Looking for a modern 6.5x55 bolt rifle


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ormandj
April 5, 2008, 12:19 AM
Hi all,

I'm looking for a modern 6.5x55 bolt action rifle. I've read a lot of wonderful things about this cartridge, and the long-distance performance is appealing (for competition) as well as the performance in hunting medium sized (NA) game. I was originally considering the .308, but other than ammunition availability, it looks like the 6.5x55 is a better overall choice for my purposes. Feel free to tell me I'm out in left field, if you think so, though!

I'd like a nice all-around rifle, that I could use for competitive long-distance shooting, as well as hunting (deer-sized by in large.)

I've read a lot about the Sako Finnlight, it seems very appealing to me.

I'm looking for the following, prioritized in this order:

#1 - Reliability (this is why I am not looking at the 6.5x284 - apparently barrel life isn't very good.) I want a *tool*, not a showpiece. Synthetic stock, etc - looks are secondary to me.

#2 - Accuracy. If at all possible, I'd like something I could shoot competitively, and have the rifle outperform *me*. That said, I don't want to sacrifice reliability to achieve accuracy. I don't want a rifle that I have to swap barrels every 500 rounds, and I most certainly don't want a fragile rifle that can't be carried out in the woods for fear of breaking. (Seems like most match rifles are a bit fragile when compared to their hunting counter-parts.)

#3 - Price. I don't want to be cheap, at the same time, I don't want to build a $20,000 custom rifle. Ideally, I'd like something nice, stock - that if desired I could later have worked on by a gunsmith (to improve accuracy, for instance) As to my price range, I'm willing to pay whatever it takes to get the best combination of #1 and #2, until reaching the point of diminishing returns. If $900 will buy me a great rifle (not including glass) that shoots 1.5MOA, and $1300 will buy me a great rifle that shoots .75 MOA, assuming the same reliability, I'd be willing to spend the extra money. If $3500 gets me down to .60 MOA, I'd stick with the $1300 .75 MOA rifle. I hope this example makes clear what I'm trying to say! :)

Thank you in advance for your helpful advice, I've read a lot of posts here, and this seems like a really great group of people!

Cheers,
David

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chestnut ridge
April 5, 2008, 12:36 AM
Consider a Remington 700 Classic in 6.5x55 caliber. This is one of
the series started in 1978. This rifle was produced in 1994.

skinewmexico
April 5, 2008, 12:38 AM
Buy a long action Savage in a pawnshop for $250, order a Shilen Supermatch barrel ($350), and take 30 minutes to put it on. In your own garage. Worked for me, except I used a $175 pawn shop Savage, and an A&B barrel.

Bezoar
April 5, 2008, 12:38 AM
have you looked at CZ lately? great guns form what im told. its the one id get for myself.

ormandj
April 5, 2008, 12:40 AM
I'll look into all of these options you are suggesting. I am totally open to (and in fact, would love) to build a rifle to my suiting. I know nothing about doing such a thing, but I most certainly will research what I can!

Thank you for the helpful advice, look forward to more!

Cheers,
David

ushunter
April 5, 2008, 01:02 AM
Congratulations on choosing a great caliber. I was in the same situation as you about 6 months ago, did my research and the more I read about the 6.5x55 the more I liked it.

I have this gun: http://www.cz-usa.com/product_detail.php?id=17 and I absolutely love it! Accurate, well built and will not break the bank (I paid $630+tax)

Would recommend that you look into the CZ 550 line. Do a search and you will find that most people who own one give them high marks. Here's the CZ American in 6.5x55: http://www.cz-usa.com/product_detail.php?id=18

Good luck!

ormandj
April 5, 2008, 01:42 AM
skinewmexico, I was looking into your suggestion. It looks like I can buy actions from savage directly. I'm guessing I'd be looking for the "standard" bolt head? http://www.savagearms.com/TA_223_Bolt.htm

Coupled with a bull barrel: http://www.shilen.com/savageBarrels.html

Still haven't found a stock I like, I'll keep looking for that. Other than a competent gunsmith, and glass, what else would I need? Just doing this as an exercise in theory, just to see what I'd be looking at $$$ wise, as well as what I'd gain/lose by doing this. :)

Thanks,
David

ftierson
April 5, 2008, 02:07 AM
The CZ 550 American is probably about the best bet right now...

I know that I plan on picking one up a little later this year...:)

I have a Winchester M70 Featherweight in 6.5x55mm, and you might be able to find one floating around...

