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  1. #1
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    Default 6.5x55 as a Medium Range Tactical Round

    I've heard that this round, in a good rifle, is more accurate than a .308. What are your thoughts about using this round for short to mid-range applications?

  2. #2
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    Dutch adopted 6.5 cartridge early on. Then they had a rebellion in one of their South-Eastern colonies. Once they suppressed the rebellion, they switched to 8 mm. Conclusion, if you shoot things that are able to shoot back, then go 7.62 and bigger. Otherwise 6.5 is fine.

  3. #3
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    This article sheds some interesting light on the 6.5x55mm: http://www.snipercentral.com/65swed.htm

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the article! This is an example of the reason I was looking at this round...I'm not so sure that big bullet equals big performance in all situations..esp at the range that a 308 is primarily used at...

  5. #5
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    Building on a Mauser 98 Action. What would be the best stock for such a tactical rifle?

  6. #6

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    Im sure someone has probably told you this, but a military mauser is not a good action to build a precision rifle with.

    Mcmillian and HS precision build sniper stocks for the military and police snipers Do a little research and you will find a stock that you like. The 6.5 mm bullet is an excellent precision bullet but 6.5x55 cartridge is not. Its old and there are better choices. Look into F-class shooting competition to find a good accurate cartridge if you like the 6.5 mm bullet.

    Your best choice would be to buy a remington 700 and have it rebarreled to whatever caliber you wanted. It will be cheaper in the long run rather than tring to customize a rifle that was never designed to use a scope in the first place.

    on the REM 700 the scope mounting and restocking are things that you can do yourself to save money.

  7. #7
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    I have been looking into a Remington 700 action, and with the input of others I am REALLY leaning towards getting it chambered in 6.5x284. The parts availability and the do-it-yourself aspects are really a benefit to the Remington 700. Isn't this the receiver that the M24 Sniper System was based on? Thanks for your input!

    Also, where could I get loading/reloading data for this round. Anybody else have experience with this round? Thanks!

  8. #8
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    I have been looking into a Remington 700 action, and with the input of others I am REALLY leaning towards getting it chambered in 6.5x284. The parts availability and the do-it-yourself aspects are really a benefit to the Remington 700. Isn't this the receiver that the M24 Sniper System was based on? Thanks for your input!

    Also, where could I get loading/reloading data for this round. Anybody else have experience with this round? Thanks!

  9. #9
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    There are several relatively new choices for 6.5 out there. Cartridges that come to mind are .260 REM, 6.5 Creedmore and 6.5x47. All are a bit easier on the bore that the 6.5x284 and are still solid 1000 yard performers. If you want to go past 1000 the 6.5x284 will get you a bit more but not quite as much as the .300 WIN MAG. The 6.5x55 will fit well in a mauser action. And as for a stock there are several companies out there that make target type stocks for the mauser. Boyds being one of the more affordable. May not be tacticool, but it'll be a laminated stock that you'll work hard to bread and won't cost $500 either. If you really want ease of build up go with the Savage 10FP. Excellent rifles, and you can go with the entry level synthetic stock or get the BAS/T stock. Once you have the Savage you can re-barrel it to what ever you want yourself with simple tools. My .02 cents.... Tom

  10. #10
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    That's the one thing I worry about with the 6.5x284...barrel wear...I want a rifle that will still be shooting years down the road. One thing I am wondering though...wouldn't 6.5x55 have higher case capacities than the above mentioned calibers (excluding 300WM and 6.5x284)?

  11. #11
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    with modern barrel steels and powder choices throat erosion is not a major factor for cartidges like the 6.5x284, it is not even considered overbored by modern standards, look at the .270wsm for comparison you can get 2000 rounds out of it before you get any major erosion and it is unbeleivably overbored. also throat erosion doesn't make your rifle turn into a shotgun overnight the change in accuracy is usually very minor and can be compensated for by seating the bullet out further of course any barrel will wear out eventually, if it were me I'd barrel it to my caliber of choice and if I'm lucky enough to wear it out I'd just have the barrel replaced or have it set back and rechambered.

  12. #12
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    Yeah, the 6.5x284 really looks like it might be worth changing barrels (if I can shoot it enough to wear it out!) Looks like a good round. I'll start out with some standard reloading data and from there work up my own load...This rifle will be fun!

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    What barrel lengths are you seeing on rifles of this caliber? What is the optimum length?

