Ok I need some more help...6.5x55 Swede


September 8, 2008, 09:14 PM
Ok, due to unacceptable performance from the Hornady 140 grain bullet I have been trying I was wondering if you all could provide a little help. The smallest bullet I have ever loaded for deer hunting was a 130 grain Hornady for my 270. So what I want to know is what would be THE MINIMUM you would consider to be a GOOD size bullet for deer hunting.

I have seen 100, 107, 120, 129 and up to 140 Grain bullets for the 6.5 Swede. Which of these would be a GOOD bullet for deer hunting. I know a lot of people say that it is shot placement and I agree with them but I also want to make sure I have enough mass and energy to put a deer down humanely.

This is not a Mil Surplus rifle but a new CZ. Just in case it would impact your recommendation


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September 8, 2008, 09:40 PM
Hornady 160 grain is a good bullet.

If the Hornady 140 Spire Points don't shoot well. Try the RN.

Be careful of the 120 grainers they make varmit bullets that may not perform on larger animals. Try some other manufacturers. Speer Hot Core or Sierra come to mind.

Good luck and let us know what you find.

Ol` Joe
September 8, 2008, 09:46 PM
All listed wgts will do. Nosler makes the 100 gr in partition form and their 120 gr BT is a great deer bullet. The 100 gr was developed expressly for use on deer with the 260 Rem or 6.5x55 velocities
I`ve shot 1/2 dozen deer here with the Hornady 129 gr SP (not SST) and it has worked very well from my Swede and 260 Rem both. I don`t think either the 120 Nosler BT or 129 SP will let you down.

evan price
September 8, 2008, 11:30 PM
As I said in the other post, I am using the Hornady 129 Spire Point with Varget, iirc 35.5 grains or so, I have to double check. Very accurate, very controllable, will drop a thin-skinned target like deer no problem as long as you do your part.

September 9, 2008, 01:14 AM

I have the same gun and it's the reason I started reloading. I love that gun, but I get so sidetracked by a new powder, a different primer, or a new bullet that (sadly, oh so sadly) I have yet to fully flesh out a load for hunting.

I have started loads with Remington 140g core-lokts, Hornady 140g Interlock, Speer 140g HotCors, Sierra 160 Semi-round nose (discontinued), and others. So far, my Sierra 160g have patterned the best. But I have yet to break the 1 MOA mark with this gun. However, 1 MOA is my target.

After having been doing light reloading for 18 months for the same gun and same caliber, here's my recommendations:

120 to 140 grain bullets will be your best bet with the emphasis strongly on a 140 grain bullet. The 6.5x55 lives and breathes the 140g bullet. Your 1:8.6" twist will stabilize most all the 140g out there. VLD bullets or other bullets designed for target applications (which probably includes the Hornady A-MAX that it sounds like you have been reloading) may not be properly stabilized with your twist rate. This may be why they have patterned so poorly.

The Sierra GameKing has made a reputation in the .30-06 arena. I cannot remember where I read it, but a popular gun writer who used the Sierra GameKing in 6.5x55 thought that it had found it's true calling. He figured it was better out of the swede than the .30-06.

If I were to start completely over and limit myself two a few powders and bullets here's what I'd try (in order):

Powder: Reloader 22
2nd choice: Reloader 19

Bullet: Sierra 140g GameKing BTSP
2nd Choice: Hornady 140g Interlock
3rd Choice: Nosler 140g Partition
4th Choice: Barnes Triple-shock X (I think this is a 130g)

If you want to go lighter, the Hornady 129 grain has been recommended. I think that bullet would suit me fine too. I know that some people like the Speer HotCors however the 140g bullet out of my swede just don't group worth a darn. I bought them cheap at $15.95 a box, so they will be my lightly loaded plinking round. I'll load them up with Ramshot Magnum or Ramshot hunter ($15.95 a pound) and mismatched, previously fired brass.

But with how they have patterned for me, I won't hunt with them.

September 9, 2008, 11:20 AM
140 gr is a safe bet for the 6.5x55.
CZ I think is a 1 in 8.6" twist. Should work nicely for the 120-140 range.

120 gr is as small as I'd go, but the 100 gr partition does sound interesting.

Truthfully, rounds like the 6.5x55, 270, 308, 30-06 don't need magic bullets. They rely on a moderately fast bullet with good sectional density. That's the reason they work, and work well.