I also have a Howa 1500/Lightning in 6.5x55mm, and you might be able to find one of those too.

Good luck in your quest to find a modern rifle chambered in the finest cartridge ever produced by man...:)

Forrest

RugerOldArmy
April 5, 2008, 02:11 AM
Although I like the Savage with the barrel swap idea, the CZ 550 are very nice.

skinewmexico
April 5, 2008, 03:16 AM
Read the stickies at Savageshooters.com. You don't need a gunsmith. You'll just need a regular long action, with a .473 bolt head (they only make 3 bolt heads, a 223, a .473, and a magnum). I made mine from a 30-06, it's just a matter of screwing on the barrel. Takes some headspace gauges, and 30 minutes. I've built a 6.5x55, a 223 Ackley, a 338-06, and a 6.5x47 Lapua. Very satisfying.

ormandj
April 5, 2008, 03:17 AM
My only problem with the CZ rifles chambered in 6.5x55, is it doesn't look like you'd be able to get a synthetic stock. If I'm going to be doing a stock swap, I might as well build the whole thing as I please. :p

I just noticed that savage target action seems to be single shot only, I'm looking for a repeater. They offer other actions in their 2008 catalog, I'm guessing the varmint action is the second most accurate action they offer, but it looks like a repeater.

Anybody have any suggestions on stocks?

ormandj
April 5, 2008, 03:19 AM
skinewmexico, I'm going to check out that site you suggested! Thank you for all of your advice.

Out of curiosity, for hunting/long range shooting, which would you suggest - the 6.5x55 or the 6.5x47 lapua. I've heard good things about that cartridge as well, but it seems to be mostly mentioned for target shooting, not hunting.

nyggis
April 5, 2008, 05:33 AM
If they are availible in the States, I can recommend the Tikka M/65 in 6.5x55. Produced in the 70:s and 80:s, great accuracy, very smooth operation and adjustable trigger pull.

Have two myself, wish I had more of them...

Swedish steel and Finnish gunmaker tradition... :D

atomchaser
April 5, 2008, 11:50 AM
Steyr SBS prohunter. CDNN had them available within the last year -- don't know if they still do.

Hokkmike
April 5, 2008, 12:19 PM
I've read a lot about the Sako Finnlight, it seems very appealing to me.

I shoot the Finnlight in 6.5 X 55 and could not be happier. The Winchester Featherlight in 6.5 X 5 is also a nice gun.

I have shot Swedes all my life and highly recommend the cartridge.

woo18
April 5, 2008, 01:01 PM
I was in your exact same position a month ago. I ended up getting two; a Remington 700 and a Sako 85 Hunter. I should be taking delivery shortly.

Nevertheless, I really like the idea of putting together a Savage in 6.5x55.

A Sako in this caliber may take a while to find. If you decide on a Sako or Tikka you may want to consider contacting:

http://www.accuflite.com/

skinewmexico
April 5, 2008, 01:15 PM
There aren't really any differences in any of the Savage/Stevens actions accuracy wise. The only difference is triggers / steel / finish. Stevens 200 makes a good base if you're replacing the trigger. Savage sells all of their actions only, or buy a rifle and sell off the pieces. I haven't shot any animals with my Lapua yet, but that sounds interesting. I shot this target doing some load workup before a 500 yard match last weekend

http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2004-11/891136/DSCN0464(300x225).jpg

Not a very good pic, that's a dime. You'll want a long action (three digits - 110,111,112, etc.) for the 6.5X55, so you can make long cartridges.

ftierson
April 5, 2008, 01:24 PM
Just a heads-up, but CDNN does not have any more Steyr Pro-Hunters in 6.5x55mm. They've been sold out for a while now.

I know because I tried to buy one from them when I finally noticed that they had them (which was several months after they started advertising them. You can't say that I'm not observant...:))...

If you can find one of the Steyr ProHunters, you'd have a nice rifle...

Forrest

Malamute
April 5, 2008, 01:39 PM
Have you considered a 260? It's the same bore diameter, it used to be known as the 6.5-08, being the 308 case necked down to 6.5. The performance is very close to the 6.5x55, but can be had in a 308 length action. They are used for longer range (up to 1000 yards)target shooting, and barrel life is long.

Look at Zach's links to long range practical shooting.

http://demigodllc.com/articles/practical-long-range-rifle-shooting-equipment/

ormandj
April 5, 2008, 02:26 PM
I am (potentially) open to other calibers, feel free to make suggestions. I'm also considering the 7mm-08, from what I've read it's ~ the same in ballistics, but has more downrange energy, with only a slightly increased recoil. Sounds like it might be easier to find here in the US, as well.