  14. #14
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    My brother used to win local 600yd iron sight matches regularly with a military 6.5 x 55 swede (probably a 1938 model. cocked on opening). as far as cartridge for a match rifle go with the style of the moment, but make sure the action feeds the cartridge you choose unless you go single shot. the .264 Win Mag is apparently the most powerful 6.5 in standards. Almost everyone will know some reason why his choice is better.

  15. #15

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    Savage is an excellent action to build a match rifle with. To use the 6.5x55 or other cartridges that size you will need a long action. There is loading data for the 6.5/284 you just have to look.

    The max pressure for the swede is much lower than most modern cartridges which is why I did not reccomend that as a good choice.

    A laminated stock is also a good choice but they are usually heavier than a synthetic. HS precision's Varmit stock does not require any bedding compound the receiver is mounted directly to an aluminum block. It costs much less than $500. The mcmillian stock will run $500 plus.

    Most "tactical rifles" have short barrels around 20" A match rifle will have anywhere from 20" to 28" barrels

    Unless you have alot of experience in shooting long distance I would buy a rem 700 or a savage in .308 and shoot that until you have mastered it. Then you could always replace the barrel later on. Even the remington factory barrel will shoot better than most people.

    Buy a good scope be prepared to spend as much or more on the scope as the rifle.


  16. #16
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    [QUOTE=milsurpcollector;1225212]Im sure someone has probably told you this, but a military mauser is not a good action to build a precision rifle with.

    Really?
    If I really knew how much I thought I knew...I'd be a dadburn GENIUS!

  17. #17
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    I am a big fan of the 6.5mm, excellent bullets are available and the high BC makes them good for long range shooting. Looking at the load data from the sources I have available and a factory load, and the highest velocity for the cartridge with a 140gr bullet, this is a decent comparison.

    6.5-06 140gr 2800 Hodgdon, 2900 Hornady, 2950 Sierra, 3000 A-Square factory
    6.5-284 140gr 2800 Hodgdon, 2700 Hornady, 2953 Norma factory
    260 Rem 140gr 2700 Hodgdon, 2700 Hornady, 2725 Nosler factory
    6.5 x 55 140gr 2600 Hodgdon, 2600 Hornady, (29" barrel) 2500 Sierra, 2740 Lapua factory

    The .260 and 6.5-284 both fit in a short action, although I have heard with long/heavy bullets you can end up with too long an OAL to fit in the magazine.

    6.5-284 uses a lot of powder and the brass is pretty expensive (~$1 each)
    6.5-06 brass is available (but makes 6.5-284 brass look cheap) but can be easily made from .25-06 cases for about 50Ę each.
    .260 and 6.5x55 brass is readily available and also about 50Ę each.

    I built a long range Remington 700 a while back, chambered in 6.5-06, and I love it. I used a HS Precision stock, and a Pac-Nor barrel. In theory the long action is less rigid than the short action, but I doubt I would notice the difference.

    That being said, if I had to do it over again, I would probably go with a .260 in a short action. I would still use a Remington 700, and either a Remington "Police Rifle" stock (~$300 from Brownells), or the new "Tactical" stock from Choate.

  18. #18
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    Are there any good left-handed tactical/match stocks out there for the Remington 700?

  19. #19
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    One poster has mentioned the quality of modern barrel material versus barrel life in 6.5-284. We have ten or twelve club members who shoot F-Class, and three of them also shoot LRTR.

    As I'm sure that most of you know, F-Class and target rifle are VERY popular here in UK, with a number of world-class custom gunmakers and barrel makers too. The German national F-Class shooting, now bereft of long ranges in Germany now that the British Army has left, come over to UK to train at Bisley, and - here's the thing - they come with their shot-out 6.5-284 barrels and buy new ones to have fitted here, which they then shoot in, and go on to other places to shoot for the year.

    Every year.

    The fast is that in spite of modern materials, every one of the shooters of this calibre will tell me that they measure the barrel life at the top end of accuracy [and who is interested in anything else?] at around 1200 shots.

    That's it.

    tac

  20. #20
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    Default Slightly long, for which, apologies....