Corelokts have cleanly killed everything I've ever shot.

A 140 at 2600fps will wack a deer just fine.

EDIT: When you said poor performance, did you mean poor accuracy, or failure to cleanly kill a deer?

September 9, 2008, 02:01 PM
Poor Accuracy...I just have not found the right load for it yet...

Jake in TX
September 9, 2008, 02:09 PM
120 grain minimum, 140 grain optimum. If the rifling rate is fast enough, then try 160 grain bullets. I prefer 140 grain bullets in my Tikka T3.

Jake in TX

September 9, 2008, 04:37 PM
Stick with the 140g and your RL19 or 22. Pick a bullet, Hornady and Sierra have worked well in my two 6.5x55's. Keep in mind nearly any bullet you get these days is going to reliably kill game, some just lighten you wallet a little better than the others. Once you get a 140g load all sorted out you will be able to hunt lots of things with it. RL19 or RL22 should give you slightly better results than my IMR4831.

Our first time out with Some 140 SST, SP, and A-Max Hornadys we had no problem getting .75 to 2" groups out of any load in either gun. From 38 to 44g or IMR4831. Truthfully any variation was more than likely my fault since I'm not a great rifle shot anymore, lack of practice. We also ran some 160RN Hornadys with great result, ~1" from both guns with 42g of IMR4831.

All the 140g loads seemed to like 42 to 42.5g of the IMR4831 the best. All three bullets with 42g of IMR4831 were + or - 75FPS (PACT Chrony) in both guns for all 140g loads. The A-Max and SST were the most accurate, but a deer kill zone is way bigger than 2" and I would have no problem using the SP for deer. We are going to use the SST 42.5g load for Elk in Colorado later this year.
The SST and A-Max were loaded to 3.050 and the SP was 2.975. CCI LR primers set off all the IMR4831 powder dropped froim a Lyman 1200 v3 scale.

September 9, 2008, 04:57 PM
. I just can't buy RL19 or RL22 since I heard it's manufactured in China.
Where did you hear that?

September 9, 2008, 05:30 PM

Will Fennell
September 9, 2008, 05:33 PM
Reloader 19 and 22 are ALLIANT brand powders, not Accurate brand powders.

September 9, 2008, 05:40 PM
Okie dokie, I'm an idiot. Confused. Wow. Wonder when that got stuck in my head, must have been a very long time ago. I never even look at any RL powders anymore.

I've been sticking to Hodgden and IMR for Rifle. I do use a lot of Power Pistol so that is kind of funny. Come to think of it, since I culled down my powders in pistol calibers to HP38/W231 and Power Pistol and my rifle powders down to H335 IMR4895, IMR4064, IMR4350 and IMR4831 I have sort of lost track of things I guess. Sure makes my reloading much simpler though.

September 9, 2008, 09:27 PM
My comment has to do with differences in the Hornady SST and the A-Max. The SST is primarily a fine game bullet whereas the A-Max is primarily a target bullet and touts it's concentric profile for that purpose. It's jacket is not designed for game but would probably work for varmints. I've only used the .224 52gr. A-Max for paper.


September 10, 2008, 09:18 AM
What is the difference between RL 19 and 22?

I need to buy powder for my swede reloads and I have been looking at 19 and 22.

September 10, 2008, 10:20 AM
I'd actually call Alliant and ask. IIRC, if you get in touch with the right person there, they are very informative.

Jake in TX
September 10, 2008, 02:51 PM
Reloder 22 is the next to the slowest powder Alliant makes. Reloder 19 is the next faster one. In the Swede milsurps, Reloder 22 is used a lot with the bolt rifles, and Reloder 15 (a bit faster still) is used a lot with the semi-auto rifles (AG-42).

Jake in TX

September 10, 2008, 02:59 PM
What would be best for a non-surplus 6.5?(tikka)

September 10, 2008, 03:34 PM
RL 22

Not surpisingly there are some Scandnavian powder that work really well to. Maybe N550 or N560? I've never felt the need to spend the money on the vihtavuori stuff when RL22/4831/4350 work so well.

Safe bet is RL 22.

Vern Humphrey
September 10, 2008, 04:11 PM
I bought a lot of 140-grain Remington bulk bullets for my sporterized M96.