I just like the idea of a (relatively) low recoil round with excellent ballistics both on paper and in practice. I'm not going to be hunting dinosaurs, so there is really no point in getting something like a .338 lapua and dealing with the excruciating recoil (or insane muzzle blast.) I also like the ammunition cost of these smaller rounds, especially reloaded. Also, with the lighter recoil/less expensive ammunition, I'll be able to practice more - which will, in turn, lead to more accurate shot placement - which we all know is key to a clean kill - caliber is secondary.

skinewmexico
April 5, 2008, 02:39 PM
Hard to beat the ballistics of a 6.5. Any of them. Out to 1000 yards. A 243 with 115g DTACs had great ballistics too.

viking499
April 5, 2008, 03:10 PM
The 6.5x55 is a wonderful caliber. I picked up a Tikka T3 Stainless Synthetic awhile back to go with my CZ and Mauser. I really like the Tikka for accuracy and weight. It shoots a hair better than the CZ and as good as the Mauser.

I also got my wife a T3 243. It shoots as good as the 6.5. Starting to really like the Tikka's. Also like the CZ's.

Hokkmike
April 5, 2008, 03:20 PM
I'm also considering the 7mm-08,Sounds like it might be easier to find here in the US, as well.

Very true. But I have no had any trouble finding the 6.5 X 55. My hand load is very accurate and compares favorably to the 7mm - 08.

rangerruck
April 5, 2008, 04:34 PM
6.5 bullets begin to surpass, trajectory and energy of 7 bullets, usually after about 400 yds, no matter what size case you are using for your 6.5's; it's just that the b.c. is so much better on a 6.5 bullet, it slips and slides through the wind so much better. if you want a mild 6.5, get a grendel, then a 257 roberts, then say a 6.5 swede, then a 260 remmy, then a 6.5-284, for the hottest. I'll even for craps and giggles throw in a non 6.5 , but close, a 270 wsm, which will get you way out there. A grendel would be cheapest to reload, the 6.5 swede will be the cheapest to just buy, and also very good for reloading.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
April 5, 2008, 04:53 PM
Near as I can tell, the Howa 1500 and Tikka T3 in 6.5x55 are still being made and sold in Europe (well the Howa is MADE in Japan and sold in Europe), but neither are being imported any longer into the USA, as of a few years back. Dunno why - they both WERE at some point. Beretta, the US distributor for Tikka and Sako, however, DOES show certain Sakos as still being offered in 6.5x55. In addition, as mentioned, the CZ550 is an excellent choice, and I believe can be had in either "American" or "FS" - the FS being the full mannlicher style stock. I'd get the American for the free floated barrel since you said longrange/target. I really don't think there's any way you'd regret getting a CZ 550.

When USRAC shut down the Winchester featherweight M70 in 6.5x55 was stopped with all the rest of them, and my guess would be that that caliber will be eliminated out of the leaner meaner F.N. plant in S. Carolina. But you can find used 70s - quite a few - if you look. Also, as mentioned, Rem made one or more runs of the 700 in this caliber. In addition, you can find occasional sporterized swedes - some nicely sporterized, some crappily sporterized. The Savage plus barrel idea is a good one too - you can find old long action savages at gun shows for $175-$250, and at pawn shops for $200-$300, if you look. The Sig Blaser can be had in this cal as well, but man oh man you've got to have a thick wallet. And I know you said repeater, but you can get a T/C Encore with a T/C barrel or Eabco barrel from www.eabco.com (E. Arthur Brown Co.). Good luck! It's pretty much THE goldilocks caliber - just right for deer and similar. :)

Float Pilot
April 5, 2008, 05:01 PM
The 6.5 x55mm is a wonderful cartridge. For 30 years the 7x57mm was may favorite, but during the last year I have bought three 6.5mm Swede Rifles that will all out-shoot any other rifles I own. I wish I would have learned about this cartridge much sooner.

Allans Armory sometimes has Husqvarna Sporters in 6.5x55mm.

Beside sthe Rem-700 Classics that have already been mentioned, there was also a run of the post 64 feather weight Winchester Model 70s in 6.5x55mm,,, I think...