    Quote Originally Posted by ij70 View Post
    Dutch adopted 6.5 cartridge early on. Then they had a rebellion in one of their South-Eastern colonies. Once they suppressed the rebellion, they switched to 8 mm. Conclusion, if you shoot things that are able to shoot back, then go 7.62 and bigger. Otherwise 6.5 is fine.
    Sir - you are mistaken in your belief that this the same cartridge as the 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser. See this article by a man who knows this calibre very well - and other posts on this allegedly useless round -

    6.5x53 Rimmed -

    This is a rimmed cartridge brought out in 1895 for the Dutch and Romanian rifles of 1892 and 1895. It seems to be a forerunner of the 6.5 X 54 Mannlicher-Schoenauer that was popular in the U.S. but itís a rimmed cartridge 1 millimeter shorter. There were three models two being carbine and the longer rifle all having the knife bayonet. Ballistics of the two rounds are very similar. Around that period of time some of the other countries such as Japan & Italy among others were adopting 6.5ís with the same bullet and power factor. Military ammo was loaded with a 156 to 162 grain full metal jacket bullet at around 2400 feet per second. Military ammo was produced until around the end of WW ll but not in great quantity. By WWll the Netherlands was using more modern guns. However in 1917 a few were made for the 8mm rimmed cartridge. In the 1890ís the government of Uruguay ordered about 9000 Mauser model 71/84 s chambered for the Dutch round. They have long barrels and seemed heavy for that caliber. I have handled but never shot one. I imagine they were accurate and the recoil must have been nearly non existent. There are a few sporting rifles around in this caliber mostly in Europe. The 6.5 bullets are long for their weight that helps with penetration. Like most 6.5ís the paper ballistics arenít real impressive but donít let that fool you. They are capable of deep penetration with the 160 grain slug. That goes for all the 6.5ís. Every species of game has been taken with these types of cartridges. Karamogo Bell is said to have taken over 1000 elephants with the 6.5 rimless Mannlicher round. Those 160 grain full metal jacketed bullets gave the necessary penetration to penetrate to the elephantís brain, quickly dispatching it. Without a doubt Bell was a good shot and more then a little lucky His fast running probably got his bacon out of the fire a few times. WW 1 saw various rifles chambered for the 6.5ís in action. At one time the British listed it as the 256 Mannlicher and produced sporting rifles for it. It probably found some favor in Africa with the smaller big game due to its light recoil and weight. I imagine that if you could get Harrington & Richardson or Thompson Center to chamber a single shot rifle for the 6.5 Dutch that would be a real sweetheart of a rifle. Of course you could order a custom barrel for it if you are willing to pay the price for it.

    Dutch 6.5 military ammo

    The other soft points especially the heavier ones will give good penetration due to the mild velocities available. Ultra high velocities makes many bullets open up prematurely, thus cutting down on penetration. The nice thing about the smaller 6.5ís are the can use standard bullets to good effect. A 264 Winchester magnum demands a premium bullet to obtain its best performance. Bullet selection for the 6.5 caliber is relatively good. Bullets from 85 to 160 grains are made by one or more of our manufactures. Spitzers. round nose and hollow points are available. Hornady produces a 160 grain round nose that will also give some good penetration according to some tests I have conducted. They go through dry phone books like a hot knife going through butter. The Hornady bullet is the closest to the military in weight and profile. Cast bullets are also a viable option especially for small game and plinking loads.

    The rifle I used for this test is a carbine with an 18Ē barrel with good rifling. The action has the appearance of being strong and well made. Balance is good for carrying and hunting. It has 2 locking lugs and a safety similar to the Mauser. I have no doubt that the metals and heat treatment used was the best of the day. When the safety is engaged it locks the bolt shut as well as stopping the gun from firing. I have no doubt that it is a good design. The bolt release is on the left side of the receiver. It works ok but needs a little muscle to work it. It is one of the only actions that is as smooth as the Krag. The bolt slides like greased glass. The magazine is a weird affair requiring a stripper clip if you can find one. That is perhaps itís one weakness as far as I am concerned. Old Western Scrounger may have a clip for it from time to time. I shoot mine single shot, which is no problem for what I use it for. Carcanos among others have those detachable clips. Like most of the older military rifles when you pick it up you automatically have confidence in it. At least I do. The trigger is typical military with travel and let off. Since I shoot so many military rifles I find no problem with the trigger pull. I donít what kind of wood it is but it is hard and of good quality. Stamped on the side is Hembrug 1916. The rear sight has mule ears somewhat like the Enfield rifle. According to Small Arms of The World many were converted to 303 British round in Indonesia during the 1950ís. That would say something about their strength and quality. When shooting it felt pretty comfortable, not too short or too long. I would rate the quality and finish on this rifle very high. Gunsmithing it would be possible though difficult. A scope with a side mount would be possible if you were willing to pay the tab. Peep sights may be installed if you wanted to take it hunting and your eyes were good. Also I suppose it could be rebarreled but the cost would be prohibitive for such a gun. Besides why not leave it in itís original caliber and make ammo for it?