The Remington has two cannelures -- my rifle shoots best with the rearmost cannelure even with the case mouth -- the M96 was designed to shoot a long, heavy bullet, and it has a long throat. Seating the bullets well out has a marked effect on accuracy.

September 11, 2008, 12:25 AM
Here are the loads and bullets I have loaded up. I will let you know how they shoot.

Position Bullet Weight (Gr.) Manufacturer Powder Grains Primers
1 140 GR. Hornady SPª IMRª IMR 4064ª 38.0ª Feneral Match 210
2 140 GR. Hornady SPª Hodgdonª H414ª 41.5ª Feneral Match 210
3 140 GR. Hornady SPª Hodgdonª Vargetª 35.5 Feneral Match 210
4 130 GR. Barnes TSX Alliant RL 22 46.0 Federal Match 210
5 130 GR. Barnes TSX Alliant RL 19 48.0 Federal Match 210
6 130 GR. Barnes TSX IMR IMR4350 47.0 Federal Match 210
7 130 GR. Barnes TSX Hodgdon H4350 45.5 Federal Match 210
8 125 GR. Nosler Partition IMR IMR 4350 45.5 Federal Match 210
9 125 GR. Nosler Partition IMR IMR 4831 47.0 Federal Match 210
10 125 GR. Nosler Partition Alliant RL 19 47.5 Federal Match 210

September 11, 2008, 07:36 AM
I have tried the 140 and 125 Nosler Partitions and found that they do not open up well at short range on whitetails. Don't misunderstand, I love Partitions but in the 6.5 with it's BC, they do not work as well as Partitions in the 243 on deer.

The 129gr. Hornady is great in the 6.5x55 for deer.

September 13, 2008, 08:34 PM
I don't know if it's relevant, but I just shot my first string of 140 gr. Sierra Gamekings in .270 and was happy with the results. This was at 100 yards without trying to be absolutely perfect, just working up a load. Bullseye is in a four inch diamond. The four rounds just below bullseye are all the same powder charge, and what I will be using for a deerhunting round this year-should be in the kill zone out to say 300 yards...


September 15, 2008, 08:52 AM
Well...I finally figured out why my 6.5 has not been grouping for (*#&. I went to the range today and after shooting 2 groups with my 6.5 and then 1 with my 7-08 and the 1 with my 223 and then 1 with my 22-250 I knew something was amiss....I fired one more group with my 6.5 and watched as after each round it would walk across the target about an inch at a time.... So packed everything up and went home....took a nap....kinda POd but was pretty sure I knew what the problem was....yep you guessed it....the scope was loose. When I woke up grabbed my gun rest and gun and grabbed the screw driver and of course the front mount was loose. AGH!!! So now I get to hopefully go back tomorrow evening and try this again. I am really hoping this was the problem. It was becoming a real issue that the gun was not shooting any better than it was. So hopefully tomorrow evening it will be proven out that the prblem was in fact the scope and mounts.

September 15, 2008, 08:35 PM
All right all....I have finally found a load...I think....I need to duplicate it but if I can then I will be set.

I shot a .5 inch 3 shot group today. This is what I have been looking for. If I can repeat it or at least shoot it under an inch the next time then it will be my hunting load for this gun. I have a couple of other loads just over an inch that I am going to reload and see if they will repeat at least the same performance or better.

Bullet - 130 grain Barnes TSX, Powder - Hodgdon H4350, 45.5 Grains, Primer - Federal Match 210

May 2, 2009, 02:22 PM

Sorry to bump an older thread of yours but I'd be curious for an update. What bullets have you found the best groups with? What was your final hunting load?

May 4, 2009, 09:36 AM

Here is the load along with the three groups I shot with it....

Bullet Weight (Gr.) Manufacturer Powder Grains Primers Group 2nd Group 3rd Group
140 GR. Hornady SP* Hodgdon* Varget* 36.0 Federal Match 210 0.90 1.06 1.07

May 4, 2009, 08:17 PM

Thanks for the update. Have you chronographed these loads?

May 5, 2009, 09:25 PM
No I have not...I do not own one. I guess if I hunted where I had a LONG shot I might consider going to purchase one to find out what it is but since I only shoot out to around 200-250 yards I simply do not believe it will make much difference.

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