giving greater prominence to projectile selection and availability.

Indeed. Bit puzzled as to why anyone might think the 6.5mm won't drop even tough furry critters. Of course it will.
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by phill55phill » 31 May 2023, 1:42 pm

Reloaders dream the manuals all have it way underloaded so poeple won't blow there m96s up can get som really good results with modern actions
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by GQshayne » 01 Jun 2023, 8:03 pm

I have shot some big pigs with the .243, using 87gn Interlock projectiles mainly, but 85gn Sierras in the early days.

I cannot imagine the 6.5 ever being limited on pigs with the right load.
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Re: the 6.5x55 as a all rounder

Post by bigrich » 02 Jun 2023, 4:34 am

GQshayne wrote:I have shot some big pigs with the .243, using 87gn Interlock projectiles mainly, but 85gn Sierras in the early days.

I cannot imagine the 6.5 ever being limited on pigs with the right load.


that's the key . the right bullet/load . and good shot placement . i recently stepped up to a 30-06 ,and running 165bt's ,thinking more power better, and had some full length pin hole cause of no bone contact . i know my swede with a 140sst in the same situation would've had a better result . 150's in the 06 probably woulda worked better, but if that's the case i probably shoulda just got a 308 :roll:

i recently read online a article from ssaa magazine, "saint or sinner" , which was a detailed story on the authors experiences using a 243 for pigs/hunting including up north . it's a good read.
the most emphatic pig gun i've owned was my 358win mod 70 . i like the idea of lots of energy transfer putting stuff down immediately .my favorite projectile, the 225 sierra, is just about impossible to get . as are 225 woodleigh RN . maybe one of the rifles from my other topic on 44mag vs 444 marlin might satisfy me. yeah, i know , i'm looking for a excuse to get another toy :D
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