Here is a Tikka
http://www.gunsamerica.com/977000292/Guns/Rifles/Tikka-Rifles/Tikka_T3_HUNTER_6_5_X_55_Swed_Ne.htm

Here is a Blazer;
http://www.gunsamerica.com/944458940/Guns/Rifles/Blaser%20Rifles-Combos-Drillings/Blaser_K95_Prestige_6_5x55mm.htm

Here is a Ruger #1
http://www.gunsamerica.com/933002460/Guns/Rifles/Ruger-Rifles/1-Type/RUGER.htm

Here is a stainless Ruger #1
http://www.gunsamerica.com/977000375/Guns/Rifles/Ruger-Rifles/1-Type/Ruger_1a_in_6_5x55_stainless_walnut.htm

Here is a pre-64 model 70:
http://www.gunsamerica.com/976976118/Guns/Rifles/Winchester-Rifles-Modern-Bolt-Auto-Single/Model-70/Pre-64/Win_Mod_70_6_5_X55_Swede.htm

skinewmexico
April 5, 2008, 10:50 PM
Pricey. I'll take a Savage with a Shilen Supermatch for the same money.

ormandj
April 6, 2008, 12:26 AM
The only issue I'm seeing with Shilen is the extremely long wait time to get a barrel (unless you find one used.) I'll easily be putting 1-2k rounds through a barrel every month the way I shoot, so I'd literally have to start ordering 3 months in advance and order a barrel every month to two months just to keep operational if these barrels are wearing out ~3k rounds like most people seem to claim they do. I realize I'd have to order the same with any other manufacturer, I just don't like having to forecast 3 months in advance - what happens if I burn out a barrel doing load testing more rapidly than expected, I'll be stuck waiting... (then we start talking about keeping spares on hand, etc - getting complicated!)

I saw the sticky about them increasing supply, if that works out, guess it'll be a non-issue. We'll see! That said, I'm relatively excited about doing a build. :)

Any suggestions where to buy actions/stocks from? I've found some gunsmiths that have a lot of feedback (positive) so I'm not worried about that aspect.

Also, with actions, for a repeater - is the Savage Varmint going to be the most accurate option? It looks like the target model is single shot only...

Thanks,
David

skinewmexico
April 6, 2008, 01:14 AM
I think you have that long of a lead time with any reputable barrel maker in america. Shooting that much, maybe you should get a 308, so you can get 6000 rounds a barrel. Any Savage action will work, except for the target action, the others are all the same. The action on the Varmint is the same as the action on the Weather Warrior, etc. Savageshooters.com can answer all your questions grasshopper, and Northlander there can sell you any action or stock. Personally, I'd probably start with a Stevens 200 action, and put an SSS trigger in it. HS, McMillan, SSS, B&C, Stockade and I don't know how many others make stocks.

ormandj
April 6, 2008, 01:15 AM
Great, thanks. I'll pick up some other caliber easier on barrels for the "fun" shooting at the range, and the 6.5 for target/hiking/hunting.

Cheers,
David

jg8783
April 8, 2008, 10:25 PM
Hello, I have a Sako 6.5 X 55 Swede, the gun is 98% the gun has 14 rounds thru it, has an adjustable trigger. The stock is a Straight grain walnut monte carlo stock, hand checkered. plain barrell bases & rings are included. The gun is absolutely beautiful, Before removing scope it was shooting 1/4" group. If interested you will not be unhappy I am asking $850.

Best Regard's

John

ChopperKen
April 10, 2008, 01:42 AM
Ruger is making the 77mkII in 6,5x55 again.
I have a older mkII, I free floated the sporter barrel,and did some home brewed trigger work on it.
It may not be perfect but i shot a doe last fall at 346 yards,offhand,headshot.
Its not for sale!
By the way the 6.5x55 at 28-2900 fps.isn't a barrel burner.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
April 10, 2008, 01:51 AM
jg, is that Sako an 85 or a 75 or some other model? Thanks.

txcookie
May 14, 2012, 01:13 AM
Bump ...

RPRNY
May 14, 2012, 02:00 AM
http:// http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=286270217

Says he has it in stock. This is the King of the Swedes.

And for a more budget responsible choice - pre owned stainless Sako

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=285556805

SANDRAT
May 14, 2012, 04:19 AM
The 6.5X55,6.5X47 Lapua,and the 260 Rem are all great carts with excellent ballistics.If I still lived in the Lower 48 I'd be having a wildcat 6.5 WSM being built as we speak.'Course the barrel wear on that would put a 6.5-284 to shame.I look at barrel wear much like the tires on my truck,I buy the best I can afford,and when they wear out,I buy new ones.