    ...the real problem begins when you decide to shoot it. There are a few pieces of military ammo around but it is unreliable due to age. The cases and bullets I have seen are black and probably corrosive. I havenít attempted to shoot it due to the age. Hang fires are one of the problems with this and other older military calibers I have seen. By the way if you insist on shooting it and have a misfire keep the rifle pointed down range for at least 60 seconds before unloading the rifle. Failure to heed this advice can cause you some real pain. Imagine having just started opening the bolt when it goes off! If you have military brass donít use it unless you want to go to the trouble of decapping and priming the case. That is if the correct Berdan primer is available. There is no American ammo company that has ever made ammo for it as far as I know. Bertram Brass from Australia has made cases for it but they are expensive and not always obtainable. Also with quality problems I have had with Bertram brass in the past I hesitate to recommend it. Maybe some in Europe makes it but I never saw any here. If you are a reloader you are in luck.




    LOAD BULLET VELOCITY COMMENTS
    8 X Herco 85 grain Sierra h.p. 1255 pest load
    43 X VV 150 85 grain Winchester 3068 good load
    37 X IMR 4895 85 grain Sierra h.p. 2673 decent load
    41 X IMR 3031 85 grain Sierra h.p. 2979 max
    35 X IMR 4895 100 grain Hornady 2578 ok
    38 X RL # 19 100 grain Hornady 2365 mild
    40 X AA 4350 120 grain Remington 2436* deer load
    37 X IMR 3031 120 grain Remington 2660 deer
    39 X VV 150 120 grain Remington 2550 good deer load
    32 X IMR 4895 129 grain Hornady 2445 deer load mild
    39.5 X RL# 19 129 grain Hornady 2133 mild
    36 X IMR 3031 129 grain Hornady 2495 deer load **
    38 X RL# 19 140 grain Remington 2032 quite mild
    8 X Herco 140 grain cast 1221 consistent
    39 X AA 4350 140 grain Remington 2325 * mild
    37 X VV 150 140 grain Remington 2308 mild **
    35 X VV 150 160 grain f.m.j. 2240 ok
    37 X AA 4350 160 grain Hornady 2533 * ok
    38 X AA 4350 160 grain Hornady 2253 mild **
    36 X H 4895 160 grain Hornady 2328 max

    With the loads and bullets available the Dutch is very adequate for some types of big game hunting. Any deer that ever walked would fall to the 120 to 140 grain slugs. Depending how good your eyes are you can use the iron sights for shots out to a couple of hundred yards. The rest of us would be better served by a scope at longer ranges. A 120 grain at 26-2700 feet per second should do nicely. If you were doing to hunt elk with it I would go with a 140 grainer probably a Nosler. Some would say itís too light for elk but with a patient stalker and good shot it would do. After all some proclaim the 257 Roberts an adequate rifle for elk. The 160 grain with its high sectional density would handle a black bear and do a good job of it. In spite of all the new offerings coming out bullet placement is still the most important single factor in a successful hunt. The 160 grain round nose launched at 2400 feet per second has 2046 foot pounds of energy. At 200 yards energy still clocks in at 1205. Since many people consider 1000 pounds minimum looks like a 200 yard load for suited game animals. A 140 grain at 2500 produces 1943 pounds of energy at the muzzle while 200 yards shows 1426 easily making it a 200 yard deer load. The 120 at 2600 shows 1846 at the muzzle while at 200 yards energy drops to 1150, still enough for White Tail Deer. The 160 when sighted in at 100 yards drops about 6.5Ē at 200 yards.