303tom
May 14, 2012, 10:13 AM
Hi all,

I'm looking for a modern 6.5x55 bolt action rifle. I've read a lot of wonderful things about this cartridge, and the long-distance performance is appealing (for competition) as well as the performance in hunting medium sized (NA) game. I was originally considering the .308, but other than ammunition availability, it looks like the 6.5x55 is a better overall choice for my purposes. Feel free to tell me I'm out in left field, if you think so, though!

I'd like a nice all-around rifle, that I could use for competitive long-distance shooting, as well as hunting (deer-sized by in large.)

I've read a lot about the Sako Finnlight, it seems very appealing to me.

I'm looking for the following, prioritized in this order:

#1 - Reliability (this is why I am not looking at the 6.5x284 - apparently barrel life isn't very good.) I want a *tool*, not a showpiece. Synthetic stock, etc - looks are secondary to me.

#2 - Accuracy. If at all possible, I'd like something I could shoot competitively, and have the rifle outperform *me*. That said, I don't want to sacrifice reliability to achieve accuracy. I don't want a rifle that I have to swap barrels every 500 rounds, and I most certainly don't want a fragile rifle that can't be carried out in the woods for fear of breaking. (Seems like most match rifles are a bit fragile when compared to their hunting counter-parts.)

#3 - Price. I don't want to be cheap, at the same time, I don't want to build a $20,000 custom rifle. Ideally, I'd like something nice, stock - that if desired I could later have worked on by a gunsmith (to improve accuracy, for instance) As to my price range, I'm willing to pay whatever it takes to get the best combination of #1 and #2, until reaching the point of diminishing returns. If $900 will buy me a great rifle (not including glass) that shoots 1.5MOA, and $1300 will buy me a great rifle that shoots .75 MOA, assuming the same reliability, I'd be willing to spend the extra money. If $3500 gets me down to .60 MOA, I'd stick with the $1300 .75 MOA rifle. I hope this example makes clear what I'm trying to say! :)

Thank you in advance for your helpful advice, I've read a lot of posts here, and this seems like a really great group of people!

Cheers,
David
Husqvarna..............

kludge
May 14, 2012, 10:38 AM
Hi all,

I'd like a nice all-around rifle, that I could use for competitive long-distance shooting, as well as hunting (deer-sized by in large.)

I've read a lot about the Sako Finnlight, it seems very appealing to me.

Check out the Savage 11 Lightweight Hunter in .260 Rem or 6.5mm Creedmoor.

I'm looking for the following, prioritized in this order:

#1 - Reliability (this is why I am not looking at the 6.5x284 - apparently barrel life isn't very good.) I want a *tool*, not a showpiece. Synthetic stock, etc - looks are secondary to me.

Check. Most US made factory ammo for the 6.5x55 is loaded to lower pressure because of surplus rifles. If you plan to handload then you can exceed (by a small margin) the .260 Rem and 6.5 Creed, otherwise, you'll be better off with the .260 or 6.5 Creed, IMO.

#2 - Accuracy. If at all possible, I'd like something I could shoot competitively, and have the rifle outperform *me*. That said, I don't want to sacrifice reliability to achieve accuracy. I don't want a rifle that I have to swap barrels every 500 rounds, and I most certainly don't want a fragile rifle that can't be carried out in the woods for fear of breaking. (Seems like most match rifles are a bit fragile when compared to their hunting counter-parts.)

Check. All of the .308 family cartridges are very accurate. The 6.5 Creed is just as good. All three of my Savage rifles have been utterly reliable and are sub-MOA.

#3 - Price. I don't want to be cheap, at the same time, I don't want to build a $20,000 custom rifle. Ideally, I'd like something nice, stock - that if desired I could later have worked on by a gunsmith (to improve accuracy, for instance) As to my price range, I'm willing to pay whatever it takes to get the best combination of #1 and #2, until reaching the point of diminishing returns. If $900 will buy me a great rifle (not including glass) that shoots 1.5MOA, and $1300 will buy me a great rifle that shoots .75 MOA, assuming the same reliability, I'd be willing to spend the extra money. If $3500 gets me down to .60 MOA, I'd stick with the $1300 .75 MOA rifle. I hope this example makes clear what I'm trying to say! :)

The Savage Lightweight Hunter will do what you want at the lower end of your price range.

hardluk1
May 14, 2012, 10:50 AM
Montana rifle.

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