    The 140 under the same situation will drop about 5.5Ē while the 120 will drop about 4Ē when sighted in at 100 yards. Such a trajectory makes it a very useful 200 yard gun. With a scope and good shot placement the careful hunter could stretch it to about 250 yards. In good conscience I canít recommend much over that for sure clean kills. Of course most big game animals are shot within 200 yards of the hunter.
    The 85 and 100 grain bullets should be regulated to small deer and pests. They lack the sectional for good penetration and longer shots. The 85 grain zipping out at 3100 feet per second produces about 1600 foot pounds of energy. At 300 it drops to about 950 making in a decent varmint load but not for big game. If sighted in at 100 yards will drop about a foot at 300. With a scope and proper bullet placement there is no reason that a 300 yard shot canít be done. A lead bullet load would be an excellent small game load where legal to use. The report is very low and the bullet will not destroy much meat. Such a long bullet would be good out to about 100 yards. The trajectory would be a lot different then a full power load. The lead bullet in my gun turned out to be very accurate as long as velocities were kept low. Drop at 100 yards with the lead load would be 12 to 18Ē lower then the full power jacketed offerings. With the high sectional density of the 140 grain penetration would be surprising ever at low velocities.

    In power it is only slightly less powerful than the 260 Remington. Loaded to the same pressures and same barrel length there would be little difference between the two. I didnít try and squeeze the last foot second out of the Old Dutch rifle as there was no reason to do so. As it is I would take it hunting any time as it is short, light and handy. As you get older lighter and handier rifles make a lot of sense especially when shots are taken at normal range.

    Bob Shell

    Slightly OT, but I recall that the US had a similar problem with the population from that particular part of the world not exploding on the spot when hit with certain cartridges. I would simply note - Moro, Philippines, and leave it there.

    tac

  21. #21
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    Very Insightful... Thanks for that post!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFoley View Post
    Sir - you are mistaken in your belief that this the same cartridge as the 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser.
    In my original post I was referring to a family of 6.5 cartridges. 6.5 Dutch and 6.5 Swede are in that family because of their obvious similarities, however, at the time both cartridges used round nose projectile. Later on, 6.5 Swede acquired a more modern spitzer projectile.

    Another important point that I made in my previous post is that for punching holes in paper, 6.5 is a fine cartridge. However, the combat experience shows that when your enemy is not a piece of paper, when your enemy is shooting back, then you want something larger than 6.5.

    In the beginning of this thread, the word tactical was mentioned. It appears that in this thread we are talking about punching holes in the paper. That was not clear to me originally. It is clear to me now. I hope tex finds what they are looking for.

  23. #23
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    Well as a tactical round wouldn't the high sectional density have good penetration in many situations?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by texasrifleman View Post
    Well as a tactical round wouldn't the high sectional density have good penetration in many situations?
    Like I said and also TFoley pointed out, paper and deer do not shoot back, in this case you can pick whatever tickles your fancy. I really do not see right or wrong choice in this case.

    From real life combat. Like I wrote before, Dutch used their 6.5 in combat and did not like it. Sweden never used their 6.5 in combat so there is zero proof that it is better than anything else out there. Which brings us back to my previous statement, for paper and hunting, you have myriad of choices.

  25. #25
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    I am old school. I prefer the 7.92x57 with 198gr. bullet fired from my Zastava M76. I find it deadly accurate and hard hitting. However, I am limited to 200 hundred yards and paper targets. Semi auto with the felt recoil of an SKS. If the SHTF I am ready. Gary

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    Am I mistaken in thinking the Finns used the 6.5 x 55 with the 139g spiter BT to very good purpose in the war with Russia in 1940?

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Steve View Post
    Am I mistaken in thinking the Finns used the 6.5 x 55 with the 139g spiter BT to very good purpose in the war with Russia in 1940?
    And US used 22LR in Vietnam War in some silenced weapons.

    The bullet that stopped Red Army in 1940 was 7.62 because that is what thousands upon thousands of Finnish soldiers fired from their rifles and machine guns.

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    I belive that past 400yards the Swedish M41 bullet has more remaining energy than ANY 30-06 or 7.62NATO military loading.

    Why would this be so "ineffective" as a combat round? I was a Combat Medic and "where" the bullet hole is counts maybe more than "caliber" as to the final result of your shot.

  29. #29
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    Seems to me that where the round impacts is much more important. I've heard that .22lr has taken more critters on earth than any other caliber. MY old Kimber Gustafs '96 works on any thing that I connect with. Beyond that my Gibbs 45-70 with buffalo bore takes care of the rest. Got a whole bunch in between, but those are my favorites.

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